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Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #1614226
Ryo Steele is one of the worlds best assassins, with your help.
(CLOSED) Ryo Steele is the most highly skilled, highly sought after assassin in the world.

This is his journey...


1) Ryo is not a nice guy, he's not evil, but due to his line of work, he is a hardened killer.

2) If you want to create a character and be sole writer for it, just let us know in the forum.

3) Love interests and additional characters are fine.

4)Try to assassinate Ryo's victims in unique and unusual ways.

5) Have fun!

The Forum, for discussion and development is located here (You will get the passkey once you are accepted in the campfire):
 Nerves of Steele Forum (Closed)  (18+)
Discussion of the Nerves of Steele Campfire
#1614227 by EvilDawg - Vigilante Ranger!!
I am the Darkness, the Shadow. I am Death...

Ryo sat cross-legged on the floor of his carpeted hotel suite, soft jazz gently filling the background with soothing rhythms. He pressed the bit of the drill to the carpet and slowly, painstakingly, started boring. Ryo stopped periodically to suck up the fragments with the little keyboard vacuum he purchased that morning, leaving small bits of carpet laying on the floor.

Breaking through to the ceiling below him, carefully maneuvering the vacuum tube down the hole to keep any dust from falling below, he removed the drill. Another tube, this one attached to a small LCD screen was lowered into the hole. Ryo guided it down until his target came into view, directly below him, one floor down. Sleeping, like a baby, was Alejandro Boneva; Columbian Cartel boss. His Client will be paying handsomely for this "accident."

Ryo didn't care who his targets were, as long as he got paid; the respect wasn't bad either. His only accomplice is his handler, Monica Jergston, who does everything short of the actual killing. She sets everything up in advance to give Ryo time to search for the perfect spot.

Taking a thin string out of his pocket, he set it on the floor next to the hole. A bottle of liquid emerges from his other pocket, this also is set on the floor. Ryo slides the string down the hole and down to Mr. Boneva, just above his unmoving lips. He cautiously pours a few drops of the liquid on the string and watches it slide down, letting gravity do his killing, and drop into his victims mouth, Alejandro's tongue lapping up the chemical, like a dog twitching his leg in his sleep.

Ryo put the lid on the the bottle and pulled up the string. He mashed some of the carpet fragments that he left out back in to fill up the hole. He stood up, put everything in his bag and left the room.

When they go to check on Mr.Boneva in the morning it will have appeared as though he had a heart attack in his sleep, but Ryo knows better.

He boards a plane and returns back to Los Angeles.

Sitting in his chair he leans back, hands clasped behind his head.

I am the Darkness, the Shadow. I am Death...


It was a very special day and a very special event. Ryo was on his way to dinner. It didn't hurt that he had a female on his arm that would make most men jealous.

Granted, Angelina was gorgeous in all the ways that count, yet Ryo had other things on his mind, especially knowing her specifics. Her scent was of expensive perfume, her face flawless, her body was made for sin, but her mind was quick, her actions quicker, and her goal was purely wicked. A kiss could mean a trip to paradise or a trip to hell.

Oh, the things Ryo did in the name of political correctness.

The two walked into London's West, a five star restaurant in Los Angeles. Luckily Monica made the reservations in time, this was to be a quick job; one night, no excuses.Ryo was up to the challenge, after all he was in his prime and challenges kept the job interesting. They were seated and ordered drinks, which came only moments later. The service here is impeccable, Ryo thought to himself as he took a drink of his Scotch on the rocks.

"So, Mr. Steele, do you think you can help me?" Angelina sat back in her chair, eying Ryo and twirling her umbrella in her Pina Colada.

Ryo could not help but find the situation a little amusing; His date offering him a job while, at the same time, being his current target.

"You see, Mr. Steele, my proposition is that we partner up. It's actually quite perfect if you think about it. We have the best clientele in the world and we sign a contract stating that we will not take assignments involving the other. What do you think?" She brushed some hair away from her eye and looked at Ryo, calculating his expression.

"Ms. Smithe, while I appreciate and, wholeheartedly, would like to accept your offer, I find that I cannot. I work alone Ms. Smithe, always have, always will. It's my code." Ryo set his Scotch down on the table and pulled out a billfold from his inside jacket pocket. "I think our time is up." Ryo stood up and set a one hundred dollar bill on the table then returned his wallet to his pocket.

"Mr. Steele... Ryo, please wait." Angelina stood as well. "Please sit back down. Forget about the offer, forget I ever mentioned it. Just have dinner with me Mr. Steele." She motioned for him to sit back down as she did. "We have come all this way and gotten dressed up, can't we just enjoy a meal and part as friends?"

Oh what a tangled web we weave... Ryo sat down as he returned his Scotch to his hand. You're showing your desperation Ms. Smithe, shame on you. Unless. Unless you know why I am really here...

"Thank you, Mr. Steele." She relaxed a little. "Being in the marketing business can be quite tricky, unless a person knows what they are doing. And everyone is ...well...some people are quite scared of competitors having a monopoly?" She raised her eyebrows at him, testing whether or not they, in fact, weren't talking about the same thing. He was not someone to be toyed with, which meant she'd have to be even more careful.

He wasn't overly handsome, yet magnetic in his own way, even with that scar on his lip, but also there was something about him...an almost animal-like quality in the way he carried himself, spoke, and interacted, which was far more dangerous for her. However, this felt much like a game of cat and mouse, but it wasn't always easy to figure out which part each was playing at the moment. It was a pity that she'd have to end his very existence...such a waste. One drop from her bottle of eye drops, which wasn't eyedrops, readily available would prove fatal. Too easy, and surely he would expect such a choice. No. This would have to be less predictable. This could take some time. First, she'd have to get to know him more, and figure out his weaknesses. Reading about him on paper was one thing, reality was another.

Ryo shifted in his seat and looked at Angelina, "So... You come here often?"

Did I just really say that? Admittedly Ryo was a little nervous, which was unlike him. Angelina was one of those women that are unapproachably beautiful. Sultry, sexy and brilliant were all qualities that Angelina shared with the multitude of other drop-dead gorgeous women on this planet. The best, and worst, part was that she knew it; she knew she was what every superficial man wanted. I have killed too many people to count yet I can't think of anything to say to a beautiful girl.

"Actually I do come here often, which is why I was surprised that you made reservations here." She gave Ryo a cocked look, "Have you been following me Mr. Steele?"

"I'm sure that it's just coincidence Ms. Smithe, my assistant made these reservations." He took another sip of his drink, set it down and reached for Angelina's hand, softly taking it in his. "Listen, I appreciate your offer, I really do. It's just that I have a code that I live by, nothing else matters except the code. It has saved my life on countless occasions and I trust it." Ryo looked her in the eyes, then down at his hand, "Under other circumstances..."

"Don't worry about it Mr. Steele. I understand." She pulled her hand away abruptly as the table was surrounded. The servers placed the plates of food in front of Ryo and Angelina, laying their napkins down in their laps for them. Once the meals had been placed, their server smiled and said "Bon Appetit!"

The two had their dinner and a few more drinks, chit-chatting about this and that, and the weather. Ryo took the check when it came, tossing three one hundred dollar bills in the waiters payment folder and they got up and walked outside.

"Mine is right over there," Ryo said, pointing to the red Sunbeam Tiger in the Valet lot across the small street.

"Okay, I'll just call a cab. Thank you for your time Mr. Steele." She reached out her hand to Ryo.

Taking her hand in his again, "No Ms. Smithe, thank you for the lovely evening and company." Ryo kissed the top of her hand, as was customary... eighty years ago.

They looked into each other eyes for a long moment; Ryo admiring the intensity of her eyes, they way they looked at him. His confidence came back to him with force, "Wanna get a drink?"

Immediately and without pause Angelina said, "Yes I do!"


Angelina was taken back by his request to join him for drinks, it served it's own purpose. Part of her wondered if she was liking this a little too much. After so much faking it, when do you know when you're not. It gets to be so natural. Before long they were both laughing at each other's jokes, and their smiles didn't stop at the mouths, but went clear up to their eyes.

She was telling him a story about when she was a girl, and was nicknamed, Gina. She noticed his eyes had this beautiful hue to them, eyes the color of sherry, with irises ringed with gold, wide open now. She'd read somewhere that it indicated an adrenaline dump. Surely, he wasn't on drugs, or excited.

His nose was strong and only slightly curved, his jjaw ...oh ...what am I doing? This is not suppose to happen. Okay, so she was admiring him. He's a man, a driven, passionate man, however, one that definately couldn't be trusted. One wrong move, and she could be dead, especially if he knew what her goal was. Maybe that was why she dragged this out more. She chalked it up as animal attraction--purely animal. Who said she couldn't have her fun meanwhile? He was proving to be quite charming, or was that an act too? His smile was brilliant, flashing those pearly whites.

