Anastasia.

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Chapter 2

ANASTASIA

***

“Is there anything else you’d like, Ms. Rose?” The flight attendant asks me, making me turn away from the captivating view out the window of the jet to face her.

“A glass of champagne would be divine, cheers,” I reply. She gives me a grim look that makes me slightly irritated.

“Aren’t you too young to be drinking alcohol?” She questions. I scoff and cross my hands in my lap.

“Well the ID in my purse says otherwise, so please get me a glass of champagne,” I smirk. Her lips flatten in dismay and she turns around to retrieve my drink.

I sigh and lean back into my chair, taking advantage of this royal treatment for as long as I can. I can’t quite remember the last time I’ve felt like this recently. Only recently because I used to feel like this very often when my mother and father were still alive. Best believe your britches I was in denial for a very long time. It was unhealthy how I’d pretend that their death was a joke and continued to hold hope that they’d come busting out of their bedroom door, greeting me with kisses and everlasting hugs when I got home from school.

Finishing 4th Grade year was challenging without my parents there to support me, even when I was pretending they were. I managed to make it through, but trying to advance into the next grade without my parents there to help me would’ve been a complete disaster. The English Mafia kidnapped me right when I turned 10 and I haven’t attended school since then. Obviously I am a sucker for school and all things math, so I’ve kept up with my studies on my own time. I’m obsessed with reading and math, but science and world studies can go fuck themselves in the arse. Never been my favorite, so I don’t bother to study for them.

I’m snapped out of my thoughts when I see the flight attendant carrying my champagne. Giddy inside for the fact that she’s carrying a whole bottle of it. I already know I am not going to be sober walking off this plane.

“Here’s your champagne, Ms. Rose.” The flight attendant mumbles while I snatch the champagne bottle and glass from her grasp. I release a giggle as I open the bottle and immediately want to murder myself. Never have I ever heard that type of noise come out of my mouth.

Wincing, I tell myself I shall never make that noise again and take a swig from the champagne bottle. The flight attendant stares at me in horror as I hand her back the unused glass. She shakes her head, snapping out of her internal nightmare, and takes the glass from my hands. She turns around to leave, but then I remember one last thing I want.

“Oh, woman! Come back,” I demand, and I hear her scoff and turn back around. I know I’m vexing her; it’s not like I’m trying to make her fancy me. “Do you, by any chance, have Viennese finger biscuits?” I question. She sighs and nods her head, making me grin. My father would bake these and I’d eat the whole batch when I got home from school. Delicious, I tell you. “Please bring me some of those,” I command and she turns to go retrieve it. This is going to be a wonderful flight, I think as I take another gulp of my champagne.

After she brings me my biscuits, I have a do in the jet, making the flight attendant turn on music as I stand up and dance in the middle of the walkway. It’s a private jet, so I wasn’t one to feel judged at the moment. Also, the champagne was getting to me and causing me to make some very childish decisions. Ones I would not make even if I were alone and sober. I end up drinking the whole bottle of champagne and devouring a whole box full of biscuits. Not as good as my father’s, but they’re still scrumptious. I know how to hold in my alcohol, so there’s no chance of me getting sick unless I either eat more biscuits or drink 3 more bottles of champagne. Neither I will do though, since I have to at least be partially sober when I leave the plane.

“Ms. Rose, we’re getting ready to land the plane, so clean up your trash and take a seat,” The flight attendant demands, and all I want to do is smack her. Doesn’t she know who I am? What I can do to her? I then look around me to see that I have, for sure, made a mess of the jet.

I give her a sheepish smile and begin to pick up the rubbish scattered across the walkway. Once I’m satisfied with my cleaning, I slump down into my chair and hear the beep from the overhead, signaling I should put on my seatbelt. I pull it over my torso and took a deep breath. I danced my little heartless heart out. After a few minutes, we land safely on the runway and I grab my bag from my side. As I walk out, I thank the flight attendant for dealing with me on the jet, which earns me a tight smile from her. Improvement from the grim face, I suppose.

I take the steps off the jet and stand on the runway, looking around to see if there’s someone I can ask where I need to go. My eyes stop exploring when I spot a black limousine with a man dressed in all black, along with black aviators on his face, staring at me. He begins to walk up to me and I raise an eyebrow. Is that my source of transportation?

