Piano music drifted through the halls and carried all the way through the house. It was a song that I did not recognize but it was beautiful nonetheless. Each note flowed so well together; I could hardly imagine a time where I never heard beautiful music in this house. Silence hardly graced these halls.
The music continued to grow more and more intense as I approached to the top of landing. I looked down to see Sebastian leaning heavily over the keys. He was thinking again, that’s why it was growing at such an intense rate. He played quite often but he only ever played intently when he was deep in thought. It was amazing to watch him move fluidly over the piano, to see his hands fly about the keys as though his life depended on the speed of his playing. From the landing, I couldn’t see his face since his dark hair covered it as he looked down, but I knew that his forehead was furrowed and his eyes were closed.
As he continued to play at a growing rate, the song switched to a Beethoven piece. He was resorting to an auto-pilot mode; his thought process was getting deeper. I never understood why he didn’t just keep playing his original pieces, but I figured it took more concentration to match the right notes and pitches with each other when creating new songs.
I walked down the stairs and made my way across the foyer, approaching him slowly. I didn’t want to break his concentration; pissing Sebastian off was not something I favored. As I got closer to the piano, his head slowly turned in my direction. His dark eyebrow was cocked, a smirk was splayed on his lips, and the music slowly drifted away.
“Oh, please don’t stop,” I said coming up to his side.
Sebastian laughed low in his throat and continued to play a much slower piece. I smiled in return.
“Are you heading out?” He asked.
I nodded. “I will be back later tonight though. I just need to go take care of something at the office real quick.”
Sebastian didn’t say anything but I saw his eyebrow twitch a little bit as if to question. This was not the first time I had to leave in the evening to go take care of something at the “office,” but he would never know the real reason of why I was leaving. I hoped to keep my two lives apart from each other for as long as I could; one day I would tell him the truth or I would up and leave town without a trace. For now, I was happy to keep him in the dark and be the journalist for the city’s newspaper.
“Alright, I love you. I will see you when you get back,” he whispered as I leant down to kiss him good-bye. A part of me screamed at me to stay with him, that this man was more important than my job; that whatever I was doing was not worth more than him. But I vowed to myself long ago, that no matter who came in my life, the job came first. No matter how much it ripped my soul, I had to put it behind me and go out. Maybe one day that will change, but today was not that day. I would have to continue to break my own heart and his to keep the job I loved and my independence.
“One day I will tell him,” I muttered as I walked out of the door.
I continued to play the piano as I watched Victoria walk out the door. A part of me was sad that she had to leave to go to the office once again, but the other part of me was glad that she left tonight. It gave me time to go out on my own and hunt down the dumb bastard I was hired to kill. I hoped it was going to be a quick job because I wanted to be back home in time for when Victoria got home again and be cleaned up. It's useful sitting at the piano; I had been thinking about the best way to kill the guy so that I could be home in time. I was lucky that I knew where he was going to be and to hunt him out in the crowd, but I didn’t need some asinine fight to hold up my kill. It needed to be a quick job.
After waiting long enough to make sure Victoria wouldn’t be back before I left, I quickly changed and headed out. I didn’t want to look out of place at the club I was going to so I had put on a pair of black pants and a button down shirt. The shirt was more than likely going to cause me issues when it came down to business, but I couldn’t stroll into the club looking like Batman or a thug so I had to blend in. There was no way I'd scare off my target.
Getting to the club was easy enough. Thankfully traffic was low tonight and hopefully it would be the same way when I had to leave. Normally I would have stood in line to blend in and not look suspicious, but I was on a time limit. I strolled up to the doors and thankfully was let in by the bouncers. The bouncers were associates of mine and knew I was there for official business. Inside the club, I immediately slammed into a wall of pulsating music and people. Laser lights flickered all over the cramped space and bodies; it was all one gigantic “open” space except for the DJ, the bar, and the cage dancers that hung down from the ceiling. I made my way through the throngs of people trying to get to the bar to make my next move by dancing along to the beat. Again, I had to blend in, which resulted in many women latching onto me, begging me to dance with them. I’d like to say I didn’t dance with some of them but I would be lying.
When I got to the bar, I had to wait for about ten minutes to get the bartender’s attention. Which rightfully pissed me the hell off. Normally I didn’t mind waiting, but tonight I was in a real bind. When he finally made his way to me, his eyes flashed with recognition; yet another associate.
“Captain,” I barked. He quickly poured me a glass of dark heaven and jerked his head to the side.
