Stale sweat, tobacco smoke and perfume. This was what he registered upon being shown into the room, and it did little to calm the clamouring nerves coursing their way through his system; he felt as if he’d been thrown into hell, and the assault on his nostrils did little to sway this conclusion. He was in trouble, and he knew it. That’s why they’d asked to see him here, in the smoking room – business and pleasure seldom came separate in his line of work, and an invite to the most elite of his employers haunts could only spell bad news. He shuffled slowly into the dimly lit room, hands clenched in his pockets to stop them shaking, eyes darting nervously around the room all the while. His salivary glands seemed to be working double time, but a lump had surfaced somewhere in his throat, making swallowing difficult. On top of this, his heart was beating ten to the dozen; his palms, armpits, chest and forehead were slippery with sweat and his breath was coming in short, sharp, ragged gasps. In short, Paulo Rodriguez was absolutely terrified.