Pretty Assassinations, Chapter 8

Chapter 8

 

“Wait, let me get this straight.  You find out that you are responsible for the death of Lust’s family and you tell him?” Sloth asks me.

She’s not whispering.  There’s no point to.  Everyone knows by now what happened.  There was no job.  There was only a revelation.

“Yes.”

“You really do have a deathwish, don’t you?” she asks.

“He was going to kill me anyway—if you ask him.”

Sloth shrugs, “Well at least he would have killed you normal.  Now he looks like he kills you slow.  Now he looks like he wants to do something worse than kill you.  Now it’s personal.  I guess we’ll see if all that hype about the sexy serial killer without an identity is going to have to prove itself.”

She looks nervous for me.  Again she’s not whispering and I notice Pride looking at me like he wants to say something.  I turn away from him.  After seeing him act like an animal I didn’t want to even be associated with him any longer.

 

Pride clears his breath when he does it.

“This is going to be a long awkward fucking trip,” Gluttony states, “Can we at least stop by a Burger King before you guys knock us out?   I’m starving over here.  Does Singapore even have Burger King?”

His complaining is drowned out by the awkward tension.  Not even Gluttony’s humor can break through this.   Lust is quiet and he’s PISSED.

 

Tom was playing his games and this time he had turned up the heat to max.   The tension is thick enough to cut with a knife.   The truck is tight.  It’s one of those military trucks where you have to face one another.  Lust is on the other end of the truck.  His eyes are closed, real scary like.   Pride is next to me.  He is in restraints.  It took moderators and Tom himself to get involved to stop Pride’s onslaught earlier.  Gluttony looks anxious as he’s trying to decide whether to get involved or not.  Envy looks nervous as though he’s ready to jump out of the way at any point when Lust tries to kill me in the back of the truck.  The only person that honestly seems to be enjoying this is Greed.

“I wonder what’s going to happen,” she squirms, seeming to tap her foot and take a deep delight in this. “My money’s on the serial killer.”

 

“Don’t sleep on Wrath,” Sloth surprisingly sticks up for me giving me a wink, “When he hits you…you won’t even see it coming…”

I’m not sure what the wink is about but I’m terrified.  I keep shaking my head wanting her to stop whatever the fuck she thinks she’s about to do.  I want her to stop before we get ourselves killed.

“Real sneaky,” Greed says, “Real…hey…you know what.  I was poisoned.  The only person who knew I was trying to make a poison was you…”

Oh. Shit.

I look up at Greed.  She looks anxious.  Her beautiful appearance has turned deadly again.  She shifts.  Almost immediately I’m in her cross hairs and I’m desperate to get out.

“Leave the kid alone, Greed,” Gluttony pities me out loud, “He can barely tie his shoes.  He’s useless.  You really think that he was the one who poisoned you?”

At first hearing Gluttony speak up I thought he was defending me, but by the time he is done giving his quirky smirk and irritating laugh, I was offended.  Is that really what Gluttony thought about me?  Did he think I was really that useless?

 

“You have a point,” Greed says.

I think I’m almost free when she does.  She turns to Gluttony and gives him a laugh.  It’s mocking almost.  I feel heated when I see how Gluttony returns it.  He’s laughing at me.  He’s mocking me.  I’m some sort of joke to him.  I know I should be happy.  I’d rather be mocked than dead right.  So why am I so pissed the fuck off at Gluttony.

I’m almost steaming.

 

“Right he’s an idiot.  I mean if he really wanted to kill you he would have used a lot more hemlock…”

 

“Actually a little bit of hemlock would have killed her.  I’m assuming it was Jimsenweed in the poison.  Just a bit.  Enough to really embarrass Greed and—-”

I stop talking.   Sloth smiles.  That’s when I look over at Greed and realize what the fuck Sloth just started.  Greed looks pissed.  She looks beyond pissed.

“What the fuck?” I whisper to Sloth.

“You need some clout,” Sloth states, “You need people to think you’re not to be fucked with.”

