Vaughn bit back the impulse to smile as the security guard forcefully took him to the front door of the mansion, all the while telling him what a bastard he was to treat his sweet, lovely wife the way he had. When the door closed firmly behind him after the guard admonished him not to return, Vaughn leaned back against it, giving in to the need to laugh in relief. So far everything had gone exactly as planned.
Calming himself, he strode quickly along the long veranda to the steps that would take him down to the side of the mansion. From there he walked silently until he was under the second floor window that they had chosen to use. He stepped away and looked up. It was partially open. He whistled softly and then moved back into the shadows. Moments later he heard a soft thud as a small bag landed in the dirt of the flower bed beside him. After a short wait a second one joined the first. He picked them up, securing them to a belt under his tunic. A few minutes later two more bags landed in the flower bed. As he retrieved them he heard a short whistle.
He headed immediately to the back of the mansion, peering up at the second floor balcony. Nigel appeared and Vaughn tossed a strong, thin coil of rope up to him. After tying it off, Nigel swung over the balcony railing and climbed down. Once he was on the ground he gave the rope a sharp tug which undid the knot. Catching the rope, he handed it to Vaughn and then quickly disappeared around the side of the mansion.
Vaughn coiled the rope again as he walked in the opposite direction. When he arrived at the flowering shrub behind which Nigel had left the bag, he opened the bag and changed into one of the sets of dark jeans and shirts that it held. He folded up his costume, shoving it into the bag, and then sat down in the deep shadows to wait for his partners.
They arrived some twenty minutes later, Page first, Nigel soon afterward. Without a word they also changed clothes. Then, with caution, they left the mansion grounds, Nigel carrying the bag that now held all of the costumes.
Once on the sidewalk, Vaughn put his arm around Page's shoulders and the three of them strolled slowly away, to all intents and purposes just three people out for a late evening walk. When they turned the corner of the long block, Vaughn led the others across the street, up a dark driveway and through a well-groomed backyard to an alley where a small, foreign-made car stood parked next to a garage. The three partners got in and soon they were headed out of town. Four or so miles from the mansion, Vaughn pulled into a parking lot. Nigel jumped out of the car when Vaughn stopped by a donations bin. After emptying the contents of the bag into the bin, Nigel got back into the car. Two miles farther on, they disposed of the bag in a dumpster behind a restaurant.
"Done and done," Nigel said with a grin as Vaughn headed toward the highway. Page laughed happily, leaning across the console to kiss Vaughn's cheek. Not taking his eyes off of the road, he pulled her close enough to give and get a real, if fast, kiss. As she sat back, Nigel reached over the back of the seat to cup her chin in his hand. After he'd received his own kiss from her, he leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and soon drifted off to sleep.