I wake up early, realising that it’s Wednesday morning, and I immediately wish I hadn’t woken up. I lie back, and feel to my left that Aaron is not there. I hear a bag being zipped and I sit up. Aaron is standing by the closet which I hadn’t seen until now, picking out suit-bags. I look at him for a short moment, and then he turns around. He’s only wearing a pair of jeans, which fit him very well, sitting just low enough for me to see his hipbones, and just low enough to make me feel a rush in my stomach.
“Good morning” he says to me, his blue eyes looking at me intensely. I feel as though his eyes are penetrating my mind, seeking an answer. I see a hint of warmth in the cold blue colour they possess, and my heart melts, as it always does when he looks at me this way. He opens up his arms, and I come closer to him. His scent fills my nose immediately. It’s a delicious mixture of cologne, sweat and something I can’t exactly describe what is. I hold him close, feel my cheek to his chest, and his chin on the top of my head. His nose is buried in my hair, and he kisses my head. I feel a sudden sadness by the thought that he has to go away for a few days, and even though Frankie is coming over, this place will not be the same while he’s not here.
I sit in the kitchen, observing Aaron as he’s finishing packing his suitcase. He’s bringing no weapons, as he has to go with a public airplane to Brazil. He told me however, that there’s an armoury down there, where he can grab the weapons needed. I still get goosebumps when remembering that this man is dangerous; this man is a murderer, a criminal, an assassin.
You could say that I’m a sheep who notices the threat of a wolf, and I see it. I come closer, and become the best friend of it, even its lover. I will however, always have the thought in my mind that he, the wolf, is still a predator. But it is hard to stay away, because even though I know there’s a danger, his beauty has blinded me. And I guess that’s a saying too: Love makes blind.
We stand by his car, the one which he’ll drive to the airport in. I shiver. It’s starting to get cold during the day, a sign of fall coming up. I cross my arms and keep changing weight on my feet. Aaron is packing the car, stuffing it with a suitcase with some clothing in it. He comes over and puts his arms around my waist, kissing my forehead.
- What are you doing to me Elisabeth?
He looks down on me, and I up into his eyes. His nose is almost touching mine, and I can feel his warm breath in my face. I forget the world around us, where we are, who we are. All there exists is his warm breath and his blue eyes.
- I don’t know. Is it good or bad?
He tilts his head a bit, and for a second I think he’s about to kiss me, but he just looks at me, tightening the grip around me. He closes his eyes momentarily and takes a deep breath.
- I am not sure. I think it is both. I am just unsure of which of the options is the more dominant.
He leans in, slowly. I close my eyes and take a deep breath through my slightly open lips. I stand on my toes now, and our lips meet. Again, this warm feeling fills my body, and all of a sudden I’m not freezing anymore. I feel his warm lips against mine, and his warm hands on my lower back. I put my arms around his neck as our kiss intensifies, and all of a sudden, he’s gone again. My lips are alone, his are gone, and I’m still standing there with my eyes closed.
- Elisabeth, I’m already late. I have to go now. I’m sorry.
He releases his arms from my waist, and looks down on the car. He unlocks the door and enters, without even looking at me. I feel empty, sad and disappointed. He turns the key and the engine roars to life. He looks up at me, his eyes clearly lighting up behind the glass, and there’s no hint of warmth in them. That makes my heart stop, frozen for a minute, and tears are close to filling my eyes. How could he become so cold in such short time?
He puts the car in reverse and backs out of the parking slot, leaving the parking lot a minute after. And there I stand, barefoot, wearing hotpants and a shirt only, with tears in my eyes and an empty feeling within.
I walk towards the elevator, and I press the key to Aaron’s floor. I sit down on the floor right after, and I just let all my emotions out. The wolf came close, it made me feel loved, and then suddenly, it just turned its back against me and left. I let the tears run down my cheeks, and all of a sudden, without even noticing, I start sobbing. I can’t keep the emotions inside, and I sit there in the elevator crying.
I sit in the sofa when I receive a textmessage from Aaron.
I’m so sorry for having to leave that early, but I had to check in 5 minutes later at the airport. I had no intention in hurting you, I’m so sorry.
I don’t know what to believe. I choose to put the phone away, and just prepare some food for when Frankie arrives. I leave the living room and walk towards the refrigerator, looking for materials to cook a meal with. I find some salmon, and some potatoes, which I peel. I decide on baking the salmon in the oven, and boiling the potatoes.
As I just finish peeling the potatoes and bring them to a boil, I get a call from Frankie.
