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“Have you found your new apartment to your liking Villanelle?”

Her father's voice asked softly via phone, knowing his daughter had not liked moving to Seattle at all. She had loved her life in the bustling city of New York, with it’s fashion and hipness. And now here she sat, on moving boxes, staring out the large glass front of her new place, down to a city painted by the grey weather around.

“I don’t understand why me Papa.”

Konstantin sighed deeply at the annoyance in his daughters voice.

“You are my oldest. I only trust you to take the business to the West Coast. We need to expand. Oksana...we have been through this.”

“Please don't call me that.”

Her voice changed from annoyed to borderline angry, the stress of the last few days getting the better of her.

“It is your name.”

“Given by a drunkard that beat his wife to death and then died in a hail of bullets.”

She sneered, and slumped down on the couch.

Her adoptive father had always given her everything she could wish for. Even this 2 story Loft/studio was beautifully furnished just to her liking. She just hated when he used the name that had been given to her by her biological parents.

“Villanelle...I know you are not happy with me right now. But you are my daughter by all means and I will never let this Business be held by anyone but my Children.”

“I am sorry Papochka.”

The love that man had shown her, although she had never been his flesh and blood, was infinite. Konstantin and his first wife had been unable to have children and thus opted for adoption in Russia, their homeland. The young and proud immigrants and owners of a little bookstore in New York, found her in a russian orphanage, aged five just after the Soviet Union fell. They took her home with them to New York and soon divorced because his wife was cheating. Then Konstantin met his second wife and had another child with her very late into their marriage. He stayed with her until she died of cancer. Irina, her younger sister and the spitting image of her mother, red locked and wild hair and strong opinions, someone she was very close with even though the age difference between them. Together with that wife, he grew his bookstore imperium wanting to give his family the best life possible.

“How is Irina?”

“She still will not speak to me. It breaks my heart to try to do the best for my children and have them both resent me.”

Villanelle’s shoulders sank further.

“I will talk to her Papa. It….it is just hard for her. Mamochka passed only a year ago.”

Villanelle had never felt such pain as when she had to bury the woman she regarded her mother and Irina was only 17 and very much still needed her mother. Olga Nadezhda Vasielliev had been a strong woman, who kept the children in line with a mix of lots of love, understanding and russian strictness. Never once had she treated Villanelle differently from Irina, had loved them both equally.

“I miss her too Papa.”

She felt sadness creep up and her, curling on the couch.

“She would be very proud of you Myshka.”

Her sadness was reflected in her father's voice and for long moments they were caught in their respective memories.

“I have to unpack some. I will call you with updates on the building progression of the store.”

“Villanelle…”

She knew he wanted to talk to her about her grief again, but she could not yet.

“Anything else I need to take care of swiftly.?”

A sigh on the other end.

“No...just find good coffee beans for the Store’s coffee shop to use?”

“I will Papochka.”

The call ended and Villanelle stared outside again, watching the sun sink behind the mountains of the Olympic National forest. She opened a bottle of wine and started to unpack her personal things, while trying to find out more about the city she would live in now. For some reason she ended up on a Seattle City discord after downloading the app and trying to come up with a name. She went with KillerCook1985, frowning and thinking she could rename herself something better later, then went to check channels such as club scene, best coffee shop and, something that piqued her interest, Book group.

The chat there was heatedly discussing the newest Bookstore being built downtown, Booklovers Inc., her father's company. She read the chat avidly, noting she should probably have Kenny check the discord to check opinions in the channel and turn it into some kind of statistic and use the discord as a sounding board for their ideas.

She had written a quick ‘hello’ in that chat and no one seemed to reply so she put her phone back down and kept unpacking her books. She loved cooking, had especially loved helping her mother in the kitchen, the sturdy woman always cooking up a storm for them, especially when Irina or she felt sad. Her father had nurtured her love, taking her to amazing restaurants whenever they traveled and letting her get her taste.

Suddenly her phone vibrated and she checked it, finding she had been ‘tagged’ on discord by another user in the Book group chat.

CrimeFan0079
Hey @KillerCook1985 sorry that chatter almost made your hello vanish. Welcome :smile:

KillerCook1985
No Problem! I was reading chat too. So, I see you aren’t a Fan of the new Bookstore?

CrimeFan0079
:shrug: just like small stores and the flair they have. Many of these stores die out when the big chains hit.

Another discussion about practices, prizing etc broke out, and Villanelle tried to tag CrimeFan in a message and instead ended up in a Direct Message, shrugging.

KillerCook1985
So what’s your favourite Bookstore and why? I am new in the city and am trying to just...arrive or maybe survive.

CrimeFan0079
Oh hey! Sorry the discussion is really derailing in Book group. Just moved here? Welcome! There is a handful of little stores. There is one just for International books, one for poetry...I like Thrill corner, it has so many great criminal novels.

KillerCook1985
:smile: thank you for the welcome. I will check the stores out. Sorry for Direct Messaging you

CrimeFan0079
Oh no worries! I hope you find a store you like and feel free to DM me if you have questions about Seattle, I have lived here all my life.

KillerCook1985
Thank you! I will definitely :grin:

**

 

“Eve! Seriously...you wanted to be ready half an hour ago what are you doing?!”

Elena whined as she pushed past the woman still with her hair wet.

“I…”

Elena checked the PC display.

“Really? Discord? Wait...are you advertising other book stores?”

“What...no! No...well... Yes but they asked?”

“You should advertise yours then?”

Elena replied incredulous.

“What? No! That's an internet stranger what if they come by?

Throwing her hands in the air, Elena groaned.

“I give up Eve...I give up!”

Then Elena grabbed both of Eve’s shoulders.

“You were supposed to be ready! You promised.”

Elena said and ushered Eve to the bathroom.

“Well, what if I don’t want to go?”

Elena’s hands dropped to her side, annoyed.

“Eve come on. You can’t stay inside for the rest of your life. You need to get yourself back out there.”

Eve sighed and went to the bathroom to blow dry her hair. She knew that technically Elena was right, there was no sense in moping about her cheating Ex. It stung still and Eve wasn’t sure if she really wanted to trust someone again. She had trusted Niko, had lived the life he wanted, the boring kind of marriage. And then he had left her for a younger woman. She cried for days. Not because of Niko leaving, since the last years she had not really...had any connection, but the cheating hurt.

Pulling her hair up and together she applied the minimum of makeup which got an eye roll from the younger woman.

“Shush...I can stay home if you keep pestering me.”

She did enjoy herself out that night. They went to a nice lounge bar, sipping drinks and simply talking. At one point Eve had even attracted the look of a woman maybe a bit older than her, making her blush furiously as Elena sat there giggling.

She had spoken to the woman briefly but her insecurity especially when women flirted with her, got her a hand on her arm and a soft: “I am sorry for making you uncomfortable with my flirting”, and then the woman was gone again.

“So...can we at least say you would not be opposed to women?”

“No because I am not trying online dating!”

Elena had tried making her a profile but that was something Eve just was not comfortable with. So instead Elena wanted to drag her to all kinds of places. It was just, Eve never felt interested. She felt out of sorts, as if she was doing something strange.

**

~ 2 days later ~

Eve was just preparing the store for opening at 8, when her phone gave off a little chirp, alerting her to a message. It was her Discord DM with KillerCook1985. A picture of a Seattle cafe and Eve cringed.

KillerCook1985
This one good? It’s on my way? I need coffee bad :sleepy:

CrimeFan0079
:no_mouth: uhm...no. Dont. If it’s not too much out of your way turn west, 1 block down is a good little store that uses a good blend of beans and is not too pricey.

KillerCook1985
Thanks you are a lifesaver! :raised_hands:

Eve smiled at the exchange and then opened her store, hoping that their kids corner today would draw some Sales. An hour later she got a picture from a to go cup and a heart on it.
Well that was at least someone she could make happy. One potential customer had griped at her prices, saying they were cheaper somewhere else. Of course they were she only bought one or two of the books she could not generate big numbers to be cheaper. She had tried explaining but what did the costumer care? She did not have cheap prices.

Elena’s kids corner at least got people into the store. While she put books in the right section’s she listened to Elena reading to the children sitting in front of her, making up voices and showing the pictures in the books.

While she felt her mind drift, a mother ambled up to her.

“Hi! Can I help with something?”

Eve said and smiled.

“Have your heard of the Booklovers Inc. opening? We saw the construction side, they said they will be done at the end of this summer.”

Eve wanted to yell out. Of course she had seen it! She had read about it, it was even in the news, Carolyn Martens had spoken at a TV interview about the plans of the company she was partnered in. Eve’s heart had sunk that day. And not long after she found her husband fucking his affair on their couch. Not missionary, like he had wanted to sleep with her. Nope, with the younger woman he clearly preferred more.

“Eve?”

She realized she had been deep in thought and shrugged.

“I am sure our customers know we are more than a big chain.”

She mumbled and then pointed to the tower of books.

“Sorry I have to get this done.”

She thought back to the times when her father held the shop, how it was always bustling with readers. But not long after he passed the super chains started popping up. More and more tiny stores closed. Eve had tried for so long to keep her father's store going. Even refused a rename when she had married Niko.

When she came home that evening she sat back on her couch with a book and tea simply opting for relaxation. She refused to go out with Elena again for now. Her phone beeped and she smiled when she found KillerCook had written again.

KillerCook1985
Hey sorry for being a bother any good restaurant if I crave Sushi?

CrimeFan0079
Maneki is amazing. Mid priced my ex took me there once

She saw the three dots, seeing the person was typing rather long and wondering if she had said too much.

KillerCook1985
Sorry if I brought bad memory up

CrimeFan0079
:smile: oh don’t it was me bringing it up

KillerCook1985
Thanks for the advice again. I feel kinda lost here.

CrimeFan0079
YW! May I ask where you moved from?

KillerCook1985
The Big Apple :smile:

CrimeFan0079
Oh I have never been there

KillerCook1985
:scream: ...but then I have never been in Seattle before. Is...the weather always like this?

CrimeFan0079
I mean...often yes. It’s just spring...

KillerCook1985
OMG :fearful: ...well i need sushi then to make me feel better. :laugh:

CrimeFan0079
Enjoy! Tell me how you liked it!

She smiled at her phone and went back to her book and after an hour she received a picture of a table with Sashimi and Sushi and a big thumbs up.

KillerCook1985
THANK YOU!

 

**

Villanelle had not believed it, but after a week there was a ray of sunshine in the sky when she stepped out of her apartment building. She had meetings concerning construction later that day, even though she complained to her father why Carolyn wasn’t in them because she was partner after all. It had not worked though and she made her way through the street’s trying to find spots for herself. Her father always said to find favorite spots when you moved, to make the move better.

An hour later she had had breakfast and coffee, decided CrimeFans coffee shop was better and looked at the store fronts in a little side street. At a place called Song’s Bookstore she marveled at the beautiful window decorations and decided to go inside and see if she could find some specialities. Villanelle found the store cute. Nothing like the one’s she had grown up in but she knew you often found the best niche books in the little stores.

She browsed the array and found the cooking corner. And sure enough two books interested her and she would get them, price be damned.

“We also have another book on the search for Umami”

A voice behind said and Villanelle whirled around, finding herself across a shorter korean woman. She stared rudely down, taking the other woman in curiously, most fascinated by what seemed to be amazing locks. She always had a thing for locks. When her mother joined the family she would watch her comb her hair and wish hers was alike. When her baby sister was born she had marveled at the fiery locks the girl grew, it was a shame how Irina cut her hair sometimes.

“Do...you want me to search it?”

The other woman looked at Villanelle a bit confused and she nodded a bit dumbly.
How could a woman like that just pop up in such a shop?

“Are you Mrs Song?”

Why she asked that stupid question, Villanelle had no idea.

“Uhm...no Mr Song was my father. Well technically I am...it’s...difficult.”

The other woman seemed to be just as confused and flustered as Villanelle and maybe it was a force of nervousness that she opened the ponytail she had had her hair in.
Just barely holding back a gasp when she gazed upon that woman with her hair down, Villanelle suddenly felt like she wanted to touch, which she knew was a big no no, but still. She stepped closer, watching the shorter woman gaze upon rows of books, rubberband in her mouth and sadly hands about to tie back her hair again.

“No..I...would...leave it open. It suits you.”

Villanelle muttered wanting to kick herself for the show she had just put on. The woman must think her an idiot.

“Oh…”

She muttered simply and unsure, gazing at the taller woman, hazel browns gazing back mesmerizingly. Eve found for some reason that stranger did not rise fear in her but, wonder. The feeling of being gazed upon like this was really strange. She was probably just starved for compliments, neither she nor Niko had been good with them.
They stared and Eve had no idea how long before she realized it would be best to just find that book. She took a step back and felt her legs collide with a mountain of books she had been sorting, yelping as she felt herself stumble. She was sure she would crash into the floor, but then felt long arms wrap around and catch her. Instead of being a step away from that strange woman, she was now so close, she could feel the heat radiating off, could smell the perfume.

“Are you ok?!”

Eve nodded stupidly and felt herself being righted.

“Sorry...getting...getting that book now.”

She found the book in storage and brought it out, the other woman still standing where she had left her.

“Do you want thi…”

“Yes!”

Villanelle bit her lip and nodded.

“I would love it thanks.”

She had never been like this around anyone..well one but she was a teen.

“Any...anything else?”

Shaking her head, Villanelle followed the other woman to the cash register, which was an old one and needed to be begged to accept her credit card.

“Thank you for your purchase. I added...a leaflet about some events we have coming up to your bag…”

“Thank you for searching the book.”

As Villanelle left she was shocked at her own behaviour. That had been so unlike her! The way the shorter woman had looked at her, the way her hair looked in the shop where light was not a big thing in some corners. Villanelle had made a complete utter fool of herself and she usually prided herself in being rather charming and cut to the chase. Her father had once called her a peacock. This time though she had been a bungling fool. God the other woman must have thought she was some kind of brainless ditz.

