Chapter 1: Poker Games
Eve knows as soon as Niko slaps the handful of crisp tickets on the ostentatious dining room table, that her life is effectively over. It comes in waves, her feelings of imprisonment. Her episodes always start the same. First, beginning with the slow, drifting feeling of light-headedness, shifting into the all too familiar churning of nausea in her stomach, bile rising into her throat.
“We’re moving to New York,” her fiancé - Niko - boasts. His chest is puffed and his hands rest on his hips, mustache practically vibrating with his ever-present sense of self-importance. He’s proud of himself, of his wealth, and seems to have no issue with scooping Eve’s life up and away to America, as if she were another one of his pocket watches.
Eve knows that marrying Niko will undoubtedly be the worst decision of her life. That the corsets she wears are merely a substitute for a straight jacket. That the pearls and diamond necklaces are chains wound tight around her neck, and that Niko’s fingers - that are gripping the thin planes of her wrists - are a pair of handcuffs she can’t break. She’s just a doll to him, anyways. An exotic piece to show off to his affluent friends, to portray himself as a savior who had plucked his prized possession from poverty, and shined her up like a new penny.
God, she hates him.
But, Eve also knows that to resist Niko would result in a slap, rough fingers around her neck, and Niko bellowing his furious accusations at her, warm spittle flicking against her cheek. She’s smart. Too smart, perhaps, as she tells Niko that of course, she’ll have her things packed by the end of the week, weakly squeezing Niko’s wrists, and shoves the feeling of impending doom down until it mixes with every other emotion she’s felt in her entire life. Eve would rather feel like she’s dying slowly. It’s more comforting than the truth, which is that Eve - is drowning.
The Sunday that they leave, Southampton is buzzing with all walks of life. Aristocrats like Niko, strutting purposefully towards the pier, their servants dragging several trunks of luggage for their employers, as seagulls fly and swoop above their heads. But, as Eve peers from beneath her frilly hat, (“To protect your sweet nose from the sun, darling,”) she sees people who are so much more interesting . Sailors smoking along the edge of the pier, a mother licking her thumb to scrub dirt off her little boy’s nose, two women sporting tailcoats and top hats (Niko’s mustache bristles at the sight). Despite their differences, all of them are approaching the same destination.
The ship, aptly named Titanic , truly is marvel, Eve concedes. She had never had enough time to study sciences - especially one as mathematically dependent as engineering - but she did treat her brain to skimming the newspaper that morning while Niko wasn’t looking. She had rationalized that she should at least know something about the famous vessel carrying her to a life of captivity.
The steamer is one of the finest vessels ever created, held together by 3 million rivets, boasting a top speed of 23 knots, and is a stunning tribute to 20th century engineering. She is powered by 29 boilers, and a massive 79 foot rudder that requires steering engines just to turn it. The White Star Line deemed her totally unsinkable, the future of naval travel, and would be the first of many luxurious passenger liners that would dominate the next half of the century, complete with eight passenger levels and a pool .
Just some light reading, she reasons.
As she walks up the steps of the towering vessel, her arm uncomfortably wedged in Niko’s, Eve decides to pay the smallest bit of attention to the bad feeling in her gut.
No ship is truly unsinkable, her gut screams.
Like so many times before, Eve ignores it.
Konstantin is going to kill her if she fucks this up.
Then again, she could always just kill him first.
He is sat across from her at the round poker table, the cross look on his face indicating that he would rather be doing anything right now than bartering all of their known possessions (a thin wad of cash, his wristwatch, and her signet ring), for two third-class tickets.
Freedom, Villanelle thinks.
And she is so, so, close to a winning hand she can just taste it, smell it in the cards, that her hand shakes slightly when she draws her final card. It’s a queen, matching perfectly with the other 4 cards in her hand for a royal flush, and if Villanelle was any other person she’d jump up and slap her cards on the table just to rub it in Konstantin’s face.
Her competitors lay their cards on the table. Nothing. A pair. Nothing. Konstantin angrily throws down nothing as well, red beginning to color his large face. She keeps her face impassive, quirking an eyebrow at Konstantin.
“Do not tell me you have just ruined us both, mудак,” he grinds out, his meaty hands gripping onto the table uncomfortably tight.
Villanelle lays down her cards, and gives Konstantin the biggest shit-eating grin of her life.
The three other men groan in frustration, Konstantin jumping from his seat with a relieved gasp, clutching his hand to his heart, as she shouts,
“Aha! I got you! Just a little bit, I got you!”
“You are going to give me a heart attack, гусеница . You are lucky we did not lose the very little we have,” Konstantin chastises, but Villanelle is already scooping up their belongings and shoving one of the tickets and his watch into his hands.
“But I did not. I am very lucky like that. Now hurry before these men kill us.”
They only have five minutes before the Titanic departs, so she wastes no time dragging Konstantin’s large form through the crowds of people waving to the ship’s passengers, shoving their tickets into the officer’s waiting hands without so much as a ‘ thank you’ and sprints up the steps to board the vessel.
She’s free .
After they throw their few belongings into their quarters, shared with four other passengers (“You got us third-class, what did you expect? The Ritz Hotel?”) she wanders onto the deck to explore. Konstantin lies down, determined to rest his heart, he tells her with a pointed look. Villanelle wanders, her hands in her trouser pockets, wisps of hair escaping her bun and floating in the wind. The sunset is beautiful, a mosaic of pinks, blues and oranges, and Villanelle almost wants to be one of the seagulls in Southampton, to fly into the colors and see where one ends and the others begin. It reflects off of the sea, and she closes her eyes, breathing in the cold air, catching the faint taste of salt on her tongue.
She doesn’t really know what waits for her in America. No family, no connections. But it was a fresh start, if there ever was one for someone like her. Villanelle knew that she wasn’t a good person, that she’d done bad things, and wanted nothing more than to just forget and move on. Maybe in America she could be an artist, or - what were they called? - an interior designer!
The thought brought a small smile to her face. America was the land of dreams, after all.
Just as she turns to move back down the lower decks, the chill beginning to settle into her fingers, she’s met with a sight much, much more beautiful than the sunset.
It’s a woman (because of course it is) and she’s the most lovely thing Villanelle has ever set her eyes on. She’s walking the deck - silent and ethereal - arm in arm with a ridiculous looking man who is blabbering away with another stuffy looking gentleman. She has smooth olive skin, dark eyes, and even darker, curly hair that is pinned to her head in what looks to be an extravagant hairstyle. Her dress is a deep red, and Villanelle thinks that red would look good painted across her breasts. Villanelle wants to be the painter, run her hands through those curls, and - oh shit she’s looking at her.
Villanelle looks into the woman’s eyes, and swears that she sees something familiar in them. Like they’ve met before, somehow, in another life, or hundreds of them.
Villanelle looks into the woman’s eyes, and thinks she looks so incredibly sad, clothed in that fancy dress and pearls. She thinks to herself that she wants to save her, although she isn’t sure what from.
Villanelle looks into the woman’s eyes, and feels something.
Villanelle looks into the woman’s eyes, and knows that if this is the only few seconds she’ll be gazing at this goddess of a woman, she is going to make it count for something.
She pushes herself off the railing, straightens the collar of her shirt, promptly trips over her own feet, and falls in front of the asian woman with amazing hair.
The woman’s - husband, perhaps? - instantly begins shouting at her from above.
“Sweet Mary and Joseph, you filthy peasant! Always stumbling everywhere, these third-class ruffians, are they even allowed on this part of the deck?” He continues to rave to his male compatriot, as the woman detaches herself from him and meets her eyes again.
“I’m so sorry about him, are you alright?” she asks her, voice only a whisper - made for Villanelle’s ears only.
Villanelle feels especially starstruck right now, feeling what Konstantin has referred to as a “gay panic,” and nods meekly as she pushes herself to her feet, suddenly remembering the very important message that she just embarrassed herself over. She leans close to the woman’s ear, the two other men paying her no attention, and whispers softly.
“ Wear it down.”
With that, she brushes herself off, and saunters away.
Chapter 2: Fresh Starts
just when you thought you had to wait, im serving you more angsty gay realness. thank you so much to everyone who left comments and feedback on the first chapter, you all are amazing :) enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That was a development, Eve thinks.
Eve is currently getting stuffed into her evening gown, the maid behind her yanking the strings of her corset tight until her ribs creak from the strain. She’s a sweet thing, Elena, with kind eyes and a bright smile when she’s lucky enough to see it, and has become something of a confidant that Eve can turn to. But when it comes to preparing Eve for social occasions, Elena puts their friendship on the backburner to wrestle Eve into the too-tight dresses and layers that are required of a lady.
However, the pain was barely registering in Eve’s muddled brain, her thoughts held captive by the odd stranger that had literally flung herself at Eve’s feet.
A very pretty stranger at that.
She had very delicate features, Eve muses. Her eyes were catlike, wide, but alert. Skin is smooth, and bright. Long neck, full lips. A lost look in her eye, focused, but almost entirely inaccessible.
It should be unsettling, how quickly Eve had raked her eyes over the stranger and committed her features to memory. Even more so that she had become Eve’s latest coping mechanism, despite the briefness of their sole meeting. But it had been the woman’s words, her hushed breath in the shell of her ear, that had set her ablaze.
Wear it down.
“Miss Park? Ma’am?”
Eve jolted from her daze, turning to her faithful maid.
“Yes, Elena, my apologies. What were you saying?”
“I was just asking what you would like me to do with your hair tonight, miss.” Elena replies, before shooting a playful grin. “When you didn’t reply, I thought I had pulled your corset too tight!”
Eve allows herself a chuckle, smiling softly.
“Not to worry, I’m alright.” Her thoughts drift back to blonde hair, and hushed whispers. Eve suddenly feels very hot under her dress.
“Elena, do you think we could leave it down for tonight without causing too much of a stir?” Eve asked tentatively.
“Oh yes miss! I think we have some oils that’ll do well for those curls.”
It takes much less time to run flowery smelling oils through her hair, than it is to pin it into uncomfortable shapes, Eve concedes to the mystery woman in her head. Elena has left, summoned by Niko to trim his mustache, and Eve is grateful for the sweet silence that follows.
She hates dinners like these. Too many aristocratic bigots crammed into a room, droning on about the most inconsequential, boring, of matters. She hates their eyes, the way they examine her features as if she were a specimen in a petri dish, then look through her to ask Niko where he ‘picked up’ such a woman.
Eve digs her nails into the heels of her palms, and relishes the sharp pain that follows. It’s her comfort, her silent rebellion, and reminds her that Niko can’t control this dark part of her that she keeps hidden. It’s all hers, the only thing she truly owns, and it feels magnificent to swim in its depths for just a moment.
She turns to her reflection in the vanity, and she almost doesn’t recognize herself. Her hair is dark, almost wild, framing her face and tumbling down her shoulders in black silk. The neckline of her navy blue gown is low, just enough to be proper, but certainly not conservative. She feels seen, alive, and Eve feels the memory of hazel eyes roam over her. It’s obsessive, borderline parasitic in the way this stranger has burrowed her way into Eve’s brain.
But Eve can’t bring herself to stop.
The dinner really couldn’t have gone any worse.
It had been Niko that brought up the whole damned thing, just when Eve was beginning to get comfortable with hiding the evidence of her chronic panic attacks.
He had been boasting to his friends, ‘good investors from Boston,’ that as soon as they arrived in New York, he would marry Eve within the week . Eve had immediately paled. She half-listened to Niko’s loud voice as she felt the world tilt on its axis, as what little stable ground she had left was ripped out from under her feet.
She thought she had more time, before the inevitable day came. At least a few more months of tracing her maiden name into the night sky before it would be ripped away from her forever. To do the ceremony so soon would mean that Eve’s last days of freedom would be here, on this god forsaken ship.
“And you, Miss Park? How are you feeling with these… sudden arrangements?”
Eve’s head snapped up, eyes wide. Carolyn Martens, one of the most powerful investors in the United Kingdom was speaking to her. She had a steely look about her, reddish hair cropped short, her posture ramrod straight, with expensive looking furs draped over her shoulders. Carolyn isn’t accompanied by a man either, something Eve did not fail to notice. Not to mention she was doing an excellent job ignoring the blanched look on Niko’s face, since she had dared to address Eve directly.
“I-I don’t really-”
Eve's voice breaks, feeling her heart pound higher into her throat. Everyone’s eyes are on her, waiting for her to respond with something coherent, but she can’t get the words out, why won’t they come out?
“Well, Miss Park?” Carolyn prods. Her eyebrow is quirked, eyes never leaving Eve’s. She’s challenging her, Eve realizes. She wants to know if she’ll actually do it, throw societal expectations to the wind, and resist.
“She’s enthralled, Carolyn, why wouldn’t she be? Besides, I’m sure she’s more than ready to start having children as soon as we’re married, we can’t waste any time-”
Niko’s sentence is cut short as Eve quickly stands, offers a quick ‘ excuse me ’ and bursts out the doors of the dining hall into the open air. She can’t handle their eyes, the pressure, the feeling of pure panic rising in her every passing second she’s in their company. She pretends she doesn’t hear Niko’s nervous ‘ah, feisty aren’t they ?’ and runs across the deck, her hands half-bundling her dress as she makes it to the stern of the ship.
It’s cold out, and the frigid temperature bites at the exposed skin of Eve’s shoulders, her breath visible in small puffs. But the stars are beautiful and bright, and Eve feels as though she could cry with how innocent they look, twinkling down at her.
She can’t do this anymore. She can’t. She’s 37, trapped in an engagement that will most certainly kill what’s left of her spirit, with no other options. There’s nowhere to go. No one to save her. The last of her freedom stripped away.
Eve peers over the railing, into the dark, churning water below. She could save herself the misery of bearing the children whose father she despises, a life that can barely be considered that at all. She could. She can.
Eve feels herself place her foot on the first rung, then the second. The heels of her shoes clink against the bars, and Eve soon has herself over the railing, her hands gripping the top rail behind her.
She feels free here.
Just as she’s about to step off into an icy grave however, she hears the same voice that’s been haunting her all day.
“I really wouldn’t do that, if I were you.”
For the second time tonight, Eve almost gives herself whiplash with how fast she snaps her head around.
It’s the woman. With her long legs covered by the same comfortable trousers, and the loose button-up with the top buttons undone, showing a lovely expanse of collarbone. From the looks of them they’re well-worn, yet she wears them with such confidence, it's like she just walked out of a fashion boutique. It’s not like Eve hasn’t seen women in trousers before, she’s seen plenty. It’s just that this woman makes them look good.
“Don’t come any closer! I-I’ll jump!” Eve shouts back shakily. For the love of god, she just wants to be left alone for once.
“Are you sure? It will be very cold down there,” the woman replies with an air of nonchalance, as if Eve isn’t one motion away from ending it all. Her hands are comfortably tucked into her pockets, and her face impassive as her eyes pierce into Eve’s.
“How would you know?” Eve grinds out, turning to look back down into the churning water below.
“I have had a few close calls,” she replies, and begins rolling up her shirtsleeves, giving Eve the distinct impression that if needed, she’ll haul Eve off the railing with her bare hands.
“If you take one more step, I’ll jump,” she spits out, feeling exceptionally proud of herself for throwing politeness to the wind in her final moments. The woman is unfazed, looking past Eve into the wide expanse of ocean and cracking her knuckles.
“I know you would,” the woman says, meeting Eve’s gaze. She pauses, as if she’s mentally weighing all her possible responses before adding, “You wore it down?”
“Yes, thank you for the suggestion.”
“It’s very pretty.”
Eve huffs out an exasperated laugh, and tries not to think about how nice the word ‘pretty’ sounds on her stranger’s accented tongue.
“And what if I do jump? What then?” Eve says evenly.
“Well, I suppose I will just have to jump in after you,” the woman says matter of factly, and proceeds to yank off her boots just to prove the point.
“I’ve done crazier.”
“You’ll drown with me.”
“Ah, how romantic,” the woman smirks. Eve doesn’t respond, pushing the warm feeling that’s heating in her chest down to her toes.
“You want to know about my close call?” the woman asks, shifting the smallest bit closer.
“I was ice fishing with my brother when we were very young. We were on the lake, and we thought the ice was thick enough, but I fell into the water. Russia is very deceiving, no?” she chuckles.
“It was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. It feels like knives, that is how cold the water gets. I could not even move to swim to the surface, I was paralyzed. Luckily enough, my brother was able to drag me out, but I could hardly breathe for a while after. Not fun,” the woman says, as if a near death experience was just another day at the office.
“You’re from Russia? Explains the accent,” Eve breathes out, starting to feel woozy from looking so far down off the rail.
“Born and raised,” she replies.
“What’s it like there?”
“Cold, very snowy. Sometimes we have dung throwing,”
Eve laughs at that, and the woman grins.
“Is this your way of telling me you smell like shit?”
The woman barks out a laugh. It’s kind of harsh sounding, not at all ‘lady-like’, but it fits and Eve likes it.
The woman takes a beat before responding.
“I really do not want to jump after you, it will be ice fishing all over again. Plus, you are very sassy and have nice hair. Please give me your hand?”
She smiles hopefully.
As much as she hates to admit it, Eve likes her. She’s funny, gorgeous, just a little bit charming, and is completely willing to fling herself after Eve if she lets go. Not to mention that she has made Eve feel the most like herself in years, and is already one of the most interesting people she’s ever met. She wants to know everything about her, and that alone is enough for her to reach out and place her hand in the woman’s warm, calloused one.
“Hi,” the woman says softly.
Wow she's pretty.
“Hi,” Eve breathes. “I never got your name?”
“Villanelle Astankova. You?”
Villanelle. Like her laugh, the name fits her.
“Eve Park. It’s nice to meet you,” Eve says.
Villanelle grins the most dazzling smile Eve’s ever seen in her life.
Eve wasn't normally a woman to swoon, but the sound of Villanelle saying her name just did it for her. Who was going to blame her? The way Villanelle’s accent curled deliciously around the ‘r’ of her last name was enough to make any woman go a little jelly-legged.
Which was problematic, as Eve soon lost her footing on the railing.
She let out a scream as Villanelle’s grip on her hand went from gentle to vice-like, as she dangled precariously over the edge. Eve felt one of her heeled shoes drop into the waves below, and looked up to see Villanelle’s wide eyes and a panicked expression flashing across her face.
“Eve! Hang on!” she yelled, and Eve could only nod in response. She was going to die here. She was going to drown in cold, icy water, with only hazel eyes and blonde hair to comfort her as she sank to the bottom of the ocean.
Just as she was preparing to plummet into the North Atlantic, she sees Villanelle Astankova grit her teeth, reach out her other hand, and lift her back over the edge, her arms quickly wrapping around Eve’s waist.
Eve tumbles over the railing, and proceeds to land on top of her rescuer, letting out a soft ‘oof’ as Villanelle’s back hits the deck. They stay like that for a moment, soft puffs of air filling the little space between them, both processing that Eve literally almost died .
At least Eve has earned her own near death experience.
She lifts her head and meets Villanelle’s eyes, drowning in gold and flecks of green, her hand coming up to instinctively rest on the woman’s chest, as Villanelle reaches up and brushes an errant curl behind her ear.
“Eve! What the devil is going on here!”
And just like that the moment is broken, both Eve and Villanelle snapping to their feet as Niko and an officer come charging across the deck.
“Niko, I can explai-”
“Officer, arrest that woman!” Niko points at Villanelle, who huffs impatiently as the officer begins cuffing her arms behind her back.
“Niko she saved my life!”
Niko freezes, and gives Eve a look that could kill. It’s apparent that he wasn’t expecting Eve to speak, much less challenge him.
“Eve," he says, even and measured, "look at her, she’s was-”
“I was looking over the railing when I slipped, I thought I saw uh, um, a dolphin, and Miss Astankova was passing by and helped me,” Eve said quickly, silently hoping that Niko really was as boneheaded as she thought.
Niko scowls and turns to Villanelle.
Her hands are cuffed and she’s being roughly held by the arm, but she stands tall, jaw clenched, and is looking at Niko like she’s contemplating 101 ways to skin him alive. Gone is the softness Eve witnessed, replaced with a cold fury that chills Eve to the very bone.
A tiny Eve in her brain whispers that she wouldn't mind if Villanelle decided to skin Niko one day.
“I suppose I owe you some thanks, Miss Astankova,” he grinds out. “For saving my, ahem, clumsy fiancée.”
“No thanks necessary,” Villanelle drawls. “I was in the right place, at the right time.”
“Niko, she deserves a reward,” Eve interjects, “She saved your future wife, it’s the least you can do," as she flashes him a little smile.
Before Niko can even protest the idea, Villanelle interrupts him.
“Thank you, but I’m not going to take your money,” she says. “Rewards really aren’t necessary.”
Eve turns to see Carolyn stalking purposefully towards them, her eyes set on Villanelle.
“I couldn’t help but overhear your discussion during my nightly walk, my apologies. If this young woman has saved your lady, Mr. Polastri, it would be only proper to invite her to dine with us tomorrow evening, at the very least,” Carolyn declares. She turns to Villanelle.
“I’m sure you’ll be joining us, won’t you?”
Villanelle nods quickly in response, and Eve swears she hears Villanelle mutter to herself, ‘ she’s the real boss, isn’t she?’
Niko is fuming beside her, and Eve couldn’t be happier with how the night has transpired.
“Perfect, now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to retire for the night.”
With that, Carolyn orders the officer to uncuff Villanelle, and the three exit the deck, but not before Niko tells Eve that she is expected in her quarters at half past 10.
Eve turns back to Villanelle, seeing the woman shove her boots back onto her sock-clad feet. This woman saved her, literally pulled her from the edge of death, and asked for absolutely nothing in return.
“Thank you, Villanelle. I’m so sorry about Niko, he’s-”
“Shh. It’s fine Eve. I’m used to it,” Villanelle smiles at her, wiping her hands on her trousers. The softness is back now, as if it was something only Eve could pull out of her. She moves closer, and notices that Villanelle smells lovely.
This woman is going to kill her.
“I should get back to my quarters,” Eve says softly, knowing that when she leaves the deck everything will go back to the way it was, and she’ll go back to the same gilded cage she was trying to escape.
“Don’t look so sad, Eve,” Villanelle grins, her hand reaching out to brush softly against Eve’s knuckles. “ I’ll see you around soon.”
In a reflection of their first meeting, Villanelle saunters off, and leaves Eve to her thoughts.
The next day, Eve is a woman on a mission.
Niko was out playing bridge, so she was left to her own devices for the better part of the day. With that in mind, she set herself to finding the mysterious Russian who had saved her life in the dead of night.
Eve tries to rationalize that the reason she’s seeking her out is because she wants to give her a proper thank you, face to face before dinner, but even Eve knows that it’s bullshit. She’s infatuated to the point of no return, despite that they’ve only interacted twice, and they’re from two completely different social classes.
Oh, and she’s a woman to top it all off.
A woman who made Eve feel alive again.
She repeats that mantra to herself as she weaves her way across the deck, looking for a flash of blonde hair, when she hears soft whistling to her right.
Villanelle is on one of the benches, her shirtsleeves rolled up to expose toned forearms, and sketching in a folder that’s propped on her crossed leg. In the daylight, Eve can fully admire her tall stature, the sharp angle of her jaw, the concentrated expression on her face and the long fingers that she just knows are strong. She whistles a soft little tune, one that Eve sometimes hears the sailors sing to themselves as they make their rounds.
Villanelle looks up from her sketch, a bright smile crossing her face.
“Eve! How wonderful to see you, please sit.”
Eve takes her seat next to Villanelle, and glances over to see what Villanelle is sketching.
It’s the mother from the pier in Southampton before they left on the Titanic, and it’s incredibly accurate. Villanelle has captured the lines of her face, the stilled motion of her arm reaching out to clean her child’s nose, and it’s almost like Villanelle was there with a camera, capturing the moment for eternity.
“Do you like it?” Villanelle asks her, as Eve strains to see over her arm.
“Oh, I’m sorry, it's just really good,” Eve replies softly, her eyes never leaving the lines that Villanelle has traced onto paper.
“I wanted to thank you, personally, for last night,” Eve begins. “You not only saved my life, but you didn’t mention anything to Niko. I am grateful for your… discretion.”
Villanelle raises her eyebrow and smirks dangerously.
“My discretion? What sort of things have we done to require discretion?” she murmurs, the suggestive tone not lost on Eve's ears.
Eve feels her face go red.
“No! Not like that! I mean, not that I-I’m sure-” she breaks off, as Villanelle howls with laughter. She's bent over on the bench, tears leaking from her eyes and she giddily slaps her knee.
“I’m sorry Eve, it was just - ha! It was just too good not to tease! Your face is so red, like a tomato!”
Eve sighs, and tries to hide the smile that is slowly creeping onto her face. It's nice to be teased by someone, and it almost feels like she has a friend.
After she wipes the last tear of laughter from her eye, Villanelle turns to her and says,
“Would you like to go on a walk with me?”
Eve tells Villanelle everything.
She tells her about her childhood, how she would spend days not knowing if there would be food on the table, her Korean father unable to find work due to anti-asian sentiment in the United States.
She tells her about how she was devastated when he passed away from tuberculosis, leaving her with a mother that only thought of her as one more mouth to feed.
She even tells her about Niko, who was studying abroad for his masters when he had met her at the tea shop, and proposed only to prove that he was the new social pioneer of the century. Armed with his wealth, reputation, and good family name, her mother was more than willing to let the British gentleman sweep her away.
And Villanelle listens.
Better yet, she doesn’t say anything at all.
Villanelle is silent, nodding her head and softly touching her shoulder when the words get difficult to form. Never poking, never prodding further than what Eve tells her. She holds her hand when she talks about how Niko acts when he has too much brandy. And she doesn’t hesitate to brush her thumbs over the bruises that pepper her wrists.
Eve feels like the weight that’s been on her shoulders is lifted with every pass of Villanelle’s fingers.
Villanelle is just as interesting and Eve knew she would be.
She apparently speaks five languages, lived in Paris for the better part of two years, is an excellent poker player, and is infuriatingly only 27 years old. She’s been everywhere in Europe, and doesn’t hesitate to tell her about the cathedrals she’s seen, or poetry she’s read. When she does, her eyes light up with a vibrancy that speaks to Eve’s very soul.
Despite this, Villanelle doesn’t talk much about her family. The only information she discloses is that her father died when she was young, and that she and her mother never got along. She doesn’t tell Eve why she left Russia, or if her family is looking for her, or even why she absolutely refuses to speak in her native tongue. Where she was vibrant before, she’s muted as she offers vague details about her home, never giving up too much information to be pieced together.
It adds to the mystery of her, Eve supposes.
Villanelle does tell her about the man she came with, however. His name is Konstantin, and he had helped her get out of ‘a situation’ while she was leaving Russia. In return, she offered to carry out his business whenever it was required, and the two had become inseparable ever since.
“So, what kind of business does he have?” Eve asks her as they round the bow of the boat.
Villanelle stops walking, her face stony. It's a juxtaposition of her usual self, and Eve finds herself worried over the younger woman.
“What is it?”
“I am afraid if I tell you, you will not enjoy my company, Eve,” she says softly.
“Villanelle, we’ve been walking this deck for almost two hours. You saved my life, and you listened to my story without judgement. The least I can do is listen to yours.”
