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Chapter 13

 

As they left the hospital, Eve quickly checked on James. He was doing great. His parents were visiting him and his pain was quite low, considering. Eve couldn’t help but smile. Everything seemed to be going a bit too perfectly.

 

She and Villanelle ended up at a small coffee shop that was next to Cherry on Top. Eve recommended it and the blonde told her she’d actually been to pretty much every place in the neighborhood. 

 

Eve rolled her eyes. She’d faked not knowing her way around to get Eve to take her somewhere. To her credit, it had worked.

 

They sat down, Eve with a large coffee, Villanelle with a small tea and croissant. A comfortable silence passed over them as Villanelle ate.

 

“Eve, do you want to be my girlfriend?” Villanelle spoke out of nowhere, her mouth full of croissant, not looking up at the other woman. 

 

The way she asked the question sounded as if they were 7 years old and had just been on their first play-date.

 

Eve almost spit out her coffee. It wasn’t a completely irrelevant question, just not one she was expecting so soon. 

 

Also, the way Villanelle said it... Eve couldn’t help but wonder if Villanelle had ever asked this before.

 

She guessed not. She could tell Villanelle wasn’t exactly the ‘girlfriend’ type. Which was fine, there was nothing wrong with that. It just made Eve more nervous to give her an answer.

 

Villanelle instantly sensed Eve’s nervousness. She just wanted confirmation that Eve actually liked her and that their kiss wasn’t a one-time thing. She assumed asking Eve to be her girlfriend would be the way to do that. No, she’d never asked that question to anyone before, but she’d seen it done on TV. She thought she asked it quite well.

 

“You don’t have to be, it was just a question. Don’t freak out, just… forget I said anything.” Villanelle mumbled, shoving more of the croissant into her mouth. Eve obviously took too long to answer.

 

“No! No. I would like that. To be your girlfriend.” Eve said, reaching her hand out and putting it on top of Villanelle’s.

 

She wasn’t sure. But she’d said yes, anyway. 

 

She did want Villanelle to be hers. She didn’t want to feel jealous of anyone. Not that she’d have to be, the blonde obviously felt the same. And her smile after Eve answered was completely worth it. 

 

It was just very… fast. 

 

But Eve knew that this wouldn’t be a fling so, saying yes wouldn’t hurt, right? Why not label it now, she figured.

 

Villanelle grinned, the smile reaching her eyes. She sipped her tea and continued eating the croissant. But, the silence just made Eve’s thoughts grow louder.

 

“Have you ever had a girlfriend before?” Eve couldn’t help herself anymore. This wasn’t out of jealousy, she could just sense… something.

 

Villanelle paused, mid-chew. She hadn’t expected a follow-up question like that

 

Should she lie? Say she’d had countless girlfriends, some long-term, some short-term? No, she couldn’t lie to her. Not only would Eve see right through her, but Villanelle couldn’t make herself do it. 

 

Asking Eve to be her girlfriend was a difficult thing for her to say. That’s why she’d asked so nonchalantly. She didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, even though it was a big deal to her. It was all new to her.

 

It was new to both of them. 

 

But the commitment and dedication to another person, that was new to Villanelle. Eve had been married before, she knew what dating was like. She knew what committing to a relationship was. 

 

Villanelle had no idea.

 

“No. I- I… had someone. In Liverpool. But it… it didn’t work out.” Villanelle said simply, staring at the white marble table. 

 

She tried not to focus on Eve’s eyes, though she wasn’t looking at her, she knew Eve was watching.

 

Eve’s hand was still on top of her’s. Eve could only squeeze it, making sure Villanelle knew she was here for her.

 

“Is that… was that why you left?” Eve asked tentatively. She didn’t want to push her, but she did feel there was something Villanelle wasn’t telling her.

 

Villanelle nodded, finally looking up at Eve. She held back any tears she could feel rising to the surface. She would not waste any time crying over Anna. Not anymore.

 

Eve was smart. She knew there was more. More to do with this woman from Liverpool, more to do with ‘Oksana’, more to do with the reason Villanelle left mid-year. She couldn’t help but glance at the necklace. The chain was peeking out from under Villanelle’s collar.