She grabbed the leaflet from the bag and found a picture of that woman on it, together with what looked like a coworker, smiling demurely into the camera. Others would find her boring but Villanelle felt a sudden need to find a reason to go back, wondering if she had space left over in her bookcase for more cookbooks.

“Oh boy.”

Chapter Text

“So explain this to me again. This stranger walks in, makes a comment about your hair and you fall over some books? Did you have a stare off like Bella and Edward? Is this your sexual revolution and all of a sudden you’re some chick magnet?”

Eve sighed, vigorously mixing her Chowder, wishing she could sink into it and never return to this conversation. It had been Elena’s turn for take out on movie night and as always, it was chowder, which usually was a nice tradition, but right now, the longer they talk the stranger Eve felt.

“I’ve just...she was dressed in this business kind of outfit and everything seemed tailored it just threw me she was so damn good looking. I checked my face while in the back because I thought I had something on my face she stared at.”

Elena rolled her eyes.

“This ex of yours has done a number on your self esteem Eve. I’ve been telling you for ages that you are gorgeous.”

Yes, Elena had always been annoyed by Niko and in the last years before he cheated she had been overly cold resulting in neither wanting to be in the same room wit the other.

“I bet the store was about to combust…”

“Stop please El...just don't make a joke while I try to understand this.”

“Eve! What is there to understand? That woman saw you, found you hot, you thought she was hot and apparently you both stopped thinking clearly for a moment. It happens and you should have asked for her number.”

Eve rolled her eyes, pointing a spoon at Elena.

“You are blowing things out of proportion.”

A raised eyebrow and a shrug from her co worker.

“Sure Eve, Mrs I fell over books..”

Leaning back in her chair, slightly annoyed by her friends persistence, Eve realized this would be a very long movie night.

**

“She had the most amazing hair ever!”
Villanelle gasped into the phone as she sunk into her couch, her new books on the coffee table in front of her, on top of the leaflet of Songs Bookstore.

“Wait...who?”

Irina asked on the other end, sounding confused.

“I just told you! What are you doing?!”

There was so much shuffling and rustling going on, on her sisters end.

“I told you Papochka is taking me out. He promised we will visit you often. Can I spend winter break with you?”

Villanelle smiled, picking up another piece of cheese from the little plate she had prepared herself. She finally behaved like an adult and filled her fridge after a week of take out.

“I am sure that can be arranged but I am very busy during that time.”

“I just miss you.”

“I miss you too Myshka.”

“So, who had amazing hair?”

They spend another thirty minutes talking about Vilanelle’s little run in with the good looking book vendor before they heard their father yell for Irina to finally come down or they would be late.It was good talking to Irina, they hadn’t lived far apart ever and the 17 year old hated that now they had too. Villanelle sighed and finished her meal and a glass of wine before opting for some Netflix before bed. For some reason she found herself checking her phone and smiled softly when she saw she had a message.

CrimeFan0079
Have you ever tried Seattle Clam chowder? There is this amazing market restaurant you should try if you are ever close.

KillerCook1985
I will put it on my Seattle to do list. Also...I passed a gum wall today. It was the most revolting thing, sorry not sorry.

CrimeFan0079
:joy: I feel you! I have never gotten it’s appeal! How was your week besides? If that is not too strange to ask? Don’t answer if you don’t want to.

Eve bit her lip nervously. She wasn’t really good in with such social situations and always feared overstepping boundaries.

KillerCook1985
Oh, pretty busy. I finally went grocery shopping tho. So that’s something. Yours?

CrimeFan0079
Well I would say bordering on boring. Business has been slow.

KillerCook1985
Oh, I hope it picks up soon. I hate when things slow down. Although right now I am so busy I barely find time for anything else besides.

CrimeFan0079
Too much work isn’t good either. My friend always drags me out or we have movie nights like tonight.

KillerCook1985
Ooohhh! What did you watch? Do you know this thing when you want to watch something on netflix and you search and search and then it’s 2 hours later and your time to watch anything has passed?

CrimeFan0079
See that’s why my friend has to choose beforehand. :joy:

KillerCook1985
Ok, I admit it was me fishing for a movie hint, because I am browsing netflix for at least 30 minutes now. :grinning:

CrimeFan0079
Oh! We actually we are watching Wonder Woman

KillerCook1985
Not a bad idea! It does have Gal Gadot :thumbsup:

CrimeFan0079
Well then enjoy :grinning:

Eve put her phone away just as Elena returned from her bathroom break, starting up the movie again.

“What is it with you and that phone lately?”

“Nothing...there is this user on the discord that just moved here in spring and we somehow started talking. She...I think its a woman actually, said she was browsing netflix and how she always ended up searching for a movie…”

“And never finding one? Then your time is suddenly up? Yea been there, done that.”

“So I told her we had decided on wonder woman and she said she thought that was a good idea. So...yea.”

Eve shrugged nonchalantly.

“What is it with you and women lately?”

“OH GOD! Elena please stop this. I am recently divorced I am not thinking anything strange I am just….me. It’s like you are fishing for me to say I am totally gay all of a sudden.”

Elena stared at her then shook her head.

“I don't get why you just seem so adamant about not defining yourself in some way! Just admit something to yourself and see where it takes you.”

“Fine...I find women attractive sometimes. I never acted on it because, duh, I was married. I just feel like you are trying to pressure me into something I don't want right now.”

Elena’s face turned soft then and she hugged Eve suddenly.

“I am sorry! I just...you deserve so much better than that dick you were married to. You underestimate yourself so much. Eve...you are so gorgeous you could have anyone!”

“But right now...I just want to, I don’t know, focus on other things. Like how to get my father’s shop to stay open once that big store…”

Elena hugged her tighter, knowing her friends fears.

“We’ll fight ok?”

 

**

 

Months passed and Eve found herself talking to KillerCook everyday, everytime they found something to say, from strange things the new Seattle resident found in her new home city, to places to see, movies, books and just daily stuff. It was like Eve had an outside friend that it was easy to talk to because she was removed from her circle of friends. It was refreshing to talk to someone that was basically a stranger about things.

KillerCook1985
This city is rude!

CrimeFan0079
I told you, the rain is part of the charm.

KillerCook1985
The rain ruined my new pumps!

CrimeFan0079
That's hardly the cities fault. I told you to get boots. :joy:

KillerCook1985
Ugh! :confounded:
Tell me when will it be summer?

CrimeFan0079
It is Oo.

KillerCook1985
I will hold you to it!

 

It felt refreshing because talking to KillerCook held no pressure. It was just talking, sometimes fun banter. Sometimes it even seemed a bit flirty and Eve let it happen. She had found out by now KillerCook dated women after the other woman had told her about a very bad date she had had.

Villanelle spend her day at the interim office, listening in on meetings about all the stuff that usually was done by a Senior partner, The simplest things needed a meeting and she wrote down that she had to speak to her father about looking over the branding book. It seemed it left too many questions. At least the coffee shop could secure a good deal with a roaster that made them a special blend.
By evening she just wanted a change in scenery and found herself walking the streets, simply looking around, getting some coffee and then surprised as her
Feet had carried her to Songs Bookstore again. Checking her watch she saw it was not long before closing time. She was about to turn around and leave when she saw her. Villanelle’s mouth went dry and it was like being pulled inside as she realized the other woman wore her hair open.
She felt like a magnet was pulling her towards the woman, heart beating faster and pulse quickening. She had no understanding of what was happening to her but this woman seemed so alluring without wanting to be.

In the Cookbook corner Villanelle tried to built up the courage to simply hand over her number. She felt like a teenager again, all unsure and that had not been a problem since she had been 15. She wanted to pull her hair out at her own idiocy. Squaring her shoulders, she told herself this was it. She would tell the store lady She found her quite attractive and she would love to give her her number. With cup in her hand she turned on the spot and moved forward.

“OH Fuck! SORRY!”

Villanelle looked down at the woman who had just barreled straight into her, dark brown eyes staring at her chest. Her white button down was splashed with coffee, the cup smashed between their bodies. Thankfully the coffee had been almost cold by the time Villanelle had entered the store.

“I am...so so sorry!”

The shorter woman stammered and Villanelle blinked, then started laughing. Which earned her a concerned look.

“It’s fine...don't worry. My whole day was kind of...like this.”

She put the coffee cup down and pulled the sogging fabric from her chest.

“Shit...I ruined it!”

“Don’t worry my dry cleaner will get it out. It happens.”

Villanelle gazed down at the slightly panicky woman and hoped she looked really friendly.

“Well I won’t let you leave with a soaked shirt. I am closing up anyways and I live across the street. I am sure I can find you a shirt.”

She found no moment to argue as her wrist was being grabbed and she was pulled out of the store while still trying to say it was fine really. Villanelle was intrigued though and followed, staring at the bouncing black locks as they went over to the other woman's apartment. No surprise there it was full of books. Not too big, but probably enough for a single. If she was a single but she had no ring so Villanelle knew she was at least not married.
She stood in the living room, taking in the quirky decor, putting down her bag on the floor.
Her host, whose name she still didn’t know was rummaging in what she presumed was the Bedroom.

“I got something that should fit you. You have longer sides than I.”

Without thinking Villanelle grabbed her soaked shirt and pulled it off over her head, leaving her standing in a very delicate and slightly see through white lace bra without shame.

“Thanks it was getting kind of sticky.”

Holding her hand out for the offered shirt she found the other woman unmoving and staring, a blush creeping up her neck. The way she looked, she rather liked what she saw and it made Villanelle smirk, stepping closer.

“Would you like me to put on a shirt or should I do a turn for you?”

“Oh...oh god...Sorry I am...I don't know what’s up with me today…”

Villanelle still wasn’t given a shirt and she licked her lips chuckling.

“Maybe it would ease your nerves if I told you that I went into your store to ask for your phone number?”

Finally the darker brown eyes left her chest, gulping as she looked into Villanelle’s eyes.

“Eve...my name...is Eve…”

“Nice to meet you Eve...I am Villanelle...so...can I have your number?”

The shorter woman seemed to swallow thickly and nodded, mesmerized by the way Villanelle looked down at her.

“I have never...I don't know what is going on here…”

Suddenly Villanelle realized the other woman had apparently never been in any form with a woman.

“Well as I see it we can do two things here. Either you give me that shirt and I cover up or ...I will lean in and kiss you and you will see if you like women or not. Which makes your decision easier if you want me to have your number.”

Eve felt herself flustered, she had no idea how to deal with what was going on, only that the last time she had seen the other woman, she had barely been able to form a thought. Now that woman stood in front of her, half naked because that bra was see through and it sure as hell did not count as clothing when you could see nipples.

She had certainly not seen her evening going like this when she had found the door chiming short before closing time and had went through the store to see where the costumer went, to offer help. Now here she stood feeling her belly tingling as she stared at the expanse of silky looking skin. Villanelle was breathtaking.

"Kiss?"

Why had she just said kiss!? Eve was yelling at her brainless self on the inside, eyes probably widening like an idiot at herself.

But then her breath quickened when Villanelle did lean in, then stopped as infinitely soft lips pressed against hers. The shirt fell from her hands and they went to the sides of the taller woman, searching for something to hold onto as her life seemed to go upside down all of a sudden. Yes, she definitely liked kissing women, judging by the way her whole body suddenly went into overdrive.

She found Villanelle to be very gentle, hands on her elbows not forcing or anything. The first kiss left Eve breathing fast, lips parted in wonder and eyes closed. Villanelle squeezed her elbows softly.

"So? What's the verdict?"

Eve sucked in air sharply. Realizing that the kiss had been eye opening. She was probably really a lot into women, or at least this woman.

"Want me to kiss you again to make sure?"

She felt herself nod and this time the kiss was much more hungry, bodies pressed close this time, Eve’s hands on Villanelle's naked back, moaning into the other woman's mouth. The taller woman used that moment to press her tongue inside Eve's mouth and she felt like her knees would buckle. Soon hands where tangling in her hair and Villanelle broke their kiss, pressing her forehead against Eve's.

"Sorry for getting carried away."

Eve wondered why she would say something like that, when she had been a willing participant.

"It's okay...I wanted it."

They breathed heavily together, just standing there caught in that moment.

With an ache in her heart Eve realized how she had lived her marriage without any passion because she had never felt close to coming just from being kissed.

"Are...are you okay?"

Villanelle's voice sounded unsure almost small and Eve shook her head.

"I just never…. thought kissing could make you feel like that."

This time it was Villanelle that groaned and their lips tangled once more, Eve grabbing at the other woman, making sure she couldn’t just step away.

“Tell me to stop.”

Villanelle moaned between kisses. It was an offer. If there was no definite stop from Eve, Villanelle would go on, where ever this took them. Never in her life had Eve had a real one night thing, certainly not with a basically stranger. Maybe the thought felt so welcome to her because this was a woman and not a man. So eve said nothing, simply held her arms up so Villanelle could pull her thin sweater off, the fabric landing somewhere and Eve couldn't care less as her own hands explored the soft skin of the woman kissing her.
After they had both ended up in Eve’s living room without tops or bras, Villanelle framed her face, stroking her reddened cheeks tenderly.

“Do you really want to go further?”

Eve nodded, pupils blown wide with need.

“Bedroom?”

They made it there somehow, in between hungry kisses and hands clutching at each others body, exploring where they could reach. When Eve felt her legs bump into her bed, she sat down and Villanelle kneel, mouth landing on her neck while nimble fingers undid Eve’s jeans.
With a soft push, Eve fell back onto the bed and felt her jeans being tugged off, blushing harder and realizing while the other woman seemed to go for expensive all over, she herself was more of a comfortable kind of clothing person.
Villanelle did not seem to care, though, joining her on the bed and letting her fingertips ghost over Eve’s feverish skin, raising goosebumps in the wake as a belly button was circled and she felt those fingers travel up to her breasts.

