A Midnight Masquerade

“Perfect! Beautiful as ever Val!” I stated aloud, what? A girl’s gotta love herself.

I retrieved my thigh holster, ensuring all straps were tightly fastened as I slipped the knife into its allotted space. The cool metal chilled me, resulting in goosebumps, it had been a while. But time away would do nothing to deter me from completing my task tonight. After I gave my appearance a once over, I rehearsed my instructions. _Infiltrate the gala, and swap the codes. Avoid the charming spy._

I'd been warned not to get caught up in distractions_, _especially the one I would face tonight_. _Spys were evasive and deceptive, we had to be, it’s what had been ingrained in us. But _he_ was something entirely different.

As the time to leave drew closer, I finished my lipstick, appreciating the way it matched my attire. I tussled my hair for volume and adjusted my Scarlett red gown over my holster. Once I was satisfied with my appearance, I slipped out of my apartment and into my ride.

I took deep rhythmic breaths, to center myself.

Time alone forced me to sit with my thoughts, an activity I’d prefer not to engage in.

My last mission ruined me, for months I never left my bed.

I’d become haunted by the actions of others.

I had to rid myself of that mindset.

If I got hung up on every mistake I made it would render me useless.

As we shifted toward the final corner, my breath caught in my throat. Chief wasn’t kidding when he said this was a big deal.

A house, no scratch that, a fucking palace stood before me.

I stepped out onto the driveway, my heels dug into the gravel. This prompted a crunch to sound out into the otherwise silent space. Was I early? The lack of noise was eerie. I inhaled the scent of lavender surrounding me, allowing it to ground me.

I shuddered when I recognised some familiar faces infront of me. I shoved the blurs of horror and torture endured, deep down. I wouldn’t enjoy the company I had to keep tonight. They were vermin, every last one of them.

I don’t realise I’m in a daze until a male voice halts me, “Miss? Can I see your ID please?” his voice was cold, and his gaze was impassive.

I gave a high-pitched laugh as though I hardly knew which planet I was on, “God sorry! World of my own. It’s Valentina, last name Monetti.” I served a sickly sweet smile as I handed him my driver's license.

He skimmed his notepad, to find my name.

I maintained my smile, I had to keep my act up at all times.

His eyes met mine, satisfaction in his gaze,

”Welcome to Huntington Manor, Ms Monetti,” he repeated as though this was his millionth time saying the phrase, which it probably was. Poor fuck.

The reedy blare of classical music bombarded me as I opened the sickeningly wealthy doors. who the fuck has gold-encrusted hinges?

My pulse began to match the rhythm of the music, I couldn’t lose face for a single moment. Eyes would be on me at all times.

I studied the room, frozen in place as I took in the scene before me. I had to stop myself gawking.

My stomach churned at the grandiosity of the place.

The chandeliers glinted, swaying back and forth as people drifted throughout. The sun began to bleed into the room. Centuries old paintings, were hung across the space. This place _oozed_ affluence.

Waiters were placed at every turn.

_Jesus, who needs that much champagne? _

These people had to have everything by the dozen.

This was only emphasized by the fountains that ran red with wine.

I stiffen when I feel a hand on my back, _stay fucking calm, and don't react._

“Nervous?” the voice asked from beside me, dark and raspy.

I spun my head to put a face to the voice.

His eyes glinted with mischief, a mix of green and blue. I couldn't decide which of the two colours they were. His expression screamed determination, beneath the easy smile he had plastered on.

“Not in my vocabulary. I see they didn’t teach you etiquette.” I remarked, removing his hand from my back.

His smirk deepened. “And why’s that?”

“Some might consider it proper to at least introduce yourself before touching a person.”

I didn’t bother to meet his gaze.

I then felt the warmth of him as he neared me, his mouth was centimetres from my neck.

”Sweetheart, I should warn you, there is absolutely nothing _proper_ about me.” His tone implied a deeper meaning to his words.

I brushed him off, spotting a table of champagne flutes. I knew better than to consume anything I was provided. There had been rumours the esteemed hosts liked to add a little something to drinks. Apparently to ensure their guests had a good time. Fucking creeps. Though naturally, as a woman, I always carried a drug test for drinks.

I turned on my heel in search of the toilet. A few dimly lit hallways later, I spotted a symbol for the ladies. The space was just as lavish as expected. Gold everything. I slipped into the first cubicle and pulled the strip out of my purse. After five minutes my phone dinged.

I rechecked the strips. They were the same colour, thank fuck. I needed one for liquid courage. I knocked back my champagne and peed, in case I didn’t get a chance later.


The wall stood next to me thudded. I flinched at the nearness, momentarily frozen as I let the situation unfold before I stepped in.

Fucking brilliant, this is just what I need.

