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The Heist

Part 2 to “Partners in Crime” -- Word Hunt Challenge: Fortune, Motorcycle, Phoenix

By Ahna LewisPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 19 min read
Graff "Diamonds Hallucination" watch - Getty Images

Author’s Note: While this piece still works as a stand alone story, you might be interested in reading Part 1 first. Click here to read “Partners in Crime," the first installment.


The door of the bar swings open, and I step into a smoky haze. The surrounding air is thick and suffocating. Metallic lamps dangle overhead, casting dim light over oblong tables. I hear the murmur of scattered voices, the clink of glasses, the tread of footsteps. My eyes settle on an eerie blue glow from the back corner, Anthony Dawson smoking an e-cigarette.

I shouldn’t be here. I should be getting the heck out of this city, boarding a flight, assuming a fake name, cutting my hair, wearing dark sunglasses. I should be doing everything and anything to get as far away as possible. And yet, I take a step towards his table. And another. And another.

Dawson’s invitation was too good to pass up, his promise of information. I’ve always been a curious person, an adventurous daredevil who’s too trusting for her own damn good. But when he mentioned Joey…well, did I even have a choice?

I nod to Dawson, sliding into the seat across from him.

“I’m glad you could make it, Myranda.” His voice is kinder than I expected, but his eyes are narrow, burrowing into me. He pushes a drink in my direction. “You holding up, okay?”

I nod. I’ve never been close with Dawson and find his comment rather jarring.

“Can you just tell me why I’m here?”

Dawson folds his fingers together, resting his hands on the table. “Trust me. It’s worth your time.”

He glances surreptitiously to the side, then reaches into the briefcase on the bench beside him. He removes a folded newspaper and slides it across to me.

I stare for several seconds, trying to get my brain to process the headline.

McClaren Lauded as Hero

Walter Dean McClaren (32) receives FBI Medal for Meritorious Achievement for capturing jewel thief Rick Matthews, aka “Maverick” and for successfully returning the Graff Diamonds Hallucination watch worth $55 million…

I stop reading, pretty sure I’m going to be sick. Lauded as a hero? Medal for meritorious achievement? Fifty-five million dollars? I want to scream, to tear the paper into a million shreds and watch it burn. His real name might be Walter McClaren, but I knew him as Joey. The man I loved more than anything. The man who betrayed my trust. The man who shattered me like glass.

“Why are you showing me this?” I thrust the paper back towards Dawson, anger building in the corner of my eyes, the sharp edge of my voice.

“I know you hate that guy’s guts and you’re personally invested in this case.” Dawson’s right hand curls into a fist. “Well, so am I.”

He takes a deep breath. “I’ve been working with Maverick a long time. He’s the closest thing to a friend I’ve got, and I hate to see him go under like this. Especially with that good-for-nothing McClaren getting all the praise.”

I nod, expectant.

Dawson continues, “That Walter McClaren—Joey—he’s worse than you think.”

“I doubt anything could make him worse.” I know it sounds like I’m speaking through gritted teeth, but that's probably because I am.

Dawson folds his arms. “Do you know what was in that package you were supposed to deliver? The one McClaren used to trap Maverick?”

I shake my head. “Maverick made me promise not to open it, and I’m a person of my word. You should know that.”

Dawson sighs, looking at me intently. “It was the Graff Diamonds Hallucination, the watch worth $55 million.”

I stare, utterly speechless for a second, my mind careening in a thousand directions. To think, all that time I had an absolute fortune just sitting on my kitchen counter.

At last, I take a deep breath, shrugging it off. I can’t change things now. Yeah, the 100 grand Maverick was going to pay me was a little stingy, but it would have paid the bills. I lean closer to Dawson. “I still don’t see what this has to do with Joey being a bigger dirtbag than he already is.”

“You’re not getting it, Randa. McClaren stole the watch.”

I stare at him. “No, I stole the watch. I stole it for Maverick. And then Joey turned it over to the FBI when he ratted out Maverick.”

Dawson shakes his head. “He didn’t return it.”

“What are you talking about?” I feel my annoyance from earlier start to resurface. “The article clearly says he returned the watch to the FBI. That’s why he’s such a ‘hero’ isn’t it?”

“It was a fake. That FBI ‘golden boy’ turned in a counterfeit and they were all too distracted to notice.”