Eve tilts Villanelle’s chin up from where her gaze had fallen, and meets her eyes. Her fingers on Villanelle's skin spark with electricity, and against Eve's better judgement, she shifts her hand to gently cup her cheek.
Villanelle freezes like a newborn deer, wide eyed and nervous, before slowly relaxing and leaning into Eve's hand.
“I promise I won’t run off,” Eve tells her.
Villanelle closes her eyes, takes Eve's hand from her cheek, clasping it between her own, and says,
“Konstantin had his hands in everything, everything that wasn’t legal. I would run blood money, drugs, guns, anything he needed me to. When he needed someone to fill a boxing spot, I boxed. When he needed someone to steal medication for his weak, stupid heart, I stole it for him.”
She pauses, collects herself. Her grip on Eve's hand tightens.
“I saved him when it all went to shit, when he could not pay off his debts. When we had so many people on our tail. I knew that we needed to get out of Europe, so that’s why I took a chance on some cards, and won these tickets."
She looks down.
“We are even now, I think.”
It’s silent for a moment, as Eve processes her words. It scares her that despite this woman's past, her affinity for the darker things in life, Eve still wants to know everything about her.
"I know I've done bad things, Eve. But I don't want to do it anymore," she finishes.
She squeezes Villanelle's hand, and runs her thumb over her knuckles. They're scarred, physical evidence of the fights Villanelle has endured to survive.
“This is your fresh start, isn’t it?” Eve asks her.
Villanelle gives her a soft smile.
“I’d like to think that it is, yes.”
thanks for reading kiddos, im actually pretty proud of this one. right now i have a lot of time on my hands, so ill be updating this fic as quickly as i can. once again, if you have any feedback for me on how to make this better, or just have a comment, please drop it below, i love reading them <3
Chapter 3: Staircases
This chapter was a BEAST to write but we made it! I'm moving to university soon, so the next chapter is most likely going to be up a little bit later than usual. Thank you to everyone who has left kudos, comments, and has taken the time to read! You guys really make my week :) Until next time, enjoy a smidgen of good ol sexual tension 😈
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Villanelle is smitten.
They’re back to sitting on the bench, as Eve’s poor, tiny feet were beginning to ache from her heeled shoes, and are pooling through the drawings that had been clasped firmly in her leather-bound folder. Eve analyses each one, asking an endless stream of questions over every sketch. Her appetite for knowledge, answers, is relentless. Not one drawing escapes her hungry eyes, and Villanelle tries very, very hard not to blush like a teenager as Eve compliments her work.
She likes Eve. She likes her so much, and it scares her.
Because Villanelle doesn’t do soft. She’s had lovers, daliences, but they were never anything emotional. Their faces blurred together, and she never bothered to remember their names. It was always affairs based on the physical, and for Villanelle, it was easier that way. Feelings got in the way of things, and with her dangerous side-hustles, she always assumed she wouldn’t last long enough to actually share them with someone.
But this woman is different. Villanelle wants to feel things, she wants Eve to remember her, and she relishes the hard thumping of her heart when Eve looks at her, smiling shyly. Eve makes her feel like she’s important, like she’s more than her social class, like she actually wants to understand her in the ways that no one else bothered to.
All of this, within the span of two days.
She’s snapped out of her thoughts when Eve innocently flips closer to a certain section of her sketches.
“Eve, uhm, I wouldn’t-”
But it’s too late.
Eve flips the page.
And is met with a large pair of breasts.
“Oh god, Villanelle, I’m sorry, uh-”
“It’s fine, it’s fine-”
“No, no really I-”
They both break off, Villanelle scrambling to hide the very, very naked woman that’s plastered across the entirety of the page, as Eve clears her throat and rests her hand over the bottom half of the subject. Villanelle’s hand rests over the top, her fingers lightly brushing against Eve’s, trying to calm the rapid thumping that her heart insists on perpetuating. She tells herself it’s from her mad dash to cover the sketch from prying eyes, and not because the warmth of Eve’s fingers is drawing her in, like a moth to a flame.
They both look out into the expanse of ocean, before Eve breaks the thick silence.
“Did you draw these from life?” Eve asks her hesitantly.
Villanelle looks up, meets Eve’s eyes. They are dark, her cheeks flushed. She looks down, and gently moves Villanelle’s hand from where it rests over the sketch.
“Yes.” Villanelle whispers.
Eve says nothing, and flips through the pages that only Villanelle’s eyes have seen. She is slow in her movements, trance-like in the way she brushes her fingers over the curves of the women she’s committed to paper. They’re all nude, in various states of disarray, and in positions that could in no way be considered decent. But Eve doesn’t look away, her gaze never wavering, and her lips slightly parted as she examines every line of graphite created by Villanelle’s hand.
Villanelle doesn’t look at her work, however. She knows what these women look like, and has seen her art enough to know that it’s impressive. It’s Eve that she’s mesmerized by, living art in front of her, and wonders if Eve would ever let her seal her beauty in the pages of her folder.
Villanelle knows it would be her finest piece.
“They’re beautiful,” Eve tells her, her voice soft and sincere. “How did you manage to… obtain so many to model for you?”
Villanelle clears her throat, wondering how exactly she should describe her… escapades.
“In Paris… It is not hard to find girls who enjoy pleasure,” she replies. “They know they are beautiful, and they want to be watched.”
“Did you, um, elope with them? Before you sketched them like this?” Eve inquires timidly.
She doesn’t fail to notice the way Eve’s legs shift together underneath the fabric of her dress.
Villanelle is an artist, but never let it be said that she doesn’t have an appreciation for the scientific method. She has a hypothesis, one that concerns Eve, and all she needs to do is test it.
She knows Eve likes her, but she would be lying to herself if she said that she wasn’t curious to see if there was something more.
So this, she reasons, is a perfect time to experiment.
“Sometimes,” she murmurs. “I would take them, fuck them, and afterwards they would ask me to draw them. When they were finally spent.”
Eve’s breath hitches, her eyes lifting to meet Villanelle’s. Her pupils are blown, and she shifts closer, as if Villanelle’s words are strings, and Eve is being pulled further in. The lovely pearl necklace that sits on her breasts rises with every labored breath she takes, and it’s clear that Villanelle’s words have ruined what remains of her composure.
Villanelle has more than enough of her evidence, but even she can’t resist the way the air between them seems charged, hot, and urges her to go further, push harder .
“Or, sometimes, I’d draw them first. I’d make them wait, before I’d ever touch them. I’d make them squirm, beg.” she breathes.
Villanelle drops her gaze to Eve’s lips.
“Do you like it?” Eve whispers. “Watching them, or being watched?”
Villanelle feels like she’s on fire.
Eve’s eyes flutter closed, and it looks like she’s expecting Villanelle to kiss her, like she wants her to kiss her, and Villanelle is leaning in, and she can feel Eve’s breath on her mouth-
“Miss Astankova, there you are. I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
Villanelle deserves a medal for how quickly she moves.
It’s the woman from the night before - Carolyn Martens, Eve had told her earlier - the stern looking one who is much more intimidating than Mustache Man, and also the one who invited Villanelle to dinner. Villanelle was never one to turn down food, but with the way Carolyn’s cold eyes had bore into hers, she had a feeling that the offer was more of an order than an invitation.
“Ma’am, yes, how do you do?” she answers, standing and kissing the hand being offered to her. Class differences be damned, Villanelle Astankova was a gentlewoman through and through.
“Excellent, seeing that you are no longer in handcuffs. I don’t usually apologize for my colleagues’ actions, Miss Astankova, but I am sorry that your chivalry was met with such brutish behavior.” Carolyn states promptly.
“But, that’s not the reason why I’m here. Do you have anything to wear to dinner tonight?”
Villanelle doesn’t. In fact, she hadn’t exactly thought about that crucial piece of information, subconsciously assuming she’d have to cope with the embarrassment of showing up to a first class meal clothed in worn trousers and a loose shirt.
“Um, no ma’am, I just thought I would wear these. I do not have much else,” she tells the woman, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot.
She is not used to this, feeling out of place. It is one of many new feelings she has experienced over the past few days, and she already knows she does not like this one.
“Right, just as I thought. Well, Miss Astankova, if you would come with me to my quarters, I’m sure we can find something that will do nicely for you.”
Carolyn turns to Eve on the bench, the drawings clasped and hidden to her chest.
God bless her, Villanelle thinks.
“As for you, Miss Park, I believe your fiancé is looking for you in the parlor. Something about taking a tour of the ship.”
“Thank you Ma’am,” Eve replies softly, and the woman Villanelle has spent all day talking to fades away before her eyes, replaced with a girl who is unsure, and so incredibly sad.
Villanelle wants to save her.
Eve rises, and places the folder of drawings into Villanelle’s hands. She offers a small smile - a comforting sign that her Eve is still there - and discreetly brushes her hands over hers before she turns and walks away.
As she watches Eve’s retreating form, Carolyn drawls exasperatedly,
“Goodness, Miss Astankova, you’ll see the girl in a few hours, no need to look so melancholy. Now come.”
As Eve walks the deck, uncomfortably wedged between Niko and his valet, Frank, she tries to concentrate on what Mr. Pargrave is saying, rather than the pressure that’s sitting between her legs.
What happened with Villanelle on the bench was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. She knew Villanelle had an impressive body of work, that she was incredibly talented at what she did, but she had never expected to see that.
Normally, she would have averted her eyes, apologized profusely, drowned in shame, but instead she felt as though she could not have looked away even if she tried. Because those were Villanelle’s drawings. It had been her, who had sat in front of those women and immortalized their bodies in graphite. It had been her, who had posed them, touched them, taken them.
But what worries Eve the most, is that she wants to be one of those women.
She wants to be the subject, the object of Villanelle’s concentrated attention. She wants Villanelle to roam her eyes over her body, and to turn her into art. She wants to be stripped down to her barest form, all for Villanelle to see.
She wants Villanelle to take all of her.
Eve has never felt this way before, not for any man, much less a woman. She knows she should be appalled, to shut herself away in her quarters, to never speak to Villanelle again in hopes that these emotions would fade away. But for the first time in her life, Eve wants someone. Someone that makes Eve feel safe, but also liberated. Someone that Eve desires, both with her body, but also her heart. Someone that makes Eve feel more like herself than she’s ever been.
She shifts her attention back to Pargrave, the designer and architect of the ship. He’s an intellect, through and through, no area of the Titanic left untouched or unexplained. He is thorough in his knowledge, and speaks in tones that make it apparent that he is incredibly proud of his creation.
Eve listens as he gestures to the lifeboats hung along the sides of the ship.
“These are our lifeboats, about 20 in total, and can hold about 1,178 passengers,” Pargrave explains.
Eve thinks back to the beginning of their tour, when Mr. Pargrave briefly mentioned that the Titanic was carrying about 2,208 passengers. The math is eerily simple in her head.
That’s not enough.
Eve normally wouldn’t have spoken at all, especially to voice her own concerns, but her morning in Villanelle’s company had apparently made her sloppy when it came to her social obligations.
“Mr. Pargrave?” she pipes up. “I’ve done the sum in my head. If you take the number of lifeboats, times the capacity you mentioned… forgive me, but it seems like there is not enough for everyone aboard?”
“About half capacity, actually. Eve, you miss nothing, do you?”
Pargrave grins good-naturedly, his eyes kind. He seems impressed, perhaps even proud that Eve had bothered to retain the information as Niko huffs beside her, clearly irritated that Eve was dragging out the affair longer than the bare minimum.
“I actually did try to get more for the ship,” Pargrave tells her, sun reflecting off his balding head. “But, ahem , investors thought it would make the deck look too cluttered.”
“Waste of deck space as it is for an unsinkable ship,” Niko snarks, punctuating his point with a sharp tap of his walking stick on the side of a lifeboat.
As they continue walking along, Pargrave turns to Eve.
“Rest easy, Eve. I’ve built you a good ship, strong and true. She’s the only lifeboat you need.”
Carolyn is a blessing in disguise.
She’s laid out countless outfits for Villanelle to choose from. Dresses, gowns, everything imaginable, all made from the finest cloth that Villanelle has ever seen. She had always wanted to have clothes like these, ones from all over the world, but she had never had enough in her pocket to indulge in that particular area. Now, however, it feels like the world is her oyster.
If only she could just pick one.
She searches through the fabrics, through the blues, burgundys, and emeralds, until she finds exactly what had caught her eye in the first place.
It’s a suit, one belonging to Carolyn’s son, but one that Villanelle thinks will fit. She’s always had a strong stature, good shoulders built by years of surviving in less hospitable places, and she hopes she won’t be swimming in it as she slides her arms through the sleeves of the suit coat.
Quickly, she strips down, pulling her legs through well-fit, crisp trousers, and buttoning up a white-starched dress shirt. She clips the suspenders, shrugs on the matching black vest, and once more pulls the coat over her shoulders.
She looks in the mirror, and feels powerful .
Villanelle knows that she will get looks, if she wears this suit. She knows that Mustache Man will look at her in disgust, will sneer at the sight of her, and that his compatriots will most certainly do the same. But in the end, the only person that she wants to impress, is Eve.
She’s contemplating what to do with her hair when Carolyn enters.
“Miss Astankova, I certainly hope you’re clothed right now- oh! Well look at you.”
Villanelle turns sharply on her heel, immediately worried that Carolyn will tell her no, will tell her she shouldn’t wear such a bold piece to a first-class dinner, will tell her she’s changed her mind and that she’s resending her invitation, and that she looks ridiculous-
“Miss Park is going to drool over those arms.”
Villanelle gapes like a fish.
“I had a feeling you had an affinity for menswear, Miss Astankova, but I could’ve never predicted that you would pull it off this nicely,” Carolyn says, moving closer to fiddle with the collar of Villanelle’s shirt.
“You’re going to have to wear a tie, I’m afraid. I hate to be so strict, but I’m sure you know how draconian these affairs are,” she continues, reaching for the pile of clothes to extract a simple black bow tie.
As Carolyn’s tying it firmly around her neck, Villanelle musters up the courage to ask,
“Will Miss Park really drool over my arms?”
Carolyn looks up and gives her a knowing smile.
“Oh, Miss Astankova. Judging from the way she looks at you, I know she will.”
It’s half past 8 when Villanelle waits at the bottom of the grand staircase, her eyes taking in the sheer luxury of first-class living. The staircase in itself is magnificent, adorned with the most intricate of carvings, the scrollwork design swirling across the pillars and steps. Not to mention the sparkling chandelier that gleams down from above, like a galaxy of diamonds, or a man-made star. She wonders what it must be like, being able to experience such wealth and prestige on a daily basis.
It’s when Villanelle turns back to the front of the staircase, in an attempt to glance once more at the time, that she sees her.
She’s a vision in a burgundy dress, small crystals embellishing the front and sides, with that beautiful, perfect hair down - dark, wild and free. Villanelle wants nothing more than to bury her hands in it, feel bonafide silk between her fingers, and pull . Her hands and forearms are covered by elbow-length white gloves, and her shoulders are made bare by the cut of her dress. As she makes her way down the staircase, her eyes lock with Villanelle’s entranced ones.
Her red-painted lips part briefly, a blush coloring her cheeks, and Villanelle swears she sees Eve’s hand tighten momentarily on the wood railing. She remains steady, after, gliding down until she’s two steps away from the ground, temporarily towering over Villanelle’s head.
“You wore it down,” Eve tells her, making a point to repeat Villanelle’s words from the night before, as she smiles the prettiest grin Villanelle has ever seen.
Villanelle absently touches the soft waves that flow over her shoulders, a smile of her own crossing her face as Eve extends her hand.
“A woman has to take her own advice at times,” she replies, pressing a soft kiss to Eve’s gloved knuckles.
“Indeed she does,” Eve muses, stepping down to meet Villanelle on the base level.
Even in men’s shoes, Villanelle towers above Eve, their height difference still apparent despite the difference in apparel. Eve reaches up with both hands, brushing them over the shoulders of Villanelle’s coat.
“This,” she whispers softly, “was a very, very good choice.”
Villanelle throws any remaining caution to the wind, and drops her gaze to Eve's lips.
“Do you think I’m pretty, Eve?” Villanelle purrs.
Eve brushes her hands down the sides of her arms, and squeezes.
“I think you shouldn’t ask questions you know the answer to, Villanelle.” she teases.
Before Villanelle can respond, Carolyn calls to them from across the hall. She quirks her eyebrow, smirks, and offers her arm.
“May I escort you to dinner, Miss Park?”
“Oh, of course you may, Miss Astankova,” Eve chuckles.
If there is anything that Villanelle knows she can do, it’s blending in while standing out.
Despite the looks she gets initially from the other guests based on her appearance, she is able to adapt to their style of dialogue without making a fool of herself. She laughs when she is supposed to laugh, even when the joke falls flat and really doesn’t make any sense to her. She offers helpful commentary concerning the recent economic boom, secretly grateful she’d read the newspaper in Carolyn’s quarters beforehand. And, most importantly, she even makes Eve smile into her salmon when she bests Niko in a debate over social affairs.
“You said you were an artist, Miss Astankova?” Niko inquires, his eyes narrowed at Villanelle.
“Yes sir,” she chirps happily.
“Ah, yes. I’m just a little confused, you said you lived in Paris, yet were living on an artist’s salary? How ever did you manage?” he smirks, falling back on his immense wealth in an attempt to force Villanelle into a corner.
“Believe it or not, Mr. Polastri, I did manage,” she remarks thoughtfully.
“I may not have a big house like you, or fancy clothes, or even a full course meal like we’ve enjoyed tonight,” she pauses, sips the bubbly champagne from her flute.
“But what I do have, Mr. Polastri, is luck .”
Mustache Man scoffs, and lights a cigar.
“Life is not a game of poker, Miss Astankova,” he sneers, “Some of us have real jobs, and things to lose.”
Villanelle leans back in her seat, legs crossed comfortably. Niko is the opposite, his jaw clenched around his cigar as his fingers flex into a fist. That alone puts Villanelle in an advantageous position, in this verbal game of chess.
Maybe he will pop a blood vessel , she muses.
“Isn’t it? Isn’t life just a game of chance? It was luck that you were born into a well to do family, Mr. Polastri.”
“Now wait a damn moment-”
“It was luck that helped me survive on nothing but stale bread when I was a child,” Villanelle interrupts, her eyes never wavering as she stares the Mustache down. “It was luck that has taken me to seven countries, to cathedrals in Rome, and of course, to beautiful women.”
She winks at Eve, mentally patting herself on the back when Eve blushes and smiles.
“And, believe it or not, it was a poker game that led me here, dining with you fine people,” she finishes, raising her flute in a toast.
Niko puffs angrily on his cigar, and Villanelle is reminded of a cartoon she once saw of a man with smoke blowing out of his ears.
The table murmurs in agreement, everyone - except Niko, of course - raising their own glasses in tandem with Villanelle. They drink, and Villanelle glances to Eve. She’s turning her face into her flute, but it’s apparent she’s attempting to hide her grin from her fuming fiancé.
What Villanelle said, whether anyone believes her or not, was the truth. In the past, she had a hard time being honest. But as she sits here, Eve by her side, she wants to be better. She wants to prove that despite the fact that she’s only got 12 dollars in her pocket, she’s more than the poor, third-class passenger these rich aristocrats take her for.
She’s going to do what she’s always done, and prove the bastards wrong.
Eve turns to Villanelle, leaning to whisper in her ear.
“You should give yourself more credit, being able to do everything you’ve done,” she says, “but I’m glad that your luck brought you here.”
The ‘with me’ is left unsaid, but with the way it sticks in Villanelle’s mind, it might as well have been out loud.
Eve laces their hands together, kept hidden under the table. They’ve touched before, yes, but the distinct feeling of Eve’s fingers interlocked with hers feels much, much more intimate. Villanelle struggles to keep her face impassive in the company of the other passengers, but can’t help the flush that heats her up to the very tips of her ears.
If Eve notices, she doesn’t vocalize it, simply giving her hand one last squeeze and turning back to the other guests who are saying their respective goodnights. The ghost of Eve’s touch is still there, and Villanelle knows that she really, truly, doesn’t want this night to end.
So she takes a chance.
She gently grasps Eve’s arm as she rises, and muttering softly in her ear,
“Meet me at the staircase in 20 minutes.”
And so she bids her goodbyes, and hopes that Eve will want to take a chance too.
Eve is becoming bold.
She hasn’t hesitated to touch Villanelle, to laugh in her company, to hold her bloody hand underneath the very table where her fiancé sits. The dinner was a complete juxtaposition from the night before, Villanelle charming the passengers effortlessly, as though she had been going to these kinds of functions her entire life. But, somehow, she was still able to speak her mind unapologetically without an adverse response. For what seems to be the millionth time in the span of 48 hours, Villanelle Astankova has rendered Eve speechless.
And has managed to wiggle her annoying, gorgeous ass into Eve’s heart.
Eve knows that her feelings are making her reckless, are making her dangerous , but for once Eve can’t bring herself to care.
Damn it all to hell, she’s alive .
It’s this sentiment that takes her to the staircase approximately 20 minutes after Villanelle bid the other guests goodnight.
Villanelle is leaning against the pillar of the staircase, jacket and vest discarded, bow tie hanging loosely around the open collar of her shirt.
It is criminal to be that attractive.
Eve had almost tumbled down the steps when she had seen Villanelle in that suit, that hugged those arms, but somehow the ‘dressed-down, yet dressed-up’ look she’s serving Eve is making Eve revisit all of those feelings tenfold.
Villanelle looks back at her, hand reaching up to brace against the pillar, and grins.
“Hi, Eve,” she says smoothly.
“Villanelle,” Eve manages.
Villanelle saunters down the steps, a clear swagger in her walk as she moves into Eve’s space.
“Did you have a nice time at dinner?” she questions, confidence dripping from her lips.
“Yes, did you?”
“Mmm yes. But there are other things I’d like to eat,” Villanelle replies in turn, biting her bottom lip between her teeth.
Pressure builds between her thighs.
Eve half wonders if Villanelle has called her here to make her move, to give in to this insane sexual attraction that she’s not going to deny any longer, she is not going to say no. She doesn’t care about her engagement, the money, or anyone’s approval. So much of her life has been wasted at the hands of propriety, and she’s tired of hiding the parts of her that simply don’t fit.
All that matters is Villanelle, and the things Eve would beg her to do.
“Why are we here Villanelle?” she breathes.
The Russian grins.
“I am going to take you to a real party.”
oh dear, eve is gonna get herself in troubleeeee. feel free to leave feedback and comments below!
Chapter 4: Romeo and Juliet
thank you guys for being so patient with this one, im sorry it took so long. im finally moved into university so ill be able to get into a good writing routine for the next couple of chapters. this one has angst, so im very sorry. oops.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Villanelle said a party, Eve never expected this.
They’re on the third class level, further below deck than Eve ever would have dared to go on her own, in a smoke filled commoner’s lounge that smells of sweat, whiskey, and mirth. The room is filled to the brim with passengers, all of them lively and rambunctious, and Eve smiles as one hands her a large pint of beer. She sits next to Villanelle, who is currently attempting to arm wrestle a large, burly man with bulging muscles and missing teeth.
They sit at a perfect stalemate, both participants arms’ shaking as Eve watches in fascination. Although she grew up in a poor area, filled with all kinds of people and things, Eve has never seen two strangers so candidly engage in a test of strength. It makes her think of the hundreds of bridge games she had watched Niko play. How she has sat through hours of mindless boredom as the participants sat in perfect relaxation as they flipped their cards. Niko takes pride in it, toutes it as a complex game of skill that she will never understand.
This is different entirely.
This is grit and sweat, something Niko would never do, much less appreciate, while Villanelle seems to bask in it. She is tense, muscles in her shoulders and arms straining against the fitted white fabric of her shirt as she tries to take down a man twice her size. She is everything but relaxed - intense, focused, strong - and Eve is transfixed as she watches the woman’s wrist and forearm flex in exertion. This is power and strength personified, and even a woman like Eve can understand that Villanelle wields hers like an iron fist.
“Je vais te faire des choses horribles,” Villanelle whispers under her breath, pressing her hand harder into the large fingers of her opponent.
“I don’t… speak spanish, blondie,” the brute pants, clearly realizing that he is reaching the end of his rope. He jerks his wrist hard into Villanelle’s, perhaps in an attempt to catch her off guard, but she remains firm. Her arm remains unmoving, quivering only the slightest amount, as she slowly pushes the man’s arm into the wood of the table.
The crowd that had slowly accumulated around them explodes, at least twenty men shouting at the tops of their lungs as betting money is quickly exchanged between hands.
Villanelle leans back in her chair, allowing herself to finally relax as she winks at her awestruck opponent sitting across from her. He rubs his wrist, and gives her a nod of approval as he makes his way to the bar towards the back of the room.
Eve doesn’t know what to do with herself at this point, other than try to tell the raging heat between her thighs that no, she can't take Villanelle Astankova on this table in front of all these people.
“I do not think I hurt him too badly,” Villanelle says after a moment, wiping the thin sheet of sweat off her brow.
“Maybe just his ego,” Eve laughs scooting closer to the other woman, basking in her warmth.
Villanelle gifts her a small smile, questions starting to form in her eyes.
“What is it?” Eve asks her.
Villanelle looks down, suddenly interested in the cuticles of her thumbs. She swallows, and if Eve didn’t know any better, she would say that the Russian looks nervous . It’s a new look for her, one Eve never thought she would see Villanelle wear despite their short time together.
After a brief moment, Villanelle glances up and meets her gaze.
“What will you do when this is all over, Eve?”
Eve’s heart drops into the pit of her stomach.
Because Eve doesn’t know what’s going to happen. She also doesn’t know if when Villanelle says “this,” she means the voyage on the Titanic or whatever is transpiring between them. They’ve touched, flirted, spoken about their pasts - but what does that even entail for them? For Eve, an engaged woman? She had been doing such a good job shoving the future into the back of her head, but once prompted, it all comes rushing to the forefront. Eve doesn’t know how she will cope when this boat arrives in New York, as Niko will undoubtedly be dragging her to the nearest chapel.
No matter what happens, she realizes, she’ll be trapped with him.
As if Villanelle could somehow sense the turbulent emotions swirling in her head, she reaches out and snatches Eve’s hand in hers.
“Look at me,” she demands.
Eve complies, her eyes slowly lifting to meet intense hazel ones. Her heart, once beating with such anxious ferocity, now slows in relaxation as Villanelle holds it in her hands. Villanelle’s gaze is apologetic, the woman probably feeling as though she had prompted Eve too far, too quick.
“We do not need to talk about it, okay?” Villanelle says. “We can drink shit beer and I can teach you how to play poker.”
Eve listens to her words, how they are optimistic yet laced with the slightest bit of melancholy that Villanelle could not filter out of her diction. She soon realizes it's because it's not just Eve who is overwhelmed by the future, what it means for her heart. Villanelle bears it too, as Eve watches her eyes flick to the couples dancing around the crowded room, filled with that lost look so reminiscent of their first meeting. Eve wants to fix it, make it better, do something to heal the bleeding heart that she is both blessed and damned to see.
“Come on then,” Eve says, her voice firm as she stands.
Villanelle snaps out of whatever daze had taken hold of her, her face contorting into a very confused, albeit cute, face. It shifts when she seems to understand what Eve is suggesting.