“Ms. Rose?” He asks, his orotund voice shocking me. His outward appearance was not prepared for the sound that came out of his mouth. I thought he was about to kill me.

“Tis I.”

“I’m here to manage your transportation. My number is already in your phone, so if you need me, call me and I’ll be there.” He explains, giving me a hearty smile. He seems so frightening but he’s oh so very kind. I don’t know how to feel about him.

“Cheers,” I thank him and let him take my bag from me. We amble over to the black limousine and he opens up the back door for me. I nod at him and enter the car. It has a very professional look, all sleek and posh. I feel like a business woman here, way off from what I actually am. My sweatpants and tank top aren’t making me feel any better about myself either. I wonder why Dottie is giving me all of this special treatment. Maybe an award for all I’ve done for him these past 9 years?

The man gets in the car and begins to drive. We make small talk and I find out his name is George. The only thing I can think of when I hear his name is the monkey and the man in the yellow hat, but I hold in the comment. I don’t think he’d like that. He also may end me for it, and I have to admit, he slightly terrifies me.

After some time, we arrive at the base. It’s unquestionably smaller than the base in England. It looks more like a flat. We make our way into the building and I’m met with a security guard. He does the check for ID and luggage while I notify Dottie I have made it to the English-American base.

I learn more about the flat from the security guard who briefly explains this building works identical to a hotel. You stay in a room, sometimes with a roommate, and are given items like food and toiletries. The members usually stay for as long their mission is, but others live here and complete work for the English Mafia down in America. I’m given my room number and told I have a roommate. Just lovely, now I have to make a friend. Wooptido.

George and I made it to my room after an unnecessarily slow paced elevator ride, making me impatient and ruffled. Why is this elevator so bloody slow? Couldn’t they make it any faster? We are in the Mafia for god sakes, we have the money to get it repaired!

I forcefully shove the key into the lock of the door and slowly opened it. I’m met with the interior of the flat and I gasp. The room is magnificent. In the hues of grey and white, the whole flat is splattered with designs and paintings. I step into the room and take a look around. When I enter the living quarters, I’m given a view that I will never get tired of adoring. You can see all of Chicago from up here. It’s still morning, so I can only imagine how enchanting it would look at night with all of the city lights and stars. George places my stuff down by the front door and leaves me to treasure the view.

A bang comes from my left, making my heart skip a beat. I then remind myself I have a roommate and wonder if it may be them. I walk in that direction to be met with a pink haired girl stabbing pins into a torso mannequin. She’s mumbling under her breath and pulling pins from her mouth, tucking them into the white and gold fabric that is wrapped around the mannequin. I would be fibbing if I said the dress didn’t look gorgeous. The gold flakes around the upper body were striking and the train that ran from the back was absolutely beautiful. As much as I wanted to peculate this dress from whoever my roommate was, I had business to attend to. Dottie informed me that I will have an extra mission tonight at a club called “DISCO″ where a deal will be made. I’m waiting for Dottie to send me the file on my victim and I’ll be on my way.

“Oh, um, hey! I’m Jewel!” The girl squeals, facing me with a huge smile on her face. Her valley girl voice raped my ears and I swear they’re bleeding.

“No,” I respond, not wanting to listen to her voice anymore.

“I think you’re supposed to say ’Hey! I’m So-en-So.” The girl laughed.

“No.”

“Yeah, but-”

“No.” I finalize and turn away from the room. She follows me like a lost puppy and all I want to do is laugh.

“Well, I heard I was getting a roommate and got really excited to find out who it was-” She starts, but I interrupt her.

“In the lord’s name of cheese and crackers. Hello, I’m Briar Rose. Assassin for English Mafia and I came here to kill people, not to make friends. You’re dismissed.” I bite, but she stares at me with a blank expression. I raise my eyebrow, confused, as we stand there for a few seconds before she lets out a violent high pitched squeal. I cover my ears with my hands as she begins to jump around with the biggest smile on her face. I am completely nonplussed. She is most definitely not human.