Eve swallowed thickly feeling so out of sorts, so inexperienced. She must have shown as she suddenly felt lips pressing onto the pulse point on her neck and a whisper in her ear.

“It’s okay...just do what you feel like. I will help you.”

It made her relax and sigh and she rolled onto her side too, the women now gazing at each other, Villanelle’s hand reaching to stroke her cheek tenderly.

**

The phone chirping happily made Eve groan and arms tightened around her, alerting her to the other person in the bed. They definitely were both naked.

Gods she had really just fallen into bed with not just a stranger, but a woman too. Then again she had never had sex like that so she wasn’t really going to panic over that revelation when she felt so good in the aftermath. She felt Villanelle move and she must have grabbed her phone and switched the alarm off.

“What time is it?”

Eve mumbled, blinking at the soft light in the bedroom.

“Just after 7 am. I have to go home, shower and change.”

But instead of getting up, Villanelle pulled her in, pressing her face into her hair.

“Can I take you out on a date?”

Eve smiled, feeling relieved as she had feared this would stay a one night thing whereas she felt she wanted to see the other woman again, explore more of this. Turning into her arms, pressing her face into the other womans chest and sighing happily she nodded, then looked into Villanelle’s eyes sheepishly, seeing Villanelle grin happily.

Eve yelped when she heard her doorbell ring, starting to curse and hopping out of bed, She swiftly grabbed a set of underwear from her dresser, pulled on a robe and then turned to a shocked looking Villanelle.

“I forgot my best friend is coming over with breakfast.”

Villanelle laughed at the red face and nodded but turned sober when she saw Eve didn't laugh.

“Do...you want me to hide or?”

Eve shook her head, her mob of hair bouncing.

“No...just get dressed. I’ll let her in...so sorry.”

Villanelle was relieved Eve wasn’t gonna have her sneak out and so made sure she was dressed again, taking a sweater from Eve that was large enough to fit her. She heard soft talking in the apartment and checked in the mirror if she was presentable. When she was happy with her hair she stepped out of the bedroom into the hallway and came face to face with Eve and her friend. The latters eyes were big as saucers.

“Oh...Elena this...is Villan…”

“What the fuck is she doing here Eve?”

Eve’s and Villanelle’s eyes widened and Villanelle scrambled to try and remember if she knew Eve’s friend from somewhere, coming up with zilch.

“Uhm...I...excuse me? Do we know each other?”

“Elena...what the hell?”

Eve looked absolutely confused and mortified, Elena only ever had shown such disdain towards Niko. But now Elena looked at Eve as if she had three heads.

“You seriously don't know who just stepped out of your bedroom, Eve? That is Villanelle Vasiliev...daughter of Konstantin Vasiliev. Owner of Booklovers Inc.”

Chapter Text

Villanelle stood rooted to the spot, watching as Eve turned to her, looking pale, taking steps away. She reached for Eve’s hand, grasping fingers but the older woman shook it off.
God she wished the ground beneath her would just open and swallow her whole. Never had her name generated such a lok of discomfort.

“Eve...I…”

“I think you should leave..”

Eve whispered, not even looking at her.

“Eve, just let me explain.”

Villanelle begged. She had never been shunned for her family. It was not even that she had hid her name because she feared people could dislike her. It was a means to not be treated as if she was anything special.

“Please...just leave…”

Eve would not look at her and her friends eses where cold. Villanelle straightened her shoulders as her mother had taught her and grabbed her things, not daring to say another word. She left silently, not wanting to cause more of a scene.

Once Villanelle had left the room, Eve slumped on her couch, feeling...unbelievably sad. Elena sat across from her on the couchtisch, staring at her friend.

“How in the world...does she end up...what in your bed? You slept with a woman and it had to be her?”

“I didn't know who she was! I knew Vasiliev had a kids but not what they looked like or what their names are. How do you even know?!”

Elena stared at her friend absolutely incredulous, how could you not know that woman?

“Eve...there was a Fashion week scandal because her Ex tried to get into an event? Her face was all on magazines”

“When was the last time you saw me reading a magazine or use the TV?”

Eve sounded dejected, face in her hands. She had had the best night of her past adult life only to find out she had experienced this revelation of a night with the daughter of the man that could be her shops end.

“Oh Eve...I am so sorry…”

Elena sat with her, arm over Eve’s shoulder and pulling her into herself.

“Maybe I should have let her explain…”

There was no reply from Elena and Eve felt lost in her thoughts of the other woman, feeling horrible for how this all went down. She had not exactly done anything bad to her and still Eve felt betrayed in a way. Surely Villanelle knew their shop killed off others.

“Everyone has a shitty one nigth stand once in a while Eve.”

Said Elena, trying to console Eve.

“That's the problem...it wasn’t shitty.”

Eve said and stood, not caring for breakfast any longer.

“Sorry El...I just want to...be alone for a while.”

Her friend did leave after a while of trying to get her to talk and Eve stoically refusing. She needed to just catch her thoughts on what had happened. First she dressed down the bed, her bedroom still smelling of the last night, of Sex and Villanelles perfume. It made her sad somehow but then she knew she should just regard it as a one night stand and try to forget it. Even though she absolutely loved every second of it.

**
Villanelle had left the apartment in a hurry, Calling down a cab as soon as she walked into the main road. She was furious, ashamed and absolutely gutted. She had never felt so ashamed for coming from her family and she did not want to feel ashamed for that.

This morning when she had woken and watched Eve sleep she felt this had been much more than a one night stand, she could see herself dating this woman. Because she was not part of her world. She was normal, wasn’t raised in money. Her Ex Nadia had been a snotty rich girl, thinking with the snap of her fingers people had to do her bidding. Their relationship had been a short lived disaster and her father still asked her what the hell he had seen in her.

In the cab on her way home she thought about where she would have taken her, but there would be no date now. The moment that friend of hers...no it was not Eve’s fault. It was no one’s fault. Her father once said money brings enemies. They operated a store like others, they were more successful through hard work. She herself loved the little stores but her family could not be held responsible for all that went wrong in other shops.

Once at home, she took a very long shower, mostly spending it with her head leaning against the cold tile, trying to banish memories of the past, rather mind-blowing night. Eve had said she had never done this before but she had been a natural. Villanelle ached for that woman.

Once in her bedroom, dressing for the day Villanelle saw Eve’s shirt on her bed, the one she had been given for her stained button down. She sighed then folded and put it somewhere in the back of her dresser.

God, she hated Seattle.

**

Eve was in a funk most of the week, staring behind her counter, staring off, letting everything that happened go through her mind. Eve was no one that shunned someone for something they had not chosen. After a few days she had begrudgingly looked up the Vasieliev family. Besides the fashion week incident Elena had spoken about, they liked to keep out of the spotlight.

Elena tried to cheer her up, told her to go out with her and they would find her someone to keep her mind away but Eve didn’t want to really. So she stayed home, watching stupid movies or reading.

At first she did not want to check her phone when it beeped, fearing it was Elena again, but when she did check it was discord and she felt a little smile bloom on her face.

KillerCook1985
Haven't heard from you in a few. Are you ok?

Crimefan0079
I...could be better to be honest. :disappointed:

KillerCook1985
Aw no! I feel you. My weeks been shit so far too

Crimefan0079
How is it that you meet someone you think are really good and you see yourself really hitting off with them but then there is something that makes it impossible? I mean it’s not like I am asking for much.

KillerCook1985
:shrug: beats me. But I get what you are saying. Happens way too often and sometimes it makes you wonder what it will take. TBH I decided to stay casual now. Anything else doesn’t seem to work.

Crimefan0079
I already had a rather casual marriage...Casual, boring and unloving :frowning:
. I would like to...you know for once meet someone that appreciates me for who I am. Can’t be too hard. :shrug:

KillerCook1985
I get you. It sucks, everyone else seems to be able to do it.

Crimefan0079
I met someone and I thought: wow this seems really good and new but well. It didn’t work out. For really stupid reasons. :frowning:

 

There was a long pause and Eve felt so sad again. Because it was true, it was stupid reasons and still she could not get over herself and think of Villanelle a normal woman.
It seemed KillerCook seemed to ponder things too, starting to type, then waiting.
After a few minutes the message beep did come.

KillerCook1985
You know what? We both need some pick me up! Let’s meet tomorrow. I found this great place that has tapas and really good cocktails.

Eve bit her lip, wondering if she should accept. This was a stranger but then they would meet in a packed place so that seemed safe.

Crimefan0079
Sure, why not. I should really go out and forget all this stress.

They talked about when to meet the next evening for a bit more before Eve went back to her watching TV and taking notes. She was trying to come up with new ideas for her shop, knowing with Booklovers opening soon she needed strategies to survive. She did not have a big commercial budget, but a friend worked at a newspaper and she hoped that friend could write something about the struggle of small shops, generate some recognition in customers.

**

Villanelle and Kenny were strolling through the Seattle streets the next Evening, the younger man talking about online strategies with her half listening. He had offered to bring her to the Tapas place as it was on his way.

“Kenny...you need to stop always thinking about work.”

She said at some point, making him laugh. He had been her friend since they went to the same Primary school then even going to the same University. He for computer science and her for Marketing. Everyone had always joked they were so different they could never work as friends. But they did. Besides her sister, kenny was her closest friend.

“Says you...you send me a mail at 5 am.”

“I had an idea.”

“At...5 am?”

“No at 4 when I was jogging. 5 am was when I made it home”

She stuck her tongue out at him and he grinned, poking her side.

“Seriously what’s up with you lately though? Still about that woman?”

She cringed when he brought it up and shrugged.

“It stings.”

“V...it’s not your fault that your business has a strategy and theirs doesn't. These little stores always say the chains are at fault for them failing. But that’s Bullshit.”

She stopped walking and looked at him.

“It’s not fully bullshit. We do have better pricing and Customers always go for that before they go for sentimental value.”

“Well that's not your fault though. Look...your family is the most humble I ever met. It’s not like you flaunt any of it. If she really thinks it's fair to reduce you to that..fuck her. Well...you already did but you know what I mean.”

Villanelle rolled her eyes and pushed him slightly.

“Watch your language geek boy. I think you spend too much time with me. You’re becoming more callous.”

He shrugged.

“Just more realistic.”

They finally arrived at Villanelle’s destination and looked through the windows.

“So what if your friend is...not here? How do you even know it’s her?”

“Told her to bring a red scarf.”

They tried to get a glimpse at everyone and after a while she felt Kenny tap her shoulder.

“There. Lady in the back.”

Villanelle followed his description and feels her stomach plummet.

“Fucking hell..”

“She’s pretty yea… You lucky bastard.”

But Villanelle pulled him away before she could spot them.

“What now?!”

Kenny asked incredulous.

“That is HER. That’s Eve.”

While her shoulders slumped and she had to pinch the bridge of her nose, Kenny was laughing big guffaws.

“Jesus V...so...what now?”

“I dunno...I’ll go in and see I guess.”

“Are you mental? She already established you’re the devil. Do you like punishment or something? Because I am sure there is a club for that.”

“Shut up. I don't have to tell her. I just...want to talk to her.”

“So you want to go in there and talk to the lady you fucked in real life trying to hide you are the one flirting with her online?”

“I was not flirting online!”

“Call me tomorrow, preferably after 7 and tell me how this went.”

He said and left her to it.
**

Eve had taken a lot of care to get prepared for her meeting with her online friend. Actually applying proper make up this time. She wanted to make a good impression for some reason.
The red scarf was wound around her purse strap, red really wasn’t a color she liked to wear.

At the tapas bar she sat in the far corner where she could see everyone entering the building. She felt nervous for some reason, wondering what kind of person KillerCook was. They had flirted a little, but that was well rather soft flirting really. More friendly banter. Still after her revelation that she liked women too, Eve did wonder of course.

She ordered a white wine while she waited and flipped through her book that she had brought to shorten the wait. When the bell above the door chimed she looked up and...wanted to sink under the table. Villanelle Vasiliev had entered the bar. Eve stared, before swiftly pulling her book up to hide her face. Just her damn luck really. The one time she decides to go out it has to be the same spot Villanelle turns up.
Of course Villanelle was seated right next to her and slowly, to ward off more embarrassing looks, Eve’s lowered her book, deciding she just had to ignore the other woman.

“What are you doing here?!”

Somehow her mouth had not gotten the whole ignoring Villanelle part and the honey blond turned to her, raising a shapely brow. Eve wanted to gasp at the look of the other woman. She was simply put, breathtaking. The few pictures she had found online had just reinforced what a beauty Villanelle was.

“I didn’t get the memo that I had to ask you to go somewhere?”

Villanelle replied, then concentrated on her waiter and ordering some things.

The urgency in Eve grew, she absolutely could not meet with her friend and have Villanelle next to her. That would not work.

“Can’t you sit somewhere else?...Please?”

“Don’t be ridiculous the place is packed!”

Eve made a disparaging sound and leaned farther way in her booth, watching Villanelle take her table in.

“Oh...on a date huh?”

“Please...I know we kinda parted ...badly but can you please try to move to a table when a spot opens?”

“Oh...so it is a date.”

Villanelle said grinning. Watching Eve check out everyone who came in, knowing what she waited for.

“So the way you check the door...the red scarf. Is this a blind date?”

Eve tried ignoring her, she really did but gods could that woman be annoying. Ev looked flustered when Villanelle’s order of Tapas arrived together with some red wine.

“You should really try their serrano ham before they close the Tapas bar.”

Villanelle said, then checked her watch.

“My...is he late?”

“She...not that it’s any of your business.”

“Oh I see a lady. Have you had a little revelation lately?”

Eve closed her book with a loud sound of pages forcefully slapping together.

“Are you doing this out of spite Villanelle?”

“If you knew me you’d know I am not that kind of person. Maybe if you gave me a chance you would find something that surprised you.”

Villanelle spoke, spearing an olive and talking while she looked at it.

“What would I find? A world were cash matters and not sentiment?”

