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Young Love Murder April Brookshire

 

Book One of Young Assassins

 

April Brookshire

 

 

 

For my Wattpad fans,

 

thanks for the encouragement.

 

 


Chapter 1

Annabelle

Moving seductively to the pounding rhythm of the music, I throw an enticing smile over my shoulder at the guy grinding up behind me. Buddy, enjoy it while you can. Although, the last thing I’m feeling right now is sexy. The dark, smoky atmosphere of the club is making my eyes water, or maybe it’s the blue contacts in them. The song ends, streaming into the next, and I lead my prey over to a booth tucked in a dark corner. While he’s kissing my neck, I’m taking a filled syringe out of my red wrist clutch. As he’s sliding the thin strap of my dress off my shoulder, I’m gently, swiftly sticking him in the thigh with the needle. The syringe is emptied and slipped back into my clutch before he can react. After all the drinks I’ve made sure he’s had, he doesn’t even notice. Besides, he’s a little preoccupied with sucking on my shoulder at the moment. Making a sound of irritation, he absentmindedly scratches his leg where I’ve stuck him with the needle. He’ll be dead by morning and I’ll be long gone. Good riddance, he’s a bad one.

His obituary will read that he was Christopher Gage Bingman, age twenty-four, born in London, England. It’ll say that he’s survived by both parents and an older sister. It’ll leave out that he’s deeply involved in the human trafficking of young women from Eastern Europe, using his charisma and looks to lure them in. To me, he’s just a job and now that job is done. Freeing myself from his repulsive embrace, I excuse myself to use the little girl’s room.

Walking out of the club, I catch a cab to my hotel, glad to be leaving Prague. For as much beauty this city has, it has just as much depravity. During the ride, I send a message to Uncle Simon.

It’s done

Once back at the hotel, while taking the gold and glass elevator up to my room, I get a reply.

Transfer complete

The elevator doors slide open on the seventh floor and I step off. My footsteps are muffled by the patterned carpet of the empty hallway. Sliding the keycard through the slot on door, I receive the okay to enter from a green light. Not until I’m in my room do I message him back.

New contract?

Throwing the clutch down on the bed, I slip off my light jacket, hanging it on the back of a chair. My black strappy heels are next, along with my red satin dress. A beep from my cell phone alerts me to a new text message.

Not at this time

Well that calls for a toast. Later. No time to hang out in the hotel bar when I might be able to catch a red-eye flight tonight. I send one last text to Simon.

Flying to New York

After a five minute shower and throwing all my belongings into a suitcase and carryon, I call my older brother, Jackson. He doesn’t answer. Not that I’m surprised or even worried since he’s also on a job right now. A quick text message to let him know that I’m flying to our apartment in New York should suffice for now. He’ll call me when he can, or when he’s bored.



Arriving just past 4 a.m. Eastern time the next morning, I take a cab to the two-bedroom apartment that Jackson and I share in Manhattan. Although, we’re rarely here at the same time so not much sharing is involved. The place could use a dusting, but I’m too exhausted from the flight to deal with it right now. Looking at the sparsely furnished apartment you’d think we couldn’t afford more, or a bigger place. The fact is anything bigger would be a waste. We each spend less than two weeks here a year.

Instead of giving the place the cleaning it needs, I pad into my room, exhausted from traveling. It’s always hard for me to sleep on airplanes ever since I stopped having Jackson or Simon’s shoulder to rest my head on. Laying down on my queen bed, sinking into the white down comforter, I take a deep breath. The only places where I can relax are the homes that Jackson and I keep in cities around the world. Here, I don’t have to be someone else. Here, I get to be me. And I happen to think that me is kinda awesome.

I’m in repose not even five minutes, blissfully being me, when my phone rings. Checking the caller id shows that it’s Simon. Tempted to let it ring to voicemail, I reluctantly answer it. “Uncle Simon?”

“Another job has come up,” he says promptly. These days it seems that’s the only reason he calls me.

No point in arguing, this is my life. Sometimes the breaks are short in-between jobs. But there’s no other life I’d want. “What’s the job?”

“You’ll be going to Miami. Given your age and gender, you’re the best person for this one. I’m faxing over the information now. Call me tomorrow night after you’ve settled into a hotel,” he says, knowing I won’t turn it down.

“Okay, talk to you then.” Sighing, I press ‘end’. It’s always about business with my guardian.

Leaving my room, I walk over to the fax machine in our office/dining room and catch the incoming fax before the papers drop to the floor. When the fax machine has finished printing the last page, I straighten the stack of papers, take a seat at the desk and flip them over. The feeling I get when receiving a new assignment, like opening a big present on Christmas morning, flutters through me. Time to get to know the next person I’ll kill.

Rifling through the papers, I take a look at the grainy pictures first. The first is of a dark-haired Hispanic man in his mid-forties. Above the picture is written Xavier Sanchez, target. The next picture is of a beautiful blonde woman, who looks a few years younger, but you never know with all the plastic surgery procedures out there. Written on it is Eva Sanchez, wife. Don’t you mean future widow, Simon? If it’s any condolence, at least she’ll be a pretty one.

Another picture is of a young man, a teenager most likely. Unexpectedly, my breath catches as I stare at it. Sure, he’s handsome, but that’s not what catches my attention. It’s his light-colored eyes, blue or green, impossible to tell in the black, white and gray image. There’s something about them. He’s looking into the camera in a way that makes me feel like he’s looking directly at me, which is impossible of course. Like he’s staring right back at me. I shake my head quickly and rub a hand over my eyes. Get a grip, Annabelle. You’re being ridiculous and imagining things. There’s something about him, though. Written at the top of the page is Gabriel Sanchez, son, 17. Damn, I need to get a good night’s sleep.

The last picture is of another teenage boy. He looks kind of like Xavier Sanchez. All I see in his dark eyes is warmth and friendliness. His description is Max Garcia, nephew, 17. I’m starting to get an idea as to why Simon chose me for this contract. The boys are my age.

Time to read the notes Simon sent. The target is Xavier Sanchez, a businessman in both legal and illegal ventures. His legal businesses include a chain of Cuban restaurants and gas stations throughout the South. His illegal business involves drugs, most notably cocaine. The DEA has been trying to take him down for years, but he’s evaded them by never giving them the opportunity to catch him in the act of doing anything illegal. Minions haven’t been as lucky, though. Unfortunately, most have been rather tight-lipped upon arrest. There had been one informant who was going to testify to seeing Sanchez executing an employee mafia-style, but that informant was killed in a car bomb before the trial. My, doesn’t it suck when that happens?

It can be assumed that the contract wasn’t taken out to rid the world of a sleazy restaurateur serving inedible food. Someone is obviously willing to spend a small fortune to put Sanchez in the ground. Either it’s his competition in the drug world or someone wanting to right the wrongs Sanchez has committed.

