Twenty-four hours later Pia was trying to find the spot where she was supposed to meet the bank guard. "This damned place has changed since I was a kid," she muttered as she turned around and headed back the way she'd come. Finally, swearing under her breath, she saw the turnoff she needed and soon the tiny parking lot with one car sitting in lonely splendor.
For sure no one's going to see us meeting out here she thought as she pulled up beside it. Following Harry's directions, she walked towards the river and down the slope, looking for the fallen tree. She spotted it, and a man in a uniform sitting on it, his back turned to her.
Walking up to him, she said, "Hi, I'm Pia and you must be my contact inside the bank."
Kerry had an instantaneous 'fight or flight' reaction when he heard Pia's voice behind him. He'd been staring out at the river, letting its slow movement and soft sound soothe his frayed self-control. Then, the moment she spoke, he tensed once more, his nerves as tightly wound as a watch spring.
"I am," he replied as he stood and turned to look at her. A moment later he wished he'd never agreed to Tito's plan. The look of shock, then disgust and anger that crossed her face told him all he needed to know. Dropping his eyes, acknowledging defeat even before the battle had begun, he walked past her and started up the slope.
"Oh no you don't, you—you figlio di una cagna," Pia declared vehemently as she grabbed his arm. "You're not running away again. Not until we have this out."
"Have at it then," he said, keeping his voice devoid of emotion.
"You're a bastard."
He nodded again.
"You should be castrated and hung up as an example to all men what happens when they try to fuck over a woman."
This time he shrugged a shoulder.
"Damn it Kerry, aren't you going to say anything?" she growled, stamping her foot angrily.
"What's to say? You're right. I'm a cowardly bastard. Trying to deny it wouldn't change the facts."
"Aren't you going to explain yourself at all? Or try to?"
"No. No matter what I said, you'd call me a liar or worse. Why waste our time going over the whys and wherefores? I did my job, just as you were doing yours. I didn't mean to—" He shook his head. "It was just a job, nothing more. Feelings weren't supposed to be part of it."
"I see." She looked up at him, arms akimbo. "So if they'd told you to seduce me you would have."
"Hell no! I may be a lot of things but I'm not that much of a bastard," Kerry replied, angrily denying Pia's accusation.
"Why not," she asked with the very feminine ability to cut to what she considered to be the heart of the matter, ignoring what he'd just said. "Don't you find me pretty enough, or sexy enough, or—or whatever it takes?"
"Of course I do! You're one of the most— Oh no. You're not turning this into an argument about why I didn’t commit an even worse betrayal than I did." He glared at her and then stepped around her, or tried to.
She didn't let him, putting her hands on his arms to keep him where he was. "Uomo stupido, non mi hai tradito, mi ha tradito."
"Come again? Sorry but I'm linguistically challenged when it comes to Italian."
She smiled, just slightly. "I know. I figured that would get your attention though. I said 'Stupid man, you didn't betray me, I betrayed myself'."
"The 'stupid man' I sort of figured out," he admitted, stalling a bit before saying, "Just how are you figuring you betrayed yourself?"
"That's easy." She dropped her hands but not her eyes. "I let myself start caring even though I should have known better."
"That makes two of us," he replied so quietly she barely heard him.
Again, she suddenly changed the subject. "Is this job breaking into the bank for real or just something you, and probably Tito knowing him, cooked up to get us to talk to each other?"
"It's for real, although it didn't have to be me as the inside man. That part was Detective Snow's doing, with Tito pushing him into it I suspect."
"How long have you been working at the bank," she asked, turning all business. "Are you in a position to actually help me?"
"Two weeks, and yes. I 'transferred' from another branch across state when one of the regular guards needed compassionate leave time. Snow did a good job of setting that up."