Vivian opened her door, stepping out onto the asphalt. Pauley shook her head, making no move to join Vivian outside.
Holding up a well-shod foot, Pauley demanded an explanation. “Do you see what I’m wearing? You really expect me to walk hell knows how far in my Jimmy Choos? These are $400 Espadrilles!”
“I know exactly how far we need to walk, and it’s not anywhere close to a mile. This isn’t a red carpet, get out of the taxi.” Vivian impatiently waited on the sidewalk until Pauley dragged herself out of the backseat. “I once had to walk six blocks in a pair of Louboutin Lady Peeps, that trumps your Choos. Get over it and get walking.”
Watching their ride drive way, Pauley stared down Vivian with her wedges hooked over her fingers. “Which way Viv?”
Facing the opposite direction of where they were headed, Vivian gestured for Pauley to take the lead. Turning around, Pauley was impressed at her friend’s deviousness.
As they walked in silenced for several minutes, Pauley took in the beautiful scenery, musing on whether she could live in Sao Paulo permanently.
“What am I going to do Pauley?” Vivian broke their silence. “I don’t know how to handle this. One on one – a pill here, an injection there – no problem. But this… there are too many to take on myself.”
“That’s why I’m here,” Pauley put her arm around her friend’s shoulder.
Shrugging off Pauley, Vivian walked ahead of her. “They’re too much for just you too, no matter how good you think you are. There’s no way out of this for me, and you’ll just end up dead.”
Pauley grabbed Vivian’s arm, spinning her around. “I am that good, besides I have very resourceful friends.”
Vivian stopped in front of an ornate, wrought iron gate. “You better be amazing. You’re going up against an entire cartel.”
Punching in a six-number access code on the touchpad outside the gate, Vivian waited for her housekeeper, Lenore, to answer.
“Lenore, é mim. Abra por favor a porta.” Vivian noticed Pauley’s surprised expression. “You expected me to live in a shack?”
Sitting on Vivian’s veranda, sipping jasmine tea, the two women talked about the current fashions and the weather, anything but Vivian’s troubles. Pauley’s phone hummed, interrupting their chat.
“Do you have to answer that?” Vivan sounded exhausted. “It’s nice to just sit here and not think about the Sampas.”
“I need to take it, Viv,” Pauley walked to the edge of the patio. “It’s Stan.”
Vivian held up her cup as Lenore came out with a fresh pot of tea. Pauley paced around the garden, gesturing with her free hand. At times she seemed agitated, at others coy.
Tilting her head, Vivian watched Pauley, a smirk spreading across her face. Even after their last adventure, this one telephone conversation was final proof Pauley should never play poker. Her every emotion obvious.
Finished with her call, Pauley sat back at the table, picking up her steaming tea, she recoiled at Vivian’s expression.
“What are you laughing about,” Pauley blew on the hot liquid.
“Nothing. What did Stanley have to report,” Vivian took another sip to hide her smile.
“He found a weakness in the Sampas’ organization,” Pauley sat her cup down. “Now, what’s Lenore preparing for lunch?”