Font Size:  

“Yes,” she said with a big smile. “I haven’t spent five minutes alone with you in the past week. Do you have a problem with that?”

“Not at all.” He put his arm around her shoulder. “We’ll eat someplace close by.”

“Wherever you want, honey.”

“Italian?” They started walking toward the cars. Rory ran ahead to see what Charlie and Shannon were doing.


“And then when we get home?” Nash asked with a hopeful tone.

“We can play spy and you can show me your gun.”

Nash laughed. He looked at Shannon pushing Charlie in the swing. Watched him scream as his brother ran up with his arms out as if he were Frankenstein. Charlie cut loose an earsplitting shriek of terror and then began laughing. Nash smiled and thought to himself, This is the way it’s supposed to be.



HAKIM decided to walk to the bank. It wasn’t far and he needed the time to think. Just as he feared, the barn had not burned down. Karim was an idiot, all the more so because he actually thought himself smart. He was an intolerable ass. Hakim kept asking himself if there had been anything else in the barn that could put the FBI on his trail. He had been lucky that he had packed his bag in the RV’s storage compartment months earlier. Karim’s and Ahmed’s packs were hidden under a tarp in the barn just as Karim had ordered. Something about wanting to personally inspect them. It served the fool right that

his need to control every detail had led to his own downfall.

As he exited the hotel into the sunny afternoon he was positive that his only link to Iowa was the conservancy trust that he’d set up to purchase the farm itself. He would have time, though, before they could get to the bottom of that tangled web, and when they did they would find nothing more than a dead-end. The Royal Bank of Nassau was nearly a mile away and he had never set foot in the place. Everything had been handled over the phone. There was approximately twenty thousand dollars in the account to handle expenses and taxes, pocket change compared to his deposits at First Caribbean. They could have it all. Hakim moved up the sidewalk, confident that he was out in front of the coming storm. Besides, Christian was not a good actor. That was one of the reasons he had chosen him to be his personal banker.

A block before the bank he stopped and checked his watch. He had ten minutes before he was to meet Christian. The wise thing to do would be to spend that time checking for any surveillance, so he crossed the street and casually strolled down the block. Every so often he would stop and pretend to look in a window. He was actually looking in the reflection to see if anyone was watching him. No one was, and he was getting a little giddy at the new life that awaited him. He would go to Brazil. Over 200 million people and a landscape as diverse as that of any country on the planet. The population spoke Portuguese, English, and a little Spanish, and most important, accents were very hard to detect. Bloodlines from all over the Mediterranean, Spain, and Portugal had been mixing together with the natives for several hundred years. His naturally dark skin would be no more out of place than it would be in his native Saudi Arabia.

Hakim had traveled the coast and found dozens of places where he could simply disappear and start a new life. His only requirement was that he be on the water. He would buy a boat and live on it for the first year, moving from port to port, establishing an identity and making friends. Maybe someday in the not-so-distant future he would settle down and start a family. He wondered about his faith, though. Brazil was not exactly a place where a Muslim could still practice his beliefs and not stand out. For now he would have to keep that part of his life very private.

Hakim was so immersed in thought that he didn’t hear his name being called until Christian was crossing the street. He glanced up to see the look of deep concern on his banker’s face.

“Oh, my gosh . . . look at you! What happened?”

“A bad car accident.”

“Did the airbag do that to your face? I’ve heard they can really screw your face up.”

“Yes, but it saved my life.”

Christian stood there for a moment, looking him over. “Other than that, how do you feel?”

“Okay . . . Some broken ribs, but I’ll survive.”

“Well, I’m sorry you had to go through that. Let’s get you inside and get you taken care of.”

Christian led Hakim across the street to the front door of the bank, where a security guard was waiting on the other side of the glass doors. The guard waved to Christian, inserted a key in the door, and opened it. Once inside, the banker thanked the guard and led Hakim through the lobby to his office, where he stopped to grab his own set of keys and pull up his client’s safety deposit box information on the computer.

“Before we head down, can I get you anything to drink . . . tea, water?”

“No, thank you. I’m fine.”

“Do you have your key?”

“Yes.” Hakim couldn’t believe how calm he was. He supposed it had to do with his familiarity with Christian. Still, it would be a huge relief once he got what he needed from the box and disappeared.

They took the elevator to the basement. Christian put him into one of the private rooms with two chairs and a desk and left to get the box itself. Less than a minute later he returned, placed the box on top of the desk, and left. Hakim pulled out his key, inserted it into the lock, and turned it 180 degrees to the left. The lock disengaged and he lifted up the long-hinged cover. Inside were a fresh set of documents, including a credit card with a $25,000 limit, a money belt containing $100,000, and sheaf of corporate bearer bonds totaling $1 million in value. Hakim lifted his shirt and strapped the money belt around his waist. He placed the new credit card and passport in his front right pocket, and then glanced in the large manila envelope to verify that the bearer bonds were in fact inside.

He closed the box, put the key back in his pocket, and told Christian he was done. After the banker put the box away they took the elevator back up to the first floor and then exited the building. Back out on the street, Christian insisted that they get a drink, but Hakim told him he wasn’t feeling up to it. The banker then suggested that he give him a ride back to his hotel, but Hakim got out of it by telling him he needed the air, promising that he would meet him for dinner later, even though that was highly unlikely. They parted ways with a set time and location for dinner. Hakim walked back to his hotel with a bounce in his step that he hadn’t had in some time. He was already thinking about the sailboat he would buy. He knew the exact length and make and knew where he could buy a nice used one. That was if it hadn’t sold in the last couple months.