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Seeing Red

How to seduce a contract killer
There was something missing in my life. “What’s that, Blaine?”

“Oh nothing. I was just thinking that there’s something missing in my life.”

“Well there’s something missing in my life and that’s my 500.”

“500? I thought we’d agreed on 250?”

“Yeah. But that was before you did that thing with my ass. I won’t be able to have anal for a while, and you being such a reasonable kind of guy.” Millie gave me a lopsided grin to accompany her shrug. One thing that I wasn’t was reasonable.

And when I got unreasonable, people died.

I didn’t have a problem with killing people. It was something which came naturally, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Pull a trigger, someone dies. Move on.

No. Killing people had never been a problem for me. My problem was redheads. I had a soft spot for redheads. Redheads made me hard in the dick and soft in the head. And I had a particular problem with skinny redheads with nice tits who let me fuck them in the ass.

Millie was that kind of girl.

I’d met Millie shortly after I’d had a fight with her pimp. I say fight because at some point I scuffed my leathers. I was upset as those were genuine Italian. Millie’s pimp was upset because he was dead. The only one who wasn’t upset was Millie. She was annoyed.

“I don’t see the problem. Guy had it coming,” I said.

“Yeah but a girl alone don’t last long in this neighbourhood.” Thing was she was right. I might have killed her myself, just to make the hit nice and clean. But then I seen her reds.

“These natural reds?” I asked, taking a handful and pulling them into a better light. Millie stumbled along behind and ended on her knees.

“What’s it to you?”

“Life and death,” I said. I didn’t mention whose life was hanging in the balance. Didn’t feel it was necessary and I don’t like to waste words.

“They’re real.” My cock inflated. Natural reds? They felt hot in my fingers.

My cock felt hot in my pants.

“How much for a blow?”

“I charge 50 but he took 40,” Millie said, nodding across to the other stiff. I peeled off a 50 and gave it to Millie.

“Since you just gone freelance, you get to keep it all.” Millie gave me a queer look and I could see her calculator working.

“You going to kill me afterwards?”

“Not if you’re good.” Millie smiled, thinking it was a joke. Then she saw my face and realised it wasn’t.

I don’t like jokes. I don’t like killing either but at least killing pays the bills.

Millie became all serious. “I usually charge double to swallow.” You see what I mean about the internal calculator? Woman is sucking for her life and she’s thinking about screwing me for an extra 50.

I was liking Millie more and more. Even though the bitch had almost made me smile.

I hate smiling.

Millie was a glass-half-full kind of girl. Giving a blowjob to a guy who has just snuffed her pimp and she was planning for her future. Not smart, necessarily. But a hopeful kinda gal.

Millie saw my stony expression and hastily reverted back to our original deal. “But since you’re already giving me 50, it’s included.”

“Good to know.” I wanted to see what this redhead tramp was capable of. “Tits out too, please.” Millie's tits were perfect. The kind of tits a man wants to see his spunk sliding down. They were almost enough to make me change my mind about the swallowing.

Almost.

But definitely something for the future. Mental note.

Course, I didn’t tell Millie that she had a future. Not that I wanted to see how she performed under pressure. I just didn’t think to tell her. Gorgeous red about to blow me? Yeah, you know what I’m thinking.

“I give a pretty good blowjob,” Millie said, pulling down my zipper.

She wasn’t wrong.

Millie gave me the best blowjob of my life.

The woman had skills. There were things she did with that dirty whore mouth of hers that made my toes curl. And since that bullet bit me in Fallujah, that’s some doing.

Maybe it was that red hair knotted in my fingers. Maybe it was the fact that I liked Millie. But that blowjob was the best thing that had happened to me since prom night when Hannah Foster had let me finger her tight teenage snatch.

Hannah Foster being the only natural red in school.

I never got a suck or a fuck off Hannah Foster though. She was good enough with her hands but Hannah took the orgasms I gave her and fucked off to college while I joined up. While she partied, I ended-up getting shot to shit in Iraq.

Not that I’m bitter.

Perhaps Hannah Foster hadn’t given anyone a blowjob?

Yeah right.

Not like Millie here.

“So how was that?” she asked.

“Fucking amazing.” Millie grinned.

“Told you I was good.”

“Best I’ve ever had.”

“So you’re not going to kill me?” This time I did smile. See? Weakness.