She pulled her hair behind her ear. "Would you excuse me a minute?"

Ryo nodded.

Then she headed toward the ladie's room. While she was in there, he wandered toward the bar, and scanned the room for any suspicious looking people. He also wondered if something triggered in her, and she'd realized who the target was.
Ryo ordered two more drinks; one for himself and one for Angelina. He walked back to the table and took a small bottle from the inner pocket of his jacket, glanced around cautiously and put two drops into the Pina Colada then stirred it with the umbrella stem. This might be easier than expected.

Angelina sauntered back to the table, her hips wagging in practiced fashion. She sat down and saw her drink. "For me?"

"Yeah. I thought, since we were having such a nice time..." His voice trailed off. He thought back to the restaurant and wondered if there was a chance. It had been too long that he had someone. Sure he has had one night stands all over the world, but never someone to call his own since Maggie. She was the reason he got into this line of work in the first place; her murder was very public and very professional. The lesson he learned was to never let himself be close to anyone. Angelina was very beautiful; every man's fantasy. But he knew that she had an edge about her; she was, after all, like him, an assassin.

She took the drink in her hand and brought it up to her lips to take a sip. Ryo watched but his attention was suddenly drawn to a ruckus at the bar, and there he was. There, at the bar of this club, was one of the men responsible for his wife's murder; Santoku Masaki, Yakuza hitman.

Ryo slapped the drink out of Angelina's hand and reached under the table; his hand on her thigh, moving under her dress. Angelina's eyes widened, her heart racing. "Mr. Steele!"

Ryo found the gun and expertly unfastened it. He pulled his hand out, gently caressing her inner thigh with his fingers, trying to be soothing. He set the gun on top of her dress, on her lap. "You're going to need this" he said as he nodded over to the bar. He reached into his jacket, found his pistol and released it from it's confines, kept at the ready.

"Care to help me? The target is Santoku Masaki; the bald Asian man at the bar with the tattoos. He murdered my wife almost 10 years ago." Ryo waited for a moment for an answer, never taking his eyes off of his target.

Angelina looked in the same direction he did. Discreetly, watched the Asian man, while seemingly interested in the couple near by.

Another man and his woman were bickering. "Why did you tell me you were at the office?" Her hands were at her hips. All the while, you were here drinking up the rent money. What a horrible excuse for a man you are!" The woman stomped her foot onto his, smacked him with her handbag, and soon other patrons were trying to pull her off of him, so most of the attention was on them.

Trained to spot an obvious distraction, Angelina's focused on Ryo, her gaze softened, encircled in his warmth. She turned only slightly, her left hand behind his back. She was so close she could smell the intoxicating mix of his cologne and body scent, and felt his breath against her cheek. She let her head rest on his shoulder,

"What are you doing?" he hissed.

As if not hearing him, her lips found his ear; she whispered, "You owe me a one." With just enough pressure, her teeth took a quick bite, Ryo jerked to the side. This allowed her a perfect shot at the stranger behind him, who came wielding a very sharp knife.


Angelina pulled the trigger of silenced Walther PPK and dropped Santoku where he stood, blood dripping from the hole in the center of his forehead. She leaned in again and whispered "You're welcome."

Ryo took her by the arm, gently guiding her out of the fray and out the door onto the sidewalk, instinctively dodging the bodyguards that were fast approaching Mr. Masaki's corpse. Ryo leaned in, close to her neck, "Thank you." He reached his arm back and firmly held her lower back, pulling her close; her breasts pressed against his chest. Quickly he turned to the left, putting Angelina's back to the door of the club and slowly, tenderly kissed her neck. He gently ran the tip of his tongue up her neck to her ear, then softly kissed her earlobe. He whispered, "Bad guys, six o'clock."

Angelina felt Ryo's strength as he held her close, her eyes closed as she enjoyed his caress. He slowly, adeptly moved his hand down and held her left buttock firmly. They turned in unison as Ryo kept an eye on the bodyguards as they looked around and finally went back inside.

Ryo kept her close to him for several moments after they disappeared inside, his hand exploring her back and lower as he licked her earlobe and said, "You smell great and yes, I owe you one."

He leaned back and looked into her eyes, those soft eyes. How can I kill her after what she has done for me?

There was no denying the tingling going on inside every time the man touched her. He'd stood at the entrance of the sacred temple of her body and by way of gentle caresses explored her world.

And she allowed it, yet she knew part of that was him being clever and multi-practic, that and the fact, more henchmen were in the vicinity.

Angelina played with the idea that despite his rough exterior there was a sweetness to him, which you normally don't see in your target. She remembered how considerate he was when he'd thoughtfully brought her a new drink, yet as soon as she went to take a sip, he'd smacked it out of her hand. And just as quickly slid his hand up her thigh, retrieving her gun. It happened so quick, the situation turned urgent and dangerous, the steady drip of adrenaline shooting through her veins, along with the feel of his hand burning into her thigh even after he'd removed it. And now, the closeness could have almost been intimate, except for the strangers lurking nearby.

His hand slid around the curve of her butt. She moved it upwards, a slight smile on her face. "You love it, don't you?"

"Yes.I do and I want to do it some more?"

She blinked rapidly. "Do it some more?" It occurred to her that he must have misunderstood and might not know what she was talking about, which was the rush that came during the shooting.

Men--always focused on sexual activity. Then again, she imagined what it might be like to...

Ryo broke her fantasy trip, when he spoke, "We better get out of here."


They got in a cab, deciding to leave their cars there in case someone tried bugging them, and went back to Ryo's apartment. Exiting the elevator, Ryo pointed at the only door on this floor, "After you."

He watched Angelina walk to his door, mesmerized by the wagging of her rear. He admired her curves and the dedication it takes to keep such a beautiful body. He let them in and closed the door.

"Ms. Smithe, I have a sneaking suspicion that you have ulterior motives for me." He slid his arm through hers and led her to the couch overlooking downtown Los Angeles. "Whatever they are, can we put them aside for tonight?"

She scanned his face intently, wondering if he truly knew her purpose. Maybe teaming up might not be such a bad idea... "I'm sure I don't know what you mean, but, for arguments sake, sure. They are put aside." She watched him pace a little bit before pouring drinks for both of them. He had this swagger about him that was very manly and she definitely approved of it.

"Thank you again for earlier. There are more that I have to deal with, he was just the mastermind. I still need to find her killer." He sat opposite her on an exact copy of the couch she was on.

"It was my pleasure." She looked for a place to set her drink down, but found no end table or coaster. She leaned down and set it on the polished marble floor, her dress parting a little, exposing her ample cleavage. "Can I help some more?"

"Maybe, but first, we should get to know each other better first." Ryo sat back in the couch, admiring the beauty before him. "You go first."


Angelina was never that big on self disclosure. "First off, my name isn't Smithe."

"I assumed as much," Ryo replied. He sat his drink down, sat back, and folded his arms, his hands interlaced.. "It doesn't really matter. A name is just a label we put on people and things."

"True, and often those labels aren't accurate. What would you like to know? Tell me a few things about you, and how your wife's death came about." She leaned forward, her legs slightly parted, elbows at her knees, and threaded her own hands loosely together, subtly mimicing him and stayed that way for several minutes. The truth was she had so many names that she almost forgot who she was, and the way he was looking at her was distracting and annoyingly titilating. The booze circulating through her bloodstream only intensified the desire she was feeling and tried to tamp down. "Where did this happen?"

While he gathered his thoughts, she decided to put aside her need for the moment. She scooted to the corner of the couch, leaned against the pillow there, and drew her legs up under her.


OT: For some reason, I'm making numerous errors, plus accidently deleting text. It must be one of those days. like when you constantly drop things. I will go now and come back later to see if there is anything new.
"Okay, I'll go first. But, what I tell you can't leave this room, agreed?" Ryo straightened up sat back.

"Agreed, and ditto."

Ryo looked at her intensely, wondering if he could truly trust another assassin, one who may or may not be paid to kill him. What the hell. He did, however, notice that the way she was sitting allowed him to see under the hem of her dress, he liked that. It made her seem more vulnerable.

"My wife, Maggie, and I were married about 15 years ago when I was in the military. We meet at an Army / Navy cotillion in Chile and were inseparable from that moment forward. I never believed at love at first sight up to that point, but there she was." Ryo shifted in his seat, obviously uncomfortable in disclosing such a personal item to Angelina, but somehow it all felt so right. In fact it reminded him of when he met Maggie. "Being in the Special Forces meant not being able to see each other often as I went all over the world while she stayed in her logistics office in Naval Intelligence. Anyway, one night, after arriving home from a mission in Japan to take out a Yakuza leader, I came back to find Maggie dead, her throat slit. There was calling card, a black orchid, on her chest. Of course this was the calling card of the sect of Yakuza I was there to kill the leader of."

