Chapter 5 continued and finished.As Amy left the room she was instantly joined by the man who had so graciously handed out the invitation to join della Croce. While she felt a slight compulsion to handout something into the man’s face she knew that that would get her nowhere, she also had a lot of thinking to do.
“Is there a bus station near this place?” she asked.
“You are to be brought back to the police station.” he said.
“How nice, but I think I’ll manage that on my own.” she said.
“Mr. della Croce’s order where very specific.” he answered. It was obvious from the way he spoke that a discussion about this would lead nowhere but to trouble.
“He doesn’t like people who talk back, does he?” she said.
“Mr. della Croce knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.”
“He seems to be very straight forward.” Amy said to bait some more out of the man.
“He is direct and effective.” the man answered.
“Mr. della Croce told me you were his right hand man.” Amy said watching the man very closely from the corner of her eye. While he did not reply anything to that there was a slight shift in his demeanour, going from slightly to bored to slightly proud. Amy was not that surprised, the man she had met was so used of talking down to people that he was bound to be surrounded by people who were happy to be his personal lapdog and as such they thrived on praise by their ‘owner’.
“He never told me your name, though.” she said turning back to him looking him in the eye. As Amy had expected the man in front of her tried to hold her gaze but had looked away for a fraction of a second. “I am now freelancing for your boss, so we might as well use our names.” she paused waiting for him to react when she noticed that he was about to answer she stretched out her hand interrupting him with an: “I’m Amy.” a careful interjection to establish the hierarchy between them. The poor devil in front of him was built like a reinforced brick factory but mentally he had been kept well broken and was a good doggy for his master.
“Robert.” He said shaking her hand. There was a lot of force but very little conviction in the handshake.
“Nice to meet you. Rob.” no protest from his part. Good. “By the way if you ever knock me out again I will return the favour with interest.” she said with a smile. Robert glared at her, he was not about to speak up to her nor was he backing down. That’s not what he had been trained to do.
“But now that we are colleagues,” Amy added with her best winning smile, “we should get along swimmingly, right Rob?”.
Robert did not know how to react to that so he just grunted and nodded to her walking a bit faster to lead the way and leave any awkward conversations behind.
Amy was by now quite pleased with herself. The people around her were dangerous. Very dangerous. But they were so in the artless way of people who had learnt all their tricks by trial and error never having understood why they worked in the first place.
“Where’s the car. “ Amy asked.
“Just follow me. Miss Anderson.”
‘Good boy!’ Amy thought. “No need to be so formal. Call me Amy, Ron.”
Robert just nodded leading Amy through the corridors and spacious rooms of a house of someone who knew that rich people were supposed to live in large mansions and who once having arrived in one didn’t really know what to do with it. The walked through a pool room that was all leather, minibar and constant twilight, only to pass into a living room (?) that was filled with glass and stainless steel. Very aesthetic. Very cold to look at and as comfortable as an airport.
“Nice house.” Amy said non committal looking at a row of paintings all of which were worth more than she earned in a year, that were now decorating the wall of a long corridor with all the style of a trophy collection.
“Yeah.” Said Robert shrugging. His first human expression since Amy had met him. Her attention instantly shifted towards him.
“You don’t like it?” she asked.
“It is a great house.” Robert said. “’S got a indoor pool, great view and all…”
“But…” Amy helped him along.
“But I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right.”
“It doesn’t feel like a proper home, doesen’t it?”
Robert shook his head. “Old house was much better. Still felt like someone lived there. Now it is like walking through a ghost town all packed into one building.”
“Very well put.” Said Amy surprised at the poetic talent of the guy she had mostly thought of as a well trained dog. ‘Don’t underestimate anyone Anderson. That leads to an early grave.” She told her self.
“Old house?” she asked.
“Yeah. Where Mr. Della Croce lived before he moved upwards. Had enough room for everyone, but was still cosy. Know what I mean?”
Amy nodded. “Yes.”
“But there is one bit that I like better about this house.” Robert said stopping in front of a metal door that looked out of place in the well designed wall of yet another stylish living room but glinted defiantly, daring anyone to belittle it because of its industrial roots.
Robert opened the heavy metal door and told Amy with the hint of a smile that ignited his eyes “The garage. The garage can’t ever be large enough.”
Amy entered what to her looked like a small hangar filled with the wildest dreams of any petrol head around the world.
“Since we are now colleagues, you get to chose how you get home.” Robert said his smile growing.
Amy stepped forward eyes wide making a mental note to upgrade Robert from ‘useful monkey’ to ‘very dangerous’.