Sabiha sits primly on the edge of the couch in her room, waiting.
Two days prior, Davran and the American, Sam, are shaking hands. The bet is decided, the prize and conditions set. The of sundown two days hence, they will leave the hotel at the same time. Then, anything goes. The first one to reach Sabiha wins her hand. Listening to all of this, Sabiha wonders if she has a say in the matter. Her eyes stray to the handsome American, Sam, with his shaved face his hot, eager eyes. She needn’t look at Davran, she has known him all her life. For the first time she can remember, there is the possibility that she will not marry him. She wonders at how hard her heart is racing.
The sun has been down for half an hour. Davran made his way to the base of the cliff wall. The trees have long been cut away some six meters from the wall, giving the guards atop a clear view down. Still, the bends in the wall allow for occasional blind spots, spots Davran well knows from his days as a boy. Above him, he can hear the sounds of music and people talking. It sounds like a party.
Davran dips his hand into the bag of chalk hanging from his belt. He rubs his fingertips together, finds a grip, and begins his ascent. He has timed it carefully, knowing from long experience exactly how long it takes the guard to make a circuit. He knows the times where he will be vulnerable to detection, when he must stop and wait, clinging to the side of the wall like a tick on the ear of a goat.
The guard has passed. Davran climbs again. He smiles to himself, knowing that there is no way that the American, Sam, could possibly make this ascent at the same speed. Davran has the advantage of location knowledge, and of experience doing this exact thing. Granted, it has been over a decade and he has put on a few pounds, but the upstart American, Sam, with his shining teeth and his shaved chin, does not know the way.
Davran breathes hard at the top. The way was long and difficult, and he schools himself against looking down. He will not fall. He has done this before. The guard’s footsteps retreat, and Davran slips over the top. Now it is a simple matter of staying in the shadows, behind the trees until he reaches the house proper. There, he blends in with the serving staff as they rush too and fro delivering drinks and food and warm, damp towels to the party guests.
Sabiha’s door is in front of him, and he pushes it open in triumph. His grin fades. Sabiha sits primly on the edge of the couch in her room, waiting. And with her is the American, Sam.
Sam’s perfect white teeth gleam as he smiles at Davran. “Let me guess, you went up the wall?” He makes a vague gesture towards the rest of the house, the music and the food and the people. “I just asked Sabiha for an invitation to the party.”
Davran’s head hangs in defeat. His hand inches back to where he keeps a pistol tucked into the waistband of his trousers.