The closet door burst open with a bang and before he could realise what was happening, Lucas had tackled him and with arms around his torso, was pulling him away from me. I threw myself off the bed quickly; the plan was now in motion and I had exactly 20 minutes to get this right. I rolled under the bed as we’d planned. Above me, on the bed, I could hear Richard and Lucas struggling. I closed my eyes tightly as I heard the grunts of pain; the heavy breathing; punches being thrown; the swish of a knife slicing through skin, once, twice; a muffled scream. Then there was silence. The sudden silence in the aftermath of activity had a sense of dread and suspense to it. I gave it another minute before rolling out from under the bed. I could faintly make out the outline of two bodies lying on the bed; it was impossible to see clearly in the darkened room.
“Lucas?” I whispered, slowly advancing towards the bodies. “Lucas?”
With a soft grunt, he rose off the bed and came towards me.
“Ariana, are you hurt anywhere?” he whispered.
“No, no. I’m fine. Is he dead?”
“I would say he is. Slit the bastard’s throat open!”
“And you? Are you hurt anywhere?” I asked, hoping against hope.
“Just a small cut on my neck, nothing else. Don’t worry. Now, get ready to leave while I finish up here.”
I had only about 7 minutes left. As Lucas went back to the bed to make sure my husband, Richard, was dead, I opened the big french windows and sat down on the chaise to wait. By my estimation, it would be another minute before Lucas would notice anything. I was right; a minute and 6 seconds later, Lucas froze, then toppled to the floor, face down. I got to work without wasting a moment. The room had to look appropriately chaotic, like a massive struggle had taken place between the three of us. Two minutes and 17 seconds later, the room was perfectly disorganized. I allowed myself a smile. Then I picked my way carefully through the mess, to the other side of the bed. The table lamp was made of glass, and it would hurt, but I had to go through with it. Without thinking about it, I picked up the heavy lamp and crashed it against the left side of my head. As the floor rushed up to meet me, my only thought was that the pain was worth it.
A few days later, I lay in my bed in the hospital, a newspaper in hand. The headline announced to the world the ‘sad demise’ of Richard Stone, media tycoon. The story went on to detail how his wife’s ex-boyfriend, Lucas Maret, had murdered the tycoon in cold-blood, apparently to take revenge for stealing his girl five years ago. The killer had cut Mr. Stone’s throat with a poisoned knife after catching him unawares in his hotel room. The paper reported how the Stones had been celebrating their anniversary at a secluded mountain lodge when the killer had destroyed their happiness. In an ironic twist of fate, however, the killer had also been stabbed with his own knife, which had led to his death as well. The article informed the readers that Richard Stone was survived by his wife, Ariana Stone. She had bravely tried to fight the killer, but had been lucky to escape with a concussion and a hairline fracture to her cheek-bone when the killer had hit her with a lamp to keep her out of the way. Mrs.Stone, being Mr.Stone’s only living family-member and also being named in her late husband’s will, would be inheriting the tycoon’s wealth and estate. In a short, emotional speech from the hospital bed, Ariana Stone said she expected to carry on the business “exactly like my darling husband used to”.
I threw the paper away, my face an emotionless mask of a recently widowed woman. Inside, though, I allowed myself a satisfied smile. My plan had been perfectly executed after month upon month of detailed planning. It had been easy to convince my former lover of the ‘abuse’, physical and emotional, that my husband heaped on me regularly. The fool, blinded by love and a hope to build a life with ‘his girl’, had readily agreed to rescue me, be my knight in shining armour. We made a plan to get rid of Richard and run away together. He didn’t know I had laced the knife with poison before hiding the weapon on the top shelf in the closet, as we had decided. Of course, I had had a backup plan, but the end result would have been the same. Lucas getting cut with the knife had just saved me the extra efforts, and I had Richard to thank for that. He had given Lucas quite a fight before finally dying. It never crossed Lucas’ mind that I was doing this only to get my hands on Richard’s business, the goose that kept giving golden eggs. Nor did Richard ever suspect me of trying to whisk his riches away, enamoured as he was with me. When I cajoled him into taking a weekend off work and going away to the lodge, where we had first met, to celebrate our anniversary, he had agreed, promising that it would be a night I would never forget and that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. How right he had been.
It was an unforgettable night, and now, I was exactly where I wanted to be.