Drew pressed a key on his pad as he leaned against the oak. His data stream soon penetrated the mansion’s security. In seconds, the rambling building was defenseless and no one, not even the home security computer, knew about it. He grinned, and placed Gecko Pads on his hands and knees. They allowed him to scale vertical surfaces as effortlessly as a lizard. The camo suit he wore faithfully reproduced the surface of the wall he climbed, rendering him effectively invisible. All this expensive equipment had left him very nearly penniless. It was a routine he’d used many times before. Make a score, invest in better equipment, make a bigger score, and so on. The Chancellor’s Mansion was his biggest target to date, and likewise its defenses were more difficult to overcome.
The window was unlocked. He knew it would be. He knew this from emails hacked in a security guard’s email account. The Chancellor’s daughter insisted upon this hole in security, so she could “see the world” whenever she wanted. It worked well for Drew as he slipped through the window and landed silently inside. As he moved silently through the lavishly decorated bedroom, he came upon the first hitch in his plan. Daphne Haberdash, daughter of the Chancellor, sat at a writing table, watching him with wide pale blue eyes.
He pulled his tranq gun and leveled it.
“Are you going to kill me?” she whispered.
Her effort at silence surprised him and he hesitated. “Uh, well…” A tear slipped down her perfect cheek. “Oh stop! It’s a tranq gun. You’ll just fall asleep.”
Her delicate chin fell to her chest. “I’m almost wish you’d kill me.”
Drew sighed and gestured at the elaborate furnishings. “Oh, you suffering soul.”
Her eyes flashed beneath voluminous raven hair. “A lovely gilded cage, isn’t it? I suppose it’s vain if I assume you’ve seen me on TriVee, with perfectly coifed hair, gems draped from everywhere. So pampered you think, yes?”
She crossed her legs, a perfectly shaped calf peeking out from her silken robe. Drew knew she was a designer baby, perfectly designed to be perfect as a career politician’s daughter. Everything in Chancellor Haberdash’s life followed the desires of the polls, even what his own daughter looked like. A woman designed to be beautiful and nothing else. “I can’t leave here when I like, you know,” she said. “I just sit here, reading and watching news, only going out when daddy needs an escort to make him look good.”
“‘Kay. I’m not here to be your shrink. I just want the jewels.”
Daphne charged across the room and opened a safe. “There! Take them. I don’t care.”
Drew took them with befuddlement. As he slipped out the window, he looked back, twice, watching her sob.
After two weeks, and nothing in the news about a theft, he broke a cardinal rule and broke in again. He listened to her longer this time, and held her as she cried. She opened her safe for him once more, and he left much richer than before. He returned again and again.
“Checkmate,” Drew announced. “I have to admit, you’re well read and super-smart, but strategy eludes you.”
Daphne hung her head. “I know. I just don’t get it. You know, I’ve tried escaping a few times.”
“Daddy’s men brought me back. I don’t know how to hide. I don’t know anything about, out there.”
By seven break-ins to Daphne’s bedroom, their time became more about enjoying each other’s company. Daphne cried less, laughed more, and they made love in their time together. Drew knew he was falling for her. Though already wealthy from her jewels, he continued breaking in. He stopped stealing diamonds and stole kisses instead. At last he made his most elaborate plan to date, and with her help, he stole Daphne herself.
“Checkmate!” said Daphne in the lounge of his starship, enroute to their new home, far from the Chancellor.
“That’s four times already. How?”
“Strategy,” she said. “I just pulled you in.”
“Before, I wanted to know you. Think. How could you break in so many times without inside help?”
She kissed him tenderly. “It’s lucky for you, you’re smart, handsome, sweet, and I love you.”
As he watched her eyes, both smiling and conniving, he realized what she’d done. He’d planned to steal from her, but through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.
Written for The Speakeasy. The weekly writing challenge is limited to 750 words and must contain a certain sentence. The sentence is positioned differently depending on which week of the month. This week the sentence, “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned,” must be the LAST sentence of the story. This week’s prompt may be found here: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/154-open/