“OH MY GOD, YOU’RE BRIAR ROSE?! OMG, OMG, OMG, SHOW ME THE TATTOO-” She shrieks, walking towards me to pull down my tank top. I slap her hand as if she were a child and she gives me an unabashed smile. “Oops, sorry. I just got a little carried away. I’ve always wanted to meet you and you’re just so iconic in the Mafia world and I’m such a big fan-”

“Um, okay-”

“-and I just hope that we can become friends and I can make badass outfits for you so you’ll look sexy and chic, ya know? OMG, WE’RE GOING TO BE BESTFRIEN-”

“Jewel, darling-”

“OH MY GOD, YOU REMEMBER MY NAME-”

“OH MY LORD! BELT UP!” I roar, and she quiets herself with a huge smile on her face. She’s honestly frightening me. How could I ever have a fan? For the love of tea and biscuits, I’m an assassin! Who-

“I’m sorry. I’m probably scarring you and I understand that but I just hope we can have a decent relationship. Um, can I at least make you an outfit?” She asks, her accent spitting out of her throat. After a moment of me questioning her sanity, I sigh and nod my head, causing her to shriek once more. I give her a glare that would send her more than just 6 feet under and she quiets herself immediately.

“If you continue to make that horrid noise, then no. But sure, just don’t bother me.” I order and she nods her head.

“Can I at least have a hug-”