Most of the time, other bad guys hire me to take out a target. Competition in the criminal world can be ruthless. On the other hand, sometimes it’s hard for ‘by the book’ government agencies to take down men like this because they have to follow the pesky laws the criminal element choose to ignore. Can’t have the FBI or Interpol offing any person they suspect of committing murder and mayhem. That would definitely make my job more hazardous.

If I ever get caught, as unlikely as it is, my crimes can’t be traced back to the client and the client must be able to claim ignorance. Fine by me, because if I ever get caught, it’d be for about as long as it takes to take down or elude my captors.

Those in my field get hired for all sorts of reasons, by all sorts of people. The clients are usually anonymous and, even in the rare instances that they’re not, Simon deals directly with them. All I have to do is point and shoot. Or bomb, or poison, or cut. Sometimes clients request that it look like suicide or a mugging gone wrong. No two jobs are the exact same. Varying methods are a must. Don’t want to establish an M.O. that could link my executions together. A hitman who kills in only one way might get pleasure from that method, pointing at a possible serial killer.

So, maybe the new client is a government official who’s fed up with Xavier Sanchez getting away with murder and more. Maybe it’s an anti-drug group with rich backers, playing vigilante. Who cares? I just go in, get the job done and get paid.

I continue reading the information. Sanchez is a hard man to get to since he has a security force that includes armed bodyguards and a top of the line security system at his Miami estate. Plus, he’s often on the move. No one knows when he’ll be home in Miami and when he’ll be traveling elsewhere. In the past, he’s even employed the use of decoys to throw agencies off his trail or hide his whereabouts.

My instructions from Simon are to enroll at the high school that Gabriel and Max attend as seniors. Well, this is a first. After that, I’m to gain the trust of at least one of the boys and, as a result, also gain access to Sanchez’s home. Once I’ve gained access to the house and grounds, I’m to wait for an opportunity when Xavier is home to make the kill. It all seems simple enough. Why do I get the strange feeling that this job isn’t going to be like any other before? Maybe it’s because I’m a teenager who isn’t a teenager. Maybe it’s because I’m sleep deprived.

Setting down the papers, I call Jackson’s cell again. At the fourth ring, he picks up with a careless, “Yeah?”

“About time you answered your phone, punk,” I chide playfully, leaning back in my chair, wincing when it squeaks throughout the entire backward tilt.

“Whatever Annie,” he replies, scoffing lightly over the line. “I got your message from last night. Are you in New York yet?”

“Yep, but I’m flying out again tomorrow. I’ve got a job to do in Miami. You’ll never believe it, I have to enroll in high school,” I inform him in a morbid tone.

After a moment’s pause, he chuckles on the other end of the line. “Seriously?”

“Uh-huh. I’m actually kind of nervous. I haven’t felt like this since the first jobs I went out on with you. I mean, we never even went to public school, Jackson. I’ve technically been a graduate since I earned my GED when I was fourteen.” Hey, maybe it’ll be a unique experience. For a while, when I was little, I’d wished that I could go to school like normal kids. That bit of craziness was cured when Simon explained how monotonous the life of the average kid is.

“This is too funny.” He laughs harder, loudly enough to have me moving the phone a few inches away from my ear. “I may have to fly to Miami just to watch you attend school.”

“I’m so glad the thought of watching me go through any sort of real teen angst is so amusing to you,” I tease him, knowing the ridiculousness of it. “I’m not used to dealing with other teenagers besides you. My youngest target has been twenty-three.” Aren’t there bullies in school? Wow, that’d be kind of fun to deal with, in my unique way. Someone tries to steal my lunch money and he’ll be the one walking away with empty pockets.

“Well, I’m almost done with my job here in Amsterdam. We haven’t spent time together since Paris. How about I meet you in Miami in a day or two? I’ll tell Simon that I’m taking a short vacation.” Evident anticipation in his voice almost makes me want to forbid him from joining me. My brother can be a pain in the ass when he’s decided that he’s bored and I’m to be the entertainment.

“That’d be great.” I suppose. “Call me when you fly into Miami and I’ll let you know where I’m staying,” I tell him, almost dreading the invitation. He’s my only family, though, besides Simon. Not even when you’re an assassin can you choose your family.

“Will do. Love ya, baby sis,” he says mockingly.

“Alright, love you too,” I reply grudgingly. It’s always the same routine with us. Embarrassed to show any real affection, we play it off as part of our banter.

Relaxing back into the squeaky office chair again, I pick up the picture of Gabriel Sanchez. This job will be just like all the others, I reassure myself. I get in, make the kill and get out. Simple and uncomplicated. The average teenage boy is no threat to someone like me, a seventeen-year-old highly-trained assassin. I’m probably the best in the world. And so modest. Unfortunately, assassination isn’t an Olympic sport, yet, so the ongoing argument with Jackson continues. But if it was, I would so beat out Jackson in every category. Although, he might take the gold medal in making it look like an accident. He really took to Simon’s teachings in that area.

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, I catch a flight down to Miami and check into a spa hotel in South Beach. Not that I plan on scheduling any mud baths or massages, but this looks to be an extended stay and the hotel’s fitness room is supposed to be excellent.

The two-room suite has the same layout as many of the ones I’ve stayed in before, but I’m digging the Asian-inspired theme and decor. The bedrooms and living area are tidy, with an uncluttered feel to them. I suspect even a UV light test wouldn’t find much hidden filth. Under the scent of incense, it smells of lemon cleaner and salt from the ocean. The living room has a TV in a bamboo parquet cabinet against the wall. There’s a gray low back sofa, two matching armchairs and a rosewood coffee table, making up a seating area. The room has beige walls with black framed art of Chinese symbols. There’s also a small kitchenette with a mini bar, small stainless steel sink and a coffee maker. In a basket on the counter are some dry creamer and sugar packets, but no coffee. Good thing I’m not much of a coffee drinker.

To the right and left of the kitchen are the two bedrooms. I select the room farthest away from the suite door, feeling that it’s a more secure location. That leaves the other bedroom for Jackson, whenever he happens to arrive. My room has a simple queen size bed with rosewood night stands on either side. There’s a small closet and a door to the private bath. A plasma TV is mounted on the wall above the rosewood dresser. One whole wall is made up mostly of windows, showcasing a great view of the ocean, with a balcony looking out over the beach below.

I throw my suitcases on the bed to unpack and give Simon a call, to let him know that I’ve arrived. More than a few days without word from us and he’ll have one of his computer geeks hack into government satellite systems to pin us down, especially me and Jackson. A lecture usually follows after that, something to be avoided.

