“One of the resources,” I repeated in a whisper.
He stood in the center of the room, hidden in the shadows with an expressionless look.
“Is that your cryptic way of telling me your one of the people hired to kill me?” I asked faintly, stepping back again and slamming into the window.
He didn’t respond, but watched me an intensity that had me gasping for breath.
“Why?” I asked in a shaky voice. “Why do you want to kill me?”
He started up to the ceiling, inhaling deeply before turning his gaze back to me.
“I have no desire to kill you,” he said simply.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I pushed myself deeper into the window.
“Not a desire,” I said in watery whisper. “A contract.”
He sighed heavily. “This isn’t the best time to talk about this. You’re exhausted. On edge. You’re barely able to keep yourself upright. Get a few hours of sleep and we can talk about this tomorrow when everything isn’t so emotional.”
“When it’s not emotional,” I said with a nervous laugh. “Finding out the one person you’ve been trusting the most is actually here to kill you would make anyone emotional. Sleep or no sleep, it isn’t going to change anything.”
“I’m not going to kill you in your sleep if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Another nervous laugh escaped.
“Wow,” I said, hysteria bubbling to the surface. “It is so comforting to know that Would-Be-Killer-#3 promises to not off me while I sleep down the hall. I’ll sleep much better knowing that.”
His jaw tensed at my remark.
Finding out that someone is trying to kill you is enough to make any sane person go a little crazy, but finding out that the person you have been trusting to help keep you alive is also a person sent to kill you was more than enough to push anyone over the edge. For me, the edge landed me directly into hysteria and with hysteria, well, I was prone to do God knows what.
“Do you like your job?” I asked suddenly.
My current state of hysteria was turning me into a crazy person. Clearly. Who the hell asks their would-be-killer if they enjoyed their job? Isn’t that sort of a requirement?
His jaw tensed again. Clearly I was pushing buttons I wasn’t even aware he had and I had to admit, in my current state of crazy, that’s exactly what I wanted.
“Is being a complete sociopath a requirement for the job or can anyone do it? I mean, really? Where do you apply for something like that? An ad on Craig’s List? Monster.com? The unemployment line? Tell me. How does one decide to become a contract killer?”
“Enough Addison,” he said quietly.
I laughed hysterically.
“I mean, here I was, thinking I was in a dead end job and come to find out you are instead. Literally.”
Evidently I was losing my mind. Would a sane person who was completely in control of their senses antagonize a professional killer? Or start laughing at the number of bad puns I could undoubtedly utter during my last few moments of life?
The very thought had me bent over at the waist as I laughed uncontrollably.
After a minute, I slapped a hand over my mouth as I stood up clutching my stomach. I couldn’t stop laughing, but now the tears were starting to flow. Tomorrow they will find me with a stupid laugh on my face and dried streaks of tears and wonder what the hell had been so funny right before he put a bullet between my eyes.
Of course, that was assuming they would ever find my body after tonight.
The thought started another wave of laughter.
Big hands grasped my forearms and pushed me back against the window roughly.
Kade stood in front of me angrily (more seething really), his grip tight on my arms as he suddenly pulled me forward. I slammed into his chest, his face inches from mine and I had that sudden urge to pee my pants again.
“I said enough,” he said through clenched teeth.
The laughs suddenly died as a new form of hysteria took over.
I like to refer to it as the Brass Balls Syndrome.
“Fuck you,” I said through clenched teeth.
I reached up and pushed him back, breaking free of his hold.
Truthfully I was tired of always being backed into a corner (figuratively, but in this case also literally) so I stepped around him, moving into the center of living room but not running for the hills which I should have been doing.
“Fuck you,” I said again with venom in my voice.
He turned towards me as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“I trusted you,” I said.
“You still can,” he replied.
I laughed softly and shook my head. “Trust you? You’ve been lying to me this entire time. Not to mention the fact that your here to KILL ME! What about any of that says that I can trust you? Or should?”
“I’ve never lied to you,” he replied.
“Lying by omission is still a lie.”
“I told you who I was from the very beginning.”
“No, you’ve cryptically warned me about who you were which isn’t the same as telling me who the hell you are. It’s sure as hell not the same as flat out telling me that you’re a hired gun here to kill me.”
“It’s not exactly like that.”
I pursed my lips and crossed my arms.
“So what is it like exactly? What do you want with me? What the hell do I have that’s worth killing for? What the hell is so damn important to you and your employer that you’re willing to kill not only me, but anyone that happens to be standing next to me at the time?”
