Eve wakes up on the couch.
There’s a blonde woman rummaging around in her cupboards.
Eve watches in silence as Villanelle opens various cupboards and drawers, until she finds what she’s looking for. She pulls one of Eve’s mismatched plates out of the fifth open cupboard and then makes a beeline for the cake still sitting on the table.
Villanelle does not cut the cake with a knife. No, Eve has to watch her scoop cake onto the plate with a teaspoon. Part of her wants to close her eyes and will this woman away. The other, stronger part of her, keeps her eyes fixed on Villanelle’s every move in a sort of morbid fascination.
It only gets worse when Villanelle quickly grows tired of the inefficiency of the teaspoon and proceeds to section off a piece of cake with her bare hand. Once she’s satisfied with the helping that she’s served herself, she turns around to face Eve.
“Hello,” Villanelle is licking bits of cake off her fingers. “You have no clean cutlery, Eve.”
Eve thinks of the grocery list sitting on her desk that has dish soap written at the top and underlined twice. Wonders if the grossness of her week-old dirty dish collection is comparable to the grossness of digging your bare hand into somebody else’s birthday cake.
“I passed out.” She brushes her fingers against her neck, sure that there’s a mark.
“Yes?” Villanelle looks at Eve like she’s the one with cake all over herself. Eve moves to sit up, suddenly feeling too vulnerable for her own liking. Villanelle occupies the space next to her as soon as it becomes vacant. “It’s okay, Eve.” Villanelle reaches a hand out to brush Eve’s hair away from her eyes. “I took care of you.”
“You didn’t kill me.”
Villanelle hums in agreement and looks back at her cake. Eve doesn’t say anything further, doesn’t want to get into it. Dares not to think about why Villanelle, with her blasé attitude towards murder, seems opposed to killing her.
“You seemed like you were having fun,” Villanelle smirks. “I didn’t want to ruin it.”
She’s just had sex with Villanelle. An assassin. Sex with an assassin. Eve turns it over and over in her head. She looks over at the floor where the knife was, notices it’s not there anymore. She should feel weird, right? Or guilty. Or something.
That’s worse than feeling weird, Eve thinks. Weird she can do, guilty she can handle. At least then she would know for sure that she had a moral compass in there somewhere. Grounding her to the rights and the wrongs of the world.
Eve supposes she doesn’t need a functioning moral compass to know that fucking your neighbour who is also a killer is probably wrong. But she does wish she had one, because maybe if she did, she wouldn’t already be thinking about doing it again.
“I used to be married,” Eve ruins it instead.
Villanelle’s interest is piqued. “Used to?”
“Yes,” Eve nods.
Villanelle’s mouth is open in silent surprise, cake temporarily forgotten. “What was that like?”
Boring, Eve thinks. “Stable,” she says.
“Boring.” Villanelle says out loud. Eve doesn’t look at her. “Why did you leave then?”
“I didn’t,” Eve swallows. “He left me.”
“Oh,” she pauses. “Why?”
“I was a shit wife,” Eve laughs, but it’s humourless. “I was - I am, obsessive. Never with the right things. Then, it was always work. Writing, research, project after project. Now, I -“ Eve stops herself.
“Now?” Villanelle prompts.
“Now, I’m…here.” The words feel heavy in the air.
Villanelle nods. “I am not a husband,” she clears her throat. “But I am not so bad.”
“You’re -” Eve laughs. “You kill people.”
Villanelle looks away. She tosses the plate of cake haphazardly onto the floor and the clatter startles Eve. Villanelle stands and brushes out the front of her dress, but the movement is choppy like something is stewing just below the surface. Eve gets the sense that she’s said the wrong thing, like a switch that she can’t see has been flipped.
“That is all you care about, then.” It’s not a question. Villanelle is looking at her tensely, like she might reach out and choke Eve to death this time.
“It’s a pretty big thing, Villanelle.” Eve argues. Like a reflex.
“I am,” Villanelle inhales sharply. “I am more than just a thing, Eve.”
Eve wants to say that’s not what she meant. She wants to tell Villanelle, I know. She doesn’t like bananas. She likes old movies. She watches the same movies over and over because she likes knowing there’s a good ending. She snores a little. Eve wants to say all of that, wants to ask for more, to know more.