Simon isn’t really our uncle he just raised us after our parents died. He was their best friend, possibly their only friend. When Jackson was four and I was two, they were both killed during a job. I don’t remember them and Jackson only has the vague memories of a small child, but Simon has always made sure to tell us stories about them. Not always pretty ones, but appreciated nevertheless. They were assassins like Simon, like Jackson and I are now. Following in their footsteps usually makes a parent proud, right? I’d like to think they’d be.

When Simon took us in, he raised us the only way I think he knew how. As killers and chameleons like himself. As children he tutored us himself. Not only in academic subjects, but also the unconventional subjects of real life, hard situations and secrecy. He taught us about weapons of all kinds, martial arts, people, cultures, languages, stealth and any other skills an assassin may need. We traveled the world with him while growing up. He began sending us out on what he called ‘training missions’ when we were still kids. It started off small, like gathering information on targets, but eventually it progressed to bigger and more dangerous things. Murder and mayhem, as I like to refer to it.

He never lied to us about what he was and what he did. He sat us down, explaining it all, letting us ask questions. He takes on jobs that involve killing the big bad wolves of the world, the men and women who elude governments and justice. Let’s face it, it’s not like many contracts are taken out on teachers or firefighters. All the people I’ve executed were asking for it. And Simon never accepts the contracts that are otherwise.

When we were little, Jackson and I thought of Simon as a superhero of sorts. We know better now, I’m definitely no super hero myself, but Jackson and I both agree that the jobs we do, however hard it would be for others to understand them, have to be done. We’re the world’s necessary evil.

Jackson was sent on his first real job when he was fourteen and I was twelve. Simon allowed me to help him with everything but the actual killing for the next two years. At the time, I was so envious. I suppose in the way that some younger siblings are jealous of an older sibling being given more freedom. And, being the older sibling that he is, Jackson rubbed it in my face.

When I was fourteen and he was sixteen, Jackson helped me with my first job. Simon monitored us both on our first assignments, saying that he’d be there if needed, but that he didn’t want us to think he’d always be there to clean up our messes. Parenting 101: Teach the child to be self-reliant. Some basic principles are universal.

My first target was a porn king in L.A. who had a kiddie porn business on the side. The police would have had no trouble gathering evidence against him, because the guy was as sloppy in his actions as he looked physically. Why we were brought in, I don’t know exactly. I didn’t ask either. But my guess is that he put the wrong person’s son or daughter in one of his flicks. We were told to destroy all of his footage and equipment.

Pretending to be a runaway who just happened to stumble in his path one day, he thought to make me the star in his newest film. That is, until I took a knife to his throat and he realized that the only type of movie I would ever be in was a snuff film. Guess what? He’d be the star!

I had felt a little numb afterwards, having only been a witness to executions before, never the executioner, but I didn’t feel guilty. Sometimes I wonder if that makes me a sociopath, but I don’t think so. I couldn’t kill an innocent human being, just monsters like him. People who prey on the innocent and crouch in dark alley ways or even in the light of day, waiting for their next victim to unsuspectingly come along. Jackson was a bit overzealous in starting the fire that night, but an anonymous call to 911 got it contained.

The morning of my second day in Miami, Jackson calls from the airport letting me know that he’s arrived and in a taxi on his way to the hotel. Thirty minutes later, he enters the hotel room carrying luggage and a plastic shopping bag. “What’s in the bag?” I ask him, pausing to take in his appearance. Nice, I think humorously, he’s going for the dorky tourist look with plaid board shorts, tank top and flip flops. All he’s missing is a visor and obscenely large camera hanging from his neck. Huh, his hair’s blonde, haven’t seen it that color in a while. Guess while I work, he plans on bumming around, enjoying his vacation.

Towering over me, at a couple inches over six feet, he gives me a sly grin before answering, “Your training videos, my young apprentice.”

I raise my eyebrows arrogantly. “Training? Me? You’re looking at the master.”

“Not when it comes to this subject. Check it out.” He tosses me the bag and wheels his suitcase into the spare bedroom, knowing instinctively which one I’d already chosen.

Awkwardly, I catch it and pull out a stack of DVDs. Looking through the movies I realize that my brother has a talent for torture, beyond what Simon taught us. They all appear to be teen movies. “You’ve got to be kidding me, Jacks,” I yell through the open doorway. “I don’t need these!” I toss the pile onto the couch, watching them scatter.

He reenters the living room, unfazed by my indignation. “Yes, you do. You don’t know how to act like a regular American teenager, Annie. These will help you,” he says snatching up one off the couch. “I’ll put in this one first.” He’s holding up a case that says Superbad on the cover. Never heard of it, but the boys on the cover are normal enough looking, if a little badly dressed. Another one has a pink cover and says Mean Girls, which doesn’t seem very pleasant at all. I give one title, High School Musical, a skeptical look. What the hell does singing and dancing have to do with high school? Okay, even with my limited pop culture knowledge, I know that this next movie is in no way related to my job.

I hold up the case. “Really, Jackson? Do you think I’ll be running into many teenage vampires on this assignment?”

He holds both palms over his heart, sighing dramatically. “That movie is so romantic. Team Edward forever.” I throw the movie case at his head, which he predictably catches while it’s midair.

Shaking his head, he clucks his tongue, with a disapproving expression. “I think someone needs to watch Mean Girls first.”

Many hours of torture later, we’ve watched all of the movies. I learned that all teenagers think about is what the opposite sex is thinking, getting drunk and getting laid. Oh, and not getting caught while doing any of those things. Social domination seems to rank up there in priorities for some of them too. Somehow, I doubt the whole breaking out into song and dance part in the musical. Oh yeah, and the vampire hidden in plain sight. I’m sure vampires would have as much aversion to public education as I do. If I were a vampire, I’d at least pretend to be human while attending college.

If the films can be trusted as fact, teens lack communication skills, which result in misunderstandings between friends and lovers. They also aim to keep their parents in the dark about as many aspects of their lives as possible. I find it all fascinating and potentially useful. I did learn one other thing, teen movies are hilarious, realistic or not.

Of course, Jackson thinks this job is some sort of entertainment for him. He insists on helping me out with it. The first thing to decide upon is the part that I’m going to play. Who will I need to be?

After Jackson and I read over the latest information on my phone that Simon has sent by email, including the comings and goings of Gabriel and Max, we decide that I’ll play the part of a teenage vixen. Teenage boys seem to love the type of girl who has confidence and shows a higher level of sexual maturity than other girls. The information that we have on Gabriel and Max enlightens us to each of their personalities, their social habits and the places they frequent.

