“Not in the sink! Not in the sink!” Claire yells behind Villanelle as Villanelle throws up in the sink. Bruises are forming on her back where the man slammed her into a dresser. Her cheek aches. Vaguely, she can hear Claire is still yelling at her, but can’t be bothered to listen. “Why are you throwing up in the sink? You couldn’t walk another twenty feet?”
Villanelle turns the water on, washes the sink, then wipes off her face. “Why are you still living in my apartment?” She asks her adopted sister while she pats her face dry.
Claire rolls her eyes and flips Villanelle off. “Eve is going to be here in twenty minutes. She called you but said you wouldn’t answer, which I can see why. Go shower all that,” she waves her hand at Villanelle, “off before she picks you up,” she says as she picks up her green army style jacket.
“You aren’t riding with us?” Villanelle sets the towel over her shoulder.
“No, Elena is outside waiting for me.”
Villanelle opens her mouth to talk.
“No, she didn’t see you, otherwise she probably would have texted me, ‘No offense, but I think your sister murdered someone.’”
Villanelle closes her mouth. Claire waves goodbye and slips out of the apartment. Time was cut close today. Villanelle wraps her hand around the bathroom door handle and yanks the door open. Blood splattered clothes fall to the floor and she jumps into the shower without waiting for the water to warm. Her hands press against the tile walls as she lets freezing water soak pelt her face. Watered down blood runs off her body and pools in the bottom of the white tub. She slides her right hand down the wall and picks up a bottle of vodka in the corner, takes a swig and then pours it over her bloody knuckles. A groan escapes her lips at the pain and then she sits down the vodka and actually showers.
After the shower, she wraps a towel around her. The front door creaks open and then clicks shut. Villanelle catches her eye in the bathroom mirror. Purple and gross green bruises are beginning to form on her shoulders and her left eye has a nice shiner. “Fucking prick,” she mumbles and slips out of the bathroom to greet Eve.
“I still need to get dressed, and then I’ll be ready,” Villanelle says calm as if there wasn’t a crime scene in her bathroom. Eve is in her cupboards looking for K-cups and makes a noise of acknowledgement. She doesn’t bother to look over at Villanelle. If she had, she would finally get to see the mess of scars from Villanelle’s shoulders to elbows.
Villanelle steps into her bedroom and dresses. Fitted dark red trousers with a light pink dress shirt. She runs a hand through her wet hair, deciding to just pull it back once it dries.
When Villanelle walks out of the bedroom, Eve shoves a coffee in her hands.
“Are you flirting with me?” Villanelle teases.
“Totally,” Eve replies and rolls her eyes. She turns on her heels and walks to the door of the apartment, opening it and letting Villanelle slip out first. “What is with the black eye?”
Villanelle eyes her neighbor passed out in the hallway. “Ran into a stop sign while I was running,” she answers as they step into the elevator.
“That’s why your knuckles are split,” Eve bites back while staring straight forward.
She laughs. Eve is a very observant person. When Villanelle doesn’t answer, she gives a prideful huff and they walk out of the elevator.
“Carolyn wanted me to thank you for leaving the bar before the police arrived last night,” Eve informs her as they slip out of the broken down apartment building. "Last thing we need is one of us being falsely accused."
“Can she not tell me herself?”
Eve presses her arms to the top of the car. “She isn’t going to be at the office today.” They climb into the car. Villanelle plugs her phone into Eve’s radio. “Apparently she has other business to take care of.” It’s distasteful.
The music overtakes their conversation. Villanelle watches Eve. Veins pop in her hands when she tightens them on the steering wheel. Double blinks, pissed off, when an asshole pulls out in front of her. Her left hand scratches the left side of her jaw when she gets bored at a traffic light. The diamond of her wedding ring sparkles with the morning sun.
“How’s Niko?” Villanelle asks and tears her eyes away from her.
“Good. Same as always. Do you want to join us for dinner?” Eve asks.
Villanelle considers it. Claire leaves on a plane after work to visit her real brother Leo. “Yeah, that would be nice. It’s been almost a month since I’ve seen him.”
“Well, works been crazy with this new assassin,” Eve defends Villanelle.