Fucking redheads.

***** 


Millie became my ‘go to’ girl. If anything, my spunk dribbling down her tits looked even more spectacular than I had imagined.

And she only charged me 25 for that.

250 for her ass though, which I thought was a bit steep. Not that I’m short of cash, what with the government work supplementing my usual sources of revenue. (Who better to run your pension pot than a contract killer? Think about it, people.)

But 250?

“Don’t be such a tight-ass,” she said. Bitch made me laugh. Again. She was extremely likeable was Millie. That’s why I never got round to killing her, I suppose.

Apart from the whoring, she was perfect for me. The kind of girl that I might have taken home to my parents. If I’d had any.

Most people in my life were dead. Line of work, I guess.

Just to clarify, I didn’t kill my parents.

One of my uncles, yes.

But neither of my parents. They died of natural causes. Mind you, that’s not saying much. A lot of the people I kill die from natural causes.

“Officially” that is.

Anyway, I wasn’t Millie’s pimp as I never took a dime off her.

I did protect her though.

After a few brutal demonstration kills, the local trouble knew to leave Millie well alone. She was free to work all the best haunts and she made a lot of money.

Why wouldn’t she? Beautiful, intelligent girl like her whoring herself out. She certainly made a lot more than those businessmen she fucked.

They could have learnt a lot from Millie.

She certainly learnt a lot from them. Millie was the kind of girl who kept her ears open when she spread her legs. Amazing how much money you can make if you go real short just before a stock market crash.

Especially when you’ve got someone like me to go and collect your winnings.

Of course, the bankers were more interested in spending their bonuses on what was in Millie’s underwear than finding out what was going on in her brain. Not that they would have had a clue about that.

But who would? Certainly not Millie’s family.

Her mum’s lovely by the way. Perhaps she wouldn’t be quite so hospitable if she knew what Millie and I really did to earn a crust.

Mind you, she is pretty tolerant. She wasn’t too upset when I told her about being an investment banker. Of course, I didn’t tell her that I own the investment bank in question, rather than work for it. That was due to them not having enough money to pay me my winnings when I presented my short note.

The discussion went a little something like this:

They offered their apologies.

I offered them my .50.

They offered me the company.

I paid the owner a little visit during the night to remind him that I was his number one priority. The bodies littered around his security perimeter and missing family members meant he was pretty keen to sign over everything.

His family were on a holiday they’d won in deepest darkest somewhere, courtesy of yours truly. Not that he knew that. He just knew they weren’t taking his calls.

He ended up being ass-fucked in prison for fiscal irregularities while I made a mint.

I’m very big in Asia, apparently.

I’m not sure about the ass-fucking but I am sure it’d be pretty unpleasant being in jail with people who have lost their livelihoods. I’m talking about the guards here, not the inmates.

If Millie’s mum had known about my billions, it might have changed things. Not that it’s real money. That’s the difference between investment money and kill money. You can use kill money to stuff your pillows, whereas investment money is just numbers on a screen. Lots of numbers. But still just a load of pixels.

So Millie’s mum. You never know, she might accept that I’m a contract killer. Real money; not the fake stuff.

She’d be upset if she knew about Millie’s whoring though. That I am sure of. It upsets me.

The thing is. As much as I love Millie, she’s made it clear that she isn’t ready to settle down.

Whereas I am.

That’s why this story isn’t about Millie.

This story is about Maddie.

Guess what colour hair she’s got.

One guess.

Just one.

****** 


“You’re a contract killer?” Maddie threw back her head and laughed. “You don’t look like a contract killer.”

“No?”

“No. You look more like a… an investment banker.”

“I’m an investment analyst in my spare time.”

“Spare time? So what do you do for the rest of the time?”

“I kill people. For money.”

“Oh, yes. The contract killer business. And how is business?”

“Not as good as the investment side of things since the 2007 crash.” I don’t like talking about the investment side of my portfolio. It makes people uncomfortable that you can make a lot of money while the neighbourhoods burn. Even I feel a little uncomfortable about those ethics. And I kill people Monday to Friday.

I try not to work weekends.

“So, Mister Contract Killer… how many people have you killed?”

“Eighty-seven.” I didn’t add ‘this year’ as that might have sounded like bragging.

January had been a busy month.

“That’s a good number.”