“Dancing’s not my thing,” she protests.
“Mine either, but it’s good to try new things,” Eve replies.
If she is condemned to a life with Niko, she will make every moment on this ship count.
She walks to a slightly less populated area, her feet heavy as she watches several pairs of eyes follow her movements. Eve is self-aware enough to know that she looks out of place. The dancers swirl around her to a lively, Irish-sounding tune as bagpipes and drums fill the air and pound in her ears. Villanelle shuffles to her, awkward and stiff looking and she bumps into a few couples quickly making their way around the room.
“Eve,” she whispers quietly.
“I have no idea what this dance is.”
The dance in question doesn’t really seem to have any defining characteristics, both partners clasped tightly to one another as they skip, hop (?) around the room to the musical beat. They are happy - carefree - and Eve thinks that maybe that’s the whole damn point.
All that matters is the person they choose to dance with.
“Neither do I, just go with it!” Eve grins, as she clasps Villanelle closer to her chest, slowly beginning to move them backwards in the hurricane of dancers around them. She positions her hand on the back of Villanelle’s shoulder underneath one of her suspenders - perhaps in a subconscious effort to not lose the other woman - and grabs the other to hold in her own.
They move faster, fully joining the others in their lively circle of dance and mirth, turning and spinning until it feels like they aren’t on the ground at all. They’re flying, hurtling towards something that both of them have never known, as Eve feels Villanelle relax completely into her arms.
Villanelle tilts her head back and laughs, full and raucous as they whip ‘round and ‘round, and Eve thinks that she has never heard a more perfect, right , sound in her life. She’s rosy cheeked, her grin wide, and her long blonde hair like a halo around her head as they dance.
Until this moment, Eve had led the two of them. But as they take a turn, feet skipping along to the beat, Villanelle places her hand purposefully on the small of Eve’s back, and pivots them in another spin that has Eve’s vision blurring.
Instead of one partner leading, they lead each other. Their movements unified, together, and solid. Push and pull. Eve grins into Villanelle’s shoulder, her hands gripping onto her partner tightly as she laughs. Something she couldn’t remember doing before this moment, but now the most natural thing to do in the arms of this extraordinary woman.
The song eventually ends, and they collapse into the nearest chairs, panting and giggling.
“I liked that, Eve,” Villanelle tells her, once she catches her breath. Her eyes, once lost, now sparkle with something hopeful, something tangible , and Eve desperately hopes that it really was her who put it there.
The band begins to play another tune.
“Want to go again? I know dancing isn’t your thing,” Eve teases her.
“Dancing is not that hard when you have a good partner, Eve.” Villanelle laughs, getting on her feet to dance with Eve all over again.
And so they do.
Of course, nothing good ever lasts forever.
The morning after her night on the third class deck, a night spent tucked in Villanelle’s arms feeling the absolute happiest she’d ever been, she sits in one of the Titanic’s many sunrooms drinking tea with Niko.
Villanelle had snuck her up to her rooms, feet deadly silent the entirety of the trip. She had not made her move as Eve had thought at the beginning of the night, deciding only to lean against the frame of her door and press a single, chaste kiss to her bare hand.
The memory is painfully sweet compared to what she is sitting with now.
Niko hadn’t been anywhere to be seen when she had gotten back to her quarters - granted it was at an ungodly hour in the morning - but Eve had hoped that perhaps Niko simply wouldn’t have noticed her absence.
She was beginning to realize she was wrong.
Niko is a coil of pent up aggression across the table, his hands white-knuckling his newspaper so hard that it crinkles. He hasn’t said a word to her all morning, his silence deafening, and Eve suspects that he knows something . She stirs her tea, determined to keep her face impassive as Niko slowly lowers his newspaper.
“I hoped that you would come to me last night,” he mutters, eyes dark and brooding, and Eve’s stomach lurches at the very thought of giving herself to such a man as he.
“I was tired,” she replies, voice steady despite the adrenaline rushing into her veins.
“I’m sure your excursions below deck were no doubt exhausting.”
The truth is out.
“You sent that horrendous valet, Frank, after me didn’t you?” Eve questions.
Niko narrows his eyes, his jaw clenching beneath the stubble of his face.
“You will not behave like that again, Rose.”
“I am not one of your workers in your mills that you can order around,” Eve spits, and as soon as the words leave her mouth, she knows she has resigned herself to a bitter fate at Niko’s hands.
“I-I’m your fiancée,” she continues, trying to appeal to the - well - softer side of Niko’s personality, as ridiculous as it sounds.
Niko’s face goes blank.
“My fiancée…” he says softly, rubbing the bristles of his moustache. Eve half-wonders if her declaration actually worked.
He stands abruptly, smashing his teacup to the ground as it shatters into a million pieces. The table goes next, Niko’s hand grabbing it’s side and flinging it to the other side of the room in a crash that Eve just knows everyone below deck will hear. She is terrified, unable to even speak as he sets her in his sights.
He rushes her, crowding her space as he places his hands on the armrests of her chair. Eve can smell brandy on his breath, but the sheer hate that wafts off of him is somehow far worse. It is rancid in the way it seeps into her skin, but there is nothing she can even do that will ensure a safe way out.
She’s paralyzed with fear, her heart pounding inside her chest, and eyes wide in terror. Niko has not hesitated to get physical before, and she doubts he will restrain himself now in the light of her transgression.
He snatches her jaw into his meaty paw of a hand, and Eve can’t help but whimper in pain as he squeezes bruises into it.
“My wife in practice if not yet by law, and you will honor me! ” he demands violently.
“I will not be made a fool of by my own wife, much less that filthy disgrace of a woman you are so enamored with. I swear, if you continue this charade, much worse will come to you, and her .”
He releases her jaw roughly.
“Are we clear?”
Eve can only nod.
“Good,” he whispers, placing a painfully soft kiss on her cheek. It’s a mockery of tenderness and it makes Eve burn, not out of love or passion, but out of pure, unadulterated shame. “Excuse me.”
He leaves, and Elena rushes to replace him by her side.
“Miss? Miss, are you alright?” she asks urgently, hands already reaching to pick up the shattered pieces of glass surrounding them.
Eve vaguely registers her own voice saying,
“Yes, we just had an accident-”
“It was just an accident-”
Eve feels Elena’s hands tightly grip her own, steadying her as she tries to rise from her seat to help the maid clean the shambles around them.
“You don’t have to lie to me, Miss,” Elena tells her. “I’ve worked in this family for too long to not know what kind of man Mr. Polastri is.”
“I can’t leave, Elena. He’ll kill her if I do,” Eve shakily breathes. “He has the means to, I know it.”
“Who is ‘her,’ Miss?”
Eve pauses before responding.
She will protect Villanelle.
Even if it breaks her heart in the process.
Villanelle is glowing .
And it’s been pissing Konstantin off, which is an added bonus.
“Villanelle,” he drawls. “Would you please just tell me what has gotten you in such a good mood? It’s interrupting my pancakes.” he gestures to the mass of flour and butter in front of him.
Villanelle had been humming an Irish tune the majority of their morning together.
“Why should I tell you?” she asks happily, taking a large bite out of one of Konstantin’s biscuits.
“Because it is annoying, and I would rather not have to strangle you in your sleep, yes?”
Villanelle groans dramatically. Fine. If Konstantin is so curious, perhaps she can let a few things slip.
“Sweet Aphrodite has overcome me with longing for a girl, Konstantin.”
He barks out a laugh, his hand clutching at his chest due to its harshness.
“A girl? You have met a girl who makes you like this ?” he asks incredulously. “Was the sex that good?”
Villanelle wishes that she could have sex with Eve. But she is a nice person, very good with consent, and she isn’t sure if Eve would want to, considering she is still very much engaged to a stupid man.
“Shut up, I have not even kissed her yet.” she mutters pettily, her mood suddenly soiled. “We are going steady .”
“I did not think you had the ability to go steady , Villanelle,” Konstantin replies, his face morphing into something more serious. “Do you have… feelings for this girl?”
Villanelle swallows. She did not think she would let this thing slip. But it is very new, and Villanelle needs someone to affirm that the feeling blossoming in her chest truly is what she believes it to be.
“I think so. It feels good to be around her, and she makes my heart feel like it is being strangled.”
Konstantin raises a questioning eyebrow.
“In a good way!” Villanelle adds quickly.
Konstantin’s eyes narrow, and Villanelle can already tell she is going to be on the receiving end of a lecture. This is not going to be an affirmation in the slightest.
“But?” he questions.
“There is always a but.”
“No there isn’t.”
“With you there is, now talk.” He finishes sternly.
Villanelle sighs. If Konstantin was gay, he would understand better.
“She is in first-class,” she says, as if it weren’t a complete upheaval of societal norms to seduce a woman in a higher economic standing than herself. Konstantin groans, his head lolling back to rest on his chair.
“And she might be engaged.” she whispers under her breath, taking a long sip from her coffee cup.
“She’s engaged ?”
“A tiny bit.”
“A tiny bit?”
“Yes!” she shouts, her voice uncomfortably loud for the tiny living quarters.
“Villanelle, we have been over this before-”
“Do not lecture me, Konstantin.” Villanelle growls. “I am not a child that you can order around anymore.”
It’s times like these that she really hates him. Hates that her mistakes have led her to value his opinion of her choices. Hates that despite all the shit he has had her do, that she still cares for him.
It is annoying, and it hurts.
“Remember Anna?” he questions. “She was married too, yes?”
God, she hates him.
Anna was her teacher, and yes , she was married. Anna made Villanelle feel special. These are things she knows. Affection was a feeling she had not been used to and Anna exploited it, using her for pleasure in exchange for basic comfort. Respect. Companionship. Villanelle thought that it was something more, something she’d read about in books, but it was nothing more than a toxic obsession.
“Eve isn’t Anna-”
“She took what she wanted, and you couldn’t handle it,” he continues, unrelenting. “You threaten to kill her husband, and look where it gets you. On the run, without a home, a mess .”
He leans closer.
“I get you out of a bad situation just for you to go and get yourself into another one.”
Villanelle bites the inside of her cheek.
Things are different now.
Yes , Eve is engaged to a man, a rich man, and that is a problem that Villanelle can’t fix. But she makes Villanelle feel alive, human, and that is worth something too. There is no exploitation, just understanding - comfort. The blossoming feeling that refuses to stop growing in her chest just might be love , that scary, scary word, and Villanelle knows that before this ship docks, she needs to tell Eve just as much.
But, if Eve wants to be with the Mustache, she won’t force Eve to stay.
Even if it breaks her heart in the process.
The next time she sees Eve, she thinks that it might be the last.
Eve is walking out of Sunday mass when Villanelle snatches her arm and pulls her into the empty, spacious gymnasium the Titanic offers. She has to see Eve, ask her if she feels the same, incredible way Villanelle does, otherwise it might kill her.
Eve looks like a startled deer, chest heaving and eyes flicking between her and the closed door.
“Villanelle, you can’t be here, Niko is-”
“Eve, please - wait, what happened to your jaw?”
It’s subtle, but there. Darkish purple that Eve had tried to conceal with a dubious amount of face powder, but still blooming underneath. Villanelle cups Eve’s cheek in her hand, looks closer, and sees the tell-tale signs of fingerprints that scatter across the other woman’s face.
Villanelle could kill him.
“He did this to you, didn’t he?” she whispers, her heart clenching painfully as she traces her fingers along bruised, injured skin. Eve’s eyes flutter shut, leaning into the soft contact.
“Niko, h-he found out about last night, below deck.” Eve whispers.
Eve was hurt because she was with Villanelle. She feels a mixture of anger and guilt, rage and quiet responsibility. She knew about Niko, what kind of man he is, and she should have been more careful, and put Eve first.
“How? He could not have come down and seen, I would have seen that ridiculous mustache a mile away,” she jokes, her heart softening as a smile passes over Eve’s face.
“He sent his valet down to spy on me, I think,” Eve replies. “He must’ve told Niko I was there.”
She pauses, takes a breath.
“Villanelle, I can’t do… whatever this is with you anymore,” Eve whispers, face contorted, pained, her voice so soft that Villanelle can barely make out the words.
Villanelle feels her heart start to crack.
“I’m marrying Niko,” Eve continues on, voice starting to border on panicked rather than confident. “I’ll be fine-”
“Do you love him?”
Eve blinks in disbelief.
“I asked if you love him,” Villanelle mutters quietly.
“I don’t see how that’s-”
“I love you, Eve.”
“You what?” Eve whispers.
Villanelle takes a breath. She has to tell Eve how she feels. It’s the most she’s ever felt in her life and Eve needs to know.
“I love you. I do. Even if you marry your mustache,” she says quietly. “I feel things when I’m with you, Eve. Things I do not usually feel. It is scary, but it is good too, I think.”
She steps closer, both hands moving up to tenderly cup Eve’s face.
“I know I do not have much. I know that there is not a lot I can offer you. But I promise you, Eve, I can take care of us. I would never hurt you.”
Eve looks into her very soul, eyes slowly filling with tears.
“Help me make it stop…” Eve pleads.
Eve is torn between her and obligation, on the verge of losing everything. Villanelle knows that between her, and the comfortable life Niko offers, she can never win - no matter how much Villanelle loves her.
Villanelle has not felt much of that in her short life. Not from her mother, from Anna, not even Konstantin. But she has seen it, sketched it in the pages of her folder: mothers cleaning their childrens’ faces, fathers with their little girls perched high on their shoulders, lovers sharing a soft kiss on a bridge. In the process, it taught her what love looks like, even if she could not feel it. And thus Villanelle knows that when you love someone, you will do what is best for them, even if that means letting them go.
So she lets Eve go.
“Turn around.” Villanelle tells her, as she pivots towards the opposite door. Her throat is starting to close up, and there are hot tears burning behind her eyes, but she doesn’t relent.
“What are you-”
“Turn around and face the other way,” she says shakily. This is the right thing to do. She’s doing this for Eve, because Eve asked her to make it all stop. If she can’t stop Niko, she can at least make it easier for her.
She hears Eve turn, her curly hair brushing the nape of Villanelle’s neck. She leans her head backwards and closes her eyes, resting against the top of Eve’s head. Breathing her in, one last time.
Villanelle wonders if Eve will miss her when she’s gone, if she’ll think about the way they’d danced, and the way they’d laughed. She knows she will, that Eve Park will occupy every inch of her thoughts till the day she dies. She’ll think of how beautiful she was at the top of that staircase, of how she looked at Villanelle like she was worth something.
It’s bittersweet, now. Bittersweet that despite everything, in this life they are impossible. It makes her think of that Shakespearian play, Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers who were unable to be together.
Eve is her Juliet, but she won’t let their story end in tragedy.
“Now what?” Eve asks.
Villanelle grits her teeth, steadies her voice, and lets a single tear travel down her face.
For Eve , she thinks.
“Now we walk... and we never look back.”
Eve tenses behind her. It makes Villanelle’s chest clench.
“Don’t turn. Just walk.”
Walking away from Eve hurts more than anything.
But she does it for her anyway.
pardon my terrible french, but “Je vais te faire des choses horribles,” is "I will do horrible things to you"
Chapter 5: The World Opens
first off, thank you all for being so kind in your comments! i know last chapter was a doozy, but i promise this will make up for it, i can't keep these two unhappy for long. be ready for the sexy stuff next chapter 👀
It’s been approximately 12 hours since Villanelle left.
Yes, Eve has been keeping count.
She is sitting between Niko and Frank, the two bickering over the state of American politics as the sun begins to set on the horizon. Eve feels raw, exposed, not even bothering to keep appearances over the course of dinner, and if Niko noticed that she hadn’t touched a single bite of her salmon, he didn’t say anything.
Ever since Villanelle left, there’s been a gaping wound in her chest, a hole that only the blonde can fill. It would be so much easier if she could just blame Villanelle for how she is feeling, how her heart aches and screams. Eve wants to be angry, furious with her, but she can’t. No matter how hard she tries, Eve just misses her and wants her back.
Because Eve regrets saying what she said in the gym. She regrets saying that she’ll marry Niko, even if it was meant to protect Villanelle. It was the right thing to do, she had thought. She could protect Villanelle, and ensure that she wouldn’t get caught in the inevitable crossfire that Niko had in store for her. It was something Eve couldn’t let happen, no matter how damaging that would be for them both.
But Villanelle had said she loved her.
Villanelle had looked into the very depths of Eve’s soul, and said three words that changed everything . Meaning that despite every fucked up thing in Eve’s head, everything that has gone horribly wrong in her life, she loves her. Villanelle had given Eve an unconditional part of her, even though there was so much at stake between them.
And Eve had let her go.
She wasn’t stupid. Despite her previous desires to be angry at her, she knew that Villanelle listened to her plea to make it stop, and she did the one thing she thought would help. Eve had told her that she was going to marry Niko, and Villanelle thought it was her causing the problems, the pain.
But Eve’s been in pain her whole life.
Villanelle had made it all stop, and Eve hadn’t even bothered to think about what that means. It means that Eve’s found the one thing that makes sense, the one thing that makes everything else disappear. There’s a reason Eve has felt more in less than three days than she has in the entirety of her existence. Oh god, she’s so stupid .
Eve needs to find Villanelle.
Villanelle had underestimated how bad this was going to hurt.
Like, really underestimated it.
She’s sobbing, actually, gasping roughly into the small mirror in her quarters, her hands gripping the edges of the sink. Villanelle looks into it, and honestly doesn’t recognize herself. Her eyes are puffy and red, hot tears streaming down her face. She takes broken puffs of air, her eyes squeezing shut as a whimper escapes her throat.
It’s becoming hard to breathe, with her nose clogged and throat tightening with every sob. Villanelle wipes roughly at her eyes, and knows that if she doesn’t get some fresh air soon, she’ll asphyxiate in this third-class cabin. She opens the door, and roughly pushes past an approaching Konstantin, ignoring his yell for her to stop, to tell him what happened.
She can’t let him see her like this, to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he was right, that Eve Park made her a mess . Not when it hurts this badly. Not when she’s made the most morally right decision of her life, but also the hardest. Not when there is absolutely no chance that she’ll ever see Eve again.
As Villanelle shakily makes her way up the stairs to the main deck, she wishes that she had just been selfish. That she should’ve just relied on everything the world had ever taught her, and just taken what she wanted.
But she wants Eve to want her.
Villanelle wants Eve to choose her like she’d always choose Eve. But even Villanelle knows that it’s easier said than done when she has everything she could ever want. Someplace comfortable, despite that awful mustache, and someplace where Villanelle can’t screw it up for her. Villanelle remembers the pain in Eve’s eyes, how she begged her to make it stop, and Villanelle can only hope that she was able to.
It doesn’t change the fact that being a good person stinks, though.
She makes her way across the deck, towards the bow of the ship, and leans her arms against its railing. The sun is setting, a fiery blaze across the horizon, reflecting off the waters of the North Atlantic. It reminds her of that first sunset here, of the new beginnings that were in store, and it reminds her the moment that she first saw Eve. Of how she had literally fake tripped to get a single look at this beautiful woman, and how the moment their eyes met it felt like she was falling through clouds.
Tears burn their tracks across her cheeks and land on the railing.
Villanelle thinks of how Eve had bracketed herself to it, of how she was ready and willing to pitch herself into dark, cold waters where she would’ve most certainly drowned. She remembers how her heart had stopped when she saw that hair billowing in the wind, and she was actually being honest when she had told Eve that she would jump in after her if she did herself. The memory of the first touch they’d shared, Eve’s hand slotting perfectly in hers feels so far away, too distant for her to recall the exact softness of her fingers. But it’s there, haunting her. Too close to forget, but still not a perfect memory. Maddening, driving her towards the very edge of insanity.
Villanelle leans her head down, presses her forehead to the cool metal of the railing, and tries to will herself to forget.
“I really wouldn’t do that, if I were you.”
Villanelle’s head shoots up.
It can’t be.
Maybe she has gone insane.
She turns, slowly, forcing her face into impassivity just in case it really isn’t who she so desperately hopes it is.
They don’t run into each other's arms.
In fact, they don’t move at all.
Villanelle stands in front of her - god, has she been crying ? - staring at Eve as though she can’t quite believe that she’s real, that she’s here. Eve can’t quite believe it either. It had been pure, unadulterated instinct that had driven her from her dinner table, out into the cold air where she just knew Villanelle would be.
Because that’s just how they are.
They know each other.
Eve feels something wet touch the bottom of her lip, and as she touches it, she realizes that she’s been crying, tears starting to flow freely down the expanse of her face. Villanelle steps down, then, her boots thudding softly across the wood deck, until Eve is being tucked securely into her shoulder.
That’s when she loses it.
It’s not quite fair, since Eve was there to comfort Villanelle, rather than the other way around. But with Villanelle, and her strong arms bracketing Eve to her like she’s scared she’ll float away, Eve can’t help but let it all out.
She’s sobbing into the rough material of Villanelle’s coat, her hands coming up to clutch the back of it into her fists. It’s an ugly kind of crying, with snot coming out of her nose and awful, wet noises emerging from her throat, but Villanelle is here. She’s rubbing Eve’s back, arms wound tight, and whispering to her in what sounds to be Russian , and the fact that Villanelle is speaking the one language she’d never utter, to Eve, makes her sob even harder.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I-I’m-” she gasps into Villanelle’s neck.
“Shhhh, it’s okay. It’s okay, Eve, you are here. You are safe, now.” Villanelle whispers into the crown of Eve’s head.
“No, no, you don’t understand,” Eve says, pulling back to properly look Villanelle in the eyes. They are wet, swollen, and it looks like she has been awake for days. She looks wrecked, aside for the small, genuine smile that is complimenting her face.
She’s still annoyingly beautiful, and it makes Eve fall just a little bit harder for her.
Eve wipes Villanelle’s tears with the pads of her thumbs, not letting up until the skin underneath her eyes is dry. She doesn’t fail to notice how Villanelle instinctively leans into the soft touch, of how her eyes flutter shut, and it looks like she is about to cry all over again. It makes Eve wonder if Villanelle ever had someone there to hold her, to brush her tears from her face, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that she hasn’t.
It threatens to break Eve’s heart in two as she cups Villanelle’s face in her hands, and meets her gaze.
“I changed my mind,” she says, voice unwavering in her conviction. “I want you, Villanelle, I do. Ever since you tore me off that railing, I’ve wanted every part of you, and-” she takes a shaky breath.
“I don’t love Niko.”
She steps closer into Villanelle’s space, and her skin is on fire .
“I love you .”
It’s the most honest thing she’s ever said.
And it feels good to finally call her feelings what they are.
Villanelle’s eyes widen, her breath hitches. Two hands come up to rest on Eve’s wrists, and it’s the strongest, yet most gentle touch Eve’s felt in her life.
“Do you really mean that?” she asks tentatively, a small sparkle of hope starting to grow in her eyes.
She’s so soft and fragile like this, and Eve suddenly has the urge to skin the person who made her distrust those three words in the first place.
“I have never been more sure of anything in my life, sweetheart,” Eve whispers.
It’s the truth. This feels right. It feels right to be in Villanelle’s arms, to breathe in everything that is so unequivocally her , and to only say that she loves her… it doesn’t even scratch the surface of everything that she would do for the woman standing in front of her.
Villanelle’s eyes soften, her lips part, and for what seems to be the billionth time, Eve thinks that Villanelle is going to kiss her.
Of course, she doesn’t.
Instead, she takes Eve’s hands and leads her towards the bow of the ship, a wide expanse of ocean in front of them.
“I want to show you something,” Villanelle tells her, stepping behind her to rest her hands on Eve’s hips. Her fingers are pressed deliciously into their slight divots, and it sends a bolt of heat straight to Eve’s core. It’s both hot and sweet, and Eve can’t get enough. She’s addicted, wholly and completely, and if Villanelle is a drug, Eve will never stop succumbing to her.
“Here, step up,” Villanelle instructs, and soon enough Eve is stranding on the bottom rung of the railing, Villanelle pressed tightly against her back with a protective arm around her waist, as the world literally opens .
And it is beautiful .
The sky is a mix of a thousand, a million colors that Eve can’t even begin to name, the sunset’s natural beauty somehow amplified by the absence of a railing at her chest. She can see so much more from here, and Villanelle’s soft breath at the base of her neck makes it all the more astounding.
Villanelle takes her wrists, extends her arms, and suddenly Eve is soaring.
“I-I’m flying!” she shouts gleefully, her eyes widening as the wind hits her chest in full force, her head lolling back to rest against the side of Villanelle’s. This is what freedom feels like. To finally be able to see her future, the sheer goodness of life, to experience such pure feelings of elation and happiness.
Villanelle presses the smallest of kisses to Eve’s temple, and it's so beautifully delicate that Eve could cry.
But, there’s a question in the kiss as well.
It’s a request for permission, a promise of safety, of security, of love. It’s a soft sort of wondering, and Eve thinks that perhaps now, she will finally do what she has wanted to do for far too long.
Eve reaches behind her to gently clasp the back of Villanelle’s neck, her eyes falling shut as she feels Villanelle’s lips brush against the shell of her ear.
Her heart pounds in her ears, and it’s like she’s on the stern of the ship again, about to jump off the edge into oblivion.
But instead of dark, churning water, it’s Villanelle.
It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
So she threads her hand into blonde hair, presses her lips into Villanelle’s, and jumps .
Villanelle’s lips are just as soft as she thought they’d be, pliant and warm as they work their way across Eve’s. There is no irritating stubble, only smooth skin and heat. Eve wants more, needs to feel more, so she lets her hand glide from Villanelle’s neck to rest softly against her cheek. It’s warm like the rest of her, and Eve can feel her strong jaw beneath her fingers, working tirelessly against her mouth. She lets out a small moan as Villanelle traces her tongue across her bottom lip, eagerly granting her access. Where her lips are soft, her tongue is sinful, licking unabashedly into her as Eve takes Villanelle’s bottom lip in between her teeth, relishing the moan that tears itself from Villanelle’s throat.
All she wants is more .
She steps down from the railing and spins around, both hands reaching inside Villanelle’s coat to grasp at the warm, toned body underneath. Villanelle pushes forward, slotting her leg in between Eve’s, and suddenly Eve’s leg is wrapped around Villanelle’s hip, her hand gripping Eve’s thigh, and Eve feels herself grind down on the strong leg underneath her.
It’s all too much yet not enough, and Eve just knows that she’s completely soaked through her underwear, a distinct wetness coating the insides of her thighs, but as Villanelle’s mouth moves down to suck at her pulse point, she doesn’t give a damn . It’s heat, friction, and something only two steps away from sex, and Eve realizes that she really, really , wants Villanelle to fuck her. She grinds harder onto Villanelle’s thigh, rough gasps tearing their way from her lips as Villanelle sinks her teeth into Eve’s jugular, and it’s so fucking filthy Eve almost comes then and there.
Eve, unfortunately, realizes that as much as she’d like to, a piece of her brain is still somewhat functional, and they are still on the bow of the ship. The fact that no one has seen them yet is nothing less than a miracle. She pushes gently at Villanelle’s shoulders, Villanelle detaching herself from her neck with an adorably dazed look on her face.
“Eve? Did I go too far-?”
“No, no, oh my god, um. It’s just that maybe not - you, know - here?” she stutters, the distinct heat of Villanelle pressed against her making it hard to form coherent sentences.
