Gabriel never thought of her mail. The next day when she woke up at the touch of dawn she realized that she missed the previous day’s letter and she slowly hobbled to her feet and made her way to the mail. Inside was a bottle much like the one she received six years ago. Exactly like the bottle six years ago. From that point all those years ago she had never missed a letter. Except for now. She looked at the blood that swished around in the bottle and she fell to her knees in the dirt and screamed.
Gabriel found her hours later. She was kneeling in the dirt and she had something grasped in her hand. He pulled it loose and gasped.
“No.” She replied stone like. She looked up in his green eyes . Her stormy ones seemed to howl in pain. A literal storm appeared in her eyes. Water seemed to battle its way out but she wasn’t letting it win. She sat up a while later, and sat on her knees. Her eyes flashed dangerously as she got to her feet and disturbed poor Gabriel’s drawing that he decided to call ‘Pain’.
In most of his drawings she was his model. She never posed- no one did he didn’t like having people pose. It made him feel awkward. He would always plop down and draw whatever was in front of him which happened to be Vivian. Oftenly Vivian. Mostly Vivian. And she knew and didn’t really care. He supposed she just thought that she thought that he put up with all her crap so she should put up with his drawing hobby. More than once she had suggested he do it professionally. He had thought about that over and over again. He had never answered though he could feel the weight of the question upon his shoulders. His life of his cousins? Both to him had the same equality. He cared for his cousin long before he had cared for himself. But….
He unthinkingly stared at Vivian as she walked away from him.
A second later his mind came back to focus. She was gone and a few feet ahead of him on the grass was shattered glass and blood. She had thrown it down in anger and now where was she? He looked around. He walked over to the stables and asked the Stable boy, Edmin,
“Have you seen….”
“Gone.” He replied in a high pitched voice. “She left with Buttercup.” One of the horses. Lovely. If he went out searching for her he’d be gone all year. It was best to wait. He made his way inside for breakfast-or lunch depending on the time.
Vivian rode fast and hard. Her thighs hurt a bit from the rubbing but she didn’t really care. She had to do what she was told. She ducked a branch in the forest and rode hard.
She came home hours later. Gabriel was just getting up from dinner when she came in, dirty and scraped. He rushed her out of the room before anyone could see or say anything.
She sat in a now warm bath. Her legs were pulled up to her chest as she told her latest murder story. She had to kill a lady this time. She was in the woods. With a guard or two…or seven and they had gotten at her. No big deal.
He was mixing up and putting together a few bandages and salves. Her whole forehead seemed to be cut because she said she was thrown in a prickle bush and her hands were cut up from the ground. Her black hair was draped over her shoulders and her chin was between her knees. Her stormy eyes were closed as she told the whole ordeal. Nearly and hour later after she was all bandaged and fed up she announced that she was sleeping in the woods. Gabriel knew that if he tried to barge in and get up close with her he would just be getting farther apart and so he let her go without a question.
Vivian ran In through the woods in her jacket and thin shirt and pants. She dodged trees counting her steps and breaths and she slowed down as she saw a hint of a fire. She hid behind a tree as she watched a man walk around the fire. He was alone in company and he had set up a mini campsite. There was a homemade tent which was a string stung between two trees and a few feet of fabric over it. And on the other side was a hammock. It was a nice roaring fire in the middle of the site and Vivian could feel the heat from here. The man turned his back to her counting something and then she made her move.
She began to sprint at the mans back and suddenly at the last moment she jumped at his back and wrapped her arms around his neck. He didn’t seem at all alarmed. Instead he turned his head towards her which was resting on his shoulder and gave her cheek a little kiss.
A few minutes later they were sitting side by side by the fire. She telling her murder stories and he listening. He rested his head on her shoulder. Once she was finished her newest story they sat silent staring at the fire. He was toying with her fingers and she was glaring into the fire.
“Just say it. I know its there.” He said to her.
“A vial of blood.” She said her voice cracking “It was her blood. A whole bottle. All my fault. I caused her pain. Just because of one day...” Her face held a look of pure pain and torture.
“I don’t think it was actually her blood.” Rory said.