“I guess. You guys did take care of me for almost two weeks, though.”
Eve glances over at Villanelle. “And we’d do it again, Villanelle. Don’t feel like you owe us anything for that.”
When they were walking to the office, Villanelle bumped into a woman carrying her groceries and then got her number while she helped her pick up the groceries. Now, her and Eve stand across from each other in the elevator. Eve gives a small laugh and shakes her head.
“You just can’t help yourself, can you?” She teases.
“She seemed like she could use a little bit of adventure in her life,” Villanelle argues. The elevator dings open and they walk down the hallway.
“And what? You’re going to take her for a trip?”
“You know it, Eve,” Villanelle says and bumps Eve with her hip, “You’re just jealous that you haven’t been on this trip.”
Eve laughs and shakes her head. “You are-”
“I thought you said she wasn’t going to be here,” Villanelle cuts Eve as she spots Carolyn waiting for them at the office door. Her arms are crossed and she taps her foot on the tiled floor.
They walk up to Carolyn.
“Eve, you can head in. I just need to talk to Villanelle for a moment,” Carolyn orders with a passive voice.
Eve, with eyes full of worry, glances between Carolyn and Villanelle before nodding and going into the office. The door opens and Hugo and Elena arguing with Bill’s laughter wrapped around it echoes out of the office. Then it clicks shut and it’s silent in the hallway.
“I take it that this isn't a pat on the back for last night, and taking care of the bartender this morning.” Villanelle huffs.
“It has came to our attention that you might need another evaluation.”
She gestures to her black eye. “Because of this?”
“Maybe. Go ahead and go in there,” Carolyn points at the office across the hall. “I do hope you pass.”
“I will,” Villanelle assures her while she pushes open the door and slips into the small side office.
An older woman, maybe late fifties, sits behind the desk. A new therapist. Before Villanelle gets the chance to sit down, she writes stuff down on a piece of paper. Villanelle rests her left leg on her right, ankle pressing to knee. She reaches forward and steals a pen off her desk. Clicks it slow, maybe one click every three seconds.
“Hello, Villanelle,” the therapist says.
“How have you been?”
“Good. I killed a man this morning. Quite violently, too. Do you want to hear how?” Villanelle asks and leans forward with her knuckles pressed to her chin.
“No thanks. Did he do that to you?”
“Were you distracted?”
Yes. “No,” Villanelle lies. Her back presses against the chair and she swallows a groan of pain.
“Were you thinking of Anna?”
“No,” Villanelle answers instantly. This is the first time in an evaluation that that answer is not a lie.
“I’ve been informed you and Mrs. Polastri are getting close.”
“She’s my partner.” Villanelle shrugs.
“Were you thinking of Eve this morning?”
Instead of answering, Villanelle looks down at the pen. Her fingers twist the cap and she starts to take it apart. The spring shoots out.
“Villanelle, I hate to have to put you on temporary holiday. If you just elaborate…” the doctor interrupts her interest in the pen. Villanelle starts to put the pen back together as she weighs her options.
Holiday can mean many things. They could reduce her to office work. They could send her into the field until she gets killed. Or they could send her back to therapy. Hook her up to electric machines and fry her every time her heart picks up when they mention something. Her fingers trace the clip of the pen. “I was just thinking about when Eve was supposed to pick me up this morning. I was worried I would not get home in time and she would figure it out. Eve is very smart.”
“I see,” the woman says and writes in her notes.
“Do you have any… feelings for Eve. Anything intimate?”
“No,” Villanelle says. “She’s just attractive. I want to fuck her.”
“So no feelings?”
The doctor's pen squeaks against the notebook. Teeth push through the inside of Villanelle's cheek. She wipes a splotch of blood off her watch and wonders if they'll have her kill Eve one day.
The pen slaps against the table and the woman looks up at Villanelle. "Alright, I'm going to go talk to Carolyn. Keep working normal for MI6 and Carolyn will contact you with her decision."