“We could go to my quarters, if you’d like?”
Villanelle’s eyes darken.
“I’d like that, yes.”
This was an unexpected turn of events.
Villanelle paces around the lavish quarters, running her finger along the beautifully stained mantle, and genuinely wonders how and when she got so lucky. First, she wins the poker game of a lifetime. Then, she bumps into the most gorgeous woman on the face of the earth. And now, said woman has said that she loves her and is giving Villanelle the most blatant bedroom eyes she’s ever seen.
But, what if Eve changes her mind?
What if she’s not as good as Eve thinks she is?
“Villanelle? Can you do something for me?”
She turns, and almost dies there, all thoughts of what if disapearing from the apex of her mind.
Eve is wearing a black, sheer, robe, her hair loose and voluminous around her shoulders. She’s stalking towards Villanelle, bare-footed and predatory, as her dark eyes pierce into hers. She’s a lioness, the queen of the jungle, and Villanelle is the unsuspecting antelope that she wants to sink her claws into.
Villanelle’s eyes drop to the lavish blue-heart necklace around Eve’s neck, noting a reddish-purple mark she had sucked into Eve's skin on the bow of the ship.
It makes her ache, knowing that Eve wears it proudly.
“Do you sleep with your jewels often, princess?”
“Not usually, I personally don’t find much use for them. This, however, is a special occasion,” she says, peeling the front of her robe open slightly to show the necklace sitting between her breasts.
“This is Le Cœur de la Mer- ”
“The Heart of the Ocean,” Villanelle translates easily.
French really is a beautiful language.
Eve rolls her eyes, smiling nonetheless.
“Yes, it’s an engagement present from Niko. He’s never seen me wear it.”
“Are you trying to make me think about the mustache?”
“No, I want you to think about this.”
Eve drops the robe.
Villanelle, for the first time in her life, is speechless.
Eve’s body is one that could’ve been carved from marble, a figure that could’ve stood tall and proud in an Athenian temple. She’s soft hips and perfect breasts that Villanelle just knows will fit perfectly in her hands. Her legs are smooth, would look perfect thrown across Villanelle's shoulders in ecstasy, and her olive skin is more than kissable - it’s beautiful - and Villanelle wants to touch .
So she tries, stepping forward with an outstretched hand.
Which Eve catches, her finger wrapping around Villanelle’s wrist.
“Ah, ah,” Eve says, a devilish smile adorning her face.
This woman is going to kill her.
Villanelle knows that Eve is getting off on this, this newfound power trip she’s on. Eve knows how Villanelle feels about her, knows that if asked, Villanelle would take Eve right here and now. But now that she has the smallest taste of control, she’s going to torture Villanelle until she begs.
Villanelle is not a begger.
And she is going to win .
“What do you want, Eve?” Villanelle whispers, stepping into Eve’s space. She’s towering over her now, but her arms are kept at her side. Because if Eve doesn’t want Villanelle to touch her, she won’t.
They’re sharing each others air, their noses brushing against one another as Eve’s hot breath barely kisses her lips. Her pupils are blown, eyes hooded and dark, her chest heaving with soft, heavy gasps that make Villanelle want to steal them from Eve’s mouth. She’s perfect like this, wild and untamed, vibrating with sex, power, and confidence.
“I want you to draw me like one of your french girls,” Eve breathes, “I want you to make me beautiful.”
She’s so stupid sometimes, Villanelle thinks.
“Eve…” she begins, breaking both her and Eve’s no-touching rule as she cups Eve’s face into her palm.
“You have always been beautiful. But I will draw you, just to show you what you cannot see,” she whispers.
It’s true, that Eve is the most elegant and wonderous thing Villanelle has ever set her eyes on. That Villanelle seeks solace in the places that Eve either despises or can’t even recognize in herself. Eve’s eyes begin to get a watery sort of look to them, and she realizes the moment has turned from hot, to tender and sweet.
Villanelle doesn’t mind it one bit.
In the past it was never like this. Never soft, never delicate. Always rough and physical, without ever learning her partner’s name.
But now, with Eve?
She wants both. She wants hard and soft. Physical and emotional. Eve is able to bring both out in her so effortlessly that Villanelle should give her a medal, as she wipes the tears out from her eyes. The older woman gives her a smile, and presses a peck to the corner of Villanelle’s mouth.
“You’re not as tough as you let on, Astankova,” Eve teases, her hips swaying as she approaches a soft-looking couch, sitting down and lounging comfortably across its length. It’s then that Villanelle looks at her prize between Eve’s legs.
Eve is wet .
She’s glistening in the soft lights of her quarters, her hips slowly shifting up and down as she pierces Villanelle’s gaze with her own. Villanelle can almost taste her, wants to run her tongue up the length of her, and make Eve shout her name into the silence of the ship.
But if Eve wants her to tease, then she will.
She slowly makes her way to the leather armchair across from the couch, purposefully elongating her movements, never breaking eye contact. Villanelle sits, her palms gripping the arms of the chair exactly how she’d grip Eve’s hips, and spreads her legs.
Villanelle knows that she exudes a certain amount of masculine energy, and that ultimately it makes her very attractive to her partners. But nothing compares to the way Eve’s lips part, and how her eyes widen at the sight. Villanelle’s trousers stretch tight across her legs, her knees parted as she reaches for her paper and pencils. She removes her penknife, and begins sharpening one with careful, precise strokes. Villanelle notices how Eve’s breath hitches, how her thighs press together as she expertly handles the knife in her palm.
Eve Park is full of surprises, Villanelle has realized.
Villanelle likes that Eve has this dark part of her that only she can see, can bring out of her. It’s dark, it’s beautiful, and Villanelle wants to see all of it.
Because Villanelle has a darkness too.
Villanelle lounges back, and places the penknife on the table next to her. She drifts her eyes over Eve’s body, once, twice over, and ultimately rises and makes her way to the couch.
“What are-” Eve starts.
“I’m posing you, Eve,” Villanelle sighs, resisting the urge to bite her bottom lip. She is a professional, she’s done this before and she can do it again.
Except this time, it’s Eve .
Villanelle drifts her hand up the inside of Eve’s thigh, gently pushing it up and out. The olive skin of her thigh is perfect and smooth, and Villanelle wants to press her lips to the small beauty marks that adorn them. Eve gaps, hips twitching upwards in an attempt to feel more of her fingertips. Villanelle almost smirks in satisfaction, but relents. Eve wants this, this power struggle between them, and she is all to happy to oblige her.
She then takes Eve’s wrists gently into her hands, and places them above her head. Eve is stretched completely along the length of the couch, nothing hidden from display. This is how Villanelle wants to capture her, primal yet elegant, into the pages of her folder.
Eve is a natural model, still and unmoving as Villanelle takes her time in committing her form to memory. It’s easier for her to draw like this, if she takes her time in memorizing the curves of a woman, and how she imagines they will translate onto paper.
She already knows that Eve will be nothing less than a masterpiece .
Villanelle picks up her folder and props it on her knee. She twirls the pencil around her fingers, making sure to never relent from Eve’s gaze. She wonders if Eve will be able to sit still for the duration of the time, if she’ll be able to keep still as Villanelle drags her eyes over her body. But moreover, she wonders if she will be able to keep up with this dangerous game they have decided to play.
Because she would be lying if she said that it wasn’t taking all of her effort not to go to that couch, and take Eve Park for all she’s worth. She wants to feel just how wet Eve will be under her fingertips, to know what it will be like to slide into her fully, and how sinfully good it will be to hear her name on Eve’s lips. Just thinking about it makes Villanelle’s cunt throb, and flood with wetness.
She wants to be Eve’s lover so badly .
But, for now, being her artist will do.
“Are you ready, Miss Park?”
“Shut up and draw me, Miss Astankova.”
Chapter 6: The Cab
okay so ive never written smut before YIKES i know, so if its sub par i apologize in advance. but hey, unlike the ke writers, im gonna let my girls bang because thats what they deserve. as always please leave comments and feedback, they give me so much joy and i love to read them ❤️
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Villanelle is shading the contours of Eve’s hips when Eve asks her.
“Have you been in love before?”
She stops, eyes fixed on the strokes of graphite.
Villanelle knows that she would have to tell Eve about Anna at some point. She is too smart and curious for anything in Villanelle’s past to have gone untouched. It’s not that Villanelle doesn’t want to tell her - she does - but there is a certain feeling of anxiety that comes with talking about Anna. And, ultimately, the person that Villanelle was before she met Eve.
But Eve deserves to know. She deserves to know every part of her, considering she’s come back, even the bits of her that are ugly.
“I used to think so,” Villanelle begins, eyes trained on the faint lines she’s begun to trace along pencil-Eve’s parted legs.
“There was a woman, my teacher. She was kind to me, she made me feel special.”
Eve nods slightly, saying nothing, and her face impassive.
Villanelle takes a shaky breath.
“I know now that it wasn’t right, doing what we did. She was married, she had a husband and a house, normal things. I wanted to be like that, and I thought that maybe I could have it with her.”
Eve’s lack of reaction to the logistics of her affair are both comforting yet concerning, so Villanelle pushes on, knowing that whatever her reaction turns out to be, it is better to be honest than deceitful.
“Her husband found out. It was very bad. He-, well, found us together , one afternoon.”
“He had come back from the office early, and when he found us he began shouting, throwing anything he could find.”
She stops sketching, places her pencil down. It's now or never.
“I did something bad, Eve.”
Eve’s eyes widen.
“Oh my god, did you kill him?” she whispers.
“No, of course not.”
There is a pause.
“I might’ve tried to, though.”
The other shoe has dropped.
She can’t look at Eve. She can’t. Not when there is even the slightest chance that Eve is going to look at her like she’s a monster, a psychopath. Not like how Anna did when she returned to the arms of her husband and called the Russian authorities on her without a second thought.
“Anna called the police, Eve. It’s why I left Russia, it’s why I can’t go back, it’s why I owe Konstantin. He let me hide out with him while I was crossing the border into Romania, he gave me food and shelter, and even he doesn’t know that I actually tried to-”
A thick feeling rises into her throat, cutting her off.
“I know I am not a good person, Eve. I know that I should not have done those things with her, I should not have done that to her husband, I should not have run-”
“How old were you?” Eve interrupts.
Her voice is steely calm, and Villanelle can’t help but feel the tiniest bit confused at the question.
“I don’t really see why-”
“ Villanelle .”
Honesty, she remembers.
“...I was sixteen.”
She hears Eve gasp softly. Jesus, she has disappointed her. Villanelle normally would not care, but Eve is special, she loves her, and to disappoint her would mean that Eve will not love her back anymore, and-
“You were only a child.”
Villanelle’s brain stops. She looks from her sketch to finally meet Eve’s eyes, and to her heart’s amazement, there is nothing angry there. Eve’s face is soft, her eyebrows lifted ever so slightly in what looks like concern , her lips parted and oh, so kissable.
“I knew what I was doing, Eve,” she confesses softly. Villanelle is not a victim, and she will not pretend to be one.
“So did she,” Eve fires back easily.
“You were a child, and she knew that. Villanelle, she was your teacher, for God’s sake. She was supposed to be there to protect you, not use you. Any normal person wouldn’t carry on an affair with their student,” she continues.
“As for the husband, well. You have suffered more than enough, and have paid your price.”
Eve pauses, worries her bottom lip between her teeth.
“Do you still love her?” she asks softly.
Villanelle scoffs slightly under her breath.
“No. I don’t. In fact, I doubt that anything we had was love in the first place. She still went back to her husband, she was the one who put the call in to the Militsiya. She said I was a monster, that she didn’t want my black heart, that I had seduced her.”
A tear escapes the corner of her eye, and lands on her hand.
She hates it.
Villanelle hears a rustling, soft footsteps, and then feels two arms pulling her in.
Eve smells like coffee and coconuts, and is oh, so warm it almost hurts, as Villanelle releases a breath she didn’t even know she had been holding into the juncture between Eve’s collarbone and neck. Soft lips press against her forehead, and Villanelle knows she doesn’t deserve this, she’s done too much, and Eve should be anywhere but here.
“I think we all have monsters inside of us,” Eve tells her softly, “Some people are just better at hiding them than others.”
Villanelle laughs wetly.
“I think my monster encourages your monster.”
“I think I wanted it to,” Eve replies, and Villanelle feels her smile against her hair.
Eve pulls away gently, and looks deep into Villanelle’s eyes.
“Promise you won’t do that with me? No matter what happens?”
Villanelle could never.
Eve’s head shoots up.
In all honesty, Villanelle’s story about her teacher had shaken Eve to her core. It was jarring to know that she had been used at such a young age, by her teacher no less, and it only served to reinforce what Eve already suspected about her past.
Did Eve condone what Villanelle had done in regards to the husband? Of course not. But Eve is also smart enough to know that Villanelle is not the same angry, scorned teenager of her youth.
She could tell by the way Villanelle had refused to meet her gaze that she was ashamed, terrified even, that she actually cared about what Eve thought of her. If anything, that meant more than the darker parts of Villanelle’s past.
And, if she was being honest, she knew it should bother her more.
But it just didn’t .
Eve’s standards are strange, to be sure.
Villanelle nods, a small smile gracing her face.
“Do you want to see?” she asks tentatively.
“Is that even a question?” Eve grins, quickly sitting up off the couch and padding over to where Villanelle sits, unabashedly placing herself in the Russian’s lap. Villanelle grabs her legs, swinging them over the side of the armchair so Eve can face her properly, as Eve wraps her arms around robust shoulders.
She smoothes her hands under the open collar of Villanelle’s shirt, enjoying the distinct feeling of goosebumps rising under her fingertips. Villanelle grasps her thigh, playfully biting at the corner of her jaw, grinning as Eve laughs.
“Alright tiger, show me your piece,” Eve chuckles.
Villanelle leans backwards, reaching to grasp the paper in her careful hand. She shifts forward, drawing held safely by its corner so Eve can finally see.
It’s beautiful .
Villanelle has perfectly captured her features, every single one of her curls painstakingly accounted for, and her form cemented in graphite. She looks at herself, and wonders if that is really what she looks like, if in real life she actually looks that confident, that poised. Eve is open-mouthed, shocked, and reverently traces the lines of her own face.
Villanelle nuzzles into the crook of her neck, asking softly,
“Did I do a good job, Miss?”
Eve sets the paper on the table, and turns to face her.
“A good job ? Villanelle, it’s amazing , do I really look like that?”
Villanelle gives her a puzzled look.
“Of course you do, Eve. What do you think I am, a surrealist? I draw from what I see,” she says, brushing a curl behind Eve’s ear. “And I see you .”
The thing is, she does. Villanelle sees Eve in the ways that no one had bothered to, sees the parts of her that Eve tries to keep hidden. She is never judgemental, always understanding, and matches her like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
With that thought, she presses the gentlest of kisses to Villanelle’s lips. Villanelle hums happily into it, her hands drifting upwards to bury themselves in Eve’s hair. Eve’s still naked, exposed, but never before has she felt so safe.
“I think you deserve a reward, Miss Astankova,” she says into Villanelle’s mouth, feeling strong fingers grip the slightest bit harder into her hair. Eve presses open-mouthed kisses down Villanelle’s cheek, the angle of her jaw, and is just about to lay one over her pulse point when a harsh, rattling knock at the door sends her flying off Villanelle’s lap.
Villanelle shoots up from the armchair without a single word, snatching a loose dress from her closet and helping her into it. It’s a plain blue thing, thankfully without a corset, and Villanelle’s quick fingers lace up the back of it without stumbling once, calm in spite of the situation.
“Who is that?” she whispers into Eve’s ear, tying the back of the dress as there is another deafening knock.
“I think it’s Niko’s valet, Frank,” Eve whispers back, gratefully accepting Villanelle’s thick overcoat over her dress. The doorknob rattles urgently, and Eve feels her heart sail into her throat. Frank is the worst , and she already knows he will kick down the door if they wait much longer.
Eve guides Villanelle to the back entrance, hoping silently that they can slip past Frank without him noticing. They tiptoe down the corridor, Villanelle in front of Eve, when Eve’s foot lands on a creaky piece of wood.
Frank turns his big, stupid head, and sees them.
“Run!” Eve yells, and within the span of a second she and Villanelle are racing down the hall, with Frank pursuing angrily behind them. Eve’s feet are still bare, but it actually works to her advantage, not having some ostentatious heels slowing her down. Villanelle reaches behind her to grasp Eve’s hand in hers, and suddenly turns a corner that sends the hall spinning.
It’s quite ridiculous, actually, Eve thinks. Them sprinting from hall to hall away from Frank, who is currently huffing and puffing in a feeble attempt to match their pace. It makes Eve giggle stupidly, which in turn sets Villanelle off into a cascade of laughter as they skid into the main hall.
They’re clutching each other, quickly scrambling in such a childish way that it makes Eve giddy, as they run into the elevator and yell at the operator to take them down to E Deck. The cage door shuts exactly as Frank reaches them.
“Damn you!” he screams.
Eve gives him the finger as Villanelle cackles happily behind her.
They soon arrive on E Deck, panting and grinning like idiots as they exit the elevator. Their mirth is short lived as Eve spots Frank running down the stairs through the circular window of the door, and they take off once more, taking a sharp left and entering a random maintenance room.
Frank bangs on the door, muffled curses meeting their ears as Villanelle promptly locks the doorknob.
It’s loud where they are, uncomfortably so as the sounds of steam and clanking make their way to Eve’s ears.
“What now?!” she shouts to Villanelle, who is wincing and covering her ears.
“What?” Villanelle shouts back, smiling as her eyes drift to what looks a lot like a manhole in the floor.
“Absolutely not!” Eve protests, already knowing exactly what is running through Villanelle’s brain.
“Come on, Eve! I’ll even help you down!” she yells back, already opening the hatch and climbing down into the hole.
Frank rattles the doorknob, and Eve figures her options are limited.
She climbs down the ladder attached to the manhole, and ultimately finds herself in the boiler room of all places, filled with sweating, charcoal covered workers and a distinct fiery heat. The room glows orange with the flames from the boilers, and Eve thinks for a moment that perhaps this is what hell is like.
Villanelle easily catches her when she hops off the end of the ladder, and if it was hot on climbing into the room, it’s scorching on the ground. They run along the sides of the boilers, ignoring several calls for them to stop, that they can’t be down here, blah, blah, blah , Eve thinks.
It should be concerning how she does not give a single fuck anymore.
They run into the store hold, filled with endless piles of luggage, furniture, and even a whole automobile . Villanelle quickly snags a wooden chair and props it under the doorknob, locking it for good measure as Eve surveys the room.
She approaches the automobile, takes in its pristine shine before climbing into the backseat. It’s all soft leather and suede, the pinnacle of luxury, and Eve wants nothing more than to sink into its pillowed seats until she dies.
Villanelle quickly jumps into the front seat, honking happily on the horn.
“Where to, Miss?” she asks in a flawless cockney accent.
She really is full of surprises.
Eve grins, throwing her arms around Villanelle’s shoulders through the cab’s open window, her cheek pressing softly against the Russian’s.
“To the stars ,” she whispers in Villanelle’s ear.
Villanelle lets out a surprised squeak as Eve drags her back through the window, landing softly into the seat. She laughs, pushing her blonde locks back as she pulls Eve into her lap, her thighs straddling Villanelle’s hips.
Their laughter slowly subsides, replaced now with two dazed pairs of eyes, and hot, heavy breathing between them.
The intention is there.
Now, it’s up to one of them to make the move.
Eve is tired of waiting, if she’s being honest. For days now, she has been waiting for this god-forsaken woman to just take what she wants, and if Eve literally has to wave it in Villanelle’s face, she will .
So she presses down into Villanelle’s lap, and captures her soft moan with her lips.
Villanelle catches on very quickly.
Her hands are everywhere , running along her sides, gripping her hair- oh lord- squeezing her ass . Eve licks into Villanelle’s mouth, moaning as Villanelle softly bites her tongue in between her teeth. She runs her hands up Villanelle’s chest, briefly cupping her breasts into her hands as she finds warm skin exposed by the collar of her shirt.
Villanelle gasps into the kiss, her shoulders shuddering as Eve works haphazardly to unbutton her linen shirt. She soon catches on that Eve might need some help with her task, so she drops her hands from Eve’s hips and detaches the last of the buttons.
Eve smiles against Villanelle’s lips, pushing the offending article of clothing off her shoulders and throwing it to the floor of the cab. Villanelle’s shoulders and arms are something to behold, all lean muscle and tanned skin, as Eve takes her time running her palms along them. She grinds shamelessly into Villanelle’s torso as she feels Villanelle cup her cheek and plant hot, searing kisses along the length of her neck.
“Vill- baby, please ,” she whimpers, her hands burying themselves into golden hair.
She feels Villanelle smirk into her neck.
“I like that.”
“Like what ?”
“What you called me - baby? I like that,” Villanelle says, her hands moving behind Eve’s back to fiddle with the laces of her dress. Eve doesn’t respond, instead opting to arch into the strong palms currently unlacing her. Villanelle’s fingertips sear into her, tracing blazing trails down every inch of skin that’s exposed. She’s a wildfire, hot and dangerous, and Eve lets herself be consumed.
Villanelle pushes the dress off her shoulders, palms smoothing over Eve’s breasts, her clavicle. Eve gasps, feeling Villanelle’s fingers push the dress down her torso, letting it bunch together around her hips. The air around them is hot and steamy, most likely due to the boiler room behind the door, and Eve feels her skin perspirate.
Normally, she would have excused herself, found a fan or perhaps enlist Elena to put her hair into a style that would keep it off her neck. Now, all Eve can think about is the feeling of Villanelle’s tongue working across her breasts, taking a nipple into her mouth.
Eve moans, high and needy as Villanelle pinches it between her teeth, her hand moving up to take the other between her fingers. She rolls it, manipulates it until Eve is pushing her chest into Villanelle’s mouth and hand, a torrage of whimpers and pleas escaping her throat.
It’s not enough, it’s so fucking good , but not enough, and almost as if Villanelle could read her hazy-mind, she trails her hand down Eve’s stomach, before slowly turning her wrist and cupping her through her soaked underwear.
Villanelle groans into Eve’s skin, her eyebrows scrunching together as her mouth pauses in it’s assault on Eve’s breasts. Something must fizzle in her brain next, because Eve suddenly is being lifted by the thighs and placed horizontally on the seat, Villanelle bracing herself on the window ledge with her arm.
She’s hovering over Eve, her lips swollen and eyes dark, and the sight sends heat straight to Eve’s core. Eve leans up, reconnecting their lips as she wraps her arms around Villanelle’s back. A hand sneaks it’s way to her underwear, toying with the upper edge of it as if Villanelle were asking for permission.
“ Please ,” Eve whimpers.
Villanelle doesn’t waste anymore time.
The remnants of her dress and underwear are swiftly pulled off her legs, leaving Eve completely bare and exposed in the sweltering heat. Villanelle quickly covers her body with her own, swallowing Eve’s moan as she pushes two long fingers into Eve’s sopping cunt.
She feels so full, deliciously stretched as Villanelle sets a brutal pace, fingers pumping inside her and producing the most obscene, wet sounds that have ever reached Eve’s ears. She’s relentless, rolling her hips in time with Villanelle’s thrusts, her head thrown back in ecstasy.
Villanelle gasps desperately into Eve’s lips, her eyes squeezing shut as Eve marks a path down her back with her nails, moving back upwards to sink her nails into the warm muscle of her shoulders. Instead of wincing, or recoiling in pain, Villanelle works harder into her, her forearm flexing powerfully as Eve cries in pleasure.
Eve presses into Villanelle, pressure growing exponentially between her thighs. She groans when Villanelle curls her fingers, deep and slick inside her. She knows she’s close, painfully so, but it’s almost as if she needs something else to just push her over the edge.
Villanelle pants above her, a thin sheen of sweat coating her forehead and shoulders as she fucks into Eve. It’s hot, dirty in her movements, as Eve feels herself squeeze around Villanelle’s fingers. When she presses her thumb into Eve’s throbbing clit, rubbing tight circles into her, she shamelessly shouts her name into the fiery space between them.
Just when Eve thought she was getting used to the way that Villanelle fucks her, the moment finally comes when Villanelle takes the hand that was bracing herself on the window ledge, and wraps it around Eve’s neck.
The breath Eve had been taking in is suddenly cut off, but instead of panicking like any sane person , her eyes roll into the back of her head, and she pushes harder into Villanelle’s palm. The pressure from her hand is intense, powerful, and it’s the hottest fucking thing Eve has experienced in her 37 years of life, and Villanelle grins devilishly when she gasps a ragged ‘fuck , ’ and moves her hips harder into Villanelle’s fingers still buried inside her.
The edges of Eve’s vision are blurry, and she swears she’s starting to see small stars when Villanelle expertly releases Eve’s throat. The heat that she’s been holding floods her core, hot and blinding, and Eve is coming, and it’s everything as Villanelle fucks her through her orgasm.
She slows as Eve comes back to herself, her fingers still inside her as she presses tender kisses to her chest, her cheeks, her lips. Eve lazily opens her eyes, her breath coming in soft puffs as she finally looks at Villanelle properly. Villanelle slowly removes her fingers, and grins as Eve gasps at the sudden feeling of emptiness.
Her hair is disheveled from Eve’s hands, and she’s sweating properly now, the heat from the boilers fogging up the windows of the cab. Eve can see the beginnings of where she had scratched down Villanelle’s back on her shoulders, and leans up to press her lips over it, soothing its bite.
She feels Villanelle exhale softly, her forehead resting on Eve’s shoulder as her hands trace patterns over her sides.
Eve sighs, her eyes beginning to fall shut as she slowly comes to the realization she’s barely touched her lover. The hot feeling between her legs reignites, and with that in the back of her mind, she trails her lips over Villanelle’s shoulders, the column of her throat, until she’s planting hot, open mouthed kisses to her neck.
Villanelle’s breath hitches, stutters into a soft whimper as the hands at Eve’s sides tighten and flex. She’s tense, all coiled muscle and stiff limbs, and all Eve wants to do is to make her let go.
“Let me take care of you, sweetheart,” she whispers, her lips millimeters from Villanelle’s ear, before she slowly takes her earlobe between her teeth. Villanelle hisses, her head lolling back slightly as she presses deeper into Eve’s hips.
“Please, Eve,” Villanelle whispers.
“Are you going to be good for me?” Eve purrs.
There’s a certain kind of power in this, a satisfaction that’s intoxicating.
“ Yes .”
Eve is slightly out of her element, however. She’s never been with a woman, and there is an underlying nervousness to the affair that is threatening to shatter her carefully crafted aura of dominance.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” she tells Villanelle, moving back to look her in the eyes.
“Eve,” Villanelle breathes. “I am close already, you could kiss me now, and I might-”
Eve cuts her off with a hand shoving into Villanelle’s trousers.
Villanelle wasn’t lying.
There might as well be an ocean between Villanelle’s legs, as Eve drags her fingers over soaked cotton. Any trace of nervousness vanishes from Eve’s brain, as she pushes Villanelle’s underwear to the side, only slightly dipping into her, teasing her entrance as Villanelle whimpers and pulls at Eve’s hair.