She was setting me up to take the fall for her poisoning Greed!  All of a sudden, I feel betrayed but I don’t even have the chance to react because Greed is on the other side of the truck going completely apeshit.

“IT WAS YOU!”

“IT WAS NOT ME, IT WAS HER!”

Me pointing at Sloth doesn’t matter.  Greed is pissed.  She’s going nuts screaming out all sorts of threats to me.  That’s when I see Lust behind her.  He’s completely still.  He hasn’t moved.  Not even a little bit.  He’s just sitting there staring at me.  His eyes are glued to me.  I’m not sure who to be more frightened of.  The sure angry death from a pissed off Greed or the silent, terrifying stalk of Lust.

 

I turn to Greed especially when she gets up feeling as though the immediate threat was definitely the real one.

“I am going to cut your dick off?  Do you hear me?  I’m going to turn you into a fucking Eunuch.  I’m going to turn you into Grey Worm.”

“No you aren’t.”

The voice is something so deep and thick that no one really knows who it comes from.  We all look.  For the first time Lust looks at someone else on the truck but me.

The person speaking is Pride.

Pride is staring down at his shackles when he’s talking but he’s talking to the rest of us.

“What’s going to stop me?” Greed asks, “What’s going to stop me from killing him.”

“He’s more dangerous than all of you,” Pride announces.

He says it so nonchalant.  Silence fills the room after.  You could hear a pin drop.  During this silence I think he’s not talking about me.  I think he’s talking about someone else.  Anyone else.  It couldn’t possibly be me.  Right?  There was no way possible.

 

But Pride doesn’t have the sneaky demeanor that Sloth has.  He’s not as clever as she is nor does he want to be.  He was a crude personality.  I’d seen that first hand when he tossed me aside to get at Envy.  But he was honest.

And he meant what he was saying.

And that’s what made it funny for everyone around us listening.  I’d never seen everyone so united so far as they were in the moment that Pride says what he says.  The laughter almost continues until we are pulled over and drugged.

I wake up back in the assembly and when we are separated I see Pride’s eyes following me.  He’s watching me walk away.

And then he mouths the words, “I meant it.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“You asleep?”

It’s the middle of the night when I see Gluttony in my doorway.  He has no shirt on.  The muscles are like sculpted pieces of art as he rests his broad back up against my doorway.   He has on tight shorts which tells me he’s either worked out or about to go work out.  Smelling him, I assume it’s later.  There is not the usual stench of gym, even though I have to admit that would have been nice.

“You’d wake me up even if I were.”

“You think the worst of me,” Gluttony states.

“Are you even allowed to be here?”

“You must have not heard the news,” Gluttony asks, “Tom is so satisfied with his test that he’s given us limited freedom.  They’ve even loosened some of the chains on that wild Pride Creature, but I think they are making him wear an electric collar like the dog he is in case he ever gets out of line.”

Gluttony seems so satisfied with being able to take a shot at Pride behind his back.  He expects me to laugh with him when he does it and when I don’t he seems a bit irritated as he clears his throat a little bit.

“Tom is up to something.  What’s the chances of Lust and I being in this place together…being in the Assembly together?”

I had victimized him.

 

 

“Tom seeks broken people.  He’s always said it isn’t until someone has nowhere to go that he finally decides to confront the monsters in front of him.”

I think about the words.  They hit me like a sailing brick.  I’d like to think I was the person in Tom’s story.  I’d like to think that all the bad things in my life were happening for a reason.  And maybe one day I’ll get to that point where there is no where else to back up to and instead I’ll strike forward.  It was a nice thought.

 

And right now I wanted to test out my theory with Gluttony.

“Well thanks for coming and spreading your gossip.”

“What else are we going to do trapped in here.  The only other people besides you that I like are Greed and Lust and you pissed both of them off to the point that they don’t want to talk.”

“I’m sorry attempts on my life have inconvenienced your social life.”

I go to the door and open it in hopes that Gluttony would get the clue.  The only clue that he seemed to get however is that maybe guys will get a little hard if you walk up on them and grab them by the smalls of their waist.