Max is the ‘nice guy’. He’s had a couple of serious girlfriends, but is currently single. Gabriel is also single, but has had a long line of short meaningless relationships. He’s also known to be a bit of a jerk. They’re more than just cousins, they’re best friends. Gabriel’s father, Xavier Sanchez, is brother to Max’s mom, Lucy Garcia. Max is full Hispanic but Gabriel is half because his mother is white, of German and Scottish descent. Max’s father died when he was little so he’s been raised by a single mother. Max’s mother manages Xavier’s restaurant chain, along with overseeing day to day things for the gas stations.

As Jackson leaves the room to take a shower, I go to my own room to lie on the bed, over the tea green comforter. Deciding to take a cue from Simon’s computer geeks, I log onto the internet on my tablet using the hotel’s Wi-Fi to cyberstalk the boys. Gabriel’s Facebook page is set to private, damn, but Max must be the trusting type, so naive, because his life is all laid out publicly for the world to see. Max has 376 friends. In self-derision, I think about the number of friends I’d have upon joining the social network, uh, none. The few people I suppose it could be said that I socialize with would never have a Facebook account. Except maybe Porky . . . Well, there you go, I’d have one friend on Facebook. But there’s no rule that says I have to actually know my friends.

Max has numerous folders in his Photos section. Clicking on the one labeled Family, I browse through them. Mostly they’re of special occasions, birthdays, holidays and whatnot. Here, I get to see pictures of Lucy Garcia, Max and the Sanchez family. They look like the happy families I’ve seen across the world, smiling and carefree. Wonder which of them knows the entire truth behind the Sanchez wealth and if any are actually ignorant of the dirty secrets.

I study a close-up picture of the boys together, with the ocean as a backdrop. Both Max and Gabriel have that sun-kissed look, but Max’s skin tone is darker in a way that only someone of full Hispanic descent possesses. His hair is the deepest of black. It tints blue under the sunlight, like a raven’s feathers. His eyes are so deep a brown they could pass for black in the right lighting and he has a thick fringe of lashes around his eyes. There’s innocence in his eyes and boyishness to his smile. I can’t imagine how much more attractive he’ll be growing into adulthood.

I know from pictures that Gabriel’s mother has a fair complexion, blonde hair and green eyes, while his father has the dark hair and skin of his Hispanic ancestors. With the mix of blood, Gabriel’s coloring is lighter than Max’s. But as where Max is still growing into his hotness, Gabriel is already there. His eyes are knowing and his smile has a sensual lift to it.

Through my open doorway, I see Jackson exit his room and take up residence on the couch, TV remote in hand. Glancing again at the picture of Gabriel, my breath catches at the back of my throat. His lean, muscular body and tanned skin are shown off in a pair of white swim trunks. Dark chocolate hair, that seems to have natural highlights of black, and bright green eyes, surrounded by thick, long lashes, combine to create a lethal combination. Everything about him screams sensuality and a beautiful combination of two cultures. Talk about a nice mixing of genes.

When it comes to my own appearance for this job, I’ll go for a more natural look. On my last job, I had my hair dyed a dark blonde and wore very dramatic makeup and clothing, wanting my looks to scream sex so the target would target me in return for human trafficking. I aim to stand out while in Miami, but not too much. That amount of glamour on a teenage girl in high school might just scream easy.

For this job, I’ll dye my hair a reddish dark brown, something similar to what I remember my natural hair color looking like. The last time I actually saw my natural color, of course. I’ll wear simple but full makeup. In colors that will accent my golden brown eyes and fuller mouth, without overdoing it. I’ll also wear clothes that other girls my age wear, expensive and fashionable, but reasonable for the age.

While traveling, I have to dress in more formal clothing. Don’t want to look like a teen when my passport says I’m in my twenties. Usually it’s easy to pull off with my toned, but curvy, figure. While I have to stay in fighting shape for my career, I’m a girl who likes her food and every country I travel to seems to have a favorite dish of mine calling out, ‘Eat me, Annabelle! That’s it, girl, go for seconds!’ Thank god for hotel gyms.

Men of all age like the challenge, or so Jackson tells me. As if I haven’t figured that out years ago about grown men. I decide that my first encounter with Gabriel and Max shouldn’t be at school. It’s too boring and commonplace. I’d blend in too easily with all the other pretty girls. Tomorrow’s Friday, but I decide that my first day at school will be on Monday. This weekend I’ll stage my first encounter with them. Walking out onto the balcony coming off my room, I stare at the beach below, plotting.

 

 



Chapter 2

Gabriel

“Hurry up, man!” I yell out the car window at Max as he shuts the front door behind him, still buttoning the shirt that he just snatched from my closet.

“I’m hurrying! Chill. The club isn’t going anywhere,” he says peevishly, descending down the stone steps to where I’m parked in the wraparound driveway.

“I know that, but I’m an impatient person, I don’t like waiting.” I glare at him jokingly. “If all the good ones are taken, it’ll be your fault.”

He makes a scoffing noise. “As if that would stop you.”

Grinning unrepentantly, I nod proudly. “True. But don’t worry. Since we’re taking my car and the chicks get all excited when they see it, if the good ones are taken we’ll just steal them with horsepower.” Driving down the long tree-lined drive, I rev the engine, getting excited for the night to come.

“I still can’t believe your dad bought you a Ferrari. My mom says you’re too spoiled and that I’m stuck with my Mercedes until I produce a college diploma,” he whines petulantly, tucking in his shirt. Shaking his head, he then pulls the shirt back out of his waistband.

“Yes, I am,” I admit proudly, ignoring his indecision. “My dad has to make up for being gone all the time in some way and I’m more than happy to accept his gifts of guilt.” I wave at the security men stationed at the gatehouse as I wait for the wrought iron gate to slide open.

Max laughs. “I don’t even freaking have a dad. Does that mean I deserve something better than a Ferrari for that? Maybe I deserve my own helicopter?”

“How about this, Cuz, if I get laid tonight, then I’ll let you borrow my car for your next date.” I think the offer is very magnanimous of me.

“You’re too kind, Gabe,” Max remarks sarcastically. What a whiner. Before the Ferrari, I only had a Mustang.

“I try,” I reply, knowing I’m pissing him off.

As we near downtown Max’s suffering is forgotten. The club we’re going to is owned by one of my dad’s friends, so we don’t even get carded, slipping in through the back door. The place is a favorite of mine, and not just because of the free drinks. The owner went all out, with competition in Miami being so fierce on the club scene. At least tourism is good for something besides girls flocking here during spring break.

The atmosphere is awesome. The bottom floor features a bar the entire length of one wall, with mirrors behind it, and enough bartenders that you don’t have to hop onto the bar to get a drink. The mirrors have horizontal bars at the top. The bars are attached to the mirror slowly spinning with each panel as they open and close allowing dancers to access the small dancing platforms behind the bar.