“All this for me?” Eve murmurs, pushing Villanelle backwards so they are in a reversal of their positions, Eve hovering over Villanelle. She removes her trousers along with her underwear quickly, the fabric joining the rapidly growing pile of clothes on the floor of the cab.
In another life, Eve might’ve taken her time. Teased, played with Villanelle like a cat might play with a ball of yarn. But right now, after the hellscape that has been her life for years now, Eve decides to just indulge for one.
She presses her mouth to Villanelle’s core, and devours .
Her hands fly to Eve’s hair, quickly tangling in her curls as a guttural moan escapes her mouth. She pants, arching into Eve’s mouth whose chin is already covered with slick wetness. Villanelle tastes like a summer’s night - sweet and bold - and Eve is drunk off her. She moves her tongue through drenched folds, drags it flat along Villanelle’s clit, and smiles into her when Villanelle gasps.
“Eve, please more- fuck ,” Villanelle moans as Eve presses her fingers into her.
Her walls instantly clench tight around Eve’s fingers, her cunt coating them easily. Villanelle is relentless, her back constricting like a bow, her free hand flying upwards to slam against the window of the cab, leaving a streaky handprint in its wake.
Eve pumps into her, her wrist cramping slightly, but she’ll be damned if she stops now. Villanelle’s breasts bounce with every thrust of her arm, the sight almost entrancing as Eve curls and works her fingers. She’s loud, too. She moans, groans, even yells in pleasure when Eve’s thumb brushes her sensitive clit. It’s music to Eve’s ears, and all she wants is to pull even more sounds from Villanelle’s filthy mouth.
So Eve presses forward, and wraps her lips around Villanelle’s clit, and sucks.
It’s all it takes.
Villanelle’s hips stutter, her mouth freezing in a perfect ‘o’ as her eyes squeeze shut. Her hands are painfully buried in Eve’s hair, her thighs bracketing Eve’s head before she collapses in a sex-hazed heap.
Her breathing is hard, labored, and where her face was constricted before, it is soft now. She looks young, at ease, and it makes Eve wonder if she has ever really known true peace before. Villanelle’s eyes flutter open, and Eve smiles before leaning down to plant a soft kiss to her lips.
“Eve?” she asks softly.
“Can you hold me for a while?”
It’s such a hopeful, tentative question that it threatens to break Eve’s heart in two.
She says nothing, only nods as they rearrange themselves in the close space, Eve lying on the seat, with Villanelle cuddled close, her head resting gently on her chest. Eve cards her fingers through Villanelle’s hair, smiling softly when the Russian nuzzles into her collarbone.
It’s then that Eve decides to tell her.
oops its a ✨cliffhanger✨
Chapter 7: Charity
i cannot thank everyone enough for the incredibly kind comments on last chapter! you all were so sweet, and it honestly meant the world. not only was this my first time writing smut, but this is my first fic in general, and the amount of love ive received from it has truly motivated me to keep writing and producing great work for you all. so to everyone who's given this fic a chance, thank you. from the bottom of my heart, thank you. please continue to leave your comments and feedback as always, and im sorry, but get ready for the angst :(
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“I need to tell you something.”
Villanelle could feel Eve thinking before she said a word, and could literally hear her mind buzzing before any sound left her pretty mouth.
She was pleasantly warm, her lower half aching slightly from their frankly mind blowing sex (Villanelle knew it would be good, she had thought so many times) and her head nestled comfortably into Eve’s chest.
In the aftermath it was odd, feeling the juvenile urge to be held, cuddled , but Eve had done it anyway, wrapped her up without a single piece of judgement.
Which is why Eve’s nervous tone in her voice is making her nervous.
Villanelle hates being nervous.
“Hmm?” she hums, hoping that a nonverbal answer will give off a comforting aura of nonchalance. For her or for Eve, Villanelle isn’t sure.
Eve shifts slightly, and Villanelle takes the hint that she wants her to look her in the eyes. So she does, grudgingly, her heart thumping faster. If Eve breaks it again, god, Villanelle already knows that she will single handedly pitch herself off this boat. Eve worries her bottom lip, a trait Villanelle has already identified as a nervous habit Eve picks up when she’s feeling unsure.
“It’s about… you know, when this all ends,” Eve says quietly, her eyes flitting downwards.
Off the boat it is then.
It was truly bold of her, to assume she finally had a good thing. People like Villanelle don’t deserve them - to get anything permanent - and it’s just like the universe to curse Villanelle with an open heart stuck on an unavailable woman.
The thought burns in her mind as Villanelle steels her face, and forces the lump down into her throat until it hits her stomach. She won’t cry. She’s tired of crying, it hurts and it makes her nose run. Her eyes get puffy, and she is not as beautiful as she normally is, which is even worse.
No. What’s worse is that Eve makes her cry, and Villanelle doesn’t even care.
Eve takes in a breath, tucks a loose curl behind her ear, and looks Villanelle right in the eyes.
“When we dock in New York, I want to get off with you.”
She says it with such conviction, such steel in her voice that Villanelle almost forgets to process what Eve is actually saying.
Eve wants to what ?
Time must stop a little too long for Villanelle, because soon Eve is shaking her head, apologizing profusely, rambling about how she’s so sorry, that she must’ve assumed too much, that she didn’t mean-
She doesn’t get to finish, because Villanelle kisses her square on the mouth.
Eve wants to stay. She actually wants to stay with Villanelle, after the ship gets to their destination. Which means that there doesn’t have to be an ending to this crazy, horrid affair they’ve gotten themselves into. No one in the many years Villanelle has been alive has chosen her before. But Eve has, even if it might not be easy, but it means she at least wants to try. The lump in her throat dissipates, her lips pressed softly into Eve’s as Villanelle cradles her face in her hands.
“Are you sure? I cannot give you much, it will be hard,” Villanelle tells her between kisses, savoring the sweet smile on Eve’s lips as she does.
“I don’t care, I don’t care,” Eve murmurs into her lips, her arms wrapping around Villanelle’s shoulders, deepening the kiss and eliciting a happy hum from Villanelle’s throat.
“But you’re sure ?” she asks Eve, pulling away slightly to give Eve what she hopes is a serious sort of look. “We have only known each other a little while, and you are comfortable. I do not know what kind of work is waiting for me in New York, you’ll have to give up everything-”
“Villanelle,” Eve interrupts bluntly.
Eve sighs, exasperation seeping into the sound.
“If you remember, I am no stranger to living rough,” she says, Villanelle’s mind trailing back to everything Eve had told her on the deck mere days ago, of how she and her family had struggled before Niko had come along. It’s a jarring reminder, and it fills Villanelle with a heavy sort of feeling. She should have remembered that Eve has experienced more than she often lets on.
“If I come with you, I’m going to figure out a way to put a roof over our heads too,” Eve continues. “I’m not going to sit away at home while you play breadwinner.”
There’s a fierce sort of look in Eve’s eyes, and Villanelle can’t help but gaze in wonder. Niko was a fool to try and temper the fire that is Eve Park.
“If you’re worried about having another mouth to feed, I get it alright, but I’ll pull my own weight. The last thing I want to do is be burden-”
Villanelle places her index finger over Eve’s lips, her heart expanding at the pair of brown eyes blinking curiously at her.
“You’re not a burden to me. I don’t care what anyone has told you otherwise,” Villanelle tells her. “I want you to come with me, more than anything. I just wanted to make sure you know what you’re getting into.”
“I’m not a good person, Eve. I have made many mistakes, you know this. I will continue to make them, I will be difficult at times, and I most certainly will make you angry at some point.”
She pauses, takes in a breath.
“But I want to give this a try with you. Because you make me feel things, and you make me want to be better. You already mean more to me than the best the world has to offer. I want to give you everything, and what I can’t promise you in money, I can promise you in love and support.”
Eve grins - a gleaming bright thing - and presses a kiss to Villanelle’s lips, sweet and chaste.
“So you’re saying you want me?” Eve asks her softly, her fingers scratching gently against Villanelle’s scalp. It’s soft and soothing, similar to the way Eve makes her heart feel, and Villanelle unabashedly melts in her arms.
“More than anything.”
The bliss ends, eventually.
They reason that Frank will find them eventually, and that being caught naked, tangled with one another - in another person’s cab, no less - would not be ideal. So they grudgingly dress, easier said than done within the small space, and sneak their way through the decks until they reach open air.
The night is cold, wind cutting into them sharply, but the stars are bright and beautiful. They hang in patterns and constellations so bright, that they reflect perfectly off the surface of the water. Everything is so clear, so peaceful, that they almost forget that Frank is still looking for them.
They make their way to the railing on the portside, looking out into the horizon as the moon cooly shines down on them. Eve intertwines her fingers with Villanelle’s, resting them on the cool metal. The night looks good on her, Eve thinks. The wind causes tendrils of her blonde hair to escape her haphazard looking ponytail, bits of it framing her face prettily.
Her face is soft, dreamlike in the way that it conveys nothing, yet everything at once. She looks like she’s in love, and it makes Eve want to kiss it all off her stupid, beautiful face.
So she does, turning to face her lover and wrapping her arms snugly around Villanelle’s torso before pressing her lips to hers.
Eve feels Villanelle smile, her hands gently resting against Eve’s cheeks as the pads of her thumbs trace gentle patterns along the contours of her face. Despite the cold air, her lips are warm and soft, caressing against Eve’s in the sweetest of ways.
For a moment, Eve forgets where they are, pretends that they are in America with a small, but nice house. That they are at ease, carefree, with no Franks, Nikos or Konstantins to worry over. All that exists is them, and the world that they’ve built.
She pulls away for air, her eyes slowly opening to meet deep hazel. For a moment, the sight is almost distracting enough for her not to notice it, at first. But, like the stupid fool she is, Eve lets her eyes drift past Villanelle’s shoulder.
It’s an iceberg.
A looming, enormous iceberg.
Which the Titanic is heading full speed towards.
Villanelle’s eyebrows scrunch together confusedly, and it’s only after Eve taps her repeatedly on the shoulder and points that she turns and sees it too. Eve hears her gasp softly, the fingers still in hers tightening.
“ Madre de dios ,” Villanelle whispers.
The iceberg is dark, almost camouflaged in the horizon if one wasn’t paying enough attention, and it’s sheer size makes Eve want to vomit. She’s no shipbuilder, but Eve already knows that despite the Titanic’s unsinkable status, the iceberg will make quick work of her before she reaches New York.
“Villanelle, why aren’t we turning,” Eve whispers, panic slowly creeping into her throat. “ Fuck , Villanelle, we’re going to hit it- hey!” she whips around behind them to the lookout nest, ripping her hand from Villanelle’s as she sees the two officers dozing off despite the clear and existential threat right in front of them.
Eve marches below the nest, Villanelle hot on her heels, and hollers at them above her head.
“There is a fucking iceberg , you idiots!” she screeches, her head whipping back around to see the hunk of ice grow increasingly larger. “What the actual shit are you doing up there?!”
If the circumstances were different, Eve thinks Villanelle would be proud of her crassness.
She sees one of the officers’ heads pop up, a terrified yell escaping his mouth before he blows his whistle, yelling to the helmsman to turn starboard left, that there’s an iceberg in their path. Panicked yelling from both sides follows suit, as Eve feels the deck shudder and shift under her feet.
Officers are spotted running across the upper levels of the control deck, shouting frantic orders as they attempt to turn the large vessel away from what is certainly a watery grave. Eve hears the lookout men curse, one of them whipping around to scream curses at the helmsman.
Villanelle’s eyes are still trained on the iceberg, her mouth parted slightly as she braces herself on the ladder next to the lookout nest. The ship turns, but all too slowly as the iceberg becomes an icy mountain above their heads.
“We’re not going to miss it,” Villanelle whispers.
The nose of the ship slowly clears its cold, jagged edges, and Eve almost lets herself breathe.
The ship drifts to the left of the iceberg.
And then they hit it.
It’s like an earthquake, a rapturous shaking that has both Eve and Villanelle falling to the deck as an ear piercing screech of metal and ice stabs into their ears, dragging like a knife against skin.
The iceberg drags along the ship’s side, pieces of it falling heavily onto the deck as Villanelle pushes them both backwards as chunks of ice shatter in front of them. It feels like the end of the world, Armageddon incarnate as Eve scrambles away from the falling debris.
As soon as it begins, it’s over, a slight shudder replacing the earth-shaking thunder of before. Eve gasps heavily, her brain struggling to grasp everything that had happened in the past few seconds, her ears ringing painfully as her head throbs behind her eyes.
She turns onto her side, the deck cold and wet beneath her as she looks at Villanelle.
A shard of ice must have just nicked her cheekbone, scarlet red already blooming in the small cut. If it hurts, Villanelle doesn’t show it, her eyes still trained on the retreating form of the iceberg. Eve reaches out, brushes the blood away from the cut with delicate fingers as Villanelle fixes her gaze to Eve's.
“Eve,” she begins, her accent rough. “I think it pierced the hull.”
Purpose replaces panic in Eve’s mind.
If the iceberg pierced the hull like they believe, they only have so much time before the ship sinks entirely.
“We need to find Mr. Pargrave.”
The passengers of the Titanic are remarkably calm.
They still are having dinner in the parlor when Villanelle and Eve run through, asking anyone and everyone concerning Mr. Pargrave’s whereabouts. Most look at the two of them in disgust, their noses turning up at Villanelle’s clothes and Eve’s disheveled state before snootily commenting that they are in a first-class area, and ‘should return to the third-class cabins before an officer is called.’
It makes Eve want to scream, to shake them out of whatever daze they must be in because there is a very good chance that this ship is going to sink, and all of them are going with it. She whips her head to and fro, her hands gripping handfuls of her own hair as the room begins to spin.
“Eve. Eve stop, look at me!” Villanelle grabs her wrists and holds them firmly to her chest.
Her face is concerned, worry tracing lines into her smooth face.
“We will find him, okay? We are going to find your architect and figure out what to do, I promise.”
It’s frightening how Eve actually believes her.
Just as her heart is beginning to slow its pace, just when Eve is beginning to soothe the torrent of existential dread swirling in her brain, she hears a voice.
“There! There they are!”
Villanelle’s eyes widen comically large as she turns and sprints across the dining hall. Eve whips around to see her fiancé and fucking Frank in a dead sprint after them. She runs after Villanelle, her still bare feet smacking against the soft carpet until she trips over a gentleman’s shoe. She feels her chin painfully smack the ground as her eyes lift to see two pairs of shoes bolt past her after Villanelle.
Villanelle pushes past a classily dressed couple, her overcoat flying behind her as she vaults herself over a dinner cart. She is doing quite well, almost to the exit in fact, until she looks behind her and slams straight into the adjoining wall.
She falls flat on her back, unable to get up fast enough before Niko and Frank are hauling her up by her arms and stripping her coat off of her. Eve races to her feet, her blood boiling as she runs and snatches Niko’s arm away from Villanelle. He growls, his eyes flaming in fury as he bats her away and slams Villanelle face-first onto a table.
The patrons of the table gasp and scatter, their eyes wide as Niko takes a pair of handcuffs from Frank, and cuffs Villanelle’s hands behind her back. Her nose is bleeding profusely, rivers of red running down her lips and reaching her chin, staining the white of the tablecloth beneath her. Niko grabs a fistful of her hair and yanks her up, pushing her roughly into Frank.
“Niko, what the hell are you doing?!” Eve yells, pulling on his arm. It’s too brutal, even for him, especially to make such a scene in front of so many people. Villanelle says nothing, only wincing slightly as Frank painfully tightens the cuffs around her wrists.
Niko ignores Eve’s cries, turning to Frank.
“Put her down in D Deck Frank, I don’t want to see this scum on this ship again,” he mutters through gritted teeth, brushing off the lapels of his coat.
Villanelle, to Eve’s horror, doesn’t resist. She doesn’t try to get out of Frank’s grip, only looks Eve in the eyes and doesn’t dare break it. Her gaze is calm, a strange softness present that contrasts starkly to her bloody face. Eve sees her silently mouth ‘I love you,’ before the valet grips her by the shoulders and carts her from the room, out of sight.
Eve can only watch before she turns on her fiancé with sheer rage coursing through her veins. She shoves, punches Niko’s arms, his chest, anything she can get as she curses and screams.
They took Villanelle, and Eve will kill them for it.
“You-you, you piece of shit !” she hollers, before Niko catches a punch and swiftly yanks her to his front. His grip is tight, painful as she feels his fingers dig harshly into the skin of her hand.
He whips a piece of paper out of his suit jacket, and Eve feels herself go pale.
It’s the drawing.
“Do you know what I learned today, Eve?” he snarls, his voice low enough not to be heard by anyone else but them.
“I learned that Miss Astankova is a wanted criminal,” Niko whispers conspiratorially. “A bonafide fugitive in at least three countries, a thief no less and accused of attempted murder.”
He looms over her, his face so close that Eve has a full view of his slightly crooked teeth.
“A criminal, that has made a slut of my wife.”
Eve spits in his face.
Before she can even get a word out, she’s being carted by the shoulder out the doors of the dining hall into a secluded passage.
Niko shoves her away, and as Eve begins to face him, a hand collides solidly with her cheek, the impact jarring her neck to the side. Her face stings with it, and Eve can already feel a welt forming along the side of her cheekbone.
“I saved you from that sewer, and this is how you repay me?” he shouts, his palm shooting forward to snatch her jaw in his hand. “You would’ve died there, poor and hungry if it wasn’t for my charity . ”
“My mother pawned me off, Niko,” Eve spits. “I would rather die than accept your charity .”
Niko releases her jaw, looks her up and down in disgust. Spit still coats his ugly face, and pure hate radiates off of him.
“You will marry me, Eve. Even if I have to drag you to the altar myself.”
Villanelle didn’t think that this was the way she was going to go.
Granted, every possible outcome she had thought of was violent and sudden. For example, dying alone in a Venician alleyway. Getting beaten to death in a boxing ring. A bullet through the heart, et cetera, et cetera.
Never like this, handcuffed to a pipe in the lower levels of a ship that is slowly flooding with water. She scrambles on top of a desk, cursing under her breath as the water touches her ankle. It’s freezing, and Villanelle already knows that if she doesn’t drown, the sheer cold will kill her either way.
Either way, it seems that she’s in quite the pickle.
Villanelle lets herself smile at the phrase. Such an odd expression.
She could have resisted and fought back in the dining hall before all this had transpired, of course. There are many ways that she could have twisted her way out of the valet’s grip, perhaps even choked the life out of both him and Niko. But she didn’t, her mind drifting back to a small Russian kitchen when another man had tried to lay his hands on her. It hadn’t gone well, and Villanelle had lived with the consequences.
Besides, she promised Eve that she would be better. And as much as she hates Niko, she knows she can’t touch him.
Life has taught her that trying to kill someone's husband is not a good move, and this time she is going to listen.
Even though it’s a lesson that is probably going to kill her.
Villanelle decides to think about Eve, because in doing so she’ll die somewhat happy thinking about the Asian woman with amazing hair. She thinks about how if things were different, they would find somewhere in America and make a nice little life for themselves. Something normal, maybe even a fun job. Maybe they could even watch one of those new picture shows at a theater?
It’s a nice idea, and it makes her warm despite the deadly water rising up the desk.
God, she hopes Eve hasn’t done anything stupid.
Eve has done something incredibly stupid.
Slipping away from Niko hadn’t been hard in the masses of passengers currently struggling to get onto the lifeboats on the top deck. They were loading via class - women and children first - and as soon as Niko had turned from her to barter for a spot on the next boat, Eve had managed to disappear out of sight.
If there was something to be grateful for, considering the present circumstances, it was the long blush coat and flat shoes they had taken from her quarters before heading to the lifeboats, her cold toes voicing their appreciation as Eve made her way below deck. Pargrave could be anywhere, a needle in a haystack, and all Eve had to go on was a feeling that he would be in the lower levels.
Eve hopes that a feeling is enough.
She pushes past cleaning staff and officers, jogging down the white-painted halls until she hears a recognizable voice.
“Mr. Pargrave?” she hollers, her pace picking up as she makes a sharp left to sprint down another corridor.
Pargrave is directing the staff to the upper decks, a white life vest strapped securely to his chest as he pleads with a maid to flee. He turns at the sound of Eve’s voice, his face pale and clammy as his fearful eyes bore into hers.
“Eve? What in the bloody hell are you doing down here, you need to get to a boat-”
“Mr. Pargrave, there’s no time. My friend has been arrested and taken to D Deck and I need to find her before it’s too late.”
Pargrave huffs, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Eve, D Deck is most certainly flooded by now. I promise you, this ship will sink and there will be people stuck on it when it does.”
He pauses, tears filling his eyes. It’s the most guilt-ridden, wrenching look Eve has ever seen, and she knows that it is going to haunt her for the rest of her life.
“You remember what I told you about the lifeboats, correct?” he whispers.
Eve nods, her throat closing up.
“Half of us aren’t going to make it,” she says quietly.
It’s a statement, not a question. There aren’t enough lifeboats, even if they were filled to capacity, virtually condemning over a thousand men, women and children to an icy grave.
That isn’t going to stop her from getting to Villanelle, though.
“Mr. Pargrave, I am going to D Deck,” she states firmly, planting her feet to the ground and crossing her arms over her chest. “With, or without your help, although with it I’ll be much quicker.”
Pargrave seems to contemplate this, and must realize that Eve actually isn’t going anywhere, before he gently touches her arm.
“Fine, alright. You have to go all the way down using the lift, then take a right, then a left, and then another right. Then there should be the room that they hold potential deviants in. You have to be quick Eve, do you understand me? Otherwise both you and your friend are already dead.”
And with that, he gives her arm a gentle squeeze and makes off down the hall.
If Eve is going to save Villanelle, she needs to do it now.
She runs to the nearest lift in the opposite direction, and snaps her fingers in front of the terrified bell boy's face.
“Take me to D Deck, now .”
“B-but ma’am, the lifts are closed-”
“Do it!” she snaps, sliding the cage-like door closed behind her as she forces the bell boy inside. He nods quickly, pushing the brass lever forward as they slowly descend. Eve feels her heart begin to palpate, Pargrave’s words about the flooding sticking themselves permanently in her mind.
She shakes them from her conscience.
Eve is not leaving this vessel without Villanelle.
As if on cue, water begins to flood through the bottom of the elevator, the bell boy letting out an undignified screech as they finally reach D Deck. Eve hisses as the freezing waves reach her shins and soaks the bottom of her dress.
She steps out, ignoring the bell boy’s cries for her to stop before she hears him lift the elevator without her. It should frighten her that she is effectively trapped down here, but all Eve can think about is getting to a certain blonde Russian who needs her. The water is to her mid-thigh, cutting into her harshly until she can’t feel her legs any longer as she wades down the flooding hallway.
From here on out, Eve’s on her own.
im afraid that things are going to get worse before they get better kiddos.
Chapter 8: Their Forever
two chapters in two days? it's more likely than you think.
thank you for your comments and kudos, and enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Villanelle wonders if Eve will miss her, when she’s gone.
The water has risen exponentially fast, now lapping against the desk and soaking her shoes. Over the course of her musings, Villanelle has come to the conclusion that there really is no way out of this for her, that she is going to drown in the lower levels of the ship cold and alone.
Normally, she would have opted to react to this information with simple acceptance. Death is a part of life, of course, and Villanelle knows she is not immune to its cruel touch. But that was before, back when she didn’t have someone waiting for her, someone that actually gave a damn whether or not she made it home safely.
Now she has Eve.
Sweet, lovely Eve that she met only a few days ago, but is fully prepared to leave everything behind for her. It makes Villanelle want to scream, to bang her head against this pipe she’s still cuffed to because it’s not fair . It’s not fair that they didn’t have more time together, that Villanelle didn’t even have a chance to show Eve just how much she loved her. It’s not fair that she’s leaving Eve in the clutches of her horrid fiancé to live a life that can barely be considered worth living.
In that moment, Villanelle realizes that she really, really doesn’t want to die.
She pulls hard on the handcuffs, ignoring her wrists scream of pain as the metal digs into her skin. There isn’t much room inside the cuffs for her to shimmy her wrists out of them, so her options are limited.
Just as she’s weighing the possibility of dislocating her thumbs, she hears a splash.
For a moment, Villanelle thinks she’s finally lost it, the stress of impending death snapping her remaining sanity. But then she hears it again, louder, and she lets herself believe that there just might be someone out there who could help her.
Villanelle just needs to make herself known.
So she bangs the cuffs on the pipe, hollering and screaming for help as the water finally overtakes the desk and splashes against her ankles. Villanelle winces at the cold, her feet starting to go numb as the water seeps into her thin leather shoes.
She quiets for a moment, and waits for a response.
Someone is calling her name .
It’s not Konstantin, she knows that for sure. It’s not the deep timber she’s grown accustomed to, and she doubts that he would come all the way down here to search for her. Despite everything they’ve gone through, Konstantin will save his own skin before anyone else’s without a second thought.
It makes Villanelle wonder if he actually made it out, or if he’s trapped somewhere like her.
She hears the voice again, closer now, and Villanelle finally realizes.
Jesus, it’s Eve.
Stupid, brilliant Eve.
“Eve!” she yells, banging her cuffs again as she hears the splashes come nearer.
“Villanelle!” Eve says, her voice becoming louder by the second.
“Eve, I’m in here!”
Villanelle hopes that Eve knows where ‘here’ is.
As if Villanelle manifested it herself, Eve arrives within a matter of seconds.
The water is up to her breasts, and Villanelle can only imagine how cold she must be. The ends of her hair are wet, and she’s shivering profusely, but in Villanelle’s eyes she is an angel personified.
Eve gasps in relief and wades through the water, throwing her arms around Villanelle’s neck and pressing a deep kiss to her lips. It tastes of salt water and something metallic, which Villanelle realizes is the blood that is still coating her lips and chin. Eve doesn’t seem to care, swiping her tongue over Villanelle’s mouth before pulling away.
She pulls away, panting slightly for air as she wipes Villanelle’s face clean of the half-dried blood marring her face.
“Jesus, Villanelle I thought I’d lost you,” Eve breathes, resting her hands on Villanelle’s cheeks.
Villanelle presses her head into the warmth of her palms, breathing in slight relief as she takes a beat.
“Eve, how did you get down here?”
“I scared the piss out of a bell boy,” Eve replies easily. “God, it's amazing how efficient things are when you're a dick to people.”
“You should do it more often,” Villanelle grins, before her eyes drop to the rushing water below them. “Eve listen, there isn’t much time, you need to get to a boat-”
“Not without you,” Eve interrupts.
From the blazing look in Eve’s eyes, Villanelle decides that Eve isn’t going to be negotiated with.
It's quite unfair at how good she is at getting what she wants.
“Okay, okay. But I’m not going anywhere like this,” Villanelle gestures to the cuffs. “What’s the chance that you can find something to cut these off?”
Eve contemplates it, the metaphorical cogs whirring in her brain before her eyes widen.
“Yes, actually I do.”
With that she plants a quick peck on Villanelle’s lips and soon Villanelle is left alone again.
She hopes that whatever Eve has planned won’t end up permanently maiming her.
A thought that becomes much more plausible when Eve returns holding a giant axe.
“Will this work?” Eve questions, slightly out of breath.
Oh god, Villanelle thinks.
She would feel much better about it all if Eve didn’t look completely swamped from holding the large object, her hands balancing the axe awkwardly by the very bottom of the handle.
