"Ask me to forgive a man for stealing my love... a lover's deception; very well, since you ask it I forgive him that. Ask me to forgive him for stealing fourteen years of my life; very well, forgiven. But forgive him for destroying my father? Never, madam! Never!" - Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo)
She cut through the thick fog that seemed to hide her from view of the well dressed Italian man waiting for her in the alley way. Before he knew it, she was within inches of him. He hated when she did this, and she always, always did it.
He jumped as she appeared. "Damn it kid, a little warning would ya. You'll give me a fucking heart attack."
"Sorry." came the soft low voice. She smiled in amusement. He was always so jumpy during their clandestine meetings. This was definitely one of those moments. The rolling fog, the skittering rodents, even the bum with the wine bottle hanging outside the brown paper sack. Yep, definitely a cliche New York fucking moment, she figured.
He gazed at her fondly. "Everything you need for your new adventure is in the bag. Mr. Fletcher wishes you the best of luck. He hoped that he could see you before-"
She interrupted, "Yeah, thanks. Tell him I'll be in touch." She turned to disappear just as she came. Like some sleek super hero that could materialize at will.
"Hey, kid. Are you sure about this?" he questioned.
She stopped dead in her tracks. "I'm not a kid." She muttered, disappearing back into the fog in which she came.
The red neon light flickered on and off as she stared out of the motel window. Sighing, the brunette sat up on the side of the mattress. Another nightmare, another day in the life of the anxious young woman with four aliases and no real place to call her home. It had been more than five years since she started on this journey. Years of her life spent training in Japan and Europe. Years tracking down every lead since the night her world changed forever. The moment had finally arrived. She had found them. Payback was not only a bitch - it was a Russian bitch. The clock was about to run out on her enemies as far as she could tell. She was ready.
Her blue eyes pinged behind her lids as she dreamed of the past. Her father put her to bed with a kiss and a story. It was often their routine when he was not away on business. She was awakened by strange popping noises. Sounds that she thought at first she thought were fire works. Annika, the upstairs maid ran in calling her name and clutching her against her chest. "We have to be very quiet and still little miss," she whispered before dragging the girl under the large canopy bed and against the wall. Boots thudded down the hall. The smell of smoke began to filter into the room where they hid.
Her father Nikolai ran through the hall and into the open door of the bedroom where the young girl hid with Annika. Her tears flooded her cheeks as she heard the boots of another enter the room just behind him. Several shots rang out before his lifeless body fell to the carpeted floor below. Annika's hand tightened on Alexandra's mouth before she could scream.
When the house grew quiet again Annika carried her out, trying but failing to get her unseeing past the bloody pools surrounding people who had been around her her whole life. Her tears flowed for security guards, maids, and near the terrible end of their journey through the house, her mother. Alexandra Udinov barely registered the next several hours of her life. She had been loved and protected her entire existence. Now she was cold and Annika was all that kept her from feeling alone.
Even Annika was gone soon. She took the young girl to a tall, handsome well dressed man surrounded by other men bearing guns. He looked familiar to her. Annika disappeared into his office for more than an hour as she sat shaking in a chair across from the closed door. When Annika returned she grabbed the young girl and held her close.
"It will be okay now, Alexandra." Annika wept and told her she would be safe and even as Alex cried out and clung to her, she pulled away and left her there. Her father's bloody corpse laying still in her mind's eye was her faithful companion now.