The Assassin, Part One

            “Are you nervous?” My partner asks. “You look like it.”
            I stare at him. “No, why do I look nervous?”
            “You’re shaking your leg and tapping you toes.”  Realizing he’s right, I suddenly stop. Signs of nerves are always considered a sign of weakness. We can’t afford to look weak. Kevin looks back at the elevator door. “We’ve got this,” he says. “It’s a simple mission.”
            “Yeah. We have to steal one of the world’s most famous diamonds,” I say. “That’s so simple. Especially in front of a bazillion people.”
            “No one is going to notice us. Just remember the cover-”
            I stick my hand up in protest. “I know, I know. We’re young money.” Every time, I add silently. “What happens when we aren’t young money anymore? When we aren’t young? One of these days we’ll be thirty and people will realize we don’t actually have money.”
            He tips his head back and laughs. “I’d hope that we’ll be legit agents by then. Not they’re little underground agents that don’t even show up on the government’s payroll.”
            He’s right. “It doesn’t matter,” I say. “We have a job, let’s get it done and so I can go back home.”
            “Oh, it must be nice to have a home,” he says.
            I roll my eyes. Now is not the time to listen to him lament about how he’s a wandering soul. He had the opportunity to find a home and he didn’t.
            The elevator opens up and Kevin slips his arm into mine. “Showtime,” he says.
            We step out of the elevator into the line. All that’s standing between the diamond and us is a pair of French doors. Kevin, always the charmer, talks up the woman behind us. He’s the cover, I’m the eyes.
            As he chats with people, I’m watching those in front of us, looking for any sign that our man is here.
            “Cassandra, dear, this is Melanie Starright,” Kevin says.
            I smile at her. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Starright.”
            “I just love your bracelet,” she says, motioning to the bracelet wrapped around my right wrist. She leans in to take a closer look.
            Kevin touches me on the lower back and I look up at him quickly. The look on his face tells me that he’s found our man and we need to act fast. “If you’ll excuse us, we need to go talk to some old friends,” I say to the old woman.
            She smiles at us and we leave her.
            “Where is he?” I ask.
            “He just went to the men’s room. You go wait by the diamond. Where’s the ear piece?”
            I open my clutch and pull out two tiny earpieces plus two equally small microphones. I hand one of each to him and put mine in place. Normally we put them in before we do a mission, but the metal detectors in the front of the building pick up the interference. Never enough to pinpoint what is causing the interference, but it would be enough to pull us over and ruin our mission.
            “You watch him, I’ll watch the diamond,” I say. Closing the clutch, I start walking back towards the double French doors.
            The line has died down and I enter the giant ballroom without any trouble.
            There are lines of tables filled with dining sets on the left. On the right is the diamond.
            “Cassie, he just left the bathroom. We’re headed into the ballroom. Unless you want to fight this guy for his diamond, I suggest you steal it now.”
            The diamond is currently surrounded by people. There’s no way I can sneak in and steal it with people there. “Kevin, I can’t.”
            “Excuse me, miss,” a young man slides past me. I barley glance at him to acknowledge him, but I do a double take at him.
            The man can’t be much older than myself. Given by the wine glass in his hand, he’s twenty-one at least, putting him at least a year older than myself. He’s tall; easily six foot seven, or maybe six-eight. I can only see his backside as he walks towards the diamond, but he’s got dark brown hair, and he’s got the backside of a guy who’s probably smoking hot.
            “Cassie, what are you doing?” The voice in my ear brings me back to reality. “Quit drooling over a nobody and get your ass over to that diamond.”
            I turn around and look at the doorway. Kevin is staring at me, and in a moment of teenage boy maturity, I stick my tongue out at him before I turn around and head towards the diamond case.
            Most people look at it, make some “oohs” and “ahs”, and move on to talk to people. Watching the tall man, I try to think of how I can get rid of him.
            By the time I walk across the ballroom to the case, he’s the only one there. I stand on the opposite side of the case from him and look down at it.
            “Trying to convince your boyfriend you need a sparkly new diamond?” he asks when I arrive.
            I just look at him. “What I do and do not do is none of your concern,” I say.
            The man throws his hands up as if he’s surrendering. “I was just making small talk. Don’t get mad at me if your boyfriend is a cheapskate,” he says.
            I just stare at him. “Considering you’ve had a thirty-second conversation with me, you make an awful lot of assumptions about my boyfriend and I. Haven’t you ever been taught about a little thing called manners?” I ask.
            He laughs. He’s got a deep, rich laughter. The kind that you’d want to laugh along with.
            “I’ve heard plenty about manners,” he says. “I grew up with a twin sister. A snobby, priss of a sister. A lot like yourself.” He winks at me.
            “I beg your pardon, you have no right to assume that I’m a snob or a priss.”
            “If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be offended,” he says.
            I’m losing my patience, and the more time I spend looking at this man’s amazing face, everything the backside promised it to be, I’m not looking at the diamond case.
            “I’m offended because you just assume that you know everything about me.”
            “Well, I would love to get to know more about you, but I have places to be. See ya later, Cupcake.” He picks up my hand and kisses it before he leaves.


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