“Perhaps a hundred by 9 PM.” Even with the best planning there was likely to be collateral damage. Maddie’s eyebrows shot up.

“You’re going on a killing spree tonight?”

“I wouldn’t use those terms. But, yes. I’m making a hit in 37 minutes.”

“And where is this hit going to happen?”

“King’s Street and West. It’s not important. You can read about it in tomorrow’s papers if you’re interested.”

“So… you decided to come to a singles night right before you’re about to kill someone?”

“That’s right.”

“I imagine that it can get pretty lonely in the killing business. Hard to meet people. Well, hard to meet people that you aren’t going to kill.”

“I’ve got a couple of close friends. Well, one really. I was thinking that it’s time I met someone and maybe settled down but she isn’t interested.”

I didn’t say the last sentence quite like that. I missed out the stuff after the ‘but’.

I’m not that dumb.

“You’re mean you’re going to stop killing people?”

“No. I’m going to carry on killing people. I just want someone to come home to at night. Maybe have one person who is pleased to see me. Someone who understands.”

“And you think you’re going to meet that person in here?”

“I have met her, Maddie. You are, as they say, it. Or her. Whatever.”

I was flustered. Fucking redheads.

“What happens if I don’t want to date a contract killer? Will you kill me?”

“Not personally, no.”

“But someone else will?”

“If the government find out what I’ve told you, yes. They would most likely have you killed.”

“The government? Why would the government want to have me killed?”

“To protect me. I’m a prized asset.”

“I see.” I could tell that Maddie didn’t.

She thought I was joking.

I never joke. But I think I told you that already?

“So how much would it cost to have you bump someone off?”

“50K.” I closed an eye as I did a calculation. Millie was better with the business side. She was a numbers girl. I didn’t have a head for numbers unless it was something real. Ballistics. I was very good at ballistics.

Wasn’t I supposed to add something for tax? As you might have guessed, Millie did the contracts, allowing me to concentrate on the killing. As we weren’t working on an actual contract, I nodded a confirmation. 50K was near enough. Millie would go mad.

“I don’t think I could afford that.” I raised my eyebrows.

“Is there someone you want killed? I could do you a special rate.” Maddie frowned.

“This special rate wouldn’t involve me sleeping with you, would it?”

“Only if you wanted to. I’m open to negotiation.” That was almost a joke. I’d been spending way too much time with Millie.

“Well I’m not.” Unlike Millie, Maddie’s affections probably weren’t fiscally-negotiable.

“I understand, Maddie. That’s why I’m here.”

“Why you’re here?”

“I’m here for you, Maddie.”

“What do you mean, you’re here for me?” You make it sound like I’m the target for a hit.” I sighed. It would be so much easier if I could just slip Maddie a 50 and then fuck her senseless. She had great legs and I was willing to bet that the rest of her wasn’t a million miles behind.

How much would it cost to buy her outright? A million? I could go to a million. Maybe more.

Fucking redheads.

“I know you want me.”

“Want you?”

“You noticed the suit first,” I said, tugging my lapel. “Perhaps because it’s out of place in this area of town.” And then she’d noticed the man inside.

I’m not kidding. And I’m not being vain. Maddie had clocked me and then kept tags on me. She didn’t know that I knew but I’ve done enough counter-surveillance to know when I’m being followed. Or watched.

Of course, I’d wanted her to see me. I’d seen her reds and immediately put myself right into her field of view. She’d spotted me coming in and then as I say, kept her tabs on me.

She’d spent the whole evening waiting for this ‘chance’ meeting. The chance meeting which I had engineered and she had known would happen.

“I saw the way you looked at me, Maddie. Outside. I’m an analyst. I read people and situations. It’s what I do.” She assumed that I meant financial analysis but when you’ve been looking down a sniper scope for a few years, you learn to anticipate movement.

People move in predictable ways.

Which is unfortunate for them when you’re trying to put a high velocity round into them but less so when you’re bringing yourself to the attention of a beautiful woman.

“If you’re so clever, tell me what you know about me.”

“Maddie Haldron – surname pronounced as though it’s got two ‘L’s.”

Maddie tapped her name badge. “Hardly rocket science.”