Angelina thought she noticed a brief tear in Ryo's eye, but he quickly stood up and went over to the bar to pour himself another drink. He motioned at his drink to Angelina, who checked hers and nodded in agreement, "Sure."

"So as a result I left my post, honorably, and went into the revenge business. The thing of it was, I was damn good at it. I started getting requests from all over the world for my services and, quite honestly, never looked back." He brought her drink to her and sat back down. "Santuko was just the first, he was the one who ordered the revenge hit on me for taking out his boss, but when they found I was not home... You know the rest."

Ryo got up and slowly walked over to the couch Angelina was sitting on, sat down and put his hand on her knee, "How about you? How did you get in this line of work?" He marveled at her beauty yet again, her silky hair, shapely body and quick wit. Perfect.

She looked at him. He had that look....that same predatory look like the others had, before she killed them. His words sounded sincere like the others, except near the end she hoped they hated themselves.

Did he really think she'd tell him everything? She wondered if he'd believe any of it or think she made it up. And so she fed him a line to make her look helpless. "After living on the noisy, dirty streets of L.A. until I was ten, I was raised in foster homes for the most part. I must have been in ten homes by the time I was fourteen years old. .After several years of having clean sheets on our own bed, food on the table, and no fear of getting beat up while walking home or once we got there, I didn't want to go home, not after that last time I was there."

"I can't imagine what that was like. What's the deal about the last time?"

"To make a long story short, my step-dad died. I got conflicting stories about how that happened. My mother said it was a house fire. My brother said it was a heart attack."

"Maybe one lead to the other."

She shrugged. She didn't tell him that she blamed herself for it, went to the police and confessed, and thought they'd arrest her and give her the death penalty , but the police didn't believe her, and made her go to counseling.

"I cried when I heard he died."

"That's normal."

She stood up suddenly, and moved around the room. "Cramp in my leg."

He started to rise. "Let me help."

"No. Please, I can do it."

Every now and then she'd stop , gasp, and stretch her leg out, and make little sounds. Her face hidden from his view gave her time to blink away any tears that might spilll while remembering.

"Dad died," they'd told her.

"Dad?" she asked. She'd never thought of him as "dad", even though he was the only one she knew from a young age. She'd wept when she recieved the news, but it wasn't tears of grief. She was relieved that nobody had to suffer because of him anymore, and accepted the fact that she hated him, and at the same time felt guilty. She was a killer, and had to live with it for the rest of her life. Nobody believed that she ...well she...had anything to do with it.

She cleared her mind of it. Deciding that remembering wasn't a good idea., just like this alone time wasn't either. "Oooh," she cried out. No, she couldn't tell Ryo. Talking too much lead to trouble, and she'd get too close, and never be able to ice him. He also didn't know that the man with the bullet in his head got shot because he'd stepped out of line, was sloppy, and would have ruined her plans. The idiot! she thought. She'd recognized him. It worked out well for her.

It was a pity that Ryo had been marked for death. His mind was quick, his way was smooth as velvet, but she knew he was deadly, and he was . She played with the idea of doing several nasty things with him, at least once. My god what if he looked at her like a goddess afterward. It would make it doubly hard to ice him.

"It's in my foot now," she said.

"You have this often?"

She was half hopping and walking around, and then dropped to the floor. . "I"ll be okay once I...get through... this." She winced.

"Are you avoiding me?"


"Do you suffer with mood disorder?

"That's a hell of a thing to say. What makes you think that?"

"Well, first you're all over me, and then..."

"I'm all over you? Don't you have that backward? What I did was ...had nothing to do with being 'all over you'." She'd forgotten about her leg and foot cramps.


She looked at her watch, and scrambled for her bag. "I really need to be going.. It's been a nice evening, really, but..."


Ryo stood up quickly and went to her, tenderly taking her arm with his hand. "Ms. Smi... Angelina." She tried to pull away but either didn't try that hard or was no match for Ryo's grip, she stopped and turned.

"What!" She seemed angry, annoyed. Her eyes welled up but she fought the tears back as hard as she could.

Ryo pulled her a little closer, "Look, I don't know what's going on here, between us..." Ryo's phone rang, it was Monica. He sighed, "Sorry...I need to take take this, it's work. Will you stay, please?"

"No. I'm leaving. It's not you, it's just..." Her eyes welled up again, she turned quickly and walked to the door. "I'll call you tomorrow, okay?"

"Okay. Please do." He walked her to the door and let her out. He put his phone to his ear, "You're timing is impeccable, what is it?"

"I just found out that there is an assassin on contract to kill you. Is that enough reason to bother your majesty?" Monica's tone was definitely irritated.

"Sorry M, it was just... Never mind. So who has the job?" His mind was now coming back to earth. He had dealt with this before; people trying to kill him. This time will be no different.

"She goes by the name of Angelina Smithe, though her real name is a mystery. She's good Ryo, real good. Be careful." Monica hung up as she knew Ryo did not want to me on the phone long, ever.

"Figures." Ryo went to his window and looked down at the street. Angelina was hailing a cab. He could kill her right now if he wanted; high-powered rifle out of his window. No. There is something about her. Ryo watched her for a long-time, until a cab picked her up and they drove off.

Ryo thought about it. He knew what she did for a living but, for some reason, it never dawned on him that she would also be trying to kill him just as he was trying to kill her. The thought excited Ryo, he knew that there was something about her that he needed and it wasn't just her perfect body. No, she had something else that drew him to her, something that Ryo hadn't had in a long time; something he needed.

Ryo slept, or tried to sleep. His ego wouldn't let him be afraid of anyone so it didn't bother him that someone wanted him dead but he wondered who put the hit out on him.

The next day Ryo woke, got up and ate breakfast; two egg whites, cantaloupe and some tomato juice. He read the paper and admired his work in the headlines:

Yakuza Boss Slain in Downtown Club, Triad Suspected


His phone rang, it was Monica again, it answered it, "Good morning M."

"Ryo. You have a job. I've emailed you the details. This time it is domestic, have fun and be careful." Monica hung up.

Ryo went to his PC and opened his secure, encrypted email and opened the one from Monica.

Looks like a wife wants her husband dead for the life insurance, must look like a heart attack. No problem.

Ryo took a shower and got dressed. He transferred the file to his phone and went downstairs to hail a cab; he needed to get his car back. He got to the club and checked his car, like he always did. No one was going to end his life with a car bomb, that would be very sloppy, especially for Ryo's person.

He drove to Encino and park up the street from the targets address. He needed to case this out well; to find the method to complete the job. Each had to be unique as he didn't want to ever leave a "calling card" for police or other investigators.

He waited and watched...

Angelina pondered the events of the day on the way back to her cold, generically furnished rented room. She would have much rather stayed there with him in the warmth of his arms. It wasn't so much his looks that drew her in. If men could be considered exotic, he was. The way he moved about and expressed himself, was with purpose. There was no friviolous movement. Yes, he was highly seductive, yet skilled in many ways. She wondered what others she might discover. On the surface was he was like cool marble, but beneath it she could sense a scorching hot passionate driven man, a man with real emotions. Maybe he'd not even recognized that in himself. Or maybe it was her perspective and the clouds of... No. It couldn't be that, she thought. She also wondered why he was on someone's hit list. Well, of course, he would be, considering he probably killed off someone important and now other's were seeking revenge or they thought he had info that could ruin their own plans.

She looked at her cellphone. The usual odd number showed up there--the one she'd told her half-sister to use when calling. It was required just in case her phone fell into the wrong hands--hands that could end their life. It was some sense of protection Angelina provided for her family. Better yet would be a phone booth, as if there were any around at the moment. She wondered what it was this time. Maybe it was something as simple as Marie misplaced her phone book again and wanted phone numbers or addresses of other siblings. She was tired. She didn't want to play the part of secretary tonight.

Looking out the taxi's window, her eyes fell upon the rainy streets, which reminded her of another place and time. No, she'd not think of that now, and returned to her previous thoughts. She supposed that it came with the territory--being the oldest girl and all. She'd read somewhere that the oldest in the family liked to boss the other siblings around. In her case, she didn't think that was true. It was them that came to her when they had a problem, wanted to talk, or needed help. She was looked at as the strong one, yet often she didn't feel so strong. It was those times she'd almost wished someone else could take over, but she knew that even that couldn't last for very long. She was so used to doing everything herself.
Ryo waited for what seemed like hours. He thought about Angelina the whole time, trying to wrap his head around her beauty and his attraction to her. He swore that he would never get close to anyone again, but she had help him selflessly. Who does that? He wondered. His mind kept returning him to the facade they put on in from of the club; her hands on him, his hands on her butt and the kiss. It all felt so real and so right. Who am I kidding? She will try to kill me soon and I will have to take her out. He thought that it was sad. For the first time he let his guard down and while he knew her story was probably a bunch of lies, his was not. He actually opened up to her. Why did I do that? I am more disciplined than that!