But she doesn’t.
Eve says nothing.
Villanelle waits a beat, fuming, and scoffs when Eve remains silent.
Eve blinks and something breezes past her ear. She looks to the side to find a knife stuck in the wall just to her left.
Villanelle had thrown the knife at her.
Like a reflex.
Eve doesn’t see Villanelle again for three days.
Eve is getting her mail when Villanelle comes down the stairs.
“Villanelle,” but she’s out the front door, gone.
Eve finds herself wishing Villanelle had been more accurate with the knife. Death would be sweet relief compared to this.
God, she’s sick.
Another three days pass and Eve is not sure she can take it.
Every waking moment is spent thinking about Villanelle. Every sleeping moment, too, but Eve won’t take responsibility for her subconscious.
She wonders what it would be like to kill Villanelle. She takes the knife out of the wall and weighs it in her hand, imagining sinking it into Villanelle’s stomach. She presses it against her own skin, testing the feeling. It would be soft, she thinks. Skin splitting open where it’s not meant to. Blood spilling out to make room for her. Horrifically intimate.
And if Eve trades the knife for her vibrator, well. That’s her business.
It’s when Eve is two fingers deep inside herself, when she’s too far gone to notice, that her mind betrays her. That’s when she stops thinking of knives, and blood. Instead, she’s imagining Villanelle is the one inside her. Wonders what it would be like to feel Villanelle’s weight above her, or what Villanelle would look like with Eve’s fingers inside of her.
Eve falls asleep, and in the morning is sure it was only a dream.
It’s day seven when Eve decides she’s had enough.
“She can’t just,” Eve is talking to herself, mostly. “Just - fuck me and then pretend I don’t exist.”
“Wait!” The voice on the other end of the phone startles Eve. She had almost forgotten she was on a call at all. “So you did fuck your hot neighbour?”
“Villanelle,” Eve supplies.
“Right, Villanelle.” Elena laughs. “You had sex with her!”
“That’s not the point.” Eve scowls at herself in the mirror. She puts her hair up. “The point is, we had sex and now she’s ignoring me. It’s rude.”
“Eve,” who is only half listening. “You can’t tell me you’ve never ghosted after a one night stand.”
“Not my neighbour.” Eve takes her hair back down.
“Okay, I think I get it.”
Eve pauses. “Get what?”
“It wasn’t a one night stand for you. You actually like her.”
Eve glowers at no one. She runs her hands through her hair. Takes the elastic off her wrist and goes to put it back into a bun. The elastic snaps, pinching her hand and flying across the bathroom. “Fuck!”
“I get it, Eve.” Eve thinks she could strangle Elena for the pleased tone in her voice. “You haven’t dated someone seriously in like, forever. But maybe it would be good for you?”
Eve rolls her eyes. “Good for me might be an overestimation of her character.”
“Okay…” Eve can hear the question there, but ignores it. “Well, even if it’s not good for you, maybe it’ll be fun.”
Eve thinks of the knife lodged in the wall. Of bare hands covered in cake, covered in blood. She thinks of the dead man in the hall. Then she thinks of Villanelle pinning her against the wall. Of her hands around her throat. Inside of her.
“At the very least, getting laid regularly might make you less…” Elena trails off.
Eve is listening now. “Less what, Elena?”
There’s a pause. “…tense?”
Eve laughs despite herself. “Maybe it would.”
Eve breaks into Villanelle’s apartment.
In her defence, the door was unlocked. For an assassin, Eve thinks she ought to have better security.
Villanelle isn’t home. Eve expects as much, having not heard or seen her since they had bumped into each other downstairs. She wonders if she’s been gone this whole time. A thin layer of dust covering the windowsill could be an answer. Or it could be that Villanelle is not a big cleaner. Eve finds herself betting on both.
The last time she was in this apartment, they had watched a movie together. Eve hadn’t had the chance to take it all in, confined mostly to the couch and then the bedroom. She takes her time now.
She wanders to the fridge. It’s nearly empty, save for a collection of expensive looking wine and champagne. Does she even eat?
Eve closes the fridge. Notices a golden cat statue staring up at her from the floor. She remembers another cat statue, on a bookshelf in the entryway. Wonders if Villanelle is a cat person, if she would get one if she didn’t travel so much.
