"Are you sure you can go through with this?" Ignoring the concerned question that was directed at her, the light framed female continued flicking through the small rack of clothes in the corner of the flat bedroom. "Hey, are you listening to me?" Producing a sigh and rolling her eyes, she pulled out a short sapphire blue dress and held it up to her body.
"Aubrey? What do you think?" The awkwardly slim girl she addressed glanced up, pushing up her glasses as they slid down her nose.
"Too short. You have to blend in a little bit Vivian. It is a ball after all," replied Aubrey after a few tense minutes, not wanting to get in between her two colleagues. Nodding and clicking her tongue as she returned the dress to the rack, Vivian began rifling through the dresses once more. Not much to choose from.
"Viv. Would you just stop for a second?"
"Jesus Christ," muttered Vivian, flicking her dark brown hair over her shoulder. "Turn of the intercom, won't you, Aubrey?"
"Aubrey, don't you dare," came the male voice again as a fist pounded on the door.
"Sorry, girls only!" called Vivian while gesturing to Aubrey to turn off the small intercom they had installed in the bedroom. Sighing, the mousy figure stood up and clicked a small button next to the light switch. There was a small crackling noise before the intercom went silent. "God he's annoying." Settling on a long black gown that was tight around her chest and stomach and loosened up into ruffles by her knees, Vivian stripped down and changed.
"That's perfect!" Smiling, Aubrey snagged a black masquerade mask off the table and twirled it in her hand as Vivian applied bright red lipstick and twisted her hair up into a quick up-do. Touching up her makeup in the foggy mirror, Vivian turned slowly for Aubrey's approval. "Perfect. Here's your purse." Taking the small black handbag from her friend, she waltzed over to the door and opened it.
"Lucas," she cooed as her other co-worked nearly fell into the door, "You know it's bad to spy on girls while they are changing." Walking past as he recollected himself, Vivian picked up a small ear bud off the coffee table and inserted it into her ear. "Did you already test these?"
"Vivian!" Grabbing at her arm and spinning her around, the tall blonde haired man glared down at her with piercing blue eyes. "Are you up to this? We can wait. We don't have to do this tonigh-"
"Oh because we have so many chances to get him out in the open after this?!" spat Vivian, ripping her arm out of Lucas's grip and pointing at the picture of their target on the open laptop screen. "I'm fine. Now are you coming or what?" Releasing an irritated huff, Lucas straightened his shirt and black suit coat before nodding. "Good. You're driving."
Not waiting, Vivian swept from the flat to the car, Lucas dogging along behind her as Aubrey shut the door and returned to her computer. "Everybody ready?" buzzed Aubrey in the tiny ear pieces.
"Yes," came Lucas's gruff voice glancing at his partner. Jesus Christ. She knew what he was thinking about; she was thinking about it too. Their last little excursion resulted in the death of their fourth colleague. Touching the gold necklace that was draped eloquently around her neck, Vivian immersed herself in thought, not paying attention to the surroundings that zipped by. "Ready?" His hand on the door handle, Lucas stared intently at his passenger. Nodding and putting on a dazzling smile, Vivian stepped out from the passenger side.
Men and women flocked from their cars into the large mansion before them, dressed in tuxedos or large ruffled dresses, all holding or wearing masquerade masks. This was a perfect venue. So many masked people, it was easy to slip in unnoticed. Slipping her arm into the nook of Lucas's, Vivian and her date for the night walked towards the large open doors.
"Crap. Security's been updated," muttered Aubrey, her rapid typing coming in faintly through the ear buds. "You'll have to show your invitation. I hope your forgery skills are up to par, Lucas." Rolling his eyes though the brunette wouldn't be able to see, Lucas slid his hand into his pocket and pulled out the laced off-white invitation. Showing it briefly to the security outside the doors, Vivian and Lucas walked inside.
"And you ladies were worried," smiled Lucas, running his free hand through his hair and grinning down at Vivian. Her red lips curled into a smile as she pulled her black mask over her eyes and nose. "Game on," whispered Lucas, pulling on his own black mask.
Waltzing slowly through the crowd of mingling masked people, the pair moved carefully around, and their eyes flitting to each face. "Got him." Steering Lucas towards a man resting his hand on the banister, Vivian weaved her way through the crowd surrounding him. "Ah Council member Pabari. It's such an honor to be in your lovely home," crooned Vivian, giving the Council member a dazzling smile and a flutter of her eyelashes.
"I'm sure the pleasure is all mine, my dear lady," replied the Council member, clearly entranced by the beauty before him. "But I am afraid I don't know your name."
"Annabella. Annabella Marsh," smiled Vivian, making sure to step closer to the Council member.
"Well then it is a pleasure, dear Annabella. And your husband-"
"Oh, he's not my husband," replied Vivian quickly in a feigned hushed voice and laying a hand on his arm. "Just my… date for this evening."
"Enjoy your evening, I am afraid I have more friends to greet," said the Council member, clearly pleased by her advances, "I hope to see you again Annabella."
Leaving the group and heading towards the bar, Vivian leaned against the bar and ordered a drink. "He's looking at you," muttered Lucas, gazing at the Council member through the reflection in his phone screen as he pulled it out. "He took it. Hook, line and sinker."
"Didn't think I'd be able to?" teased Vivian, a playful smirk on her lips as she took a sip.
"Time to put this into action." Taking Vivian's drink and downing it, her partner took her hand and began walking around once more as the band in the corner struck up a smooth classical tune. The masses began pairing up and dancing, laughter and excitement filling the air. Spinning her around and catching her, Lucas slid his hand behind her back as they began to slowly dance. "Eyes on target. Imitating."
"What the heck was that?" snapped Vivian, pushing Lucas away from her and throwing her hands on her hips. "What do you mean you don't care?" Several heads turned including the one they wanted, and some eyes fell upon them.
"Look babe, I just-"
"You're disgusting," replied Vivian, backing away as Lucas attempted to grab her wrist.
"Is there a problem Annabella?" asked the Council member, smiling at Vivian while turning a cold gaze to Lucas.
"It's not yours," slurred Lucas, purposefully mixing his words together to sound intoxicated. "You know what? Have her. I'm leaving." Striding off towards the bar, Lucas kept his back to Vivian.
"Thank you Council member," murmured Vivian softly, placing a hand at her throat, looking startled.
"Please Annabella, call me Charles. I'm sorry your date had to end so horribly. Perhaps I can take your time for tonight. Would you like that?"
"I would like that very much Charles," smiled Vivian, her eyes glowing seductively.
Walking down a lone hallway with only a few people mixing through, Charles guided Vivian towards a private room. "You are beautiful Annabella," he whispered, closing the door and moving a piece of hair that had fallen free behind her ear.
"I know." Pulling out a thin blade from her purse, Vivian swiped her hand across the Council member's throat, blood spurting from the new wound on his throat. "Apologies Council member," murmured Vivian as Charles collapsed, holding his hands to his wound. "They wanted you dead." Slipping a layer of the dress that had splattered blood on it, Vivian bent down, dipping the tip of a small black rose in the pool of his blood before tucking it neatly into his limp hand.
The black rose had marked its victim.