“C`mon man, why you acting like that?” he states, “I saved you earlier.”

I almost fall for it.  I would have if Gluttony would have kept his mouth shut a little longer. To be honest he was turning me on.  He smelled good.  The tights were fitting him like a glove.  I could see his dick print from here.  The swollen head pressed against the light fabric.  He’s grinding it up against me.   I almost think I see the beginning of a precum stain before he stops. At that point I’m the horny one.  My ass is almost dripping as I’m standing there and Gluttony is pressing his fingers lower into my underwear.  He’s trying to finger fuck me as we’re standing out and he manages to make it to my hole.  As sexy as this feels and as much as I want that sort of release, Gluttony wasn’t the one who I wanted it with.

“You told Greed that I was weak and useless,” I recall.

“I’ve seen Greed lure a dozen men to a room.  They were all men she’d managed to maintain simultaneous relationships with to the point that all of them had come there with all intentions to propose.  She murdered every single one of them before a single one could call her a cheater and stole the wedding rings…”

“That’s…terrifying, but what’s your point.”

“My point is that it was terrifying.  SHE is terrifying,” Gluttony states, “I’m trying to help you.  I’m trying to keep you alive and I don’t know why.  Seems like you don’t even want me to.”

For a moment I would think Gluttony’s feelings are hurt but I’m not fooled.  I can see right through him and that perfect body of his which somehow disposed of all the junky ridiculous food he ate like a paper shredder.

 

“So do you think I’m useless?”

“I guess I could have used something better, but at the time I was just trying to improvise so that she would stop.  C`mon.  Stop resisting me.  We been feeling each other since we started.  You need me to protect you.  I want to protect you.  So let me.  I am willing to go to war against Lust for you if need be…”

He wanted to protect me.  The way he said it—felt wrong.  I don’t know why.  I needed the protection, but it felt wrong.  There were a lot of things wrong with his statement including the idea that he could go to war with Lust.  Clearly we’d seen that he’d been bested by Lust already.

“That wasn’t my question,” I state, “Do you think I’m weak?  Do you think I’m useless?”

Gluttony smiles.

“I think you’re pretty.  And I think you don’t need to be a good assassin.  Let me kill for you.  I don’t want to see those pretty hands of yours get dirty.”

Pretty.  Is that what he thought?  Since when did you describe an assassin as fucking pretty?  As though I decorated my kills in flowers.   As though I had pretty assassinations?  Were my fucking assassinations cute?    What the fuck was that supposed to mean?

And then he has the nerves to pull his dick out as though I should be happy.  He does it as though I should fall to my knees.  He slaps it with his hand as though showing how big it is but also to create this sound.  This tap, tap, tap like a baker kneading bread.  He’s trying to KNEAD me.  He’s trying to make me soft and pliable so he could stick me in the oven and take a slice of me whenever he wanted.  I was nothing more than bread to him.

FUCK.  THAT.

“This arrangement is over.”

“Excuse me?”

“This FUCKING arrangement is over,” I scream louder, “We are not fucking.  We’re not doing anything.  It’s over.  Period.”

Gluttony laughs at that moment.  I’m not sure if he’s really mad at first.  He’s the type of guy that doesn’t like to show it.  Which made it perfect that he was friends with Lust.   I knew that he cared though.  I can see by how he stops laughing and he gets really serious.

“You would have been dead by now if it wasn’t for me you ungrateful piece of shit.  All you are is pretty and one of these dangerous motherfuckers are going to slice that pretty little face of yours into a million pieces.  And the moment they do that you’ll be too ugly to even Suck My DICK you useless piece of shit.”

 

Gluttony showing me his true character is shocking but almost realistic.  He gets up throwing everything off my bedroom table onto the ground including a lamp that smashes into a million pieces.  He walks out and I swear to god I am relieved to have him realize that he didn’t have that control over me.

Matter of fact.

I wasn’t going to let anyone have that kind of control over me.  Ever again.

 

“Asshole,” I mouth under my breath.