“Thirty-three years old – not the twenty-nine you say on your profile. Only child. Parents divorced. Father living in Cork, Ireland with a twenty-year-old dolly bird. Siobhan. Irish spelling. She’s pregnant, so you’re going to have a half-sibling.” Maddie was frozen. “You haven’t seen him since he left your mother, so I thought I’d update you on him first. Do you want me to go on?”

“How did you…?” Maddie asked, her face drained of colour.

I shrugged. “I work for the government. We have files.”

“So why were you looking for me?”

“I wasn’t looking for you. As I said, I was thinking that it’d be nice to have someone to care about…”

“So you decided to come to a singles night?”

“I was in the area. I was walking past, clocked your reds and I knew.” Not my actual words, but you knew that already, right?

“Knew? Knew what?”

“That you’re the one.”

“The one. Huh?” I got the impression that Maddie had heard those words before. Were they a line?

Something told me that I’d annoyed her. We had been building a connection but that one phrase had yanked the cable out at her end. “But how did you get in here? They’re very secure.”

“You want to know how?”

“Yes. I want to know how the hell you got in here.” Maddie was getting emotional.

Emotional women are a problem.

I’m not being sexist here. Emotional men are even worse. They tend to fall to apart all at once. At least women fall apart piece by piece. I decided to tell the truth.

“I gave Tony here five hundred dollars to nick off.” That was a lie. Tony was dead but as he’d overdosed with his own drugs, I wasn’t going to take responsibility by adding him to my tally. “I arranged for Spontaneous Spark’s database to be hacked. The picture on his profile has been temporarily swapped for mine. It’ll revert back in 33 minutes. Here I am.”

“All to meet me? So what happens now, Mister contract killer? Do you kill me or fuck me?” Maddie was angry. The anger was something from her past but was being directed at me.

This was probably the reason she was at a singles night. She obviously wasn’t fucking someone special on a regular basis.

“Neither. When Margaret there rings the bell in 34 seconds, I walk out of here and go about my business. Actually, I’ll probably take a piss first.”

“34 seconds?” 34 seconds of my company was probably about as much as Maddie could stomach.

“She’s very accurate. I like her. Not as much as I like you.”

“You like me? As in like like?”

“Call it a hunch. You and me are going to get real close, Madeleine Quinn.”

“And who are you ‘Tony’?”

“Blaine,” I said, extending my hand.

“No surname?”

“Not that I know of.” The bell rang and I checked my watch. “I think Margaret there has got an atomic clock.” I like punctuality and I had to be going.

“Been a pleasure,” I said, extending my hand as I scraped the chair back. “Don’t worry. I’ll find you,” I answered, by way of goodbye. I gathered my jacket and sauntered to the Gents, whistling softly.

***** 


I left by way of the Gents. By that, I mean I went into the Gentleman’s toilet and climbed out of the window I’d left open on an earlier trip at the hurry-up. And waited. It didn’t take long.

Having seen what I expected to see, I extracted myself via a couple of back gardens and found myself in a back alley where I headed in the direction of King’s Street. What I had seen had got me thinking, which was why I didn’t pay enough attention to the shadow containing the guy.

“Fancy suit, Sir.” The voice came from behind me. Memory served a picture of him being six foot of street-hardened muscle.

“Thanks,” I said, turning. He’d made a good point. The suit was fancy. Which was a problem. The guy stepped forward. He was younger than he’d sounded, not that I was interested in his age.

I was interested in his build. Maybe 5-10? It’d have to do.

“Bet there’s a fancy wallet to go with it.” There was. Right beside the triple-pinned, hardwood handle of my Dundee Bowie knife.

“It’s in my back pocket,” I said. I really didn’t want to kill the guy just to get his clothes. But he might have been able to answer some awkward questions if I left him breathing. Descriptions and timings. Speaking of time, I didn’t have much to play games. “You can have it, if you want it.” He assumed that I was talking about my wallet.

I wasn’t.

I was talking about the knife.

“Yes. I want it.” You know what they say about assumptions. They get you killed.

The blade is blackened so I doubt Mr Mystery Attacker even realised that I was about to kill him.

Then I had a flash of inspiration.

Playing games. Two birds. One stone and all that. It was fucking A-Grade genius. It was the kind of thinking that made Millie proud.

True, I had important things to attend to but I still had time. Red had slowed me up plenty but there was still time to get to the hit and solve the problems with my love life.

