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Contemporary Drama

Just do it. I urged myself, the gun shaking uneasily in my hand.

Do it and get it over with.

He looked so peaceful lying there, unaware of the death sentence pointed at his head. I had to do it. I had to complete the assignment.

You can’t let your feelings get in the way.

What feelings? I can’t have feelings. Not for a target, not for anyone. If Z knew…

Com’on, just point and shoot.

I cocked the hammer.

In a second it will all be over with.

As if in slow motion, my finger found the trigger, and pulled.

24 Hours Earlier:

I strode into Z’s office, ready for whatever job she had lined up for me.

“Miss Turner,” Z greeted and gestured for me to sit down. I plopped into one of the chairs sitting in front of her desk and turned her. Z touched the screen of the enormous TV mounted on the wall, and it jumped to life.

“Your next assignment is a classified S&K,” she said. Seduce and Kill. My favorite.

“Your target,” Z touched the picture of a man in his late twenties, and his profile popped up. “28 year old Issac Klein, wanted drugs and arms dealer. Your job is to find out where his stores are, his seller, and then to eliminate him.”

I nodded and picked at my teeth, studying his picture. He was a good-looking guy, typical brown hair, a stubble beard, hazel eyes, not too hard to pick out in a crowd.

“Where is he?” I jutted my head at the screen.

“Our sources have tracked him to the Red Lounge Casino. A weekend excursion.” Z rolled her eyes. Fun wasn’t in her vocabulary. “We have a car for you leaving in five hours. You’ll get there at seven and find him on the gambling floor, you know what to do then.”

“Alrighty,” I hoisted myself out of the chair and started for the door.

“Kay,” Z stopped me, using my first name as she rarely did. “Good luck.”

What she really meant was ‘don’t fail me’. As if I would ever.

I was recruited into S.A.I.D. when I was fourteen years old. Spy, Assassin, and Intelligence Division. By seventeen, I’d earned my guns, and was elevated to assassin. As one of Z’s favorite agents, life, was never dull.

Z was the head of S.A.I.D., and nobody knew anything about her other than the year she was hired. Both her name and age were secret, and if she caught you guessing...well, you don’t want to know.

I rode the elevator down to Sublevel Five to get ready for my assignment. Obviously, I couldn’t go walking around in a black spandex jumpsuit with a gun holster on my waist, so we had an entire wardrobe team ready to dress us according to our mission.

One of my friends, Sophie, worked in wardrobe. She took me back and sat me down in a stylist’s chair, already playing with my hair.

“Where are you going now?” she asked, starting to wash my hair in the sink.

“Red Lounge Casino,” I told her.

“Classified?”

“S&K.”

Sophie grinned. She toweled my hair dry and began brushing it, pulling at my scalp.

“Okay,” she said to herself. “Let’s go simple ponytail, glittery makeup, red dress, heels. Maybe a wrap.”

Sophie pulled out a blow dryer and plugged it in.

“When are you leaving?” she shouted over the noise.

“Five hours,” I replied.

“Perfect! We’ll have more than enough time!”

Sophie finished blow drying my hair and brushed it again, pulling it into a slick, high ponytail. She secured it with hairspray and bobby pins before helping me into a robe and disappearing into the gargantuan closet. 

She came back with a tight, sexy, backless red dress with a slit down the thigh. I raised my eyebrows questioningly before allowing her to put it on. 

She did my makeup with a golden glitter tone, and placed strappy red sandals on the ground by my feet. I slid them on begrudgingly, she knew I hated strappy heels.

“What do you think? Silver or gold wrap?” Sophie asked me, holding up the two different pieces of fabric.

“Gold,” I assured her. “I want to get this over with as soon as possible.”

“Ooh,” Sophie shimmed her shoulders.

“Shut up,” I responded playfully, and stood up to leave.

“Wait!” Sophie grabbed my arm and spun me around to face her. She clipped a light golden pendant around my neck.

“There, now you’re perfect.”

Two hours later, I was standing in front of the spotlight-illuminated Red Lounge Casino. I gave a nod to the driver, who closed the door and weaved the car down the drive and out of sight.

The inside was bedecked in red, gold, black, and white. The marble pillars touched the high ceilings from which crystal chandeliers hung. I started gliding around, checking all of the tables until I spotted Klein sitting in a silver suit at the bar. I sighed and straightened my back, transforming fluently into Vanessa Hall, my cover identity.

“One martini please, extra dry.” I told the bartender, leaning on the counter and letting my wrap fall down my back a little, revealing more skin. I felt Klein’s eyes on me. Excellent. I delicately sat down on the velvet barstool and took my drink graciously.

“You here alone?” Klein asked me. I pretended to notice him, startled.

“Yes,” I replied, and gave him an award-winning smile.

“A lady should never drink alone,” he grinned and scooted a bit closer to me. I fingered the gun holster strapped to my thigh, hidden underneath my dress.

“And who’s going to accompany me? You?”

“It would be my genuine pleasure.” Issac put his hand on top of mine. His touch sent shivers down my spine. An unfamiliar feeling flooded my body and my heart fluttered.

What the hell is wrong with me?! Snap out of it! Focus on the mission!

I shook my head, trying to disperse the thoughts building in my mind.

“What’s your name?” Issac requested, finishing off his drink.

“Vanessa. Hall.” I replied choppily.

“I’m Issac. Klein.” Issac copied me, grinning. He stood up and offered me his arm.

“Would you like to join me at the tables?”

“Of course,” I plastered a smile on my face, linking my arm with his.