She makes her way through the grand double doors into the bedroom. It’s the same as before, except for the addition of a silk throw on the bed. Eve brushes against it with her fingers and it feels expensive. Eve finds herself wondering for the first time what kind of money an assassin makes. She wonders if Villanelle is even the one paying rent. If it’s all put on a company card. Do they pay her in cash? Money wire?
Eve opens the wardrobe. Okay, Villanelle is definitely not financially lacking. The thing is overflowing with clothes. Eve is surprised they don’t pop out at her when she opens the door. She brushes her hand through them, so many fabrics. Denim, linen, leather, velvet, more silk. Eve thinks of her own plain cotton wardrobe and flushes. It’s not that she’s embarrassed by her own wardrobe. She just finds herself suddenly wondering what Villanelle must think of it.
Buried underneath the clothes are mannequin heads. Each one wears a different wig. Pink, black, red, brown. She imagines all of the different identities Villanelle has had, and wonders how she balances all of that inside herself. Eve can barely keep a lid on herself.
She’s not surprised when the drawer she opens next reveals an array of weaponry. Haphazardly placed knives, ammunition, and guns slide forward with the force of the opening.
“God,” Eve mutters. “Some safety precautions maybe.” She pulls out a gun. She’s about to check if it’s loaded when she hears the door open. Instinctively, she turns with the gun drawn.
Villanelle stares back at her from the living room.
“Villanelle.” Eve feels a sense of relief at the sight of her.
The aforementioned turns to look at the door, then back at Eve. “I am in my own apartment, yes?”
“Okay.” Villanelle takes a cautious step forward. “And you are here, with a gun pointed at me…?” Her eyebrows draw together.
“I -” Eve’s arms drop. “I can’t…” She doesn’t know what to say. Doesn’t know how to tell Villanelle that just being in the same room with her is comforting, when it should be terrifying.
Villanelle steps forward again, waiting for Eve to continue. Eve looks back at her, desperately. It’s then that she notices Villanelle looks… harrowed. Her face is bruised, dark circles under her eyes.
“I can’t stop thinking about you,” Eve exhales.
Villanelle pauses, and for a moment that Eve barely catches, she looks surprised.
“I think about where you are. What you’re doing. Who you’re with. What you like, what you don’t like. I wonder who you are that day, or if you’re working. I think about your hair. And your eyes. I wonder what you had for breakfast, fuck.”
Eve wears her honesty like an open wound. Waits for it to rot her down to the bone until all she can do is cut off the limb.
“So, no. No, your fucking job,” Eve gestures with the gun in her hand. “Is not the only thing I care about.”
A beat passes. Eve’s blood is spilled, her leg chopped off and offered to Villanelle like an olive branch. She watches Villanelle intently, watching her own words turn over and digest in the other woman. Villanelle lets a smile ghost her features before she speaks.
“Come,” Villanelle moves to sit on the edge of the bed. Pats the spot next to her.
Eve does. She sits, gun clutched awkwardly on her lap. Tries not to feel like a teen awkwardly confessing to their crush.
Villanelle shifts, and Eve feels a hand brushing against her face. “I think about you, too.”
Her words are like a tourniquet tied around Eve’s bleeding leg. It might bleed through later, and if she doesn’t get help it might kill her. But for now, it’ll do.
Eve brushes her own hand against Villanelle’s jaw. They stay like that for a moment, mirror images of each other.
“Are you going to shoot me?” Villanelle asks after a moment.
“Oh,” Eve remembers the gun in her lap. “Probably not.”
“It would make an awful mess.”
“I would’ve stabbed you.”
Villanelle smiles. Eve feels a hand tangle in the curls at the back of her neck. She lets Villanelle pull her close until their foreheads are touching. Her breath catches.
“That’s a good choice, Eve. Much more personal.”
Eve closes her eyes. “Romantic.”
Villanelle hums in agreement.
Eve kisses her.
It takes 30 seconds for Eve to remember where she is.
It’s still dark. There’s light from the street filtering in through the windows that should be on the other wall. She reaches for her phone on the nightstand and startles when her hand meets a gun instead. Right. Not her apartment. Villanelle’s apartment. Villanelle?