Unfortunately, it’s the only option they have considering the circumstances.
“That will do,” Villanelle says simply, pulling the cuffs tight around the pipe so that the chain is taught against it. Eve nods nervously, raising the axe above her head in a direction that looks much too close to Villanelle’s arm for comfort.
“Wait! Um, maybe practice first?” Villanelle interjects before Eve can swing the axe, nodding her head to the wooden cabinet on the other side of the room.
“Right, yes,” Eve replies, a certain anxious tone seeping its way into her voice. She wades over to the cabinet, and swings the axe hard to take a solid chunk out of its door.
“Okay! Yes, good Eve. Now try to hit the same spot again,” Villanelle encourages.
Eve bites her lip, tightens her grip, and swings again.
The second hole is at least six inches from the first.
Eve turns, blinking owlishly at Villanelle. It would be very cute if it wasn’t for the water that is making its way up Villanelle’s calves.
“Perhaps that’s enough practice,” Villanelle smiles nervously, readjusting the cuffs against the pipe. If she loses her hands, Eve is just going to have to make do with her mouth next time they have sex.
“Villanelle, what if-” Eve starts.
“Darling, I appreciate your concern, but right now this water is very cold and I would very much like to get off this boat, yes?”
Eve looks at her incredulously, her mouth slightly agape as if she can’t quite comprehend why Villanelle is still going through with this very half-baked plan of theirs.
Villanelle shifts closer, and tries to convey it with every ounce of her being.
“Eve, I trust you. I promise,” she whispers, before repositioning her cuffs on the pipe. “Pretend it’s a log!”
Eve mutters something under her breath that sounds a lot like 'fuck', before extending the axe over her head.
“Choke up a bit on the handle, please?” Villanelle asks sweetly.
Eve huffs a deep breath, moves her hands farther up the handle, and closes her fucking eyes before swinging down in a sharp arc.
Villanelle sees her life flash in front of her before the chain of the cuffs bursts apart, freeing her from the pipe. They still are attached to her wrists, but she’s free and intact, a small manic laugh bubbling from her mouth.
"You closed your eyes!" she shouts.
"I didn't mean to!"
"Next time keep them open, yes?" Villanelle grins.
Eve laughs loudly, hugging her as Villanelle makes her way off the desk.
“Shit!” she curses, water soaking her lower half. It’s freezing to the point of being physically painful, knife-like and blinding as they wade their way into the hallway. The lights flicker weakly before shutting off completely, leaving her and Eve in relative darkness. A supporting wall collapses behind them with a sickening crunch, and a mass flood of water rushes behind them. Pure panic sits itself within Villanelle’s chest, and soon she and Eve are quickly splashing to the exit at the end of the hall.
It’s not fast enough, the water slowing their movements as it quickly rises over their shoulders, lifting them both off of the ground. Villanelle feels the cold rip the very breath from her lungs, her body stuttering and freezing up as the waves cut through her.
She shakes herself from the icy shock of it all when the raging ocean overtakes Eve, her head briefly going under before bobbing up again as Villanelle yanks her unceremoniously upwards by the waist. Eve gasps, chokes on the salty water before Villanelle scoops her into her arms, feeling Eve scramble to wrap her legs around Villanelle’s hips and her arms around her neck. In this instance, the water is helpful, both of them buoyant as Villanelle reaches up and grabs the pipes that run along the ceiling of the hallway, reaching out and pulling them through fast-moving waves.
“Vill, it’s getting higher,” Eve gasps, her smaller form shivering against Villanelle. The water licks at their necks, the base of their ears, and Villanelle realizes that there is suddenly not much air to breathe. She moves quicker, tilting her head back as she pulls along the pipes until they reach the half-flooded stairwell. Eve detaches herself from Villanelle’s front, briefly moving underwater to reach open air.
Villanelle follows suit, her muscles spasming as her head is dunked under the water, gasping as she emerges and follows Eve up the stairs, water dripping heavily from their soaked clothes. They pause briefly once they reach C Deck, taking in deep gulps of air as Villanelle opens her eyes to see Eve cough slightly, her frame bent over as she braces herself on a wall.
“You saved me,” Villanelle whispers.
Eve grimaces, turns to her as she brushes her wet curtain of hair from her face.
“Until we’re off this ship, I wouldn’t count on it.”
When they reach the uppermost deck, it’s in chaos.
Officers are scrambling to cut the lifeboats loose from the ropes, the passengers within them screaming as the boat shifts perilously from side to side as each rope is cut. Those who remain on the deck are running frantically to and fro, desperately searching for vacant lifeboats that could save them from the cold waters below.
The Titanic, once perfectly parallel with the horizon now has begun to tilt downwards at the front, beginning what is surely its inevitable descent to the bottom of the ocean. Eve pushes her way to the back where the lifeboats are still being loaded, her hand clasped firmly in Villanelle’s as they traverse their way through the terrified crowd.
They’ve almost made it when Eve feels Villanelle’s fingers slip through hers, grasping faintly before they are gone entirely.
Eve whips around, terror rising in her throat as she calls Villanelle’s name, looking desperately for blonde hair and hazel eyes before a rough hand is turning her back around.
Villanelle is being pulled backwards by the shirt, and she is livid .
She can’t see who it is, all she knows is that whoever it is is about to die a very painful death. Eve has already disappeared from sight, the only evidence of her being the faint calling of Villanelle’s name before it too is swallowed by the commotion of people around them.
Villanelle did not almost drown to get snatched away by some prick with a hairy hand.
She rears back, connecting her elbow squarely with a face that shouts in pain. The hand loosens, and in a fluid motion Villanelle grabs the mystery wrist with both her hands and flips the perpetrator over her shoulder and onto the slippery deck with a thud.
Hey, she’s still got it.
It’s then that she gets a good look at the man’s face.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” Villanelle mutters.
Konstantin pinches his bleeding nose, and makes his way to his feet.
“You have an interesting way of thanking the person who is trying to save your life, Villanelle,” he grunts, wiping the blood on his large coat. “I have a boat for us.”
Villanelle doesn’t believe him. And if there is a boat waiting for them, there is a catch.
There is always a catch with him.
“How did you manage that?” she questions, folding her arms across her chest. For a moment they aren’t on a sinking ship and they are back in the streets of Paris, bantering over their next job.
Villanelle really misses Paris right now.
Konstantin barks out a laugh, short and harsh.
“Really?” he asks incredulously. “We are about to drown and you ask me questions?”
She ignores him, stepping closer until they are nose to nose.
“What deal have you made, Konstantin?”
Konstantin gulps, his composure failing him as his gaze drops, unable to meet Villanelle’s eyes.
“One of the officers has some work for us in America, in exchange for a boat off this ship.”
It’s never been about a clean slate for him, has it? No matter what they do, Konstantin will get involved with something, and Villanelle will be dragged along with him. He will hold her debts above her head, and she will do what is asked of her until she ends up getting herself killed in the process.
If she goes with him, this will be one more debt that she has to repay. And her life with Eve, if they somehow survive this, will be nothing more than a dream.
“No,” Villanelle whispers.
“What did you say?” Konstantin says slowly, his eyes flashing.
Villanelle grits her teeth, and stands her ground.
“I said no ,” she repeats louder, staring deep into Konstantin’s eyes. “I am not going to live my life solely to do what you are too afraid to do yourself.”
“You have nothing without my help.”
“I have enough.”
He looks at her from head to toe, sizes her up before setting his mouth into a frown.
“This is about that woman, isn’t it?” he mutters. “That woman, Eve? For the love of all things holy, Villanelle, what is it about her ?”
Villanelle allows herself to smile at the thought of her.
“We are the same.”
“There you are,” Niko spits.
His hand is wrapped painfully around Eve’s arm, fingers vice-like and stiff as she struggles to get away. She twists, turns in sharp movements before Niko grabs her roughly in his hands and shakes her as if it would physically knock some sense into her.
“Stop it!” he shouts, his voice carrying even over the commotion of the passengers. “You-you would rather be a whore to a gutter rat?”
Niko’s eyes are wild, crazed. His normally well-kept hair flies into his face and makes him look more like an animal than a man.
Eve removes herself from his iron grip.
“I would rather be her whore than your wife,” she hisses.
“I don’t care what you would rather be,” Niko grits out through his teeth. “You are getting on this lifeboat, even if I have to put you on it myself.”
Eve looks to the boat in question, and sees none other than Carolyn Martens.
Even in the face of a maritime disaster, she is perfectly put-together. Her furs lay elegantly along her shoulders, not a hair on her head out of place as she holds her clutch delicately in her lap.
“Hello Eve,” she says matter-of-factly, as if they were sitting together at dinner and not aboard a ship that is about to kill hundreds of people.
“Carolyn,” Eve blinks.
“I would really suggest getting on the boat, Eve,” Carolyn states promptly, no room for discussion in her tone.
The officer manning the ropes shares her sentiment.
“Listen lass, this boat is going under and we need to go before she takes all of us down with her,” he braces himself against the ropes as the Titanic gives a deathly shudder.
Eve bites her lip and shakes her head.
“Not without Villanelle.”
Niko’s eyes widen, his mouth twisting in what is undoubtedly going to be a derogatory spew of words, but stops abruptly as he spots something behind Eve’s shoulder.
Eve turns, and is met with none other than Villanelle Astankova pushing her way through masses of passengers with remarkable ease. She breaks through a chain of people making their way onto a lifeboat, and makes her way to Eve’s side without a step of hesitation.
She’s panting, her hand instinctively wrapping around Eve’s even in Niko’s sight as her hazel eyes pierce dangerously into his.
“Sorry I’m late, darling,” Villanelle drawls, her gaze never breaking contact with Niko, “What did I miss?”
Eve leans into Villanelle’s warmth. For a moment, she thought she had lost her.
“Niko was just offering us a spot on this boat,” she grins, relishing the look of horror plastered on his face.
“Ah, Miss Astankova!” Carolyn chirps. “You look well for someone who almost drowned.”
“Enough!” Niko shouts, his angry stare burning holes into Villanelle before turning to the officer. “This woman is a wanted criminal and has already been arrested on my behalf. As far as I am aware, we are boarding this vessel according to class .”
The officer glances at the handcuffs still attached to Villanelle’s wrists. He makes eye contact with Villanelle, before letting out a sigh.
“I dunno how you got up here,” the officer says, his voice remarkably kind considering that Villanelle has been outed as a fugitive. “But I can’t put you on this boat. I just can’t, there’s a protocol in place for a reason. If I could take everyone on I would, but the spot is reserved for the lady.”
He nods in Eve’s direction.
Eve feels something cold drop into the pit of her stomach.
She turns to Villanelle, her face soft and filled with something that Eve hasn’t seen in her before. Her eyes are downturned, looking gently at Eve’s fingers intertwined in hers. She lets out a long breath, giving Eve’s hand a squeeze.
“You have to get on the boat, Eve,” Villanelle tells her quietly.
“Eve, you have to go-”
“I’m not leaving without you!” Eve cries, hot tears prickling the backs of her eyes.
They’ve come too far to be separated now. Not when there is even the slightest chance that Eve will never see Villanelle again. Not when there is the very real chance that Villanelle won’t make it off this ship alive.
“Eve, please,” Villanelle whispers, her expression pained and hurt as the officer grabs Eve by the shoulder, pushing her into the boat.
“Get off me!” Eve yells, struggling as Carolyn wraps her arms around her shoulders.
“You have to let her go,” Carolyn tells her softly as the officer begins cutting into the ropes.
Eve pushes her away, scrambling to the side of the lifeboat as they begin to descend, her hands grabbing the ledge of the Titanic before grasping Villanelle’s warm hand in her own, their arms stretched tight against the downward motion.
“Eve, I’ll be fine,” Villanelle tells her over the screams of the passengers around them. Niko rips Eve’s hand from Villanelle, leaning over the edge as the lifeboat lowers further away from them.
Eve will kill him.
“I have an arrangement for a lifeboat,” Niko shouts to her. “I’ll take Villanelle here along with me, just stay where you are!”
Villanelle nods in agreement.
“I have my own boat to catch, Eve. Stay there and I’ll meet you in New York,” she smiles down at Eve, her face getting smaller by the second as Eve looks on in horror. She finally sits in her seat, ignoring Carolyn’s calming words of nonchalance as her eyes remain trained on Villanelle’s retreating form.
This is not the way it was supposed to end.
“You’re a good liar.”
“You know as well as I do that she would not have gone if I hadn’t.”
Niko nods, his eyes trained on the ocean.
“There’s no arrangement, is there.” Villanelle mutters, looking down at Eve’s lifeboat below.
It's a statement, a known fact.
Villanelle knows better than to assume Niko would ever save the likes of her.
“Oh, there is,” Niko replies promptly, his eyebrows raising slightly. “Although I doubt you’ll benefit much from it.”
Villanelle scoffs out a laugh.
What a bastard.
“You know, I really should have saved that drawing,” Niko tells her, a smirk curling along his ugly lips. “After all this, it will be worth much more than you.”
Villanelle smirks back, and looks him up and down. If she’s going to die here, she’s at least going to get a little bit of satisfaction before she goes.
She looks him up and down.
“You look like someone stuck a mustache on some fudge.”
Niko opens his mouth to retort, before yelling is heard over the side of the ship.
Villanelle looks over at the exact moment that Eve Park launches herself onto the lower level of the Titanic , away from the safety of the lifeboat, before clambering over the ledge.
Her jaw falls open.
She did not.
It was the most impulsive, stupid decision of Eve’s life.
One that will undoubtedly result in her demise. But her decision, nonetheless.
Eve runs along the side of the ship, the roaring of the water flooding the deck behind her spurring her into a sprint as she turns and makes her way inside, where the grand staircase resides. She stops, her feet skidding across the marble floors when she spots Villanelle at the top of the stairs.
Villanelle runs down the stairs to meet her, strong arms crushing her to her chest in an embrace as Villanelle buries her face in Eve’s hair.
She pulls away, her eyes wet as she presses kisses to Eve’s lips, her cheeks, her nose.
“Eve, why did you do that?” Villanelle whimpers between kisses. “You’re so stupid, Eve, you were safe!”
Eve rests her hands on Villanelle’s chest, the world blurring into a haze around them.
“You jump, I jump. Right?”
Villanelle’s eyes brighten in recognition as Eve thinks back to the railing, of how Villanelle swore to pitch herself off along with Eve if she let go. It feels so long ago, that chilly night. Now, as everything in their midst is falling apart, the memory fills her with a deep warmth.
Villanelle gives her a grin, before pressing her lips to Eve’s.
Even if they die here, they’re going to do it together.
Eve tangles her hands in damp locks, deepening the kiss as Villanelle anchors her hands to Eve’s hips. It feels different than the ones they’ve had before. This kiss is filled with desperation, yes, but something more. A promise to stay, even if it means their story ends with the Titanic, even if it means their forever is somewhere at the bottom of the North Atlantic.
But it doesn’t mean that Eve isn’t going to try her damndest to save the both of them.
She breaks the kiss, cups Villanelle’s face in her hands.
“Come on, we have to go,” Eve tells her bluntly.
Villanelle doesn't respond, only nods as she clasps Eve’s hand in hers and leads them up the staircase to the uppermost level. They are about to reach open air, when Eve spots a familiar face in one of the lounges to their left.
She skids to a stop.
It’s Pargrave, his eyes trained on an ornate looking clock on the mantlepiece of the fireplace. He says nothing when Eve approaches slowly, still as a statue, his face devoid of emotion.
“Mr. Pargrave?” Eve says tentatively.
He shifts his head slightly, an acknowledgement of her words before meeting her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Eve. I should’ve built you a stronger ship.”
His words are soft, trembling slightly along their edges as they leave his mouth.
Eve shakes her head.
He raises his hand, a small smile crossing his face.
“Please Eve, it’s Bill.”
Eve takes a beat, touches his arm gently.
“Bill, we have to get to a boat, there isn’t much time,” she says, water beginning to seep into the room.
The architect shakes his head, his gaze turning downwards before unfastening the white lifejacket strapped to his chest. He shucks it over his head, before pressing it into Eve’s hands.
“My place is with my ship, Eve,” Bill tells her softly. “I can’t leave her now.”
Eve searches his eyes, tries to make sense of it as Villanelle gently squeezes her hand.
“We have to go,” Villanelle says softly, her eyes trained on the water behind them. A china cup resting on the mantle slides off the wooden top, smashing into pieces as it hits the floor.
Bill doesn’t react, simply pulling Eve into a tight hug. It's warm, and it rips a small whimper from Eve's throat.
“You’re brilliant,” he whispers comfortingly into her ear, and Eve resists the urge to cry.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair, and Eve knows that she can save Bill if he’ll just come with them.
Maybe they can find a spare lifeboat, a piece of debris, anything.
She opens her mouth to speak before Bill interrupts her, grabbing the lifejacket from her hands and placing it over her head.
“You can make it out, both of you."
He secures the straps, one by one until it hugs Eve in a mockery of the way that Bill had mere seconds before. He steps away, his eyes drilling into Eve’s before he returns to watching the clock, seconds of his life ticking away.
im really sorry about bill you guys. please don't hurt me 😔
Chapter 9: Where We First Met
thank you all SO much for being so patient while I was crunching this one out! university work really hit me like a ton of bricks this week, so it took much longer to update than usual. im so sorry that i keep hurting our babies, this one is a little cold and icy. please leave your comments and feedback below, lord knows i need them after this week. without further ado, here we go 😣
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When they make it to the open air, it’s a nightmare.
Where the Titanic had been tilting slowly into the water before, it is completely sinking now, its front end completely submerged by dark waves below. Eve tries not to think about the men in the lowest levels, the third-class passengers who were unable to make it to the upper decks.
Even if they had, there is no guaranteeing that they could survive this .
Eve and Villanelle latch themselves to the railing of the ship, pulling themselves to the highest point of the ship as its back end pitches itself higher and higher into the air. They pass a priest who has strapped himself to one of the boilers, his hands grasped by at least ten other passengers as he recites prayers and rites. A woman clutches onto him, a small child in her arms, its screams deafening as the priest continues on, tracing a cross onto the child’s forehead with the pad of his thumb.
Eve can’t look away, can’t stop looking at the child’s soft features as they all race towards hell. She has never been a religious woman - but now as the Titanic reaches towards heaven, she prays that someone will save them.
Villanelle shakes her from her stupor.
“Eve! We have to move!” she shouts, determination etched into her face.
Despite the fact that their chances of making it out are slim to none, Eve has never seen her look so alive.
Villanelle’s hair whips around her in arcs, her muscles straining against her shirt as she heaves herself higher. She reaches backward, clasping Eve’s hand in hers with a grip Eve didn’t know a mortal could possess. Gravity threatens to send them both hurtling down into icy depths as Eve tightens her other hand around the cold railing. She wills her legs to move, her knees weak and trembling, but by some force of nature they muster up the strength to keep her upright.
Other passengers aren’t so lucky.
Those who can’t hang onto the railing soon lose their footing, sliding down the deck into the water below. As Eve looks out into the sea, she can see the small white dots of the lifeboats on the horizon. For a moment, she wonders if Niko made it to one of them, before realizing that she doesn’t really care either way.
The Titanic groans from under their feet, the strain on the vessel becoming too much, even for its robust construction. Eve gasps as the lights surrounding them flicker off, the last remaining source being the moon that gleams above them. Somehow, they manage to fight their way to the stern of the ship, and as Eve looks over the edge, she sees the propeller emerge from the ocean.
It doesn’t even seem real.
As they rise steadily, Eve feels her feet begin to slip along the deck, letting out a yelp as she loses traction and starts to fall. Villanelle, somehow quicker than a force of nature, snatches her with a strong arm and pulls her swiftly to her chest. She latches the other to the stern’s railing, sturdy even as the ship tilts and trembles.
To their right, a young woman - who couldn’t be any older than Villanelle - clings desperately to the railing herself. There are tears streaming down her face, panicked sobs escaping her throat as the waters below hold her wide eyes hostage. She’s most likely third-class, her reddish hair is tangled and matted from the wind, her clothes ragged and torn. It’s a miracle that she’s alive, and not trapped in the lower levels that are filled with water.
“Hey… hey!” Eve yells to her.
The woman snaps her gaze to them, gasping harshly for air. She says nothing, only bores her eyes into Eve’s as screams resound around them.
“You’re gonna make it, alright?”
Eve doesn’t know why she says it. Maybe it’s a roundabout way to tell herself that this doesn’t have to be the end for them. The woman shakes her head quickly, her eyes flickering back down to the crushing waves.
It’s then that Eve hears the first creak.
It starts small, growing second by second into a long, painful groan of wood and metal. Eve snaps her head down, and watches the middle of the deck begin to break apart, splinters of wood bursting open as sparks from the electrical lines flash in short bursts of light. The slow descent of the Titanic’s front end has become too much, one of it’s four boilers collapsing onto desperately swimming passengers below - killing them instantly.
Where the tilt into the ocean was slow and languid before, it has only accelerated, the front half of the now broken vessel filling with water, and acting like a ball and chain as it drags the back half - where Eve and Villanelle cling desperately to it’s railing - into the dark ocean below. Villanelle holds Eve tighter, the angle of the remaining ship twisting until they are almost straight up in the air.
The deck under their feet shifts until it’s almost not there at all, when Villanelle looks her in the eyes.
“Get over the railing!”
Villanelle doesn’t have to tell her twice.
Eve detaches herself from Villanelle’s warm chest, and flings her legs over the railing haphazardly. Villanelle follows suit, now pressed securely to her side as they rise until they are directly above the ocean, lying down on.
The woman next to them isn’t so lucky.
She dangles perilously from the railing, a shoe falling off her foot and sailing into the water below. The waves crash, break into the ship with increasing fury as the woman screams and flails. Eve shifts closer to her, extending a hand as she stretches.
“Give me your hand!”
The woman can only give her one last terrified look, before her grip slackens and she falls.
Eve can’t look away, watches in horror as the woman’s screaming form falls until she is swallowed by the North Atlantic.
“Eve, look at me.”
Eve doesn’t realize that she’s trembling, her eyes fixed on the water until Villanelle speaks.
She smiles, beautiful in the midst of so much death and chaos, as she rests her hand over Eve’s on the railing. It makes Eve choke out a wet laugh, her brain memorizing Villanelle’s features because when she goes she wants it to be the only thing she sees.
She just wishes that they had more time.
They’re sinking faster now, only a minute or so left until the ship is engulfed completely. Eve trembles as they plunge further, trying to prepare herself for the ice-like darkness that awaits them. Villanelle’s hand is still firmly in hers, warm despite the wind and water, allowing Eve the most basic of comforts.
“This is where we first met,” Villanelle says softly.
Eve almost doesn’t hear her over the screams and the roar of the ocean, her ears thrumming loudly, but she does. She tightens her hand around Villanelle’s and presses herself closer into her side, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.
She hopes it’s enough.
“I love you,” Eve whispers in her ear.
Villanelle’s eyes close, a lone tear escaping and running down her cheek.
“Please don’t let go, Eve,” she pleads gently.
It’s the last thing Eve says before they go under.
For a moment, Villanelle is in Russia.
She has just broken through the ice of the lake, Pyotr screaming her name as her body spasms frozen from the cold. His voice becomes muffled, distanced as she floats her way towards the bottom, darkness creeping into the edges of her vision.
They thought the lake would be safe enough to go ice fishing on, believing that they could catch something for Mama to cook. Pyotr just wanted something to eat, Villanelle wanted her mother to be proud.
Two weeks later, Villanelle was dropped off at the orphanage.
Now, as she sinks into the depths of the ocean, she wonders if Pyotr ever found out where she went. Before she has a chance to think on it, however, Eve’s hand slips out of hers, separated by the sheer force of the ship pulling them to the bottom. Villanelle kicks with everything she has, reaches out her hand in hopes of recapturing Eve’s. All that’s there is swirling water, an emptiness that fills Villanelle and crushes her with its sheer power.
Somehow, she’s able to force her way to the surface of the water, breaking through with a ragged gasp as air fills her lungs. Villanelle isn’t alone, hundreds of passengers flail around her, screaming and paddling in the freezing water as they search for debris to float on.
Everyone is in her line of sight, except for Eve.
Villanelle treads water, her feet beginning to feel like lead blocks attached to her legs. She swims with increasing difficulty, pushing through the mass of passengers desperately clutching onto life.
She knows that if they don’t get out of this water, it will not hesitate to kill every single one of them.
“Eve!” Villanelle calls out, her head whipping to and fro, hoping to catch a glimpse of dark curls and a blue dress. To her horror, she soon does, watching a man push Eve’s head under the surface of the water in an attempt to grasp at her lifejacket.
She sees red.
Villanelle moves quickly, maneuvering through the remaining people and yanking the man off of Eve. She emerges quickly, sputtering and blinking water out of her eyes as the man tries to make another pass at her.
“Get off!” Villanelle shouts.
The man doesn't reply, struggling to get out of Villanelle’s grip in order to get to the prized vest keeping Eve afloat. His face is already getting deathly pale, the last bits of life raging in his eyes, making him look like a rabid dog.
Villanelle delivers a swift punch to his nose, another when he refuses to relent as she pushes him away. Red blood mixes with the dark blue of the water reflected in the moonlight. Eve watches with wide eyes as Villanelle shouts to her,
Eve nods frantically, paddling awkwardly as she follows Villanelle to more open waters.
“It’s so cold .”
“Don’t stop,” Villanelle pants, spying what looks to be a slab of wood floating a few feet away. It’s not much, but it could get them out of the water at the very least.
“Eve, we have to get to that piece of wood okay?” she gasps, the water licking at her ears as her legs struggle to keep her afloat. Eve nods, her hands reaching forward to wind under Villanelle’s arms, relieving her slightly. Together they slowly shift their way to the piece of wood - a door, upon further inspection - and collapse halfway onto it once they arrive.
Eve pushes her way onto the door, looking exhausted and half-drowned as she collapses in a wet heap. She briefly raises her head to look at Villanelle through her partially-hooded eyes.
“Aren’t you coming up here?”
“I doubt it will be able to hold me, Eve.”
“Don’t be fucking stupid, this thing is huge,” Eve argues.
Villanelle very much doubts it.
She relents anyways, placing her hands flat on the door and pushing upwards to lay onto it.
It flips, knocking them both unceremoniously back into the water.
“ Shit !”
Villanelle pushes a shivering Eve back onto the door, resting her arms on the top to give her freezing limbs a break. She’s lost all feeling in her legs now, a cold exhaustion settling itself into her chest. All she wants to do is to close her eyes, find a brief reprieve from the icy smell of death that is already permeating the air.
“Vill, you can’t stay there,” Eve protests, shifting to lie on her stomach so that she’s face-to-face with Villanelle. “It’s too cold, you’ll-”
“I’ll be alright, Eve.”
She really needs to cut that out.
“Eve, I’m Russian,” Villanelle chuckles hoarsely. “If anyone can handle a little cold, it’s me.”
It’s been about thirty minutes, and everything is silent.
The passengers, once flailing in the water, are still now. Eve knows that they’re dead, their stark white corpses floating in the water, hearts stopped. Villanelle is still in the water, her arms no longer trembling from the sheer cold of the ocean.
