The End Game
The End Game
He was laughing as he got in the car. Giving me a flirty smile, he reached over to squeeze my knee. "Before we go shopping, there is somewhere I want to take you," he said, putting the car in gear and backing away from the cabin.
There was no movement in any of the windows. I thought of Kilo taking Derren's gun and smiled to myself. "Where?" I asked him.
"Do you like waterfalls?" He asked me.
"Not while wearing heels." I said.
"I’ll carry you from the car," he suggested with a half smile.
"In the snow?" I whispered.
"You’re right," he said. "Shopping first, but given that you are my hostage, I can’t let you go into the dressing room alone."
He said it with such a straight face that I burst into giggles. We sped off toward the village square in comfortable silence after that. I had to wonder why I wasn’t feeling as homesick as I should. I was really enjoying the mountains and snow.
My momentary happiness was suddenly shadowed with guilt.
Here I am smiling and laughing while at home, everyone I love is probably devastated by my absence. I sighed and fixed my gaze on the snow. Thinking of my dad and how many different years we spent shoveling it together.
"Kilo, I need to write that letter as soon as possible." I said softly, hiding my face as the slow tears trickled down my cheeks.
I heard him let exhale, slow and long. After deceptively wiping my eyes, I glanced at him.
A muscle ticking in his jaw and his hands tightening on the wheel, he barely looked at me. "Of course. As soon as you write it I’ll send it out," he said flatly.
Is he angry?
No, he couldn't be.
Because that would be ridiculous!
I took a deep breath. He seemed to notice my confusion and reached over to squeeze my hand."Try not to think about it right now. I know this is a mess," he admitted.
I attempted a smile, but it was hard. I tried to shake the thought of my dad, but I couldn't. "My dad loves the snow," I said softly. "I’m an only child you know. My mother died when I was three. I don’t really remember her that much."
He stared over at me sadly. His eyes appeared full and lost.
"I don’t want my dad to lose hope," I said, looking back out the window and freeing his hand so that he could maneuver around a a slow moving truck.
"Understood," he remarked. "My mom died too," he added and I turned my body to face him. "But not until I was twenty years old and she wasn’t exactly a sweetheart. She never liked me that much."
"I’m sorry," I said, as comfortingly as I could.
"Don’t be," he replied. Then he said simply, "I didn’t really like her either." He laughed angrily. "I didn’t even know her that well. She was always busy."
"With?" I prompted.
He took a deep breath and said, "She was a spy. She was gone for most of my life. I was a boarding school kid." He studied me a minute and then added, "She died during one of her missions. I didn’t even know she was a spy until she died."
I gasped. I marveled at how completely unbothered he was by it. Not even a trace of sadness anywhere in his eyes. He must have spent a lot of time alone. I spoke as gently as I could.
"What about your dad?" I asked.
"Never knew him," he said. "He died before I was born. His brother raised me more than my mom did. He lives out here. He’s the one we’ll be having dinner with. My uncle, the one I was telling you about."
"Where did you grow up?"
"Here and there," he said in a bored voice. "New York, California, Russia, France, Spain."
"Wow," I laughed. "So you were a rich kid huh?"
"Yeah. Pretty much."
"A rich kid that robs a small town grocery store. Doesn’t make much sense," I said suspiciously.
His eyes narrowed. "I know it doesn’t. Not from where you sit," he said. "Trust me...it’s not supposed to."
"Okay," I smirked. Not even sure what that's supposed to mean.
"And you?" He said, changing the subject. "I’ll bet you spent your whole life in that little town of yours."
He laughed and I nodded. He's so cute when he laughs like that.
"Shadow Falls?" I asked and shrugged. "Yeah. I did. It wasn’t so bad."
"So tell me this," he said as we eased into town. "How does the most beautiful girl in the world get tucked away in a small mountain town and not have a boyfriend?"
"Who said I didn't have a boyfriend?" I teased.
His face turned red and his eyes became dark.
I laughed, "You're right. I don't." I said and he cleared his throat. "I don’t know." I went on, "I guess, I grew up with all those boys and I’m just not attracted to them."
"But I kidnap you, and you’re attracted to me?" He smirked, running his fingers over his jaw.
"I never said that," I taunted.
"Oh," he said shakily. His face fell visibly and although he smiled at me, he didn't look at me. He was blushing again and I couldn’t help but smile.
"But I am," I admitted. Speaking softly and scooting closer to his seat, "Attracted to you I mean."
"Okay," he replied.
He sighed again, in relief it seemed. The blush still staining his cheeks. It was like he couldn't look directly at me for a moment. He looked...
"How old are you Kilo?" I inquired.
"Twenty-three," he answered smoothly.
"So young," I said. "When did you start shooting people?"
He flinched and nearly veered off the road. "What?" He snapped.
"Nothing," I said. "Never mind."
"Let’s just pretend that you never watched that happen for a while okay?" He hissed angrily. "Call it good practice for the end game."
"If you say so," I conceded, and took a deep breath. "What is the end game?"
He didn’t answer me, but there was no mistaking the sadness that found his eyes.