The distinct sound of glass shattering nearby sends Eve to her feet. Without stopping to think, she arms herself with the gun and steps around the bed toward the living room.
Eve has barely made it through the open double doors when a man stumbles backward out of the kitchen. He catches himself on the refrigerator door, which swings open with the force of it. What Eve imagines to be hundreds of dollars worth of wine slides out and shatters. She levels the gun at the intruder’s head, but hesitates. Catches a glimpse of Villanelle stalking forward from the kitchen.
Eve remains frozen by the couch. Neither of them have noticed her yet.
The man regains his footing and lunges gracelessly towards Villanelle. She steps just out of his reach, and he stumbles. Eve feels her heart quicken as Villanelle’s lips twist into a vicious smile. She starts to turn on her heel, to deliver what Eve imagines to be a killer blow, and then their eyes meet.
The man lurches forward. He grabs Villanelle by the neck and manages to catch her off guard. She drops her weapon in shock as she’s slammed hard into a wall. He presses his body against hers, pinning her and moving to press his forearm across her neck. She tries to fight back, but he holds fast. The chokehold quickly drains her energy, until she falls still beneath his grip.
One second. He’s there. Two seconds. He’s gone.
Her ears are ringing. No one ever tells you about that. Gunshots are terribly loud.
“Eve,” it’s muffled.
Villanelle was right. It’s an awful mess.
Close range in an enclosed space makes a mess. There’s blood splatter all over the kitchen. Even areas outside of the direct vicinity coated in a fine pink mist. She walks closer.
There are some chunks. Eve ignores her desire to get closer to inspect them. It must be parts of his skull.
The hole in his head looks more like a crater. She thinks with some rinsing she might be able to see clean through it, like a straw.
“Eve?” Her ears are still ringing.
His eyes are open. This time she can’t stop herself. She moves lower, looks into his eyes. Empty. It’s sickening.
“He was here before.” She says.
Eve finally looks at her.
Villanelle is covered in blood. A large amount of the initial splatter ended up on her. There are chunks in her hair. She’s sitting on the floor not far from the body, back pressed against the wall.
“I saw him here before. Going into your apartment when you weren’t home.”
“It’s not your uncle, is it?”
Villanelle almost laughs. “No. He’s not.”
“Okay,” Eve smiles. “Well, I’m glad I don’t have to apologize for killing your uncle.”
“You could apologize for the mess you made in my apartment,” Villanelle smirks.
“Oh, fuck off.” Eve swats at her. “Would you rather I let you die?”
Villanelle grabs her arm, pulls until Eve relents and takes up space next to her. “Why did you do it?”
“He was going to kill you.”
Villanelle stares at her for a moment, looks like she’s waiting for a punch line that’s never coming. Eve wraps a hand around the back of her neck and pulls her in until their lips meet. She kisses her, delicately, and tastes blood.
“Thank you.” When they pull apart, Villanelle’s voice is barely above a whisper.
Eve looks back at him, laying motionless in front of them. She looks back at Villanelle, her eyes shimmering when they meet Eve’s. Eve wants to ask. Dares herself to confirm what she already knows.
“Thank you,” she says instead. “For letting me.”
The change in Villanelle’s expression is miniscule. Imperceptible to most. But it’s there, maybe just for Eve. “We should get cleaned up.”
“Okay.” Eve puts her hand in Villanelle’s.
Villanelle nods. “Okay.”
They end up in Eve’s shower.
Villanelle faces the wall, Eve stands behind her. Using her fingers to comb away bits of skull stuck in Villanelle’s hair.
“Was it what you expected?” Villanelle asks suddenly.
“Oh,” Eve pauses, considers. “A little.”
“A little?” Villanelle tries to turn around but Eve presses a hand to her shoulder.
“I’m not done back here.” Eve chastises her. She sighs, “a little, yeah. It was… exciting, for a second. But now -”
“Now it’s over.” Villanelle interrupts.
“Yes. Now it’s over.”
Eve doesn’t say anything else. She had killed someone. Something she’d denied wanting to do for a long time. She’s not ready yet to think, or talk about, how it feels like she could go and do it again in a heartbeat. The addictive nature of it. She finds that she understands Villanelle a little better now.