My confusion and disbelief feels like a tidal wave crashing over me. Joey wasn’t like me. He wasn’t a thief. In all the time I knew him, he never stole anything. It couldn’t be true, could it?

“How can you be sure?” I ask.

“Maverick had a tracking device put on the watch about six years ago, back when he had an inside guy working at Graff. That’s how he knew where to send you when you first stole it for him. He knew they were transporting the watch and security would be at its lowest.”

I nod for him to continue, my mind scurrying to put the pieces together.

“Well, Maverick’s tracker—I still have access to it. And the watch, it’s not at the FBI headquarters. It never was. It’s here.” Dawson slides a slip of paper across the table.

I unfold it to read: 2360 Sycamore Street.

“You familiar with the location?”

I shake my head. “Never heard of it.”

“It’s a nice house. In the ritzy part of town. We’ve been watching McClaren for a while now and he’s staying there. Belongs to this lady.”

Dawson slides me another piece of paper. There’s a photograph of a beautiful woman, her blonde hair twisted up in a stylish chignon bun. “Lindsey Lafayette. You know her?”

I try not to gasp. Of course I know this woman. I’ll never forget her, though I wish a million times a day that I could. She’s Joey's real fiancée, his partner in the FBI, the one he chose over me.

“I know her,” is all I say.

Dawson nods. “Good. And now, you can probably guess why I asked you here.” Dawson laces his fingers together like a judge presiding over his court. “I want you, Myranda, to break into 2360 Sycamore Street and steal back the Graff Hallucination watch. I can offer you $1.5 million for the job.”

I raise an eyebrow in his direction, knowing instantly I’ll say yes, but trying not to appear too excited.

Dawson continues, “I know it’s not a very big cut, but I want you to understand, I’m not keeping the watch. I’m turning it over to the FBI the moment you get it back. This heist is about McClaren. I want to take him down for what he did to Maverick. I’m hoping this might help Mav get out sooner.” Dawson pauses, perhaps trying to gauge my expression. “Will you help, Randa? You’re the best I know and that’s why I’m asking you.”

“Did you say 1.5 million?”

He nods.

“Nope, sorry.”

I see Dawson’s face fall. “You won’t do it?”

“No, I’ll do it,” I pause, “but I don’t want your money.” I smile for the first time in days, my face catching the glow of the overhead lamp. “This job pays enough on its own.”

* * *

I’m dressed in my favorite leather jumpsuit, the one I wear when a heist is really important to me. And this, well, this might be the most important heist of my life. I wanted to stake out the house a full two weeks, but Dawson insisted two days was good enough. And he’s right, there’s no telling when the watch will be moved again. As I crouch in the shelter of a rhododendron bush, I review the plan in my mind.

1) Wait in the rhododendron (3:00am-6:44am)

2) Confirm that Lindsey and Joey both leave for work (6:45am)

3) Disable house alarm system (6:47am)

4) Sneak in lower bedroom window (6:50am)

5) Switch tracker to seeking mode (6:52am)

6) Locate diamond watch (7:00am)

7) Obtain watch (7:02am)

8) Depart house (7:05am)

Twenty minutes. That’s all I need to take down Joey’s reputation and expose him to the world for the crook he truly is. Rays of morning sunlight pool through the leaves of the rhododendron. It’s nearly time. I hear voices, the jingle of keys, the swing of the front door on its hinges. I check my watch. 6:44AM. Right on schedule.

“Hey Babe.” Joey steps past the threshold, looking over his shoulder at Lindsey who follows him out the door. “Want to take the bike?”

“Only if you drive.” She leans in for a kiss and I think I’m going to be sick.

He looks at her with that boyish grin, the one I used to see when he was so excited about one of his new gadgets like his night vision binoculars or the stilts with the springs on the ends. I guess motorcycles are his new hobby.

“You got a stopwatch?” he asks as he pulls his helmet over his already tousled hair.

She groans. “I’m not going to time you, Walter. Seriously. You work for the FBI, not Formula 1. Grow up.”

His smile fades and I wonder if he’s thinking about all the getaway runs we had in the Bronco. I’d always time how long it took him to get home. We even had a little chart in the living room with all his “world records.” In every one of his games, his adventures, I was right there. I’d play along because I wanted more than anything to see him smile. A fresh pang of loss rips through my chest. How could a man I loved so much, hurt me so deeply?