On the dance floor are several platforms staged throughout the bottom level. Thick poles anchor the VIP area upstairs. To my delight, female dancers wearing close to nothing spin and gyrate on those poles. Small areas that open under the second level have round tables with bar stool seating in chrome and black leather. Waitresses in appropriately skimpy outfits, carrying trays of drinks, twist and spin their way between tables and dancers in a graceful dance of their own. The lights are flashing to the music as one of Miami’s hottest DJs is spinning. Strobe lights are highlighting the shimmer and sway of tiny skirts and barely-there dresses among the crowd.

Heading up to the VIP area, it only gets better. Booths in supple black leather line the walls. Silk curtains hanging from the ceiling between booths give the illusion of privacy. A server wearing a low slung neon mini skirt and silky black top brings drinks over as we lean over the railing overlooking the dance floor. Here, I’m in my element.

Standing up here, watching the dance floor below, I’m looking for my next conquest. The easy, desperate chicks are always handy as a last resort, but it’s the not so easy ones that are the most satisfying. And just look at all the hot chicks below, god do I love short dresses. I’m searching for the female that gains my interest the most, not necessarily the one in the sluttiest outfit. From my vantage point, I spy a hot platinum blonde, dancing amongst a group of females that I may just have to mosey down and introduce myself to.

I turn to Max to let him know that I’m heading down to the dance floor, when I see that he’s staring intently towards the booths behind us. I follow his gaze to a booth where there’s a guy and girl sitting and see why he’s so enthralled. The girl is gorgeous. Even though she looks nothing like the girls I usually go for, I can’t help but appreciate her anyways. Measuring up the blonde guy that she’s sitting with, I’m not too discouraged. He looks a little older than me and most girls would probably think he’s handsome. But maybe he’s her gay best friend or something. With how well he’s put together, both his clothes and hair, it isn’t hard to believe.

Returning my attention to the girl, with her glossy dark hair and light olive skin, my first thought is that she’s Hispanic. But quickly I realize she’s not, just a darker featured white person. Either one works for me, with myself being a mix of both.

Max nudges me and leans over to say harshly, “Stop staring. I saw her first.”

I nudge him back. “Did you also see that she’s with someone?”

“Don’t care. I’m in love,” he practically moans the words, probably only half-joking. When isn’t he in love? In my opinion, it’s really sad the way he falls in and out of love all the time. Love is for morons who don’t realize how ridiculous it is to tie oneself to just one girl. I believe in having fun while I’m still young. Watching Max’s monthly mini-dramas is amusing, though.

We’re both still staring at her, when I notice the guy casually glance over at us. He smirks and turns back to the girl. Leaning across the table, he says something to her that I can’t hear over the music and across the space. They both get up to leave. As she walks past us, she doesn’t even glance in my direction, which disappoints but doesn’t deter me.

As they walk down the stairs, I lean over the railing again to watch her take the steps to the bottom. Her little black dress may not be as short as some of the others here, but I’m enjoying the view from behind. She has a great walk, confident and sexy.

Max is also staring. “I have to talk to her,” he pronounces. This is going to be a problem. At least for him it is.

“Max, look below, there are plenty of hot girls. Let that one go. She’s already taken,” I advise him, but I can’t help but feel the same way he’s feeling. It’s true, there are plenty of other options for tonight down there, but I can’t seem to take my eyes off of one option in particular.

The girl and her gay best friend, as I like to think of him, make their way to the middle of the dance floor. As they start dancing to the track playing, I notice that there’s space between them. Aha! They aren’t together after all. If she was with me, I’d be dancing closer to her, a whole lot closer. She raises her arms over her head as she moves to the DJ’s remix of a Daft Punk classic. She then raises her eyes up to where we’re standing and I see her smile and wink.

Did I just see that right? Max asks me something along the same lines, “Did you just see that?”

“Yeah,” I tell him. “I’m going down there. She’s beckoning me.” Immediately, I walk to the stairs, hearing Max calling out behind me, his voice being drowned out by the pounding music. I don’t care if he saw her first. I don’t care if she is with some other dude. Her little flirtation was an invitation for more, and for me.

Once at the bottom of the stairs, I spot the girl leaving the dance floor in the direction of the bar. I don’t know where the guy she was with went, not that I’m complaining. He just made things easier for me by leaving her alone for a few minutes. Really though, a minute is all I need.

Taking a seat next to her at the bar, I nod to the bartender. He knows me since I’m always here. It’s quite handy. I nod my head again in the girl’s direction. He knows what I want. She still hasn’t even glanced my way. This is getting frustrating. What’s up with that little flirtation on the dance floor then she just ignores me? Maybe the smile and wink was for Max. If so, it was a miscalculation on her part. Better set the girl straight.

I take a moment while she’s not paying attention to check her out discreetly. Her body is rockin’. Toned, but not missing any luscious curves. The black dress looks even better up close. Thin straps curve over smooth shoulders and accent the long graceful curve of her throat. The swooped front reveals just enough of her full, plump breasts to have my mouth watering for a better view and maybe a little taste. Dipping in to her small waist and flaring slightly at her hips, it ends in a loose flutter at mid-thigh. I’m digging her spiked heels, which showcase lean thighs and calves.

Her olive skin looks like a light golden tan, but I can tell that it’s her natural skin color. She has glossed full lips that beg for me to kiss and nibble. I can hear them whispering sweet nothings to me, ‘Kiss us, Gabriel. Feel how soft we are. Please give us a kiss’. It’s almost more than a man with my legendary self-control can deal with. She’s not my usual type, blonde and blue-eyed, but I think my new type is exotic and golden from head to cute little red toenails.

As I’m checking her out, she finally turns her head towards me and lifts her eyebrows. “Are you done?” she shouts over the music. Her big eyes are a stunning golden-brown and surrounded by a thick fringe of dark lashes. Pretty. Want.

“No,” I shout back, grinning confidently. As I’d planned, her attention is now solely on me. This is going to be too easy.

Just then, the bartender comes over with two drinks. He places one in front of me and one in front of the girl. “No thanks!” she tells the bartender. He just shrugs and walks off. Good man.

“What’s your name?” I ask her, figuring an introduction is a good place to start.

She smiles knowingly and leans into me. “Anna,” she answers, leaning away from me again. Come back.

“Aren’t you going to ask me my name?” I chastise her.

She just shrugs as if to say that it doesn’t matter. I’m about to lean in and tell her anyways when Max walks up and steps between our seats, blocking my view of her. He says rudely in my ear, “You’re an ass! Introduce me!”

“Fuck off!” I tell him, giving him a dark look. “I got to her first. Go find your own!”

“Fine then, I’ll introduce myself.” He turns around then whirls back to me with a dirty look and stalks off.

After he leaves, I can see what the dirty look was for. Spinning around on the barstool is useless. The girl is gone.

