Gabriel sat staring at her on the other side of the carriage. They were facing each other silently. Her eyes were closed. Gabriel remembered when they were little kids. Vivian was different then. He stared at her face, at the cheekbones that were now visible and how she was much thinner. As a child she was always so compatible, so compassionate and her besetting sin was her confidence. He had fond memories of the little girl who would sneak up behind him and pull his hair. Then he had chased her. She was a fast child and her mother was always disapproving, but she didn’t really care. They were in the country side. The middle of nowhere. No neighbors disapproving. He remembered her shouts of glee as they ran- she was a fast tyke. It would take him ages to catch her and when he did it was always when she would hide behind a tree to take a breather. He would begin to tickle her. Her giggle had been pleasant . he was only two years older than her but her felt much older. And at age 19 he had already witnessed what many people would never see in their lifetimes so many times. Her drifted back to another memory.
He had been 10 and she had been 8. They were walking in a stream. He remembered as she leaned down into the water- letting the rose colored dress she had been wearing get wet. As she stood up again she turned around to show him. Her small pale hands were together as she held something. He had to blink many times to fully grasp what he saw. A frog. A multicolored one with a hole in its stomach and its intestines pouring out. He had stared in horror at it and than he looked at her face. It had been tear-streaked. He picked the frog up out of her hands leaving them cusped and dropped the frog in a nearby bush. Than he went back to her and held her hands and bent down to wash the blood and guts from her hands and his. She was still crying and it hurt him. Seeing her like that.
To take her mind off of the frog he had taken her to the meadow and sat her down in the grass and taught her how to make a crown out of daisies. Her mother had gotten so mad when Vivian had returned to the house, covered in dirt and flowers and mud, but Gabriel reminded himself to think positively about her. She was the only reason they were going through the whole ordeal.
The first letter had come six years, two months, twenty one days and a half ago. Vivian’s mother had wet up to visit Vivian’s older brother, Wallace leaving Vivian at her aunt’s house- who was Gabriel’s mother’s house in the countryside. Wallace had been 30 years old and was celebrating his fourth anniversary to his wife Harla. Her mother had gone up but never came back down. A week after she was supposed to be back a letter came instead. At only age eleven Vivian was excited to receive a letter addressed to her (finally) and she had ripped it open eagerly.
Gabriel had watched her as her face fell and tears ran down it and more poured out of her eyes. She had read it over and over and over again and when she finally let Gabriel see it hours later he had gasped when he had read it and himself had found tears gathering to his eyes. Of course he’d never let them loose but still. By the looks of it, it was a normal letter- nicely written, black ink. When looked at closely it bared no splots of ink, no name, no return address(that person must have been fairly confident that it would reach its destination) and no date. The letter read:
Ms.Vivian Bliss. I have your family. If you don’t want any harm to come to them than you better read this carefully. Under that large oak tree on the road called St. Vnce there will be a package. It will have all the information you need- at midnight. If I see that you have not done what is asked your mother shall suffer.
It had ended at that. That night Gabriel made sure she didn’t go by forcing her to sleep in his bed so he could monitor her. He didn’t trust the letter.
The next day a bottle of blood appeared in the mail. It was around 3 inches tall and was topped by a cork. It was a round bottle and it had a half inch wide purple paper wrapped around it only saying a dreadfully haunting note that simply read ‘hello’ in the flawless cursive.
That night she snuck out. She went to receive the package. Inside was a pair of daggers with smooth wooden handles- her first of many to come and a packet. The next night reckless Vivian slit Duke Damian of Perla’s throat.
No one aside from Gabriel and Vivian knew who did it. Gabriel’s mother was having a party and the duke was there. She must’ve snuck up and slit it noiselessly because Gabriel remembered his 13 year old self hearing a gasp and a thump as the duke fell. His eyes were cloudy and his head nearly falling off his neck. He remembered the blood that puddled around him and how he never even saw Vivian get close to him to do it. No one had moved until the police came. No one knew who had done it. But Gabriel had known one definite thing. Vivian was an assassin.
Gabriel shifted into the real world from his memories. She was slipping two now rough handled daggers into her boots. The ones she had for six years. It made Gabriel oddly happy.
Vivian was still annoyed at Gabriel when their carriage stopped. They were in the back of the line of carriages. Vivian leaned towards Gabriel, her head in her hands which were connected to her arms which were leaning on her legs.
“Listen” she said “ Im Vivian Bliss and your you. Your my…” She stopped looking up at him eyebrows raised
“Your my fiancé and we live in…” She stopped once more to look up at him with the eyebrows.
“Out of town.” Gabriel said not really wanting to elaborate.
