Richard Blake couldn't sleep.
He turned over as quietly as he could so as not to wake the person sleeping next to him to look at the clock on the bedside table. It read 3.23 am. His body was slick with sweat which predominantly was to do with the fact that the air conditioning in the room was pathetic but also had much to do with what he and his partner had been doing not ten minutes ago.
Richard was a foreign correspondent for the Times. Currently he had the pleasure of staying in The Four Seasons Hotel situated in the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabias capital, Riyadh. He loved his job, he got to travel the world and interview heads of state, political movers and shakers. The bright, brilliant, sinister and downright terrifying had sat before him. He wrote what he believed to be the truth, what he thought should be known, so that people on their way to work reading the Times could be better informed about the geo political world they existed in.
He had become famous, part of a "power couple". Married to his childhood sweetheart Jennifer Davison. All those years ago in New Hill High School she had shrieked when the biology teacher diseccted a frog in Form 3, he grabbed her hand and were inseperable from that day on. Jennifer was strikingly beautiful. Slim and tall with dark hair and eyes of emerald. She had become a model and television presenter. She had a chat show on the BBC and was the darling of the glossy magazines. Richard was tall too, with matinee idol looks, dirty blond hair and an easy manner that put his interviewees at ease. One magazine journalist called them "Britain's Brad and Angelina, but with far more class." Sadly, children had not been forthcoming once they had married. Publicly, they were all about their careers, but Richard always thought that children were one of the gaping holes in their relationship. Amongst other things.
He walked to the window and looked out over Riyadh. At night and from the 42nd floor of the Kingdom Tower, the city was quite breathtaking. The Saudis certainly knew how to put on a show. He noticed his phone blinking and read an email from his secretary in London confirming that his latest article from Riyadh would be in the morning paper and that he had recieved an invitation to a school reunion. How should he reply? He was leaving for London on the 10am plane, so decided to think about it later.
He turned around to see the young man in the bed looking at him. He couldn't have been more than 21. His skin looked like dark satin in the light from the city through the window. Unblinking, the young man said in his thick accent "Again?"
"No. Thank you."
"Then you pay me. I go." He smiled.
"Do you know who I am?"
"Yes." That smile again. "Don't worry. I tell no one." He pulled on his clothes in a way that was almost as pleasing to the eye as the way he took them off earlier. "If I told a news man what I know about the powerful men in this city, I would be dead one hour later."
"Ah. Well, here is your money." said Richard, feeling awkward "You really are quite beautiful you know."
"The young man kissed him on the lips. "So are you. Goodnight Mr Blake. Maybe another time, yes?"
Richard grinned "Next time I'm in Riyadh." Both men smiled at this little game.
"Now go," said Richard, shutting the door. "I really should call my wife."