Name: Joseph Rhvashy Reward: 20 million Class: A (hazardous)
Age: 32 Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown Sex: M
Assigned to: Anna J. Smith Location: St. Petersburg, Russia Status: Deceased
A taxi picked Anna up from the crowded airport and drove her through Havana, bringing her to the harbour, where a hired boat diver was waiting for her. The fat boat driver swore at the taxi driver a little, pointing at his watch and gesturing to the city, but Anna wasn't paying any attention, so she had no idea what they were talking about. She climbed into the little shabby motorboat and sat on the row of dirty seats at the back and waited patiently, waiting for the Cubans to stop arguing.
The boat ride to St. Peter's, the island which was to be Anna's home for the next two weeks, was made rather uncomfortable by the driver who, after having finished his rant about the taxi driver in very poor English, started pointing at the sky and telling Anna a storm was brewing. When Anna asked the rather large man when the storm would come in her flawless Spanish he was surprised and flustered ignoring her question, muttering to himself about storms.
Anyone could have predicted a storm; Havana was very humid and the storm season was full in gear. It was the norm for Cubans to have storms around this time, so Anna thought her driver was probably trying to earn a few extra pesos with his predictions. He wasn't getting any from her, that much was sure.
The boat dropped Anna off at the small pier which lead to the only villa on the island. The driver carefully tied the boat up and helped Anna carry her bags into the large house. The house was white and cool after the humidity of the outside. Her driver dropped the bags in the entrance hall, and with one last reminder of the coming storm, he left.
Anna left her bags in the entrance hall and, ignoring her fatigue, made a quick tour of the house. The rooms were large and airy with high ceilings and a working, if not first class, air conditioning. As Anna was wandering through the house she stared thinking about the cost of the holiday; with a modern kitchen, expensively furnished living and dinning rooms, an indoor gym and a large outdoor swimming pool, it didn't look too cheap. She made a mental note to thank Mia and the office for punishing her in an expensive way at least.
After she finished her tour she decided she would sleep, something she rarely did after a long trip. She lugged her suitcases up the stairs to find a parting, one staircase leading to the right and one to the left. Anna went to the left and was relived to find a spacious, if somewhat shabby, entrance hall and an even shabbier bedroom, the wallpaper peeling in some places and the curtains ripped, with a modern and clean ensuite bathroom. People probably complained Anna thought as she reflected on the contrast between the bottom floor and the bedroom walls. The furniture in the bedroom was actually quite neat; Anna had to admit to that.
Anna was too exhausted to feel anything but gratitude at the presence of white, fluffy double bed and she collapsed on to it, falling into a deep sleep even before she hit the soft cover.
But before she fell asleep, she marvelled at the fact that she could lie down and rest after the long and exhausting flight. Normally she would be in the city, exploring the nooks and crannies, preparing for the hunt, like a ghostly predator.
Her dreams were disturbed by hunters and their prey and a little voice saying 'friends. We're friends now.'
- - -
While Anna was dreaming fitfully, Jack was about to meet with the storm predicting driver. He had gone to the mainland to do some shopping after he found the house empty of anything edible except for an old packet of chewing gum he had found in one of the cupboards.
He didn't know Anna had arrived until the driver, who could speak adequate English and was called Gustavo, saw him and started jumping around excitedly and waving at him.
As Jack stopped by the boat and started to unload his groceries, which weren't that plentiful, seeing as Jack had only bought the essentials, Gustavo started blabbing.
"¡Qué suerte Jack!"
Jack looked at him like he was mad. Jack, lucky? No, at the moment he was quite the opposite. His grandmother, who he loved and respected dearly, had decided he had an unhealthy attitude towards women and had sent him on this holiday.
"Get yourself a wife Jack. You need someone younger than me to keep you in check." She had told him, and because he respected her wishes enough not to argue he had gone on holiday.
So here he was, against his will, on holiday with a matchmaking company. God, could he sink any lower?
"Why am I lucky Gustavo?" Jack humoured the man, heaving another six pack of beer into the boat which was sinking alarmingly low. Jack blamed it on the weight of the driver, who was anything but slim.
Gustavo eyed the beer for a second before answering excitedly. "The woman you share house with, oh she is hot. And she speak Spanish! Not like you, real Spanish!" Jack decided to ignore the insult and concentrated on what Gustavo was saying. Jack often pretended that he couldn't speak Spanish to see if people's opinons of him were different.
"A hot woman? How hot?" he questioned, doubting the fat man had any idea of the hot women Jack had slept with. The boat wobbled dangerously as Jack jumped in with his groceries, but Gustavo didn't seem to notice.
"You know this?" Gustavo said and pointed to the picture of Claudia Schiffer on the front page of a magazine he had taken out of the glove compartment.
"Yes?" Jack said, thinking perhaps his roommate was an airhead blond. Perfect.