The hot blonde I was checking out earlier stumbles drunkenly to my left. Catching her arm before she hits the ground, I help her onto the now empty barstool next to me. Once situated, she gives me a flirtatious smile, which I walk away from.

Annabelle

Jackson’s waiting for me at the entrance of the club. “How’d it go?” he asks once we’re away from the crowd.

“Exactly as planned,” I confirm. “They’re both interested and I disappeared into thin air.” With one hand, I make a ‘poof’ gesture.

His laugh is deep, drawing the attention of a group of girls behind the velvet rope. It’s always disturbing when women check out my brother. “You’ve definitely set yourself up as a vixen. They’ll be both surprised and ecstatic when you show up at their school on Monday morning. This one time, in Amsterdam-”

“Don’t want to hear it!” I cut him off. “Every time a story of yours starts with ‘one time in Amsterdam’, it ends with me wanting to hurl into the nearest wastebasket.”

“Wimp,” he mumbles with obvious disappointment.

“Yeah, yeah,” I tell him absentmindedly. As we walk to where we’re parked, I’m lost in my thoughts. What was I doing telling him my name is Anna? Sure it isn’t my legal name, Annabelle, but it’s pretty close. I never use any variation of my real name on jobs. Something about Gabriel made me want to. For some odd reason, I didn’t want him calling me a completely fake name. What the hell is wrong with me? He’s just some guy. He’s just a job. Why the hell am I excited to see him again?

Gabriel

I can’t get my mind off the sexy brunette for the rest of the weekend. There was just something about her, an aura of mystery and secrets. Plus, she’s the only girl to ever not succumb to my immense charm. Well, there was that one girl, but that wasn’t my fault. She wasn’t interested in the kind of parts I possess. Where’d Anna go? I searched the club for her, but she was gone. So was the guy she was with. Maybe she left with him. The thought makes me envious. Chill out Gabriel. She’s just some girl, a girl that I’ll never see again. Why the hell does that thought bother me so much?

On Monday morning, I pull into the school’s parking lot and join Max where he’s standing by his car talking to some of the guys. “Hey,” I greet him as if he didn’t ignore my calls for the past two days.

“Hey,” he practically growls the word.

“Oh come on! You’re not still mad about that girl on Friday night?” I tease, pretending a nonchalance I don’t feel. Maybe if I go back to the club this weekend . . . .

Max finally relaxes and smiles. “I guess not. I mean, she did disappear on both of us. Guess she wasn’t interested in either of us.” He’s always quick to forgive, no matter what I do. And I do piss him off often enough. But I have to silently disagree with his last comment. The girl was interested in one of us, I’m sure of it.

Just then, I hear the roar of an engine and turn towards it, along with everyone else in the vicinity. It’s a yellow Lamborghini Murcielago. Nice car. I’m still looking to see if I know the person driving it, when out steps the girl from the club. Anna.

A glance at Max shows me his delightfully shocked expression. Oh hell no! He starts walking towards her with that damn look on his face. The one where he thinks he’s in love again. I catch up with him and trip him. He falls to the ground, but catches himself with his hands on the asphalt. He’ll forgive me later.

Walking up to her, halting her in her tracks, I give her a friendly, “Hey! Remember me?” Her hair’s different from the wavy mass it was Friday night. Today it’s sleek and straight, but still begging for me to run my fingers through it, with red highlights glinting in the sunlight.

She looks up at me blankly, says, “No,” and walks around me to go into the building. Oh that’s a challenge if I ever saw one. Challenge accepted.

 

 



Chapter 3

Annabelle

That was actually funny. The shocked look on Gabriel Sanchez’s face when I pretended not to remember him from the club was priceless. I just wish I could’ve taken a picture and posted it on his Facebook page, labeling it ‘Burn’. Knock the cocky male down a notch or two. I’ve read his file and know that he’s quite the ladies’ man, a player through and through. Bet that’s never happened to him before, especially after flashing that expensive smile that daddy’s drug money paid for. Even if he wasn’t connected to the job, I’d remember him. He’s handsome and charismatic. I’ve never thought about it before, but if I had a type, he’d probably be it. Not that he needs to know that.

I’m not stupid. I know what I’m feeling for him is attraction. Not that it matters, because it’s not like I’ve never been attracted to a male before. Hell, I’ve come close to having a one night stand a time or two. Even an assassin can’t avoid teenage hormones. However, I’m usually in one place for such a short amount of time that I’ve learned to just brush off any attraction or interest I feel. In my profession there’s no time for something as trivial as a relationship.

Simon taught Jackson and me to only rely on ourselves. He said that our parents’ love for each other was a weakness and that weakness is what got them killed. Despite what Simon taught us, I do love my brother and I would trust him with my life. However, I’m not stupid enough to rely that deeply on any other man, including Simon. After all, my dad couldn’t save my mom.

If I had to attend high school for real, this school seems like it’d do the job nicely. The main building is a long, white two-story structure of stucco, with landscaping and palm trees surrounding it. A blue banner with yellow lettering says ‘Go Rams!’ over the glass doors of the main entrance. For a moment, I imagine myself in a blue and yellow-gold cheerleading uniform. Shuddering, I shake my head. I’d shoot myself first. Passing by the sound of music, I spot musicians playing scales on instruments through an open doorway to the left. I get another image in my head of me wearing a blue and gold marching band uniform, with a trumpet to my lips. That one makes me laugh out loud.

Damn, these little dudes must be freshman. It seems somehow wrong that they attend the same school as people my age, the fully grown humans. I jump defensively when a girl squeals to my right, throwing herself into the arms of another girl. A boy and girl walking up ahead are accomplishing it with the guy wrapped around the girl from behind, moving slowly as one unit. Well, that’s retarded. Wonder what would happen if I tripped the girl. Would the boy’s devotion extend to tumbling down with her?

I already scoped out the school last Saturday night, breaking and entering with Jackson. I’ve memorized all the exits, classroom locations, teachers and staff. I left weapons in hiding places throughout the place just in case. But it’s not likely that I’ll need them. With the help of a computer geek friend, I’ve been enrolled and scheduled in all the same classes as Gabriel and Max. They don’t have any classes together, but I have all of my morning classes with Max and all of my afternoon classes with Gabriel. If I’m to be forced to attend school, not a moment of the time will be wasted.

The students are halfway through the semester, and from research that I’ve done about school, I can assume that one or more teachers will make me stand in the front of the class to ‘introduce’ myself. I wouldn’t have had this extra task, in a school this large, if I’d started at the beginning of the school year. A good chunk of the students are new at that time. I plan to make this work for me, though.

As I’m walking to my first class, someone starts walking alongside me. I don’t have to turn my head to know that it’s Max. Even in a crowd like this, it’d be hard for someone untrained to sneak up on me. Though, that squealing chick did catch me off guard. She’s lucky I didn’t overreact and slam her face into a locker.