Eve is terrified. She recognizes that Villanelle is strong, but no one can survive this for long. She hasn't let Eve switch with her, stubborn as a mule. They had tried to get the door to work, but after much trial and error, both realized that there wasn't any way for them both to fit, and stay dry. Villanelle hadn’t caved, and has stayed in the water for now the better part of half an hour, without so much of a whimper.
She hasn’t said anything.
“Oh my god,” Eve breathes, her heart stopping for a moment.
She can’t be dead. She can’t leave Eve alone out here. Eve already loves her too much to be without her.
“Villanelle… Villanelle, open your eyes,” Eve whispers, shaking Villanelle’s arms with increasing urgency.
For a moment, she doesn’t respond. Then, like a blessing from heaven, her eyes flutter open - hazy and unfocused, but there nonetheless.
“Eve…” she croaks, her lips blue and her skin chalky white.
She already looks like she belongs in a casket.
“You have to stay awake for me, darling,” Eve tells her softly, brushing a frozen piece of hair out of her eyes.
Villanelle nods, shuddering as her breath escapes from her in short, visible puffs.
Villanelle slowly lifts her head to look Eve in the eyes.
“Did I ruin your life?” she asks, the question wet sounding and ragged.
“Don’t be silly-”
“I’m serious Eve.”
Eve pauses for a moment.
It’s true that if she and Villanelle never met, she probably would be on a lifeboat right now. It’s also true that she wouldn’t be on a door surrounded by frozen bodies.
But it’s true that if they had never met, Eve would be as good as dead too. Her spirit broken, her body no longer hers. Eve has lived more in the past few days than she has in the entirety of her existence, and that counts for something. Without Villanelle, she would never have gotten to experience any of it.
When she opens her mouth, there’s no hesitation.
“No, Villanelle. You didn’t ruin my life. Ever since meeting you… god, it’s like I’m awake for the very first time,”
She cups Villanelle’s icy cheek.
“If anything, you saved me.”
Villanelle smiles softly, her eyes brightening the slightest bit as they inch their way towards oblivion. It soon melts off her face, however, her eyes flickering until they shut completely.
“Vill, no. Open your eyes… please , Villanelle, I know you’re tired but you have to stay awake for me, otherwise-”
Eve’s breath hitches.
“Otherwise you might not wake up.”
Villanelle strains her eyes open, a slow and heavy motion. For an instant, Eve thinks of Atlas, the greek god who was forced to hold up the world on his shoulders. Eve wonders if that’s how it feels to Villanelle, the world crashing down onto her and forcing her into an eternal sleep.
“You are very lucky that I like you so much,” Villanelle croaks.
Eve smiles a little.
“You love me, darling.”
Villanelle shifts, clumsily moving her hand to rest over Eve’s. Her fingers are like icicles, pale and frozen stiff as they press into the equally cold flesh of Eve’s hand.
“I do,” Villanelle replies softly.
Her voice is softer now, each word that leaves her mouth losing its strength, the intensity that makes Villanelle who she is. She’s losing all of it, becoming a shell right before Eve’s eyes. It’s worse than terrifying, beyond any word that she knows, and it consumes her as she looks into dulled hazel.
Eve has to do something.
“Tell me where we’re going to go once we get to America,” Eve asks her.
Villanelle’s eyebrows scrunch together, almost as if she’s forgotten that there is such a place, and not solely ice, water, and pain. She takes a moment to think about it, before nodding to herself and answering in a hushed voice.
“Someplace… warm, I think,” she says. “I used to think that I would take you to Alaska, but now I am not so sure about that.”
“Anywhere but the South, honey,” she replies.
“I am not that cruel.”
“ I would like to see you in a cowboy hat and boots someday, though.”
Villanelle makes a face.
“Wild west is not fashionable, Eve.”
“You’d make it look good.”
Villanelle blesses her with a smirk.
Now, that’s her Villanelle.
“I make everything look good.”
Eve moves forward, presses her lips to Villanelle’s frost-covered forehead as she ignores that water that sloshes over the edges of the door.
“And you’re so humble too,” Eve tells her gently.
For a moment, it’s silent. Only the sounds of the waves against the debris, steady and rhythmic as they float along the horizon. Eve looks, and swears she can see the lifeboats on the edge of it, specks against the dim light of the moon.
She wonders if they will bother trying to see if they are still alive.
Just as she’s beginning to think on the possibility of getting their attention, the door knocks roughly against a burly object. Eve turns to see Villanelle’s eyes wide, her mouth agape as her breath shudders before she sees it.
It’s a dead man.
His eyes are open, glassy and colorless as his face collects frost and ice. The white of his beard blends in with the whiteness of his face and neck, almost as if all of the blood was drained from his body before he met his end.
“Konstantin…” Villanelle whispers.
Eve stops breathing.
She had never actually met Konstantin, everything she knew of him had come from Villanelle’s mouth. But even so, she knew enough to deduce that Konstantin was nothing less than a con man, a criminal who would do anything to ensure his own survival.
It didn’t change the fact that he was important to Villanelle, though.
So Eve tries to say something, anything in a feeble attempt to make it better. Even though they are dying in the middle of the fucking ocean with only Villanelle’s dead mentor to keep them company.
“He offered me a boat,” Villanelle interrupts, voice soft and disbelieving.
“ What ?”
“He offered me a boat,” Villanelle repeats, her face beginning to contort in pain. “He had struck some sort of deal with an officer - safety in exchange for working in the criminal underground once we got to America.”
Eve can’t believe it. Villanelle had a chance to escape, to save herself, but here she is. Dying in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.
And Villanelle says she’s the stupid one.
“Why didn’t you go?” Eve asks incredulously. “Vill, that was your chance-”
“I meant it when I said I wanted out, Eve,” Villanelle murmurs. “I couldn’t go back, I won’t. Even if it ends up killing me, I won’t do it.”
She trails off, looking back into Konstantin’s soulless eyes.
“If there was even a chance that we could make it, I wanted to survive as a person you could still love.”
Villanelle chuckles, harsh and short.
“It is not doing me much good now, is it?”
Eve doesn’t even know what to say.
Then again, Eve gave up her own chance at survival, too. She knew that when she jumped off of that lifeboat, that there was a very real chance that she could die. It just so happened that Villanelle made a similar choice. Both of them were unable to leave the other.
It is a cruel kind of romanticism, to be sure.
“Eve?” Villanelle shudders.
“What is it?”
“When I go… you have to try and survive, okay?”
Eve sucks in a breath between her teeth.
“Don’t talk like that, dammit. You’re going to make it, we can get some help-”
“Eve, look around us. There’s no one coming, and I’m almost gone as it is,” Villanelle whispers.
Her fight is leaving.
Tears escape Eve’s eyes against her better judgement, ignoring the painful sting as they begin to freeze to her face.
“Vill, please. Please hang on, I can’t do this without you,” Eve pleads desperately.
But Villanelle’s eyes are already closing.
Eve shakes her roughly, takes her face into shaking hands.
“You can’t go. You’re so, so strong.”
A sob tears its way out of Eve’s throat.
“Every time I think of my future, I see your face. Over, and over, and over again,” Eve continues, brushing icy blonde hair away from Villanelle’s face. Her eyes are only half open, slowly losing focus as she leans into Eve’s palms.
Eve gently lifts it, tries to meet Villanelle’s eyes.
She must be so tired , Eve thinks.
“I want to do all those things with you. I want to live with you. I want to wake up to your stupid, beautiful face every single morning. I want to have dinner with you, I want to build a home with you. Villanelle, I want everything , please just hang on for me?”
Villanelle shivers, her breath ragged and labored.
“...so cold,” she whispers, barely audible despite the perpetual silence around them.
Eve kisses the palms of Villanelle’s hands, rubbing them between her own in a feeble attempt to generate some warmth.
“I know baby, I know.”
Villanelle’s lips twitch.
“I love when you call me that,” she breathes.
Eve chokes out a wet laugh.
“I remember, Vill. I remember, and I’ll call you that till the day I die.”
Villanelle gives another sharp shudder, her breath reduced to small little puffs against Eve’s hands. She nuzzles into the comfort of Eve’s palms, and Eve feels a single tear trace its way along Villanelle’s face.
“I love you,” she whispers.
Eve bites her lip, and tries not to let anymore tears fall. Villanelle needs her to be strong.
“I love you too, baby.”
She places the gentlest of kisses to Villanelle’s frozen lips.
As soon as she pulls away, Eve sees a light.
It’s faint, moving to and fro along the surface of the water. Smaller than a star in the night sky, but it's there. Eve feels her brain come to life, as she shakes herself from her cold-induced haze to realize that she’s not dreaming, her eyes aren’t deceiving her.
It has to be a lifeboat.
Somebody is looking for survivors, Eve is sure of it. She feels it with every fiber of her being, and it's a chance to make it out of here alive. Eve feels herself vibrate with a combined sense of urgency and pure euphoria, as she focuses on the steadily approaching beam of light.
“Villanelle, it’s a boat…” Eve rasps as Villanelle nods half-heartedly.
Both her and Villanelle don’t have the strength to shout, even their vocal cords frozen solid, but that doesn’t discourage Eve in the slightest.
She just has to get their attention.
Eve searches around them, casts her gaze over the debris and bodies that litter the surface of the water. She isn’t sure what she’s looking for, exactly. All she knows is that she needs to make some noise, and a lot of it.
As she rakes her eyes over the water once more, she sees it.
It’s a whistle.
Currently around the neck of a frozen officer.
Eve doesn’t hesitate.
She leaps into the water, yelping as its icy chill seeps into her bones. She hears Villanelle softly protest, but she’s already too focused, too hellbent to stop now. Eve paddles over the officer, held afloat only by the lifejacket held around her waist. She doesn’t look the officer in the eyes - she can’t - as she rips the whistle and its adjoining chain off of his neck with a swift tug.
The swim back to the door is infinitely more difficult that the first, Eve’s legs stiffening and stuttering in their movements. She can’t imagine how Villanelle has been able to cope for this long. Eve has only been in the water for a few moments, while Villanelle has battled the cold for more than an hour now.
Eve just hopes she can survive for a little while longer.
Once they get to a lifeboat, they'll be safe and Villanelle can get warm.
She collapses halfway onto the door, a mirror image of Villanelle on the other side.
“Vill, I got a whistle,” Eve gasps, smiling as she raises the whistle for her lover to see.
Except she doesn’t.
Eve chokes on air, her heart freezing up.
Villanelle’s eyes are shut.
the worst thing you can do right now is panic, kiddos
to everyone who has taken the time to read this fic, thank you. you honestly mean everything to me <3
Chapter 10: Soulmates
hi all, im sorry i took so long in updating, i hit a massive writers block and midterms hit HARD. luckily, i was able to wrap this chapter up in a nice, metaphorical bow for you all as we head into the best month of all time - october. also, yes, you read the chapter count right - this will be the second to last chapter of this fic, but i PROMISE the ending will be worthwhile. i also have a ton of oneshot ideas im super stoked to write (most of them canon, WOW), so as long as you guys want to read my stuff, ill continue to write it!
that being said, i cant thank you guys enough for the massive amount of support ive received on this fic. i adore reading your comments, and i hope you loved reading this as much as i loved writing it.
happy reading kiddos <3 (also there might be smut in here -> as a treat)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The first thing she hears are voices.
It’s piercing, almost painful as it hits her eardrums and makes her temples ache.
“ Hurts… ” she mouths.
To whom, she has no idea.
For a moment, it’s like she’s a ghost. Formless, boundless. She feels nothing for a long while, and she wonders if she is actually dead. As soon as the thought passes through her mind, she feels a prickle.
It’s small, barely there, but it’s in her toes.
Ghosts don’t have toes , she thinks.
She hates ghosts.
She tries to wiggle her big one, and the prickling intensifies. It spreads from her toes, down to the heel of her foot, and up her ankles. It's slightly uncomfortable, like her whole body was getting poked with stubby needles, and it only irritates her further when her legs refuse to move.
But then, just as she’s becoming aware of herself in her own body, she hears something.
Not something. Someone.
“Ah, I think she’s waking up.”
“She doesn’t look too good.”
“For the last time, Kenny, I recognize that the woman looks a little peaky , but she just survived a maritime disaster and almost froze to death in the process.”
She knows that voice, and the name it belongs to. She knows, she’s sure, but the memories aren’t coming.
Why can’t she remember?
“Kenny, maybe you should call Eve in. I’m sure the poor lass is worrying herself sick, and will want to know if her condition is changing.”
Yes. Yes , she remembers that. Dark, big hair. Beautiful.
A soft feeling begins to grow in her chest.
“You saved me.”
What had happened to her?
“Every time I think of my future, I see your face.”
Who is she?
"Villanelle, open your eyes.”
That’s her name.
Memories begin to flash underneath her eyelids.
“Wear it down.”
“May I escort you to dinner, Miss Park?”
“I am going to take you to a party.”
“Now we walk... and we never look back.”
“I want you to draw me like one of your french girls.”
“When we dock in New York, I want to get off with you.”
“This is where we first met.”
“I love you.”
She remembers the ship. The water. The cold. So much death. Konstantin. Oh god, Konstantin . His face was so white, his eyes pale and unmoving. The way her limbs began to fail her, the way her eyes couldn’t stand to stay open. Feeling herself slowly slip away.
She had been dying.
Fuck, she was gone .
Villanelle wakes up.
Villanelle shoots up in bed with a shout.
She gasps for air, hands flying to her throat as she forces herself to take deep, gulping breaths. In the ocean it had stripped her of the ability, suffocating her while it froze her from the inside out. Now, as her chest heaves, Villanelle teaches herself how to live again.
She’s currently swaddled in almost every kind of blanket imaginable, and it’s stifling to the point of making her sweat through the loose dressing gown wrapped around her body. Villanelle presses her hands to her face, just to make sure that she’s real , and finds clammy skin and a tiny bandage across her cheekbone.
Her mind flashes to the iceberg, and the chunk of ice that had cut her there.
Villanelle needs to get to Eve.
Her body is weak, unbearably so, but somehow it's still functioning as Villanelle rips the blankets off of her legs and swings them over the bed. A wave of nausea hits her hard, forcing her to grip onto the bedpost so she doesn’t topple over. Her vision swims, becomes blurry around the edges as she gingerly stands and leans fully onto the frame of the bed.
The last thing Villanelle remembers is Eve pleading with her to stay, and Villanelle had left her. Left her cold and alone on a shoddy piece of wood, and gave her the monumental task of getting them both out alive. Villanelle’s heart clenches painfully at the memory, remembers the sheer terror in Eve’s eyes as her vision was beginning to fail her.
She shakes herself from the darkness creeping into her mind.
Eve is out there somewhere, and she needs her.
From here on, that will take precedence in Villanelle’s brain.
Villanelle has no idea how she’ll manage to get out the door, but there’s no use in waiting to see what will happen. She’s been banged up badly before, many nights spent closing up open wounds or icing blue bruises. But this?
This sucks .
Villanelle has never felt such exhaustion in her life. It seeps into her bones, her muscles, her face , even. Since when has her face been exhausted?
Well, there was that one girl from the boutique in Paris that did that crazy thing with her-
No. Focus, Villanelle.
Maybe Eve would like it if she used her tongue to-
Even when she’s half-frozen, Villanelle is relentless.
She slowly pads her way to the door, her feet making soft little slaps against the wood of the flooring as she reaches to grasp the handle.
That is, until it swings open to smack her in the head.
Villanelle yelps, her hand flying to her forehead as she falls to a knee. Where there was once dizziness in her head, there’s now only aching pain and a bump she can already feel forming along her brow.
She groans, rubbing her throbbing head as she squints upward.
“Villanelle…” she breathes.
In that moment, Eve is nothing less than an angel.
“Hi sweetheart,” Villanelle winces, taking a moment to look at her lover.
She looks tired, the whites of her eyes bloodshot and dark circles tracing paths beneath them. Her dress is soft-looking, white and plain as a pretty red shawl curls over her slim shoulders. Considering everything they have gone through, Eve looks as beautiful as ever, and it makes Villanelle’s heart twist.
Eve quickly drops to her knees with a gasp, throwing her arms around Villanelle’s neck with a soft ‘thank god .’ She peppers gentle kisses on Villanelle’s jawline, her neck, and her face, and the feeling makes Villanelle’s cheeks burn deliciously.
"Don't ever do anything like that again, dammit," Eve mumbles into her shoulder, wet tears seeping into Villanelle's nightgown. "I could've traded spots with you, we could have done anything else, but you're just so fucking stupid you didn't let me-"
Villanelle pulls Eve up and silences her with a kiss.
It doesn't seem real to be warm again.
But somehow she is here.
Eve is here.
They’re swaddled in bed when Villanelle musters up the courage to ask her.
Eve had spent the past hour explaining all that had happened to them, how she had blown the whistle as loud as she could, how Carolyn had somehow taken over a lifeboat and had found them half-dead, and how the navy doctors aboard the RMS Carpathia had told Eve to not expect Villanelle to wake up again.
But Eve, in her beautiful stubbornness, had clung onto Villanelle’s chilled body and had promptly told them to piss off.
Carolyn had offered a first-class cabin to the two of them, using her infinite influence to make sure that Villanelle was cared for despite the odds.
Interesting, to say the least. Villanelle almost misses the woman, and the unrelenting wittiness that comes with her.
Unfortunately, it is now silent. Which means that Villanelle has nothing to distract her from the flashes of memories shooting through her skull. She presses her face into Eve’s chest, gripping the bed sheets into white-knuckled fists.
“Is he actually gone, Eve?”
She feels Eve stiffen. Villanelle knows she doesn’t need to say Konstantin’s name for Eve to understand. They are past that now.
“Yes, he’s gone.”
A tear escapes Villanelle’s eye.
“I figured. I just didn’t know if I had imagined it, that’s all,” she whispers brokenly into Eve’s skin.
A gentle hand runs through her hair. Brushes it from her face, tenderly tucking errant strands behind her ear. It only serves to loosen the tight barriers Villanelle has tried to construct over the years, to stop herself from revealing too much pain. One by one, the tears fall. Each a memory of Konstantin, of his laugh, his stupid jokes.
He was a traitorous bastard. But Villanelle loved him nonetheless.
Eve doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t coo and baby Villanelle through her tears - her sobs, now - just holds her tightly, and in the process reminds Villanelle that she’s still able to feel. She doesn’t flinch when Villanelle grips her shoulders a little too tightly, when she cries out a little too loudly, when she shudders and leaves wet tear tracks into the softness of her dress.
For once, the silence is comforting. She used to hate it before, and sought out loud music to drown out whatever was troubling her at the time. It had been a blissful distraction. But now, as she lies helpless in Eve’s arms, the silence has become the most bittersweet of remedies.
It lets her think. To process. Little by little, her sobs subside as her thoughts remain.
Villanelle wonders if she should have gone with him in his lifeboat. She wonders if she should have ignored the nuances of Konstantin’s deal-making and tried to ensure their survival. Would Eve have gone into her own lifeboat then? Would they have been able to make it out alive without their close encounter with death incarnate?
She feels Eve trace a swirling pattern into her flesh of her shoulder blade.
Eve is here.
If things had been different, there would be no guarantee that they would be together now. Either one of them could have died. Konstantin hadn’t made it, even with the promise of safety, and if Villanelle had gone with him, she could have suffered the same terrible fate.
Villanelle presses a kiss to Eve’s exposed collarbone. Her skin is warm to the touch, like the sun, and it makes the pain in Villanelle’s heart subside for a moment.
“You still want to live with me when we get to New York, yes?”
She feels her voice waver at the question. Villanelle knows the answer, they have been through too much already for her not to. But she feels like she has to, just to be sure. To remind herself that there is a tomorrow. That her life did not end in the Atlantic like Konstantin’s and so many others did.
Eve holds her a bit tighter. When she speaks, it is with total conviction.
“I’m with you. Always.”
“I’m thinking that I could do something with design, when we get to New York.”
Villanelle is leaning against the railing of the ship, her blonde hair floating softly in the wind as she smiles softly at Eve.
The past days had been awful without her, not knowing whether she would make it out or die in her sleep. Eve was restless, batting away the medics who attempted to pry her from Villanelle’s bedside.. Her pulse was too faint, they had said. Best to let go now, so when she passed it would be easier.
They were fools to think that Eve could ever leave.
She had held Villanelle’s chilled hand, had whispered sweet nothings into the Russian’s ear and pressed gentle lips to her forehead. Eve told her everything, from the most mundane moments of her life to the deepest, darkest desires in her heart.
It had taken Carolyn and Kenny - Carolyn’s shy, mild mannered son who just happened to be serving on the RMS Carpathia - both to pry her from Villanelle’s side, citing that Eve needed to eat and that when Villanelle awoke, she would want her to have her strength. When Villanelle finally woke, it was as though someone had finally lifted a ton of bricks off of her chest.
Despite everything, she feels light.
“Don’t tell me you’re giving up on art, now,” Eve smiles. “You can’t let all that talent go to waste.”
Villanelle laughs - the first time she’s done so since the sinking -and it's so pure and genuine, it’s bliss to Eve’s ears.
“I think you’re biased,” she teases, nudging Eve’s hip with her own. “You are my muse, and I did some very good work in sketching you.”
Eve feels her breath catch in her throat at that.
She turns to face Villanelle fully, taking in her rustled yet perfect appearance.
Her cheeks have regained their color, her hair soft and her posture stronger than before. She had managed to change into some proper clothes, but her shirt remains unbuttoned at the very top, suspenders hanging loosely by the waistband of her trousers. Her forearms rest exposed along the railing, the sun already working to tan them into a golden shade. Bed rest alone had done wonders, and Eve marvels at the woman’s sheer strength.
Then again, there was no way that they could have kept Villanelle contained for much longer.
She pushes forward, wrapping her arms fully around Villanelle’s neck, pressing their fronts together. Eve watches as Villanelle’s gaze flickers to her lips, before slowly making their way back to Eve’s eyes. Her arms wrap securely around Eve’s waist, enveloping her securely into the safety of her chest.
“I’m your muse?” Eve whispers softly, smiling as she sees a faint red flush coat Villanelle’s angular face.
“More than that,” Villanelle breathes, so faint that Eve almost has to strain to hear her at all.
“I think that you are art.”
Eve presses her nose into the sun-kissed skin of Villanelle’s collarbone, smiling as her heart pounds like a drum inside her chest. She feels young, foolish and in love, and head over heels for a woman she met mere days ago, but would die for, regardless.
“What does that mean?” she asks quietly.
Villanelle’s hands work their way up her back, blazing trails of fire in their wake before burying themselves in Eve’s hair, strands twisting through her deft fingers.
“It means you are precious and eternal, my darling. Art exudes something intangible, and makes us feel things,” Villanelle says gently, pressing a kiss to the top of Eve’s head. “Out of all the paintings and sculptures I have seen, you are the work that has made me feel the most.”
Eve responds by lifting her head, and kissing Villanelle senseless.
She gasps when Villanelle tilts her head back, exposing Eve’s throat as she licks into her mouth. The sigh quickly turns into a soft moan, Eve clutching Villanelle’s shoulders as she takes her bottom lip in between her teeth. Villanelle growls quietly, chest heaving as Eve sinks her teeth into it, hands gripping Eve’s hair in tight fists. Eve basks in its sting, letting herself be consumed as Villanelle trails her tongue along her lips.
Her lungs burn, begging for air as Eve runs her hands along the smooth skin of Villanelle’s neck, working downwards under her shirt to press against her collarbones.
Villanelle breaks away first, but barely so as she mumbles against Eve’s lips.
“Take me to bed, Eve.”
They barely make it to their quarters before Eve is smashing her lips into Villanelle’s.
Villanelle feels herself throb painfully between her thighs, moaning obscenely into Eve’s mouth as the shorter woman roughly yanks her shirt from her trousers, pushing her to lie down on the bed.
Eve crawls on top of her, straddling her hips. She looks predatory, wild and untamed as her hair spills over her shoulders and face in inky black waves, lowering her face to peck Villanelle’s lips in the ghost of a proper kiss.
“Do you trust me?” Eve says, shifting her hips into Villanelle’s. The friction is almost there but not enough, wetness seeping into the fabric of her pants as Villanelle feels herself buck roughly into her lover.
“ Yes ,” she whispers raggedly.
Villanelle feels wrecked already, barely touched but already coming apart at the seams. She fists the sheets into tight hands, gasping as Eve leans down and drags her tongue along the column of her throat.
“Baby, please ,” she moans pitifully as Eve clasps her breast.
“Shhhh,” Eve coos in her ear, her warm breath coasting along the shell of it and making Villanelle shiver under its touch. “I’m going to take care of you, just be patient.”
Villanelle nods weakly, her hands relaxing as Eve plants wet, open mouthed kisses from the juncture of her neck to her clavicle. She works quickly, unbuttoning Villanelle’s shirt and letting it fall open to rest at her sides. The air is cool along her skin, goosebumps rising in its wake. Villanelle gasps and arches when Eve takes her nipple into her mouth, her hands flying to Eve’s hair, pushing her head forward as Eve drags her teeth over it.
“Jesus,” she moans, rigid under her lover’s touch and Eve licks her way across her chest to give her other breast the same treatment as before.
She releases it with a pop, her hand gliding forwards to wrap securely around Villanelle’s neck, cutting her breath off sharply. Villanelle flushes under it, gasping as another wave of wetness floods between her legs. There is no fear in her mind, only lust and awe as she flushes beneath her lover's gaze. She isn’t used to relinquishing control, to having someone else take the reins, being helpless and vulnerable. With Eve, her dark eyes flashing and her hand around her throat, Villanelle cannot imagine feeling anything like this before. It's new, dangerous to let go. But there is something powerful in it, and Villanelle cannot help but indulge.
“That’s not my name, darling,” Eve growls.
Villanelle feels a whimper escape her throat. An irrational desire to please Eve sits heavy in her chest, and she wraps her hands around Eve’s wrist to push harder into her neck.
“What’s my name?” she asks Villanelle, her fingers tightening to the point where Villanelle actually begins to see stars.
“ Eve .”
“Eve, please .”
A sob tears its way from her throat.
“Please, Eve. Take me, fuck me, do something, I can’t take it-”
The hand around her throat disappears and shoves roughly into Villanelle’s pants.
Villanelle gasps as Eve’s fingers trail along slick wetness, teasing her entrance and coaxing a guttural moan from Villanelle’s throat. As soon as her fingers arrive, they’re gone, Villanelle groaning in protest as Eve makes quick work of her pants.
Her hand reconnects, and thus all's right with the world.
Eve palms her, the heel of her hand pressing deliciously into her clit, and Villanelle arches into the firm touch. She shifts her hips, desperate to alleviate the aching pressure as she chases friction.
“Ah, ah,” Eve smirks, and Villanelle’s brain goes blank as she removes her hand. “You’ll take what I give you.”
Eve shifts on top of Villanelle, their breasts brushing together sinfully as she bites into Villanelle’s jaw.
“Understand?” she whispers.
Villanelle can only nod, her breaths coming in ragged gasps as her eyes squeeze shut.
She’s not used to being edged like this, taken to the point of insanity and left to wait. Villanelle likes to take, and has never in her life been made to beg, squirm and be at the mercy of another being. Now, she is a slave to her desire, to Eve’s hand that brushes its way down her torso before making contact with hot, wet skin.
