In all his life, William Chen has not been late once. Or at least, he’s never been late until now, and of course, he’s running late for what he hopes will be the most important date of his life. If only he hadn’t stopped in Medford’s Bend to get flowers instead of just getting a bouquet in Hartford, but his boyfriend is obsessed with the language of flowers, and the florist shop here has the best selection in Connecticut.
And now William feels rather ridiculous as he runs through the streets with a fifteen-dollar bouquet of bright red camellias in one hand and his phone in the other as he desperately tries to find his way back to where he parked his car. The street in front of the florist shop had been full, and so William was forced to park off in some alley a few streets down, and now he can’t remember where that alley is despite how easy this task should be. He’s never been good with his memory, and in his defense, all the streets in this damned town look the same.
“Alex is going to kill me,” he mutters as he puts his phone away to tap his suit pocket and ensure the box is still there, tucked safely within. Satisfied by the sensation of sharp corners beneath the pressed fabric, he looks up and realizes this street looks familiar. He definitely passed this barbershop earlier.
“There you are,” he says with a long sigh as he catches sight of his black Subaru. William steps into the alley, and as he goes to pull out his car keys, a cold, slippery hand clamps over his mouth and snaps his head back.
“So sorry you have to die like this,” a voice says in his ear, as smooth and cool as the blade that’s drawn across his throat only a moment later. “It’s just business. I hope you’ll understand.” William staggers backwards, one hand pressed against his throat as the camellias fall from his hand and into the pool of blood that grows beneath his dress shoes.
He falls against his car and slides to the ground, vision fading at the edges until all he can see is a figure clad in black. He can feel warm blood slipping between his fingers, but his hands are starting to grow numb, until he can’t feel them anymore.
And then there’s nothing.