I watch as he fires up the metallic blue motorcycle parked in the driveway. Lindsey climbs on behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist. I see her smile with contentment. She thinks she won this game a long time ago. The engine roars, and they take off down the street.

I sit for a minute in the rhododendron bush, my heart pounding like the incessant ticking of a time bomb. At any second, I’m going to erupt. I thought I could handle seeing them together, but apparently not. I take a deep breath. I will not lose my cool. I will not.


Disabling the security system is fairly easy. Dawson set me up with a nifty power shutdown box. That’s obviously not the technical term, but I don’t know what it’s called. Technology was Joey’s side of the business. All I know is that I plug the box into one of the electrical outlets outside the house, flip a switch, and boom, lights out. There won’t be an actual “boom” that would be way too conspicuous, but the electricity, including the alarm system, will go out throughout the entire house. On my way out, I’ll flip back the switch, unplug the box, and everything will go back to normal. They’ll never know what hit them.

I sneak around to the back of the house. There’s enough light that the neighbors could easily catch a glimpse of me, so I’ve enacted the stealthiest of my stealth modes. I’m like a panther on the prowl, disappearing into shadows, twisting around corners. I’ll be gone before they realize I was there.

The house is an ostentatious display of modern architecture. To me, it just looks like a delusional stack of overlapping squares and rectangles with angled roofs and wide glass windows. I take pleasure in the fact that this hideous excuse for a house probably cost Lindsey Lafayette a fortune. I smile maliciously, wondering if she was planning to use the money from the Graff Hallucination to pay her mortgage. At last, I catch sight of an outdoor outlet, probably where Joey would have plugged in the Christmas lights to decorate if he would have been around in December—too bad he’s going to jail.

I plug in the power shutdown box and flip the switch. The air-conditioning unit goes silent, the few remaining lights in the upstairs power off, and the house goes completely still. With my kidskin gloves, I push against one of the glass windows on the lower floor. Bingo! The window spins inward as if on a pivot. I snort. This woman must not be planning on having children anytime soon. These windows would be an absolute disaster.

Seconds later, I’m inside the house. I pull the tracking device that Dawson gave me out from the pocket of my jumpsuit. I press the green “SEEK” button. A little red light on the tracker starts to flash. He told me that as I get closer to the target, the rate of the flashes will increase. This should be fun, like the childhood game of Hot or Cold.

I start with the downstairs, carrying the tracker past kitchen cupboards and shelves, bedroom nightstands and medicine cabinets. Nothing. Just the reliable steady pulsing light. I turn the corner into what looks like an office. A big leather chair resides imperiously over a supremely organized stack of papers. These obsessively neat types of people make me sick. Or maybe it’s just Lindsey. Okay, yeah, Lindsey makes me sick. The lights on the tracker are as slow and steady as ever, so I’m about to step out of the office when I notice something. A photo hanging on the wall.

It’s a picture of a much younger Lindsey, smiling, shaking someone’s hand. She has a yellow sash across her shoulders. “Miss Community Service” it reads. Underneath is a framed newspaper article.

Lindsey Lafayette awarded the GOLD STAR community badge for her undying service and commitment to the community. “Lindsey really has a heart of gold!” says cheer coach, Kathleen Collins. “She’s the most generous, caring person I know…”

Seriously? I think of Joey’s write-up in the paper, praising him for being such a wonderful FBI agent. So these are the people society celebrates? If the world only knew.

I leave the office to head upstairs. I know their bedroom probably should have been the first place I searched, but to be honest, I’ve been avoiding it.

I step inside, and it’s like I’ve walked into a page from an interior design magazine. Apparently, the theme is black and white. The king-sized bed is covered in a fluffy white duvet and elevated just above the floor on a black bed frame. There’s framed portraits of white orchids and a solitary nightstand of ebony black just beside the bed. This woman is definitely a minimalist. I think of the room Joey and I shared in my house. The piles of clothes on the chairs, the scattered stacks of books on the floor, the thousands of decorative pillows, the general sense of messy chaos. I sigh. It felt real. This feels…I don’t even know. I look down at the light on the tracker and my breath catches. It’s blinking faster. I take a step forward. Each step I take closer to the nightstand, the blinks on the tracker increase, until it’s flickering so frequently and so fast it’s almost not blinking at all. Could it really be this simple?

