“Did you get it?” Her voice was low and greedy, as she leaned over the table, hair perilously close to the flickering candle that was all that illuminated this dark corner in the dingy bar.
“Yes,” I said, smirking. “Of course. Have I ever failed before?”
She raised an eyebrow. “There was that time in the castle, where you-”
“Alright, alright,” I said quickly, hoping that she wouldn’t see my blush in the dim room. “In my defence, that wasn’t entirely my fault…”
She scoffed. “Wasn’t that the time you fucked the prince and his girlfriend?”
“You don’t have to be so crude about it,” I said, but I couldn’t help my grin. I might have screwed up the mission but it had certainly been a great night.
“Enough of this,” she said, losing patience, “show me it!”
I laughed. “So possessive, honestly,” I chided, but I was already delving into my bag, pulling out the parcel, wrapped in coarse brown fabric, tied with string. She reached for it, hands grabby and urgent, and I pulled it back out of her reach.
“Can I have my payment first, please?” I said mildly, and she glared at me.
“Don’t you trust me?” she snapped, looking hurt, and I smiled at her.
“I’d trust you with my life,” I said, “but I don’t trust you to not just run away without paying me.”
She sighed and then nodded. “Fair,” she muttered grudgingly, and produced a small cloth bag- I didn’t see where from. It jingled when I picked it up, and I pulled at the drawstring, glancing inside. The silver coins glinted, and I nodded, satisfied, and slipped the pouch into my pocket. I didn’t bother counting it- I knew that the exact amount would be there.
I pushed the cloth-wrapped package across the sticky table and she snatched it up, cradling it in her hands. She carefully unwrapped a corner, peeking in. She knew better than to take it out in a place like this. The jewels caught the light, sparkling brightly, and she covered them up again, and slid the package into her bag.
“Thank you,” she said, and I smiled.
“It’s my job,” I said, and she laughed, nodding.
“Yeah, but you do it better than anyone else,” she said, and I ducked my head, unable to conceal how much the small praise meant to me.
She cleared her throat, and I looked at her. She was slouching back in her seat, looking more relaxed now that the ‘official’ part was done. “Speaking of jobs,” she said, “I have one to offer you.”
I perked up, vageuly interested. “Do tell,” I urged, and she chuckled.
“And you say I have no patience,” she said, and I stuck my tongue out at her. “Anyway, this job, it’s a long one, it’ll need a long period of infiltration. We’re hoping to use two women, it’ll be easier to get them into the place, and I was wondering if you wanted to do it with me?”
“Huh,” I said, surprised. I’d never worked personally with her before- I hadn’t known that she even did the hands-on work herself. But I couldn’t deny that the idea held its appeal. “I’m in,” I said, and it was her turn to look surprised.
“Without any more info?”
“Yep,” I said, standing up and slinging my bag over my shoulder. “If you’re involved, I know it will be fun.”
She beamed. It lit up her face. “I’ll get the details to you,” she said, lifting her drink in farewell.
“I look forward to it.” And as I walked away, I realised that I genuinely was. This could turn out to be an interesting job.