Yet another writing exercise. I don't care for the result too much, however.
| The snow fell silently on the sidewalk as Evelyn hesitated beneath the awning of the hotel. Her breath gathered in little clumps with every exhalation and she was captivated by the ability of the cold to take her breath and carry it away. A smile danced upon her full pink lips as she thought about the whole turn of events that made her aware of the cold, aware of the breath. The man beside her watched her with intensity. She could feel his eyes upon her, feel the depth of his fiery gaze without having to turn to him. In her minds eye, she could see the finely tailored suit and the shiny black shoes. A soft but frigid breeze kicked up and tossed her hair about in a wild rush of auburn. She allowed her smile to grow.
"Taxi, miss?" the doorman asked and she turned to him. The protectiveness of her companion was almost palpable, much like her breath could be seen when normally it could not, his rise to protect her could be seen in the dim afternoon light.
"No, thank you," Evelyn said before her companion could speak. The doorman nodded and she admired the smooth texture of his skin and the even flow of his movements. A man made for courtesy and suaveness. He reminded her of her brother who had died earlier in the year, well before his twenty-eighth birthday. She tilted her head as she studied the doorman, who was looking at nothing and yet everything. Like Charles. So much like Charles that Evelyn felt a pang inside her soul. "I'm Evelyn." She said softly and felt the restraining hand of her companion upon her shoulder.
The doorman smiled and nodded, "Charles, ma'am." Evelyn's breath caught in a gasp. Of all the coincidences! Of all the moments! She shut her eyes for a moment and listened to the sounds of the street, of the occasional car, of the murmur of voices. Deep inside, however, a voice reminded her that Charles did not sound at all like this man sounded, that he didn't have the stature nor did the skin tone match exactly but for a moment, Evelyn was content to forget everything and believe that he lived.
She opened her eyes and faced the street once more. The restraining hand fell away from her shoulder and she stepped out into the drifting snow. Her companion loathed the winter. Said it damaged his shoes, warped his clothing, something of that nature. She knew that it was because it was pure. The snow was pure. Though, she had heard that it was actually water frozen around a piece of dirt. She laughed.
"If you must laugh, Evelyn," the man beside her said as he took her arm, "you could have done so when it mattered."
Evelyn didn't dare pull away from him. How could she get him to realize that it mattered to her to laugh in pure falling snow, not in sordid hotel rooms? She walked calmly though his hand upon her upper arm was harsh and firm. To those passing by, it appeared that they were a couple strolling through the snow, the man holding the woman's arm to keep her safe from falling upon the slick wetness. To the eyes of strangers, there was nothing amiss. Evelyn felt a pang inside her soul.
"Were you there when he died?" she asked softly. Many stared long at them as they strolled for they were truly a handsome couple. Evelyn was average height but her face was that of a princess, smooth and free of worry lines, possessing light cosmetics and a pert nose. Her auburn hair waved thickly about her face and just past her shoulders. She was dressed in a thick woman's trench coat with a faux fur collar. Her low-heeled boots clicked softly while the black trouser pants peeked beneath the dark gray coat. Her white gloved hands held the neck of the coat closed against the chill.
The man beside her was tall but not intimidating. He wore a black trench coat and slacks with shiny black shoes. Beneath the coat was a finely tailored double-breasted suit with a crisp white button-down shirt and red tie. His black scarf was tied neatly at the neck and one of his black gloved hands clung tightly to Evelyn's upper arm. His black hair was thick and well groomed, as were his eyebrows. His jaw was square, his lips full, and his face aristocratic in its features. His nose was long and sharp, though not unattractively so. Women envied the beauty he walked beside so closely while men envied him.
"I thought that maybe you had been. He spoke of you often. I miss him." He didn't reply but kept her moving steadily. "Will they leave us alone now?"
He drew her into a depressed doorway and pressed her back against the cold brick wall while he faced her. His crystal blue eyes searched her face for something, though Evelyn couldn't dare imagine what.
"Do you honestly believe," he began in a deeply timbered voice, like frosted honey. "that you mean anything to them, dead or alive?" Evelyn shut her eyes and felt him lean toward her. She opened her eyes once more and saw his hands positioned on either side of her head, his face mere inches from her own. "Do you honestly believe that the act you gave back in that hotel room convinced them of anything? Do you even care that they have your father, your mother?"
"Of course I do, I-"
"I don't think that you do, Evelyn, or you would have told them what they wanted to hear!" His face twisted suddenly, not with rage, but with frustration and fear. Evelyn cringed against the wall. "You would have told them!"
"But I don't know where Charles left the book! I don't know! I gave them complete access to everything everywhere! Even our safety deposit box! I just don't know!" Evelyn broke down then and was surprised when he pulled her to him, his strong arms holding her tight.
"Pray that they find it, Evelyn, for then they will know that you were telling them the truth. Pray that they find it so that I don't have to kill them." Evelyn stiffened and tried to pull away but he held her tighter. "Pray, Evelyn, that they find it and that everything will be left at that and nothing more will come of it. Pray for my soul."
She wept harder then, harder than she had since finding Charles dead outside their parents' house. Her hands moved up and lay upon his chest as he held her. She sobbed deeply then felt great embarrassment. "Gregory…Gregory…I've gotten your jacket soiled. Release me. Gregory."
She murmured his name like the prayer he asked for and he shut his eyes and relished the sound of an angel speaking his name. An angel that he could not touch until her parents were safe. He owed Charles that. He owed Evelyn that.
"Pray, Evelyn, for God hears your prayers more so than mine, foul sinner that I am." Gregory tightened his hold on her and felt her face shift. He looked down and stared into her brown eyes and could not restrain himself. He lowered his head and kissed her soundly on the mouth, lightly at first but then with greatly increasing hunger. She moaned but didn’t resist. How could she? How could she resist when love and tragedy wound their souls so tightly around one another? He released her lips and covered her tear-streaked face with butterfly kisses.
"Gregory…Gregory…" she murmured as the snow fell around them, the assassin and the heiress in the depressed doorway. Across town, the men found the book in the safety deposit box and the call was made, her parents set free, the hunt called off. Only Charles would die for his crimes against Russia. No one else need pay with blood.