I followed his eyesight and noticed a dark figure lurking in the shadows of the office. Among all of these people, they would go unnoticed in an area that didn’t have any cameras. I eyeballed their movements for a few moments. They seemed to be content with just standing there but ever so slightly, I could see them fidget. I narrowed my eyes, having a hard time making out what they were doing.
I quickly downed my glass and made my way closer to my target. Again, I had to do so through the crowd of dancing idiots as to not draw attention to myself. A couple of blondes attached themselves to me; I smiled down at them, clearly not interested, but used them as a way to blend in more and make my way closer to the offices. They paid no mind as we got closer to the edge of the crowd away from most of the dancers and the booze. I stopped almost at the edge of the crowd and turned my back to the offices. I quickly put my hands on the waist of closest blonde and drug her in closer to me. She let out a slight giggle and started to grind on me even more; I pretended to have interest as I turned our bodies.
My eyes then latched onto the offices; my target was no longer in sight. I let out a curse and managed to detach from the blonde, saying I was going to get drinks, and make my way to the doors. I headed to the office the suspect had been standing in front of and saw that it was slightly ajar. Looking over my shoulder, I made sure no one saw me while I slipped in. What I assumed was that the suspect’s fidgeting had to do with them trying to break into the office unnoticed while his back was turned. Clever bastard.
As I slid into the office space, I could faintly hear rustling from the far side of the room. My hand slowly went to the small of my back and pulled out the pistol with the silencer I had fitted to the end of the muzzle. Without a sound, I took a couple of steps to get closer to my target. They hadn't picked up on that they were no longer alone as they crouched on the floor, looking through what I assumed is the safe they had cracked. I bring the pistol up, aim it at the back of their head, and click the safety off. In a flash, something flies across the room towards my face and I move just in time before the dagger makes its way home into eye. Instead it slices through my arm. I pull the trigger and see my bullet makes itself home in the shoulder of my target.
A slight scream rips through the air as I see them slump further to the ground, holding their shoulder. I walk up to them and aim my gun at their heart.
“I expected someone to be here to stop me, but I didn’t expect to be shot. Fuck…” my target grumbled. The voice belonged to no man, but to a woman. Her face was covered up but as my eyes continued to adjust to the dark, I see my target’s build is that of a woman. When given this job, I had been given the impression I was hired to kill an expert thief who was a man. Now, I wasn’t sure I could go through with the kill.
“Fucking hell,” I muttered. I scrubbed my face with my other hand.
“What? Can’t kill a woman?” She spat at me and stood up to face me. She was several inches shorter than I but she carried herself as a man, even with her shoulders slumped in while holding her wound.
“Come on, you apparently were hired to kill me. Do it already.”
I shook my head. “No. There is no way I can do this. It goes against my code.”
She let out a guttural laugh and narrowed her dark eyes at me. Thankfully it was so dark in the room that she couldn’t see my face. Usually I was careful enough to cover my face but this was supposed to be an easy job and easy kill, not a fight nor a moral challenge.
“A hired killer has a moral code? How fucking hilarious. Do you have some mommy issues that enable you to not kill any women?” she scoffed.
“Fuck off or I'll end you,” I grumbled.
She then lunged at me and struck me across the face. I was momentarily stunned but then grabbed her by the wounded shoulder and dug my thumb into the wound. A piercing scream ripped from her mouth and she stumbled backwards holding her shoulder once again. Her chest heaved as she bent over at the waist. I started to back up so that I could leave; this job needed to end.
But then she came running at me again, except this time I reacted in enough time and shot her in the same shoulder once again. Instead of hitting the floor like I expected her to do, she yelled and quickly made her way through the back door. I didn’t notice before when I had walked past it that it had been sitting ajar. I ran after her down the back hallways, following her trail of blood. Even though she was injured, she still had a lot of speed on me and made her way to the alley before I could catch her.
When I hit the alleyway, I could no longer see her or track her by her blood trail. It was pouring rain, causing all traces of her to disappear. I had failed my assignment and let her get away. Fuck.
After wrapping my left arm in gauze and putting on a sweatshirt to cover my bicep, I made my way back down to the foyer. I plopped down on the piano bench and hunched over the keys. There were a million thoughts going through my head and I was having a hard time sorting them all out. How I was supposed to tell the person who hired me I had failed? Should I try to continue the mission? Do I try to hunt that bitch down? Is she even worth it? Surely after the two bleeding holes I left in her she would have had to seek medical attention. Should I search around for female GSWs? But I don’t even know what she looks like. Who the hell was she? Would “my boss” know? There are probably multiple women admitted to medical facilities for GSWs every day. I would never be able to find her or finish the job. Not that I could just stroll up in a medical facility and kill her without being noticed. . . I mean I could; it would just take a lot of planning, the right weapons and timing. And not getting caught. More importantly, with this all set aside, was I still getting paid?