He snapped back to reality as a car pulled into the driveway. It was a small, red Mazda RX8 sports car. A man got out, matching the description of his target. He disappeared through the front door, leaving Ryo to wonder what he had done that was so bad that his wife wanted him dead. Not that money wasn't enough for most people, but they were married for a reason and that reason was usually love. Ryo knew all about love, and loss. Some might say that he is damaged goods, but he feels that he has taken that pain and turned into something practical and fulfilling; at least to him.

That's enough for today. Ryo thought it would be easy to cut the brake lines of the car, sending the target to his death on the 101 freeway. Alas, he would never do that again. The only time he did that was on his second job. He cut the brake line of a Mercedes that belonged to a Japanese Ambassador in New York. It would have worked perfectly, in fact it did work perfectly, if the correct target had been in the vehicle. Instead, the targets sixteen year old daughter went out for the evening, never to return home. But that was in the past. He has learned many lessons in his tenure as an assassin.

He drove off, contemplating the device of the targets demise. He looked at the clock, 4:45pm.

Why hadn't Angelina called yet?

She'd slept fitfully, wiping the remaining blurriness of sleep from her eyes, she stretched like a cat across her bed. Ryo Steele. Hmm. Picking up the phone, she started to dial, then stopped, and flipped the phone shut, walked toward the dresser and prepared some coffee, then stripped off her nightclothes, and slipped into the shower.

The water was hotter than usual which was fine with her It soaked her hair, drizzled down her breasts and traveled the length of her belly. lost in the valley between her legs. She thought about Ryo then. The water replaced by his hands, making its journey over her body. Smoothing her hair back, she soaped up, the bubbles gliding over her silkily. then rinsed off, grabbed a warm towel and returned to the coffeemaker. Sipping a cup of joe, she stared at her phone, and bit her lip. She picked up the phone and dialed again, then shut it once more.
Ryo returned to his penthouse apartment and poured himself a drink. He sat overlooking the vista of downtown L.A., sipping his Glenfidditch whiskey and putting his feet up on the couch.

I guess I could call her. No. She said she would call. He fidgeted around his domicile for a while, the turned on the TV. News was always interesting but he needed to keep up appearances so he turned on Moneyline on CNN and went to his computer, looking for some penny stocks to trade but found nothing interesting.

He took out his phone and checked for missed calls; not that he would have missed the vibrate, then ring he had it set to. No missed calls, "Dammit!" He dialed a number and put the phone to his ear.


"Yes, this is Mr. Parker, can you send over my usual?"

//Oh, Mr. Parker! Of course sir, coming right over. You want fortune cookie this time? It's bad luck, no fortune cookie.//

"Fine, give me a fortune cookie Chan and thank you. Can you put it on my tab?"

//Of course Mr. Parker. You have good evening.//

Ryo went to the window and looked out. Across the street, Hunan's Chinese restaurant, his favorite. He sat, again, on the couch overlooking his panoramic view. The same couch Angelina sat on last night, the night he would most likely never forget.

He waited for about thirty minutes and the doorbell rang. He got up, downed his drink and walked to the door.

"Here you go Mr. Parker. Chan wanted me to tell you, two fortune cookies for special customer." The delivery man said.

"Thanks Ping," Ryo reached in his pocket and pulled out a crisp one hundred dollar bill. "Split this with Chan please and thank him for me."

"Oh! Thank you, thank you Mr. Parker." Ping rushed off, excited about his tip and ran down the hall to the elevator. Ryo closed the door and went to his glass-top, art-deco dinning table and opened the bag. He pulled out several boxes of food, all of which smelled fantastic to him. He sat and ate, alone, and thought about Angelina.

Please call...


Angelina had kicked off her shoes, long day of driving around town delivering packages to businesses.

It was fairly easy to get info on the would-be victim, once you donned the appropriate outfit and showed up for a job. She pulled her gloves, adjusted her wig and hat. Then made her rounds. The last package and destination being rather deadly.

"Ms. Ernest Cortez?" she'd said.

"Yes?" the man answered.

Angelina tipped her head foward covering her eyes and face. "You have a package."

"But who....?" the man asked a bit too late.

Angelina had departed as quickly as she arrived and drove away in the rented van. Several towns away, she pulled the van over in the city park, changed into other clothes, ripped the fake business name off, lit it and the clothes she wore on fire, and tossed it in the nearest barbecue. Mr. Cortez will never kidnap, torture, or kill another child again she thought.

Angelina flipped on the television. News, cartoons, a soap opera. Finding nothing interesting there, she closed her eyes for several minutes.

The phone rang once, Ryo grabbed it without thinking, "Mr. Parker?"


"Our derivery person... he forget somting ," a female voice said rather nervously "We send righ away. Okay?"


Shoving the rest of the eggroll into his mouth, he looked over his order. It was too quiet and it made him nervous.

Then the phone rang again.

"Yes?" he asked a little impatiently, thinking Hunan must have hired some new employees and were breaking them in.

There was a quiet at the other end. "Is that your final answer? What if I asked you if you I should light your head on fire?"

His head jerked upwards. He knew that voice anywhere. He laughed. "No..I"m sorry. I thought it was somebody else. How's your morning going?"

"Oh you know. The usual."

Somehow he knew her "usual" was not what most women have on their agenda.

"So, do you want to go out to dinner tonight?" Ryo asked, hopeful that the answer would be yes.

"Umm. I don't know. I think I may just stay home. Where were you thinking about going?" She wanted to say yes but at the same time she wanted to be careful.

"I don't care, how about here? We can order in..." Ryo knew that it was not the same as going out to dinner, but he really just wanted to see Angelina.

"Hmm..." She bit her lip, excited at the prospect of seeing him again. "I have some errands to run, can I call you back later, say in about an hour?" She really wanted time to decide.

"Sure thing! Oh and I'm glad you called." He smiled and realized he was pacing around his apartment like a teenager.

"Me too. Talk to you in about an hour then." She hung up and held the phone to her chest. She realized that she was breathing heavy and knew what the answer was going to be.

Knock, Knock came the sound at the door. Ryo went to his PC and hit a button. On the screen flashed a black and white video of the man at the door. It was not Ping but someone else. He used the mic by the PC and held down the transmit button, "Yes?"

"It's Ping, I think I may have dropped my card key for work here last night." Now Ryo was glad he installed the lipstick camera above his door, it was almost undetectable. He went to his sofa and reached underneath and pulled out a silenced pistol and walked over to the right of the door, pointing his gun at the doorway.

"Come in!" He yelled.

The door opened and the first thing through the door was another silenced pistol, then a man dressed in dark gray clothes.

"Hold it right there." Ryo said calmly as he held the gun on the stranger. "Drop it!"

The man paused momentarily then dropped the gun.

"Too bad. If you were Ping I would have tipped you again. Move." Ryo waved the gun over to the living room area. The man obliged and Ryo, keeping the gun trained on the man closed the door to his apartment.

Ryo asked, "Who sent you?" He knew that if he was a true professional he would not answer him, which he didn't.

Pffft The shot was perfect, right between the eyes. Ryo had him standing on the Italian marble because it cleans up nicely. He quickly grabbed a heavy-duty garbage bag and tied it over his head so the blood wouldn't spill as much. He loved this apartment, the building had large trash chutes on each floor and since he had the entire floor he could dispose of anything he needed to. He wrapped the assassin in black sheets that always kept on hand and took him to the chute and dropped him.

No blood at all! He thought proudly.

Ryo went to the bathroom and disrobed. He checked himself in the mirror; his chiseled body, sculpted from years of training, showed no marks and he felt okay. He got into the shower and rinsed himself off with hot water. He thought about Angelina and what it would be like to be in his huge, seamless glass shower with her; the soap caressing her as his would explore every inch of her body. He looked down and saw his manhood growing at the thought and quicly turned the water cold, ice-cold. It helped.

Getting out of the shower he dried off and donned his black, knee-length silk robe and went out to the living room and poured himself a drink.

He relaxed and waited for Her to call...

Sitting in the one decent piece of furniture in the room, she cradled the phone between her neck and her chin, and talked with Marie. Just like she expected. Telephone numbers and addresses. She also wanted a list of birthdays. "Why don't you do what I do? Write this stuff down on a calendar."

"I did, but after I moved I lost track of where it is," Marie answered. "When you going to come visit me?"

"I don't mean to be rude, but I do have a life outside of traveling to see sisters. That might sound cruel but how many times did I ask you before I got this ...courier job to come and stay with me, and instead you visited that guy out of town?"

"Are you jealous?" she laughed.

Angelina rolled her eyes.

"You are!"