“No.”

~~~

As I pat makeup on my chest to cover my tattoo, I think of my plan for attack. The man is an Asian child trafficker who’s attempting to make a drug deal with a man here in Chicago. He also owes a lot of money to the English Mafia, so I have to make sure he suffers a lot of pain. It will be difficult since this is a small yet crowded club, so I need to make room for decisive decisions just in case one thing goes wrong. I try to think up various scenarios in my head, but am constantly distracted by the thought of the De Luca’s suffering.

I have yet to get the file on the De Luca’s, and I’m starting to think Dottie is taking this as a joke. He knows how bad I want this, how bad I want to kill these people, but all he does is give me different “extra” cases. I’m quite agog to get the file for the De Luca’s, but that will have to wait, for I have a child trafficker to kill.

I finish up concealing the tattoo on my chest and examine myself in the mirror. I’ve slipped on a long dark red maxi dress, which isn’t always my first choice of dress for a club, but it was all that I had. I decided to do a thick winged eyeliner, bronze to black eyeshadow, and lipstick that matches the color of my dress. My dark brown hair runs down my shoulders in long curls and I try to smile. I haven’t smiled since the incident and I was curious to see how it looked. It comes out looking like a murderous psycho smile, so I tell myself to stick with smirking or grinning. I guess genuine smiling isn’t my thing anymore.

I walk out of the toilet and into my room to find myself watching Jewel eating mac and cheese while sitting on the kitchen counter. She’s kicking her dangled legs off of the edge of the counter, humming some song while she stuffs a spoonful of elbow noodles into her mouth. Life looks so simple for her at the moment and I become slightly envious of it. She seems so joyful all the time, despite the fact she works for the English Mafia. She doesn’t even have an English accent! I snap out of my jealous self pity party and step out of my room.

“I’m leaving for a job. I won’t be back until later tonight, so please don’t wait on me. If that’s what you were planning on doing.” I advise her. She looks up to examine me and her eyes practically glow.

“Girl, you look drop dead gorgeous! Ugh, I’m jealous of your body! You little toothpick!” She smiles and I give her a nod in thanks. I chose to be mature and not argue about the toothpick comment, only because I knew she didn’t mean to intentionally offend me. “Okay, stay safe! I’ll be here finishing up a dress I’m working on!”

“Good luck,” I wish her and saunter out the door. Pulling my phone out of my bra, I text George to come pick me up, along with the location I need to go to. As I stand outside in a pair of semi tall black heels, I think once again about my plan: going into the club, drugging his drink, seduce him, take him into the bathroom, stab out his eyes, attempt to drown him but not entirely, slit his throat, and Bob’s your uncle. I saved a lot of gorey details from that list that I’ll have fun attempting later.

George pulls up to where I’m standing and I hop into the car. We greet each other and he drives me to the club. I fix the uncomfortable position the flipblade is in tucked under one of my breasts. Not a very delightful place to put a flipblade, or so now I know. I just hope it doesn’t fall out of my dress. That would be horrifyingly awkward.

After a few moments of silence in the car, George pulls up to the club. Flashes of light come through the open door of the club while a big security man stands at the front. I thank George and step out of the car. Observing at the club for a moment, I take a deep breath in, fluff my hair, and strut my stuff.

I walk over to the security guard and he looks me up and down. Flashing him a wink as I toddle inside, he doesn’t even bother to ask me if I’m old enough to come in here. Just two years off, but it’s okay. I have more important affairs to worry about. I stand at the entrance of the club and look around, trying to find my victim. The room reeks of cheap perfume, alcohol, and sweat, a scent I have become very accustomed to.

After pacing through dancing couples and shoving off perverts, I have found my man. He’s sat at the island, talking to a man, which I could only guess is the dealer. The dealer sneakily hands the asian man a bag, proving my assumption was correct. I wait a moment to approach and when the dealer is finally gone, I sashay to the bar, making sure to be in clear view of my victim.

“Hello, Angel. What can I get ya?” The barman asks me. I lean up onto the bar, grinning, and answer.

“Negroni, please. Stirred, not shaken.” He smiles and gets right to work on fixing my drink. I glance to my side to see the asian man ogle me up and down, his gaze on my arse longer than the rest of my body. If it were a random man, I would’ve slapped him silly, kid me not. In this case, it only shows that my plan is working.

The barman comes to me and hands me my drink. I take a sip of it, the bitter but fruity flavor sliding down my throat. It loosens me up a bit, and now I can get down to business. I strut up to the asian man with great confidence, flicking the orange peel of my drink into my mouth. I take a seat beside him and swallow the orange peel.

“Hello, Gummy Bear. What are you doing here?” He asks me, his thick Asian accent powering through his words. I almost laugh, but I hold it in. Did he just call me “Gummy Bear”?

“Just here to have some fun,” I smirk, looking him up and down for a little bit of spice in my performance. “My game has been low lately and I need someone who can please me. Not many men do the job to my liking though.” I look back in front of me and take a sip of my drink. I want to cringe at my poor wording, but I’m too focused on finishing my drink so I can order us both one. The asian man puts a hand on my upper thigh and I argue with my thoughts saying my hand should throw his off. At times like these, I have to be a slave to men like this. I have to sell my body to get the job done successfully, so that is what I do.

Ever since I turned 14, I’ve been doing this same exact routine to men like this, and only once has it failed. Thankfully, I had backup that night, and we ended up killing all of the people in the room without any news getting out about it. That beating from Dottie was not enjoyable, may I add.

“I think I can finish the job well, my sweet. If you’d let me,” He whispers, tightening his grip on my thigh. I down the rest of my drink and smirk at him.

“We’ll see.” I slur, running a finger down his arm. I wink at him and call the barman over, telling him to bring us both a tequila shot. I have a pill in hand, ready to slip into his shot glass. Once the barman comes over with the shots, I quickly slip one into the asian man’s glass and hand it to him, giving him an amorous look. “Let’s loosen up beforehand. I like my men rough,” I flirt, and he takes the shot from my hand, grinning.

