Tell Her About It
My dearest Anna,
This is the letter I had hoped that I would never have to write, but events have conspired in such a way that it is now impossible for me to avoid what I have to do. I genuinely wish there was some other way to do this, or that I could have done so in person, but it just has not been possible. Forgive me, my love, but you deserve to know what has happened, and why I have done what I have done.
Before that, however, I want you to know that I have loved you from the first time I saw you. Please, if nothing else, believe that to be the truth. I never meant for you to come to any harm.
I do have to confess (and this will be the first of many) that that night in the bar was not the first time we had met, and I know this is going to cause you sorrow. No, the first time we actually met was two weeks earlier, but you did not know it was me at the time, and I have never told you it was. I wanted to, believe me I did, but I feared what you may say or do if I did that.
You were wearing a grey sleeveless silk top and a mid-length light blue skirt with matching jacket. Sitting in your chair, you looked right into me as I stood there, but you could not see the way I was looking at your beautiful face. Even with that thick cloth tied into your mouth, with you red lips closed round it and leaving your lipstick on the material, you were beautiful.
My colleague had just finished tying your ankles back under the chair to the central support, and you and your colleague were being watched by the two of us while the boss was opening the office safe. We genuinely thought that the office would be empty that day, and it was as much a surprise to us as it was to you when we disturbed you. I regretted that we had to make sure the two of you did not interfere, but as I stood there your deep blue eyes and long blonde hair seemed to want to draw me in further and further.
I have to confess, Anna, it was very difficult for me to stay detached and professional that morning, but you wouldn’t have known that with the clown mask over my face. At any rate, as we searched the filing cabinets, I found your personnel record and made a mental note of your address, so that after we had gone I could write it down and look you up at a later date.
As you must now realise, I waited two weeks before approaching you. That was to give you time to recover – you do not work in the sort of business I work in without realising how difficult it could be for other people – but please believe me that I did not even come near your house or you in that time. I knew where you lived, and that was enough. No-one else ever got that information.
So, a fortnight later, I went into a bar near your home, and there you were talking to a couple of girlfriends. You had on the light green summer dress, and I could see that the rope burns had almost faded from your wrists and ankles, even through the white hose you were wearing. I waited until they left, then came and asked if I could buy you a drink.
Well, we both know what happened as we got talking. I told you I was into security work, which was at least the truth in the sense that I did secure things. What I did not tell you, of course, was exactly what I did or who I worked for. Anna, you at least deserve to know the truth about that now.
How I wish I could put this more politely, and save you further pain, but my love it just not possible to do this without being blunt. I’m a robber, Anna, and a good one who specialise in attacking offices and small firms. When we visited your office three years ago, we were looking for the plans you were holding of a new invention one of your clients had worked on, so that we could sell them on to the highest bidder. We didn’t find them – your boss must have stored them elsewhere – so we made it a simple robbery and left you and your friend as witnesses.
Do you remember when we visited your friend, a few weeks later once we had started going out? It was a revelation to me when you talked about how scared you both were, tied to those chairs with your hands secured and unable to call out as we searched. I vowed there and then to be more courteous when I had people to deal with, out of respect for you and how you had felt. If nothing else matters now, please accept my thanks for the way you changed me, be it ever so slightly, into a better man.
Summer went into autumn and winter, and we grew closer and warmer together, even though you had no idea of how I really earned my salary. Do you remember that January night after our first Christmas, when we were watching the news and there was the report on that building society raid? You commented on how you knew how those staff members must have felt. How I wish I could have told you that I knew as well – I had tied up most of them, after all.
You’d gone into town with your friends to the sales, and I told you I had to leave early to meet a client over a new contract. What I really did was join my team at the rear of the society, as we forced the door open and waited inside for the staff to arrive. I had learned my lesson by then, so each of those four women came in I let them calm down from the sight of the guns, before asking them politely to lie face down with their hands behind their backs. At my suggestion, we used tape instead of rope as it would leave less marks, but their wrists, ankles and legs were all secured. The scarves that were part of their work uniform were used as blindfolds, and their mouths taped as they sat against the work side of the counter.
One in particular – I remember her because, unlike her colleagues, she was wearing trousers with the legs tucked into her boots while the others wore skirts – was panicking, and I thought of how you felt. I knelt next to her, quietly told her to calm down and not to panic, and we’d be out of the way soon, and she started to relax a little. It was you who taught me how to do that, Anna, because it was you I thought of in that situation and how I would want you to feel.
We grew closer as that year passed, and we both changed jobs. You went to work as PA for that company director, and I was hired by a larger firm to head up one of their “Information Retrieval” teams. It sounded a marvellous title, but what it meant was I ran a team rather than acting as one of the supporters. More responsibility, more money, better benefits – both of us enjoyed those, as we went on holidays and to the theatre or concerts.
I still cherish the memory of the day I met your parents – I never really knew mine, as I was orphaned so young, and it was strange, warm feeling I had as they made me feel part of their family. Writing this, I realise that I have now hurt them almost as much as I have hurt you, so please tell them that I am sorry I had to mislead them. I know they will never forgive me, but it still pains me that I will have caused them so much distress.
So for three years we walked, we talked, we partied, we loved – oh how we loved, and in all that time I managed to keep my true occupation a secret from you. Some people say that in a true relationship there can be no secrets, but they are wrong. Most people have to keep little secrets from their loved ones – how much that necklace cost, what they have bought as a birthday or Christmas present – it’s just that my secret was a little bigger than that.
