The Assassin

Free The Assassin by Evelyn Anthony

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Authors: Evelyn Anthony
out there was a knock on the door. The pretty girl from the salon downstairs came into the room and smiled at him. She wore a négligé trimmed with emu feathers, and as she crossed the floor towards him, King saw that she was naked underneath it.
    â€˜Good evening, monsieur.’
    â€˜Good evening,’ King said. ‘Will you join me in a glass of champagne?’
    That first night Elizabeth didn’t sleep. Keller went to his room first, and as hers was adjoining she could hear him moving about, taking a bath, and then the creak of the mattress as he turned. They had eaten together, and because of what had happened between them there was a silence which became a strain. Even when he helped bring the plates through to the kitchen he moved very carefully so as not to touch her, even by accident. Elizabeth undressed slowly, and then began to unpack. The Lebanon seemed so unreal it might have been a place visited a year or more ago. There was a smell about the dresses she took out of the case, a mixture of her own scent and the smell of the wardrobes in the Beirut hotel. Twenty-four hours earlier she had been there, getting ready for the plane journey with the man she had glimpsed for a moment outside the hotel doors. Now he was next door in her apartment and the marks his hands had made were on her arms. She went into the kitchen and began to make coffee.
    â€˜Did you sleep well?’
    Keller slid down on to the banquette opposite to her. ‘Very well. The bed was very comfortable.’
    â€˜Would you like bacon and waffles for breakfast? I’m going to make some.’
    â€˜I’ve never tried them. What are waffles?’ He found himself talking quite naturally. All the hostility which had quivered between them on the flight was gone. He could notice how pretty she was because it didn’t give her any victory over him. The victory was his, won in the brief, explosive struggle. He also thought she looked as if, unlike himself, she hadn’t slept.
    â€˜They’re difficult to describe. Try some, see if you like them. They’re very American.’ She watched him eating; he didn’t pretend with the waffles. He shook his head and pushed them to the side of his plate. ‘Too American for me,’ he said. He poured out more coffee for her and lit two cigarettes.
    â€˜What are you going to do?’ Elizabeth asked.
    â€˜Wait here,’ he said. ‘Read your books, eat your food, and wait for someone to phone or come for me.’
    â€˜Have you ever met my uncle?’
    â€˜No. I don’t even know who he is. You keep on talking as if I should know, but I don’t.’
    â€˜It’s so odd,’ she said, ‘you not even knowing about him.’
    â€˜Is he so important?’
    â€˜Yes, very important. Even in the Lebanon you’d have heard of Huntley Cameron.’
    â€˜It means nothing to me. Tell me about him. Is he rich?’
    â€˜One of the richest men in the world.’ Elizabeth said. She saw him put his coffee down without drinking it and she smiled. ‘He’s worth a hundred million dollars, maybe more. He owns newspapers and television networks, real estate oil wells, an airline—I don’t know what else. He’s a big man politically, too. He has a lot of power.’
    â€˜With all that,’ Keller said it slowly, ‘he could be President.’
    â€˜No,’ she shook her head. ‘He’s never wanted that. But he’s suddenly taken it into his head to help someone else be President. I think he feels it’s more fun to pull the strings. He’s decided to support Casey. You know who he is, surely?’
    â€˜No,’ Keller said. His mind was working while the girl talked. He had forgotten her yellow hair, the pale skin showing at the collar of her housecoat where the top buttons were undone. He was thinking about the rich politically powerful uncle. If he was going to point the target he

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