He stood silently as we stared each other down.
My anger level rose when he stood there with nothing to say.
If I live through this, I am definitely going to pay a visit to my doctor. I’m beginning to think I may have some hormonal issues because I should be peeing my pants at this moment and the only thing I really wanted to do slap the hell out of him.
“You want me to trust you? You want me to put my life in your hands and trust that you’re not going to shoot me when my back is turned? Is that what you want?”
He sighed heavily. “I want you to give me the benefit of the doubt and let me handle this.”
“Handle this,” I said, throwing out my hands. “Handle what exactly? My funeral arrangements?”
He clenched his jaw again.
“I really don’t recommend pissing me off,” he said in a deadly tone.
This time it was my jaw that clenched. I’m pretty sure some of my back molars may have shattered.
“Don’t piss you off,” I repeated in disbelief. “Or else what? You’ll shoot me?”
“I’m warning you Addison.”
“You’re warning me? Good to know. Let me know when I should actually start to worry about you and your threats.”
He took a few threatening steps towards me but I wasn’t about to be bullied.
In the next few seconds I could be staring down the barrel of a gun and fuck him if he didn’t think I was going to go down swinging.
I met him half way, pushing back on his chest in a move that not only surprised him, but me too.
“Don’t threaten me,” I hissed as I pushed him. “You’re nothing but a coward, hiding behind some faceless stranger who’s willing to offer you cold hard cash in exchange for my life. Fuck him and fuck you too.”
Kade reached out, striking fast. He grabbed both of my wrists as I started to push him again and spun me around, my back pressed to his chest, as he gripped my arms firmly crossed over my chest.
“Calm down,” he said in my ear.
“Fuck you,” I retorted, pushing back as I tried to step on his instep as they had taught me in self-defense.
His grip tightened, almost painfully, as he pulled me closer.
“Right now it doesn’t mean anything to you,” he said quietly, “but I am on your side.”
I laughed. “I wasn’t aware that the Grim Reaper could choose sides.”
“You asked me for the truth. I gave it to you. Up to this point, have I done anything to make you believe that I have any intentions other than keeping you safe?”
“I don’t need you to keep me safe,” I replied as I furiously blinked back tears.
“Don’t you? You would be dead right now if I hadn’t been there this morning to fight of Krieger. You would be dead right now if Ghost and I hadn’t intervened earlier. And you would be dead right now,” he said in a whisper, “if I wanted you to be.”
My resistance stopped as I listened to him.
He had saved my life, twice in one day, though it probably would have been tacky for me to point out that I had also helped saved his life, especially at this critical juncture in our overly dysfunctional relationship. And though I hated to admit it, absolutely freaking hated to admit, he did tell me the truth from the beginning, but I had been too blinded by lust to really see it for what it was.
“Then why aren’t I?” I asked in a whisper.
His grip loosened but he didn’t let me go. “Because it was never my intent.”
“I don’t understand,” I said quietly.
He relaxed his hold and took a step back. I turned back to him, my breathing heavy from fear and anger.
“I warned you early on about my dark side. I told you not to confuse me for anything other than the bad guy.”
“And then you did the exact opposite of what you warned me about. You helped me. You protected me.”
He ran his hands over his face.
“Yeah,” he said, crossing his arms, “I did.”
I nodded slowly.
“Because I meant what I said before. It never was my intent to hurt you in any way. I wasn’t hired for the purpose of ending your life Addison.”
Say what now?
“But you said you were one of the resources hired?” I asked in confusion.
“I’m one of a handful. Those others were all hired by another party who is hell bent on getting back what you have. You dying in the process is inconsequential.”
“But easier,” I replied stupidly.
“Probably. My job is to retrieve the target. Keeping you alive in the interim is just an added benefit for you.” He shrugged. “Besides, I imagine it would be rather difficult to getting any answers from you if you were dead. Dead men tell no tales.”
Hm. That did make a small amount of sense.
“Who hired you?”
He shook his head. “I can’t tell you that.”
“Because the party that hired me would like to keep their autonomy. And whether I like it or not, I’m only playing the game, but their making the rules. The less you know about who they are, the better off you are. ”
“What do they want?”
“Something specific. Right now I can’t tell you what that is. I can’t take the risk of it disappearing after everything that’s happened. What I can tell you is that you don’t appear to have it currently.”
“This whole thing could be so much easier if you just shared with the class what ‘it’ is?”
He didn’t answer
Of course, in all fairness, he didn’t really get a chance.