I won’t say it to Gluttony though, because with his ego bruised, he was the kind of guy to really take any sort of disrespect to a whole different level.  I was going to avoid that.  I was going to pick up these shard pieces from the broken lamp and mind my business.  I start doing it when I feel a sharp sting.

I am about to scream in pain when I feel someone grab my hand.

Someone’s there.

Pride.

 

“What the—-“ I state.

 

I look around confused that it’s really him.  Usually you could hear Pride coming from a mile away.  They either had him in a cage or had a million chains on him.  Today that wasn’t the case.  Pride had on a collar.  That was strange.  If anyone could break out of this place, it was Pride.  I mean it would take hell and a hand basket to stop him if he really wanted something.  I’d seen how hard of a time they had to handle him so far.

“They are letting you roam free?”

“Tom probably knows I’m not going to leave.  He knows there is something here I’m interested in…”

“Oh yeah? What?”

“You.”

Seeing how he says it definitely doesn’t seem like he intends to flirt or anything.  It is probably the sweetest thing someone has said to me and I’m not quite sure that Pride realizes it.  As a matter of fact I’m sure he doesn’t.  He was probably just answering a question in his head, but it sends a million shivers down my entire body.

“Well don’t step in here.  Gluttony broke one of my lamps.”

“Why do you let that guy play with you?  He’s a dick…”

Hearing someone like Pride say that is hilarious for so many reasons.  He just didn’t seem to talk like that and he also just didn’t really seem like the type to have noticed what was going on.  Clearly he noticed though and now he was commenting.

“You’re right.”

“I’ll clean up the shards,” he states, “You can go sit up on the bed.”

“You’re a gentleman now?”  I ask, “Funny, especially when last time I saw you, you tossed me away like I was some street trash.”

I look down at Pride when I’m talking to him.  I want to be mad at him but he’s so handsome.  Goddam it, he’s so handsome.  It’s to the point that I’m sitting at the edge of the bed watching him clean up a mess for me and I’m getting turned on.  How’d he know that my door was open?  Was he walking around and happened to see me or did he come seeking me out?  Did he see Gluttony at my door and how did that make him feel?  So many questions were running through my head.

 

Pride doesn’t look at me when he answers, “You’re not street trash.  And I’m no gentleman.  I’m an animal.”

“Stop saying that.”

“It’s the truth,” Pride states.

He says it as though it meant nothing to him.  He’s saying it as though it was the truth.  And what bothers me about that is Tom wants him to think this.  Tom has brainwashed him to think he really is a creature.

“An animal wouldn’t be at my door helping me out in the middle of the night,” I defend him, “You’re not an animal.”

“You saw me.  I hurt you…”

“It’s OK…”

“IT’S NOT OK!”  he growls.

 

Hearing him have his outburst like that scares me.  It scares me when he takes a step towards me.  It’s this uncontrollable fury that I see phrased around this handsome man.

“You’re sexy.  You’re smart.  You actually are capable of holding good conversation,” I tell Pride, “You’re not an animal.”

“I apologize for tossing you like that,” he states, “Regardless of if you were hurt or not.”

We look at each other.  He seems like he’s nervous a little bit.  It’s amazing to see that something as simple as an apology to me could make this raging force get nervous.  When he’s sitting there at that moment I somehow managed to see beyond all the muscles and I see a boy clearly wanting to be seen.

 

“I accept,” I ask, “But I’ve wondered, what makes you snap like that.”

“Is it OK if I sit on the bed with you?”

I think he was going out of his way to prove to me that he had manners and he wasn’t some uncivilized animal.  If I didn’t know better I would think he actually REHEARSED a lot of this.  I may have been imagining it.  I may have been pushing smoke up my own ass, but he really seems like he is focused on making some sort of good impression on me.

“You may.”

He is slow to making sure he doesn’t come off aggressive.  He does sit on the end of the bed and puts his hands in a very slow, awkward and wistfully non-threatening way.  It doesn’t matter if Pride was wearing the Pope’s headgear though he would still be just as threatening and frightening as he was.  And for some reason that intrigued me.