I hadn’t even noticed that my fingers had started to move across the ivory keys until I heard myself play a wrong note. A scowl went across my face at the sound and I began to play the song over; just like a well-executed plan to kill, there was no room for mistakes in a Mozart piece. My thoughts began to sort out some as I continued to play and I hoped as I played more and more that I would be able to figure out what to do with this failed mission.
And what seemed liked hours at the piano, I finally looked up with a crick in my neck when I heard the front door open. Victoria stumbled through without her usual grace. I quickly got up from the bench and went straight for her. My arms circled around her as she tried to straighten herself back up; I felt her body tense in my embrace. Unusual.
“Are you okay, Victoria?” I asked looking down at her. Her eyes were slightly glassy, her cheeks red.
She tried to push me back but I held on to her. “I’m fine, I just want to go to bed.”
“Okay, honey. I will be up in a little bit.” I loosened my grip on her while kissing her lightly across the mouth. Thankfully she kissed me back and headed up the stairs without a word.
I turned back around facing the piano and I couldn’t bring myself to play anymore tonight. There was a nagging feeling at the base of my skull and in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t tell if it had to with the mission or with Victoria; something just wasn’t right. There wasn’t much else I could do about the mission tonight, that much was settled while I had been thinking and playing. So the mission would have to put be off for a bit.
Then that left the sensation to do with the latter. Victoria did seem off when she came through the door. She was usually collected and graceful; I had only ever seen her stumble that way when she was drunk and she hadn’t smelled like alcohol when I embraced her. So then she would have to be high…which was not something I ever saw Victoria being; it just wasn’t in her nature. But I could always be wrong about that; her eyes had been glassy and she seemed to be a little flushed when I looked at her. The nagging feeling didn’t increase much when I thought about her being high. After all it was her life; she could do as she pleased. The nagging feeling didn’t decrease either. I then decided to make my way upstairs to check on her.
As I made my way up the stairs, the sensation started to grow deeper. I had no idea what was causing it but I had learned from early in the game as a mercenary that I needed to trust my intuition. But what was it trying to tell me this time? Should I be worried about Victoria’s wellbeing? I had no right to tell her to not do anything for health’s sake; I mean really, that coming from a man who didn’t mind bending the rules, breaking a few laws, committing murder when need be for some money was just laughable. The sensation grew a bit more with that idea though. I groaned as the thoughts started to pour in about her getting hurt from that life. Fuck me; I guess I was worried about her state of mind and losing her to the world of drugs.
When I got to the bedroom door, I ran my hand through my hair and took a few breaths before entering. I was going have to get to the bottom of what was wrong with her and not be an asshole about it. Another couple of deep breaths and some neck cracking, I pushed open the door and made my way into our room with some determination. But what I saw caused me to stop dead in my tracks.
There were suture wounds on her right shoulder with blood still trickling down.“What the fuck are those?”
I whirl to face Sebastian and my heart has fallen into the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want him to see where that fucker had plugged my shoulder up; I had hoped he would stay downstairs long enough for me to put some gauze around the wounds and put a long sleeve shirt on to hide them. No such luck. Now how in the hell was I supposed to lie my way through this one?
“Uhmm…I…Uhmm…” I stammered while putting my hand over the wound. Good answer, Victoria, doesn’t seem suspicious at all now.
Sebastian stalks over to me without saying a word and takes my hand away from the affected shoulder. I watch his eyes flare and narrow as if he is trying to figure out what happened. He then lightly brushes his thumb over the sutures, causing me to wince since the topical anesthetic and pain meds were starting to ware off. I looked down at his thumb still stroking the area and I can see the slight hint of dried blood on his thumb nail. Where did that come from?
“Tell me what happened,” he breathes. He is still not looking me in the eye; he’s too focused on my shoulder. There is no way I can lie my way out of this one.
“I can’t tell you,” I mutter.
“You will tell me right now,” he demands.
Slight anger flares up in me. Who does he think he is demanding such an answer? He would be better off not knowing, but no, he had to waltz in here and fuck it all up.
“Why must you know?” It comes out with more bitterness than I want.
His brown eyes snap to mine and he bites out, “Because I can’t just ignore the suture marks on my girlfriend’s body and not wonder why the hell they are there. Now tell me, Victoria.”