Villanelle stands up and tucks in her shirt. "Absolutely pointless." She slams the door shut behind her and makes her way across the hall. Hugo and Elena are both fuming and Claire's leaning against Elena's desk with her hands wrapped around a coffee mug. Probably called Carolyn the minute she walked out of the apartment to tattle on Villanelle for being bruised up.
Eve jumps out of her chair the second Villanelle walks in, grabbing her coat and slipping into it. Villanelle stares at her sister and Elena and doesn't notice Eve until Eve's right beside her. A simple glance of her eyes is the only thing that suggests she's paying attention.
"We have a crime scene to go to right now. I'll explain everything in the car." Eve tugs on Villanelle's elbow to get her to follow her.
"Come on, Eve , I've only had one cup of coffee this morning," she complains as she follows. When Eve opens the door, she turns back to Claire. "Hey, assface," she says and flips her off.
Claire smiles in reply.
"I'll get you a coffee and a croissant on the way to the crime scene," Eve offers.
She laughs. A delicate and quiet sound. "Dead people and bread, maybe I'll use the blood to dip," she considers and walks out of the office.
"I don't think that would taste good," Eve argues.
Villanelle looks Eve up and down and raises an eyebrow. "There's definitely something that would taste better."
Eve rolls her eyes and shoves Villanelle into the elevator. "I hate you."
The statement makes her laugh again. The loud cackle she keeps for when it's only her and Eve. She stands with perfect posture, hands tucked into her trouser pockets.
"Are you going to tell me what Carolyn needed?"
Villanelle glaces at Eve and tilts her head, pretending to consider. "No."
"Bullshit," Eve replies.
The elevator beeps and we step out.
"So where's this crime scene?" Villanelle changes the subject.
"A hotel room. Apparently it's quite brutal," Eve warns. "So how are you holding up?"
"Besides walking into a bar full of five dead people poisoned by the whiskey I would have drank?" Villanelle opens the door for Eve. "Pretty good."
"By the way, victim is our bartender from last night," Eve says while they walked to her car.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Villanelle groans. "We should have had him put in protection right away. He was our only witness of the assassin."
"I know," Eve agrees.
Villanelle bites into her croissant while staring at the man hanging upside down. There was a disinterest in her eyes. The poor man was gutted and hung up to dry.
"Can someone cut him down?" Eve asks and waves her hand. An officer nods and walks over.
"It has to be our assassin. She's the only person with motive." Villanelle asks and looks around the room.
"It's pretty violent for her. She typically goes for stab wound to the arteries, poisons, or gunshots to the heart or head. It's never messy," Eve argues.
"This isn't messy," Villanelle counters. "Look," she points at the man's jugular, "He was killed with a stab here." Villanelle walks over to the dresser, there's blood splattered over it. She squats down and picks up something off the ground with her napkin. "My guess, with this." A blood soaked pen. "To be that close to him, she probably pretended to be a prostitute or something. He went out to clear his head after being questioned by the police about the five poisoned men."
Villanelle leans against the dresser like she was pinned to it. She bends her elbow awkwardly as if looking for something on the dresser. She starts talking again while playing out her words. "He was a large man, started to over power her, she looks for something, finds the pen, stabs him right in the jugular." Villanelle straightens up and rolls her sleeves to the middle of her forearms. Eve notices that it's never higher. She slides her hands into her pocket. "Psychopaths don't like not having control. She probably got really angry and took it out on his dead body." Villanelle shrugs after finishing her theory.
Eve stares with a slackened jaw. It always blew her mind how Villanelle could put together a crime scene. "So you think it was her?"
"Possibly, but I could be wrong."
"Usually her kills have about a week in between," Eve disagrees with Villanelle's theory. This was a new assassin. "She's probably in a different country already."
"She might be. But this was the only person who could have identified her." Villanelle fights back. She's trying to help Eve, why can't Eve see that? "You don't think it was her?"
"You're trying to make it be her," Eve calls Villanelle out.
Villanelle huffs. "No, I don't."
She pushes past Eve and stares at the body. It was something she did at every crime scene. Burned the dead body in her mind. Eve had asked about it one time and Villanelle said she was trying to figure out what she would like after she died.
