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The Love and Death of a Criminal

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Scenario: You've been ordered to kill someone you've fallen in love with. How did you get into this situation and what will you do next?

A gasp pushed past my lips as the photo slipped from my fingers and floated to the ground under the glowing street light. Looking down at the photo, I saw those aqua eyes that melted my heart staring back up at me. Those sexy lips curved in a smile, the arm of a smirking soulless murderer resting over his shoulder. A blustery fall wind blew the photo across the park path. Wrapping my wool coat around my middle, I picked up my head, tucked the envelope with my orders into my pocket, and walked toward my midtown loft, knowing what must be done. Professionalism and detachment were my specialties. Passing by the sandwich shop where he treated me to lunch to ease my first-day jitters, my chest tightened. He didn’t know it was just me playing the role I had been assigned. Something about Mike had found a place inside me that I didn’t know existed. His warmth and charm wormed his way into my heart. I stopped, waiting for the walk signal to cross the street to my building. The blinking hand flashed like the image of him kissing me in that same spot, not being able to wait until we reached my doorstep, the salty taste of his lips. I touched my lips, reveling in that feeling. Pushing the walk button reminded me of the electric feeling of our hands touching when reaching for the same pen during a late night at the office.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. There was always a possibility that he would be the target, but I thought or hoped that it wasn’t him, couldn’t be him. In the last six weeks, I had only witnessed kindness and understanding with everyone he encountered. He volunteered his time weekly as his nephew’s soccer coach and chatted with strangers. He often paid for the coffee of the person behind him in line or covered the bill for strangers at a table near us. He said that he liked to “pass on his good luck.” It didn’t seem possible that he was the criminal they were searching for. Apparently, the intel from his laptop drive that I copied revealed that it was him and not his partners, who was responsible for the needless death of children in their Bangladesh factory. In my five years with my employer, I never doubted their orders; they only made them when the evidence was irrefutable.

Nodding and smiling at the doorman I walked through the lobby to the elevator. It’s not love I told myself as I pressed my hand against the elevator’s wall, finding balance. Opening my door quietly I soundlessly went up half the staircase and saw his strong back and shoulders, still slumbering in my bed. With the same stealth, I went down the stairs and made coffee. Sunlight began to fill the kitchen, the dark roast permeated through the loft. Pulling out the cutlery drawer, I reached underneath, removing a vial, and dropped a pill into one coffee cup. After putting the container back in its place, I grabbed a spoon and closed the drawer. Once both cups were filled with coffee, I added cream and heard his footsteps on the stairs. I turned and took in that beautiful smile and the way his skin crinkled around those piercing eyes.

“Good morning beautiful, that coffee smells delicious,” Mike said.

I smiled while handing him the cup with the hidden ingredient and kissed him goodbye before he took a sip.

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