***** 


The Hit.

Uncle Sam takes a dim view of people in high places hobnobbing with terrorists. Facilitating terrorism on home soil… well… it’s likely to get you rubbed out. And I’m one of the erasers.

This hit was a big one. High profile. And ultra-public. Here’s how it went down. Mr Bigwig arrives at the airport. Ultra high security. I’m not allowed to shoot him there as that makes Joe Public nervous. Nutters on the loose and all that.

So Mr Bigwig gets to ride in his nice big limo. The limo is bullet proof and bombproof and whisks him through the city to his bunker. Security is high there as well. Not that it’d stop me from shooting him if that was allowed. As discussed previously, it’s not.

So, the hit has to be on the car. And it isn’t allowed to look like a hit. So how?

Easy.

I’m sure you could work it out too.

You need a landmine to penetrate the armour of a Mercedes S 600 Pullman Guard. Fortunately, landmines aren’t that difficult to come by when you’re working for Uncle Sam.

Laying it on an American city street might seem tricky but it’s amazingly simple to adjust the digging schedule of a fibre optics installation and leave a little something extra in the hole they’ve dug. A plastic manhole cover doesn’t much interfere with the workings of a landmine.

And of course, the road works can be used to conveniently funnel the traffic through a particular known route. Combine that with remote controlled traffic lights and a tight chicane and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a nice slow target with a nice shaped charge sitting right under it.

Of course, that whole plan would have been fucked if I’d got myself mugged for the boom button. Or if red had got her hands on me in the toilets.

As it was, everything went to plan. The car appeared right on schedule and I ducked back behind the concrete plinth that I’d picked out as offering the best protection. I was wearing Mr Mystery Attacker’s clothes, while he was wearing my suit. That wasn’t part of the plan. That detail was important for getting my love life back on track. At this point, I need to tell you that it’s important to help people see what they want to see when you’re trying to hide in plain sight.

People remember a man in a smart suit loitering before an assassination. They tend to blank out the drunken yob taking a piss against the biggest lump of concrete he could find. A piece of advice? Having an empty bladder is a good thing before you’re hit by the pressure wave from an explosion. Just saying.

I pressed the button.

The shaped charge meant the explosion went upwards, so blast damage to the surroundings was minimal, although my ears were ringing, my teeth were rattling and all the colour had been blasted from my vision. I knew those effects were temporary, so didn’t let them worry me. At least I’d been expecting this explosion. And no-one I cared about had died. Still, it brought back unpleasant memories. The metallic smell of blood and cordite always does.

I’d be having some weird dreams and suicidal thoughts for a while. PTSD they called it. The docs had tried all sorts but it was Millie who sorted me out.

That mouth of hers. Good for all sorts of things. “It’s OK to have suicidal thoughts,” she’d said. “So long as you don’t act on them.” Heart of gold that girl.

That’s why I love her.

The physical effects went away and I staggered over to inspect the damage. There was a sixty-foot hole in the road with flames roaring up from the ruptured gas mains. The landmine had ruptured the mains, rather than causing the explosion but it was a well-executed cover story. Excuse the pun.

It’s all in the planning, see?

Roadworks. Ruptured gas mains. Explosions. Dead US dignitaries. Some stories write themselves. Although I helped by muttering about ‘smelling gas’ and the stop / start of the limo’s engine.

The TV Networks would be broadcasting Uncle Sam’s warning 24/7 while I could just sit back and have a think while Millie sucked my cock. All in all a job well done.

People came from all directions to help me away from the fireworks. And I let them.

Let people see what they’re expecting and they’ll do what you expect.

There were dozens of ambulances on the scene within minutes but they weren’t needed. Mostly that was because the traffic lights had worked their magic. No-one else had been caught up in the carnage.

I was the only one to help. But I had already slipped off into the darkness.

I had a puzzle to solve.

I know you’ve probably worked this out for yourselves already. But I needed to find out who had paid Maddie to kill me. And that meant finding Maddie.

***** 


I found Mr Mystery Attacker first, slumped by the first cash point I checked. I’d given him my cards and my pin numbers. He’d made a series of quick withdrawals so it was a matter of a phone call to see which way he was heading. Easy as following footsteps.

Patterns see? Makes you easy enough to find. As does wearing a flashy suit in an area like this one.

