The congressman leaned down and took one of her engorged nipples in his mouth. He sucked on it a moment before biting it repeatedly. He knew she liked it rough. Kelly's long blond hair was sprayed out across his desk. Her eyes were closed and her fine, sculpted features winched in pleasure each time he bit her nipple. She still had on her high heels, and each was placed in a drawer on opposite sides of the desk. He stood between her legs and slowly thrust into her. Her pantyhose were still on -- he liked it that way -- but had been altered, as most of her other pairs had, so there was a large hole for easy, immediate access. God I love pussy! he thought, as he thrust one more time and came. A few minutes later, he sat at his desk and admired his aide as she collected pieces of her clothes from around the room. She picked up her bra and began to put it on, but not before showing off her magnificent breasts one more time. She put her bra on slowly, one cup at a time. She looked him in the eye. "Congressman Danforth says he'll back you on H.R. 148 if you support saving his air force base." Matt was always amazed at how Kelly could jump right back into a conversation they had been having just before sex. Best damn aide he had ever had -- and a great lay. It always took him a few moments to regain his composure, regain his sense of where he was and what he was. He looked around the spacious office and once again smiled at the massive walls and high ceiling that were all in white -- he could never get over the amount of white paint used on Capital Hill, as if everyone was trying to convince themselves they were still pure and innocent. He looked down on the glass top of his desk and noted the large smear where Kelly's body had left its mark of passion. It looked like a giant Rorschach image -- the only difference was Matt knew what this smear was and what it meant. He patted the place where her buttocks had been, then reached over to the far side of the desk and picked up his wedding ring. As he slipped it on, he automatically kissed the ring. "I love you, Margaret," he said just under his breath. The first few times he had cheated on Margaret he hadn't been able to sleep at night. That had been about 20 years ago, just after they had gotten married. His work suffered. He stomach ached and he knew he was getting an ulcer. But he couldn't help himself, couldn't resist when some beautiful woman offered herself to him. He was eternally curious as to what kind of body lay under the clothes, what kind of passion waited to be unleashed. And he loved the adrenalin rush of the first kiss, the first time he touched their breasts, the first time he sank into them. It was nearly as good as the rush from applause after giving a great political speech. He had almost resigned himself to a life of stomach pain, when he had hit on The Idea. Suddenly he could sleep again, and he threw away the antacid pills. It was simple, really: If he took off his ring, it wasn't cheating on Margaret. The way he saw it, they had taken solemn vows and had exchanged rings. The rings symbolized those vows and represented their relationship. If he didn't have the ring on when he had sex, then he wasn't committing adultery. One was sex, the other was love and commitment. So he began taking off his ring before having sex with anyone else -- he loved Margaret too much to ever cheat on her. "Are you listening?" Matt looked up. Kelly stood there partially dressed, looking hotter than ever. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard you...what do you think?" "It's a no-brainer. Danforth's vote will get the fence-sitters, and saving that base shows you're for the working man. Good stuff when you announce." "You know I can't do that." He wanted to so bad. God he was ready! He just couldn't see his away around his past. There was no way he could ever run for president. Under the incredible media scrutiny of a presidential candidate, somehow it would come out. Then he'd lose everything. "Of course you're ready." Kelly smoothed out her skirt and sat down in her usual chair to the right of desk, where Matt could always get a good view of her legs. She didn't seem to notice his stare this time. "Everyone on the Hill is sure you're going to announce in six months. They're already lining up to kiss your ass so they'll score when you win. "Christ, even Harrington's running scared," she continued. "You know as well as I do he only invited you to that White House Asian summit to show the American public how weak you are in foreign policy." "Maybe he's right." "Bullshit, Matt. You have as much experience as he had when he ran for office. A couple of trips aboard, a few visits with some heads of state and it won't matter in the polls. And with your stand on mandatory childcare and your push for an increase in minimum wage, you've never been more popular with middle and lower class America." "I don't know..." "What's the problem? This doesn't sound like you. You're running hot in the polls. The old guard will back you. What's the hold up?" She smiled and reached over and patted his arm. "It's certainly not modesty." He laughed. No, it certainly wasn't modesty. He knew he could win the White House. And he wanted it more than he had ever wanted anything else in his life. He knew he was good looking. He knew he projected well on TV. He knew how to play backroom politics -- he had learned that back in Michigan during his city and state office days. And he knew how to compromise -- three terms in