I kept looking him dead in the eye; I know he’s right and it is time to tell him what I do for a living other than write for a stupid paper. I take in a deep breath and let it out.
“I was shot…twice actually. No, not at the office, I don’t really work there…” I take another breath and keep going, “I am a highly trained thief and tonight I was caught in the act by some bastard who was apparently hired to kill me. He obviously didn’t have to guts to do the job, but he did a damn good job a shooting me twice in the same area.”
There was a slight smile on my face when I uttered the last sentence. That guy didn’t have the guts to kill me at all because he followed some asinine code. Who works in a profession where killing people is the main objective but has a hard time killing a female target? He seriously needs to work on getting over that.
I realized I was still waiting on Sebastian’s response while I was off thinking about that merc. He hadn’t uttered a word yet, except he had finally taken his hand away from my shoulder and had taken a few steps back from me. I looked him over to see that he was stiff as a board; maybe he was shocked that was my job? I then looked him in his eyes and found that his face was wrought with disbelief and anger.
“Bas?” I muttered while inching towards him.
“You…it’s you…” His voice was full of gravel. He was so distant in his body language and face.
“What are you talking about, Sebastian?” I took one more step towards him but he snapped back to reality. My heart was fluttering in my chest now.
“You’re the thief from tonight. You were the one I was hired to kill,” Sebastian breathed.Ringing went through my ears as I started to register what he said. There was no way he was the man that I had encountered in the office tonight. There was no way that fate was so cruel to where he was the one who had showed up to stop me. There was no way that fate had brought us together as lovers to also bring us together as enemies. This relationship was not destined to stay whole any longer; we had ruined each other.
A YEAR LATER
“…And that’s basically it; we weren’t ever meant to be, I guess. There was no sunshine and rainbows ending for us. Nor were we ever destined to have some cheesy montage of us falling back in love three months later with Journey blaring “Faithfully” in the background.”
“That’s too bad, man. I really like her,” one of my associates told me.
We were sitting in a dank bar somewhere on the west end of town. I had been here most of the night to try to keep my mind off of things while I waited on my next assignment. The guy I was talking to had sat down next to me and asked about Victoria. My body had tensed at her name; it had been quite some time since I heard her name. I told him about us having a falling out and parting ways, while keeping out the part that she was a highly trained thief to protect her. Many of my associates hated thieves and I’m sure she was one of the many that they wanted to kill for taking from their business.
“Yeah, I did too,” I finally replied. I quickly downed my drink and ordered another.
“You never know, maybe you all will have another fling.” I sneered and grunted at his remark while downing another glass of whiskey. The burn of the dark liquid helped take the edge off the thought of her.
“Or not. She was a catch, maybe I’ll take a stab at her. If I remember correctly she gave great head and I imagine she’s fantastic in the sack.”
I quickly reeled around in my seat and held a knife underneath his chin. He quickly raised his hands with terror resonating in his piggish eyes.
“Stay the fuck away from her, if you know what’s good for ya’. Got it?” I growled.
“I didn’t mean anything by it. I thought you were over her,” he spluttered.
I dug my knife a little deeper into his skin. A slight well of blood began to trickle down his neck. “You meant everything by it. Stay away from her. Don’t ever look at her, don’t even think about her or I’ll fucking flay you. And if you think you can get by it, remember, I always find out about everything.” With that being said; I got up, raising my knife with his chin, and stalked off out of the bar.
The cold air brushed over me as I hit cement. That cocksucker had been so wrong, I was not over her…I probably never was going to be. Victoria was someone I had loved so deeply that I was almost willing to change my ways for her. I had come so close many times to quitting the life of a low life mercenary just so I could do right by her. She was my other half. Unfortunately, fate and God had another plan for us; she had been my enemy all along and there was no way we could have worked it out. We had lived our lives with each other in complete lies for far too long, everything had become broken.
I continued to walk down the street, lost in my thoughts of her. My hands itched to play the piano but I wasn’t ready to head home yet. Except, I had no rhyme or reason to be roaming around this late at night because I hadn’t stayed around to find another mission to go on. Oh fucking well. I could always find a young dame to save from some sicko on the street or look for trouble somewhere else.
Not that I had a hero complex right now, I just really wanted to beat the shit out of someone.
I eventually found my way to the club that had set in motion the events of Victoria and I’s split. I’m not really sure what brought me here but I wasn’t going to deny myself somewhat of a good time tonight. Maybe I could find some drunken asshole to beat up while I get piss drunk, dancing with some really questionable girls.
“Hey Sebastian, how are ya?” asked one of the bouncers while I made my way through the door.