Issac escorted me to a poker table near the back. I set down my martini and reached into the golden snapclutch to get some bills, but Issac waved me off. He placed a few neatly-folded bills on the table, and the dealer slid the chips over towards us.

Such a gentleman. I thought. Wait...am I getting feelings for him? I can’t do that. He’s a target, not a date.

The dealer dealt the cards and Issac nudged my elbow, popping me out of my daydream, before falling back into it once more.

Okay, list all of the bad stuff about him. He’s a drugs and arms dealer, he’s a target, he’s sickeningly charming, his soft, brown hair, his warm eyes…

 I played absentmindedly. I couldn’t focus on the game, and I think Issac noticed.

“Do you not want to play?” he leaned over and asked me while the dealer shuffled the cards.

“It’s not that, I’m just a little distracted.” I mumbled. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks.

Oh my god. I like him. Maybe? No. Love him.

The dealer looked to us, waiting for our bet, but Issac shook his head. Instead, he took me by the arm and led me into the empty elevator bank.

“Are you okay?” Issac demanded, genuine concern in his eyes.

“Yeah,” I trembled slightly. “I’m fine. I’m fine.”

It felt like I was reassuring myself more than him. My lower lip quivered before I fell forward and kissed him. I felt his stunned face jerk in surprise, then relax. He put his hand behind my head and pulled it towards his, jamming the elevator button with his thumb.

I felt like flying. I had done this before for other missions, but this was different. Special. Real.

This is what love feels like, and I love it.

I woke up and stared at the alarm on the nightstand. 2 o’clock. I shifted my weight on the bed and rolled over to look at Issac. He was fast asleep, his smooth, tan skin shining in the moonlight cast from the window. 

My gun was in reach off the side of the bed from when I had hastily unstrapped it as Issac’s hand had traced up my thigh.

I clutched the sheets to my chest and tiptoed across the room to where my dress had been discarded earlier. I slipped it back on and picked up my gun, taking it out of the holster and weighing it in my hand. I sat down in the chair in the corner, letting the moonlight wash over me as the thoughts in my mind raced.

“‘Kay,’ Z stopped me, using my first name as she rarely did. ‘Good luck.’

What she really meant was ‘don’t fail me’. As if I would ever.”

It all felt so long ago, like it was years and not mere hours before.

“‘don’t fail me’. As if I would ever.”

I stood up and for an instant, my training took over. I aimed my gun and felt the power rushing through my fingers. Then my feelings swarmed back, and clashed with my training in a violent inner battle of brain versus heart.

Just do it. I urged myself, the gun shaking uneasily in my hand.

Do it and get it over with.

He looked so peaceful lying there, unaware of the death sentence pointed at his head. I had to do it. I had to complete the assignment.

You can’t let your feelings get in the way.

What feelings? I can’t have feelings. Not for a target, not for anyone. If Z knew…

Com’on, just point and shoot.

I cocked the hammer.

In a second it will all be over with.

As if in slow motion, my finger found the trigger, and pulled.

The shot echoed around the room, and Issac woke with a torturous, screaming start. Blood poured from the wound in his foot, soaking the blankets and pooling onto the floor. His agonized eyes found mine and pain turned to confusion.

“Vanessa?” Issac said, his hurt voice tearing a hole in my heart.

“My name isn’t Vanessa.” I declared, tears building in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks. “It’s Kay. Kay Turner. I’m with S.A.I.D. I was sent to eliminate you. You need to get out of here now.”

“Why didn’t you?” Issac asked, his hurt tone being replaced with betrayal and disgust.

I paused and lowered the gun.

Why didn’t I kill him?

“Because…” I stuttered. I didn’t know how to put it. “It doesn’t matter. All that does is that you need to get out of here now. There are agents waiting around the block to move your dead body, and they’re going to be pretty disappointed when it’s not here.”

Issac understood the urgency in my expression, and limped to get his shirt and pants on. I dropped the gun on the bed and rushed to help him. He tugged his arm away when I tried to sling it around my neck. His face said it all.

I ran to my clutch and drew out the money I had packed. I thrust it into Issac’s hands and he looked up.

“Vanes-I mean Kay,” he said. “I don’t need-”

I stopped him.

“Just take it.”

He didn’t protest. Instead, he glanced at me and tucked it into his pocket. Issac jammed his foot, which was wrapped in a washcloth, into his shoe, and started for the door.

“Wait!” I cried, and Issac paused, balancing himself on his good foot. He stared at me intently, expectantly. My heart melted as I pressed his face to mine. His cold, hard lips so different from the warm, soft ones from earlier.

“That’s why I didn’t kill you,” I whispered, searching his eyes.

“Kay…” Issac started, but I stopped him, lifting the gun off the bed and clasping it against his chest. His gaze turned from my face to the gun in my hand, and he took it gently.

“Kay.” Issac’s tone became more serious.

“No,” I responded, and stepped back. “Do it, or else they’ll suspect something.”

The gun twitched in his hand as he raised it and took aim. I knew how it felt to pull a gun on someone you love. Or loved.

Issac flinched as the bullet made contact with my shoulder and I crumpled onto the floor. I grunted but didn’t scream. I covered my shoulder with my hand and looked up at Issac.

“Go.” I told him. He hesitated. “I’m fine. Really. Just go. Please.”

He glanced back only once as he threw open the door and raced down the hallway. I crouched alone in the chaotic room, calling after him quietly, and saying for the first time in my life,

“I love you.”

November 09, 2020 18:12

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