by Gaia's QueenJingleJangle (previously EB)
Hana shifted on the bed where she sat, her legs folded comfortably underneath her rear. She held a large body length pink pillow in her hands as she mercilessly scrutinized the worn picture of Kahz she had stapled to the front.
Hana was aware that her makeshift Kahz was creepy. She really was. However, as long as no one else knew of her creepiness, Hana was content with remaining creepy. The pillow, which she had affectionately named TKP for ‘the Kahz pillow’, lived happily under her bed as a secret guilty pleasure she could refer to whenever the mood struck her (and it did more often than she would like to admit).
The man was wickedly handsome, Hana mused as she stared longingly into his captivating gold eyes. His hair was the same color as the dark red autumn leaves that fell off the sycamore tree in her backyard; his tan skin made her think of summertime. Running her fingers over the slick photography paper, Hana outlined his firm jaw line and his fascinating mouth. Kahz’s breathtaking appearance hinted of a rugged and rebellious boy who had matured into a clean cut politician, resulting in a strangely complex, yet appealing man. More than his looks, though, the sheer power he exuded was intoxicating. In her area of expertise rarely did Hana ever feel like a beautiful or fragile woman. Being a ruthless assassin does that to a girl. But something about the atmosphere that constantly cloaked Kahz made her weak in the knees, like a delicate lady who floated about with a parasol in her spare time, rather than one who practiced mixed martial arts in her home gym.If only he wasn’t such an ass about it,Hana thought. He was so cruel, so forceful, and it made Hana endlessly furious at his cocky attitude.
She gave a considering look to TKP.Maybe that’s what made him so addicting?
Hana gave a startled jump as her cell phone rang, blasting an obnoxiously loud teeny bop song. After stuffing TKP under her bed, Hana searched under her many blankets for her phone. “A-ha!” she exclaimed triumphantly, pulling it out from under a far corner of her comforter. Accepting the call, she laid on her back across her bed. Snow colored hair spread out luxuriously on the covers, as Hana cheerfully greeted, “Hi there!”
“Hana,” a slightly nasal, disapproving voice answered.
“Demiyah!” Hana squealed, kicking her long legs up in the air playfully.
“Hana,” Demiyah repeated, his inflection unchanging.
“I have just concluded discussing your antics with Ruko.”
Rolling her eyes, Hana used her elbows to turn her body onto her stomach. “Nothing good ever comes of that.”
“She says,” Demiyah determinedly continued, taking no note of his sister’s comment, “that you are meeting with him tonight.”
“Him? Him who? I know a lot of ‘hims’, dearest brother,” Hana bantered.
“Kahz Temmal.” His tone left no room for Hana’s playful jokes.
“Ah. That him.”
“You know how I feel about Temmal, Hana.”
“I also know that you’re a concerned, and biased, older brother.”
“He’s a hazard.”
“A hazard? He’s not an orange road sign, Demiyah.”
“He could hurt you.”
“Trust me, I’d hurt him first.”
“He’s a reprobate, Hana. You have no business communicating with him.”
“He’s not and I do.”
“Why are you defending him?”
“I’m not defending him.”
Silence ensued while Demiyah patiently waited for a better answer. A truthful one.
“Look, he’s a pain in my butt, too, okay? But he seems to want this suitcase pretty badly, and FEAR could get a lot of good things out of this deal. Our territory back, for one.”
“So you’re doing this for work?” Demiyah said suspiciously. Hana envisioned her brother’s intelligent blue eyes squinting with speculation.
A pause in conversation occurred. Hana pulled herself up into a cross legged sitting position. She’d always been a restless phone-talker. Leaning over to her bedside nightstand, she grabbed the half full bottle of water that sat there. Tucking her phone between her ear and shoulder, she unscrewed the cap and drank the refreshment heartily.
“Have you disposed of that abhorrent pink pillow yet?”
Shocked, Hana coughed, choking on her water, frantically gasping for breath. Regaining her composure, she tersely responded, “Aren’t you a little old to be peeking under my bed?”
