The Reluctant Assassin

His face disgusted me!
I wouldn’t waste one glance in the direction of that wretch were it not for the startling contrast of beauty beside him. She held my gaze like a lover’s first love. I had to meet her.
“What a delight to see you again, James.” I could taste the lie on my tongue. His first loathsome expression vanished into a practiced smile as he turned to accept my handshake. “Been a while” was all he could muster.

We had quarreled over a woman many lifetimes ago. He stole my sweetheart and won her hand only to suffer through our very public affair years later. It seems betrayal ignites a fiery and lasting hate that either consumes a soul or remains with a body like a recurring injury.

“Jim Hawkes,” I offered. She smiled, noticing my dismissal of her companion. “How funny. The same name!” She was saying as he cut her short. “No, no, dear. I am James. He is Jim. Like the sweatiest place in a school, as I always say.”
“A gilded tongue as usual,” I said with a sideways nod, my eyes never leaving hers.

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