“Table for two,” the man says. She can’t hear him, but she can see his lips forming the words. The lighting inside the restaurant is soft and ambient, cocooning him in its glow. He turns and she can see the stiffness in his stance, can recognize the cause. A waitress, her smile tired but her eyes kind, approaches him and leads him away and out of her sight.
She stays in her car.
“All you need is love,” croons the radio. The voice is smooth but almost prepubescent. She wrinkles her nose in distaste.
6:30, the small green numbers on her dashboard read. Go time.
She opens the door forcefully, slams it like it had wronged her, and stalks into the restaurant like a god twice scorned. Her heels click against the pavement, sharp as a knife, ringing with violence.
She walks into the restaurant. She smiles. The waitress smiles back, innocent and oblivious, and leads her to her table. She changes her gait, makes it smaller, cuter, more feminine. The table is by the open window, and outside, the sun is setting, painting the sky with streaks of orange and red. The man is already there. He sits back with easy nonchalance, but the tightness in his eyes betray him. He is afraid. It must be his first time.
She is not afraid. She sits down. They exchange pleasantries, lips moving, but their hearts not following. She laughs at his nervous jokes and smiles internally when he relaxes minisculely. She leans forward, exuding interest and innocence and helplessness. And like a child drawn to a cookie jar he follows, his guard drops. They order their food, but she doesn’t eat hers. She is faster when she is not weighed down by food. And with her disadvantaged size and strength, speed is not something she can sacrifice.
Under the table, she kicks off her heels. The steel against her thigh is a comfort and she reaches for it, withdraws it from under her skirt as she braces her other hand against the bottom surface of the table. She is surrounded – she can pick out at least five men, eating at tables around them, earpieces tucked in, eyes flickering, and hands nervously drifting towards their belts – but she is in her element.
He is mid-chew when she flips the table and shoots him.
He slumps in his chair. The gunshot is loud, not too loud because of the silencer on her revolver, but loud nonetheless. But no one hears the gunshot, for the crash of glass and wood against the floor has masked it.
Heads turn but she is gone, out the window, feet flying against the pavement. She can hear the scrabble as the men radio in, their voices loud and angry, their failure evident. She is willing to fight but hand-to-hand isn’t advantageous for her stature, and she must cut her losses.
She sprints into a small alleyway and jumps, her hands grasping the edge of the roof and pulling her up. Adrenaline shoots through her veins as she runs across the roof, not stopping until she is a good ten kilometers away from her dead target.
Finally, she stops. She pulls out her phone from under her skirt and texts her boss. Her job is done, and her money is waiting. From across the roofs she can hear the tinny sound of music, filtering through the open window across the street.
“Love is all you need,” it croons, the speakers cloudy with static and she grins, sharp and feral. Love is the money in her bank account, and love is what pays for her rent.