Eve regretted it as soon as she said it, seeing the other woman's shoulders slump for a second and Eve’s face went from stone to shocked at herself. The pressure she had been under lately with her store…

Villanelle put the fork back down and turned her head to Eve.

“A world were I was so blown away by this quirky shop owner that I apparently made a complete fool of myself.”

She stood and put her leather jacket back on leaving cash on the table.

“I hope you have a great date Eve.”

Leaving the place, Villanelle was proud that she did not turn back. If she had done, she would have seen Eve looking miserable.

Villanelle had to take a deep breath outside and then hurried home in a stupor. She had been an idiot for going into the Place, she should have left with Kenny, but she always said herself up for hurt. Just that this time the woman wasn’t an ass like Nadia. Villanelle for once just belonged to the wrong Family.

Once home she slumped on her couch with a half empty bottle of wine. Her phone chirped at around 9pm and when she looked at the message it was Eve in their private chat asking why she had not shown up with a sad emoji.

KillerCook1985
Sorry Family emergency. :sad:

Crimefan0079
Oh god I am sorry to hear that :confounded:

It was so earnest that Villanelle felt even more sad.

Crimefan0079
Might have been for the better we did not meet today. I was ...in a horrible mood. That would not have been of help for you

She was biting her lip as she answered as her alter Ego, knowing she should have probably told Eve the truth about her.

KillerCook1985
Why? Is everything alright?

Crimefan0079
Just...there is another store like mine opening, a bigger one. I am already struggling with my father's shop and I don't think this will help. And to make matters worse...I met someone and...well she is involved with the bigger store. So...it didn’t end well. She was in the bar tonight and I treated her absolutely horrible. :disappointed_relieved:

KillerCook1985
Oh...I am sorry to hear that

Crimefan0079
She absolutely did not deserve me laying into her and saying horrible things I said and I am so disappointed in myself. I wish I could just take it back.

 

Taking a deep breath, Villanelle finished the wine and then sat back staring at the Seattle skyline through her living room windows.

KillerCook1985
Sometimes...such things happen. Especially since you are under pressure. I am sorry to hear about your store.

She was! Nobody would ever believe her of course since she belonged to the corporate baddies but she was sad for Eve because Villanelle thought Eve was a special kind of shop owner that really had built a wonderful place.

Crimefan0079
Thanks for replying. And I hope everything will be fine with your family. Thanks...for listening to my bullshit.

KillerCook1985
YW

 

To know that the things Eve had said were said out of stress made the blow less hard and it certainly had taken all of the anger from Villanelle. Anyone else she would have dropped forever already. But somehow Eve felt special and Villanelle felt drawn to her. She had felt such a pull before but she really believed after the way Eve spoke today about what had happened earlier, that she was different than the other people before had been.

Chapter Text

It was the end of a rather Mild summer that the Big Book Lovers Inc. Store opened and Eve felt an impact on her Sales. She had to let Elena go, who had been with her longest at the store but she could simply not pay her friend any longer.

Since she had told KillerCook about her struggling with the store her friend had been a help with good ideas. A newspaper article written about her father's store, the history and what it meant for her neighbourhood, that actually helped for a while, pulling in people just interested in seeing the store from the paper. KillerCook told her to keep reading groups open and try to get local writers interested in having publishings in her place.

She had found an author who was happy to have a reading at her shop, so Eve made coffee and cookies, telling KillerCook a thousand times thanks for helping her out with fresh ideas, waiting for Readers to drop in.

**

For the grand opening of the new Store, Konstantin and Irina flew in to Seattle, deciding to stay in the city for a bit so his daughters could catch up. As soon as they two were together, Konstantin had seen his elder daughter go from the stressed and mopey Business person, he had faced in the latest skype calls, to his more carefree daughter.

Irina and her were thick as thieves, looking over Irina’s University choices or talking books, boys. Konstantin had missed this chatter in his house. After Irina was in bed, she had begged and begged to be allowed to stay with Villanelle instead of going back to the Hotel, father and daughter sat at the kitchen island, sipping wine.

“Have I made you terribly sad here Myshka?”

He asked softly and Villanelle’s head whipped up to stare at her father.

“It’s...growing on me. Seattle. It’s just…”

She had actually liked the work, had felt the store in Seattle was her project, even though she had stood far in the back at the opening. She had never liked the limelight. Had hidden herself rather well away and her father had never dragged them into the spot. There were rare foto’s in newspapers when they were caught eating at restaurants but mostly Konstantin and Olga had kept their children guarded. And thus standing in the far back, barely visible, while Caroyln Martens opened the site, had been her choice.

“Since I sent you here I feel you slipping away from me.”

“We talk every week Papa.”

“You know what I mean.”

She sighed and nodded, knowing she had kept some things from him.

“I don't want you to think personal struggles make me unable to do my job.”

His hand reached for hers and her father looked at her softly.

“I know you better than that.”

Villanelle nodded, staring at the red liquid in her glass.

“I met someone pretty early on. But once she realized who I was she did not want to see me again. I really liked her and...somehow it stuck with me.”

Konstantin felt his heart heavy for his oldest. Villanelle had never had one healthy relationship and it killed him to always see her struggle. He knew part of that was his fault. When she was a teen he had not seen the signs of her being in an abusive relationship and since then, his usually strong daughter who was used to fighting her way through, had always gotten stuck with the wrong women.

Nadia had been the icing on the cake and the reason he had wanted her to go to Seattle and away from it all. The Fashion Week incident had shook Villanelle, the newspaper articles showing her being slapped by her ex. Newspapers had not let up telling stories and Villanelle had seemed like she needed to go somewhere else.

“It’s not like...she isn't like Nadia. She is the complete opposite. She owns a little bookstore…”

Konstantin saw where this was going, he had had his fair share of abuse from other bookstore owners.

“Are you ashamed of who you are?”

He asked carefully and watched her shake her head.

“No. I just wish she would see me as more than your daughter.”

Konstantin understood that. He wanted his daughters to be their own people instead of just Konstantin Vasieliev’s children.

“You are Villanelle. You did and amazing job here. You have so much to offer. If she does not see that, that is her loss. Don’t bend over backwards for someone that judges you so quick.”

She nodded and smiled at her father.

**

Nothing helped. None of her friends good ideas, none of Eve’s fight. Weeks after Booklovers inc. opened, her store closed, Eve struggling for days as she closed shop, feeling the memories she had of her beloved father closing with it. She had never wanted to take over the business, had studied criminal psychology wanting to be a profiler. But then her father had fallen sick and could not run the shop on his own, her mother had passed away years earlier and she was the only caretaker he had. So she had helped with his store and got stuck there.

Now she closed his store down, watching the vultures come in and buy anything that wasn’t bolted to the walls. It hurts that these were people that couldn’t have been bothered to come into the store normally, now that she was selling everything they suddenly came.

When everything was gone and the store cleaned out she stood in the middle of it, eyes closed, remembering her fathers soft voice telling her of all the things she could read in books. When she turned the light switch off she felt a painful squeeze in her chest.

That Evening she sat in her living room on the floor, in front of her coffee table worried about her future now.

KillerCook1985
Hey, you there?

CrimeFan0079
Yes. I...just came home. Closed the store today.

Three dots blinked long minutes.

KillerCook1985
I am so so sorry. I know you fought so hard.

CrimeFan0079
I, I think I wanted it so much because of Pa’s memory. It was like a second home to me.

KillerCook1985
I get it. :sad: What now? Any plans?

CrimeFan0079
Not sure yet. I just feel like I am a bit lost right now.

 

Villanelle was biting at the skin at her thumb as she read the messages, feeling the sadness resonate.

She had wanted so often to tell Eve that it was her, but then Eve would stop talking to her and that thought was even worse. She liked Eve too much, she still thought of their night together, she still craved that feeling of having the other woman in her arms.

They spoke every day via Discord, not just about Eve’s shop. More and more private conversation had crept into their talks and Villanelle had felt brazen because online she could talk to Eve without the other woman resenting her for her name. They joked and low key flirted, laughed and exchanged ideas.
With the worries growing for Eve, Villanelle’s worries grew for her.

The next morning she went and got Eve’s favorite flowers, peonies, that her father and mother had always gotten, and decided to go visit Eve. Irina told her she was being an idiot, why would Eve wish to see her? She was probably right but Villanelle felt she had to try. She just wanted a chance. Her father had taught them to fight for things they wanted though and Villanelle decided she would fight.

As soon as she stepped into the Apartment buildings Hallway,she heard a Male yelling and cursing at someone. She listened for a while before making her way up the stairs, and the closer she got to Eve’s door the more she realized the yelling came from Eve’s apartment.
She thought long and hard if she should go in but the words she heard from inside made her bristle. The man was yelling abuse. Testing the doorknob she found it front door unlocked, slowly pushing it open, shocked at the things she heard.

“Goodness Eve you can’t even run a stupid fucking bookstore? You were always so damn useless! You think I’m gonna pay cause you are bumming about not working huh? If you think you will see one dime from me you got another thing coming. I told you when your old man died to sell the store for savings. But no you thought you could play business woman. I told you you would fail!”

She heard a small softer voice speak back.

“Please...I swear I wasn’t thinking of filing alimony, I swear! I don't even know how you got that idea”

Villanelle bristled as she heard the fear in Eve’s voice.

“I swear to god if you dare destroy mine’s and Gemma’s life with such shit! It’s cause you never listened to me! I told you you were being dumb!”

When she rounded the corner to the living room Villanelle found Eve on the couch, red eyed and her Ex towering over her. His Name was Niko, Eve had told her online friend about him, about him cheating and how it had hurt she had been so stupid.

“Hey Asshole!”

Both heads whipped around to her and Eve looked about to faint or drop in shame.

“I think it’s time you left.”

Villanelle said in a very calm but authoritative voice. She saw his eyes travel over her, landing on the flowers a bit confused.

“Who the fuck do you think you are huh?”

“Someone that told your abusive ass to leave this place. I don't think you’re welcome here.”

“The fuck are you talking about abusive? Tell her to leave Eve.”

But Eve simply stared back and forth between the two. Then stood and walked to Villanelle’s side, grabbing her wrist.

“Please...it’s...it’s fine.”

Villanelle’s hand reached to the older woman’s face, wiping a stray tear, a move seen by Niko too, who sneered.

“Oh! So this is what's going on huh? You’re a dyke now?”

“Leave Niko and don’t you dare come back!”

Eve said strongly and by the looks of Niko’s face, she had never spoken up to him like this.

“I am not done talking to you, so tell your girlfriend to leave!”

He was so enraged and it scared Eve so much, that Villanelle being mistaken as her girlfriend was her only safe way to get Niko to leave her alone. Villanelle saw the fear and desperation in Eve’s eyes. She pulled Eve close, pressing a kiss to her forehead to keep up the charade and then telling her to go to the kitchen, maybe make some tea and when Eve left she looked coldly at Niko.

“You heard her. If I ever find you here again or just close by, I swear to anything that’s holy to you, that I will make your life a living nightmare.”

The anger in her was burning white hot. How dare anyone speak to someone as gentle as Eve like that. When Eve had told her online friend about the divorce she had not realized what kind of man her ex was.

She saw him out, before he could leave she sneered at him in a whisper.

“You have no idea who I am, I have the funds to make your life a very poor affair if you ever contact her again. Is that clear?”

He nodded angrily and she shut the door in his face, locking it.

When she returned to the kitchen she found Eve making tea with shaking hands, looking ashamed, pale and so alone.

“Why are you here?”

Eve mumbled, arms wrapping around herself, staring at the peonies Villanelle had handed her before seeing Niko out. Villanelle stepped in close.

“Eve…”

“Are you here to gloat at me too?

“I would never do that. I was here to see how you are. I don’t know I just felt…”

Villanelle was at a loss. She hadn’t really imagined such a situation.

“Why would you let him speak to you like this Eve?”

“Can we please...not talk about what happened here? Please Villanelle?”

She nodded and when the kettled whistled told Eve she would take care of it. Eve went back to her living room, slumping on the couch. Once Villanelle returned to the Living room with teas, Eve had dried her face off the tears, wiping her nose.

“So...why are you here?”

“I need a vase.”

Confusion crinkled Eve’s brows until she saw Villanelle holding the peonies again.

“I love peonies.”

Well Villanelle knew because Eve had told her online but she couldn’t really tell her that.

“I took a guess.”

A deep breath and Eve pointed towards the kitchen.

“Cabinet under the sink.”

Well at least she was not straight out send away, that was something, V thought as she put the flowers in the Vase and then brought them back to Eve, putting them on the coffee table. She pulled a chair from the dinner table close, sitting down, Eve still looking at her slightly confused.

“My father always got my mother peonies when they were in season. There was always a fresh batch at our place.”

She said remembering with a fond smile.

“My Mother liked Levkoi flowers.”

Eve seemed to jolt at the mention, hands wringing.

“I...I am sorry for your loss. I … read in the news about her. It was mentioned in the article about the...your store opening.”

Villanelle nodded somberly.

“Thanks. I… I am sorry you had to close your bookstore Eve. I know you might not believe it. But I really am.”

“I do. I tried...all kinds of strategies but in the end...I could not beat cheaper prices. I...feel like a prick for the things I said to you when...when we met in the Tapas bar. I feel really horrible.”

“It’s okay. I get it. Did your date ever show up?”

Eve frowned and shook her head.

“My friend had a family emergency and couldn’t make it.”

They sat there, each lost in their own thoughts, Eve completely sapped by the day she had.

“Why did you say, you came here?”

Eve mumbled confused.

“I...I wanted...I want to be friends.”

“Oh.”

Was all Eve said, even more confused by that admission.

“Yea...stupid huh?”

Villanelle rubbed her forehead.

“I … I am really sorry for how things went between us...I just really wanted...to get to know you. And I know it’s stupid because you have no reason to like me...I should probably go.”

