'Tommy, I didn't know you were coming.' Ada Thorne looked in surprise as her impeccably dressed older brother materialized in the lavish living room of her London house.
'I was passing.'
'Did you have work in London?'
'You can say so.'
She pursed her lips at his reticence but didn't prod further. She was well-versed with the book called Thomas Shelby to.
'Let's get you a drink, then.' She ushered him towards the bar. When they were in the room filled with people, both of them with a glass in their hands, Tommy said,
'Looks like you're hosting a party.' He gestured at the small crowd with his half-filled glass.
'It's a meeting. Of intellectuals.'
'With communists?' He gave a derisive snort.
'Brilliant writers, poets and artists who believe in equality for all.'
'Call it what you want, Ada. I couldn't care less.'
'Could you ever?' She raised her eyebrow at him.
'I need to make a call. Where is your telephone?'
'Use the one upstairs. It's in the room right in front of the stairs.'
Thomas Shelby walked in to one of the many rooms of his sister's mansion. He was happy she had settled in her new place. With Campbell back in town, he couldn't afford to take any risks. The family needed to be protected.
Reaching for the phone, he called his office to let them know he would be in London till tomorrow.
Keeping the phone back on at its place, he turned to walk out of the room, when something moved in his peripheral field of vision. He kept walking slowly, not wanting the supposed intruder to know he was aware of him. Because it had to be a him, what would a woman be doing alone in a closet while a party went on.
Lily Peyton wanted to bite off her traitorous arm. Not only had it got tangled in the horde of furs in Ada Thorne's closet, disentangling it had made her almost stumble into the room which was no longer empty.
If she had known a person was there, she would have let the arm sleep off, possibly petrified herself into a statue. The members of the Guild, a company of art collectors she had worked with for twelve years lauded her ability to disappear in the shadows, hide in the open. But not today. Today she had lost her footing and would possibly be caught if the man didn't stop his foray.
She knew he had seen her, the hunch of his shoulders was evident enough. and still he pretended to remain oblivious. Did he plan to ambush her and catch her off-guard? Or was he calling the police right away?
The suspense might kill her before the man did and she couldn't bear that anymore. Taking a deep breath, she peeked out into the room, hoping her black mask and black clothing would camouflage her in the dark. Boy was she wrong. Because at that very moment, something hard crashed on the side of her skull. Letting out a muffled groan, she sucker-punched the man straight in the face. He definitely didn't see it coming, because he paused for a moment long enough to let her kick him in the gut and make a dash for the window. But she wasn't fast enough. At the sill, when she was about to make a jump, a hand grabbed at her head so forcefully that a chunk of her hair ripped out along with her woolen mask.
Turning back to look at him venomously, her hair flying in different directions, she flung her legs at him to push him away from her. She caught a glimpse of his medium yet strong silhouette before she turned to jump from the window, not caring about where she landed. She reached or rather fell awkwardly, half-sitting and half-sprawled. Apart from the nasty bruises on her behind and a concussion, she knew her ankle wouldn't be the same for a fortnight. All because of a nosy bastard who didn't even live in the mansion. Keeping her bitter thoughts aside, she got up from the dirty ground and made a dash for a safer spot. There would be someone coming after her now that he had seen her face. FUCK. No one had ever seen her, let alone her face. If the Guild had a written list of rules, the first one would be to Never Show Your Face, in bold. Breaking it meant deportation and leaving the Guild forever. And considering Gerard, he would send her away in a blink of the eye.
She couldn't leave the Guild, she thought as she limped hurriedly. Not when she was so close to earning a fortune. No, Gerard couldn't know. She would hide it with her might and tell him a vagrant attacked her before she reached the painting. Yes, it would work.
A car was parked when she came out of the narrow alley. The driver, a man reading a newspaper (At this time of the day? Edward had zero creativity.) opened the door without looking at her.
'Where is your mask? And where is the painting?' Edward asked as he started the car.
'Some vagrant bastard attacked me in alley. Couldn't get to the painting.'
'God! Are you alright?' This time he looked at her.
'Yes. My head hurts that's all. And my ankle.' And my pride, she added in her mind
'One strong vagrant.'
'Tell me about it.' She said bitterly.