The security guard, Uche, leaning against the wall near the entrance to the stage of the Golden Royale Hotel auditorium, straightened as he saw Gabrielle Rosenfeld come in by the back door.
“Mrs. Rosenfeld,” he said, touching the brim of his cap. “We were told you were ill. The chairman would be so glad you were able to make it after all, even just for the end.”
The woman smiled briefly and glanced at the stairs leading to the podium
“He’s still on stage. He’d be leaving from the brown door on the other side,” Uche said.
“You still have time to slip in and leave with him before he leaves, if you like.” He added helpfully.
She nodded again and brushed past him, leaving with him the breeze of expensive scent in her wake, clutching her bag to her side. The guard watched her go, his eyes skimming her slim figure in the black Gucci suit, dropping to the exquisite legs covered in hose and narrow feet shod in calfskin pumps. He sighed. What a looker. If he had that waiting at home and two hundred million he wouldn’t be spending all his time stumping for a stressful political job that no sane man would want in the first place.
The woman stopped at the stage’s entrance, nodding to the press secretary, James Ugochukwu, who glanced up at her in surprise. He was gesturing for her to come up the stage while George Rosenfeld was leaving, smiling at the applause that accompanied his departure. As the members of the press rattled their papers and recorders, she stepped into the shadows, waiting until Rosenfeld had left the stage. He walked down the stairs, leaving the reporters, as some of his advisors enclosed him.
The crowd’s noise faded as the auditorium emptied, and Rosenfeld progressed along the hall, heading for the door leading to the kitchen exit to escape report mongers. Suddenly the woman stepped forward, reaching for her clutch in the same motion. A pistol appeared in her hand as Ugochukwu, the only person not looking at their boss, saw what she was doing and his mouth fell open in horror.
She took aim with ease as Ugochukwu frantically shouted a warning. Rosenfeld glanced at him in confusion as a bullet entered his chest and effectively ended his life. Those closest, alerted by the shot through the silencer, stopped and stared, trying to understand what was happening. Rosenfeld spun, and in the second before he collapsed, the woman saw that she had gotten her target, shoved the gun into her purse and ran.
Ugochukwu ran after her as three other men rushed to Rosenfeld’s side. Two more aides ran for cover as they realised the tragedy dawned. The departing press conference crowd scattered in ignorance of the drama happening nearby, flooded into an area near the other end of the auditorium, obstructing Ugochukwu from catching the woman. He shouted in helpless frustration as the police summoned by his shout and focused on the wounded man, let the woman rush by them and make her escape easy.
“Grab her!” Ugochukwu screamed at the Nigerian patrolman, who looked at the woman running by and back at the man in puzzlement.
“She shot him, dammit, grab her!” Ugochukwu shouted, pointing, but it was too late. She had fled through the emerging crowd and was gone.
“Mrs. Rosenfeld, What happened?” Uche gasped in alarm as she almost knocked him down on her race past him. “Are you alright?”
She didn’t look at him or answer, flying through the door just as the call came from the interior of the building, “Seal all exits, Mr. Rosenfeld is been shot.”
The guard charged after her but she had vanished into the busy street.
“Where’s Mrs. Rosenfeld?” Uche yelled at another guard, who was working his way up.
“I didn’t see her.”
Uche scanned the streets once again and then ran back inside to use the police radio. It was impossible that a patrol car would catch her on that road.
Inside, Ugochukwu turned back to Rosenfeld’s body laid on the floor surrounded by the small group. Most of the reporters and photographers had left, unaware that anything had happened behind the scenes, and the few who had discovered that something was wrong were held back from the scene by the police. An assistant saw Ugochukwu and walked up to him. His name was Charles, Charles Ikemefuna, a Rosenfeld administrative assistant. His face was pale and his crisp tailored shirt was stained with blood. Rosenfeld’s blood.
Charles shook his head and closed his eyes, his lips trembling. “There’s a doctor with him, but… his head” He stopped and swallowed. “I’m sure he’s dead.”
Ugochukwu sighed deeply, glancing over at the body, visible only from the knees down. His expression was filled with sadness and regret.
“Did you see her?”
“Who?” Charles asked, turning to look at him.
“Gabrielle. After George was shot, she ran out of here.”
Charles stared at him blankly for a moment, and then recovered his wits. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m saying that George Rosenfeld was murdered by his wife and I saw her do it.”