Their eyes met across the hall, and there was an instant connection. Both of them knew that things would never be the same again.
She was standing in the centre of a large group, with all eyes upon her. One just had to look at her for a moment to realize why. She was gorgeous, in the classical sense of the word. Dressed in a black dress down to her knees, she had flawless skin, deep eyes, luscious lips, an enchanting smile and a body to kill for. Everybody wanted to talk to her, to be near her, to have her attention – even for a microsecond. She seemed to have the confidence of a woman who knew that she was beautiful and yet the carelessness of a rebellious teenager.
He was standing in a corner, content with a large scotch in his hand and a big frown on his face. He hated social gatherings, and was here only because he had to. In his line of work, he had been through worse. At least they had an open bar here. He had always been a man of limited understanding. Things like social customs and practices, love and relationships did not come easily to men like him, and he had come to terms with that. Love was for the weak, he often told himself and prided himself on never falling for such a fallacy.
If only he had never seen her.
As he was downing his third glass of scotch that night, he heard one of the most beautiful sounds he had ever come across – It was the sound of her laughter. He turned around, searching for the source in the sea of faces around him. Unsuccessful, he blamed the scotch for messing with his head and ordered the bartender to fill another one up for him. As he finished another drink, he heard it again, and this time, he saw where that majestic sound came from. If the sound of her voice took his breath away, the sparkle in her eyes and the glow on her face made his heart skip a beat, quite literally. He wasn’t sure what he was heady from – the scotch or her beauty. Either way, there was no going back now.
Focus, he told himself. He was there for a purpose, and he intended to make sure that nothing would distract him from that. He believed that we’ve all been put together on this planet for a reason. The world and its intricacies might seem puzzling to most people – a giant cauldron of a personalities brewed together. Most spend their entire lives trying to get to the end of this question, and ironically, reach their own end before that. He was not one of them and this feeling satisfied him to no extent. He had never considered himself to be smarter or wiser than others – what he did pride himself upon was the fact that he knew his own strengths and limitations. He might not know everything about the world, and he was wary of that, but he did know everything about himself. And that was something most people around him were unaware of.
As she went around from one corner of the hall to the other, talking to people, smiling and exchanging pleasantries, his eyes never left her for a second. She noticed that but pretended not to. He noticed that about her, and this drew him all the more towards her. As she did the rounds, she felt his eyes follow her around the room. It wasn’t that she wasn’t used to something like this, but this time, it felt different. There was something different about this man – a wild, magnetic quality that was drawing her to him. She had always felt herself being in control about everything around her, but this was unusual, and yet weirdly arousing.
She felt that she had to get away to get her senses back in order. She excused herself from the banality of the conversations around her and retreated to the small but private gallery outside the hall. The stars were shining down, as she sipped on her glass of bubbly, and letting the cool wind blow her beautiful hair. She looked perfect in the pale moonlight – as if the angels themselves had descended on earth. As she closed her eyes, she found her mind wandering, thinking about him. The sharp, black eyes spoke volumes to her. She sighed and opened her eyes, and there he was, standing next to her. For a second, it seemed that she was imagining all of it, but her loudly beating heart seemed to think otherwise.
He was never one to make small talk, and told her how gorgeous she was. She brushed it off with the candor of someone who’s used to getting such compliments all the time. She pointed out how he seemed out of place in this social setting, and how he seemed to relish that fact. He smiled, and told her that he knew she hated them too, but she put up a good front for the world to see. He, in fact, knew that if she could, she’d never be a part of this social circus, but her career choices forced her to do so. She marveled at how wonderfully he was able to see through the mask she proudly wore day in and day out.
She smiled for him, displaying a perfect set of teeth and asked him how he could make that statement. He took a step closer to her and told her that he knew more than she thought he did. As she looked into his eyes, she felt captivated, unable to move. He moved closer to her and whispered into her ears that this was more than just a mere coincidence that they were there, in that moment, in that place, with each other. She could feel the huskiness in his voice and felt herself giving in. She had never felt this helpless before, and yet, never this wonderful. It seemed the start of something wonderful, something she had only always dreamt about.
He leaned in to kiss her and gently brushed his lips with hers. She felt herself ferociously wanting more as she held him close and felt the smell of his cologne on herself. He seemed to enjoy the teasing as he let his fingers trace the curves of her body as his warm breath on her skin drove her crazier with every passing moment. As their lips met, she could feel an explosion inside her head and she never wanted to stop. She wanted him to hold her closer, take him away from everything and escape together into a new, different world. As a barrage of thoughts ran through her head, she could feel his warm, gentle hands reach out for her, pulling her closer.
The moment seemed to last for an eternity, and she never wanted him to stop. As they kissed and held each other, indifferent to the other people inside the hall, they could both feel that they were on to something magical here. She was scared that something might happen to this, to them, as it always had to things she had valued before. She was running away from the ghosts of her past and this seemed to be her first step to a brighter future.
As this thought quivered through her mind, she felt a sudden jerk. The sound from the silencer reverberated only mildly throughout the hollow emptiness of the night sky. She pulled back a little, and saw her otherwise black dress turn a shade of maroon with her blood spreading across it. She was yet to recover from the shock when he held her close and fired once more, just to make sure.
The last thing she remembered was the tears in his eyes as he laid her on the ground. This was not his first assignment, and he knew this wouldn’t be his last. But he knew that he would never be the same again.