She stood and looked down at Eve, sitting in her large robe on the couch, eyes red rimmed.

“Your Ex is wrong by the way. You’re an amazing person.”

**

“I can’t believe she didn’t throw you out straight away.”

Kenny said as they had dinner at the office and poured over the first months numbers and reviews.

“I think she was shocked that I had witnessed her ex. She had told me online about him.”

Villanelle explained, grabbing another sushi roll.

“So now what? You keep pining for her in real life and flirting online? What if she wants to meet you again? You can’t keep making excuses or you will push her away online too.”

Kenny was right, he often was.

"I just need her to see I am someone to like. She likes me online because we spend time"

"No ...no come on. Are you serious."

He had seen straight away where her head went.

"I have to at least try."

"That's what you said with Nadia. You owed her to try but she was a clusterfuck."

Villanelle looked at Kenny crossly, Stealing his fave piece of Sushi from him.

"She isn't Nadia. I’ll show her I am more than Konstantin Vasielievs daughter."

Back at Eve’s apartment it already seemed like Eve was not completely pointing the finger at her for her shop going under. So that was already a step in a good direction.

 

**

CrimeFan0079
He was here today...my ex

KillerCook1985
Uh oh! Everything alright?

CrimeFan0079
He flipped. I mean I knew he could be an ass but the things he said today.

KillerCook1985
Damn...did you kick him out?

CrimeFan0079
I...I wish I had. My biggest mistake really I just...i am not really someone to talk back to him
I was too scared because I have never seen him so angry. Actually, remember the woman I told you about that I can’t see because

KillerCook1985
She works in a counter store? Yea

CrimeFan0079
She, for some reason decided to visit me today. She kicked Niko out.

KillerCook1985
Wait she just turns up at your place? No reason?

CrimeFan0079
I think she was checking up on me after ...well me closing the store.

KillerCook1985
Wow...I mean…

CrimeFan0079
Yes, I am a bit confused. She brought me peonies. She said she wanted to be friends. I...I don’t know what to think of that or what to do.

KillerCook1985
at least she kicked your ex out. What an asshole.

**

Chapter Text

Eve, weeks after closing her own store, had bitten the sour apple and found herself entering the Booklovers Inc. store, thinking it would be like a Walmart for books, but it was the contrary. She found a store warmly decorated, with places to sit and enjoy reading samples, in the children's section she found a big podest and chair, a sign with kids reading hours in front of it.

Every minute in the store made her heart ache. No, there was no sentimental feeling here, like in the small stores where you saw a history. But she acknowledged it was not the hell she had always believed it would be. It was ok. It was big and bright and held anything you could wish for she guessed. And still she felt lost.

In the crime section she perused all the books on offer, from classic to the more trashy. She admitted she had held Books in her store she had a preference to. While walking through the Isles she overheard a conversation between a customer and Sales personal, listening as the potential buyer tried to describe a book by a plot summary and the sales clerk trying to find the book in the system.

“It’s ‘After the Silence’. First in the Inspector Rykel Series I believe.”

Eve said and then blushed at having butted in.

“Thank you for your help.”

A voice husked into her ear and Eve yelped, while at the same time shivering at Villanelle so close. Traitorous asshole of a body, that still couldn’t forget that one night. She turned to stare at the honey blond, again in one of those perfectly tailored black, business pants and jacket combos, pink shirt under the jacket adding a splash of fresh color. Villanelle looked at her softly, non confrontational perhaps to stop her feeling in shame at having been caught here.

“How did you find me here?”

Eve asked confused.

“I was just leaving for lunch and thought I recognized that amazing hair.”

Eve did roll her eyes at Villanelle, who grinned back down at her. With a sigh Eve shrugged.

“I should leave too.”

“Let me take you to lunch?”

Villanelle’s eyes were so earnest and hopeful that Eve did not have it in her heart to say no and it seemed like a much better idea than staying inside this store. It felt so strange accepting Villanelle’s offer but it was even more strange to stand in her store like this. Villanelle had called an Uber for herself, explaining she was told by a colleague, it was an insult she had not been to the farmers market yet.

“Apparently the chowder is THE food to have.”

“You haven’t ever been?”

Villanelle shrugged, Eve staring at her surprised.

“It’s the thing in Seattle! Pike Place has one of the best chowder restaurants with different kind of chowders. Normal, salmon, scallops…”

Villanelle just smiled at her good naturedly.

“I am sure you can order a good one for me too.”

When they arrived, no surprise the place was packed.

“Yea well it’s kind of really full by noon. That’s why my friend El usually gets it for movie nights.”

Eve mumbled as they stood in line, Villanelle behind her squinting at the menu.

“That’s the one that doesn’t like me? From your apartment?”

A blush crept up Eve’s neck, remembering that morning and the idiocy of it all. But mostly remembering the look on Villanelle’s face.

“I...yes. That’s her.”

Villanelle saw the emotions play on Eve’s face.

“Eve...do you hate me?”

“What? No!”

Eve was grateful it was finally their time to order, happy that Villanelle had just dropped it. She ordered a little 8oz cup of 4 of the chowders so Villanelle could taste them all, the younger woman refusing to let her pay and handing over the money swiftly. They went to waterfront park close by, the day rather warm and sunny. Sitting on the steps, the sea air filling their noses they ate.

“Which do you like best?”

“I would say the scallops one. To be honest, anything is better than my fathers Borschtsch. He was here a bit ago and I found a tub in my freezer.”

Villanelle made a face, then laughed.

“Wait, how did he…?”

“Probably when my sister and I were out. I showed her around a little...well actually she showed me around I haven’t seen much of Seattle yet and She went full tourguide on me. She showed me the most disgusting thing...a gum wall she actually put hers there and I am still revolted.”

Eve actually laughed at the story, seeing Villanelle’s face and imagining her and her sister.

“She was at the opening? The redhead?”

“Yes.”

Standing, Villanelle discarded of their empty food containers, then stared at the large building to her left.

“Is that the Aquarium?”

“Okay, that’s it. I can not believe you...you have at least been living here for almost a year. You probably only know the way from your place to the store. Come on. I am taking you.”

Eve said and stood, staring with a frown at the other woman, nonplussed that someone living here this long hadn’t seen anything of the city yet.

“Oh...if you have time…”

Eve added,the sudden boisterous mood evaporating. Of course others still had work to do.

“It’s fine. Carolyn Martens is in town. I am a nuisance to her anyways. And she sure wont miss me”

It was no secret that Carolyn Martens disliked her greatly.

“Oh...her…”

“Funny how we have the same reaction to her name Eve…”

Both smiled and walked towards the Aquarium entrance.

The fight over who would pay was short. Eve insisted since Villanelle had paid for lunch.
“Well...I’ll pay the next thing...whatever that is.”

She mumbled to Eve who felt flustered at the insinuation of spending more time but then felt, should would actually like to spend more time.

They were just in time for the Marine Mammals feeding, watching and listening to the animal handler telling about the different mammals. Both forgetting that at some point they had seemed like arch enemies. As she watched Villanelle gaze at the animals with a smile on her face, she realized that the whole situation between them had started by a stupid comment and now it felt like the chance had closed off and Eve had no idea how to mend a rift between them, that was rather imaginary. Seeing Villanelle like this, spending time with her like this made eve’s yearn. Their one night stand was always somehow on her mind and it made things even more complicated.

After the feeding was over and the masses of onlookers dispersed, Eve and Villanalled went out to the pier, standing at the railing and staring at Elliot bay.

“Why...did you come to my Shop? Was it to see what we other Vendors did? To check out competition?”

Eve asked the question that had burned on the back of her mind the last couple of months.

“No! I wish you would not believe that about me! I was walking, just checking the little streets. I felt lost around Seattle since I moved here. I saw your window display and it was so...good that I thought I would check for some cookbooks. I like cooking and well I found books I liked. I know you think I must have this hatred for little bookstores. But my father started with a little bookstore and I remember having my own corner there because he could not afford a babysitter. The smell of the books and the old furniture ”

She drifted a bit and shrugged.

“His store grew after he met mother. It was shortly before my sisters Birth.”

“Oh...she was your stepmom? Sorry… I shouldn’t ask things like…”

“You really never read up on my family? Not even …”

Not even after their night together, Elena revealing who she was. Eve shook her head and Villanelle turned, leaning her back against the railing and looking at Eve.

“I am not their biological child. I was adopted by my father and his first wife from Russia. But they divorced almost straight away. His second wife Olga, she was a good mother to me, I loved her a lot. Villanelle is a name I was...given to by a teacher who likened me to a Villanelle, a complicated poem...I don't really like my other name. So I changed it.”

Eve listened and felt she really knew nothing about the woman speaking to her. Still she had judged her and now she felt like shit for having done so.

“They taught me Family is not blood. I was really lucky. Eve...I know we started off badly...well we started off great but it went badly...but can you ever really forgive me for who my father is? Could we ever just...if nothing else be friends? Because I really like you”

God, Eve felt like the biggest asshole ever, having the other woman barely able to look at her because she had behaved the way she had.

“I know it’s not your father's fault or yours. It’s business and I think Niko is right...I was just not made to run a store. It’s not what I had planned with my life. I think it was easy pushing blame to someone else and now I don't know how…to...you know, make it better.”

Villanelle nodded.

“Look...I am not asking you to get back to...to that morning. I want to get to know you.”

Had things gone differently that morning, Villanelle was sure they could have been more now.

**

KillerCook1985
What have you been up to today? The weather was beautiful.

CrimeFan0079
I was actually at the Aquarium. It was nice.

Eve typed, wondering if she should mention she had been out all day with Villanelle. It felt strange telling someone she was rather flirty with sometimes about being out with her one night stand all day. Not that KillerCook really knew about her having slept with Villanelle but she was sure it was kind of clear.

KillerCook1985
:smile: Just missed your messages today. It’s nice you took a day off and relaxed.
Hey have you ever thought about using your old degree and writing yourself? You said you liked Novels.

CrimeFan0079
Oh...well. :thinking:

KillerCook1985
I bet you often thought: that’s not how it works.
Who better to write a novel than you? Worth a shot at least :grin:

Her phone rang but this time it was not Discord it was facebook messenger. Apparently Villanelle had found her on Facebook. She had sent a selfie, wearing the shirt she had gotten in the souvenir store, proclaiming:’That’s otter nonsense!’

‘Thinking of wearing this to my next meeting with Carolyn!’

Eve laughed and shook her head. She had seen Martens on TV, cold and perpetually unimpressed.

‘Would that actually get a reaction out of her?’

‘A sneer at least. But that is her standard when she sees me anyways. Eve...thanks for today.”

‘No need to thank me. See you soon?’

‘Soon. :-) ‘

She felt herself smile at the promise and then rolled her eyes at herself. Maybe Villanelle was right though and they should just start fresh.

CrimeFan0079
I would really love to meet you one day.

She watched the three dots dance as her chat partner wrote.

KillerCook1985
I promise we will meet.

 

The message was not what Eve had hoped for, but it was not a no. After closing those chats, she actually sat down with her laptop, pondering if she could pull of her own crime story.

Chapter Text

“I met someone at a bar and he is soooo cute!”

Elena said and giggled over their brunch table, making Eve smile. El had forever been searching to find someone and Eve believed happy would both do them so good.

“Oh! Where were you monday by the way? I came by your place but you weren't there?”

Eve blinked wondering what to say. Monday was when she had spend the better part of it with Villanelle.

“I was out.”

“Just out?”

“At the Aquarium.”

Elena nodded.

“El...I need to speak to you about something.”

Her friend munched on her toast which she had dipped into egg yolk, looking at Eve expectantly.

“Remember I told you Niko visited me? He...it was a bit different than what i told you.”

A toast was gingerly placed back on a plate, Elena leaning back in her chair, suddenly all ears.
Eve told a more and more angry turning Elena what had taken place, the things Niko had said.

“Why the hell didn’t you call me?!”

“Well...I had help. My surprise visitor kicked Niko out and he hasn’t contacted me since.”

Eyes shone expectantly and Eve swallowed thickly, staring at her own fruit bowl.

“It was Villanelle.”

“Are...are you seeing her?”

“No. She...she wanted to check up on me.”

Long minutes passed and then Elena looked at Eve very sheepishly.

“Eve...I was a real ass to you and her. What I said was uncalled for and I know...I know the damage I did.”
Confused did not even describe the feeling within Eve. Her friend had never given Niko a chance nor her an apology for her open hatred, which in retrospect had been called for.

“Where...Why this change of mind?”

“The guy I met...he works for Vasiliev. Eve...I am really ashamed of what I said. Because i get what situation I put you in now.”

Rubbing her eyes Eve felt, like she wanted to yell, cry, dance. Everything. Because she was a ball of emotion and had no way to categorize it.

“Yea well...it was me sending her away that morning. I could have stood up to you.”

Slowly the feelings inside of her calmed back down.

“She asked if we could be friends. I was at the Aquarium with her because she had never been. Actually it started because...I was in her store just wanting to see. She found me and invited me to lunch.”

Eve told Elena all about that day, how relaxing it had been, their little talk on the pier. Elena tried to apologize again but Eve asked her to change the subject. In the end she had made the decision to kick Villanelle out.

“So how is the writing coming along? Any good ideas?”

After brunch Eve decided to check out the street market, It was a beautiful Sunday and she spent most of her week holed up in her apartment writing down plot ideas, reading about writing methods and so on. She was standing at flower stall, smelling the peonies when something tickled her cheek, turning slightly she saw a flower next to her, letting her eyes follow the stem to a grinning Villanelle.

“Hey.”

Eve smiled back brightly and did take the flower from Villanelle, smelling it.

“Hello.”

She said after, handing the flower back. She watched Villanelle take it and grab more levkoi, smiling at the meaning of the choice.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was quite sure YOU were the one telling me Seattle is known for it’s little weekend street markets…”

“...and fresh produce!”

“And that, yes. Would you take my invitation and stroll the market with me?”