the House had taught him that. If only... "You worried about the fucking around?" "Maybe." "Come on. You know it's a non-issue. The American public could care less. If anything comes out, we just do a Bill-and-Hillary on 60 Minutes a few months before the election. Margaret will back you a thousand percent. She already thinks you walk on water. You can get her to say and do anything." "Leave her out of this." "Touchy, are we?" "Fuck you. Just leave her out of it." "Okay, okay. No more Margaret." For a moment Kelly's expression was hard and cold, but before Matt could register it, it was gone, replaced by an easy and open smile. "Well, anyway, for the past, what? 10 years? you've mostly been getting it from me -- with the notable exception of those twins I introduced you to in Denver. Oh, and that socialite in LA. They'll be no trouble....and you know how discrete I am." That certainly was true. Kelly had come to him back during the second run for the House. It was a critical race and the outcome was by no means assured. She had come highly recommended from a variety of sources -- sources very high up. And had come at just the right time, just after Tom had been rushed to the hospital with a burst appendix. By the time Tom was better, he was already balling Kelly, so there was no way she was leaving. He found Tom another job and kept her as his chief aide. She was one of the best pieces of ass he had ever had. Still was. Besides the sex, she was incredibly efficient, could implement damn-near anything he imagined, and could work magic on the Hill. She always seemed to find those swing votes at just the right time. She was also a good listener who knew when to keep her mouth shut and when to offer advice. Nine times out of 10, when she offered advice it was good. She could play hard ball with the best of them, then spread for him when she was done. An unbeatable combination. And through it all, she had never leaked so much as a single fact about him to anyone -- politicians or press. He knew that behind her back the Washington press corps called her the Sphinx -- beautiful, all knowing, never speaking, and hard as rock. As far as he knew, she had no real friends, or even family. He had never really asked her. He had no interest. As long as she could help him, and keep the sex fun, that's all he cared about. Right now, he believed that if anyone could, she could find a way for him to run for the White House. He had trusted her for 10 years, now it was time to trust her with his deepest secret. All the rest was only a prelude to what he was about to tell her. "Listen, I can't run." She thought for a moment. "What kind of skeletons?" She knew him so well, and always went straight to the heart of the matter. "Just one," he replied. "Must be a dosey." "Get us a drink." "That bad?" When he didn't answer, Kelly got up and went over to the built-in sideboard. She pulled a Corona from the mini-fridge for him, then threw some ice into a wine glass and poured herself a Chardonnay. She brought them back and handed him the bottle of beer, then took her seat, making sure that her skirt rode up to show off her thighs. "Let's hear it." He told her an abbreviated version, the one he had rehearsed in his head for just this moment. "Jesus! You serious?" "I'm afraid so." He looked away. "Does Margaret know?" "No!" "Easy...just asking...Why didn't they find out when you first ran for Congress?" Matt knew who she was talking about -- the press. "It was only two months during my high school years. I changed groups... started hanging with these seriously crazy guys. After it happened, we scattered. Never spoke again. On a regular background check nothing would show." "But with someone like Murphy at the Times..." "Exactly. Sooner or later they'd track down one of the guys and..." Matt took a draw from his beer. "You see why I can't run." "No shit!" she said in awe. Kelly drank half of her wine. Staring straight ahead, she began swirling the ice cubes around in her drink. Suddenly she turned and looked at Matt. "Unless, of course..." "Unless what?" "Just suppose, for a moment...I assume no one has told anyone else?" "Would you?" "Right. So there's this group...you said they scattered after the fact." Matt nodded. "That means they probably haven't stayed in touch. No communication...that's good." Kelly took a sip from her wine. "How many, exactly?" He told her without thinking. It was a number -- and a list of names -- he would always remember. "Not as much I thought." She was silent for a moment. "Okay, so let's say it's 40 to 50 years from now.
They'll all be dead. Bingo, no secret to find out."
"I can't wait that long to run," he said drily. "So we give Father Time a little help." "Are you saying we--" "I'm not saying anything, right now. I'm just thinking out loud." "You couldn't just...we'd get caught..." "Not if they were accidents..." She stared straight ahead again, lost in thought. "And without any of them having a direct connection to you, we should be okay...Yeah...It's definitely doable. I know it is." He couldn't believe what she was suggesting. He knew he'd never be able to go through with it -- but he couldn't believe how turned on he had become. He looked down at her legs, and this time she noticed. She carefully uncrossed her legs, then very deliberately re-crossed them. She added the final touch by dangling one high heel from her stockinged toes. It was too much for Matt. He smiled, then carefully removed his wedding ring and placed it on the desk top.