Eve walks up beside Villanelle. "We can tell Carolyn it was her, if that's what you want. But privately, I'm going to be investigating this as a new assassin," she tells Villanelle.
"I don't care what you tell Carolyn. I just don't want to waste time and resources on the possibility of there being a new assassin, Eve. I just know this is her."
"She is just a hypothetical theory too. We don't actually know if she is the same one tying any of these murders together," Eve points out. "For all we know the bartender could have poisoned those people last night."
Villanelle doesn't answer and leaves the crime scene. Eve thanks the officers for taking care of the mess and follows behind Villanelle.
She's waiting in the hotel elevator for Eve, picking at her thumb. When Eve boards, she have at the bottom floor button. Eve doesn't get why she's so angry.
"Did something happen between you and Carolyn today?" Eve asks. She faces forward and keeps her eyes off Villanelle.
"Are you going to be mad at me all day?"
Eve rolls her eyes. "Are you going to be mad at me at dinner tonight?"
Still no answer and Eve can't help but glance at Villanelle. She wasn't expecting her to be staring right at her.
"Do I have something on my face?" Eve wipes at her face.
Villanelle shakes her head and pulls her eyes away. "No, sorry… I was thinking."
"Why do you do that?" Eve regrets it as soon as she says it.
"I-nevermind." Eve tries to drop it but it's too late.
Villanelle turns and faces Eve. "No, what do I do?"
"You just shut off sometimes. I feel like I'm finally learning something about you and then you immediately tear it was from me." It comes out as a start of a fight.
"You want to know more about me, Eve?" Villanelle says low, deep, and with a smirk. "Do you study me like a case? Keep track of everything I do?" She walks towards Eve, who steps back. But the elevator is small and her back hits the wall. "Do you think about me at night? Wonder what I'm doing at night?" The hand with split knuckles presses on the elevator wall beside Eve's head. Villanelle leans in to whisper and Eve notices the bruises on her shoulders through her shirt. "Do you think about who I fuck, Eve?"
Villanelle is testing Eve. Knows exactly what buttons to press to piss her off. Eve knows Villanelle's buttons too. "Why are your shoulders bruised?"
Her tongue presses against her bottom lip and she pushes off the elevator, returning to her side. "I have other plans for tonight, by the way."
Eve rolls her eyes. "Getting drunk and fucking some random woman, isn't plans."
"Sounds like amazing plans to me," she replies and steps out of the elevator when it beeps.
Villanelle wakes up the next morning leaning against her front door, still dressed for the club in a leather shorts, red velvet top, and a matching red satin robe. She sucks in a sharp breath as she tries not to throw up on her floor. An empty whiskey bottle is rolled a few feet away from her.
Banging on the door behind her, startles her. Her head throbs as she stands up and unlocks the door. Eve marches in past her, carrying a bag of fast food.
Villanelle swipes the bag from her. "If you ever leave your husband, I am going to marry the shit out of you," she tells Eve when opens the bag and takes out a greasy bagel sandwich. When Eve doesn't reply, she looks up.
Eve's eyes are focused on the small living room behind her.
"Wha- Oh." A woman sleeps on Villanelle's couch. A woman that's definitely underdressed. "I'll take care of that." She sits the bag down on the table but doesn't give up the sandwich that is drawing out better moans from her than this woman did. Her foot taps the woman's shoulder and wakes her up. "Can you please leave? I have to go to work." Villanelle says with a mouthful of food.
The woman looks at her, then Eve, then nods. A few minutes later, she's dressed and leaving the apartment. Eve made coffee for herself while the stranger got dressed. The room goes silent. They should probably talk about their fight yesterday. Fight? Villanelle isn't even quite sure it was that. "Listen about yesterday-"
"You were being a prick… as per usual." Eve takes a drink of her coffee and leans against the counter. "You still need to shower."
Villanelle nods. "Yeah, I'm going to go do that." She starts towards her bedroom to grab clothes and stops in the doorway to turn back to Eve. "Can we talk afterwards?"
"We can do whatever you want," Eve replies and it comes out impatient.
Before grabbing clothes to change into, Villanelle pulls out her phone. There's a few missed calls from Eve. Then a text about how Niko left early and she was coming over. She grabs some clothes and head to the bathroom.
