She was a professional lady in waiting. That was her job -- to keep his ice cubes cold and the footplay hot. Nothing more.
Rinaldo booked them a corner suite at the Gran Hotel Velazquez in Madrid and made sure it was near an exit. He told his Lady in Waiting that he'd be gone for most of the day and, if by midnight he hadn't returned, she should go on to the next town and wait for him there. After all, poker with the gringos could get intense and who was he to break up anyone's winning streak? That was his story and she knew it was a crock.
A Lady in Waiting is much smarter than she lets on. She hears things and pretends not to. She sees things and files them away, putting together the pieces of the puzzle on days like this -- when the room is quiet and still.
It was funny, they always landed in exotic cities with museums, exhibits and unfortified banks. They would always skip town with sirens wailing in the distance and wherever they landed, it usually was for a while.
* * *
She kept herself occupied for the greater part of the day. She'd visited the El Restro market and after arguing with a local merchant about the price of a beaded necklace, she took in the late afternoon breeze at an outdoor cafe.
Usually, men flirted with her. They didn't today and, in an odd way, she missed the attention. The handsome men in the square came in all shapes and sizes. But no one paid her any mind. The savvy tourists, regal businessmen and shady pickpockets figured her for a gypsy -- especially with that beaded necklace. She must have been a working girl. If they only knew it was the complete opposite. A working girl who waited for a living.
Back at the hotel, she took a long, hot bath and made herself a Cuba Libre. Drink in hand, she walked towards the open balcony and watched the sun set, laughing into the open air at the very notion of Rinaldo's poker game.
After dusk, the air became crisp and Rinaldo never did come back. As instructed, she went to the next town like a good Lady in Waiting should. Only this time, she knew Rinaldo wouldn't be there -- his partner would and that was just fine by her.