The blonde had been sitting at the other end of the couch, leaning back as if he were half asleep, but he was hearing, cataloging, and analyzing every word.
We were cutting close to the bone now. I had done nothing illegal, by American laws, and nothing I was ashamed of. But there was a body in Venice with smashed-in head that probably had my fingerprints on its throat where I had taken its pulse. At best, it could spell the end of my diplomatic career before it ever started. At worst, it might mean thirty years in an Italian prison. I had to be very careful in choosing how much to tell.
“How did this woman approach you?”
I didn’t answer. Instead, I said, “Introduce me to your friend.”
Cabral’s eyes opened wider. There was a tightness in his eyebrows that said he didn’t like to be balked. He said, “Why?”
“Because I don’t feel comfortable telling my story in front of him.”
Cabral grunted and gestured, “Ian Gunn, meet Edward Wilkes. Ed, Ian Gunn.”
“Is he your secretary?”
“He is an old friend.”
I turned to Wilkes. He was surveying me openly now out of icy, blue eyes. I asked, “CIA?”
He smiled tightly, and shook his head.
“How much do you know about me?”
The smile became a lazy grin and he said, “Everything.”
“You have the face of a narc.”
“That’s because I used to be one.”
“Ed.” Cabral’s voice was low, but commanding.
Wilkes sat up and sloughed off his guise of disinterest. “Forget it, Daniel. This one is not going to be fooled or pushed, so don’t waste your time trying.”
After a moment, Daniel Cabral gave a sharp nod of assent. He said, “Ed is an old friend, from my days at the FBI. He is doing me a favor, strictly unofficial. He came along to see if we could straighten this mess out ourselves.”
“I’m on vacation,” Wilkes interjected.
“FBI in Europe? Won’t the CIA be jealous? Not to mention the French.”
“I really am on vacation. If I get in trouble, I’ll be on my own.”
I looked at the Senator and said, “Perhaps not completely. But your superiors at the Bureau might not be so happy with you.”
“Now that,” Wilkes grinned, “is the gospel truth.”
Cabral asked, “Why are you so worried about who hears your story?”
I had a decision to make. If I trusted Cabral with the truth, my life would be simpler. I would not have to worry about tripping myself up later over any lies or evasions I told now. But I would also be giving him a sword to hold over my head. On the other hand, if my fingerprints were on Davis’ body – or if anything else led these people to know of him later – I could be in worse trouble for keeping quiet now.
Cabral’s eyes told me nothing; but, of course they wouldn’t. He was a consummate politician. I could only go by what Raven had told me about him.
There are no guarantees in life. Sometimes you have to make a choice and take the leap. more tomorrow