I reach out to open the nightstand drawer, but before I do, something sparkling catches my eye. It’s Lindsey’s engagement ring. She’s left it on the nightstand. The ring is nice. With a double row of diamonds, it’s incredibly elaborate. I can’t help wondering how Joey could afford it. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. I slip the ring into my pocket. Finders, keepers.

Then, I open the drawer. And it’s there. The most breath-taking watch I have ever seen. There's a cascade of colorful diamonds—pink, ice blue, yellow, amber—all set in a platinum bracelet. The clock face is set in a sparkle of pink diamond and I want to scream it’s so beautiful. There’s no case or anything. It’s just sitting there, waiting for me to find it. I reach down and pick up the watch. It feels cool and expensive, like holding hands with a millionaire. I slide the watch into the special carrying case Dawson gave me and feel an overwhelming sense of relief. Maybe it can be this simple.

I’m down the stairs and back to my window. I’m out the window. Window closed. Power restored. Shutdown box removed. I’m sneaking back around to the front of the house. I glance at my watch (my actual watch and not the 55 million dollar one in my pocket). It’s 7:05am. As usual, I’m right on schedule.

I’m crossing the street in front of the house when I hear it, the loud revving of a motorcycle engine. I freeze. That couldn't be…


I turn. It’s Joey.

“What are you doing here?” He’s looking at me wide-eyed, almost as if he’s seen a ghost.

Words catch in my throat. I’m pretty sure my brain has frozen over. Think, Randa, think!

“Looking for real estate.” I finally say, nodding toward a “For Sale” sign in the yard of the neighbor across the street. “Don’t know if you heard, but my house was impounded by the FBI.”

I have the satisfaction of seeing Joey flinch.

“Randa, I…you…you shouldn’t even be out here. Don’t you know it’s dangerous to walk around in the open?” He ushers me a few steps back towards the overhanging branches of a nearby locust tree. As if a tree can protect me. “You’re on the FBI’s list,” he continues. “They’re hunting for you, you know.”

I shrug. “Guess they found me then. You turned me in before, so the second time should be easier, huh?” I hold out my wrists as if I’m expecting him to slap the handcuffs on at any second. “Who knows?” I continue. “Maybe capturing the likes of me will get you another promotion.”

I don’t know why I’m being so forward. I guess I’ve been holding all these feelings back and now that he’s right in front of me, words are spilling out unchecked.

He has the audacity to look hurt. “No Randa, I’m not going to turn you in.”

“Then what are you going to do?”

He looks at me intently, shakes his head, and swears under his breath. “Damn it, Randa, I still love you. I always have. I left the door open for you at the station because I knew you would escape. You’re so smart and talented and fearless. Those months with you were the best of my life and now that I’m back with Lindsey, I see what I gave up. What I lost. She’s clingy and possessive and bossy. She’s nothing like you. Lindsey was the mistake. You’re the only one for me. You always were. I guess I see that now. I’m going to leave the FBI. I’ve got some extra money. More than enough for both of us. We can run away, far away to an island somewhere. We can be together forever. We were meant to be. You’re my Randa, remember?” His eyes are wide and earnest and entreating. He’s holding out his hand, begging for me to take it.

Days ago, hours even, I would have done anything to hear those words. Now, I finally see them for what they are. Cheap.

“Lindsey isn’t the problem. It’s you. You betrayed me when I needed you most. You walked out on me. And you know what, Joey–Walter? I don’t need you anymore. Not any part of you. Not even the dream of you.”

He drops his hand and I walk away, head upright, shoulders back. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I am reborn. Joey Marlow holds no power over me. Not now, not ever again. I turn the street corner into freedom. There’s just one more thing I have to do.


It’s 10:30 and Lindsey Lafayette is taking her usual coffee break at Traitor Joe’s (not to be confused with the popular organic grocery market, Trader Joe’s). She’s sitting on the outdoor patio sipping from her iced cappuccino latte and painting her nails of all things. I slide into a chair at the table across from her, wearing dark sunglasses and a wide-brim hat. A perfect observation point.

Right on schedule, Lindsey’s cell phone rings.

“Who’s calling now?” she mumbles as she pauses from her nail painting to put the phone on speaker.

“Hello?” she says, sounding bored as she coats her left thumb in a deep maroon.