Unfortunately for him, Maddie had found him first.

He was still wearing my suit, the lines of which had been somewhat spoiled by the blood and the bullet holes. It pained me to think that I was never going to wear it again. Good suit that. A favourite.

I ran my fingers over it one last time. I might be a ballistics expert but even I couldn’t match the holes in the jacket directly to the Beretta I’d seen Maddie stuff into her pocket as she ran out of the singles night. However, there was a forensics team who could.

The fact that there were 13 holes in the suit told me what I needed to know. This was an angry kill. Maybe someone who had had their cage rattled recently?

Maddie had been pretty fired up when I left her at the singles night. That anger probably wouldn’t have been helped when she realised that I’d given her the slip. Fly on the wall when she went into those toilets, gun up and found them empty? It would have surprised her given that they were on the third floor.

And then her following the mis-directions I’d given her. Did I say King’s Street and West? Ooops. My bad.

As I said before, people behave in predictable ways. You know that already.

Maddie ran after where she thought I was heading. I’d waited to make sure. My Mystery Attacker headed towards the nearest cashpoint with a fistful of plastic and a head full of pin numbers. It had been easy to set them on a collision course.

Maddie was probably tracking the suit when I hit the button five blocks down. She would have known that I’d screwed her.

Again.

At that point she knew it wasn’t me in that suit but she’d emptied her entire magazine into it anyway. That spoke of a frustrated, angry girl. Not good for Mr Mystery Attacker but it saved me from having to cancel my cards.

He was my decoy, see?

But back to Maddie. Her behaviour had been unprofessional. And a waste of ammo. Admittedly, it was unlikely to draw much attention with a landmine having recently exploded close-by but still.

I nodded with satisfaction. Maddie was an interesting one. Red. Passionate. Not afraid to slaughter innocent thieves? She was my kind of girl. Possible anger issues? Definitely didn’t have the smarts, therefore not a Millie. But let’s face it, who is?

I went to find her. I had to be careful as this was an emotionally unbalanced woman I was going after. She was as likely to kill me as fuck me.

You’ve picked up on the fact that she wants to do both, right? As Millie would say, she’s got a conflict of interests. She’s been paid to kill me but…

You saw how we connected at that singles night. And the very fact that she decided to hang around at a singles night? The woman’s lonely. Looking for companionship. Even with a man she’s been sent to kill. That’s not a rational, conscious decision. That’s someone’s subconscious surfacing. Maddie’s a woman looking for something.

Or rather someone.

I’ve told you. People behave in predictable ways. I see a pretty redhead. I’m going to stop off and take a look. The thing is, I’m not predictable but I make it look like I am. I knew why Maddie was there. She’d been sent to kill me.

That’s why I stopped.

Maddie at a singles night? Come on! What are the chances? She stood out like an unused match and I was interested. That woman was not there to meet singletons, that’s for sure. And the way she was sweeping her perimeter? She was professional. Not a very good one. But the best red top they had.

I stopped for her reds.

My guess was that she’d been told to look out for a guy in a flashy suit and then kill him. Remember? She saw the suit and then she saw the man? There was no flicker of recognition when she looked at me. There was something else and that was when it had got complicated. She fancied me. She liked me. We connected.

Then I annoyed her and she decided to kill me anyway. You get an instinct for these things.

Instincts keep you alive.

Instincts and good plans.

Maddie had been told to kill the man in the flashy suit. And courtesy of yours truly, she had.

Maddie knew she was killing the wrong guy but she hadn’t cared. Maybe she had been hired to stop me making the kill? I’d have to talk to her to find out.

I wanted to do more than talk.

I still wanted to fuck her. But I don’t need to tell you that. Right? Come on! She’s a smokin’ hot red and this wood wasn’t going to go down by itself.

The safe option was to walk away and hook-up with Millie, carry on with my life as if I’d never met Maddie. I was sure that Millie could find enough sexual energy to burn through the half million I’d just got for the job. Big job. Big money.

Money. It always comes down to money. Sex comes into it and sex with Millie is beyond hot. But she doesn’t love me. The girl’s calculator runs 24/7. Her eyes are a cash register.

That was the something missing from my life. You know, where you picked up the story of me. When I was in the shower after I’d fucked Millie in the ass? I wanted a girl who loved me. I didn’t care if she was a contract killer. Who am I to judge?

