Release The Woman

Sitting at his desk sifting through Nico’s personal accounts Rafael couldn’t find any clue as to where his brother could be or if he was having an affair.

Rafael rubbed his throbbing temples, with no recent activity on his brother’s accounts he was very worried he might be dead.

His men had found the wreckage of the yacht and combed through the debris. An expert determined the explosion was caused by a bomb placed below deck. The captain’s severely burnt corpse was found in the wreckage along with a woman’s body. He recognized the woman’s name on the report, she was a cook at the mansion. If Nico was having an affair he wouldn’t be stupid enough to bring that woman onboard. She would spill her guts to the Old Man.

He lit a cigarette and muttered, “A bomb…how could that be..”  As far as he knew he was the Kostros brother with numerous enemies, not his soft spoken and gentle younger brother. It was hard to fathom someone would want to murder Nico.

Frustrated that after painstakenly reviewing a myriad of documents with no results, he stood up, I am going to check out Maya Hart’s apartment and studio. If I don’t find anything I will release the woman on the condition she doesn’t speak to anyone about Nico or what happened. And definitely warn her not to approach Cassie if she wants to continue living. Until I find out if he is dead or alive I want to keep Nico’s disappearance under wraps.

 When Rafael left the office he told his assistant he would be gone for the rest of the day. 

  He took the elevator to the Underground parking lot and got into a silver Bugatti. His eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep and his nerves were on edge after reading the investigator’s report. 

  Driving to Maya’s apartment he sped along the highway at a high speed. He lit a cigarette and blared music to distract himself. 

  Deep in thought didn’t notice a familiar silver Mercedes pass him in the other direction as he drove down the tree lined street where Maya lived. 

    Rafael parked on the street in front of the ordinary looking building. He sauntered throught the small parking lot to the front gate. He saw the security cameras and found a blindspot then climbed over the wrought iron fence. Once inside the courtyard he took long strides to the stairs. Taking the concrete steps two at a time he quickly arrived at the second floor.

  Number 201… He waited until a woman carrying a small poodle passed then used a needle shaped black wire to open the door.

  He glanced around the unremarkable interior. The living room was decorated with blond wood furniture and the beige couch had purple and and lavender pillows on it. Several hanging plants, and a few Chinese calligraphies and artwork on the walls.

On top of the coffee table there was a financial magazine with his brother Nico’s picture on the cover. It was last month’s issue when Kostros Industries partnered with a Chinese clothing company helping them go global.

 He picked it up and stared at his brother’s picture, then flipped to the article. Nico had an affinity for China and would travel there several times a year. He came across a young designer and invested in his business. Nico looks happy…

Rafael tossed the magazine on the table. Maybe the woman was fixated on Nico. It looks as though the magazine was read a few times. There is a brochure stuck in the page with more pictures and the article.

After searching in a small desk in the corner of the room he proceeded to her bedroom. He opened the door and in the small room there was a single bed.

The comforter was white and there were a few cartoon plushies by the headboard. Well..if they were having an affair they didn’t sleep here. Nico was over six feet tall and the bed looks like it couldn’t accomodate two people. And the cartoon plushies scream single lonely woman.

 He heard a crunch as he stepped towards a bookshelf and lifted his foot. He picked up the piece of white porcelain under his shoe, then noticed closer to the bookshelf there were more pieces on the hardwood floor. It was impossible to distinguish what was broken..maybe a vase or statue? 

Rafael thought it was odd the woman would leave a mess like this..the entire house was spotless. Everything was meticulously arranged and tidy. Also, after reading the investigative report the work she did was detail oriented. Maybe she left in a rush that day and didn’t have time to dispose of the broken porcelain.

He opened a drawer and sneered, the nightgowns were plain and there wasn’t one negligie or anything that would come close to the word ‘sexy’. On the dresser there was a picture of the woman holding an award standing next to a gray haired man. A picture of her with three women similar in age and a black and white photo of a woman holding a baby.

Not one photo of Nico. You would think if they were in love as she said that there would be several photographs of them together.

He walked into the bathroom and was convinced she was delusional. One toothbrush… no man’s toiletries.

 Rafael was satisfied his brother wasn’t having an affair with Maya. There were no traces of a man spending time here and no suspicious hotel receipts in the reports he read .

When he arrived in the city he went to the condominium Nico keeps by the Kostros Industries building.There was no evidence of a woman being there and he even checked the security cameras. 

After leaving Maya’s apartment he decided not to bother going to her studio downtown,  he wanted to go the mansion and see Cassandra. 

Downtown on the way to Maya’s studio, Freddie took a sidelong glance at Cassandra in the passenger seat. Did she have to throw that poor white cat off the balcony! He can still see the cat’s wide green eyes staring at him as it flew through the air to its death.

Cassandra looked at her manicure, “I can feel your disapproving eyes on me. Do you want me to have Bruno teach you a lesson?”

 He gulped down his saliva, “I was looking at the traffic. There is an accident up ahead and I need to find a detour.”

 “Do you know why I was upset?”

You are crazy that’s why! There was no evidence your husband was having an affair with that woman. I’m not going to try and guess!

 “The statue was a part of a matching pair…one white and one black horse…unique and one of a kind…do you know who owned the other porcelain statue? I think you can guess.”

  “Your…your husband?”


  “That doesn’t necessarily mean…” 

Cassandra cut him off, “Shut up. Do you know how many times I saw Nico run his finger over that damn statue and the affectionate expression on his face!”

   “…” Freddie’s mouth was dry as he longingly gazed at the center console where he kept his stash of vodka.

  After ransacking Mays’s studio she wanted to go to Nico’s office and rummage through his desk but she was forbidden to go to Kostros Industries. “Take me home.”

  Rafael called his man on the Island thinking he will have Maya followed when she returned to the city. Keeping her there would serve no purpose at this point.

  “Release the woman. Get clothes from one of the maids. Send her back to the city. Instruct her she is not allowed to speak of what happened or about Nico. If she does, she is dead.”


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