“Who are you?” She asked as she studied the small photo.
Intuition told her that Ilia was his real name, not Leiv.
“At least he told me his real name,” Sam informed her reflection.
You don’t know that for sure. Even if Ilia is his real name, why would he have or even need identification with a fake name on it?
Sam studied her reflection in the mirror, running a smoothing hand over dark curls. Those deeply colored locks remained untamed, making Sam always appear windswept and disheveled, even when they were pulled into a tight bun as they were now. With a markedly more steady hand, Sam slipped Ilia’s wallet into her coat pocket and left the bathroom.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Ignoring the voice of reason, Sam returned to the small table where Ilia waited patiently.
“Good because we need to go.”
“What? But we haven’t even ordered drinks yet,” she protested as he grabbed her hand and lead her quickly back out to the street.
“Adventure beckons.” Grit roughened his deep voice when he lowered it to talk quietly.
“This is crazy.” Sam came to a stubborn halt as rain pelted her, seeking to invade the comfort of her coat.
That enchanting grin flashed across his face again. “Do you trust me?”
He laughed quietly. “Smart girl. Now come on.”
“Not until I know what this next adventure involves.” She crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin defiantly.
He sighed, but the smile did not leave his lips. “There is a conversation that I simply must eavesdrop on, and if we don’t hurry, I will miss it.”
Ilia stretched a hand out to her. Sam made a strange strangled noise in her throat but took his hand. A sharp gasp escaped her as he pulled her into a jog.
“Must we run?”
“We are barely jogging.” His deep laughter rounded his words and rolled over her, weakening her doubts. “Besides, you’ve made me late.”
“You sound like the White Rabbit,” Sam muttered to herself.
“If you let me, I’ll lead you to an enchanted land.” His voice deepened an octave, turning gritty, and he smiled over his shoulder at her.
“Ugh, that was the worst line in ever.”
“Really? I thought it was quite clever.”
“It was truly horrid.”
“Well, then,” He huffed, pulling her around a corner and into a dark alley. “It is a good thing I don’t need lines with you.”
Trepidation skittered down her spine as she studied the dark recesses of the alley, but she didn’t protest and instead said, “And what makes you think such a thing.”
“Because you like my nose.” He beamed as he came to a stop by a dark door and tried the knob.
“How do you figure that?”
“Earlier you stated that you would punch me in my perfect nose.” He took a step back from the door. “It’s locked.”
“And from that, you get that I like your nose? I threatened to punch it.”
His face was turned upward, studying the building. “You called it perfect. Come here, I need your help.”
“Said Ted Bundy to his next victim.”
His deep laughter buoyed Sam. “Do I seem like a Serial Killer?”
“Hmm, let’s see, you’re charming and handsome.” Sam ticked each item off on a finger. “Charisma seems to ooze from your pores. Yep, there’s a 93% chance I’m going to end up in a body bag by the end of the night.”
“You think I’m handsome?”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Curiosity killed the cat.”
“Oh.” He chuckled. “But satisfaction brought her back.”
A light bloomed on overhead, pulling their attention back to the building.
“Crap.” He motioned to her once again. “Please Samantha, it is really important.”
“Okay,” She caved reluctantly, moving to his side.
“I’m going to boost you up. Will you see if you can get on that ledge and check those windows to see if any are unlocked?”
“Now we are breaking and entering?”
“It sounded more exciting than drinks.” He locked his hands together and made a “U” for her foot so that he could boost her up.
This is a terrible idea.
Sam placed a foot in his hands and tried to contain the shriek that threatened to escape as he boosted her effortlessly. Her other foot quickly found purchase on a four-inch ledge, and she propped herself up, teetering a good 6 feet off the ground.
“Be careful,” He whispered up toward her.
Turning to growl down at him, Sam realized that his perspective gave him a perfect view up her skirt. Luckily he seemed more concerned about her falling than sneaking a peek.
Thank god for leggings.
“When I get down I am so going to break that pretty nose of yours,” she muttered as she pushed precariously against the first window she came to.
It didn’t budge. Neither did the second or third window she tried. Muscles in her arms and legs jumped and quivered as she struggled to maintain her balance. The fourth window pushed open, and she sighed in relief.
“I need to you go in for me.” The timber of his voice hinted that he disliked what he was suggesting.
“Me?” She glared down at him. “Are you crazy?”
“I won’t fit through that window.”
Sam studied the fall of his wide shoulders. Nope, he definitely wouldn’t fit through the window. Crap.
“Okay, I will go.” She reached up and grabbed the window ledge. “I’m not sure those books were worth this much.”
“Hold on, Samantha, look at me.”
She looked down, meeting his glacier eyes, a chill snaking up her spine at the grave look on his face.
“You can’t be seen. Promise me you will be careful.”
“I’ll be quiet as a cat.”
Just remember you don’t have nine lives.
Using the window ledge as leverage, Sam pushed herself up, diving headfirst through the window. She landed with a quiet thud, rolling in a small summersault and coming up on her feet.
Like a ninja.
Sam nearly snorted at herself.
A pickpocketing ninja with a death wish.
“I don’t have a death wish,” she whispered as she followed the distant trail of light.
For once she was glad for those ballet lessons her mother had forced upon her. She quietly made her way into the hall and spied an open door several yards down where light spilled out, casting the plaster walls in a milky glow. Voices chased the light out into the hallway, reverberating off the walls and echoing to her. Two men were engaged in an intense conversation.
“You let Nikolai know that the shipment will be coming in tonight.”
“What time? Where? You know he will want the details.”
“I will send word to him before the ball drops.”
You are in over your head.
Movement in the room startled Sam, and she fled, disappearing into the room with the open window just as they glided into the hallway. Sam watched the two suit-clad men from the shadows of her own room until they disappeared down a set of stairs. They were leaving. Crap.
Giving little heed to her own wellbeing, Sam flung herself out the window, hoping Ilia would catch her. If not her tush was going to take quite the beating.
Perhaps all those muffins you’ve been eating lately will provide satisfactory cushioning.
Sam landed in Ilia’s strong arms with a loud oomph. She wrapped her own trembling arms around his neck and let her thundering heart ease a little before opening her eyes and meeting his furrowed gaze.
“Are you crazy?” His voice was rough. “What if I hadn’t caught you?”
“They’re coming,” Sam whispered.
I was challenged by a friend to write a story about a dull woman who becomes interesting. I hope you enjoyed the fruits of this challenge. I will continue adding to this story until it is complete.