 

Villanelle could see this. She knew Eve wanted to know more. But she hadn’t told anyone about Anna. The only people that knew anything about what happened, other than herself and Anna, were Broadgreen’s Chief Surgeon and whatever he told Carolyn to get her to hire Villanelle. 

 

Villanelle had told Anna about her past and it scared her. Her past scared Anna so much that she ….. Villanelle couldn’t even think about it. 

 

She just wanted to move forward. With Eve. She didn’t want to keep going back to the past. 

 

She pulled her hand away from Eve’s and reached up behind her neck, unclasping the necklace. 

 

It was time to move on. 

 

She took it off and dropped it her tea. Dramatic, yes, but it was more about the meaning behind it rather than the action. And Villanelle was a sucker for theatrics.

 

“That bad, huh?” Eve asked, trying to lighten the mood. She knew that necklace meant a lot to Villanelle and she had just put it in her tea. 

 

“I just want to move forward and not be stuck in the past anymore. It’s not good for me. It’s not good for us.” Villanelle put her hand down on the table and intertwined their fingers.

 

Eve smiled, softly. The word ‘us’ was only two letters but it meant so much. It meant that they were together. It was Eve and Villanelle, it was them . Girlfriends.  Wow, Eve could hardly believe it.

 

Her smile faltered though. Yes, she was happy about Villanelle wanting to move past... whatever had happened. But Villanelle still continued to avoid the topic. She didn’t even answer her question. Why couldn’t she just tell her what happened?

 

Eve wanted to trust her. She just couldn’t shake that feeling that something terrible had happened. What caused her to leave Liverpool so suddenly? Who caused her to leave Liverpool so suddenly?

 

Villanelle was relieved for a moment. She knew Eve wanted her to say more. But she had just gotten rid of the necklace. Wasn’t that enough?  Then, she reminded herself that Eve didn’t know the full story, so she wouldn’t understand the importance of leaving that necklace behind. 

 

Still, shouldn’t she trust her? Trust her enough to just be content with her leaving that part of her life a secret? It could scare Eve away or have her asking too many questions. Questions Villanelle couldn’t answer. Because if she did, Eve would run for the hills.

 

Villanelle thought she had been in love with Anna. Now, she realized she hadn’t been. If it were Anna sitting in front of her, Villanelle wouldn’t even consider talking about her past. Not again. Maybe, she was learning from her mistakes.

 

But, she had told Anna about it. Not all of it, but enough. It was her biggest regret. She knew now though, if she could go back in time, she wouldn’t have told Anna a damn thing.

 

With Eve, however, she more than considered it. She wanted to. She wanted Eve to trust her and her to trust Eve. Villanelle knew secrets were the things that destroyed everything. They had destroyed everything. She couldn’t handle people she cared about keeping secrets from her. And she couldn’t keep secrets from people she cared about. Honesty is the best policy, after all.

 

She cared about Eve so, the only way for her to trust her was for her to start being honest. It would take time to tell Eve everything but she needed to start now. So, here goes nothing.

 

“Her name was Anna. She.. she made me feel safe. I told her about my past. My parents, my childhood, my real name. I thought I loved her and I thought she loved me but…she didn’t. That’s why I left Liverpool, Eve. She was the one that gave me the necklace.” Villanelle gestured to the necklace which was still sitting in the half-filled teacup. 

 

Villanelle purposely left out the part that Anna was married and worked at Broadgreen as a consultant. She would not tell Eve that part. Yet.

 

She knew Eve wasn’t married, but she still avoided saying it because she didn’t want to be judged. Not that she assumed Eve would judge her, but, she knew that going for a married woman in the past wasn’t the best way to present yourself to your current girlfriend. 

 

To Villanelle’s defense, her and Anna’s ‘relationship’ wasn’t one-sided, Anna had said to Villanelle (multiple times) that she wasn’t happy in her marriage. It gave Villanelle the false pretense that she could actually end up with Anna. She had been very very wrong, however.

 

She had very intentionally avoided saying Anna was a consultant. 

 

It was Eve’s worst nightmare: Villanelle going for a consultant, as a registrar, and it all going to shit.