- Hey Elisabeth! I’m just outside the apartment, what floor is it?
I hear a slight clicking noise, supposedly Frankie who hammered her nail into the phone, as she usually does when being impatient.
- 23, the password is 1483
- Okay, I’m coming up.
I hang up, and lean my back against the wall. I haven’t seen her for almost a week now, but what frightens me is that I don’t feel the slightest hint of excitement. I believe that Aaron’s actions earlier has made me feel numb towards everything.
I hear the ‘pling’ noise from the elevator, and I look out into the entrance hall. I walk out there, and I see Frankie fighting with her suitcase. My heart jumps into my throat, and I feel happiness when I see her. She looks up, and her eyes become wide, and a huge smile appears on her face.
She pulls her suitcase hastily into the entrance hall, releases it and it falls to the ground, but she runs over to me and embraces me hard. I am so excited that I give a little shriek as we hug.
- Why haven’t you even come home for a few hours to see me?
She sounds a bit upset, but I suppose the happiness from seeing me now makes up for it. At least in this moment it does.
She looks fabulous. She has short hair, and it’s under a neatly placed black hat on her head, and she’s wearing a clear, white top with a tube top under it. She has a pair of purple jeans on, and her signature black Converse with drawings on them.
- I’m working on some food for us to eat now, so go unpack your stuff, the bedroom is upstairs. I’ll walk you there.
I show her to her room, and she starts putting her stuff into the wardrobe which she’s supplied with for her stay. I walk downstairs, leaving her with some privacy to unpack her things, and I finish cooking the meal. I make a salad, and I decorate the table for us. I find a nice wine, and as she comes downstairs I supply her with some of it. It’s my favourite wine, which I believe she also likes.
We sit down, and we lift our glasses.
- Let’s cheers for us, and let’s have some fun days without any boys, any trouble, or any work.
Frankie lifts her glass as she says this, and I do so too. We smile at each other, and hit the other’s glass slightly.
We take a sip, and start eating the dinner. It is perfectly cooked, and this is nothing I say because I made it. The fish is still moist, and slightly pink inside, indicating that it’s just had enough. The potatoes are good, and the salad is a refreshing compliment to the rest of the food.
We’re wearing sweats and a top, and we sit down in the sofa with a bowl of popcorn each. We’re watching Inception, one of our common favourite movies. We both are fascinated about dreams, but Frankie is at a much deeper level than I am. She believes she has the ability to read people’s dreams, tell people who they are depending on a dream. This derives from her having a very lucky guess with a guy she met once, whom she believed was good looking. Therefore, she did her best in trying to analyse his dream, and she got lucky and guessed it correctly – else, he just let her believe that, so he could get to ‘shag’ her.
- So, how’s it going with you and this Aaron guy?
I look at her, and she’s eating popcorn, still focused on the movie.
- Well, I think it’s fine. He’s just taking care of me for some unknown reason.
- Have you moved in here?
- No, I don’t think so…
- Okay, but what is it between you guys anyway? Have you had sex together?
I am close to starting bragging about his God-like body, but then I realise that would just be the stupidest thing to do. Especially because I might reveal details about his scars.
- Yes, we kind of have.
She stops eating the popcorn, and she looks at me, still with her mouth open.
- Am I supposed to stop the movie right here and ask you for details?
She almost yells this, and I can’t help but laugh at her reaction. This is the first time I feel such great interest from her, and it feels amazing.
- Well, there’s no juicy details, I suppose.
I tell her about what I can tell her without revealing too much detail. It would simply just be too embarrassing if I did. So I tell her just enough to feed her to a somewhat satisfying extent. This once, she says almost nothing, just nods at the details, and I can feel happiness from knowing that I have her in a trance like this.
- So, are you two completely together?
- I’m not sure. Aaron is a… Special man, he has some things with him from the past, which I believe make him less able to commit like this. But I hope we could be together. He is a great guy.
She nods, and puts the movie to a play again.
I wake up by the sound of the elevator, indicating that someone is on their way up here. I look to my right, and Frankie is lying there, sleeping. Could it be Aaron on his way home?
I shake her, trying to wake her up.
- Frankie, wake up! Someone is on their way in here! Did you tell the password to anyone?
- What? No, why would I? And to whom anyway?
I remember the click I heard when I talked to her.
- Frankie, this is important. When we talked together, did you hear a click when I was about to tell you the floor number?
- Yes, so what? I thought you had just tapped you phone or something.