“Be good for me,” Eve whispers, their noses nudging together.
She then proceeds to sink two fingers into Villanelle’s cunt.
Villanelle gasps, the distinct feeling of fullness muddling her brain as Eve connects their mouths. She’s greedy, swallowing her moans as she drags her fingers out and in again, punishing Villanelle slowly in the best of ways. There's little residence between them, Villanelle wet to the point that Eve's fingers slip out easily.
"Please Eve, more-" she begs into Eve's mouth, hissing as Eve quickly adds a third finger.
Her hips move in tandem with Eve’s fingers, obscene, wet noises filling the room and Eve picks up her pace. The pad of her thumb reaches up to rub tight, fast circles into her clit as Villanelle throws her head back in ecstasy, her hand flying up to grip one the beams of the headboard.
“Fuck!” she cries as Eve curls her fingers, running them along her upper wall as she continues to thrust into her. Pressure builds in her lower stomach, and Villanelle can feel herself getting closer to sweet release, white noise thrumming in her ears.
“Are you going to cum for me, baby?” Eve grits out roughly.
“Fuck, yes! Please don’t stop Eve, I’m so close already, please-”
Eve cuts her off by grasping her chin with the hand not currently fucking into her, tilting her head to rest against Eve’s.
“Look at me. Please, I want you to look at me when you cum,” she says, softer now as her thumb makes another pass along her throbbing clit.
Villanelle nods quickly, her eyes straining open to look into Eve’s dark ones. Her pupils are blown, her lips parted as they move together.
For a moment, Villanelle feels herself fall into them, lets herself succumb to the darkness until nothing else remains but Eve - Eve, who makes her feel more than anyone, who makes her feel like this .
The band inside Villanelle pulls tight, and she’s almost there, just a movement away from hurtling off the edge into euphoria. A part of her brain resists though, needing Eve to tell her it's okay, that she is allowed to cum, to fall apart into Eve's waiting arms.
Eve leans forward and presses her lips to Villanelle’s.
It’s all the permission she needs.
The band snaps inside her, and she stills, wave after wave passing through her in shuddering jerking motions, Eve fucking her through her orgasm without so much as a pause in her movements.
Finally, the tension dissipates, leaving her limp and heaving as she slowly comes back into herself. She feels alive - living and breathing - as Eve kisses her gently, before slowly moving to rest between her legs.
Villanelle barely registers her movement, before jolting suddenly as Eve licks a long stripe against the front of her, lapping up the evidence of her work. She spreads her lower lips open, pressing her tongue flat against her as Villanelle inadvertently tightens her thighs around Eve’s head.
Eve licks into her, her tongue prodding and firm as Villanelle tangles her hand in dark curls, her hips lifting into Eve’s mouth. The moans that come out of her are soft, desperate, and Eve is nothing less than attentive, grabbing hold of Villanelle’s free hand to tangle their fingers together.
It grounds her, holds her steady as Eve works her again with her silver tongue, her teeth grazing Villanelle’s clit before taking it into her mouth. Eve sucks, drags her tongue firmly over it, and squeezes Villanelle’s hand as she whimpers.
The next orgasm isn’t as intense as the first, but doesn’t lack pleasure in the slightest. Instead, it’s warm, flooding through her and coating Eve’s lips and chin, who doesn’t hesitate to clean her dry. It relaxes her, fills her with a feeling of pure saturation as Eve climbs back up to rest her head upon Villanelle’s chest.
It’s silent for a moment, the two of them simply basking in the afterglow, and enjoying the simple presence of each other. Eve lifts her head, brushing Villanelle’s damp hair from her face.
“You were so good for me, sweetheart,” she whispers gently, kissing her lips as Villanelle’s mouth curls into a bright smile.
“I most certainly was,” Villanelle replies cheekily, chuckling as Eve scoffs and flicks her nose playfully.
“Asshole,” Eve mutters sourly, although the gentle smile on her face and the absence of worry lines on her face tells Villanelle otherwise.
She looks calm, content as she traces aimless patterns along Villanelle’s shoulders, her biceps. It’s soothing, and for once in her life Villanelle feels safe. It makes her wonder how out of all the billions of people on the planet, she was able to find the one who matched her perfectly, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
It makes her think about the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, of the strings of fate that tied one person to another. Soulmates, two people who were made together but forced apart, only to come together again.
“Do you think we are soulmates, Eve?” she asks.
Eve’s eyebrows scrunch together, and Villanelle holds back a grin as she watches Eve visibly think, the curly-haired woman running a hand through her wild hair before answering.
“I used to not believe in them, actually,” she replies, holding up a hand when Villanelle begins to protest. “But I think now, I’m warming up to the concept,” Eve continues, cupping Villanelle’s cheek into her palm.
“I think I met someone who’s challenged me, and has helped me be the person I’ve always wanted to be,” she says softly, her eyes flickering along Villanelle’s face. “And I think if soulmates do exist, it would only make sense if you were mine.”
“So you do think we’re soulmates,” Villanelle smiles, leaning up to peck Eve’s cheek as her lover sighs into the contact.
“I suppose I do,” Eve replies gently, her smile brighter as the sun as she kisses Villanelle again, and again, and again.
told you there was smut 😳
feel free to leave comments and feedback below!
Chapter 11: The End
guys, i seriously cannot thank you enough for all of this. i'm sorry this took so long, but with the us elections on top of the pandemic, it was hard to get through and stay on top of it. i really hope you all have liked reading this as much as i've loved writing it. your comments have truly been rays of sunshine for me. i hope to keep producing works here in the immediate future, and luckily enough i already have some oneshots in mind. anyways, enjoy you guys, please stay healthy and safe going into the holiday season, and i hope to write for you all soon :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It’s raining when they reach New York Harbor.
Their ship slowly passes by the Statue of Liberty, her arm extending high into the clouds. Eve has never seen her in person before, but knows that she is a symbol of hope for those who come to this land, searching for a better life. When the green statue first came into view, Villanelle had told her that the poor in Europe told fantastical stories about America, that the streets were paved in gold. Eve had softly responded that it was not as wonderful as it seemed.
Living impoverished in America had steeled Eve in ways that had never left, despite her time with Niko and its shallow luxuries. Instincts embedded through years of hardship had remained beneath the surface, unable to be wiped away with fancy gowns or precious jewels.
However, there is an underlying sense of anxiety as they approach their port. To be poor in America is a condition that is not only difficult, but all-consuming. Eve realizes upward mobility is difficult in any country, but here? It is as though the country’s metaphorical boot is upon one’s neck, forcing one down despite efforts to stand.
Villanelle shivers slightly next to her.
Eve is pressed snugly against her side, the both of them huddled underneath a soaking wet tarp as they sit on the top deck. The officers had asked the survivors to gather together despite the persistent drizzle, taking names and trying to reunite families.
Too many would never get to see the ones they lost.
Eve glances at her lover.
Villanelle, who is breathing - alive .
Who had looked death in the eyes, only to stay.
Their future is uncertain, to be sure. There will be obstacles, hardships, and trying times. Poverty is the most pressing at the moment, but it would be naive to think that it will be the only one. But with this woman by her side - this amazing, wonderful woman - Eve feels as though they could take on the world.
Like so many times before, Villanelle's presence alone calms her anxieties like a balm.
Eve shifts closer into her, the warmth in her chest seeking companionship with the heat radiating off of Villanelle’s form. The Russian hums softly, wrapping her arm securely around Eve’s slim and trembling form. Villanelle tilts her face towards her, a small smile gracing her face as her eyes meet Eve’s. The hands squeezing Eve’s heart loosen slightly, and she remembers that unlike the little Eve of her childhood - she won’t be alone this time.
This time, she'll have Villanelle. Who so unlike her mother, wouldn't sell her out or abandon her. They've gone through too much, and Villanelle has proven herself too many times for that to be a possibility in Eve's mind.
“Your hair is getting all crazy,” Villanelle grins, lifting a hand to poke playfully at the damp curls starting to frizz around Eve’s head. Despite the tarp covering them, water manages to seep into the creases and onto their faces, soaking their hair. Normally, it would have chilled Eve to the bone. But now it barely makes Eve shiver.
“It gets angry when it’s wet,” Eve smiles, snatching the hand hovering around her head to bring its palm to her lips in a soft kiss.
It’s a soft, tender moment. One that serves to distract them from the obvious chaos and despair around them, but it serves its purpose well. It soothes, Eve’s lips and mind held firm by the anchoring warmth of Villanelle’s palm beneath her lips.
What strong, yet gentle hands this woman has. Capable of both beauty and brutality, pleasure and pain. Perhaps it's why Eve fell in love with them, their dichotomy between the light and dark captivating the very depths of her heart. She runs her hand along Villanelle’s, stretching her fingers along Villanelle’s longer ones so that they match - like a mirror. The Russian smiles, a soft and precious thing, and presses the pads of her fingertips into Eve’s. Her eyes flutter shut, and for a moment, reality only consists of them, joined together by the soft caress between their hands.
It doesn’t last.
The universe truly is a cruel, cruel entity. One that seems hellbent on giving Eve multiple heart attacks within the span of a week.
Eve opens her eyes to find Villanelle spinning both of them around in a complete 180, her grip firm on Eve’s shoulders. Her chest is heaving, eyes laser focused as she glances briefly behind them. She looks predatory, primed and ready for action that is jarring in contrast to her previous demeanor.
“Vill, what the hell?” Eve hisses, trying to glance back to no avail.
Villanelle whips back around, tugging the tarp further over both their heads.
“It’s fucking Niko,” she whispers, “he’s looking for you.”
Eve manages to glance behind her, quickly glimpsing the absurd mustache stuck to Niko’s face. He is glancing to and fro at the passengers huddled together under similar tarps to her and Villanelle, and Eve recognizes the curve of her name on his ugly lips.
“Shit,” Eve curses, pressing further into Villanelle’s side, as if she could somehow climb inside her and hide away. Her heart pounds frantically inside her chest as she burrows her head into the juncture of Villanelle’s neck, her hands gripping the material of her shirt tightly.
Villanelle must sense her terror, because she works quickly to reach her other arm around her trembling body, cocooning her away from hundreds of pairs of eyes. The world disappears, and Eve is left with comforting darkness and the lovely, sharp smell that is beholden to Villanelle.
“Just be still,” Villanelle whispers gently.
She holds her breath as footsteps - slow, clunking, Niko’s - make their way closer. It takes everything in Eve not to run, to stay still as her breath shakily escapes her lips. Memories flash behind her shut eyelids - the pain, the fear, the feeling of her world closing down around her.
Eve thinks of all the times he had held her captive. Had bruised her, shouted in her face, roughly gripped her chin and hair, had left her alone for days on end. How he had stripped her down and left her almost barren, unable to achieve what every living soul is entitled to - freedom.
Villanelle brushes a curl behind Eve’s ear, presses a kiss to its shell. She whispers something soft in Russian, her words touching her mind in an almost-caress, intimate. So unlike Niko, gentle and sweet despite the situation that has befallen them.
Since when did they become like this? Two halves of the same whole, held together by some sort of destiny as they stumble their way through death and destruction? Now, as the devil incarnate threatens to rip Eve from Villanelle’s arms? Her last and only chance at something good?
Niko’s footsteps stop mere feet behind them.
Eve’s breath hitches, and she swears she can feel Villanelle’s muscles coil beneath the skin.
“Pardon me,” Niko says behind them, his voice hoarse sounding and strained, “but have you seen an Eve Park by chance?”
Eve and Villanelle stiffen underneath the tarp.
A moment passes. Two. All Eve can hear is her breath and Villanelle’s, mixing in the cold air.
“I’m sorry sir, no Eve Park on my list,” another voice - an officer? - yes, an officer, it must be. The ones that had been taking down names, trying to get a sense of just how many had perished in the ocean. They had not come to Eve and Villanelle yet, and Eve already knows that just might be what saves them.
The words of the officer should comfort Eve, but she knows better than to let her guard down when Niko is present. This is only reinforced when she hears the telltale sound of Niko’s footsteps creeping behind them.
Her breath quickens, escaping her lips in sharp pants.
She can’t breathe.
She’s too loud.
He’s going to find them.
She’s going to be taken away.
Eve can feel the ghost of Niko’s touch above the tarp hiding them from view.
She holds her breath.
Her lungs burn.
Villanelle’s arms tighten.
Then, almost as quickly as it began, Niko leaves.
His footsteps drift away.
And for once, it’s finally over.
“That was close.”
“Close? Are you kidding me, he was right there!”
“I know, I could smell his celery breath.”
“Well, good for- wait, celery breath?” Eve sputters.
They are sat in a small pub, both women perched onto two rickety barstools that creak whenever Villanelle shifts her weight too far back.
After they had departed the ship, Eve had spied the rundown establishment through the now pouring rain. They had sprinted across the wet cobblestone, quickly weaving their way through the crowd of people that had crammed themselves into the harbor. Villanelle had abandoned their tarp long ago, finding that it was no use to huddle underneath a leaking piece of plastic.
And so they rushed into the pub, an old thing adorned with a soft light despite its age. It was vacant of attendants, save for a reserved looking man behind the bar. The bartender must have understood where exactly they had come from by the state of their appearance, and with no insistence had brought two pints of fine beer to accommodate them. He said very little, only giving his name - Jamie - and a firm command that the drinks were ‘on the house.’
“I heard ‘bout the ship,” he had muttered, a frown creasing lines deeper into his face. “It’s a damned tragedy.”
Before Eve and Villanelle could even comment, he was gone, retreating to the back room without so much of a goodbye.
And here they are.
“Yes, he reeks of it,” Villanelle nods sagely, taking a long slurp of her beer. “There were too many times that he got right in my face, and I could smell it coming off of his teeth.”
“His breath was always terrible,” Eve agrees with a chuckle, her delicate fingertips drawing doodles into the condensation on her glass.
The beer is smooth, sliding easily down the back of Villanelle’s throat as she feels its foam tickle her top lip and nose. It is always so hard to find good beer these days, the only ones worth drinking being those special brews from Dublin. As she sets her glass down, she sees Eve giggle before gentle fingers wipe some residual foam off the tip of her nose.
It’s odd to be here now, after everything.
But despite it all, it makes Villanelle happy to be alive.
Here, in this shabby pub.
Her chest is filled with a kind of honey-sweet heaviness, and it mixes perfectly with the dark chocolate brown of Eve’s eyes. They are tired, especially after their close call on the ship, but there is something beautiful in her posture now. It’s looser, relaxed as though a great ton of bricks were suddenly removed from the brunette’s slim shoulders.
It makes Villanelle excited - now isn’t that a new feeling? - for whatever will come next. There is so much that they could do, so much that they could see! And all the while, Villanelle could have the chance to show Eve what she has been missing all these years with Niko : someone who will love her.
There’s just one thing she has to ask.
“Where do we go now, Eve?” Villanelle questions gently.
It’s not that Villanelle has ever been concerned with making plans, quite the opposite. She is used to being without resources or a stable source of income, and is used to surviving on the most minimal of assets on a moment’s notice. Her varied skill set was sought after, and despite the illegality of her and Konstatin’s activities she was quite good at the jobs she was assigned.
But that was before, and this is after.
Now, she has decided to give up her usual tools of the trade, and she has a certain Eve Park by her side. She asks Eve where they will go, because now it’s not just Villanelle. Something that she never in a million years could have anticipated. In the past, Villanelle had accepted that she would most likely die young and alone, that the universe would snatch her from the earth as quickly as she had been thrust into it. But, as Villanelle traces patterns into the palm of Eve’s hand, it seems as though the universe has other plans.
It has given her a partner, and Villanelle wants to know what Eve wants to do.
Eve smirks, sly and mischievous.
Villanelle’s brows furrow. The small woman had plotted something.
That could never bode well.
Despite the fact that their unconventional relationship has spanned a week at most, Villanelle already knows that her lover has a truly incredible mind. It’s just that sometimes her thoughts can be… odd.
It only makes sense that such an interesting woman would end up with such a spectacular partner as Villanelle, Villanelle preens to herself.
Her thoughts are abruptly stopped when, with miraculous eyes, Villanelle watches Eve reach into the front of her dress, into her lovely expanse of cleavage, and remove a silver, gleaming necklace.
Villanelle’s jaw drops.
“You didn’t… ”
There, between Eve’s fingers, is Le Cœur de la Mer.
The Heart of the Ocean.
“How?” Villanelle breathes.
“I felt it in the pocket of my dress when we were getting off,” Eve says sheepishly, “I can’t believe I forgot about it, but I think it’ll catch a pretty penny if we can pawn it to the right buyer.”
Eve grins, pride radiating off of her in waves that make her face glow.
“Probably a fortune… ” Villanelle mutters.
“Yes Villanelle,” Eve whispers, leaning forward to close the distance between them, her words ghosting over Villanelle’s lips. “A fortune .”
Villanelle feels her eyes flutter open and closed, focused on the plump, pink flesh of Eve’s lips. Her tongue swipes over them quickly, so fast that if Villanelle had blinked she would have missed it.
“You have secured us a very comfortable spot here, my darling,” she tells Eve, exhaling softly as Eve’s hand runs up the side of her neck to grasp her jaw possessively.
“I daresay that you’ve saved the two of us a lot of unknowns.”
“There are never unknowns with you, sweetheart.”
It takes them a week to find a small house on the outskirts of the city, the sellers quickly accepting their offer as Villanelle slapped a thick wad of bills into their hands. It’s comical how fast they had been able to find somewhere, frankly unreal, but that's what happens when you have amass a small fortune in a short amount of time, Eve supposed.
It’s still close enough to the urban areas to get things if need be, but far enough away to be free of the noise and pollution. The walls are lovely red brick, nothing too fancy, but certainly more comfortable than Eve had experienced during her childhood, or Villanelle in hers respectively.
It takes a second week to fill the house with furniture, Eve smiling throughout it all as Villanelle gleefully arranged the rooms to suit them. The house they had bought slowly becomes a home, something that Eve realizes is not just a place, but a feeling. Somewhere to come home to, and better yet, someone to hold onto.
It is not all sunshine and rainbows, though.
It takes a month for Eve to find Villanelle in a cold sweat one night, shivering and mumbling something pained, frightened. For a few seconds, Eve doesn't know what to do, until some deep set instinct sets in and gather Villanelle into her arms. Villanelle's face is contorted, tears streaming down her face as she whispers to her demons holding her hostage.
"I don't want to go, please don't make me go, it's not my time, please-"
Eve holds her, tries to gently rouse her from her nightmare without being jarring. Villanelle's eye snap open, a choked sob catching in her throat as her panicked gaze meets Eve's.
She should have known that it would take much longer for the two of them to completely leave the ocean.
Because Eve hasn't left either. There are too many nights that she can't sleep, that memories of Bill and Konstantin, hell, even Niko plague her to the point that she doesn't bother with it. She reads books, consumes in in a fervor that is almost inhuman, as information attempts to replace the pain and trauma of the past. When they first got here, Eve had been so wrought with it during those nights that she went through three books of introductory Russian just to try and escape.
She just should have realized that she wasn't the only one struggling, that Villanelle carries her own baggage, and that maybe she should've said something.
But, there's still time to make up for it.
And so Eve whispers small comforts to Villanelle in broken, soft Russian, gentle and sweet despite its imperfections. She runs her thumbs over Villanelle’s cheeks, pressing a kiss to her forehead.
Villanelle freezes, her bloodshot eyes widening at the sound of her native tongue before her young face crumples, sobbing harsh and rough into the safety of Eve’s shoulder. Her grip tight and almost bruising against her arms.
“I-I can’t leave, Eve,” Villanelle pushes out through her cries, “Every time I close my eyes, I’m in t-that water and I just can’t-”
“Shhh,” Eve hushes, running a hand through the blonde’s hair. “You’re safe, darling. You’re here. I’ve got you.”
Through every pass of her hand, Eve wonders if they will ever find true peace. If they will ever be free from the memories that haunt them in the night - terrors that come in the form of freezing water and icy corpses. Perhaps they never will, Eve thinks. Perhaps they will always battle the demons and monsters that permeate their dreams.
Villanelle sniffles quietly in the safety of Eve’s neck, her warm breath puffing against Eve’s skin in even bursts of air. Upon further inspection, the brunette finds that she has fallen asleep, her tear stained face finally calm and relaxed as she takes solace in Eve’s embrace.
She reclines, careful not to jostle the sleeping blonde now snuggled into her chest. Their life, this home, is so new . Eve knows that they have been through hell, have seen death and pain and sorrow. They have lived lives longer than their years, and have already seen too much.
But without each other, who knows where they would be?
Because even if they are haunted, they are together.
That, if anything, gives Eve comfort.
“Look what I found.”
Eve Astankova tears her eyes away from her article, the paper snapped snugly in her typewriter as the cool October breeze brushes through their open window.
It’s been five years since the harbor.
Five years since the Titanic.
Five years since Villanelle Astankova literally fell into Eve’s life.
It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been more than worth every moment.
Eve pads her way through their living room, her bare feet pattering softly against their new hardwood floors. Villanelle had put them in herself, proud and beaming as she had finished the last coat of varnish on top of the perfectly cut beams. At first, Eve had half-wondered why they hadn’t gotten a professional to put them in, but it soon became apparent that despite their comfortable life, Villanelle liked putting herself to work when it came to their home.
It was one of the many things about the Russian that hadn’t changed in their years together - Villanelle was still spry, rude and breathtakingly gorgeous as ever, and had taken to working for an interior design firm when she wasn’t working on art or rearranging the layout of the house.
Eve had opted to write for the new women’s magazine in the city, finding that writing about the capabilities of women rather than their social boundaries awoke something dormant within her soul. Her most recent article was over a ‘crime of passion’ in the Bronx, a scorned wife having killed her husband over unpaid taxes and a horrid affair. True crime is an unexplored genre, but through her uncanny ability to digest evidence and profile female killers, Eve has begun to make a name for herself in the competitive world of journalism. It’s liberating to speak of women in such mysterious and dangerous terms, because in her opinion, they are.
As Eve peeks into their bedroom at the humming blonde woman crawling into their closet, she thinks that Villanelle might be the most dangerous of them all.
The thought makes a smile curl across her face.
“Darling, what are you doing in the closet?”
“I found something.”
“And what would that be?”
Villanelle pokes her head out briefly, blonde wisps of hair flying about her face as her mouth splits into a shit eating grin.
“The shirt I first shagged you in,” she says, lifting what Eve recognizes as the same soft button up Villanelle had worn when they had first met. It’s still the same as the day Villanelle had chucked it into the back of the closet, a splotch of red marking the fabric from Villanelle’s bloody nose after getting body slammed.
Despite that, Eve feels her wife’s words pool low in her belly.
It’s not that she doesn’t think about it. In fact, there have been more than enough times that Eve has reminisced at work, thinking about their sweat-covered bodies moving against one another in that expensive car, wetness from them both staining the vintage leather of the seat, remembering how Villanelle’s fingers curled oh so tightly around Eve’s throat-
Fingers snap in front of her face.
“Eve, moya lyubov -” Villanelle calls to her.
Eve comes to, blush still hot beneath her cheeks.
“Yes, sorry I just, ehm, zoned out a little bit there,” she replies shakily, scowling at the smirk adorning her lover’s face.
“Good to know you remember,” Villanelle drawls, nosing at the juncture of Eve’s jaw and neck, mouth pressing deceivingly innocent to the skin as Eve inhales sharply. The shirt is dropped, Villanelle’s hands gripping Eve flush to her chest.
She feels herself flush against Villanelle’s lips, eyes slipping closed as she grasps at robust shoulders as a soft moan escapes her parted mouth. A tongue traces along Eve’s jugular, hands making a similar pattern along her hips, moving up to brush along her sides until strong fingers are teasingly brushing her nipples over the cotton of her shirt.
It should be embarrassing how wet she is already, but Eve genuinely cannot bring herself to care. It never takes much to get her like this when Villanelle is involved, and is one of many perks to being happily married to her wife. Villanelle groans softly against her jaw as she feels the hardness of her nipples with her thumbs, more so when Eve whimpers her name and tugs desperately at the honey-colored hair of her head.
“Tell me what you want, baby,” Villanelle rasps, her mouth millimeters away from Eve’s, but it’s still much too far for Eve’s comfort. She moans gutturally as her wife backs her against the wall, her teeth sinking into the shallow flesh of her collarbone.
“I-I want,” she breathes, her brain fogging up at the obscene feeling of Villanelle sucking a dark bruise into her neck. “I want you to fuck me-”
Her eyes glance downwards to the soft, linen button up on the ground.
She thinks of the car, the burning heat of Villanelle above her, clothes in disarray.
“...in the shirt.”
Villanelle lifts her head from Eve’s neck, her eyes dark with what can only be described as pure, filthy lust.
“Yeah?” she whispers into the space between them.
Eve bites her bottom lip, steels herself, and rolls her hips purposefully into Villanelle’s, savoring the desperate ‘Eve’ that comes out of her sweet mouth.
“ Yes ,” Eve replies roughly.
Within the span of a millisecond, Villanelle has stripped and thrown the shirt over shoulder, haphazardly shoving her arms through the sleeves before she has Eve pinned to their bed, back to sheets as their mouths connect in a hot, messy kiss.
“Fuck, baby-” Eve pants into her lips, groaning as Villanelle’s tongue licks into her mouth.
She bucks her hips into her wife in a hopeless abandon, knowing full well that beneath the cotton of Villanelle’s shirt, Eve’s fingers are leaving red imprints into her skin.
They settle into a rhythm, a sensual dance that only the two of them know.
Eve grips hard onto Villanelle’s shirt as memories flash beneath her eyelids.
She pants and repeats Villanelle’s name like it’s a prayer as the blonde kisses down Eve’s torso, bunching her dress around her hips as underwear slips off of her legs.
Villanelle doesn't bother taking Eve's clothes off. Eve already knows that she has a singular focus now.
Eve almost screams in relief when Villanelle’s fingers spread her open, and her tongue runs flat along her, wetness ruining the sheets below them.
When Villanelle finally pushes two fingers into her, Eve feels tears run down her cheeks.
Because it’s so right. I t’s been five years and it still feels so good, the two of them consuming one another until there’s nothing left but the red string of fate binding their very souls together.
Villanelle takes her roughly, grabbing Eve’s leg by the ankle to shift it straight up in the air to fuck into her properly. Her face is flushed red, a primal look in her eyes as her fingers hook inside Eve to press against a spot that makes her vision white out.
“Fuck, Vill I’m coming-”
The words only serve to spur Villanelle on, her pace quickening as Eve pulls her down by the collar of her shirt, connecting their lips as Eve’s hips stutter in their movements as a tidal wave washes over her. A choked moan stops halfway into her throat as she bucks once, twice into Villanelle’s now stilled fingers.
She comes down slowly, her hands grasping at the air where she feels Villanelle should be, before a comforting weight settles on top of her, gentle kisses pressing along her cheeks and nose.
Eve’s eyes flutter open to connect with hazel ones.
“You okay?” Villanelle asks softly, her voice hoarse and out of breath.
Eve looks at her wife, her lover.
One of the lucky few who survived the Titanic.
The only one who gets her.
“Yeah. Yeah I am," Eve whispers.
And she proves it, promises in her lips as she leans up and captures Villanelle's.
They are okay.
moya lyubov - my love (russian)