End of Six Must Die Prologue
Six Must Die
The two scuba divers were professionals who waited patiently, rarely looking at their watches or the digital read-outs of air remaining. They had planned and prepared for this job for weeks and knew what had to be done, what it would take to complete. Even though it was late August, they both wore full, hooded wetsuits to ward off the cold from their extended stay in Lake Michigan. To preserve their strength, and their oxygen, they hung suspended about 10 feet below the surface, having obtained this neutral buoyancy only by filling their BC vests to the maximum with air. Normally, a full air vest would have sent them popping to the surface like ducks after a dive, but with the extra weights they each carried, the air just barely kept them suspended. The additional weights had been a burden on their long swim to the buoy, but it would make their job much easier when the time came. And once it was all over, they could jettison them and have an easy swim back. Up above, and about 25 feet closer to shore, a large buoy marked the inside edge of a major shipping lane. Bobbing a mile off shore, it was large, painted bright red and had a flashing beacon. About eight feet across at its base, it was a favorite spot for strong summertime swimmers, who would climb on and rest before the long swim back. The lead diver kept an eye on the buoy and waited. He looked again at the slime covered chain that dove nearly straight down until it disappeared into the dark blue haze of the water's depths. Right on schedule, he spotted the indistinct form of a swimmer approaching the buoy. He turned to his partner and gave a hand signal. They both dumped their vest air at the same time, and immediately began sinking fast. Kicking hard with their flippers, they were able to halt their descent, then began to move slowly toward the buoy. Timing, they knew, would be everything. Randy Tomlinson reached out and grabbed the side of the buoy, treading water as he sucked in deep breaths of air. Not bad for 50 years old, he thought. I still got it. He hauled himself up onto the base of the buoy, rolled over and sat up. With his legs still dangling in the water, he looked back at shore. He loved this time of morning, when no one was around to hassle him. He hated people. He knew most hated him -- at least the majority of the 8,000 residents of Haddenfield did. They hated how he knew what he wanted and wasn't afraid to take it. They hated how he lived alone, far from the center of things, snubbing his nose at them and the entire town. Well, they could go fuck themselves. Then there were the summer tourists with their white, flabby bodies and car loads of screaming kids. He had to get up earlier and earlier to make this swim without running into anybody. But it was worth it. The only good part of life was nature. The water, the sky, the geese overhead, the deep forests where he could hide from everyone and everything. Nothing like it. The usual peaceful feeling came over him. As he let out a deep breath of contentment, he noticed bubbles floating up around his legs. What the hell? Each diver grabbed an ankle at the same instant, exhaled deeply, and yanked with all their might. They sank quickly, dragging the struggling swimmer with them. For a moment all was chaos of churning water, bubbles and kicking. But sooner than expected, the thrashing legs lost their strength, and didn't resist the pulling down of the divers. After a few moments, and a few feet deeper, the scuba men saw a large bubble of air leave his now limp body. Checking their watches, they waited until they were certain he was dead. Then they released their extra weight belts, pumped a short burst of air into their BCs, and began rising toward the buoy. Working quickly, they came up to the side of the buoy facing away from shore. As one diver held the body, the other took a handful of his hair and slammed the back of his head against the edge of the metal buoy. Checking to make sure the hit had done sufficient damage, they both sank below the surface, still holding on to their limp cargo. Settling down at about 15 feet below the surface, they began dragging the swimmer further from shore. After they had gone about another mile, they let go. Without looking back, they glanced at their compasses, turned to a new course, then began the long swim home. The body stayed suspended for a few moments, as if it wasn't sure which way it wanted to go. But the pull of the deep must have been too great, because slowly it turned over and began a graceful slide toward the dark blue depths of Lake Michigan. In a few more moments it was gone from sight, swallowed up by the icy waters. Three hours later, and one state south, Allan Benjamin took one last bite of toast, a quick swig of coffee and gathered up his briefcase and newspaper. Pecking his wife on the top of her head he said, "bye, hon," then headed for the door. "Love ya," she mumbled, not even glancing up from the paper. "I'll be late -- go ahead and eat without me." "Okay." Allan smiled to himself as he climbed into his new Range Rover and backed out of the garage, careful to stay clear of Susan's dark blue BMW sedan. They were on such tight and varied schedules it was a rarity when they did eat together. This morning's breakfast had been a nice exception -- even if they had just spent the time reading the paper in silence. It was the comfort of knowing the other was there, not the need for constant conversation, that made them feel good, safe and warm. Susan, with her private practice, had been lucky today, she wasn't due in court until after lunch. Instead of rushing to the office, she had opted to join him for his usual