“Hello, Ms. Lafayette?” The voice on the other end sounds overly energetic like a caffeinated car salesman. It’s an amusing contrast.


“On behalf of our non-profit organization, we’d like to congratulate you on receiving the Esteemed Philanthropist Award!”

I see Lindsey beam with obvious pleasure. “Oh me? An award?” She fans her face with her hand. “Whatever for?”

“For your very generous donation!”

“My donation?” Her voice falters slightly. “What donation?”

“Your $158,000 donation! You are such a generous person! It’s not everyday a woman is willing to donate something of such value!”

Lindsey is definitely faltering now. “Wait, what exactly did I donate?”

“Why, your engagement ring of course! Such an altruistic gesture! Really, so admirable!”


“Yes, don’t worry, Ms. Lafayette, we got it sold and all squared away just like you wanted. We know this nonprofit is a cause close to your heart.”

She doesn’t speak for a second and I can see her trying to process.

“Yes,” she falters. “It is.”

“Well, thank you again, Ms. Lafayette! We’ll be sending a photo crew later so you can get your picture in the paper!”

“Wait!” Lindsey snatches the phone closer to her, spilling droplets of maroon nail polish in the process. She clutches her phone as if she fears the man on the other end will escape. “Can you remind me where I made the donation?”

The man laughs. “Well, of course, you donated $158,000, the proceeds of the sale of your engagement ring, to ‘Hope After Betrayal’ a beautiful non-profit which helps women who have been cheated on by their partners. You said your donation was in honor of your good friend”—he pauses as if he is checking his notes— “Myranda Abbott.”

Lindsey Lafayette doesn’t say anything as she hangs up the phone. As for me, I walk away smiling. It’s what I do best.


Thanks for reading! Don't forget to check out Part 1 if you'd like know how it all started!

Short StorySeriesMysteryAdventure

About the Creator

Ahna Lewis

Just a high school English teacher who never quite got over her dream of becoming an author. :)

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Comments (12)

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  • The Invisible Writer4 months ago

    This story snuck up on me I was reading it and before I realized it I was completely captivated. I really cared about Randa. Joey was a jerk though for a second I wanted them to run off together🙃 This left me with so many questions for what happens next

  • C. H. Richard4 months ago

    Very engaging story on it's own. I will have to check out part one. Love Traitor Joe's reference.

  • Awwww, sweet revenge. And you served it up so well

  • First of all, thank you soooooo much for writing a part 2! You have no idea how stoked I was when I saw this! The man I loved more than anything. The man who betrayed my trust. The man who shattered me like glass. I’d play along because I wanted more than anything to see him smile. A fresh pang of loss rips through my chest. How could a man I loved so much, hurt me so deeply? Those two paragraphs, I resonated so deeply with. I was so scared when Randa was in Lindsey's house! When Joey caught her, I was reading whatever he was saying with a look on ny face that said, "Ewww". I was ready to punch something if Randa fell for his words. I'm super glad she didn't and strong enough to walk away. As for Lindsey, lol, I can imagine the look on her face! That was so awesomeeee what Randa did! Also, question, does Hope for Betrayal really exist? If it doesn't, it should! I'm so sorry, I know this would be too much to ask but would there be a part 3 where Dawson returns the watch to the FBI and exposes Joey and Lindsey?

  • Roy Stevens4 months ago

    I'm really glad you carried Randa's story on and let her get the last laughs. I very much enjoyed reading her story. 'I reach down and pick up the watch. It feels cool and expensive, like holding hands with a millionaire.' A simile that sings, nicely done!

  • I have to say that Both Stories are great 👍❤️📝‼️

  • K. C. Wexlar4 months ago

    great read - care to give one of mine a pass? thanks! always appreciate feedback

  • Naomi Gold4 months ago

    OMG, I got so excited when I saw this, and it did not disappoint! I was a nervous wreck when she went in that house. 😆 I love the ending.

  • Caroline Craven4 months ago

    Revenge is sweet!! Great story! Love this one Ahna!

  • Gina C.4 months ago

    Your prose is mesmerizing! So clean and crisp, I am a fan 😍 This was a super engaging story, I definitely need to go back and read the first part! Amazing job!

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    Great story - both parts! Well done, Ahna!

  • Donna Renee4 months ago

    Yesssss the revenge was awesome, glad she got ‘em both!!!

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