- Ditto. Follow me.
I take her hand, pulling her harshly out from the sofa, and bring her to the entrance hall. I take a quick glance at the time. My phone lights up by the press of the button, it says 2:34 AM. I dial Aaron’s phone number, aware that he might be sleeping. I let go off Frankie’s hand, and dial the code to enter Aaron’s armoury. I turn on the lights in the room, and I run to the end of the room, with the phone at my ear, and Frankie standing in the door.
- Elisabeth, what is going on? What is this?
- I have no time to explain to you, just trust me on this, okay?
- Will you explain later?
I sigh loudly, and Aaron’s phone reaches voicemail. I turn on the monitors, and I wait impatiently for them to turn on. We have approximately two minutes before whoever was in the elevator is arriving. I start talking to Aaron’s voicemail.
- Hey Aaron it’s me. Call me, someone’s coming.
I hang up, and walk over to the shelf with the weapons. I take a pistol, and the silencer which belongs to it. I screw it on, and Frankie is standing in the door with wide eyes.
- Elisabeth, what the hell is going on!
She looks scared, her hands are shaking, and she’s panicking. I walk over to her, and look her in the eyes.
- Trust me, okay? Hide in the bedroom under the bed, and don’t come out until I get there, okay?
She nods, and hesitates for a moment, then runs off.
I walk to the monitors again, and they have booted up. I look at the screens, trying to locate the elevator. I see five men, all heavily armed with weapons, and it runs cold down my spine.
I walk to the end of the room, standing by the door, and I turn off the lights. I grab a flashlight, and I close the door behind me. I walk down the entrance hall, with the flashlight between my teeth, my feet hastily touching the floor and releasing it again. I hide behind the wall which goes between the living room and the entrance hall, and just as I do, I hear the ‘pling’ sound. I made it. I take a deep breath, and take the gun in my hands, holding it close.
I hear heavy boots touch the floor, several of them, indicating that the several men are entering the flat. I look at the shadows on the wall, being cast from the light from the elevator, and I keep an eye for the first one appearing.
- Okay, you know what to do. Find the girls, knock them unconscious, and get out of here. It shouldn’t be too hard, we have a maximum of 7 minutes. Go.
The men nod, and they all come closer. I move around the corner of the wall, into the living room, and I lie down flat on the floor behind the sofa, just far out enough for me to be able to see around the corner of it. I see one of the men entering the living room, and he’s walking slowly, holding his machinegun up high, aiming. I observe him as he walks around the living room, but he doesn’t come by the sofas. At least, not just yet. One of the four men went upstairs to look for us, and the three others went down the hallway to check the other rooms. I stand up, assuring that the man went into the kitchen, and I follow him.
I raise the gun up high, with my finger ready on the trigger. I feel the heaviness of the gun, and the power of it as well. I walk out into the kitchen, and I see him standing on the balcony, with his back to the kitchen window. I slowly approach him, and I consider the possibility of shooting him through the glass, but that would make too much noise. If I wish to assure that he’s not going to call the others, I have to kill him. Eventually throw him off the balcony.
I walk carefully towards the door, and I see him smoking. I aim the gun at his head.
- Drop your weapon.
He freezes, and turns around.
- I said drop your weapon.
He hesitates for a second, and then he puts it on the table next to him.
- Very good, now, tell me who you’re working for.
He laughs slightly.
- Why would I say that? I’d rather die than tell such a brat like you who I’m working for.
I hesitate for a second, considering my options. I can’t start yelling, acting as though a bigger threat than I possibly am, because that would alert the others. I can’t shoot him in the leg either, his scream would be too loud. If I don’t shoot him, he’ll kill me. The only option is, to kill him.
I position myself a little better, and then I take a careful aim between his eyes.
- If that’s what you wish for.
Everything turns into slowmotion in the second I finish that sentence. Everything becomes a blur. He extends his arm for my gun, and I pull the trigger, sending a bullet into his skull. I regret the action in the second I pull the trigger, but it’s already too late. The bullet has a too high velocity for me to stop it, and I gasp in surprise. The man moans slightly as the bullet hits him, and then his body falls heavy to the balcony floor.
I stand there looking at his corpse for a second. I’m not sure what to do with him. Whether I should push him out over the balcony or not, but in the end I decide for his corpse to stay there, at least for a short while.