"No. It's not that. I don't know this guy. How do I know he's not trying to rip you off somehow? Where'd you meet him?"

"On the train."

"Great. You're taking mini-vacations, and meeting strangers on trains, but you couldn't come visit me?" Angelina recalled that she'd disappeared right after she'd asked her to come for a visit. In fact, that was when she got so worried, and put a call in to the local police to check on her. In hindsight, she'd overreacted. Yet the chance of someone who had ulterior motives, and making the connection between sister and sister could cause problems. "You could have at least told me so I wouldn't worry."

"Okay. Well, I don't want to argue with you. I'm going to have to go right now. I need to walk my dogs."

"Go then. Talk to you later," Angelina said. She flipped the cellphone shut, and slid her hands over her face. Dinner at Ryo's might not be a bad idea. In fact, it would probably be the best part of her day.The same thoughts came back to haunt her, yet she wasn't about to do a frivolous kill, no matter what her contacts said. They say to go with your gut feeling, because that is the truest.

Out at the street she hailed an occupied cab that happened to be parked nearby, and headed for Ryo's. She'd decided to wear something not so revealing, if that was at all possible. A simple tailored blouse, tucked in at the waist of the jeans that hugged her figure, and then a pair of leopard=skin looking italian highheels. She smiled at teh day she'd bought them, quite a buy, even inexpensive for being italian heels but were so gorgeous she couldn't resist, plus she didn't plan on having to walk in them for too long.

Look here for the shoes>


Ryo sat on the couch and watched the hustle and bustle of the city. He thought about the attack earlier and who may have put a contract out on him. It was probably Carlos Manuega. Carlos was an up-and-comer in the Colombian Cartels. A few months ago Ryo had been contracted to take out his son, Manuel. Carlos's rival, Ricardo Rivera stood to gain much if Carlos decided to call it quits. The job was simple, it was requested to be public and violent. Ryo had waited for weeks for the right opportunity to take him, waiting on rooftops and in third floor store rooms. One day Ryo got his chance; Manuel was drinking coffee in a cafe on Frio street; lots of people around as it was market day. Ryo lifted the Sig Sauer sniper rifle to his shoulder and peered through the scope and found his target. There were so many onlookers that day, his job was done.

Unfortunately for Ryo, Carlos executed Ricardo the next day, but not before torturing him with razor blades to find any information he could. The Federalies found his body that afternoon from an anonymous tip. The carnage was so bad that they refused to allow the crime scene photographers access, fearing the pictures would leak and cause a panic.

All part of the job Ryo though with a sigh as he finished his whiskey and set the glass tumbler down on the counter. Well... I should probably get dressed.

Knock, Knock The front door again. Ryo picked up his pistol and went to the PC. He was pleasantly surprised to see it was Angelina. He put the gun back under the couch and went to the door. He cracked it opened barely.

"I paid at the office" He grinned. A confused look crossed Angelina's face. "Just kidding, come in."

"Do you ever leave this place Ryo?" She asked, looking around. "Nice robe." She gave him the once over, Man, he sure smells good.

"I was just about to get dressed. Make yourself at home." He went around the kitchen counter and through the dining room to the master suite. He opened the door and went inside.

She looked at his PC and saw the hallway in the monitor, "Nice security set up, I didn't even notice a camera outside," She spoke loudly, trying to be heard through the door.

Ryo's voice came back to her as if he was right there, she turned an saw that the door wasn't closed, "Spared no expense. One can't be too careful in our line of work."

She moved her body back a little and peeked in the room. Ryo took his robe off, his back to her. She admired the work that must have gone into his physique; his cut and muscular back and his very firm butt. His legs were not as skinny as she had originally thought, instead they were in proportion to the rest of his well toned body. Very nice, she thought.

Ryo pulled up his boxer briefs, hugging his skin tightly. He turned to go to his closet; Angelina swiftly moving back to the her position at the monitor.

"What do you want to do? Eat in, go out. This is your night, just let me know." Ryo sounded very sincere.

"Why is this My Night," she asked, turning again to peer into the room. This time Ryo was in front of the closet mirror, adjusting his tie and buckling his belt.

"Because tonight is my treat, whatever you want to do."

Ryo waited for her response, walking out into the main living room. He stopped, put his arms out wide and spun around, "Well..."?


Her thoughts drifted back to the scene in the master suite,when she'd leaned back and caught sight of his body, reminiscent of statues chiseled into stone. It was enough to make the God's jealous. She'd kicked off her heels, mostly due to the fact of Japanese custom, and for the sake of cleanliness of the plush carpeting under her feet.

"I may have to get a closer look," she replied. Her gaze followed her hands as she smoothed his lapels, then moved down the front of his jacket, then back up again, across his shoulders and down to his hands, where she held them for several seconds. "Perfect," she said. I feel a tad under-dressed. I tried to call but the phone was busy, and I didn't want you..."

But then the look in his eyes stopped her. He was about to kiss her, she could tell, and for a few seconds they were held suspended in time. Her gaze drifted from his, then dropped to his lips, her own lower one tucked slightly under the edge of her teeth. She let go of his hands, and looked toward her shoes..

Ryo felt the emotions welling up in him. He had acted on impulse, which was not like him. He felt like he was new at this and perhaps he was; it had been a long time.

He reached his hand up and with his curled index finger gently raised her chin up. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she stirred a little. "Everything... I don't know." She peered into his eyes and felt warmth from them; the blueness of his irises reminded her of the Caribbean Ocean, yet seems odd for a man who's features favored his Japanese heritage, she had to remember that he was half American. That would explain the massiveness of his body and his height, she thought to herself.

"If this is going too fast, I understand. I just thought..." He kept his attention on her gorgeous eyes and the perfect structure of her face; to Ryo, Angelina was the most breath-taking vision he had ever seen.

"Thought what?" Angelina marveled at his attentiveness, he seemed to regard her as an angel.

"Thought that there was a connection..." He looked away briefly, seemingly hurting but not embarrassed or inconvenienced.

She sensed his own hesitation, and couldn't stop herself from bringing him closer. "May I?" she whispered.

He hadn't answered but the right side of his mouth curved upward, and it was all she needed. She turned her head slightly, and let her lips touch his, and just as quickly retrieved her handbag.

OT: Did you forget your number?
"That was nice," he let out a sigh of relief.

She pulled out a baby wipe from her purse and gently scrubbed a spot on his lapel. "There. It was bothering me."

He pulled her closer and softly put his hands on her face. He leaned in and kissed her deeply, slowly letting a hand roam behind her head, feeling it's wonderful shape.

She felt a rush of heat in her face, much like the first time she'd ever been kissed, and almost murmured 'Mmm'. His touch was electric, and for the first time in a long time, she felt alive. An aliveness that felt scary. While it wasn't the first kiss they shared, it was the first that they did for no reason other than sheer pleasure. They turned in unison, her arm looped through his, and strolled toward the door, and she slipped into her heels..
"So eating out it is then." He glanced her way, winked and smiled. "I know the perfect place."

They went downstairs and hailed a cab. They drove to through Los Angeles and into Santa Monica. All Ryo told the driver was to head to Santa Monica.

Once they were in the city proper, he leaned in a said to the driver, in a hushed tone, "Opaque please."

They pulled up to a dark black building, unremarkable except for the massive doors. The sign outside just read "OPAQUE" in soft gold letters. They exited the cab and Ryo paid for the fare with a crisp one hundred dollar bill, "keep the change buddy." The meter read $61.20.

They entered the establishment and found it almost pitch black inside, save for a single candle on the front counter. The decor was dark wood, maybe stained teak, and smoked chrome. Angelina looked around and then to Ryo, "What is this place?"

"You'll see, or rather you won't see." Ryo, tucking his arm in hers, guided her up to the counter. The Asian woman looked them over approvingly.

"Do you have a reservation?"

"Yes. Mr. Parker, for two." He slowly let his gaze fall upon his ravishing companion and smiled wryly.

"This way." The woman took Ryo by the hand and led them through the swinging door into the restaurant; inside, complete and utter darkness. They walked through completely unaware of anything around them, trying to let their eyes adjust to the ebony darkness that surrounded them. The woman flashed a small, dim light at a table so they could orient themselves and sit down. "Your server will be right with you."

"Thank you." Ryo held the chair out for Angelina and pushed it in when she sat then sat down opposite her at the narrow, but long table for two. Their feet touched and he held his hand out, searching for hers, found it and held it delicately. "This okay?"

"Of course Mr. Parker," she said mockingly, her voice like an angel to his ears.

The server came by and stood at the foot of the table, "Welcome to Opaque, the Dark Dining Experience. Is this your first time?"

"Yes," Ryo lied. He had been here before but didn't want Angelina to feel out of place.

"We will be bringing your meal in three courses. I will tell you the menu once I get your beverages. What would you like?"