He smells so good.  He is really nervous.  Definitely.  He’s breathing heavy.  He looks over at me every couple of seconds and I swear I think his cheeks are turning a different color.

 

 

“To answer your question, it is random,” he states, “My dad used to pump me with drugs.  Drugs that rushed testosterone to all parts of my body.  It made me stronger but it makes me lose all inhibition.  In so many ways my body becomes an animal.”

“Jesus Christ, your dad was horrible.”

I don’t mean to spit it out the way I do.  Goddam it, Ardor.  I almost want to slap myself especially when I see Pride clench his fist.  He has all these sexy veins up and down his arms.  I want to apologize but I don’t want it to get awkward so I just pat his thigh a little bit.  I don’t expect to do it but he turns to me quickly as though surprised.  Then he looks down at our thighs realizing they were touching.

“He was the worse,” he states, “The way he treated me was like an animal.  I am probably an idiot.  That’s why I don’t talk much.  You guys are all probably way more educated than me.”

He sounded so vulnerable when he spoke even with that deep sexy sultry voice of his.

“I’ll teach you anything you want to know,” I state.

“You’d do that?” he asks.

“Yeah.”

“Hey—-Wrath?”

“Call me Ardor.”

“Ardor.  Why do you want to teach me?”

“Because that’s one thing I’m good at.  I am good at reading and learning,” I state, “Me and my siblings used to read to each other.”

“Siblings?”

He seems really interested.

“Yeah.  I’ll tell you stories of them, if you want.”

He nods, nervously, “Only if you really want.  I think it’s rude to ask people questions…”

“No I want.  Maybe one day you’ll meet them.”

He pauses, “Why would I want to do that?”

I shrug, “I dunno.  Didn’t think too much about it when I said it.  I was just rolling off the tongue.  Real dumb you know?  But what was your question?  Oh, yeah.  Why would I take you to meet my family?  Because your family were dicks and we’re friends.  That’s what friends do for each other.”

I didn’t think it occurred to him that we were friends.  Honestly, I didn’t think it occurred to me either until I realized that Sloth was willing to stab me in the back if necessary.

 

He pauses as though thinking about it for a moment.  He thinks about it longer than I assumed.  At first I thought he was dazed out but no, he was in deep thought.  I can tell.  It’s kind of sexy watching his face twist up as he chews down on his pen.  He had no sort of social awareness.  I wonder how many other of Tom’s assassins lacked any of that.

 

 

Somehow we talk for hours.  I’m not sure how.

It’s late into the night and he’s somehow managed to lay across my bed and take his shoes off.  Somehow I’m doing the exact same thing.  Our heads are so close to one another that they touch.  We’re staring at the ceiling.  There’s something comforting talking to him.  He found the most simplest things about me interesting.  He was dumbfounded about my sister and how freaked out I was when she had her first period.  He kept listening to stories about how clumsy my dad was.  He’d laugh.  With Pride the laugh wasn’t a normal laugh.  It was this deep hearty thing with a quick recognition of how odd it might sound followed by complete silence.  It did sound odd but I also loved it, so I kept telling jokes about my dad’s clumsiness on purpose…and he kept laughing…

 

“Damn your family seems awesome.  Like real normal.  Wish I were normal.  Wish I could just leave here…”

“Tom won’t live forever.  Desire will make sure of that.  That’s what Tom is afraid of.”

“This Desire guy —-is a good guy?”

“He’s our only hope to break Tom.  He’s a legend.  He defeated Tom and freed us all once.  He’ll do it again.”

He turns his head down.  I would have thought hearing about Desire and having that sort of hope would make him feel better.  It’s like it’s one of the lowest points he felt all day.  I lean up and look over at him.  I find myself pressing my hand up against his chest.  And the weird thing is that he lets me do it.

 

“Even if we were released, it wouldn’t matter.  I can’t fit into society.”

“We had a whole conversation and not a single spaz moment.”

“You’re different,” he shrugs, “With you I feel more calm.  You’re the only person I’ve ever really talked to.”

“Yeah I stay to myself too.”