After showering and getting dressed, she walks back into the kitchen and pops a mustard jacket on over her white button up. "Can we talk now?"
Eve nods and sits down at the kitchen table while crossing her legs. Villanelle sits across from her and presses her elbows to the table.
“I'm sorry about being as asshole yesterday. I know you just worry about me,” she apologises. Not really meaning it, just more wanting things to not be awkward today.
“Of course I worry about you. You've worked with me for three years now. I remember how small and shy you were the first few months. Bill and me were impressed how polite you were for a twenty three year old college drop out. After about six months you started opening up and became the smug asshole you really are,” Eve laughs. “My point is for the three years I've known you, you were a smug asshole for over two years of that time. But then after you took those two weeks of leave a few months ago, it feels like you are a new person. I mean that first-”
“I know,” Villanelle answers. Four months ago. Two weeks was all it took for Anna to jump off a building after Villanelle finally found her again. Two weeks was all it took for them to fry her every time Villanelle had a nightmare, every time she thought about hurting herself, every time she thought about Anna. The month back from therapy she was off and on whatever drugs people were selling. Two weeks it took for Villanelle to be caught high at work by Eve. Another two painful weeks of cold turkey and living with Eve and Niko. “I'm not using again.”
“What happened in those two weeks you were gone?” Eve asks and it's the first time she's asked.
Villanelle leans back in her chair. “I visited a friend. Back in the States. We went on top of her apartment building like we used to before I moved here. We were just chatting. She was happy, she was laughing, and then she wasn't. She stood up and she starts yelling at me and chucks her wine glass at me and I turn to watch it shatter on the stairway door and by the time I turn back around she's-” Villanelle collects herself as every vein in her body goes on fire like she was being electrocuted. “She's jumping off the roof before I could do anything. Maybe I could have-”
Eve presses her hand on top of Villanelle's. “No, there was nothing you could have done. She made her choice,” she reassures Villanelle as if she's upset. She's not. For once as Villanelle thinks of Anna she feels nothing, not even betrayal.
“Did they tell you why MI6 recruited me?” Villanelle asks. She won't tell her what she does, but maybe she'll tell her why they chose her.
“They had a meeting with Bill and me and basically told us that you were really smart and able to figure things out quickly.” Eve also assumed it had to do with the fact that Claire already worked MI6 and after their adoptive parents died in the plane crash, she wanted Villanelle closer.
“Then you realized I'm a fucking dumbass?” Villanelle asks with a laugh.
“You're not dumb. Maybe no common sense, but not dumb,” Eve replies. She removes her hand from Villanelle's and leans back. “I take it they recruited you for different reasons.”
Instead of replying, she gives her look to say exactly. Eve gets the point that that's all she's going to get from Villanelle right now. Villanelle stands up and pushes in her chair. Eve follows her to the front door.
It's been a boring day in the office. No new murders or assassinations to look into. Their assassin has to know the other night was a close call. She'll probably take some time off for a while. Everyone in the office is looking into their own theories and such. As Villanelle and Hugo begin looking into some CCTV footage from a few of the crime scenes, Eve takes the chance to slip into Carolyn's office.
“Carolyn?” she asks when the door clicks behind her.
There's a huff a breath. “Yes, Eve?” She leans on her knuckles and moves away from her computer.
Eve moves quick and sits down in one of the red leather armchairs. “I have a question.”
“I'd assume as much.”
“What-” it's none of her business and if Villanelle wanted to tell her she would, “Why did you recruit Villanelle?” Eve asks.
“I told you and Bill before already. Villanelle was remarkably-”
“Oh, bullshit,” she blurts out.
Carolyn widens her eyes. “Fine,” she says and pushes out of her chair. Her dark hands open a desk drawer and pulls out a key ring, then she unlocks a filing cabinet. It squeaks as she opens it from not being used much. A thick manilla file is in her hand. Her heels tap on the floor. It smacks heavy against the desk with weight of papers and betrayal. “That's Villanelle's past.”
“Do you keep one of these for all of us?”
