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“So, how did it go with your new client?”

Konstantin doesn’t even wait for Villanelle to invite him into her apartment, he just steps past her as soon as she opens the door, holding a packaged sandwich bought from Marks and Spencer.

“Please,” says Villanelle, her voice laced with sarcasm as she closes the door behind Konstantin, “make yourself at home.”

“I will,” Konstantin deadpans, dropping onto one end of Villanelle’s couch with a soft thump. “So, how was it?”

“Pretty good, I think,” answers Villanelle. “She told me that she doesn’t like women, but she could not stop staring at me.”

Konstantin peels open the packaging on his sandwich without giving Villanelle the satisfaction of a response. She watches him lift the sandwich to his mouth and as he takes a bite, some of the sloppy contents ooze out and fall into his lap.

“Do you have to eat that in here?” Villanelle complains, watching in disgust as Konstantin scoops up the mess and then licks his fingers clean. “You’re as messy as a child.”

“All day breakfast,” says Konstantin, showing her the packaging. He offers the second sandwich out to her and asks, “Do you want to share?”

Villanelle inspects the content and then wrinkles up her nose as she shakes her head.

“Egg does not belong in a sandwich.”

Konstantin looks down at his sandwich, then shrugs.

“More for me,” he says, taking another bite. With his mouth full, he hums contentedly and then changes the subject by saying, “She already called me. She wants to hire you for the wedding.”

Villanelle feels her ego swell in her chest like a balloon being inflated. It’s not even been an hour since she parted from Eve in the coffee shop, and to learn that Eve has already been on the phone with Konstantin fills her with immense satisfaction. Villanelle could tell that Eve was into her from how nervous she was at the start, and then from how Eve’s eyes kept dropping to Villanelle’s mouth once those nerves had disappeared. Eve might have insisted upon her heterosexuality on more than one occasion, but Villanelle knows Eve’s desires better even than Eve knows them.

Villanelle will definitely be able to have a little bit of fun with this one.

“She called you already?” Villanelle says, as a slow smirk spreads across her lips. “She must really like me. Can you blame her though?”

“The wedding is in two weeks,” Konstantin informs her. “I will email you details later.”

Villanelle strolls across the room and stands by the window, looking out at the bleak London cityscape beyond. It’s a clear enough day that if she stands at the right angle, she can just see the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral silhouetted against the sky.

“I will have to buy a new dress,” she comments aloud, turning her head to look at Konstantin. “Maybe even a fascinator.”

Konstantin takes another bite of his sandwich and is oblivious to the hint that Villanelle has just dropped in his lap until she raises her eyebrows pointedly in his direction.

“Oh right,” he says, and balances his sandwich in one hand as he reaches into the pocket of his duffel coat with the other hand to pull out a roll of twenty-pound notes. “How much do you need?”

He peels off a handful of notes and offers them out to Villanelle.

“Thank you, Konstantin,” Villanelle says in a sing-song voice, taking the cash from him and sitting at the other end of the couch to count it. “Do you want to come shopping with me?”

“No,” Konstantin mumbles around the final mouthful of sandwich. He swallows, then wipes his sticky fingers on his trousers as he asks, “Are you going to behave yourself at this wedding?”

“Of course I’ll behave myself. Unless Eve wants me to be naughty.”

Konstantin gets to his feet and points his index finger at Villanelle in a warning, like a parent scolding their child.

“Do not screw the client.”

“Of course not,” Villanelle holds her hands up in surrender. “I am a professional.”

Konstantin narrows his eyes.

“Good.”

He wraps the second sandwich back up in its card packaging and tucks it inside his coat. As he heads back towards the door, Konstantin stops in his tracks and turns to look at Villanelle again.

“I have cleaned up enough of your messes,” he warns her. “Don’t turn this into another one.”

Villanelle pretends to be offended and says, “I would never!”


When Eve goes back into the office on Monday morning, she wonders how long it is possible for her to avoid Elena and the inevitable conversation.

As it turns out, when a team of only five people is crammed into an office space so small that they have to pretty much climb over each other to get to the coffee machine, the answer is approximately eight minutes.

“So, Eve,” says Elena, rolling her office chair over to Eve’s desk almost as soon as Eve settled down with a steaming mug of black coffee. “Who was that woman Kenny and I saw you out with yesterday?”

In their cramped office, it is also impossible to have a conversation without every single one of the others listening in. Even Hugo stops his crass bragging to Jess about the girl he picked up in a chip shop on Saturday night, so that he can eavesdrop on their conversation.

“Just a friend, that’s all,” says Eve, as she switches on her computer monitor, then types in her username and password to log into the MI6 system.

“She looked like a little bit more than a friend to me,” Elena presses for me. She glances over her shoulder, then asks, “Don’t you agree, Kenny?”

Kenny holds both of his hands up and says, “I’m staying out of this.”

While Kenny picks up a file from his desk and leaves their small office to visit another department, Hugo gets up from his own chair and crosses over to Eve’s desk, standing just behind Elena.

“Hold up,” says Hugo, looking confused. “You’re saying that Eve has been getting jiggy with another girl and she hasn’t told me? I’m a little offended, to be honest.”

Eve groans and lifts an exasperated hand to her head.

“I’m not getting jiggy with anybody!” she protests, wincing at Hugo’s choice of words. “It was one date.”

Elena and Hugo look at each other with matching grins on their faces, then Hugo glances back at Eve and holds one of his hands up for a high five.

“I’m not high fiving you,” Eve tells him.

“Yes, you are.”

“I’m really not.”

“Don’t leave me hanging, Eve,” whines Hugo.

