She sat down in the conference lecture hall and opened up her laptop. The hall smelled of old sweat, exam stress and hormones.
She had seen him on the first day of the conference. Sitting in the first row for each lecture. Blue creased linen jacket and a proud looking moustache.
On the second day she had moved a little closer. Sitting only two rows behind him. She could see the remnants of a bad haircut on the back of his neck, and a leftover smudge of shaving foam behind his left ear.
Today she strategically positioned herself two seats away from his usual spot, her bag propped onto the seat next to her. She had bought the bag only a few days earlier in a boutique. It was the exact make of bag she had seen plenty of students in Oxford wear. A bright yellow leather briefcase with a long shoulder strap, worn with rolled up expensive skinny jeans and a silk blouse. The obligatory oversized reading glasses were perched on the tip of her nose as she typed away on her laptop.
When he arrived she saw him notice her. Her well trained peripheral vision did seldom let her down, but it was hard to mistake the look he had just given her. From the long black pony tail to the well worn brogues. No matter how high up in academia you are, you never fail to spot a female figure, she thought to her self. Thank God.
She opened up the document she had prepared the previous evening. If he glanced over he would instantly spot one of his own publications on her laptop screen, filled with underlined text and notes in the margin. She wondered how long it would take him to notice.
It took five minutes.
By the end of the evening wine tasting session in one of the Oxford colleges he was all over her. Apparently he could not hold his drink very well and a couple of glasses in of the cheap red wine, provided to help the stiff professors socialise, his eyes were glassy and his voice loud. She laughed at all his jokes and agreed to all his opinions, and then she left.
She called it the cinderella syndrome. The way a man could become obsessed with a woman, if he was kept mesmerised for a couple of hours and then, without as much as a goodbye, she suddenly disappeared. He would look for her everywhere. He would start to think back over the night, and the alcohol in his mind would enhance the laughs they had shared. He would convince himself he had had the greatest night of his life, and from that moment on he would think of her for days, looking for her anywhere he went. Only the bloody glass slipper would be missing from the scene.
Back in her room she made the final plans. The flight to paris was booked in the name of Julie Deplanque for the morning after tomorrow, just after 1am. The friendly bed and breakfast owner had told her to leave the key in the room. The bill was settled. Mademoiselle Julie had a short blond spiky hair style, a pair of baggy jeans and an AC/DC T-shirt, and carried a French passport issued in Marseilles.
The following day was eventful for the conference participants, with pick-nicks organised on the fields at outskirts of Oxford city centre. It was a beautiful sunny day for it. She had positioned herself at the cafe two blocks away from where they were all being picked up, herded around like sheep from the hotel entrance to the coach. He looked hungover. There was no chance he would notice her as she sat in the shade of the big parasol outside the cafe.
During the day she changed into a dark pair of jeans and a black top. She put the silk blouse on top and wore her glasses so he would recognise her.
When she knocked on the door to his hotel room it took him nearly a full minute to open. She fired off a blinding smile. He looked both shocked and pleased to see her, and invited her in. The room smelled of sleep.
She thought about getting the job done there and then, but decided against it in favour for some closeness. He was clearly turned on by her and his bad self esteem would make him eager enough to vouch for an eventful evening.
Afterwards he snored loudly. She smiled to herself as she prepared the syringe, injected him with a strong dose of morphine, and went over to his briefcase. The documents were all there. Old school professors don't trust technology, and tend to carry paper copies of important documents. He had told her so himself. The camera on her phone converted the photos to high quality pdf documents, ready to be sent over to her employer as soon as the money transfer was complete.
She left his hotel through the front entrance, and took a taxi to the other end of town. She threw the glasses in the nearest bin, took off the blouse and left it in one of the bags outside a charity shop. In her black clothes she melted into the shadows and started a slow jog back to the BnB through the small park and along the small road beyond.
Two hours later a blond French girl boarded the 01.23 flight to Paris. She sat back and relaxed, eager to get home. It had been a long working week.