Half an hour of staring at a blank page and she was still no closer to knowing what to write to him. Notes hadn’t worked for them in the past, either. They’d struggled through a year of changes in their volatile relationship before she could admit to him how she truly felt. A letter was the limit of her courage. A letter she’d placed a lot of hope into and he had later crumpled and tossed to the floor.
She now saw that as a turning point. The opportunity to leave that she didn’t take. What if she had?
He was no different from her in so many ways. Too-similar personalities and constant miscommunication were destroying their marriage. She loved him, craved him more than any man she’d ever met. The intensity of their passion kept them coming back to each other for more.
Why didn’t she kill him when she had the chance?
After six months of following, she knew him very well. Where he went during the day, where he lived, the bars he frequented, the women he dated and on what nights; she knew it all.
She had mixed feelings about the way he charmed women. He enjoyed them and respected them, but they were always temporary. He had a definite style and the women played right into his hands every time. She admired his confidence.
That was how it began.
She’d started to focus on him as a man as much as the arms-dealing target she was paid to execute. The confidence in him was only the beginning. His feral charm called to the darker, more sexual side of her nature. Dangerous and persuasive, he was a man who could bend others to his will. The first time she’d seen him gun down arms traders who’d tried to overtake him, every sense in her body ached to posses him.
She’d crept into the warehouse to watch the trade. The last, she had decided, that he would make. By that night, she’d convinced herself that she was too personally involved. She needed to focus and do her job. He had to die.
Poised behind a stack of crates, her weapon was expertly aimed at his head. Her patience lasted through the entire conversation between the two men. The receiving dealer played down the value of the weapons and declared the smaller amount he was willing to pay. Negotiations went downhill fast. Hands twitched around weapons.
By the slight twitch in his eye, she knew he was about to make his move. In a matter of moments he had gunned down every opposing man. All that remained were his men and the glance he was casting towards the catwalk where she was hidden.
One of his men was quickly and quietly closing in on her hiding place. She didn’t believe it possible that she’d been seen. But she wouldn’t take the chance. She slipped a blade from its sheath and waited for him to come within reach.
She stilled her movements and watched as he moved close enough for her to see the worn leather of his steel-toed boots step within reach…and then turn.
She held her sigh of relief until she heard her target and all of his men clearing out of the building. She’d shifted enough to watch him glance once more before leaving. It was then that she realized she hadn’t executed him. A year after their marriage and she still couldn’t explain why.
She reached over to pick up his sketchbook from the desk. Flipping through it, she saw drawings that told the story of their life together. Their marriage in the old chapel, the trip to Provence, her holding the puppy he had given her as an engagement gift.
She stopped on the first sketch he did of her. Dressed in dark clothes, her hair tied back, she was in position at a window and moments away from squeezing the trigger on one of her targets.
Their time together was nothing near normal. Two killers determined to have power, passion, and their own separate lives without ever admitting to true feelings. Dating and romance were for conventional couples.
Marriage was changing all of that. They were both trying to fight it and adapt to it at the same time. Despite all of the arguing, they wanted to be together, they needed it.
Her thumb traced over her wedding band. She missed their first nights together in her apartment; walking in and finding his hat and coat tossed onto a chair, seeing him relaxed in her place as though she and it belonged to him. She liked the feeling. It was the same delicious feeling of passion and possession when his hands were on her body. Even in the middle of a fight, she craved him. Without him, she couldn't think, eat, or sleep. She was physically weakened without his presence. That was a reason she hadn’t killed him.
She loved him.
She slipped the ring back onto her finger then went to find him.