“GET BACK HERE!” A male voice boomed outside in the hallway. I darted out of my cubicle, and stood off to the side of the toilet door, ready to pounce.

“Leave me alone Clifton, I’ve told you a million times!” A woman screeched, fear evident in her tone.

Okay, this may have required my attention.

I swung the door open. I was eager to know why the man before me thought it was acceptable to take that kind of tone with a woman.

I assessed them both in seconds. She was terrified, he was raging.

There was only one way to defuse this.

Well, the least violent way. For him, that is.

Shame, really.

“Thank god you’re here, I’m bleeding everywhere. Do you have a tampon? Extra heavy flow?” I cried out in distress, clinging to the blonde. She understood my ploy effortlessly . Fuck I love women and our intuition.

The man's face screwed up in disgust, ”Lily I don’t have time for this shit, come with me now.” He demanded. If I wasn’t who I was, I would have recoiled from the tone in his voice.

He was begging for my blade at this point.

“Clifton she’s a friend, I have to help her,” my heart stung with the way her voice wobbled.

His expression hardens, unhappy with Lily’s response. He attempted to grab her upper arm, to which I quickly intercepted. I grabbed his arm, and twisted it until I heard the delicious sound of his bone breaking.

I met his eyes, and lowered myself to his position on the floor.

“If You so much as contact this beautiful woman again, I promise there won’t be a bone in your body unbroken. Is that clear?”

When he didn’t respond I got started on his other arm.

“FUCK FINE. YES OKAY.” He sobbed, as he gathered his pathetic self and limped away.

“Thank you so much, you have no idea how much you have saved me. Did you need a tampon though?” She asked, smiling shyly.

“No baby I’m good, just a ruse. Will you be safe from here I can arrange you to be escorted.” I offered, worried Clifton would reappear in my absence.

She shook her head, and followed with a warm smile. “I’m leaving town tonight. Far from him. I have family to stay with, so I’ll be okay. Thankyou again, I’ll never forget it.”

She then wrapped her arms around me, leaving me with a grateful smile.

I strode toward the stairs feigning a wobble, as though I were tipsy, incase of onlookers.

The room I needed access to would be impossible to enter through the front door. So I had to be smart.

Tim Rossi was the head of the family. He had his office adjoining the room I needed.

An illustration sat opposite his office. It depicted a woman beheading a man beneath her, with the help of her maid.

That is art.

I was half surprised Rossi hung such a portrayal considering his treatment of women.

My back snapped straight as a creak sounded among the floorboards behind me.

“Discreet isn't in your skill set is it,?” sounded the raspy voice of my earlier annoyance.

“I could say the same thing about you, a very heavy footing you have there.” I threw my words at him, not caring for his conversation. I turned my attention back to my task of unlocking Rossi’s door.

“Mm,” is the only response he gave me, perusing the space around us.

I considered asking him to keep watch but decided against it. This wasn't a team effort.

I didn’t operate in pairs.

“Your presence here is pointless you know that right?” I stated, sparing a glance toward him, to find that he watched my task intently.

“It seems not, you need some help sweetheart?” he smirked, as he began to walk closer toward me. His long strides ate the space between us.

“You sure do love that word. I have a name, you dick,” I spit back, fed up with his phoney charm.

“I do when it riles you so easily.” He smiled, flashing his fang like teeth.

I couldn’t underestimate his motives, this is almost certainly a distraction so that he can take credit when I complete this mission. I had to keep my wits about me.

“I assure you, when I’m riled you’ll know about it. Why on earth they think you are charming,is beneath me.” I patted his shoulder in fake pity.

He remained composed, undeterred by my comment. He took another step toward me, lowering his head to meet my height.

“I guarantee you _Valentina_, If I were to switch this charm on, I’d have you writhing beneath me, panting obscenities as you beg me to touch you.”

His voice is a volume only I can hear, increasing the intimacy of his words.

The certainty in his tone caught me off guard.

I pushed the sensation deep down, despising ever feeling unsure of myself.

“Writhing? Please, I bet you’ve never satisfied a woman in your life.” I retorted, my voice riddled with sass, as I moved my tools back and forth inside the door lock

He runs his eyes across my face, unbothered by my comment. I had to hand it to him, he was determined. Delusional, but determined.

“Are you telling me, or yourself that false information? Happy to demonstrate otherwise.” He taunted as he watched me.

I simply rolled my eyes at him, not bothering to dignify his words with a response.

Moments later the click of the lock sounded out.

“Yes!” I triumphed, still fucking got it Val.

I pushed the door open, and spun round to place my hand firmly on his chest.

“Make yourself useful, or don’t talk, got it?” I Instructed him.

“Yes ma’am,” his voice was husky, as he stepped toward me.

Part two in progress🩷

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