Something About You
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“We’re blackmailing a United States senator, Mandy. Yes, I’m being careful. And so should you. But it’s not exactly going to be a secret to Hodges that you’re involved in this. You’re the one screwing him, remember? Not to mention, the one who’s making the deal with him for the money.”
“Funny how, when you say it like that, it sounds like I’m the one who’s doing all the work,” she said. “Not to mention”—she mimicked him—“the one taking all the risks.”
Fucking women. He should’ve known she’d start bitching about something last minute.
Grant took her by the shoulders, tempted to give her a good shake. “This was your plan, Mandy. And it’s a good one. Just keep cool, and let’s do this.”
It took a moment before Mandy nodded. “You’re right.” She exhaled. “I’m sorry, Grant. I think I’m getting nervous about all this.”
“Don’t be nervous,” he told her. “All you need to do is turn the camera on when you hear Hodges knock—make sure you put the armoire doors back in the exact spot they’re in now, then turn the camera off when he leaves. The rest of it is no different than any other job. I’ll be watching in my car from the street below. Turn the lamp by the window on and off three times so I’ll know when you’re done. I’ll come up, check the tape to make sure everything’s okay, and then you’ll leave just like you would any other night.”
“Thanks, boss. Anything else?” she asked sarcastically.
“Yes. Make it look good.”
And did she ever.
As planned, Grant re-entered the hotel as soon as he saw the signal in the window and hurried back up to her room. When Mandy let him in, he pulled the camera out from behind the television and checked the tape. He started at the beginning, then played the tape back on fast-forward. He stopped intermittently to watch, being sure to keep the volume down. Soon, Senator Hodges would very likely come to regret his ever having met Ms. Mandy Robards, but for that night at least, he was quite vocal in expressing his pleasure with their acquaintance.
“See anything you like?” Mandy drawled as she reclined on the bed in one of the hotel bathrobes.
“Just making sure the tape’s clean all the way through,” Grant told her. The beauty in blackmail videography was in the details. Those doggie-style spanks were probably worth five hundred grand alone.
Grant continued to watch the replay on fast-forward, the senator pumping, Mandy bouncing, and the bed all a-shaking at comical speeds, until he got to the end. He slowed to watch approvingly as Mandy very cleverly maneuvered herself and Hodges in front of the camera as he paid her in cash before leaving. The last shot on the tape was Mandy turning off the camera.
When it was finished, Grant pulled out the tape and handed it over to Mandy. As they’d agreed, she would make a copy before showing it to Hodges. “Nice work,” he said.
Mandy smiled as she slid off the bed. “Thanks.” She grabbed her purse off the desk and put the tape inside. She leaned against the desk, taking him in.
“Sorry I was a bitch earlier.” She nodded at his hands. “The gloves, they threw me off for a second. But you were right, this is serious business and we need to be careful. I understand why you need to take your precautionary measures, and I know you’re going to understand why I need to take mine.”
There was a sudden gleam in her eyes that Grant didn’t trust. “Understand what, exactly?”
In answer, Mandy reached into one of the deep pockets of her bathrobe and instinctively Grant went for the gun in the shoulder harness he always wore. But she beat him to the punch as she pulled her hand out of the robe and Grant saw the flash of silver—
Of a small tape recorder.
He let out a deep breath in frustrated relief. “Jesus Christ, Mandy. What the hell is that?”
“I told you—my precautionary measures.” She hit play on the tape recorder, keeping the volume low, but high enough so Grant could hear well and clear.
“I’m sorry, Grant. I think I’m getting nervous about all this.”
“Don’t be nervous. All you need to do is turn the camera on when you hear Hodges knock—make sure you put the armoire doors back in the exact spot they’re in now, then turn the camera off when he leaves. The rest of it is no different than any other job. I’ll be watching in my car from the street below. Turn the lamp by the window on and off three times so I’ll know when you’re done. I’ll come up, check the tape to make sure everything’s okay, and then you’ll leave just like you would any other night.”
“Thanks, boss. Anything else?”
“Yes. Make it look good.”
Mandy shut off the tape with a smug grin. “That spy shop on Wells Street you sent me to was quite a find.” She held up the recorder. “It’s amazing how small they can make these things nowadays. The whole time you were here earlier, you never noticed I had it in my pocket.”
“I’ll have to remember to frisk you next time,” Grant said sarcastically. “What’s with the tape, Mandy?”
“I want to renegotiate the terms of our arrangement.”
“You think you should get more than half?”