Eve looks up at him and at the pout on his face and realises that if it wasn’t for him and his outrageous suggestion, she would still be dateless for Niko’s wedding. She decides to indulge him, and half-heartedly nudges the palm of her hand against his.

Hugo grins and leans himself against Eve’s desk, before he asks, “So let’s hear all about this girl on girl stuff.”

Elena groans in disgust and says, “First, that’s gross. But secondly,” Elena turns her attention back to Eve mid-sentence and asks, “please do tell us everything. What’s her name?”

Eve panics, knowing that she can’t give away the name that Villanelle goes by in her escort work, and blurts out the first name that comes to mind.

“Julie.”

“And how did you meet Julie?” asks Elena, eyes glimmering with excitement at the prospect of hot new office gossip.

Again, Eve realises that she should have expected a barrage of questions and come to work prepared with a backstory. As it is, she gives the answer that is closest to the truth, without actually admitting that she went on a date with an escort.

“We met online,” she answers with a shrug. “It’s like Hugo is always saying, it’s all about the dating apps these days.”

Hugo stares at her incredulously and asks, “ You’re on Tinder?”

Eve hesitates for a fraction of a second, then answers, “Yeah.”

Hugo frowns and considers the answer, before he shrugs and replies, “Nice,” as he wanders back to his desk.

Elena doesn’t seem quite as ready to quit.

“Things looked to be going pretty well, from what I saw,” she says, leaning closer to Eve and wiggling her eyebrows suggestively. “Are you going to see her again?”

Eve tries to act nonchalant as she replies, “I actually thought I might take her to Niko’s wedding as my plus one.”

In her peripheral vision, Eve sees Hugo’s head jerk up when she says this, and she is grateful that he decides not to bring up the drunken conversation that he and Eve shared on Friday night. She isn’t quite ready for the onslaught of teasing that would come her way if the entire office learned that Eve’s apparent new beau is only with her for the paycheck.

“Really?” asks Elena, eyes widening in surprise. “That’s quite a big step.”

“It’s either that or I turn up alone to my ex-husband’s wedding.”

Elena grimaces at the suggestion.

“Yeah, that wouldn’t be ideal.”

Eve is grateful that Elena drops the subject at that point, apparently satisfied with the titbits of information that Eve has given her, and instead starts talking about a case that they’re supposed to be working on.


The topic comes up again three hours later when Hugo drops into a chair opposite Eve while she’s picking at a Tupperware box of reheated pasta with a fork. Eve knows what is coming as soon as she realises that it is Hugo, but she doesn’t expect him to be quite so forthcoming.

“Okay, so I know we were pretty drunk on Friday night,” he starts, resting his elbow on the table and leaning across with a smirk on his face, “but I distinctly remember you telling me that you didn’t have a date for your ex’s wedding.”

Eve lifts a forkful of pasta to her mouth to buy herself some time before she answers. Hugo maintains an unnerving eye contact the whole time she is chewing, apparently willing to wait for as long as it takes.

Eve swallows, and then says, “Well, now I do.”

“The thing is,” continues Hugo, “I also remember the suggestion I gave you.”

Eve holds his gaze for about half a second, then looks down, suddenly very interested in the contents of her Tupperware.

“Eve?”

“Okay fine,” concedes Eve, slumping back in her chair. She looks around to make sure that nobody is close enough to eavesdrop, then admits, “She’s an escort. Please don’t tell anybody.”

Hugo grins in triumph.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I hire escorts all the time.”

Eve shouldn’t be surprised. Hugo, being a man who has spent his entire life surrounded by more money than he knows what to do with, is exactly the right demographic of person that might hire an escort. And yet the admission does take Eve aback slightly. She has spent almost her entire weekend wallowing in the shame of what she is doing, both before and after meeting Villanelle, thinking of the other people who have paid Villanelle and the countless other escorts just like her. Eve imagined that they would all be creeps, either perverts with strange fetishes unable to convince a woman to agree to without handing over a large sum of cash first, or losers unable to get a date on their own. Eve supposes that she falls into that second category herself. What she didn’t imagine, was that other people who escorts could end up being people she interacts with every day, people who are normal. Or at least as normal as somebody like Hugo, who has three middle names and a second cousin who is a baron, can be.

“You?” asks Eve, frowning at Hugo as she presses him to explain. “Why do you need to hire an escort? You’re always bragging about the women you pick up.”

Apparently immune to embarrassment, Hugo just shrugs and leans back in his chair as he takes a sip from his mug of tea.

“Let me tell you a little story,” he begins. “My dear old parents divorced when I was fourteen and ever since, my dad has dated a string of much younger women who are only interested in him for his money. And then, a few months ago, he proposed to one of them. Clare.” Hugo’s distaste for the woman is evident in his voice, only emphasised by the way that he rolls his eyes as he says her name. “So, I hired an escort to be my date for the engagement party.” Hugo pauses and leans forward in his chair again, a mischievous glint in his eyes as he adds, “And then a different one for his birthday party. And then another one for a family dinner.”

Eve doesn’t know whether she should be horrified or impressed.

“But you’re always bragging about the women you sleep with, why not just take one of them?”

“Because it’s much more entertaining to pay women to piss off Dad and Clare. Also, I know my dad’s credit card details, and now so do the escort agency.”

Eve shakes her head in disbelief.

“That is the most entitled white boy story I’ve ever heard.”

Instead of taking offence at Eve’s comment, Hugo’s eyes light up with mischief.

“Isn’t it just?” he agrees. He pats Eve’s arm twice, then says to her, “Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.”