February 23, 2005

An Angel's smile is what you sell.

He was rather bored.

He was in a nice hotel, drinking Scotch, waiting for German to decide which job to take next and he was bored.

It wasn't that there wasn't anything to do – there was always something with which to fill one's time – but it was rather that nothing held any appeal. Everything was...flat. It was a pleasing alternative to the negative extreme – but it left him aimless and at loose ends.

He glanced around the room again and set the glass down, his gaze pulled back to the young woman that stepped towards him.

She hesitated when she reached his table, almost uncertain. "...Willem?"

He considered her for a moment. She had determination, and yet she was uncertain. She knew him, and yet asked for clarification. She...intrigued him. "Ja?"

Paint your smile on your lips.

She smiled and ducked her head at his answer. The smile was relieved and exasperated, and faded quickly into a simple note of amusement in the back of her voice. "Do you know how….hard it has been to find you?"

He looked over her again as she moved, almost unable to keep still. Her hands fluttered jerkily – somehow that description worked – through the air, and she shifted closer to the table. Her gaze would dart up to meet his and then slide away again, and he crossed his arms and leant forward towards her. "If I knew you were looking, I would have made it a lot easier."

She hesitated, and then leaned down towards him, almost slipping into the chair. "Matteo said you were not drinking any more."

Her hands remained still as they both looked down to the glass of Scotch that still rested on the table; but when he looked up again, she would barely meet his gaze.

"You bad boy." She glanced at the drink again. "I won't tell Matteo."

You act so shy.

She was innocent in a fumbling, suspicious way. She acted alluring and yet so terribly childlike – keeping secrets and it was simply…. He would say adorable but would rather not lower himself to that.

He tried to smother his amusement. "How do you know my business partner?"

Her answer was almost a question as she finally slid into the chair opposite him: "Who do you think sent me to you?"

He tilted his head to the side, leaning back in his own seat.

She slid the purse off her arm, her gaze following it as she set it down on the table; but she was relaxing somewhat as she met his gaze for longer periods. "I am Matteo's early birthday present."

"Really?" He was certainly intrigued now. While Anton did run the escort services, he would never dream of sending one to his brother. And if he did, it would have been under Ilya's command. He took another drink of his Scotch, looker her over again. Then she was either not here on his orders, or she was not here for his pleasure. Regardless of the answer, his boredom was dissipated.

"He wouldn't tell me how...old you were – he knows I don't usually...work with older men?"

He set his glass back down, chuckling and uncertain whether to address the insult given him by Anton's implications to the woman, or the compliment in the fact that she remained even while supposing him to be 'old'.

"...You don't seem so old."

"Thank you so much."

She finally smiled a real smile, and he realised with growing amusement with the situation that his faint sarcasm had gone unnoticed by her.

Your very first kiss…

"We have a room."

There were several very good reasons why following this strange woman up to a strange room was a terrible idea. Firstly, the aforementioned lack of proper introduction. Certainly, she knew of him – but he was not unaware of his record, and there were traitors in every operation. There was also the very suspicious aura around her – the naivety and innocence she seemed to possess, and yet the determined maturity she showed veiled signs of. There were many people that knew him to at least give tremendous financial support to Matteo, even if they did not suspect the depth of his involvement – his weakness for women was not a secret either.

There was also the little matter of how prepared she was. It was plausible if Anton truly had sent her, but Anton's choice of gift would never seriously run in this vein. And if in mockery, then all the more reason to shun her.

"Shall we?"

However, he had no other plans for the evening and had been bemoaning the lack of appeal in his usual entertainment: this at least occupied him. "So, it's 'happy birthday' to me then, ja?"

...Was your first kiss goodbye.

Yet another reason Anton could not have sent her: he only had a weakness for lovely ladies when he wished to. There were other things equally as and moreso enjoyable. Anton was well aware of if confused by this, and would have at least called to be certain that he wasn't sitting alone on the roof of a rather tall building.

And while he could easily distract himself, it only worked if he was bored and there was nothing better to do. The puzzle that she presented was infinitely more pleasurable, but counting the squares in the ceiling of the lift also seemed to be….

Not knowing where the room was, he followed her through the corridor. Examining the carpet for patterns was intriguing as well so he rolled his eyes and dragged his attention back to the woman.

"Great. Beautiful arms."

She unlocked the door and he sighed in relief as he followed her in, mentally debating whether to be upset with his brother for the prank itself or for the dull execution of it and for forcing him to pay attention long enough to avoid frightening her off.

"I love arms."

She fell back a little each time he stepped near, and he finally stopped and circled around her with a faint smile.

And another reason Anton could not have sent her as a joke? Anton's pranks never involved more than one other person: the two other men hiding terribly in the room were assuredly not there for a prank.

"What is this?"

You promised me heaven.

"Today's your lucky day."

The feeling that something was terribly, horribly wrong exploded through him as the woman turned and locked the door.

"You get to live."

He struggled against the men pulling and pushing him down into the chair in the centre of the room.

"But we're going to need that ring."

He finally noticed that she had dropped her accent: "And the finger that it's on."

He almost broke free, almost escaped towards the door – ran for a telephone to call German or Liya. He was quickly forced back down again.

"What is happening?" He demanded, shoving the woman away; absently noting that the aura of 'wrongness' about her was gone as she dropped the 'shy and innocent' facade she had worn.

"There are people out there that want you dead."

The woman rolled a table of ice over to him as the youngest man held him in place.

"Fortunately for you, we're not them."

The young man was backing away, but the black man came up to take his place. "When this is over," his hand was forced deep into the ice, "you're going to walk out of this hotel and disappear."

"You'll thank us for it later."

You put me through hell.

Half of his mind was in shock, standing outside of himself, looking over the scene with an impersonal eye. The other half of his mind was caught between 'someone wanted to kill him' and 'these people were sent to kill him'.

He was shaking and his mind was racing through options and solutions and escapes and they were going to cut his finger off without aneasthesia and Matteo – Anton… An intruiging puzzle or a lovely lady – either enough to entice him off alone. Either his greatest weakness.

"Please – please, there must be another way!"

She squeezed his shoulder, and he choked back the sob that cried out for his sister to be here – for his family, friends to be the ones to kill him.

"You're a loaded gun – there's no one to save me: the damage is done."

AN: So this is completely NOT what was going on in his mind in that scene but….. Well, all of my characters tend to really not care for any of that. That, and he really did look entirely too amused with the situation to believe it. This is the immediate precursor to the first Willem story I wrote – and yes, that bloody song is stuck in my head. I blame it on staying up way too late with my father and no censorship. That, and my abhorrent ability to very easily memorise songs…. 4-16-2016