“Do you think I’m stupid? I know she’s probably long gone but…”
“Don’t say that. She still might be alive.” He pointed out
“And she still might be dead.”
“And yet you still do it.” He said. Wonder and amazement in his voice. They paused for a moment ‘But I still caused someone pain. Even if it wasn’t my mother.”
“But you were poisoned. Injured. Even if you had gotten up to kill someone you would still get that bottle of blood. Why? Because my dear you are not made of iron. You are not invincible. Even I need rest and you know me- strong, perfect, ladies man…” She hit him lightly in the arm. He smiled than his face turned serious again “Either way you would of gotten that bottle. It was better that you lied down all day than waste your energy getting up from bed. He got up to grab a few sticks for the fire. She felt her warmth vanish as he got up from her side. She protested looking over at her lover. He quickly sat down again, picking up her hand again with one of his.
He was staring at her with his rumpled brown hair and blue eyes, calculating what he was going to say to help her. Instead he said nothing. He wrapped a strand of her hair around his finger. His eyes glistened in the firelight. The night was chilly. The ruthless assassin who killed without hesitation and thought for the ones she loved stared over at the poor farmers son artist who (In her opinion was the best. Even though Gabriel was pretty good Rory was the best of them all) was kind and thoughtful and everything she wasn’t and they pulled together as if a force had pushed them to each other.
When she awoke the next morning her lips were chapped and he was staring at her. She was laying on his shoulder and he was smiling down at her. He pulled her face towards his and kissed her forehead. Vivian smiled and thought how this being, this wonderful, wise being was hers. Rory suddenly broke the moment when he asked “What will you tell your cousin Gabriel?” and began to trace little patterns on her shoulder with his ink stained hands.
“Nothing.” She replied. She had met Rory when Gabriel had left and they had grown to each other quickly. While Gabriel was away he was her go to man. He was way to wise beyond his years but she supposed that was good for a compulsive being. A crunching of leaves brought her out of her thoughts and when they heard another crunch they both shot up. A few moments later they were both dressed and all packed up. Vivian had scanned the area and no one was there( it must’ve been an animal) and Vivian was now in Rory’s arms. She was leaning against him and his hands were on her, pulling her closer. He looked down at her fondly. He was taller than she- and she was tall. She intertwined her fingers through his knotted and wild hair and pulled her face to his.
They parted each other after a quick goodbye kiss a while later and Vivian ran back through the woods to Gabriel. She gave a short little secretive smile as she exited the woods. She had a secret. The assassin that could keep a secret was always the better one. So far she wasn’t good at that. The whole tell no one? She had already told 2 people which was 2 more than she was supposed to tell. She flung open the door knowing barely anyone would be awake. It was before noon. Gabriel was a afternoon waker and her aunt woke at around 5. In the afternoon. The Horn’s were odd people. Vivian licked her chapped lips and made her way- as quietly as possible- to her room where she lay on her bed and just sunk in. She was tired from the night before but she was also wide awake. Rory seemed to make her doubt herself. He seemed to make her feel electric and tired at the same time. Her soul was on fire in a body of ice.
The ice won and she fell asleep. She dreamed of blood and Rory and it was a nightmare as she ran from the blood with Rory and Gabriel. When she woke Gabriel was standing by her with a letter in his hand extended to her and dropped it on her bed. Rory was standing next to him. The first thing said was said by Gabriel who said. “This is Rory. We are doing a drawing project together. He’ll be around a lot. Play nice.” There was extra malice to that word as if he expected her to slaughter him. But she wouldn’t. She watched Rory play cool and act as if he had never seen her before, talked to her before, and certainly not had sex with her before. His expression was hysterical. Gabriel noticed too but he said nothing. As soon as they left the room Vivian burst out laughing. She was going to enjoy this.
The next night she and Gabriel left the house on horseback. She had the letter in her hand. Usually the people she had to kill were just towns people. No fanciness like with the Duke of pervertedness who had spent all of his time in balls and parties. The place they were going now would take several hours to get there and it was the next night which left them a whole lot of time to dally off as they rode.