 

Anna hadn’t lost her job because Villanelle was the one that was forced to move. Anna got to stay since she played the victim. She was manipulative and a liar. Villanelle knew Eve wasn’t either of those things.

 

She was already nervous about their relationship, and she definitely wouldn’t consider being with her if she heard that part of the story. Villanelle, trying to manage keeping this secret by coming up with an excuse, she said, to herself, that she was just saving Eve from heartbreak. 

 

She didn’t want to hurt her by keeping a secret, but she knew it would her hurt more if she did tell her. If they could start the relationship with Eve not knowing this, she wouldn’t consider running away if she ever found out later on. Right?

 

Villanelle wanted to be honest. But it would take time. She'd never done this before. Luckily, she knew that her relationship with Eve had time. It was the real deal.

 

“V… I’m so sorry. I’m sorry she hurt you and made you start over. It’s.. not fair.” Eve assured, squeezing their hands softly. Villanelle couldn’t help smile at the nickname.

 

She was thankful Villanelle shared what she did. She knew it was a summary of what happened but still, it was obviously something painful. She was here for Villanelle. No matter what she told her, she wasn’t going anywhere. 

 

In some respects, Villanelle was happy with how everything turned out. Without Anna filing a complaint against her and without the Chief Surgeon at Broadgreen’s connection to Carolyn, she would never have met Eve. 

 

Even now, she couldn’t imagine her life without her. She had wormed her way into Villanelle’s heart. It was nice. Comforting.

 

Eve was going to make sure Villanelle felt safe around her. She’d had her fair share of bad breakups, none causing her to move to a new city, so, she knew it must’ve been bad . But how bad? 

 

She could sense that whatever happened to Villanelle in Liverpool and in Russia, had shaped her view of love and relationships. No wonder she hadn’t had a girlfriend before. Her parents never showed her affection, and now this ‘Anna’ broke her heart so terribly that she could barely speak about it. 

 

Villanelle was broken and felt she was unloveable. Eve was determined to change that. 

 

And Eve, just like Villanelle, was nothing if not determined.

 

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Eve, much to her dismay, had to go home. She needed a shower, a change of clothes, and rest. Yes, she had slept great next to Villanelle. But she needed a few more hours.

 

On her way home, her mind went to the other woman. A woman who was now her girlfriend . If you had told Eve two weeks ago that a beautiful blonde 26-year-old registrar would walk in and become her girlfriend, she would have laughed right in your face. 

 

Now, here she was, sitting on the Tube, smiling while thinking about the blonde. She couldn’t help it. She made her happy. 

 

But, there was that small part of Eve’s mind that kept telling her that Villanelle wasn’t being completely honest. 

 

Why would she have to leave Broadgreen because of Anna? Liverpool was a big place, she could easily avoid her. Block her number, avoid places they used to go together, delete photos of them. It didn’t seem that difficult to Eve. There had to be something more. 

 

Eve had an idea, not a great one, but one that might work.

 

She really did love investigating. Maybe a bit too much.

 

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Villanelle basically skipped home. She was on cloud 9. She had a girlfriend. And that girlfriend was Eve. The beautiful, smart, sexy Eve. 

 

Villanelle had never gotten ‘butterflies’ around Anna. Retrospectively, she realized that she saw Anna as more of a challenge, rather than a potential partner. She conquered the challenge, not understanding the consequences that came with it. 

 

But, Eve wasn’t a challenge. Sure, she had to flirt with her for a little while, but it was more than that. She could see it becoming love. She’d never been in love before. So, she didn’t know how it felt. But, this feeling was new. It must be that stage of falling, right?

 

Villanelle didn’t know how to act, she’d never been in a relationship before. She’d seen the movies, however. Should she get Eve flowers? Chocolate? Maybe, she’d like that, Villanelle fantasized. She fantasized about her girlfriend for the rest of the day. 

 

It seemed quick, yes, but Villanelle always knew what she wanted. And what she wanted was Eve. 

 

And now she had her. She couldn’t tell anyone that, but she still had her. 

 

And that was enough.

 

 For now.