"Brunette, but as pretty. But differently. Big boobs. Nice eyes." Gustavo told Jack, who laughed.
"So nothing like Claudia Schiffer?!" Jack chuckeled.
"No!" Gustavo was slightly frustrated. "Big boobs like her."
"You perved on that girl!" Jack accused Gustavo as he turned on the engine of the boat and started towards the house.
"Me? No, no! Soy inocente!" He exclaimed with a toothless grin. Jack could see all of Gustavo's rotting teeth and repressed a shudder.
"No worries. I won't tell." Jack told the man as they approached the pier.
"You need help?" Gustavo asked and Jack accepted, though he was sure there was an ulterior motive to the man's helpfulness. He hadn't been this helpful with Jack's suitcase.
Gustavo left disappointed as Jack's new roommate was obviously not in any downstairs rooms, nor in the pool. Jack took his toothpaste, which he had forgotten to pack, from one of the shopping bag with the intention of leaving it in his room.
But as he entered the entrance hall of his bedroom he was surprised to see two suitcases in the room, and as he slipped into the bedroom he saw why.
A beautiful young woman was lying on the bed, sleeping. From the position she was in Jack could tell she wasn't used to sleeping on beds. Her back was in an uncomfortable position right at the edge of the bed and her knees were kneeling on the floor, as if she had half slipped of the bed. She was also not used to wearing suits, she was lying like she was used to be in much freer clothing than the tight sticky suit. He was surprised to notice she had enough muscle in her arm to make any man feel guilty. He wouldn't be surprised if she had a six pack. Be she wasn't overly muscley like some of the Olympic athletes; somehow she still looked very attractive.
And boy, was she as good looking as Gustavo had promised, there was no doubting that. But that was not the only reason that made Jack start as he saw her. Her face was covered in sweat and her hands were twitching and he could see her eyes rolling under their lids, obviously her dreams were haunted with nightmares and what caught Jack off guard was the two opposites played on her face – the serenity of sleep, and yet the activity of her nightmare. He wanted to wake her up, help her out of the imprisoning world of her nightmare. But he didn't.
Jack was a photographer – he loved capturing the moment in an image as it was in that exact moment, but as he watched the unrest across this woman's face, the flicker beneath her eyelids, he knew that he couldn't capture the moment. This was a moment that couldn't be captured, however much it pained Jack to admit it, for her eyes wouldn't turn in the still photograph. However much it pained Jack he knew the only way he could capture this moment was in his faulty memory.
Jack's mother had died when he was fourteen, and since then he had never had any serious relationship with a woman, he had never looked deeper than her breast. But often this was due to the women Jack dated – they were all as shallow as a puddle. Now of course he knew that actually he had always been subconsciously afraid that woman could hurt him as much as his mother had hurt him. But since her death he had taken a lot of her habits, her tidiness, her cheerfulness and her hygiene rules (which his teachers had loved).
Suddenly the woman cried out and slid off the bed, collapsing on the floor, though she didn't wake. Jack jumped up in surprise, scared by this woman's sudden action.
Jack decided to take his clothes from the wardrobe and transfer them into the other room; he knew his mother would have done the same and he could truthfully tell his grandmother he had done a gentlemanly thing.
His grandmother had been equally depressed as Vanessa, Jack's mother, had died, and she had taken Jack into her custody and forbidden his father to contact them for almost six years. In those six years Jack had grown extremely close to his grandmother, who had been a stranger to him before his mother's death. But in those six years the fine bond he had had with his father had thinned even more, his anger and regret often attacking his father. He was glad his grandmother had taken him, but sometimes he wished he could strengthen the bond between him and his strange father.
It took three crossings from one room to the other to get all his stuff and put back into the same neatness. The two rooms were identical, so Jack didn't really mind, whether he lived on the left or the right.
After he finished he decided it would be best if he stored the groceries correctly because, even though it was nice and cool on the top floor, the humidity was more noticeable downstairs and he didn't want any of the food to go off.
After storing away a lot of the food and his roommate not having come yet Jack decided to make a simple dinner. He wrapped some potatoes in tin foil and put them in the oven before marinating some steak and making his grandmother's favourite green pepper sauce for it. He hoped his friend (he thought friend sounded better than 'the woman' or 'the roommate') would be awake by the time he had finished.
- - -
Anna woke to find herself on the floor and she quickly scrambled up, looking around if anyone had seen her. She smelt dinner and so knew 'Jack' was in, though she thought she should change first.
She changed into some dark cargo trousers and a dark top, ignoring her other two suitcases which she knew had been packed by Mia and were probably crammed full with revealing dresses and lacy underwear.
She tied back her hair in a quick braid and walked down the stairs, furiously trying to remember her nightmare. There had been so much happening, one second she was drowning, the next she fighting and then there was a knife hurtling towards her. She wondered what could have brought about such a nightmare.