"Glenfiddich please for me," Ryo's favorite.

"And for you Ma'am?"

"Do you have Merlot?" She asked, straining to see her wait-person.

"Yes, we have a lovely Robert Mondavi Private Reserve... 2005 I believe. Would that be okay?"


"I will return shortly. By the way, my name is Akami. Should you need anything, please ring the bell in the middle of the table." She walked away and out of any sight that they were starting to decipher.

Ryo leaned in and, still holding her smooth skinned hand and raised it up to his lips. He kissed it for a long time, lowered it back down and said, "I will be right back, I have to find the little Ninja's room."

"Okay. Hurry back."

Ryo got up and walked towards the back of the restaurant. He pulled out a small monocle from his pocket and scanned the room. He found his target in the corner and approached. On the way he pilfered b a decanter of water and walked up, "More water?"

"Please." Swiftly and with practiced ease he dropped a few drops out of an eye dropper into the targets glass as he poured the water, filling the glass. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

He strode back and replaced the water pitcher and went back to the table. Purposefully umping into the table, he sat back down. "Much better." Now he could concentrate on her, his angel; his only thoughts since they first met a short time ago.


"Welcome back," she said. "This is an unusual place--sensory based food tasting? What if I steal your food while you're not seeing?"

"What if I steal it back, plus some?"

"Don't make me hurt you," Her laugh was throaty.
As they ate they could hear sound that they normally wouldn't hear at a restaurant: Glasses spilling, bells ringing, each of them a different tone, and several people saying "oops, sorry." Their food came in waves. First, Heirloom Tomato Salad which they ate quickly, then rang their bell, each taking turns. Next, Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken Breast with garlic broccoli spears with Parmesan then, for desert, Mango Panna Cotta with coconut crème anglaise and fresh fruits.

"Usually presentation is as important as the taste, which is incredible by the way. I guess here they just slop it on the plate and no one is the wiser." Angelina felt around for her glass but found Ryo's hand instead. she held it and kissed it, like he did earlier. She was really enjoying herself.

"Right, but I think that they actually use presentation here, we just can't see it. Here, use this." He handed her the night-vision monocle.

She put it up to her eye and scanned the table, "Ohhh, yeah I see what you mean." Checking out the room, she noticed a man in the corner slumped over, "Even at a place like this I guess you get drunks, either that or the dark put him to sleep."

"I have a confession to make," He motioned for her to lean closer, as he knew she could see him. "I had a target here, but, I wanted to take you here for the ambiance." He wondered if that would upset her.

"Oh. Well that's okay. We all have to work sometime."

Ryo leaned closer and kissed her passionately on her perfect lips tasting the Mango and licking his lips. "You are perfect."

Angelina was at a loss for words. First, she almost laugh at his joke about having a dead man in the room while they ate was funny, but something in his voice told her he'd meant it..

And then when he kissed her and said she was perfect, she wondered if she should say 'Thank you" or 'Hardly.' Either way it wouldn't come out right, so she said nothing, and sipped at her lemon slice water. She might have asked why the man was a target, but knew that had to be confidential, plus she really wasn't that curious.It wasn't her favorite topic over dinner.

"I...Could we..." she started to say.

"Are you okay?" His hand found hers, which now felt clammy. He stood up. the table danced when he bumped against it.rattling the glasses,as he rushed to her side. He held a damp napkin in his hand, which he held to her neck. "We don't have to stay."
Akami came back to the table asking, "Is everything okay?"

"Yes, thank you. Can we get the check please?" Ryo knelt by Angelina, concerned that maybe he had upset her. With his busy schedule he sometimes had to combine business with pleasure; he didn't like doing that, but he was almost to where he wanted to be financially, a few more big jobs and he could retire.

"Of course sir." The server left to go back to her station and the computer terminal to print up the final bill.

"I apologize if I upset you. Can you forgive me?" He poured his heart into that question; it was extremely important to him that Angelina respected and liked him. This was not a feeling he was used to anymore and was sure he would make mistakes along the way but, at the same time did not want to seem over-attentive or smothering.

"I will be alright. I never dated anyone in the profession before." She didn't want him to feel bad, although he was still multi-tasking. Hasn't she done something similar? What about that day she had that hit in the department store? Afterward she had lunch in the mall, just like any other day, except it wasn't the mall she usually went to so she never had to be reminded

She wondered if he thought the killings did something for her, other than ending an otherwise useless life, someone who harmed another innocent person. Something about dining in the same room as the person she killed infringed on her personal life. It was one thing for her to deal with it, but having it put on another just felt unnatural. She struggled with the words now.

I should have said something to you before we came," Ryo felt bad; he hadn't thought this through, which was unusual for him. "If I can be honest with you, and please know that this is, in now way, meant to put any pressure on you, I really like you. I am so out of practice when it come to these types of social interactions." His mind kept wanting to call her "baby" or "darling" or something. "Maybe I am just trying to hard..." His expression was one of hurting; of someone who may have just killed a possible perfect relationship. It was a good thing it was so dark.

His job had been accomplished and now he could focus on what really mattered to him these last few days: Angelina. He desperately wanted to kiss her; to hold her in his arms, but he felt that he had to, somehow, ignore his impulses and keep some distance. "I'm sorry," he looked down at the ground, heartbroken for what he may have done to their chances at happiness.

It was hard for her to think with her stomach churning as it did, with the humming and vibration. Angelina closed her eyes, and in the next she was in the cab again.

Looking around her, she realized she'd just arrived, everything before must have been imagined. She tried Ryo's cellphone number once more.

"Hello?" Ryo answered the Unknown Caller, which he didn't normally do. He was hoping it was her.

"Ryo?" Angelina sat in the cab, wondering if she should just go home.

"Angelina! I'm glad you called." He was brimming with joy.

"I told you I would." Her answer seemed short, possibly curt.

"Is something wrong?" Ryo wondered out loud.

"I'm okay. I"m just thinking about how I have to go out of town tomorrow. I'll be in there in a second."

"Where are you going to? Are you leaving out of LAX?"

"No. I'm driving. I have a drop off, then it's on to San Francisco."

"That's a long way to drive."

"I know, but I like driving."

Angelina got out of the car. She noticed there was no wind, and it was eerily quiet, but considering the neighborhood maybe that was usual. "Hold on a second." Glancing down the street she'd noticed movement, but figured maybe a cat had ran into the bushes and caused her to look.

"Angelina. Hello?"

Ryo went to the window and peered down at the street. HE saw Angelina standing there, looking north; her hand in her purse. She started walking up the street.

"Hello...?" Ryo asked, but there was no response. Curious. He took his shoulder holster off of the coat rack and put it on, then his jacket, and went down the hallway to the elevator. Descending down, impatiently pacing in the box, he finally reached the lobby and ran to the front doors.

Out on the street he looked north and just barely saw her darting into the alley between his building and the next; he printed towards his angel, wondering what she was up to.

Just before he was able to round the corner, a loud gun shot was heard emanating from the alley.

"Angelina!" He yelled as he continued around the corner.

The scent of gunshot residue permeated the air. Ryo carefully ducked into areas that concealed him. With a sigh of relief, he saw Angelina, just as she exchanged punches with someone else, then did a roundhouse kick. It must have incapacitated him. She made her way back toward him They caught sight of each other.

"What are you doing?"

Looking past and around her, he asked, "I got worried. What's going on?"

"I thought I saw someone over here, then a car drove by and apparently they were shooting at cats."


"I was worried. I know you can take care of yourself, clearly. I just reacted." Ryo admitted. "Care to come up?"

"Okay. I could use a drink."

Ryo, watched her walk and approved of her in every way. Every man's fantasy he thought. They arrived at Ryo's penthouse and went inside.

"You really do have a nice place here Ryo," Angelina commented.

"Thanks. I like to be surrounded by beauty. Maybe it's therapeutic due to my choice of careers."

Angelina could relate to that as she also enjoyed the finer things. They sometimes could take her away from the brutality that often surrounded her chosen profession.

Ryo went to the bar and poured them a couple of drinks. "Here ya go!"

She sipped it. The television was on. A talk show was discussing how a group of people wanted to outlaw suggestive drink names.

"Close off? How can that be suggestive?" Angelina said.

He spoke to her from the other room. "Listen to what you just said. Say it slowly."

"Close off. Close off. Clothes off, okay I get it now, but that's not even funny."

"It can't be any worse than New Direction."

After a few moments, despite herself, she grinned., and was glad he didn't notice.

Ryo returned from the bedroom and strode through the living room in front of Angelina and sat down next to her. He studied her intently, he was being very obvious.

"Can I help you Mr. Steele?" Angelina asked after realizing that he had been staring at here.

"Ryo please, and no, you can't help me. I was just wondering what makes you tick." He looked her up and down in admiration.