Millie doesn’t love me. And never will. For Millie, I’m just sex, money and protection. I’m convenient. But it’s not love.

Of course, Millie wouldn’t try to kill me but that only added a frisson of excitement. Lots of people were trying to kill me. And none of them was trying to fuck me.

Well, not in a good way.

The thing was, there was a connection with Maddie. An instant rapport. Perhaps because we both kill people for money.

No it wasn’t that. It was that stuff about being lonely. That was when two hearts met. They might have been two stone cold hearts which would shatter and destroy each other the instant they touched. But red was a lonely girl. And I was a lonely boy. Which is why I went looking for her.

She wasn’t difficult to spot. I knew she had started from King’s Street and West and I knew where she had paused to kill Mr Mystery Attacker. It made sense that she would head over to the site of the explosion to check things out there. That’s where I went. There she was.

Patterns. Predictable behaviour. Gets you in trouble every time. Of course I could have been wrong. It still could have been a trap. But some traps are worth testing.

Or springing.

Maddie was worth the risk. I just knew it.

“So what’s the story?” I whispered into her ear. “You still trying to kill me?” Maddie made a funny little noise. Maybe because of the pressure I was applying to her spine.

“Nrrr,” she said, as I released the pressure. I let her go and she ran. She disappeared into the crowd just as fast as her wobbly legs could carry her. She knew even I wouldn’t kill her out there with all the jumpy uniforms waving their guns around.

I sat and waited.

“You let me go,” she said, when she finally came back.

“Yes,” I said.

“You didn’t chase me.”

“No,” I said.

“How did you know I’d come back?”

“Love finds a way?” I looked up into Maddie’s face in time to catch her own shocked response as she searched her emotions and found some inner truth. When was the last time she had laughed before tonight?

I loved her laugh. That was the second thing I found I loved about Maddie. The reds obviously. But that laugh. The laugh that started like a dancer warming up but quickly blossomed into the elusive tune that every composer knows but can never capture.

I wasn’t in love with Maddie. But I knew it was only a matter of time. Like Hannah Foster and Millie, it was inevitable.

I fucking love redheads. Love them.

I needed to find one, just one, who would love me back.

I don’t know what the collective noun is for contract killers. Maybe the term hasn’t been needed before. Probably not ‘a laughter’, although I wanted nothing more than to hear Maddie laugh.

Neither of us was laughing.

The night was dark and threatening. Filled with smoke and dancing shadows from the lights of the emergency vehicles. It was destructive and moody.

My kind of night. Correction. It was our kind of night. A night where two killers became lovers? Sorry. That was me thinking with my dick again.

“You came back because you’re lonely.” Maddie didn’t respond. I didn’t blame her.

Here I was trying to build something. For the third time in my life. Since Hannah Foster fucked off with my heart and left me to wither and die under the desert sun; since Millie refused to stop whoring herself out. “Because you had a choice of coming back to me or going back to some shitty little existence where the loneliness is slowly killing you day by day.”

Or was that me? My life?

Maddie sat down next to me. Not the measured, distant sit of a stranger. She sat down right next to me. Touching me, as though seeking comfort. “How do you know these things?”

“You already know the answer to that question. The question is why don’t you?” Maddie gasped as I knotted my fingers into hers. And again when I looked into her eyes.

She was soft.

This was Maddie the woman.

Not Maddie the killer. Maddie looked me over carefully. When she spoke, her voice was clear and steady. There was only one flaw in her perfect veneer of composure.

The tears.

Maddie was falling apart piece by piece. The reason she was falling apart wasn’t because of the horrible stuff in her past. It was because there was a hot ray of hope burning through from a possible future; melting the ice which had been holding the shards of her together.

I was that hope. And it was killing her in a way that a mere bullet never could.

“It’s OK, Maddie,” I whispered.

“The police uniform suits you,” she murmured, pressing her shoulder against the pale blue shirt.

“Thanks.”

“You look really good in it. You didn’t have to kill the owner, I hope?” I turned and beneath the shiny tears, Maddie was smiling.

You know how much I like to smile. But Maddie’s smile made me smile.

Sometimes seduction is as simple as not killing someone when you have the chance. But you knew that, right?

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Copyright © Copyright ©2012 Abigail Thornton. All Rights Reserved.

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