She found the source of the smell in the kitchen, where a young man was just about to fry some steaks. He was very good looking with short blond hair and quite a tall figure. He was humming softly to himself and after listening to the song for quite a while Anna recognised Beethoven 3rd Symphony.
She leant against the door frame for an immeasurable length of time, watching him work and listening to him hum. The kitchen was reasonably tidy, but while he was frying the steaks Anna decided she would wash up.
She strode into the room and started staking the dishes, smiling at him.
"Hiya." She said.
"Hiya back." He answered and she laughed. She found herself acting so natural, she almost didn't recognise herself. Because she was natural, she wasn't pretending to be natural.
He looked at her, his eyes concentrating on her face, which surprised her. Usually the first time a man saw her he would appraise her whole body, usually leaving her face out of it.
His face was tanned and young; he had vibrant blue eyes which seemed to draw her in. His blond hair was long enough to drop across his eyes slightly, in a styled careless manner.
"Did you sleep well?" he asked conversationally as Anna collected the dishes which weren't in the sink yet.
"Yes, thank you. That smells very nice." Anna answered, looking for the Fairy liquid, but she couldn't find any. "You don't know by any chance where the washing up liquid is, do you?" she asked him, checking under the sink.
"Well, kind of. It's in the supermarket. I forgot to buy some." He admitted with an guilty grin and Anna laughed at his expression, and he with her.
"Should I wait to wash these tomorrow, or should I wash them with sand? It works quite well actually." She asked him earnestly, and he shot a look at the sink, which was only half full.
"Wait until tomorrow." He said. "It looks like these and the breakfast dishes will fit in there." Anna smiled again and looked at what he had prepared for dinner.
"Only steak?" she asked, hoping he had made something a little more nutritious.
"And potatoes in the oven and salad in the fridge which has yet to be washed."
And so Anna helped Jack prepare their dinner, and by nine o'clock everything was neatly finished.
They sat themselves down at the table with a beer each (Jack told her he had bought that much beer simply in case she was boring, but it was still worrying) and Jack's quite well cooked meal.
- - -
Jack watched Anna closely while they ate. He was simply blown away how much more beautiful she looked when she laughed than when she slept. She had said nothing about the nightmare he knew she had had, but he decided not to tell her he had been in her room. It just might not impress her.
"So, why did you decided to go on this holiday?" Anna asked conversationally after a few minutes of silence.
"My Gran decided I had an unhealthy attitude towards women and sent me on this." Jack laughed, surprised how weird it sounded and took a swig of beer.
"Your Gran? Doesn't, traditionally, your mother tell you that?" Anna asked, raising an eyebrow.
Jack laughed again, though there was no humour in his laugh now. "My mother's dead." He said. "She probably would if she was alive though." Anna looked taken a back, and to Jack's surprise, started laughing.
"What's so funny?" he demanded.
"You talk about your mother's death like you don't care!" she giggled, aggravating him. And that hit home. Jack cared, oh, he cared more than he let anyone ever see, not even his grandmother. She had said those things to him so many times, aking him why he didn't care. Yes, he cared. He cared a lot.
"I care." He said, keeping his voice neutral, though anger was quickly building inside of him. Anna stopped laughing and watched him carefully. "I pretend not to care because if I showed you how much I cared you would fucking run. You don't understand. My mother fucking died for my father, and she forgot, I repeat, she forgot, she had a son. She cared more about my father than for me. She fucking didn't care." Jack kept his voice calm during the speech, but his eyes gave away his anger. The sparking, the blue swirling like an angry whirlpool.
"Oh, you think that's bad?" Anna's eyes were sparking too. Jack was taken aback by her anger – he was expecting sympathy. "Oh, your Mommy may be dead, but while she was alive she loved you. I don't know my father, and my mother used to be so caught up in her job she wouldn't even notice if I committed fucking suicide. After I was gone, well then she could stop pretending to love her job and do the things she really liked. And none of those included her fucking daughter." Anna was whispering by the end of her speech, her low voice scaring Jack more than if she was shouting at him. She continued carefully
"You think just because your Mommy's dead I will fuck you? Well pretty boy, I have had a hard life too, and if I wasn't forced to share a house with you, I would beat you up." Jack was fuming. He wouldn't make up some story to get her to sleep with him! He could get her into bed anytime! And he would beat her in a fight anytime too.
"Well, I am sorry your mother didn't love you, but at least she's still alive." Jack childishly fought back.
"Shut up and eat unless you want me to break your arm. Wait 'til I've calmed down and then we can talk." Anna said icily, concentrating on a fly on the other side of the room. It hurt Jack's ego, but he decided to ignore it. He valued his life enough to know that she would kill him.