“’Bout to be ten times better and a hundred times more drunk,” I scoffed. I heard his laughter as I entered the hallway leading to the dance floor. As always, I was greeted with a throng of drunken dancers and loud music.
About an hour into dancing like some fool and a few shots of vodka, I found myself sitting at the bar looking in the direction of an office door in the back. My thoughts were slightly muted from all of the booze but they were completely gone.
“Another one?” asked the bartender. I nodded to the beat of the song in response and told him to wait a second while I threw back the shot. Thankfully he understood and filled the glass again with clear heaven. But not even those two had the effect I wanted on my mind.
I cursed loudly while getting up and heading to the door. I guess I wanted to go in there for old time’s sake. As well as to see if they amped up their security after last year; which they did not. No added locks. No cameras. Not even a beefy security guard standing in front of the door. It’s like they were asking to be robbed again, dumb bastards.
I found myself accessing the office with a quick flick of my wrist and stepped in. It looked exactly the same as the last time I was in here, minus the “mysterious” thief that had been fumbling in the safe. And guess what, the safe was still in same spot and I was guessing it still had the same passcode.
“Stupid fuckers,” I muttered.
“Right? I’m honestly shocked that they didn’t change anything from last time,” said a voice to my left.
I quickly whipped to face the voice and found Victoria sitting in a chair behind a desk. My heart was hammering in my chest from the sight and sound of her.
“Hey, Bas,” she said with a slight smile. “You can put down the gun, unless you plan to shoot me again.”
My eyes looked down at my hand and sure enough, I had my gun out and held up a bit. I quickly holstered it behind my back again before answering.
“What are you doing here, Victoria?”
“Oh, I don’t really know. I felt some kind of draw here tonight and decided to see if security had been vamped up so I could have some bit of a challenge if I ever wanted to take from here again. Obviously, they failed at the security detail, which caused me to get bored and rethink thieving.”
“Strangely enough, I felt myself drawn here as well. Don’t really know why I came back here considering what happened the last time.”
A frown splayed on her face and her left hand reached up to touch her right shoulder. She was also thinking of this exact night last year. We stayed in silence while we both thought of what happened, but I also took in how she looked tonight. She was as beautiful and confident as I remembered her to be. Her dark hair pinned back in a messy do and dressed in a tight black sweater and black nylon pants. She must have been out on another thieving heist before finding herself here.
“I still have the scars you left me,” she muttered.
“I could say the same thing.” Emotionally and physically; my left arm still barred the scar from her dagger.
She looked away from me without saying anything. I couldn’t blame her; there weren’t many words we could share now. All that we had to say had been thrown out when we mutually agreed to part ways; although, there had been some hateful words spewed at first because we had hated each other for the lies we wrought.
“Do you miss me, Bas?” Her whisper caught me off guard. But I knew the answer immediately.
I walked over to the desk and stepped behind it. “Of course I do, love.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. “I miss you too,” she whispered while a few tears fell down her cheeks.
“I would take you back in a heartbeat if I knew that we could make it all work out,” I said, wiping away her tears.
“We’re enemies, we could never work it out…”
“I don’t believe that for one bit. I bet we could work it all out.”
“But we said, a year ago…”
I grabbed one of her hands and took her chin in my right hand. “Victoria, I don’t give a fuck what we said a year ago. Things have changed and I know sure as hell you feel the same way as I do right now. I want you back in my life and would take joy in rediscovering you.”
She didn’t reply with words, instead she replied by kissing me hard on the lips. I kissed her back passionately and reveled in the idea that we were back together finally. After a few more kisses, she pulled back and looked me in the eyes. Tears streamed her cheeks but there was a smile to accompany them.
“I’m forever yours, Victoria. Nothing will change that. Enemies we may be, but we will work side by side with our fucked up lives.”
With that, I kissed her passionately once again. No more words needed to be said. We had each other again and that’s all that mattered. Having her back in my arms, her lips on my own; I knew we had always been meant for one another. There had been no-one else or anything in my life that made me feel as whole and alive as she did; and I got a slight thrill from kicking ass or killing for money. We were just going to be two strangers falling in love again and reveling in joy of rediscovering one another.
So, maybe I was wrong before. God and fate did plan on us being together after all, even if we were enemies. It wasn’t always going to be sunshine and happiness, but at least I could always be with her in all my highs and lows. I also guess we did have some crazy montage in the end where we ran into each some time later, falling in love again, and have Journey blaring “Faithfully” in the background. Which I swore played while we kissed.