Villanelle nods and they lapse into a comfortable silence. Eve finishes combing through Villanelle’s hair and lets her hands drop to her shoulders. She presses a kiss between Villanelle’s shoulder blades. She finds herself encouraged by a content sigh from the woman in front of her.
Eve drags her hands down Villanelle’s sides, skin slick from the shower. She pauses at her hips, pulls her back until they’re flush together. Wraps her arms around Villanelle’s waist. Villanelle’s breathing picks up as Eve starts to trace up her abdomen, fingers brushing lightly against the underside of her breasts.
Suddenly Eve’s thoughts are occupied completely by the woman in front of her. “Yes?”
Feeling emboldened, she drops a hand to hold Villanelle’s hip while her other brushes over her nipple.
“Eve!” It’s a gasp this time.
Eve presses a kiss to Villanelle’s neck before biting down to suck a mark into her skin. Villanelle grinds back against her and Eve feels herself get wetter by the second.
“Tell me what you want,” she breathes into Villanelle’s ear.
“Touch me,” Villanelle is practically panting.
Eve pinches her nipple now, twisting it as Villanelle cries out. “I want you to ask nicely.”
Eve can’t help but admire Villanelle, the way the woman’s hips have started a steady rhythm grinding against her front. Her hair dripping down her back, some of the water still running pink. Her skin is red from the heat of the shower, but goosebumps still rise where Eve touches her.
“Please,” Villanelle whines. “Please touch me, Eve.”
Eve feels herself throb at Villanelle’s shameless begging. “No.”
“Huh?” Villanelle’s hips stutter. “No?”
Eve relaxes her grip and Villanelle turns to face her. Before she can protest further, Eve pulls her into a kiss. It’s wanton, breathless, and Eve tries to communicate how badly she wants this by licking insistently into Villanelle’s mouth. She bites at her bottom lip and groans when Villanelle tugs on her hair.
Eve backs herself up, pulling Villanelle with her until her back hits the wall. The cold sends a shiver down her spine, but it’s temporary. Villanelle’s hands reaching desperately for her chest sends a wave of heat through her.
Eve stops her, and when Villanelle looks at her desperately she places a hand on her shoulder and pushes down. “Get on your knees.”
Villanelle visibly weakens, and drops to her knees obediently.
“Don’t you think I deserve a thank you?”
Villanelle nods. It’s almost shameful, like she can’t believe she wanted to get off before her.
Eve tangles a hand in her hair, and pulls Villanelle forward until her mouth hovers near her centre. Eager to please, Villanelle immediately licks into her cunt.
Eve can’t help but gasp, not realizing until now how much she had needed this. She feels the same head rush, heat in her veins that she had felt when she pulled the trigger on that gun. She goes over it in her head, again, the noise, the spray, the collapse.
“Fuck,” Villanelle sucks her clit into her mouth. “Villanelle, I just killed someone.”
Villanelle hums against her but doesn’t stop. Instead, she lifts Eve’s leg until it rests on her shoulder and pushes two fingers inside.
Eve’s head hits the wall as she tightens around Villanelle’s fingers. She wonders if there is anything more intimate than this, the taking of one life in exchange for another. Villanelle inside her right now.
Eve forces herself to look down, and seeing Villanelle’s eyes looking back up at her is enough to bring her to the edge.
“Oh, my god,” Eve can barely get the words out. “You feel so good.”
Eve is burning, and she knows this is it. She’s been ruined forever. There’s nothing but this, now.
She comes screaming Villanelle’s name, her hands tangled in blonde hair. When she’s ready to collapse, Villanelle catches her.
Eve has never been big on feeling.
But now, Eve feels everything with an intensity that could reduce her to ashes if she let it.
Eve feels everything, now.
Especially when she buries her head between Villanelle’s thighs. She learns that Villanelle is sensitive, especially after being made to wait. The gentlest of strokes has her writhing, sheets twisted in a white knuckle grip.
“Eve,” Villanelle’s desperate whines do nothing to tame the burning between Eve’s legs. “Please. More.”
Eve adjusts until she has a hand free to slip inside. She curls her fingers, Villanelle cries out and Eve remembers the ways she’d imagined being inside her before. Mostly with a knife, sometimes like this. She decides that this is beautiful, and it’s enough. Enough, for now, until she can find out how to cut Villanelle open and live in the very core of her.