leisurely Tuesday morning. He had enjoyed the company. Tuesday mornings were usually his alone. He had a permanent half day leave from the district attorney's office for pro bona work at a women's shelter. When he first started at the shelter two years ago, he had been a real go-getter, showing up at 8 a.m. sharp. Only problem was, no one was up for him to advise. Battered wives escaping from abusive homes, he came to find out, weren't normally quick to rise and face a new day. Now his routine was a morning at home before arriving at the shelter around 10 a.m., just when the women had finished their first cups of coffee and were ready to talk. Leaving Brentwood, the wealthy suburb of Indianapolis, Allan pulled onto the Interstate 70 on-ramp for the 20 minute drive into downtown. He pushed down hard on the gas petal and felt the satisfying surge of power as the Rover leap forward, quickly catching up with the rest of the traffic. As usual, rush hour was long over and there was only a scattering of cars and the normal steady stream of tractor trailers hauling their freight crosscountry. Unnoticed by Allan, a black Eldorado followed him onto the on ramp. With tinted windows and blackwall tires it appeared to be one sleek piece of long metal, a torpedo running straight and true. It kept a good distance behind, but stayed with the Rover nonetheless, even as it accelerated into the light traffic. Inching the Rover up toward 75 miles an hour, Allan settled back into the leather seat and thought about what lay ahead at the shelter. Mary Beth needed to sign the papers for the restraining order against her husband, Jerome. Julie was a runaway who came in two nights ago; he'd get her whole story today. Then there was Virginia. She still hadn't decided to press charges against Harold, even though this was the third time he had sent her to a hospital. Last week -- when the beating was fresh in her mind and the bruises still vivid reminders in the mirror -- Allan had been so close, almost getting her to charge him. But once again Virginia had held back as fear and hope intertwined into a noose he couldn't cut her free from. Today, he was sure, she'd be feeling better and ready to give Harold another chance. Another chance. Christ, that was going to get her into trouble. Harold was an SOB who wouldn't change. He was like the high school bully who had never been called out, never been challenged until he came face-to-face with the real world, where physical strength alone meant squat. When Harold realized the world could care less, he had turned his frustrations on his wife rather than trying to change himself. Allan knew Harold's kind so well -- most of the gang he had hung out with in high school had been that way. No, Harold didn't deserve another chance, he had had numerous chances and blown them all. Allan knew about chances, too. A second chance had been his salvation. Somehow, incredibly, no one had ever found out what they had done -- giving him the chance to turn his life around. The others had been stupid fools and ignored the blessing. Well, to hell with them. He could never undo what he had done, but what he was doing now was going a long way toward alleviating some of the guilt, and some of the nightmares. An all too familiar image -- horrible in its vividness -- flashed into his head, making his temples pound and a clammy sweat break out on his forehead. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a cigarette. I gotta stop smoking these fucking things, he thought, as he lit it. The black Eldorado cruised effortlessly past Allan's Range Rover and pulled in front, about 25 yards ahead. From above, it looked like the car and SUV were attached by an invisible rod as the distance between them never wavered. They sped along in the middle lane, a double-trailer semi to their right and an open lane to the left. The driver of the Eldorado kept one eye focused on the road ahead while the other locked onto Allan's every move in the rear view mirror. When Allan lit the cigarette, the driver smiled, noting how one hand fiddled with the cigarette while the other barely held the wheel. Without looking, the driver found the key pad of his car's speaker phone and his fingers punched in a memorized number. The phone rang once before someone picked it up and said hello. "Is this Mr. Benjamin?" the driver said. He watched as Allan's mouth formed the words he instantly heard in his ear. "Yes it is. Can I help you?" "Goodbye," The driver said, punching the hang up key. He noticed Allan's look of confusion, then reached over and hit the button of a remote control device laying in the passenger seat. Suddenly, the front right tire of the Rover exploded. As Allan struggled with the wheel, the SUV careened into the side of the semi, smashing the front end and shattering the windshield. Stuck for a moment under the trailer, the Rover squirmed violently like a snake snared at the head. Wrenching free, it flipped over and skidded down the highway. Flying sparks ignited the ruptured fuel tank. Flames instantly swallowed up the vehicle, making it look like a fire ball shot from a cannon. The Eldorado driver, who had slowed to watch the events unfold, began speeding up again. Better than expected, he thought with satisfaction. The client got lucky; fire was a bonus the driver always hoped for, but never planned on. As he drove on towards downtown, with the flames and black smoke receding in the rearview mirror, his fingers punched in another memorized phone number. After two rings it was picked up. No one said a word in greeting. "Number two complete," he said, then hit the hang up key.
End of Chapter One
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