Eve watched her pay for the Levkoi, checking her watch.

“Sorry you probably have better things to do.”

Villanelle replied at the gesture.

“Actually I have time.”

They strolled through the market, both getting cherries and apples at some stalls, talking softly amongst themselves.

“Have you ever rescheduled with that friend you wanted to meet?”

Villanelle asked when they stopped at a fish vendor, Villanelle following eve’s advice of getting some Gravlax.

“Oh I asked. She said we will meet some time.”

“How mysterious…”

Eve rolled her eyes at Villanelle who held out a sample of Gravlax out to her.

“So what’s her online name?”

Chewing, eve shook her head.

“No...I am not telling you.”

“Ok.”

“Just ok?”

Villanelle actually laughed, eyes dancing with mirth.

“It’s fine really.”

Eve’s eyes narrowed but she accepted it.

It was so nice to spend time with Villanelle, no pressure. Just them perusing the market and the produce offered, talking about cooking, which Eve admitted straight on she was bad at. When they parted ways, Villanelle pressed the softest of kisses to her cheek, so close to her lips, had Eve just turned her head right...But she hadn’t. Eve had blushed and wished Villanelle a good night.

“See you Eve.”

Villanelle said with an earnest and a big smile.

**

‘I really think Carolyn only uses me to dump her work on someone whenever she wants to travel’

Villanelle texted her, a photograph from her desk littered with files, attached. Eve had just been checking her fridge for anything edible, having forgotten to go to the store while writing.

‘Ugh! V it’s 9pm on a saturday!”

‘Shit...it is. I skipped lunch and dinner. :/ ‘

‘You should really go home!’

‘I just have to finish this report. Not much longer I hope.’

 

Eve sighed and stared, grabbing a banana from her fruit basket to tide her over. She bit her lip staring at the photo from the desk. She bet Villanelle would work all night, dragging herself home at midnight. She shrugged at herself as a plan formed in her head, threw on some presentable clothes and left her apartment on a mission.

**

Villanelle felt over tired, the numbers blurring in front of her eyes as she tried to just finished last damn report so she could go home. She stood, stretching her body, arms high above her head and bending her back, she felt the satisfying pops of her vertebrae and sighed, shuffling out of her office and to the kitchenette to get some coffee.

Kenny, the traitor, had bowed out early, saying something about not wanting to be late for his date. As if! She grumped, wrinkling her nose and waiting for her coffee to be ready when her calm was broken by her phone ringing.
“Yes?”

“Mrs Vasieliev...there is a lady at the front desk...saying she needs to speak to you.”

“And the name of the lady would be?”

In New York and her father's office building people knew to always tell her a name if someone asked to see her. After the Nadia fiasko she had been a bit paranoid and she still was.

“She says her name is Eve. Wait...here:”

She heard the phone being handed over.

“Hey. I got food. Come down?”

“Down?”

“Come on V. Time to go home.”

She heard Eve say.

Her eyes went wide as saucers and she looked down on herself, looking rumpled and her hair probably a fucking mess.

“Oh...ok.”

Villanelle stumbled, Eve’s tone leaving no room for discussion. She hung up and went to grab her stuff, switching off all lights and pouring away the coffee she had just made. After making sure everything was in order she went down to the lobby, Smiling when she saw Eve standing there, pizza box in her arms.

“You didn’t have to!”

“Admit it, you would not have eaten tonight.”

Villanelle called them a cab outside and in a matter of minutes they ended up at her place. Once inside, V lead Eve to the kitchen and Island, getting out plates and some redwine while Eve looked around. There was a wall in the living room with only pictures and Eve seemed to be drawn to it, so Villanelle followed her pointing to pictures.

“That’s my mother Olga with Irina when she was a fat baby. She hates that picture that’s why i have it center, so when she visits she always sees it first. Over there is my Papa, Mama, Irina and I on vacation. Papa had the worst sunburn ever. Ma and Pa’s wedding photo.”

Eve smiled at the memories of a happy family , Villanelle softly speaking. The last picture she did not point out. Olga seemed frail in it. It was a christmas Picture, the Family in front of the tree, they tried to smile but it did not reach their eyes.

Villanelle stared, possibly trying to find the words but Eve stopped her, grabbing her hand softly and squeezing.

“Don’t. It’s okay.”

She saw the younger woman swallow thickly but then she turned her head towards Eve with a grateful smile.

“You went to the trouble of bringing Pizza come on, it would be a shame to let it turn even colder.”

Eve understood that Villanelle had to change the subject swiftly. She had taken a long time getting over her parent’s death and Olga’s was just two years ago.

They sat at the island, across from each other, Villanelle’s shoulders sagging in the privacy of her home.

“You are a lifesaver Eve!”

They ate their share, sipping their wine and simply let the evening was over them.

“Thanks again.”

Villanelle broke the silence and Eve smiled at her.

“I admit I forgot to eat myself. I was working on something and when you texted I realized the time.”

“Okay, I need to change out of these things. Do you want to watch a movie or should I call you a cab?”

Eve pondered for a second. It was sunday the next day and it wasn’t like she had somewhere to be the next day.

“Movie sounds good.”

“Okay you go pick one in the living room and I will be right back.”

Five minutes later, Eve still browsing the movie collection, Villanelle returned downstairs. It was the first time Eve saw her in something not tailored. Simple soft pants and a wide university sweater. It threw Eve for a moment, before she blindly grabbed a movie, still watching Villanelle who was getting them drinks and setting up the TV.

“So, whats the choice?”

Eve startled, staring down at the DVD, missing the soft smile V had had for her distraction.

“Robin Hood. Wow...that one has aged.”

Eve said and chuckled, handing the DVD over to Villanelle.

**

When Eve woke, she was not in her own bed. She was in a bed though, her last memory of being a Villanelle's place and watching a movie. Laying very still, she tried to gauge if the other woman was in bed with her, but felt no presence. Checking the bedside she found a clock and found it was just close to 2 am.

She barely remembered anything of the movie and realized she must have conked out pretty fast. She sat up, looking around in the darkened bedroom, once she found the door she got up, wondering where her host was. Once she stepped into the hall, she found herself in the upper part of the apartment, realizing she must have been so out of it that she had not registered being carried upstairs.

From her spot upstairs she could see down into the living room, where she saw Villanelle, hazardously spread onto that couch. It wasn’t a tiny couch by all means. But Villanelle had long limbs and it looked like she was someone that spread out in sleep, which had led to, what looked like a painful sleeping position.
Eve felt horrible at having fallen asleep and forcing an over tired Villanelle to sleep on her couch. She padded down the staircase and went to the sleeping woman.
The plan had been to wake her and get her to go to bed but now Eve stood there watching the other woman sleep and wondering if she had looked that way in her bed, nestled behind her.
The memory invaded her and she felt the blush creep up her neck. Elena’s revelation, her apologizing made things worse for Eve because she realized she had destroyed something that could have been...well amazing. Villanelle was a good person, they had just met under the wrong circumstances.

She remembered the Villanelle that had stood up to Niko. How save she had felt with her there.
She kneeled next to the couch, softly stroking the back of the younger woman’s hand.

“V...come on. You can’t stay on the couch.”

A soft mumble alerted her to her host slowly waking and she kept softly speaking until bleary eyes blinked at her.

“Everything ok Eve?”

Leave it to Villanelle to immediately worry about her.

“Yes I am fine. But it doesn’t look like you are comfortable. Come on, I can sleep on the couch.”

“Yea, absolutely not.”

Was V’s retort and she stretched then sat up.

“Fine it’s a large bed we can share.”

Silence. Absolute, deafening silence filling the room.

“Eve…”

Her name weighed heavy coming from the younger woman.

“I am trying to be friends here..”

Villanelle explained, watching as Eve sunk onto the couch next to her, the moment seemed loaded.

“You know what the most painful thing is? Elena told me she was sorry about what had happened. She met someone that works at your company and everything changed and I am sitting here and I really really hurt you and I feel like I tried resenting you so much I have no idea what to do. I don’t resent you. But i can’t shake what happened and how. It makes no sense. “

Only breathing could be heard the next few seconds as the other woman gathered thoughts.

“I do get it. I wish I could turn back time and do things differently than falling straight into bed with you. Which was breathtaking...but I want to know you. I want to get to know you like you deserve. And I want you to get to know me, like I deserve. Not just that woman with a rich Father.”

Having been reduced to her family's net worth had stung and even though there had been an apology, that was something that stayed with you. She turned to Eve to gauge her reaction, finding her nodding.

“Thank you for the honesty. I want to get to know you too V. I know you absolutely respect me so tell me, do you really think we can not share a King size to sleep?”

She stood and held out her hand and Villanelle did take it, rolling her eyes.

“Don’t hog the covers though!”

“I do not!”

“You absolutely did...and you know it!”

At least the argument covered their nervousness at what was going on between them.

Chapter Text

KillerCook1985
How is writing coming along?

CrimeFan0079
Pretty well. Chapter drafts are done. I am pretty happy with the overall story. Just need some Character work.

KillerCook1985
Sounds good Anything planned for the weekend or holing yourself up inside? Autumn is …already pretty cool here.

CrimeFan0079
Went to a movie yesterday with my one friend E who keeps gushing about her new boyfriend, V told me to keep my saturday free, she wants to teach me cooking.

KillerCook1985
Finally someone has mercy on you!

CrimeFan0079
:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

KillerCook1985
So will you start with the kitchen classics?

CrimeFan0079
No she said we will start easy with breakfast

KillerCook1985
:thinking: Sleepover included?

CrimeFan0079
Oh stop!

Eve blushed deeply, feeling that flutter in the pit of her belly that accompanied thoughts of Villanelle. Since their sleep over at Villanelle’s place they had met at least weekly. They went to sights in Seattle, ate together, texted. Eve learning more and more about the elder Vasieliev daughter. She didn’t like to take things too seriously only if absolutely forced to it. She was exceptionally bright but did not flaunt it. She was someone that threw her all into a project and thus Eve had made sure the younger woman would take her food breaks by asking her out or bringing her things.

At some point going out for meals changed to Villanelle cooking for them and Eve realized the lines between them had blurred or redefined. They were comfortable but Eve felt herself yearning for more while Villanelle stuck to her premise of them getting to know each other first.

‘Are we having a sleepover?’

Eve asked Villanelle, then wanted to facepalm herself at how that one sounded.

‘Blanket hogger!’

‘Am not!’

‘You are, you know it! Besides why are you asking?’

She typed, deleted and retried multiple times. No answer seemed to really make sense.
She wanted to because she liked sleeping in Villanelle’s bed with the younger woman, because she had craved being held by someone again.

‘OMG Eve it’s fine. You can hog my blanket if you want :P ‘

**

 

“I kind of had made Plans for that evening Papa.”

“I know, and I am sorry Myshka. Carolyn will not drop it. I tried.”

She snorted, knowing her father somehow never could assert himself against Martens. It's not like she had set plans. But she wanted to spend her time with Eve rather than at some corporate shindig. Since her father had thrown her name around for new Partner, Carolyn had been extra nasty.

“You know I don't like these things.”

“I know yes. It’s once. For me yes?”

Of course her father had to pull that one. She sunk into her chair and rolled her eyes.

“Fine…”

Once she hung up she sighed, wanting to throw her phone somewhere. She hated doing anything Carolyn wanted but this time she could not weasel out of it. Her father knew she hated such parties because she would rather stay out of the limelight. She remembered clearly how the Fashion week thing had gone for her.
Just one Dinner. One little Party. She could do that if it made her father happy.

**

“To be honest, you could probably wear a sack and still look good in it.”

Eve said as they both sat on Villanelle’s bed, staring at her closet.

“That’s an idea. Will probably give Martens a stroke. Serves the bitch right.”

Eve pinched her side, making Villanelle yelp.

“Shush.”

“Please come with me.”

“We’ve been over this.”

The begging eyes almost got Eve but she shook her head.

“I promised Elena we would do something together.”

“Ugh fine…”

Villanelle threw her hands in the air dramatically, then wrapped them around Eve’s lithe frame, pressing her forehead against Eve’s temple.

“Maybe I just want to see you in a cocktail dress.”

“Tease…”

Eve said and felt a lump in her throat. The flirting got to her, the closeness. Because it never went anywhere. Both suddenly unable to take that last step. She felt Villanelle dragged things out because, as she had realized by now, her other relationships had all ended really badly. V did not reveal much, barely liked to talk about it. She admitted that she had preferred one night stands in the past. Had tried though for Nadia and since that went horribly wrong she had kept away from other people, only allowing herself meaningless flings. A protective measure. Eve wondered if Villanelle feared that if they turned into something more i would end up like her other relationships.

Eve turned her head, hand landing on V’s side, their foreheads pressed together and there was this underlying tension they never seemed able to shake.

“Villanelle…”

Her tone was soft, just shy of begging as she leaned in slowly. Her lips did not land on a mouth though but on a cheek. Villanelle had turned her head and as Eve’s heart sunk she felt lips press against her forehead and eve whimpered.

“Please Eve…”

“What? Can you please tell me why? You tease me and each time I try to approach you, you push me away.”

“I don't want to lose you.”

Villanelle replied hotly, rubbing her neck in frustration.

“You wanted to take me out after our night…what has changed?”

“Eve...please.”

Eve stood and evaded the hand reaching for her elbow.

“It’s fine. I get it V.”

She went to grab her things, frustration with the situation they had maneuvered themselves in, too much to take.

“Please...don’t leave.”

Villanelle whispered, vulnerably, shoulders sagged and eyes glued to the floor.

“I ...think we need to...this doesn’t work for me Villanelle. I’m sorry.”

She went home on autopilot, ignoring her phone ringing up a storm. She had tried her best to curb her needs for weeks now, her and Villanelle growing closer and closer together. She knew she had fucked this up first with her stupid accusations but she had hoped they could get over it, had been positively fallen in love with Villanelle as they spend time together. But for some reason Villanelle could not progress.