I walk inside again, realising how cold my feet are, but the adrenaline in my body keeps pushing me. I just killed a man. The tears run down my cheeks, but then I realise, that this is for the sake of my, and Frankie’s safety. I give a slight thank you to Aaron for having persuaded me into having those practise classes. I round the corner of the kitchen, and stand with my back to the wall between the living room and the entrance hall again.
The man upstairs has finished the search for us, but there is no sign from the three remaining men. I hear the heavy boots against the wooden staircase, and I take a breath. I turn around the corner, with the gun in front of me, aimed at the man’s head. He pauses for a second, realising what the situation is, and I fire the gun. I fire several bullets, but the silencer keeps it just low enough for it to be not too alarming. At least the three remaining soldiers aren’t coming out in the second I fire.
He falls to the ground, I made a clean shot right at his throat, and the blood is pooling out from the hole. He falls to the floor with a loud ‘thump’, which I am sure the other guards heard. What follows confirmed that theory.
- What was that?
I scoot over to the other wall, so that they won’t see me as they run out into the entrance hall. Two of the men approach the one whom I just killed.
- What happened here?
- Isn’t it obvious? They are armed, and they just killed Ferguson.
I approach the end of the wall, and I walk forward, aiming my gun at the one to the left, the one who is still standing up. The other one would have to stand up to make a clean shot at me, which would give me just enough time to fire a bullet into him.
I shoot the man who’s standing up, the plan working as it should, and the man who’s bending over the dead soldier looks around confused as he hears the clicking noise from the silenced gun I carry. The adrenaline is pumping hard through my veins, and I feel my body tighten by the recoil from the gun. But just as I am about to fire the last bullet I have into the remaining soldier, he throws a knife at me, which slices my arm, leaving a deep cut. I moan in pain, and I launch myself at the guy, with my gun raised to hit him in the face. But it’s too late, the man has avoided my attack, and hits me hard in the back.
I kick myself up from the floor, and I prepare my fists to defend myself, but just as I’m about to throw a fist at him, I feel a cold barrel of a gun right above my ear.
- You will not do that, or it’s going to hurt your little friend here.
I turn my head, still having my fists ready to fight the men off, but then I see the man who’s holding the gun to my head having his arm around Frankie’s neck. I drop my fists and take a step back to put a distance between the man and I.
- Who are you?
I’m surprised how calm my voice sounds, but I’m giving the guess that it’s only due to the adrenaline in my body that I’m not trembling or falling to the floor.
- Elisabeth, help me.
Frankie is pleading, having her hands on the man’s arm, tears running down her face.
- I ask you again, who are you?
I look intensely at the man, trying to imitate Aaron’s cold behaviour.
- We are people who are just looking for a… Friend of ours. And it seems that you’re in his apartment, which is indeed very odd. This was supposed to be a calm evening, but since you just killed two of my friends here, this will not be a very pleasant memory to grow older with.
I can’t help but burst into laughter.
- Count it three men you’re missing.
He looks confused for a second, but then he smiles at me.
- Very well, I believe that you and I could have been great friends if it wasn’t the case that you’re defending the wrong side.
- I’m certainly not defending anyone but myself and my friend who has nothing to do with the case, other than the fact that she is my friend. Let her go, and we could go grab a coffee in the kitchen.
The man smiles. He’s an older man, certainly not in his best days. He has grey hair, and a milder case of wrinkles in his face. Despite this fact, he seems fit and it looks as though he’s doing agency work, just as Aaron is.
- So arrogant, so charming, yet such a shame you’re so damned annoying.
- Elisabeth, please, help me.
My phone vibrates in my pocket.
- I’m sorry gentlemen, but I have to pick up this one.
- Give me the phone.
I hesitate for a second, but realise that I have no choice. The man puts the gun in its holster on his thigh, and the other soldier aims his weapon at me. I press ‘answer’, and hand the phone to the man.
- No, this is not Elisabeth. I am in your apartment Mr. Sanders, and I’m afraid that your little whore has killed 3 of my men, and she’ll have to pay for that, and you will certainly too. See that will be you and the little whore’s problem to solve.
He hangs up, and he smiles, flashing a set of crooked teeth.
- We’re done here.
I stand there, and the man walks towards me, walking directly up to my face.
- You see, I could kill you, right here, now. But I won’t. Why you might question yourself, but I can tell you that I do not do things simple like that. You will have to suffer, and so will your little friend here.
He walks past me, leaving me standing there with the memory of the smell of his breath, which resembled incredibly much like that of a dead man’s. The other soldier walks over to me, raises his gun over his head, and the butt of it races towards my head. I feel it hitting me hard, and everything goes black.