“No I meant completely,” he states, “Like forever.  I mean my dad talked to me sometimes when he wanted me to do something.  My mother talked to me a lot about social media but not in a fun way but as research for her potential enemies.   All my life communication was nothing more than another tool to be an assassin.  I never used it for…pleasure.”

It’s sad.  So fucking sad.  I can’t help but to lean over and grab his hand when he tells me his story.  It was worse than I could imagine and it was heartbreaking.  I give his hand a squeeze.

“Well I’m glad I’m able to give you pleasure,” I state, “And maybe I can give you hope.  Maybe you can control the animal.”

“How?” he asks, “I’ve tried everything.  My dad designed me this way.  He designed a way to trigger the kill mode but he never told me what the activation code was.  Nor Tom.”

“We can work at it…together.”

That’s when I feel it.  Him squeezing my hand back.  I feel these butterflies in my stomach.  I can’t describe them.  But they were butterflies.  Real butterflies.

 

 

“Maybe if I learned more…I could control it.  Besides I need to be around you.  You can make me stronger…”

“Why do you keep messing with me like that?”

“How am I messing with you?” he asks.

 

“What you said to the other assassins, Pride.  It could get me killed.”

He shakes his head, “It won’t get you killed.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I know that,” he states, “They won’t kill you.  Lust is crazy enough to possibly lose it but I think even he is going to have trouble turning against Tom.  Tom wants you alive. They kill you, they piss off Tom and they die. That is the only reason you’re alive.  Not Gluttony, not Sloth and not me.  It’s Tom.   They won’t piss him off.”

Shit.  He had a point.  He had a real point.  This whole time I’d been stressing but I should have known that it was all talk.  They were trained assassins they could have killed me at any point.  But they didn’t’. Why?

Now it made sense.

 

“But to lie to them.  To try to antagonize them?”

“I meant it when I said you were the strongest of all of them.”

“You have no idea.”

“I have every idea.  I see you.  I see how powerful you are.  I don’t know why you’re resisting or why you’re pretending to not be able to know the things you do or do the things you do.”

“You don’t understand.”

“I do understand.  They burned.  They died.  So many people, including Lust’s family.  You created a monster.  But you pretending like you haven’t picked up anything from the Assembly is a lie.  You’re lying not only to me but to yourself.  What could you really do if you tried?”

“If I try—they’ll make me kill,” I state, “I can’t kill anymore.”

He didn’t understand.  I couldn’t deal with the trauma that I dealt with before.

“My father wanted to turn me into a killer.  I became one.  And all my life I killed and killed and killed.  Everything in my sight I wanted to kill.  Everything.  I’ve never met anyone that I wanted to spare.  Until I met you.  And for the first time I challenged my father.  Maybe I’m not the monster he thought I was.  Maybe I don’t have to be like him.  Maybe you don’t have to be like me.”

“How about a deal?”

“What’s the deal?”

“You restrain the animal—a little,” I state, “And I’ll release the animal—–a little.  We’ll do it together.”

“I….I…like the sound of that…”

~

 

 

I wake up next to Pride.  He’d fallen asleep in my bed.  He’d looked so relaxed.  He looked so at ease.  It was early but I knew that Tom would be coming to get us any moment now.  I wanted to wake him so he could get back to his room and prepare, so I reach over.  Right when I touch him I feel him grab my hand.

“Pride?”

Pride snaps at that moment.  He pushes his arm away from me!  I struggle to get away from him making it to the end of the bed but he leaps on top of me!  He grabs at my throat and I desperately hit him across the side of his face.  This causes him to start pulling at my throat even harder.  He’s strangling me. Pride is fucking trying to kill me!

“PR—Pr—-”

I can barely get a word out.  I’m kicking to his chest.  I’m thrusting my arms.  He’s so strong.  He isn’t even budging let alone releasing his death grip on me.  I can feel the life falling away from me when I squeal.  I do it as loud as I can.  It’s the only noise I can manage to get out and I assume if someone is walking by they’ll hear.

I’m right.  Someone walks into the room.  It’s Envy.