“A brother is never too old to look after his little sister.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s common knowledge that after the age of twelve a brother should stop snooping in his sister’s room. Apparently, you missed the memo.”
“Do whatever pleases you in the safety of your home, Hana, but I cannot approve of you acting on this foolish desire for Tummel.”
“Look, Demiyah. This is none of your business. None. I’m a big girl now. No more diapers or anything. This meeting is strictly about negotiating terms for a trade. So you need to back off.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“Demiyah Alexis Valencia. Back. Off.”
Furious at her brother’s imposing audacity; Hana ended the call, and threw her phone across the room. It sailed through the air and crashed into her dresser drawers with a satisfying smash. Unfortunately, her brother was an annoyingly persistent fellow, and the phone rang once more. Letting out a short and shrill shriek, Hana bounded to her phone, and answered it viciously.
“I get it, okay? You’re the caring brother, who only wants the best for his sister, blah, blah, blah, but this is just stupid! How dare you even consider that you can control my life this way? I can fantasize about who I want, when I want, and there will be absolutely, positively no commentary on your part, do you hear me? This is my life and I intend to see and be with and make deals with and even have sex with whoever the hell I want! And you can keep your snobby remarks to yourself. I don’t want to hear them, you whiny, little, uptight excuse for a—“
“Hana?” a confused baritone voice asked.
“Oh!” Hana went pale. “Kahz?”
Hana took a breath to let the situation sink in.
Hana closed her eyes.
“I, uh, thought you were my brother.”
Damn, damn, damn.
“What do you want, Kahz?”
“I wanted to know where we were meeting tonight. I would like to suggest the Chinese place on tenth and Huntoon Boulevard.”
“You don’t like Chinese?” Kahz’s voice was incredulous. Hana almost laughed.
“No, Chinese is good. I just thought we were talking about the, uh—suitcase thingy?”
“Over Chinese?” Hana was perplexed. They both knew she had the advantage in this deal; she was certainly going to burn a huge hole in his wallet during the trade for the mysterious suitcase, and yet he wanted to go on a date first?
“Yes,” he stated flatly.
“Why?” she inquired.
God, was he always this simple? Perhaps he was, and she had just been distracted by his stunning good looks when they met in person.Hm, a valid theory.
“Hey, Hana?” He sounded tense. Worried.
“Have you opened the suitcase?”
Hana glanced at the hidden safe in her wall where the suitcase lay dormant. “Why?”
“Kahz, why?” Hana insisted firmly.
“It’s for your own good.”
“That’s not an answer.” Shoving a bewildered hand through her hair, forcing her cap to cling precariously on the side of her head. Hana bristled at Kahz’s sidestepping. “Give me one good reason not to, or I’ll open it now.”
“This is your only warning. If you open that suitcase, I’ll have to kill you,” he answered stoically and hung up.
Hana pulled the phone away from her face and stared at it.Was he kidding?Hana thought of the way he’d spoken that phrase. Controlled, without a hint of doubt, discipline engraved in every syllable he uttered. It was the same way Hana felt right before she took the life of her target. Any shred of concern pounded away by the job at hand. Any questioning remarks silenced forever as she watched the light dim from their eyes.
He meant it.
Thoughtfully, Hana paced across the room, rolling her cell phone between her hands rhythmically. If she opened the suitcase, he’d kill her. If she didn’t open the suitcase, would he still kill her? What if someone else opened the suitcase? Would he kill them? What could that suitcase possibly expose that got Kahz all worked up like this? A secret about his past, or family? Hana had a hard time imagining Kahz with any sort of family, but didn’t find difficulty considering if he had secrets. Maybe it was a list of targets for GHOST? Money? The possibilities were endless. Hana let out a snort. There were apparently quite a few things that Kahz would kill her for, and here she was with his face stapled to a pillow. She should just go date an accountant, for pity sake.