“Of course I do, Eve. Each one of you are a part of this team for a certain reason.”
“Is it up to date?”
“It's the most important information. The last update was added four months ago.”
Eve nods a thanks, picks up the file, and leaves her office. Villanelle is drawing on the whiteboard that goes the entire length of the tan brick wall. Her jacket hugs her body and fits her perfectly. She braided her hair today and it fell between her shoulder blades. As if knowing Eve is watching her she turns and smiles. Her eyes fall on the file for a moment. The file that symbolizes Eve going behind her back. She must not think much about it because she turns around and goes back to drawing on the board.
“Do you think we should tell Villanelle to actually do work?” Bill says beside Eve and makes her jump. “Distracted?” He asks at her surprise.
“What? No? I just didn't know you were beside me,” Eve says fast.
“Uh huh,” he agrees with a knowing smirk. “What do you got there?”
“Just some extra work about yesterday's crime scene,” Eve lies. Villanelle snaps the dry erase marker’s cap back on and tosses it in a bin. Her hands fold into the mustard jacket pockets and she walks over to them.
“Do you like my drawing, Eveee ?” she extends Eve' name while rolling on her heels. Eve glances over her shoulder and it's an amazing sketch style drawing. Of her face.
“Why?” Eve asks with a sigh.
“You don't like it? Bill, do you like it?” She turns to him.
He leans forward and smiles. “I think it's a beautiful drawing,” he replies and glances at Eve with a raised eyebrow. Villanelle turns around and Eve mouths quit it to Bill. He chuckles.
“Can I have everyone's attention?” Villanelle announces. Jess, Hugo, Kenny, and Elena all look up from their computers. “Since we had a murderless day, I volunteer to pay for a couple rounds of drinks for everyone and your dates tonight. Of course it will be at my club because I want to dance and not actually have to pay, but I think we all deserve a night of fun.”
“Didn't someone die in your club a few weeks ago?” Hugo asks and takes his pencil out of his mouth. The incident he's referring to is someone slipping off an upstairs balcony. Eve remembers Villanelle complaining about the insurance when 'it was their fault if they climbed onto the railing while drunk.'
Villanelle laughs. “Murder on the dance floor, baby,” she answers with a flirty voice. “You don't have to come but if you do, just tell the bouncer you're there with me so you can skip the line and have all drinks put on my tab. It's my treat.”
When Niko gets home from work, Eve informs him he needs to change because Villanelle has invited them to go clubbing. He grumbles but listens.
Villanelle's file stares at Eve on the kitchen table. Maybe she'll take a peek while she waits for Niko to get dressed. The wood chair scrapes against the floor and her hands wrap around the bottom of her red dress as she sits down. The first paper in the file is just typical information. Name, family, age all that. Adopted by the Morgans when she was 13 because her parents had been murdered. Eve sets it to the side and there's a picture next.
Villanelle stands between what Eve knew to be her adoptive parents, from pictures in her apartment. There's a woman Eve doesn't recognize sitting on Villanelle's shoulders. She looks to be almost ten years older than Villanelle is now. Eve flips over the picture and there's a small amount of text. In order from left to right. [Eleanor Morgan, Oksana Astankova, Anna Aanmokoba, Richard Morgan] 2015 Four years ago. Is this Villanelle's friend? MI6 has been investigating Villanelle for four years now?
The next were some pictures of her UCLA art projects and a copy of her transcripts. Perfect marks until she dropped out. All her high school transcripts are perfect too. No discipline reports or anything. There are around 30 or 40 drawings of Anna Aanmokoba. An obsession? The next paintings are bloody. Pictures of oil paintings Villanelle had done of mutilated bodies. She really captured realism. Her skill was impeccable but where was she getting the ideas for these drawings? The dates on them all take place after the plane accident.
Eve remembers the first time she met Villanelle. She walked into the MI6 office after she had been missing for three months when her plane disappeared. Bruised and cut up, just asking for Claire. No one had a clue how she got to the UK and Claire never really filled Eve in on the details. Villanelle tried to go back to college after that and when she dropped out, MI6 recruited her. The bedroom door from upstairs clicks and Eve closes the file.