Once she made it home, nestling into her bed with tears of frustration in her eyes, she checked her phone, finding Villanelle’s text to be a simple ‘Sorry’.

**

Villanelle tried contacting Eve in the days after their little fall out, tried to make amends, but Eve simply asked her to give her space. So Villanelle had pulled back, feeling resentment at herself for not being able to properly make any relationship work ever. She wanted to be with Eve but by now she had such strong feelings she realized this wouldn’t be a fun fling or maybe friends with benefits any longer. She felt too much and each time that had happened she had fucked things up. She had tried writing down how she felt but she could not put that fear into words. And frankly she did not want to explain to Eve what a major fuck up she was.

Not even her father had known for a long time what had made her be like this. She had revealed it only because he had pestered her about finding someone and settling down. She had tried with Nadia. She had tried so hard that she had forgotten that she deserved to be treated with respect and love once more.

Dressing for the Event she felt like she just wanted to run. She would try to leave as soon as possible, Carolyn be damned. She would certainly not wear a dress but a black suit, tailored perfectly to her slim hips, white silk blouse, business and not approachable, exactly the statement she wanted to send.

The venue was a rented estate with sprawling gardens, softly lit by Fairy lights, while inside music played and a dance floor set up in the sitting room should anyone feel the need to move. The Dining room would host the main event, beautifully set up with a side for the Buffet and the other side hosting multiple tables. Kenny greeted her when she got out of the Taxi, looking like he wanted to die himself in his suit.

“So will I meet your infamous girlfriend today?”

She asked trying to sound lighthearted.

“No, she had already had other plans.I thought you would ask Eve?”

Villanelle flinched, then explained to him what had happened.

“How...how in the world are you suddenly unable to bed her while she is LITERALLY begging you? Are you mental?”

He whispered strongly, surprised by his friends unusual inability to go for the girl.

“Shy wallflower is my thing ok?”

He berated as they walked through the front door and into the large mansion. She knew this place had been rented full weekend and felt this was costs that they certainly could have saved.
Not even her fathers annual new years party was that big.

“Can we not talk about this tonight? I know I fucked up! She currently doesn’t even want to speak to me.”

“Yikes…”

Villanelle shoved her friends softly, he just shook his head at her.

They were seated together at a round table, some of the seats still empty. Here she had thought she was being fashionably late. She talked with Kenny, made her rounds to their contractors, shaking hands, doing small talk. At their table only two seats where still and Caroyln had said it were special guests that might arrive later. They started Dinner already and Villanelle just wished the whole thing would progress faster, sipping her whisky and keeping her head low.

“Shit…”

Kenny said next to her, grasping her arm suddenly and exerting almost painful pressure, his eyes glued to the door.

“Kenny...what the…”

Her words got stuck in her mouth when she saw who Carolyn martens was greeting at the door right now. Her special guests were special indeed. Villanelle felt herself almost explode with anger and then only thing stopping her from jumping up right now was Kenny.

“V...calm down.”

“That absolute bitch…”

She mumbled.

“Just ignore. She doesn’t know, remember. Calm down.”

Kenny knew her well enough, he was the only one who had known the truth all the time, her only confidant. There with Carolyn Martens stood Anna and Maxi Leonova, the latter was already fixing her with death stares while Anna’s eyes still searched for her.

“You can’t cause a scene, not tonight.”

“The way Maxi looks, I won’t be the one causing a scene here.”

Kenny remembered exactly how her last meeting with Maxi went, had hidden her away until she had been presentable to her father again, while lying through his teeth. He had begged her all these years to come clean to her father and had only done so recently.

“Look...I need you to promise you won’t do something dumb ok? I am going to go take care of it.”

She felt numb, felt Anna’s eyes on her, burning into her back, Kenny still grabbing her arm tightly, until she nodded., eyes emptied of all emotions.

He went to the closest men’s room and got his phone out.

**

“I don’t want to talk about it El, please for god's sake leave it be.”

Eve groaned, wanting to chuck a pillow at her friend. The movie and popcorn had been long forgotten as Eve had told her about her frustrations with Villanelle and their status.

She was saved from another barrage of questions by Elena’s cell phone ringing.

“What’s up? What?...wait calm down. Yes, she is next to me...what do you mean...well no. Are you being serious?..”

Eve frowned at the conversation she heard.

“Look...I’ll try...I think you are blowing this out of proportion...Fine...fine…”

The phone was held to her and Eve frowned moving away but when Elena looked at her urgently she did take it.

“Listen...Eve? This is Kenny. I am Villanelle’s friend.”

“Yea...I know...wait why are you calling Elena…”

“Okay we have no time for this. Look I need you to come here and be with V to calm her down before she murders another guest.”

“What the hell…”

“Look...I swear I would never ask you if this was not serious. I can’t calm her right now and she is barely holding on.”

It sounded earnest and Eve was scared. How could someone as gentle as Villanelle be described like this? Eve was dressed in a matter of minutes, fear driving her as she put something on she had purchased together with Villanelle for an opera they had attended together. Kenny had sent a car for her and as she anxiously waited with El in front of her building she stared at her friend surprised, a bit hurt.

“You could have told me you are dating Kenny.”

“I know...we just...with everything I had done…”

Before she could say more, the car had arrived.

**

The drive out of Seattle and into the countryside took a bit and the longer it took, the more nervous she grew. She had never met Kenny before but had recognized urgency in his voice and serious worry.

She and Villanelle had not spoken in days since their little fall out in V’s apartment but of course Eve jumped as soon as her friend seemed in need of help.

The estate was simply put beautiful but her gaze only lingered a few seconds before she found a young man, dressed in a black suit and bowtie, hurry towards her door. Kenny was a handsome young man she had to give Elena that. He opened her door and held a hand out for her, helping her out of the car.

“Thank you so much!”

He said, leading her to the entrance.

“Kenny...what is going on?”

“I have no right to explain...right now I send her to the gardens to cool off.”

Eve looked at him incredulous but he simply shrugged.

“I will add your name to the list as her plus one here…”

He handed her a card and told her to keep it safe.

“Garden is through there.”

All the secrecy confused Eve and for a moment she thought this was a ruse to get her to go to the evening after all.

That was until she heard angry voices in the garden and the most menacing was definitely Villanelle’s, a tone she had never thought the younger woman was capable off.

**

After the cold greeting which had Maxi almost break her hand, Kenny had diffused the situation by sending her outside.

She had taken deep gulping breaths, emotions about to overwhelm her. Anna, Anna looking at her like she had back then. The older woman had not changed much. But somehow there was nothing left but anger in Villanelle. Anger at what that woman had done to her in her teenage years, knowing it had shaped her as a woman. Anna had looked at her with that old barely guarded hunger. Had checked her out top to bottom.

She heard faint steps behind her and turned sharply.

“Oksana...look at you. You look so professional and grown up.”

Anna’s accent was thicker than back then, probably because of having moved back to Russia with her husband. Her words were lined with admiration.

"I don't understand what gave you the impression it was wise to follow me out here Anna."

"I just want to talk, for old times sake Oksana…."

She felt anger, hatred and sickness bubble up in her, wanting to lash out.

"How dare you even show up here after everything you did…"

Anna looked at her shocked.

"Me? Have you forgotten how things truly were?"

Villanelle stood tall, taking steps towards the other woman, finger pointing angrily. she was almost in range to do something very stupid.

"You will not make this my fault. I trusted you! how dare you two show up here as if nothing ever happened!"

"Oksana...it has been such a long time…"

"Don't call me that! Don't even look at me. Take that fucking asshole of a husband and leave and I swear to god if you ever dare contact me again Anna…"

Her finger was basically in Anna's face, the other woman by now just as angry. Villanelle knew if Anna dared to say one more thing, she would probably lose the rest of her tightly held in place control.

"Villanelle?"

Behind Anna Leonova stood Eve in the evening gown they had selected together for the opera, staring at Villanelle and the scene that had unfolded in front of her confused.

Chapter Text

Something in Villanelle’s eyes alerted Eve to the seriousness of the situation. She looked haunted, murderously angry. Never, not even when she had kicked out Niko, had Villanelle looked like this. It made Eve shiver with fear but equally something more primal. It was the deepest form of lust.

“I am sorry I am late. Traffic was hell.”

She said and walked towards V, slowly, catching her eye and holding out her hand.

“Villanelle?”

Not just Villanelle was looking at her, by now the other woman's eyes where on her too, regarding her slowly as if judging, a sneer on her face.

“Oh...a girlfriend Oksana? Have you found someone else to seduce and drag down?”

Anna said jealously and scathing, it wasn’t lost on Villanelle.

Villanelle prowled towards Eve, putting her body between her and the stranger and Eve’s nostrils flared at the sign of protection and, by the way V towered over her, possession. She would have drowned in Villanelle’s eyes but the younger woman's hand landed on her neck, pulling her in and breathing in her scent.

“Thank you…”

She heard the husky whisper.

Eve nodded and then they stepped apart, Anna still staring at them. Villanelle did not even turn to her, head just turning sideways as she bit out:

“Don’t contact me again Anna Leonova.”

Villanelle did not wait for a response, grabbing Eve’s hand and going inside with her. Eve just followed completely stumped by what was going on. This was not the Villanelle she knew, she told Kenny, no nonsense, they were out, then, breathing heavily and pulled her through the mansion. At some point something in V snapped and instead of leaving the building she walked them upstairs.

“Villanelle…”

“Just...just a minute…”

They entered a bedroom and the younger woman locked the door behind them before her body barreled into Eve’s, two hands framed her face and then hazel eyes where gazing at her a mix of hunger, sadness and anger.

“V…”

The younger woman's breathing came in bursts and then her lips crashed against Eve’s, tongue forcing its way into Eve’s mouth and everything about this Villanelle, was about possessiveness.
The Korean moaned needily, lips and teeth now on her neck, just below her ear on the pulsepoint. Her hands grasped at her companion, trying to ground herself against the other woman as she was conquered by the blond.

She was turned and then walked backwards against the closest wall, Honey blond kissing her, tongues dancing. She could barely make sense of what was going on, only that something had snapped in Villanelle and now she was pressed against a wall, her dress was being hiked up and then she felt a thigh pressing between her legs, the feeling making her moan out loud.

Teeth on her jaw, thigh and fingers between her legs and Eve simply let herself be taken by Villanelle, unable to think straight and think this over.

At some point, and Eve had no memory when, she had been laid onto the bed, legs half dangling off and Villanelle sitting on the floor back and head against the bed as Eve slowly came down from the high.

Eve was staring straight up at the ceiling, trying to gather her wits.

“I am sorry…”

She heard V say and swallowed before deciding she would not let her run away again. She shuffled down the bed and sat next to Villanelle, grasping her hand. The younger woman’s face pressed into her neck and Eve definitely felt tears.

“Please...please tell me you aren’t crying because…”

“No...I swear.”

“Tell me what is going on.”

“Can we go home first?”

Villanelle mumbled back and Eve squeezed her hand in understanding.

**

The silence coming from the younger woman was new to Eve, it was no comfortable silence either. It was laden with something. Judging by what had happened between them in that mansions bedroom, something was up with Villanelle and it had all started with that Anna. She must have been the woman Kenny had spoken about.

She shot El a quick text that her and V had left the party and she would stay with the other woman. A thumbs up was her answer plus a: Kenny says thanks.
Once they arrived at Villanelle’s place the honey blond vanished in the bath, soon returning for Eve. She had started up the shower and sheepishly handed her a towel.

“Villanelle...look at me.”

What they had done seemed to now lay heavy on Villanelle’s shoulders and Eve did not want that. Hazel eyes finally met hers and Eve pulled her in for a very tender kiss.

“What happened between us, I wanted it. Very much so. So please…”

It seemed to relieve the younger woman, her arms going around Eve and holding her, face pressed against her neck again. They held on for a moment until Eve quickly went to shower, not wanting to waste anymore water. When she returned downstairs, in the shirt Villanelle had kept from her and some short night pants from V, she found the other woman sitting at the kitchen Isle in the dimmed light, sipping a large glass of whisky. Eve sat across, gazing at her tenderly.

“I never wanted us to happen because...of her.”

Villanelle mumbled after long minutes of gathering her thoughts.

“Who is she Villanelle? Why did you look like you were about to strangle her?”

When Villanelle looked up at her in her eyes were shame and sadness. Tears welled and Eve was shocked to see the usually quirky woman like this. A angrily shaking hand wiped at her eyes.

“She is my past. Something I had hoped to never face again.”

Shoulders slumped and absolutely defeated, sad and ashamed, so many emotions raged on Villanelle’s face as she spoke. Eve took the glass of Whisky from her, feeling that alcohol would not help this talk much, then she went around the counter and grabbed the younger woman's hand, walking her up to her bedroom. Once there Eve, not saying anything, helped Villanelle undress and change into night things herself. While V hung her suit properly Eve crawled into bed.

“Come here…”

And Villanelle did, laying down pressed up to Eve, shuddering, arms wrapping around Eve tightly.

“I was 14 when my grades in french dropped. My father paid for a tutor. Anna...it was fine for a while. I had a stupid infatuation with her. She read poems, she was...beautiful and older. Usually she taught me at my home but...at some point she asked if I could go to her place instead…”

Eve felt her breathing stop, heart beating inside of her chest with cold fear.

“I was 15 when it happened the first time. And I thought it was right because...because I had been flirty. I thought I was in love. I had no idea...”

Anna had slowly tried to alienate her from her peers, from her family.

“I felt so alone at home because Mama was pregnant with Irina and I thought they would stop loving me because Irina was biological. I could not speak to anyone but her and she said the right things. But as ...as it happened more and more she told me I could never tell anyone or she would tell people I forced her. That I used my families money as leverage to make her, a poor teacher, willing.”

Eve shuddered and felt sick to the bone as she listened to Villanelle tell her about the things Anna did to her, requested from her.