I don’t say anything to my walking partner, as if I haven’t noticed. Let him make the first move. Which he does by lamely saying, “Hey, you’re new, right?”

Still, I don’t look at him, as if uninterested in his presence. “Yes.”

“I’m Max. Do you need help finding your first class?” he asks hopefully.

Stopping in the middle of the throng, daring anyone to bump into me, I slowly turn to look at him. I give him a calculated, friendly smile. “That’d be great. By the way, I’m Anna.” Glancing up and down in an obvious way of checking him out, I have to admit he’s hot. Wearing jeans, Converse and a black band shirt that says ‘The Bravery’ in yellow lettering, he’s dressed similar to most of the other males here, but he wears it well. He has a more casual look than Gabriel, who’s wearing expensive designer jeans and a button up shirt and boots. Except for the dark hair, they don’t look much alike.

He notices my perusal and smiles back like I just made his day as I hand him my schedule. He looks it over. “Hey! We have all the same classes before lunch.” The broad smile on his face is triumphant, the poor boy.

Surprise, Surprise! “Really?” I ask with false amazement in my voice.

He looks back up at me. “Yeah, that means I can show you to your first four classes.”

“Lucky me,” I reply, throwing him a warm smile as we start walking again, with me pretending to follow his lead.

“Here we are,” he says, motioning with one hand for me to walk into the classroom ahead of him.

But, before I do, I glance over my shoulder to where Gabriel’s been following us with an aggravated look on his face. I give him an impish smile and wink, just like I did Friday night at the club. Gabriel’s eyes go wide, while Max is oblivious to the little exchange. Walking into the classroom, I innocently ask Max, “Are there assigned seats?”

He looks anticipatory, answering, “Nope, so you can sit by me.”

Raising both eyebrows in amazement, I give him a flirtatious look. “Can I? Well then, lead the way.”

We take two seats next to each other in the second to last row. Wow, these desks are pieces of crap. Along with the uncomfortable seat, the legs aren’t completely level causing it to wobble a little as I move. Nice. Out of habit, I run my fingers over the blades strapped to my outer thigh, through the thin material of my skirt.

“Were you at a club on Friday night called Cameo? I thought I saw someone who looked like you.” As if he doesn’t already know it was me. In a matter of seconds, I debate where I should let this conversation go.

“Yes, I was.” Keeping my face expressionless, with only mild interest showing in my eyes, I wait for his next words.

“You were with a guy . . . ,” Max trails off, obviously fishing for more information.

“Yes, I was.” I answer vaguely again. Sorry to disappoint you, buddy, but for my own purposes, that’s all the details you’re getting. Simon taught me not to give out more information than I have to. Contradicting yourself is a red flag to others that you’re deceiving them.

The math teacher comes into the room seconds before the final bell rings and begins taking roll. When he gets to the name I’m using, as expected he says, “Ah, we have a new student. Anna Walker, will you please come up and introduce yourself to the class?”

Suppressing an eye roll at the encouraging smile Max throws my way and getting up out of the worst seat I’ve ever sat, I have to practically walk sideways through the narrow column of desks. Why do they stuff so many kids into one small classroom? A guy I pass whistles softly so the teacher won’t hear. A few nearby students do hear and either laugh or giggle, depending on their gender. Wonder how they’d react if I backhanded the whistler? Probably laugh some more.

Can’t blame the whistler, I did dress on this job for effect. The desired effect is to get both Max and Gabriel to desire me enough to want to date me and take me home to meet la familia. I’m wearing a loose, fluttering skirt in a deep royal blue that comes to mid-thigh. Paired with a silk cream-colored top and a pair of strappy wedge sandals, I stand out from most of the other girls in a mature and sexy way. It’s a more youthful version of what I’ve worn during past jobs. Usually when on assignment I choose hairstyles, makeup and clothing that make me look older than my age.

Funny, on this job, the goal is to actually look my age. It’s a surreal experience. Not sure how I feel about it yet. The other girls my age here make me feel ancient. It’s in their eyes, their expressions, innocence. They possess a detachment from the real world. Oh, some of them might think they’ve had a dose or two of reality, but they don’t really know. Probably never will know it the way I do.

Once I’m standing in the front of the class, on display, I start to tell them what I’d planned ahead of time. From the distracted expression on the teacher’s face, it’s obvious this is just a formality for him. He could really give a damn about my personal life. I’m just another temporary face until the next batch of kids show up. If I gave a damn, I think my feelings might be hurt.

With a sincere smile and an open expression on my face, I begin speaking, “As the teacher said, my name is Anna Walker. I just moved here from Hong Kong, although I’m not originally from there. We move around a lot for my father’s business interests. I’m an only child.” Sometimes I wish I really was an only child, brothers are a headache that no drug can cure.

A pretty girl with black hair glares at me and asks, “Where did your parents buy a house at?” I recognize her from one of the pictures of Max’s ex-girlfriends. Her name is Carrie Celeste Cooper. How lame is that? I’ll have to use the name as an alias sometime, when I’m pretending to be someone lame.

“Why does that matter?” I ask with a confused look her way, knowing full well that she’s sizing me up financially. Information that I have on her says that her family is semi-wealthy. Her father is a bank manager and her mother is a doctor. Most of the students at this high school are middle to upper class, being zoned in a nicer area of Miami. Too bad I can’t tell her that I make more money taking lives than her mama makes saving them.

She shrugs and slyly says, “Well, if you’re embarrassed . . . .” I believe this is where I’m supposed to be intimidated or feel the need to spill personal information, so I’ll fit in. Is this my Mean Girls moment? What the skankette doesn’t realize is that she’s a kitten compared to some of the women I’ve dealt with. Cat fights, I sigh inwardly, good times.

“My parents are still house hunting, but we have two suites at The Setai hotel for now,” I reply in an unconcerned manner.

The teacher whistles, paying attention after all, then says, “Expensive taste.” Dang, I’m getting whistles left and right today.

Turning to him, I ask, “Am I finished?” He nods and motions for me to return to my seat. I make sure to not look at Max for the rest of the class period, but can see him out of the corner of my eye as he turns his head to look at me every so often.

Making sure to flirt with him and act friendly in between classes for the rest of the morning, I continue to totally ignore him while in class. Don’t want him to think I’m too eager. He’s to think that I’m interested, but not desperate, possibly just a flirt. The next teacher that makes me ‘introduce’ myself to the class is my fourth period English teacher.

How would the teachers and students react to the truth? Well, my name is Annabelle Blanc and my hobbies are martial arts, weapons collecting and murder for hire. They’d probably laugh it off as a joke and whisper that the new girl is a weirdo.