“Were from out of town. Okay. Good…” Her voice had dazed off as she was pinching her cheeks for color and biting her lips. Their carriage stopped finally. The door was opened by thin arms. Edmin- the stable boy. Gabriel hopped out first and held his arm out to her. She grabbed it and slowly, like the other ladies gracefully left the carriage. Gabriel quickly murmured a few words to Edmin and he shut the door, and climbed up to the reigns- all elbows and knees that kid was. He was getting more food Vivian set a mental reminder to herself.
Arm in arm they made their way up the carpet cladded steps and into the large dance hall
“ready?” Gabriel whispered to her. She nodded and put on her best fake smile, which turned out to be better than her real smile which was all secretive and sensual and the fake one was joy and romance. Gabriel put one on himself and they made their way to the dance floor. Where they began to slowly dance. When they were close enough for no one to really notice both of them dropped their facades and grimaced.
“Why’d you have to pick fiancé?” She whispered
“You would have had to dance with me either way.”
“But this makes it awkward.”
“It wasn’t awkward last time.”
“Because last time it was necessary.” She hissed clearly angry. “It was a couples party and the whole time everyone was angry at each other! And it was months Ago!”
“Why does it actually bother you so much?”
“Because I forgot that we have to make these dances romantic.”
“And that bothers you?”
“Because you are my cousin. My best-only friend. Its awkward.”
“Could be worse.” Gabriel said optimistically. Vivian scowled. Gabriel smiled at that little accomplishment .
The song ended and everyone went to the punch. They followed. Hovering close to each other like a couple, but the space between them had no warmth. Vivian had spotted her victim. A man named Sir James Gallifeld. He was nearly middle aged and he was a wiry man with by the looks of it no muscles. He had a very distinct tan mustache above his lip that moved whenever he spoke. It looked like a fluffy sideways bracket. Vivian shivered and Gabriel looked disgusted at the man as he tried to assault the girl he was with. The brown haired girl finally stomped on his foot and walked off leaving him alone. Wonderful.
Vivian left Gabriel for him. Another song started. A slow one with a moaning violin. She pushed her way past a few people and stood in front of her victim. A glass managed to float into her hands. A glass of cider colored champagne as Sir James noticed her. She saw his pathetic tongue lick his thin lips. Vivian’s hand made a fist in one of the crevice’s of her dress and she clenched it. She took a sip of her drink and it tasted…different. Vivian wasn’t really a fan of fuzzy drinks buts she had enough of them that didn’t taste like that. What was that taste… She tried to think but her thoughts were interrupted when Sir James tried his very best smile which looked like a worm and began to speak in a high pitched voice. Right in the middle of his asking her to dance he realized something and his voice suddenly became exaggeratedly low. Vivian put on her best dazzling smile. She didn’t have time to utter a word before the weasel took her hands in his sweaty ones and began to pull her around as in a dance. Except he wasn’t dancing. He was jumping up in the air, spinning in circles while the whole time lifting his knees to his chest. When the song ended Vivian leaned down as in tying her shoe or straightening something and pulled one of her daggers out of her boot.
She quickly tucked it away in her sleeve and stood up again as the next song began. As she expected him to dance again instead Sir James pulled her to the side and Vivian could see Gabriel leaning against a wall on the opposite side of the room glaring at them. Sir James than looked around and spotted Gabriel and took her on the balcony outside. The night sky was still dark blue and the air was crisp. She could see her breath. Sir James suddenly grabbed her arms and pinned her to the white ledge. He pressed himself against her and began to sing opera. His high weasel-ly voice came back and Vivian winced as he reached a high note. Suddenly she knew it was time. Her fingers dipped inside her sleeve and pulled her dagger out slowly. In one movement she slit his neck and he wordlessly died. She menacingly whispered over his corpse “You are not as beautiful as you thought. Beauty comes from your heart and you sir, have none.” Then she easily tossed his weak body into the bushes and checked herself to spot for blood than went inside-the dagger which was coated in blood, was stuck in her hair, where she decided she would wash as soon as she made it to a bath. From the other side of the room Gabriel met her eye and nodded.
He met her in the middle of the room and the hand in hand as one of those couples, walked out. They found Edmin where Vivian guessed. On top of the carriage. He was lying up there. That boy must never stop climbing thought Vivian. He slid down the carriage and Vivian opened to door, feeling oddly sick and she collapsed on her side of the carriage. Gabriel hopped in after her and sat too. Vivian held her eyes closed hoping that it was only passing, but so far it wasn’t. She felt sweat break out on her skin and her insides felt of metal- cold and cool and sharp.
Suddenly Gabriel, who must’ve been looking somewhere else gasped. She suddenly heard a slight lurch as he sort of flung himself at her and felt her forehead. Her cheeks. Her pulse in her wrist. She suddenly felt something sour rising up her throat. Bile. She scrambled and pushed Gabriel away and he fell with a thunk in his seat and Vivian suddenly pushed open and window and vomited. She vomited again and again all the way to Gabriel’s house. He held her hair back and patted her back as she let everything inside of her loose.