If only you knew, Anna, how much I wanted to tell you about what I did. How we raided the security warehouse on the south coast and made off with millions. The time we cleared out an entire mansion house, including all those there at the time, and then watched the reconstruction a few weeks later on that program and laughed at what they got wrong. The simpler times when we would hold hostage the relatives of someone and force them to do something else for us. You have to understand, however, why I was unable to do so.
Although it may sound horrible, my colleagues did not trust you the way I did. They feared you would betray them – and, though it pains me to say it, my employers felt the same way as well. How much I wanted to share this with you, but I never could.
These last three years, Anna, you have been the rock that has held my life together, the string that binds me to the real world outside of my twilight employment, and I will always love you for that. You have no idea how much it pains me as I write this, knowing that it must be the end of all that we had, all that we held dear between us. Events, however, always seem to conspire against us, and so it has been these last two days.
I should have realised there would be a problem when my employer asked me to call in last week to discuss my latest job. When I stepped into his office, he had laid out on his conference table floor plans for an office building, so I presumed the job was going to involve a touch of corporate raiding. As he spoke to me, however, I soon learned that this was only the climax of the plan – I was to play more of a support role.
My employer wanted to make sure no-one was to get in the way while the office was raided, so he was assigning his most trusted teams to stage a robbery at the homes of several key personnel – to make sure they would fully co-operate. He gave me an address and a dossier on the wife and daughter of the target, so I arranged to brief my team. It was only when I opened the pack that I realised there may be a problem.
Anna, I’m afraid the house in question was that of your boss. As I had only recently met him and his family, when I accompanied you to that cocktail party at their house, I instantly recognised the two photographs in the folder. You must now appreciate the situation I was in – I would have to lead the team and take them hostage, without letting them know that I knew them in any way. Still, as you know from when we skied down the side of Mont Blanc, I relish danger and challenge. So I laid plans with my team and went, as they say, to work.
Earlier this morning, at about seven o’clock we knocked on the front door of the house, and surprised the maid who opened the door. Your boss always leaves at five, so we knew he was out of the house. We were dressed in leather jackets and jeans, and in a nod to our past we all had clown masks on.
It only took us two minutes to tape the maid up and lock her in a downstairs cupboard, and we made our way quietly up to the bedroom where the wife and daughter were asleep in their rooms. At least, that’s what we thought, but as we climbed up we could hear that someone was in the shower.
Checking the main bedroom, we saw the wife was stirring in the bed. I told two of my men to make sure she was comfortable, while the third one came with me into the bathroom.
Anna, you know how much I love watching you when you shower, but the sight of this young woman through the glass reminded me so much of you that I got careless, and without thinking I threw open the door and tried to pull her out. Not to harm her or molest her, please believe me, but simply because I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible.
Well, she fought like a wildcat. She kicked and screamed and flung her arms out to try and hit us, and my colleague and I had a hard time containing her. At one point, however, she knocked my mask down over my chin, and although I quickly turned out of the way and pulled it back up I could see in the mirror that she had recognised me.
I shouted at my team-mate to hold her still while I tied a towel round her eyes as a blindfold, and then took the dressing gown she had hung on the back of the door and placed it over her body before tying her wrists together behind her back with rope. We pushed her into the main bedroom, where her mother had her arms bound spread eagled over her head to the headboard and a pillowcase tied over her eyes. I nodded to my team-mate to speak, and he ordered the two of them to shut up and do as they were told, which they thankfully both did. While he told them that this was a robbery, I used my cell phone to make a call.
Anna, now you must understand why what happened today happened. I knew the daughter would eventually tell her father who had attacked them, and you would be in trouble. My darling, I could not let that happen, I had to make it look as it truly was – that you had no idea what was going on, that you had nothing to do with anything that may have happened that day. So, you had to be brought into the plot in some way.
When I went back into the room, the mother had her ankles crossed and tied together with rope, and her legs bound together above her knees. The daughter was been lashed to a small white chair, her wet brown hair lying across her face as the towel kept it out of her eyes. Her ankles were already bound to the leg of the chair, and it took me back to the day I first saw you. Professionalism kicked in at that point, as the mother kept asking us to go and take what we want.
My team-mate reminded her that we would take what we want anyway, before he tore strips of tape off the roll and plastered them over her mouth. The daughter got the same treatment, and then I used my mobile phone to take pictures of both women and send them into my employer. By this time, as you doubtless no know, the homes of three other people who were key to that business had been broken into and their families taken hostage, prior to the big job later that morning.
You must know that had I a choice, Anna, you would not have got involved in this. You, after all, had the day off work so that we could into town this afternoon and book that holiday together. Instead, I had to make it look as if you had been part of this big plan all along, and in the process break your heart.
A few minutes ago, as I was writing this letter, I got a picture of your from the friend I called. You look so lovely in your crop top and shorts, lying there on the couch with your ankles pulled up behind your back and attached to your wrists. The look of fear in your eyes is, well, much as I hate to say it incredibly sexy, so like that day over three years ago. I only wish I had been there to see it as he bound your wrists and ankles, to tell you that it was all going to be all right, but I could not because it will never be all right again.
By the time you get this letter, the job will be done and I will be long gone. Please, don’t try to find me or follow me. In the fullness of time, perhaps you will find it in your heart to forgive me. I do not hold out much hope of that, for I know you will feel that you have been deceived for all this time. As I say, Anna, I love you with all of my heart and soul, and I never ever wanted you to be involved in anything like this again, but sadly it was not to be. Think of me in the future, and remember only the good times we had.