A flash of genius illuminated Hana’s face, and she smiled evilly. Tossing her phone onto her bed, Hana gleefully flung her hat on to her dresser, and pulled off her shirt, preparing to take a shower. She knew just what to do.
Wrapping her towel underneath her arms, Hana critically surveyed her appearance in the floor length bedroom mirror. Her hair was a soft white, and as the damp strands coiled around her shoulders in no particular order, Hana decided that it was nothing to complain about. She ran her fingers through the wet mess, half-heartedly combing out a few tangles.Not gorgeous, by any stretch of the imagination, but it could be considered pretty by some.Usually, she wore it straight. Meaning to say that it usually became straight after she ran a brush through it, and so she left it alone. Taizh and Ruko often shared their jealousy for her submissive hair, but Hana knew her two devilishly attractive friends were being silly. Reflection collided with reality as Hana stared curiously into her own eyes. Light blue starburst irises were framed with abnormally long, thick lashes. A sneaking smile curved her lips as she recalled an old lover she had once had, who insisted that her eyes “sparkled like the clear, blue, Caribbean sea”, but she blew off the compliment easily. He was, after all, French. What more could you expect from the citizens of a country with a large phallus shaped structure as their noteworthy symbol?
Her skin was clear and rosy, with a smattering of light freckles dusting the bridge of her nose and her high cheekbones. Her mother often called them ‘cute’, but Hana called them ‘the curse of the pale skinned.’ Propping her hands on her hips, Hana turned to the side, and her curvaceous form became apparent. Her wide hips and large bust had left her frustrated as a preteen, but she had long since stopped aspiring to become a supermodel, settling for exotic dancer on more than one occasion. Overall, it was a body that a girl could work with. Hana cocked her head to the side.Perhaps, well, just for tonight, maybe I should pull out the dusty ol’ curling iron, or drag out my masca—
“Stop it,” Hana sharply reprimanded herself. “You are not going to get all gussied up for this disaster of an evening. This is any other day, with any other person who has threatened your life. You take a shower; you slap on your hat and uniform and get out. Just because his eyes are the color of honey, and his smooth, dark chocolate voice makes you feel all hot and bothered does not mean you should give him any extra effort. You are an independent woman. You are strong! And as a strong, independent woman, you will dress up for no one but yourself. And if you do happen to curl your hair or brush on some mascara, it is in the name of feminist power and all that it represents! It is war paint, preparing for the battle of wills that is sure to come. Even if he is a hunk with an ass that could rock my world and crimson hair that is just the right length to be pulled in ecstasy—and, oh damn, shoulders wide enough to make a girl feel dainty, even when she’s covered in another man’s blood…”
Hana cradled her confused head in her hands, her brother’s words haunting her thoughts.What am I getting myself into?
Eventually Hana settled on not messing with her hair or face, but trading her normal forest green uniform for a simple dark blue sundress. Its flirty skirt reached about mid-thigh, and had a long scooping back that juxtaposed the rather modest neckline. Hana pursed her lips as she examined her posterior side in the mirror, inspecting the snippets of her burgundy tattoo that periodically weaved into view from the cut of the dress. Ultimately convincing herself that it gave her a mysterious and seductive image, she sat on her bed to buckle on a pair of casual brown gladiator style sandals. Hana even persuaded herself to paint her toenails a pastel pink that contrasted delightfully with her dress. Returning to her mirror to criticize the final outcome of her carefully balanced efforts, Hana deemed her approval. She looked nice. No makeup, hair naturally flouncy, as she tried to obtain a “fashionista by day, assassin by night” sort of style. Fluffing her hair with the tips of her fingers, to add some volume, Hana settled her green cap on her head and exited the room. As an afterthought, she ran back to her room, grabbing the dagger she kept under her mattress. “Almost forgot you, baby,” she cooed fondly to the knife, strapping its holster on her upper thigh. Kahz had said that tonight he might kill her. Hana smirked.That’s cool, kid. You go ahead and try.Brightly, she skipped out of her room and the house, catching a cab to the restaurant.