After fourth period, as the bell rings, Max practically jumps out of his assigned desk to corner me at mine across the room. “Do you want to sit with me at lunch?” As an afterthought, he adds, “And my friends.”

I smile gratefully at him and say, “Sure.” Just from the short interactions with both males, I see that different approaches are needed. With Max, fun and friendly will work. With his cousin, Gabriel, aloof and unattainable will draw him in.

As we walk into the lunchroom and over to the counter to the get our grub, he keeps his hand on the small of my back. I know this is his way of staking a claim. He wants to show all the other males in this room that I’m taken. How adorable.

When I was thirteen, Simon paid a famous French Madam, and close friend of his, a large sum of money to instruct me in the art of seduction and the ways to manipulate men. It’s the only time that I’ve ever actually seen Simon embarrassed, dropping me off at her house. Jackson was kinda pissed, but he realized that the knowledge was necessary for our work, as he’d already been through the same instruction. I was also taught how to decipher the actions of males and read their expressions. It’s a handy trick that all females should be taught. The poor, misguided teenage girls at this school. If I had the time or inclination to instruct them, I’d be a goddess here. They could call me the Boy Guru.

When we sit down at a table, Gabriel is already there scowling. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the smart-ass grin that Max gives him. “Who’s your friend Max?” Gabriel asks him while looking at me.

“This beautiful girl is Anna Walker.” Max pauses to slowly take a drink of his soda, mirth shining in his dark brown eyes. “We have all the same morning classes together, so I’ve been showing her around,” Max says smugly while shrugging as if it’s no big deal. “Anna, this is my cousin, Gabriel. I believe you met him in the parking lot this morning.”

I innocently glance from Max to Gabriel, looking mystified. “I did?”

Gabriel scowls. Max laughs. “Yes, you did,” Gabriel grounds out irritably while speaking. I barely manage to hold back my own laughter.

Biting my bottom lip, I smile apologetically at the same time. “I’m sorry that I don’t remember, but it’s nice to meet you Gavin.” This is so much fun.

Gabriel,” Gabriel growls his own name in annoyance, making Max laugh even louder.

Max puts an arm around my shoulder and I allow it. “I think I’m already in love with you.” If he were serious, I might actually feel bad. Nah, probably not. I’m pretty heartless.

Gabriel mumbles something I can’t hear. Recovering swiftly, he then throws me a flirtatious smile and asks, “What classes do you have in the afternoon?”

“Let me see.” I pull out my schedule as if I don’t already have it memorized, but he snatches it out of my hand to scan it over.

His triumphant smile reminds me of Max’s and I can see a slight family resemblance. But maybe it’s just that their smiles are similar. “It looks like we have all the same classes this afternoon. Out of the kindness of my heart, I’ll help you find your remaining classes, Anna.” At that bit of benevolence, it’s Max’s turn to scowl. The atmosphere remains charged with testosterone-induced rivalry and tension for the rest of lunch. Gabriel is gleeful and Max is grumpy. I’m thinking this assignment might end up being a little too easy. Xavier is as good as dead.

When we’re getting up from the lunch table, Max reaches out to touch my upper arm. Talking softly, even though Gabriel is two feet across from us, he asks, “Can I talk to you alone for a minute, Anna?”

“Sure,” I respond casually.

Gabriel quickly interrupts, “Sorry Max, not enough time. Our class is on the other side of the building.” Gabriel puts an arm around my waist and starts guiding me towards the entrance of the lunchroom. Making sure to give Max a warm smile over my shoulder, I allow Gabriel to lead me out. Naughty boy. Our class is actually quite close to the lunchroom, which I’m sure Max is well aware of. A person in my profession can appreciate Gabriel’s sneakiness, though. He’s a liar after my own heart.

His arm is still around my waist as we’re walking down the hallway, which I allow. A few girls are glaring at me. Wow, those teen movies were right. Gabriel starts rubbing my hip with his thumb. Someone’s a little too sure of himself. I get a little thrill from it, but quickly block it out. The guy and his cousin may be handsome as hell, but so are a lot of other men. I’ve even met handsomer.

A blonde girl steps in front of us with her hands on her hips, sneering. “Are you fucking her too?”

I just stand there with a blank face, wanting to both laugh and slap her at the same time. Gabriel acts annoyed with her. “No. Now go away, Carmen.” This girl wasn’t in Gabriel’s file, but with all the girls that he’s dated, enough to fill a harem, it’s no surprise that one or two slipped notice.

“Good,” Carmen says and wraps her arms around Gabriel’s waist, laying her head against his chest. “I’ve missed you Gabe. Let’s ditch and go to your place.” His arm is still around my waist and I’m getting a creepy third wheel feeling. Seriously didn’t think teenage girls really acted this way, but okay. The girls here are in such dire need of guidance.

“Let’s not,” he says decidedly, in a cold tone, while unwrapping her arms from his waist. With two hands on her shoulders, he moves her body an arm’s length away. “I’ve gotta go, Carmen. How about I not see you later?” The girl looks murderously at me. Whatever, I could have a knife in her jugular before she even finished that homicidal thought. Putting his arm around my waist again, we continue walking. “Sorry about that.” Do I detect a blush on those high cheekbones of his?

“About what?” I ask him with false confusion.

“About that psycho, girl can’t take a hint. Sorry if it made you jealous,” he says apologetically, while shaking his head remorsefully.

I laugh loudly enough for a few heads to turn our way. “Why would I be jealous?”

He gives me a startled look, grumbling, “Never mind.” But dammit, he’s right. For some inexplicable reason, I actually am a little jealous. I look Gabriel over in my confusion. Sure he’s hot, but not the first of his kind that I’ve dealt with while on a job. Why is this particular guy inspiring ridiculous feelings in me that I’ve never felt before? I must be reading it wrong. That or I forgot to bring my common sense with me on this job.

Gabriel

I’m starting to get really annoyed and do I detect discouragement on my part? Impossible! Usually girls are all over me by now and always jealous of other girls that I’ve, uh, associated with, but not Anna. Maybe she’s into Max. No, that can’t be right. They always choose me over Max, when I want them to that is. She is so fucking sexy, so hot in that outfit. Her legs are smooth and the golden skin gleams, like she applied a generous amount of lotion to them before school. I love when chicks do that. To prevent calluses from surfing and other sports, I try to keep my hands moisturized. The better to touch you with, Anna.

She’s not as . . . eager as other girls. Guess I’ll just have to be more aggressive. “Do you want to hang out after school?”

She finally looks at me again. “Sorry, can’t.”

That’s it? Not even an explanation as to why she can’t? “Do you already have plans?” I ask, wondering if Max beat me to it.

“Not really but what if I’m tired or something? Better leave it free in case I want to take a nap,” she says as if it makes total sense.

Sh


Date: 2015-02-28; view: 102


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