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Villanelle’s transformation began long before and continued long after their affair, but Anna was the catalyst—the edge right before the climax, so to speak.

The truth is, with a woman like Anna, Villanelle never much felt like an Oksana Astankova.

“Tell me you love me,” she’d say, lips grazing the delicate shell of Anna’s ear, voice a low murmur in the dark heat of Anna’s flat. “I want to hear it.”

They are not intertwined like vines, sucking kisses into each other’s pale skin. Their lovemaking was never like that. It was fucking, pure and simple—sweaty thrusting astride an armchair, a firm tongue and slick lips. Anna liked it to hurt a little, liked to be over Oksana’s knee like a student put in her place.

(And it just so happens that Villanelle loves to put people in their place).

Villanelle strikes Anna on the curve of her thighs, right where soft buttock meets muscled leg, and Anna groans and squirms, cunt hot against Villanelle’s leg.

Anna reddens beautifully, body ashamed of her pleasure.

“Tell me or I will stop,” Villanelle says sweetly, dipping her hand between Anna’s legs, giving her something to look forward to.

Tell me, tell me. Tell me I am the only one.

“I love you,” Anna says, voice brittle. Her back arches into a curve, begging for more.

Oksana might believe her. But Villanelle? Oh, Villanelle knows a lie when she hears one.

“Anna,” she murmurs, stroking the sweat-warm plane of Anna’s back, the scrape of her nails bringing gooseflesh to the skin. “I love you too, Anna.” She raises her hand, poised to strike, and leaves it there, hanging, fingers spread and trembling.

Anna inhales, sharply, overcome with something almost like fear.

Villanelle smiles and lets her hand drop to her side.