“What’s happening here?” Envy asks.

Just that small bit of interruption is enough to snap Pride out of it.  His eyes glaze over as though he’s confused but he’s breathing normal and has stopped choking me.  I double over and hit the ground when I feel his body over me.  He looks concerned for a moment.

“I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry—”

He tries to reach for me but I flinch.  It comes second nature but it’s enough to make him turn back around and run out as quick as possible.

 

Envy is left in the room.

“You guys spent the night together?  What is this?  You trying to recreate Desire and Urge.  That—-thing—-is not Urge.  Sure, Urge was weird and he had a fucked up past, but that thing is on a whole different level.”

“You sound jealous…again,” I state.

I look over at him.  He’d always treated me like an asshole.  He always treated me like I didn’t belong.  Now there was someone who actually treated me like he cared.  Sure he had some flaws, but he actually seemed to care.

“Jealous?  That isn’t a love interest, Ardor.  That is a fuckin weapon.”

 

Tom has gathered us for a meeting.  There a helicopters lined out in the patio to the big gray building.  This could only mean one thing and one thing only.  We were going somewhere.  Another mission.  I try to figure out what is happening when I see Pride.  He’s staring at me.  Staring at me hard.  By now Tom is coming out.

“Pride return to your original spot,” one of the moderators states.

Pride ignores the moderator.  He keeps walking.  He walks right up to me.  At this point Tom has come out and it’s clear Pride gives no fucks.  He walks right up to me.

“I want to apologize for what I did,” he states, “I know I keep apologizing for snapping and hurting you.  I promise I’m going to fight it especially when it comes to you.  I’m not going to put my hands on you again.  OK?  I promise that.”

“Don’t promise something you can’t be sure of.”

“I’m sure.”

“RETURN to your position, agent Pride,” Tom states, “I won’t say it twice.”

Pride continues to resist, “I need to explain last night.  I was so comfortable and I’ve never been comfortable in my life.  I never felt safe in my life until last night.  And to wake up and for the first time, not to  have your guard up…I just panicked.  I lashed out.  I saw black.  The animal…”

“You’re not an animal.  Your father is for what he did to you.”

 

“Return…Pride…or they will shoot you.  They will kill you,” Tom states.

 

Nothing exists in this moment to Pride.  I honestly don’t think he hears Tom.  He has no fear of the guns that are aimed at his back.  It’s either ridiculously stupid or somewhat romantic.  Pride only sees me.  Not just me in the room but at times it seems as though he only saw me in the world.  I’m the only one that existed and I’m not sure how I existed but I knew I did to him.

 

“Go back,” I tell Pride, “I’m not mad.  We’ll talk later.”

Pride’s resistance definitely seemed to strike a chord with everyone.  I look over at the other assassins and realize they are just as intrigued with our conversation as they were with Tom not being able to control Pride.  What’s even worse is all I have to do is ask him and Pride returns to what he’s doing and stands there looking at me instead of paying attention to Tom.

 

 

Tom doesn’t look like he appreciates it and even before he opens his mouth I know that trouble is coming.

 

“You are all going to be given another mission,” Tom states, “A murder.”

“What’s the prize this time?” Greed asks.

 

“You’re life.”

We pause.

Shit.

“Serious?”  Gluttony asks.

 

“Serious,” Tom states, “The one to kill our target will be given the opportunity to kill any member on the team of their choosing…without punishment.”

A pass.  He’s giving these killers a pass.  I turn and look over at Lust and Greed.  Both of them ready to kill me.  One because she thinks I poisoned her and the other because he knew I was responsible for an accident that killed his family when he was a kid.

 

I was fucked.

“Who is the target?” Envy asks.

Just then envelopes are passed out.  I look at the envelope.  There was a photo of a man there.  This man and that’s it.  And yet as I look as this man I look over at Pride and I notice he’s shaking. I notice something is very, very wrong with him.

“You OK?” I call out to Pride, forgetting anything about formation and running completely out of mine to get to Pride.

Pride is still shaking.

 

And that’s when he says slowly.

“That’s my father.”