We down it together and he makes a sour face, clearly showing he’s new to the taste. We laugh and begin to make conversation. I learned that he “works as a business man in China, and he came down to America for a meeting”. I want to roll my eyes but I yell at myself to play the game. After a while, I see him starting to rock in his seat and I decide to take action.

I grab his hand that’s on my thigh and stand us up. He wobbles, but follows me to the toilet of the club with a loopy smirk on his face. We arrive at the toilet and I walk into the small room. There’s a woman washing her hands and she shoots me a look of disgust before walking out. I look around and make sure no one else is in the room before locking the door. The man begins to childishly giggle as I grab his hand and lead him into a stall. Once we get there, he grips my hips and brings his mouth to my ear, nibbling at the lobe. He’s a tad bit aggressive with it, so it’s more of a bite.

After a few moments of him dealing with his earlobe fetish, he begins to kiss my neck. His slobber coats the left side of it, making me grimace. My mind makes the executive decision to get to the killing and I quickly agree.

Seizing his hands from my side, I lock them behind his back and turn him quickly, stuffing his face into the toilet. Water splashes out from the hole as he begins to fight my grip. He begins to scream and squirm and does his best to get out of my hold, but I grip the back of his neck harder and push his head in more. After a few seconds of him fighting and whining, I lift his head slightly and put my mouth to his ear. He’s gasping for air and is too tired to yell.

“Oh, Gummy Bear, you should know better than to flirt with the one and only Briar Rose,” I smile, and he turns his head slightly to see my face. His eyes widen in terror and he opens his mouth to scream, but I push his head back into the toilet. He’s practically squealing like a pig, and I hear myself laugh darkly as he wiggles in my arms. I pull out a string from the bottom of my breast and lean on top of him as I tie his hands behind him. He tries to push himself up, but I lean more on to him and I feel something crack beneath me. Probably one of his ribs.

Once I make the knot, I place my hand forcefully onto his neck and slide out the flip blade from my Mary Poppins breast. I bite down onto the blade and flip it open. It shines silver in the bathroom light, sending me into a trance. I continue to examine the shimmer of the blade until I feel the shoving lessen below me. Glancing down, I see that I have accidentally drowned the man and he’s motionless. Oops. Well there goes my use for the blade.

I lift the man’s head slightly to see water spill out of his gaping mouth. I stay there for a few moments, making sure he’s not going to whip his head back and try to knock me out, but he remains silent and still. I carelessly drop his head and it falls hard onto the toilet seat with a loud bang. My wet hands fold back in the blade and shove it back into my dress for safe keeping. For certainty that he’s dead, I quickly grab the man’s head and twist it until I hear a pop. We’ll have to stick with a drowning and neck breaking murder. Those are never exciting though.

I lift up the man’s heavy body and sit him on to the toilet seat. His head is flimsy and falls back on to the bathroom stall wall, his mouth slowly leaking with a mix of blood, saliva, and water. I grab toilet paper and wipe his face to get rid of the water and kiss his cheek, leaving my red shaded lipstick on his dead body. At least he got his kiss for the night.

I slip out of the bathroom, locking it behind me with a hairpin, and leave him there to be found like all the others. He’s not as frightening as most of my assassinations, which isn’t much fun for me. They won’t be that mortified when they find him, thus me not getting my usual 5 star horror review.

Making my way out of the club to be met with the cold air outside, I become well aware of the goosebumps crawling up my arms. I wrap my arms around my torso, trying to conceal all of my body heat. My eyes glance to the sky above me and soak in the shine of the stars, bringing me back to a nostalgic feeling I have felt for so long. Even though I’m crowded with people, I feel so alone. My heart feels empty and lonesome, begging to be loved. It is a challenge to remember that last time someone told me I was special and meant something to them. Blimey, I can’t even remember a genuine “I love you”. I’m just unlovable now.

After what I’ve done these past 9 years, not even the man in the sky could love me because of my sins. I long for the feeling to feel...wanted. But I never will be, so I push all of the feelings down into the bottom of my heart, where they’ve stayed for the past 10 lonely years of my life.

Even though it’s currently midnight, I don’t feel tired in the slightest. My adrenaline rush is still pumping through my veins. I decided to visit some place in Chicago, hoping to relieve my mind of all of it’s unnecessary thoughts. I tramp down the sidewalk in my semi tall black heels, feeling so numb from my thoughts and emotions that I barely notice the splinters starting to form on my heels. After walking for a bit, I look up to find myself standing in front of The Art Institute of Chicago. Brilliant, art to help with a broken heart.

I remove the flipblade from my dress and tuck it under a bush; I would get arrested if that was found on me. Once the blade is hidden, I sigh and walk into the building. I’m met with a woman at the front and I pay her with the money I stole from the Asian man. No sense in saving it.

The echoes of my heels tapping on the ground bring me a sense of peace as I move through the halls, studying all of the paintings with no care in the world. I start to regret coming here since I’m the only person in the exhibit, only making me feel more solitary than I already was. I continue to stroll down the halls, deciding if I should leave, until a certain painting catches my eye. I turn to face it and examine the creation.

“‘The Couple’ by Imitator of Constantin Guys. 1840-1933” it reads, and I glance up to admire the black, grey, and brown painting. It’s of a woman and a man, their backs facing the front as they walk towards something together. The woman’s face is somewhat clear and I can’t find it in myself to look away from it. A small joyful grin is placed on her lovely face as she gazes at the man. I don’t know either to feel envious or happy inside thinking about what it was like for that artist to paint this masterpiece. Is this a real couple? Why the choice of no color?

While continuing to admire the beauty of the painting, I suddenly remember a saying my father used to constantly tell me when I was younger: “Even things that are dark find a way to be beautiful. Everything has emotion.” I was oblivious to what the saying meant, but now, I slightly understand. Even things that are dark, like myself and my soul, find a way to be beautiful. I know I have emotions, but I refuse to let them show. They’re not as beautiful as the women in the painting. Or are they? I don’t suppose so. My parents believe I have emotions, but I don’t quite know if I could accept that I do, now or ever.

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