"Tick? I'm just a girl who can kick ass and take names, "She smiled at Ryo and looked back at the TV.

"No I mean, who are you? Why do you do what you do and how do you do it so well?" Ryo continued to study her movements and subtle mannerisms.

"Oh, I don't know. 'Cause I'm that good?"

"Well, that may very well be the case, but I have a confession to make my dear." Ryo looked down at the couch seat and started playing with a loose thread.

"And what would that be?" Angelina shifted in her seat, giving him her full attention.

"I have a contract to kill you."

"What! Really?" She smiled. "How ironic! I have a contract to kill you too!"

"I can't do it though." Ryo looked back up at her and leaned in close, his head next to hers; his mouth at her ear, "I have another confession... I think I love you."

Angelina siifened, turned her head toward him. "Of course, you are kidding. Why would anyone want to kill me?" Actually, she could think of several reasons. "And that other part...I...no...you can't..And of course, I know you're joking. Besides you can't love me, after knowing what I do, how could you? I mean aren't you afraid of what I might do when you least expect it?"

Furthermore, she wondered what he might do when she didn't expect it. If one of them was going to die, it would cramp her style greatly if it was her. BUT on the other hand, somehow killing him didn't feel right either. They had a lot in common, they'd built a rapport in a short time, but she wasn't stupid enough to believe it could be more than that, even if it seemed like it was remotely possible.

She looked at him again, his eyes took on a softness. She put her fingers to his lips, which he kissed. She decided to discuss it with him."Hold on. So umm let's pretend that what you're saying is true. The shit will hit the fan if our contacts find out we didn't carry out of mission. What do you think is going to happen?"

"What are you saying? Should I do this then?"

One minute she was on the couch and the next she was falling off the edge. With one smooth move, for several seconds he had her pinned to the ground, but somehow her legs slipped around, and she slid out from under him, her knee now jabbed into his back. She almost said, "Give." then moved away out of his reach.
Ryo stood and reached a hand for Angelina to grasp on to, which she did. He pulled her up with ease and gathered her close to him, one hand behind her back. He looked down into her eyes. He could spend the rest of his life getting lost in those precious eyes.

"It's no joke. I never joke about something that serious. I can't explain it and I'm not sure I'd want to." He held her closer, her breasts against his chest. He was careful not to give in to the desire to move his hand lower, though he wanted to . "I can't help the way I feel and I am not trying to overload you with any pressure."

Angelina's chest was heaving, she was confused yet something about it seemed so right. "I don't know swe... er.. Ryo." She caught herself and hoped that he hadn't caught on to that.

"If you are like me, "Ryo said. "You have probably amassed a small fortune, is that correct? If it is, then why can't we fake our own deaths and just travel the world and live?"

Angelina didn't quite know what to say. The thought of traveling without having to kill anyone held a certain allure to her, but she was very good at her job.

Just then a knock was heard at the door. Ryo went to the monitor and looked at the feed from the camera. Two men with black overcoats stood outside.

They looked at each other. "Detectives or hitmen?"she mouthed to him. Either way it was trouble. She didn't recognize either of them, but that didn't mean a thing. She wsn't sure which was more dangerous--those that you know or those that you don't. Either way you might not suspect them and that could get you killed.

Turning her head toward the window, she remembered her estimate of how far a drop it was to the ground below It was nothing new for her to scope out the surroundings before entering a strange place. She was sure he could handle himself, and she thought about escaping so she didn't distract him. But if these guys were pros they might have thought of the obvious and god knows what waited below the window.

They might have to use that exit, unless there was something she hadn't noticed, and Ryo did. Angelina reached for her handbag, pulled out her revolver, released the safety switch, and plastered herself against the wall by the door, watching Ryo. Then nodded. When he only looked at her, she raised her arms like "What?"
Ryo went to the wall by the kitchen counter and pressed a button under the counter. A door slid up and revealed an arsenal of weapons. everything from Machine guns to knives to pistols and shotguns. Ryo took a silenced pistol and threw it to Angelina. He took out a shotgun and a bandoleer of shotgun shells, which he slung over his shoulder.

"Just a second I'm not dressed!" He yelled, "Who is it?" He watched the men via the monitor on the table by the window, they reached into their coats and pulled something out; thin and dark. They held the badges up to the peep-hole.

"Detective's West and Stoker, LAPD." They replied.

Ryo motioned for Angelina to move to the bedroom and close the door, which she did, as he put the shotgun back and pulled out a Glock .25 pistol and tucked into his waist band and picked up his robe from the stool in the kitchen and wrapped in around himself.

He put the chain on the door and opened it slightly, "What can I do for the boys in blue?"

"There was a noise complaint about some shooting in the alley...?" One of the detectives said.

"That was a shooting? I thought it was a car tire blowout ."

"Did you see anyone suspicious in the neighborhood?"

"No. Just a couple of drunks wandering around going south."

"What did they look like?"

"I don't know. I didn't get that good of a look. You're average drunk, stumbling guy needing a bath desperately."

The stocky dark-haired officer looked downward, covered his mouth with his hand, then looked up when the other one gave him a stern look.

"Could we ..."

Angelina opened the bathroom door slightly and yelled, "Honey, I left my body lotion on the dresser. Could you bring it to me?"

Ryo looked toward the bathroom. Angelina had disrobed and wrapped a towel around her and was bent over the tub, her face hidden.

Ryo shrugged and smiled shyly, and moved enough so that they'd noticed his robe. "I'll be right there, baby. Give me a few..."

"That's okay, the officer said as he slipped a business card through the doorway. "Here's our card just in case you hear anything more. Thank you for your time,"

By the time, Ryo had closed the door, Angelina had slipped back into most of her clothes.

Ryo walked into the bedroom now that Angelina was dressed and admitted, "That was close." He picked up her shoes and handed them to her as she sat on the bed.


"Okay. So, let's go do something." Ryo went to the closet and opened its french doors, revealing a rather large room beyond. This was more like a dressing room with wood floors, beautiful wooden shelving systems and a center console that had numerous drawers and an Italian marble top. He walked in and said, "Let me change real quick." He kicked the door shut and got undressed. Angelina realized that the door swung back open enough for her to see him through the reflections in the mirrors that surrounded the interior of the dressing room.

Oops, I wonder if he knows I can see him, she thought.

He walked around getting a shirt from one wall and a some pants from another. He set them on the marble counter top and opened a drawer and pulled out some light gray boxer briefs. Her appreciative gaze traveled over his fine physique, well-honed muscles and perfect posture. He knelt down to retrieve some socks, his firm behind flexing. Crouching now, he'd turned slightly revealing a full view of his manhood. Angelina gulped. He was magnificent. She held her breath, her heartbeat quickened, and blood rushed to the lower part of her body, causing an ache there.

"One second, " he said. "Almost done. What do you want to do?"

It took several seconds for her to reply. She looked away now, avoiding his eyes. He walked to her to take her hand to help her up, and realized she was trembling.

"Are you okay?"

"I...I'm fabulous." She flashed him a smile. "I was just thinking of something and forgot where I was. And I'll let you decide what you want to do since I'm rather new to the area. I hate deciding what to do on the spur of the moment unless it just happens."

"Spontaneous. That's good."

"Mmm. So what are my options then? Movies? Show? Concert? Umm..One thing though. don't forget that I'm leaving out of here tommorow."

He snapped his fingers. "That's right. San Francisco."

She wondered when she might see him again., and why she just told him where she'd be. After all didn't he just say he'd been sent to kill her? But then he said those other words that came out of him fairly easily. almost too easily. How many others had he said that to before her and where were they now? And now...she'd have to kill him or die. "Why can't we be retried like people in the witness protection service? We'd get new names, new identities and relocate."
And then she realized she'd said it out loud.
"So you have a job there then? Want some company?" Ryo asked. He was enjoying her company immensely; this was what had missing in his life. The day to day life of an assassin was a lonely one; always moving from one job to the next, trying to keep himself out of harms way. The threat of retaliation was very real and always looming around the next corridor or just outside of his penthouse apartment. Of course it was better to remain alone, that way no one got hurt. But since Angelina came into his life he has been wanting more; he had been wanting her.

"I don't think that would be such a good idea." She stood up, taking Ryo's warm hand in assistance. "Tell you what, I'll go to San Fransisco tomorrow and then, when I get back, we can do something else." She felt her heart beating in her chest like tribal drums in anticipation of war.

"Okay. If you think that would be best. Oh and one other thing," Ryo, still holding onto her hand peered deep into her eyes; touching her soul, said, "I have bought the contract on your life and it wasn't cheap. Trust me when I say that I know that retaliation can be a bitch. It's something that I would spend my life helping you avoid." He went back into the dressing room and opened one of the drawers in the center counter. He pulls out a small stack of papers and returns to the bedroom. He hands the stack to Angelina.

