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And a Name

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It's good, this name, this Anna that she's strapped around herself like body armor. A little archaic, in the style of those very old Alpha families the target wishes he belonged to. And a little original, so she can laugh at her unimaginative partner for calling himself Del.

What she likes best is the pattern to it, the way it twists in the middle and becomes its own opposite. An-na. That hint of negation, for Anna who is not Anna, Anna who is Sula, who is Bartolomew.

She likes a bit of fair play, a bit of warning. If the target's too infatuated to see it, well, then he's a fool, and fools are always ruined in the end. She's just ensuring that he's ruined usefully, so his damned politicking father will stay down and quiet for shame.

Ready now, her dress zipped and her story memorized, she smiles into the mirror. Yes, perfect, soft but not simpering. "How do you do?" she asks, picturing the lover she knows, yet, only as a photograph and a file. "My name is Anna."