Villanelle is grinding against her now, head thrown back and breaths coming in gasps. Eve sucks at her clit, curls her fingers again, once, twice, until she feels Villanelle tighten around her.
“Eve!” Villanelle cries out, “Eve! Eve!”
And she thinks this may be the closest she gets to divinity.
It was Villanelle’s answer when Eve asked what she would do for work, after slaughtering everyone she could find that had worked for her previous company.
“Freelance?” Eve had asked.
“Yeah. I take the jobs I want. I go where I want.”
“Come with me.”
Six months later, Eve’s hands grip a smooth leather steering wheel.
She’s speeding down an empty road in some fancy vintage convertible that Villanelle had lifted from someone’s vacation property three months ago. It’s hot, and dry, and normally Eve would hate that. But, Villanelle is in the backseat, laughing as Eve presses harder and harder on the accelerator. She has no seatbelt on, arm tucked around Eve’s chest from behind to keep her from toppling over. And maybe this isn’t so bad.
The man cowering in the passenger seat looks on in terror.
In her other hand, Villanelle has a gun steadily pointed at his head. Eve has a knife tucked away somewhere hidden. It’s been two months since she last used it. Two or three bodies ago. They’ve started to blur together, if she’s honest.
They had already questioned him. On threat of castration, he had admitted the information they were hired to find. Now, they’re just having fun.
The man in the passenger seat flinches as Eve continues to pick up speed.
“Baby,” Villanelle leans down to whine in Eve’s ear. “Can I kill him yet?”
Villanelle sighs. “Why not? He is so ugly to look at.”
His eyes dart between the two of them. Villanelle jerks the gun toward him and he slinks lower into his seat.
“Blood will be worse to look at.” Eve is patient. “Not to mention noticeable. I like this car.”
Eve decides to be nice. She pulls to the side of the road abruptly, and the man lets out a frightened yelp. The car bumps over a few hundred feet of grass until Eve is satisfied with their distance from the road, and parks.
Villanelle visibly perks up and moves to jump out of the backseat. Eve follows, circling the front of the vehicle. She pulls open the passenger side door and grabs their guest by the collar.
This is her favourite part.
She drags him out of the car and into the grass. Villanelle rounds on him instantly, prowling like a wild animal.
“How should I do it?” She asks Eve.
“Use the gun,” Eve instructs. “But not the head. He was annoying. I want him to feel it.”
“Please -” any attempt at begging is cut off by a quick shot to the stomach. And another in the groin.
“Villanelle,” Eve chastises, but her smile gives her away.
Villanelle tosses the gun into the backseat again, before pinning Eve against the car. “Sorry, baby. I couldn’t help myself.”
Eve rolls her eyes as Villanelle husks into her ear, but brings her hand to the blonde’s lower back to press her closer.
“Are you going to watch?” Villanelle asks before kissing her way from Eve’s collar to ear.
“We have to make sure he’s dead.”
“He’ll die.” Villanelle grunts. “Two minutes until he bleeds out.”
He is mostly still now, blood spurting out of his mouth and frantic eye movements the only signs of life.
“I say one.” Eve counters.
Villanelle glares over her shoulder.
They both watch as life slowly drains out of his eyes, until there’s nothing left in there at all. Eve smiles.
“Okay,” Villanelle concedes. “Maybe the dick was overkill.”
Eve grabs Villanelle’s jaw, turns her back toward her and kisses her deeply. Villanelle immediately melts into her, hands tangling in Eve’s curls. Eve flicks her tongue across Villanelle’s bottom lip before pulling away. “You did a good job, Villanelle.”
“Eve,” Villanelle groans. “I am getting dangerously close to begging you to fuck me in the backseat of this car.”
“Mhm,” Eve slips out of Villanelle’s reach, making her way back to the driver’s side. “Maybe if you’re lucky.”
“Eve,” Villanelle whines, but she gets into the passenger seat.
Eve slips back into the driver’s seat and starts the car. Cranks the air conditioning because she’s already sweating again. “Okay,” she concedes. “On one condition.”
Villanelle looks on eagerly.
“The next place has to be colder. It is way too hot here. I hate Italy.”
“Colder like Alaska?”