This wasn't a bad sign Jack told himself, they had both let slip their deepest, darkest secrets, and now they could talk normally, knowing where to tread carefully. This wasn't a bad sign. No it wasn't.
There goes my airhead blonde. Jack thought and found himself surprisingly pleased. He had never realised how good it felt to have someone shut him up, even if it was a bruise to his ego. His grandmother had always said that sensible men didn't mind to be told to shout up if it was from an equal.
- - -
Anna couldn't believe herself. She had just told this complete moronic stranger the one greatest weakness; her mother. And he had told her his greatest weakness. Now they were even.
But they weren't. Anna had no idea what had possessed her to tell the whining Jack about her mother, but whatever it was, it had to be punished. She had to be punished, punished for letting herself go and feeling real feelings.
They finished the meal in silence, and Anna only started even acknowledging Jack as she tried to wash the dishes with only hot water and a little shampoo. She decided not to carry on after her plate started smelling very strongly of raspberry shampoo.
"I'm sorry about the washing up liquid." Jack muttered and Anna's eyes immediately focused on him.
"Don't worry." She sighed, "And I am really sorry I snapped at you. I shouldn't have."
Jack smiled weakly. "You had every right to. I lost my temper first."
"I reacted rashly and I shouldn't have had." Anna laughed and put her shampoo back on the stairs, too lazy to walk all the way upstairs.
Too awake to go to bed, Anna paced around the house, seeing what she could do, while Jack made himself a 'Banana and Ice Cream Beer Float', which Anna had declined politely. The name alone sounded awful.
She caught sight of the pool. Perfect. She was hot and flustered and she knew exactly where her bikini was. It was dark outside but the air was still disgustingly humid. Anna ran upstairs and quickly changed into her swimming suit before running downstairs to the pool.
- - -
Jack was alerted by Anna's decision to swim as he heard a splash of water as she dived into the pool. He quickly emptied the beer over his vanilla ice cream and sliced banana, grabbed himself a spoon and walked outside.
There where lights surrounding the pool, but neither Jack nor Anna had remembered to turn them on, so the only light was coming from the pool and the light was a blue murky colour.
Anna just resurfaced on the other end of the 20m pool, not even gasping for air, just laughing aloud.
"What's so funny?" Jack called from the other end of the pool, and Anna laughed louder before diving under again and swimming surprisingly fast towards Jack.
She resurfaced again, reminding Jack uncharacteristically of a shark, with her hair plastered to her face.
"I was laughing because I was remembering the last time I swam in chlorine. I was working with a guy called Joseph Rhvashy. He was very stupid." She grinned again. "You want to join me?" she offered and this time it was Jack's turn to laugh.
"I can't swim to save my life." He admitted as he sat himself on one of the white plastic deck chairs around the pool and started eating his exceptional desert. "But I don't mind watching you." He offered.
She smiled before diving under the surface of the water, bubbles following her to the other end of the pool.
Jack frowned after her. Who didn't know who Rhvashy was? He was an international illegal drug lord and oligarch in Russia. He was the most paranoid man ever and he shot people who looked at him too long thinking they were assassins. He had been killed less than a month ago. What could she have wanted with him?
"When was the last time you swam in an ocean?" Jack called as she resurfaced in the middle of the pool, trying to think up a random question to divert the questions away from the renowned weapon dealers.
"Four days ago! But I love salt water as much as I hate chlorine, so I try and swim in it as much as possible." She called back
Jack considered that for a moment before having a question ready to shoot at her the second she was able to hear him. He was about to ask her a question, but she held up on hand for him to wait and swam to the edge of the pool. She leant on the side and smiled up at Jack, inviting him to ask his question.
He was knocked breathless for a second; she was so beautiful, even with her hair plastered back and her face only illuminated by pool lights.
"If you hate chlorine, why are you swimming here if the ocean is just down the pier?" he said, gesturing towards the ocean with his spoon.
"You were actually listening!" she smiled gleefully before letting herself fall back into the water, considering her answer carefully. "I am swimming here because I don't know what the sea is like; whether there are strong currents to avoid and if the beach is sand or sharp stones. At the moment, it's safer I swim here." A lie. Even Jack could see through that.
Jack nodded, wondering if her would ever understand this beautiful, mysterious stranger who had heard his greatest secret, and instead of reacting with pity had reacted with anger.
Who are you? He wanted to call towards her, but he didn't. He had two weeks to find out – where would be the fun if he found out now.
Of one thing he was sure though – this girl was not anyone he could pick up in a bar with a smile and a compliment. He would actually have to work to win even her friendship. But he wanted more.
He wanted her heart.
- - -
I am so sorry I haven't updated for so long guys! I've just been so busy! Anyway, no more excuses. What do you think of Anna now? And how do you like Jack!
(Thanks to reviewer: essiebear, Dakota.347)