"What's this?" She flipped through the papers and realized that it was the contract for her termination. Immediately she saw the name, "Guido Franzillo, that rat bastard! How much was he paying?"

"One Million. It cost triple that to buy it, but that's not the point. The point is that now you don't have any reason not to trust me." Ryo led her out of the bedroom and into the living room. "Just tell what else I need to do to earn your trust and I'll do it. Oh and by the way, we can disappear and no one would know where we had gone." He let go of her hand, unwillingly, and went for his suit jacket in the hall closet.

"Well, shall we go get some lunch?" Ryo opened the door for her and motioned for her to walk through.

After she'd read the name, her knees had buckled beneath her when she realized what he had done. She sank to the floor, reading the papers through teary eyes, not able to see anything once she realizedt he enorminity of it. She gulped nervously, sat the papers down, and shielded her face with her hands. Then finally stood up, walked to him, took his face in her hands and kissed him once, then twice, then more thoroughly. She looked into his own eyes. Thanks just seemed like such little words, but she spoke. "There is nothing I can say that feels worthy of what you've done, yet I'll say it anyway--Thank you."
She wouldn't remind him that he'd paid off one attempt but what if there were others? Worse yet, what if it put his life in jeapordy. How often had the assassins used innocent people who are close to the target? This she couldn't have happen. Not now. Not ever. She also knew that there was always the chance that they wouldn't meet up again. What if this was the last night they'd spend together?"

She cast her thoughts aside, smiled, and slid her hand down his suit. "You're looking mighty fine this evening Mr.Steele." She imagined them together in a grand luxury hotel, sitting together in a wing-backed loveseat, sipping fine wine or spirits, the fireplace glowing in their eyes.

"Don't mention it. I'm glad that I could help. You have to understand something." he reached around her perfect waist drawing her closer. "I did this for us; not for me or just for you." He gazed into the enormity of her eyes, peering into her soul, and seeing the spark that he drew him to her from the moment they met. "I know that we just met and I know that we both have our own jobs to do, but I know that we have a future and that that future is worth fighting for." He leaned down and kissed her passionately on her full lips, relishing in her savory taste; trying to burn that memory into his mind so that he would never forget.

Taking her hand, he led her down the hallway and into the elevator; smile on his face. They walked through the lobby, a renewed spring in his step, and out the double rotating doors of the building he called home.

He hailed a cab and he opened the door for her and slid in beside her. "At least chivalry is not dead Mr. Steele." she remarked, mimicking his smile as he sat down. "Where are we going?"

"I can tell you or it can be a surprise." He looked her over, up and down, and thought for a moment, "let's let it be a surprise." Ryo had a smirk on his lips as Angelina put her hand on his leg.

"Okay then, surprise it is!"

"LAX please." He said to the driver, winking at the lovely woman beside him.

OT: I thinkthat the I love you type idea is done too soon. They've not even been intimate yet. We might have to revise that so that they have, but the first time must be unforgetable. Are you able to add it anywhere in the postings?
After boarding the privately chartered jet, Ryo and Angelina sat in the comfortable chairs and ordered drinks. Angelina was sitting close and Ryo did not mind at all, in fact, he scooted a little closer so that their shoulders were touching.

The coziness was disrupted briefly as the Captain's voice came over the internal PA System. "Good afternoon Mr. Steele, it is a pleasure to have you and your guest with us. We should be arriving at SFO in about 2 hours, so sit back and relax and enjoy the flight. The temperature at our destination is seventy-three degrees and the skies are partly cloudy."

"SFO?" Angelina wasn't familiar with that place, she gave Ryo a confused glance.

"SFO? Where do you think it is?" He asked coyly, eying her carefully to be sure not to offend and keep it all joking. "San Francisco my dear. We have reservations."

"Oh." Of course, she knew what SFO was. Hadn't she been there many times?

She smiled and threaded her arm through his, leaning against his shoulder, then ran it down to his hand. He had marvelous hands; her fingers felt the texture there. These same hands were capable of killing, and they had.

Then she let go abruptly, searched through her bag, took out a nail clippers and ridded him of a hangnail. He glanced over at her handiwork. A moment later, she gave him a kiss before slipping the clippers back into her bag. Maybe she was crazy, but neither of their lives were quite normal, she reasoned. She wasn't exactly Martha Stewart. And he wasn't Emeril Le Gasse. But he was now her hero. He'd done what no other man had done. So why did she still have any doubts about him? Things can always seem very good at first, and then later things turn deadly, just like within her own family.

She almost shrugged, but stopped herself, determined to enjoy it for the moment. She waited for him to speak, as she had so many questions about his background/family but didn't want to pry.

Ending this campfire for now... Too many things going on. May start it later.

The End!

Ryo sat back and enjoyed the company of Angelina. He really liked her and was, he thought, falling in love with her, but of course it was too soon to know for sure. They were perfect for each other after all...

The plane touched down in San Francisco and they departed. Outside, on the tarmac, a limo waited to take them to the Four Seasons Hotel. Ryo believed that everything was in the details, this is why he was so good at what he does. He remembered abruptly that this was a working vacation.

Ryo opened the door for Angelina and held her hand while she slipped inside; he followed.

"Ryo, if you keep touching me like that I'm not going to be responsible for what happens."

"Is that a promise?" They moved toward the hotel check-in. "By the way, who are you today?" he whispered back.

After checking in, they strolled down the hall to the room, all the while he glanced around them taking in whoever was lurking about. One can't be too careful, but more often than not, his gaze moved to her movements, and was fascinated with the slight jiggle of her breasts and curve of thigh beneath her clothes.

Those perfect lips parted and she said, "I think this is it. Can you open it?" She handed him the key card.
#57? Wow I didnt know we had that many.
Inside the room, they each set their bags down on the tile floor and glanced around the amazing room. Ryo went over to a fruit basket and read the card.

Mr. Fong, Thank you for choosing the Four Seasons once again.
We hope that your stay will be a pleasant and relaxing one.
Mr. Chapelson - Hotel Manager

"Apparently I am Ryo Fong today." He smiled and grabbed Angelina by the waist and drew her towards him. "If there is anything you need to do before we go, now would be the time," he let go of her and turned to the plate glass window overlooking the bay and marina. "Dress for sun and a breeze."

"How breezy?" she asked, as she unzipped one of her bags and pulled out some jeans and and a knit top, and then dipped her fingers into the pouch where her panties and bras were. He was still looking out the window as her fingers ran along the lacy edge of a bra and the matching panties.

Next she pulled out a sundress, and some roman style sandals. They had long straps that wrapped around the ankle.. Not practical, she thought. Not exactly proper attire for a hit, which was on the agenda. She sighed inwardly, and then strolled to where he was, running her hands along his shoulders and then down his back and around him, her chin resting on his head..His hand found hers, and held it, and before he could speak she moved again, kneeling next to him, so close she could feel his body warmth, as they gazed out the window. "How you like it, Mr. Fong?" she quipped, while pointing toward the ocean. Then she laughed lightly..
Ryo and Angelina left the hotel and got in a waiting cab outside of the front lobby. The cab took off and headed west.

"So where are we going?" Angelina scooted a little bit closer as she spoke.

"We are taking a trip on a boat, I hope you don't get seasick." Ryo grinned and looked into Angelina's eyes, taking in their beauty.

Angelina shifted in her seat a little bit; remembering a time when she and her family had a boat at the lake house and how much fun it was... Until that fateful day when... she snapped out of it and was determined to act resilient in front of Ryo. "Of course, I practically grew up on a boat."

The cab stopped and they got out. Ryo paid the driver and the cab left, leaving them at the gate to the San Francisco Marina. Ryo went up to the gate and inserted a key into the lock of this private section of the marina. They walked inside and through the maze of floating walkways and boats, and ships of all sizes and shapes. Finally they came upon a walkway with only one boat on it. It was a speed boat but it was huge. White with red and black stripes, this monster could easily hold ten people, but today it was only meant for two.

As they drew closer, Angelina said, "Yours? Mmm. Very nice."

He took her hand after he'd stepped over the edge of the boat dock. She looked behind her, and hesitated only briefly.

"Angelina?" he questioned.

"Yes. I was just noticing some movement over there." She nodded to an area behind her.

"What is it?"

"Nothing. The sun's glare in my eye must have me seeing things." Finally, she stepped across the gap between the dock and the boat. That wasn't so bad, she told herself.
She was glad she'd worn what she had chosen, athletic shoes, jeans, and blousy long sleeved top, along with a little vest which laced up the front, opened slightly and accentuated the fullness of her breasts. She found his cap and set it on her head and then looked in the shiny surface of a metal piece along the walls surface, and then removed it, placing it on his, and then adjusting his hair with her fingers. "Where to Cap'n?"

# 61

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