“I don't know why I kept going back. I was...I was so scared of what my parents would think. What she would tell people. My grades got really bad. And then her husband realized what was going on. He beat me so bad, Kenny didn’t recognize me at first. He...he hid me away until my face...I made up some lie to my parents and begged Mama to not make me go to french tutoring again. I promised my grades would get better.”

Even though her voice seemed to tell what happened disconnected, Eve felt the tears on her shoulders and she felt her own slipping down her cheeks.

“I think Mama knew, the Leonovas suddenly moved back to Russia and she looked out for me even more. When Irina was born none of my fears came true. And I felt so stupid…”

Eve softly stroked Villanelle’s back, having pulled her closer as she talked.

“It was not your fault! You were groomed and used Villanelle. That she had the gall to show up tonight makes it even worse.”

Eve felt such anger and hatred in herself for a woman she had never personally met. Never had she guessed something like this had happened to Villanelle.

“I...I feel ashamed for...for venting on you. It was wrong…I know you said you wanted it but I never wanted...it to be her causing it. It feels tainted and I am sorry.”

Bigger sobs wrecked her lovers frame, through which Eve could only hold her, whispering to her that it was fine and it was over. Her heart ached and she felt so angry, feeling like if she ever saw that woman again she would do something very stupid.

Never had she thought to hear something like this. To see Villanelle blame herself for this while she was the victim, infatuation or not, broke Eve.

“I understand V.”

While for her it had been wanted and good, for Villanelle it had been to get Anna out of her system and that was why she felt so sad about it. Eve vowed they would make new memories.

“Sleep baby, I’m here.”

**

When Eve woke in the morning the bed next to her was empty and she felt a bit disappointed wishing she could wrap around V and snuggle back in. It was only Saturday and they should spend it relaxing. She heard V speaking and got out of bed, leaving the room to find the younger woman on the phone downstairs, sounding agitated.

“I will tell him. But not now...please just give me time.”

Eve made a sound to show her presence and Hazel eyes shot to her.

“Look...just let me be this weekend okay Kenny? I promise we will talk Monday. Okay...thanks. Yea...yea she’s fine you can tell Elena that.”

An eye roll at their overprotective friends, mirrored by Eve and the faintest of smiles broke out over Villanelle’s face. Once she hung up she looked almost lost in her living room.

“Want to go out for breakfast or stay in?”

A shrug and Eve made her way downstairs, stepping up and then leaning against the tall woman.

“I can make us something.”

“That is cruel and unjust punishment.”

Villanelle muttered and Eve laughed, pinching her side playfully.

“It’s not that bad.”

“I will show you my leftover croissants and gravlax recipe.”

Said Villanelle as she led Eve to the kitchen, once there she suddenly dropped the hand she was holding, looking at Eve sheepishly.

“I didn’t even apologize for the argument between us. And you still came and helped me when you were called.”

“You were there for me when I needed you. Even though I was an ass to you.”

Eve mentioned and shrugged, turning to Villanelle and gazing up to her. Villanelle’s eyes turned tender, fingertips stroking Eve’s cheek.

“Stay in with me? I just...don't want the outside world right now.”

The taller husked and Eve nodded absolutely happy to be able to shut the world out for a while.

After breakfast Villanelle quickly went to shower as Eve cleaned up their dishes, then she went to properly hang her dress, putting it and the suit in the entryway of the apartment so they wouldn’t forget to take them to the dry cleaners. When she checked her phone she found texts from Elena which made her roll her eyes and then laugh.

‘Go get her, tiger!’

‘No wait...I bet she is the tiger’

‘Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…which isn’t a lot XD’

She shot her friend KillerCook a text.

CrimeFan0079
Won’t be home this weekend. Have a good one!

When she returned to the bedroom she took some waters for them, then re fluffed the pillows. Steps behind her alerted her to her companion having finished her shower, then arms wrapped around her from behind and she felt a body press up against her.
“You’ve been busy. I had hoped you’d join me in the shower.”

“That wouldn’t have made your shower very fast”

A shrug followed and Eve turned in the arms around her, finding Villanelle there in only and towel. Her eyes must have shown her pleasant surprise and V grinned at her wolfishly. The look didn't go by unregistered and Eve blushed, feeling her heart rate quicken.

“I thought you wanted to get more rest?”

A finger played with edge of the towel on her chest and Villanelle bit the corner of her lips, making Eve groan.

“I can just get dressed if you need rest Eve…”

And with that the towel dropped and Eve’s pupils widened with need as her eyes took in the naked body of Villanelle, traveling the milky expanse, knowing she was lost.

Chapter Text

Eve was sprawled on her belly, roused from sleep by the feeling of fingers traveling over the back of her naked thighs, teasing and tickling her skin as they went. She smiled, eyes still closed and simply letting the touch happen. Higher and higher and a blush crept over her skin as she felt her bodies reaction to the playful touch, knowing if she would open her eyes she would probably find Villanelle looking at her, taking her in.

Being with Villanelle had an intensity she had never felt before. And how could she? All her life had been mainly spend with Niko, who ‘hopped onto her’ once a week to get his satisfaction and then let her be. There had been no feeling involved for her side of things.

In a way Eve was experiencing a new. It was very freeing to be able to learn all of this, have a lover that revelled in pleasing her too.
Over a buttock the fingertips teased in lazy circles to the dimple on her lower back. She felt the bed dip as Villanelle shuffled closer, the younger woman's smell washing over her. Instead of pressing against her side, Villanelle splayed her body half atop, making her almost moan in earnest when she felt a thigh press between her legs and against her.

“I know you’re awake. Your breathing changed.”

Was whispered into her ear, Villanelle position atop, holding herself upright with the elbows on the mattress besides Eve’s head. Lips found the junction between neck and shoulder and Eve had to take in a very deep breath. It threw her a bit that all of a sudden Villanelle had taken that dive that before she had refused and Eve wondered what to do with that.

Her brow must have crinkled, and the young woman stopped moving against her, the feeling of pressure against her core lost.

“Would...would you have slept with me...had you not had met…”

“Please don’t...I already said…”

The body moved off her and Eve whimpered.

“I just...want to understand. I begged you the last time to just give me a reason. What is going on here now?”

Villanelle rubbed her eyes and then sat up on the bed, throwing her legs over the side, back to Eve who felt dejected.

“I thought this was what you wanted Eve?”

“Yes it is but…”

“What but...what more do you want?”

Villanelle seemed agitated and out of sorts, she stood and went to her dresser leaving Eve alone on the bed as she grabbed clothing from it. Eve sat up, clutching the bedsheets to her chest.

“You were just so adamant before not to sleep with me and all of a sudden…”

Panic settled in Eve as she saw the younger woman dress in running gear.

“Please I did not want to…”

“I already apologized for sleeping with you at the party under those circumstances. You said it was fine you wanted it now you question my motives!”

“Don't leave...V please. Let’s talk about this if you want this relationship to function we just have to talk about some things…”

She did not turn to look at Eve, feeling caged and scared and overwhelmed all at once at what this was, what had happened the night before.

“That’s exactly why I don't do relationships.”

And then she was gone, leaving Eve staring down at the bedsheets in her lap. It was like she had been doused in ice water. It’s not like V hadn’t told her too, she had said many times she did not do relationships and Eve realized it seemed to be either friendship or friends with benefits but the other woman was not willing nor ready to go further. That is why she had always refused to fall into bed with Eve.

**

“What are you doing here?”

Kenny asked as he found Eve in front of his door.

“I…”

She looked like she had run half the day, sweaty and ashen.

“Kenny who is it ...oh…”

Elena said and stared at their visitor.

“I shouldn’t have come here...I am sorry.”

There was such dejectedness in his friend that Kenny could not just let her go. He let her in and Elena nodded, turning to get her a water.

“V…”

“I...am a real fuck up and I dont know how to make it work for her…”

She mumbled and took the water from Elena.

“Well for one...stop running away from her…”

Elena commented and sat down across the other woman.

“Eve is someone that talks through stuff. She needs that.”

“I just never had one relationship that worked out and I am hurting her. I am too scared to try but I also can’t lose her…”

Kenny looked like he had no idea what to say so Elena took over naturally.

“You can’t succeed in everything you do but if you don’t even try then you can’t win either right?”

“V...you need to let your past go. They can’t keep ruining your life like this.”

Kenny finally interjected and she nodded. Of course she knew that, she wasn’t irrational. It was just hard to let go of the past and even harder after seeing Anna again.

“I just left…”

Her head hung in shame and Elena sighed.

“The two of you will be my end…”

“I will call you a cab come on. Let’s hope she is still there.”

**

When she returned to her place she found it empty and it killed her knowing that she simply couldn’t do things right especially where Eve was concerned. Eve who was always sweet and deserved to be treated well.

Villanelle went to the bedroom and found the bed made as if they had not spend time lazing in it most of the day. She swallowed around the lump in her throat.

Why couldn’t she be better for Eve? She had established weeks ago that her feelings for the korean where deeper than things she had felt with others. It had scared her feeling these things. And instead of revelling in the trust Eve laid in her over and over again, Villanelle treated her like this. Out of sheer fear. If she would lose Eve’s companionship she would lose the one thing she had really come to cherish. The only reason she was feeling any love for Seattle was because of Eve.

And now she was lost and alone on her apartment, craving contact she had run from.

Her phone rang and for a moment she hoped it was Eve, but it was her father’s number.

“Yes?”

“Why is SHE in one of the pictures in the newspaper? Who invited her and that husband?”

Her father exploded and the love inside of her for this man grew tenfold.

“Papa...it was surely a simple mistake. Nothing happened...Please…”

He was breathing heavy and she imagined him deep red from anger.

“How dare she!”

“It was okay...Eve...Eve was with me.”

Eve whom she had taken like an animal in a fit of possessiveness. Eve who had still been loving to her after. Eve who worried it was a reaction to Anna, her sudden sexual interest in her.

“Well good you have her. And when we visit next time I want to meet her Myshka.”

“Ye...yes Papa.”

He raged once more, vowing he would find out who dared invite Anna and her husband, saying if she ever dared speak to her again he would ruin their life. She felt protected. She felt loved and smiled.

“I love you Papochka.”

Her voice was small and she felt him calming.

“I love you too my little Myshka.”

**

Eve had, after straightening V’s apartment gone straight back to her place, throwing herself back into her work as she avoided the problem, or tried to. Villanelle’s words had stung, wondering if she was just that, a friend with benefits. She was sure she could not do that, had developed too many feelings for the younger woman in the last weeks. And she had been open about that, never hiding the fact that she was interested in Villanelle.

Still she had also know the other woman said she refused to fall into a relationship and still Eve had fallen into bed with her.

In a way Eve had questioned her own motifs too. Had she only taken it further knowing it might only be sex because she was jealous? She had first believed Anna was the usual run of the mill ex. But after Villanelle explained the kind of abuse that had gone on she should not have asked such a loaded question.

She knew though that Victims feelings often ran deep. It was what needed therapy, especially when grooming had happened as Victims felt they had caused the abuse.

She tried concentrating on work till 6 but then decided she just wanted to put an end to the day.
By 7pm she was in bed, blinds drawn, trying not to cry from the frustration and pain. She had caused V’s vicious reaction and it stung. She should have just given the other woman time to settle in this and then days later they could have spoken.

When she heard the knock on her door she thought, since it was a knock and not the downstairs ringer, that her elderly neighbour needed something. But Instead she found an equally awful looking Villanelle in front of her door. She simply stepped aside, too tired to try and make her leave and V looked just the same. Sad eyes, dark rings.

“I don't know how to make this work. How to give you what you deserve. Because I never once had a healthy relationship. So I stopped trying and accepted flings. And now I am scared, because with you….I feel things. I feel the NEED to be with you all the time. Not just in bed. I want to stand next to you as we brush teeth. I want to have you pour me coffee for my way to work. I want to take you to dinners and the opera. I want to make you laugh and call me an asshole. I want to sit in bed with you, reading before we simply cuddle in together. I simply want to hold you as you sleep and see you when I wake. And it scares me so much that I tried not...I did not want to have sex because I was scared I would fuck it up like always. Because while I simply want you all the time, the thought of losing your companionship makes me scared. And I don't have any knowledge about how this should work and I can’t lose you.”

Villanelle ranted out, gulping in deep breaths after for not having taken any whilst her speech.
“You are right! Yes, Anna made my emotions raw and it dropped the barriers I had for you. I saw you and it felt like you were the saving grace as I was about to go under and I fell and fell and all I could see was you. I needed you, to forget that grimy feeling she causes in me, that feeling of disgust, anger at letting this happen to me, that feeling of my skin crawling when I think of my past. For a moment when I touched and kissed you I felt like it washed away from me. Like I could almost forget what she had done. Then I realized how I had used you and how does that make me any better?.”

Eve stared, watching as this usually so collected woman fell apart. V was heaving, eyes agitated. She felt the tears in her eyes at the admission, realized how broken this woman had been and that she had possibly never had any help working through the trauma. She had just ploughed on through life, until Anna had returned to mock her.

Realization hit Villanelle, realization that she had really just blurted all of the out and she rubbed her forehead.

“I never wanted to drag any one into all of this. Because it’s my burden to carry, it’s my internal shit show and nobody deserves to have this laden onto them.”

She said and Eve slowly walked towards her, reaching up a hand to stroke her cheek soothingly.

“I just need you to try and explain things to me V. I can’t guess what’s going on.”

The younger woman’s head leaned into the touch, enjoying the fingers softly stroking her cheek.

“I messed up...I should have seen it was the wrong moment...that you are still hurt from seeing her again.”

Eve would never solely put blame on Villanelle.

“And I am not much better at this whole relationship thing...I lived 15 years in a marriage were in the last years, I was simply something to get off on. So I make mistakes and I will keep making them but I need us to communicate. I never did with Niko because at some point I stopped caring...I care for you.”

Villanelle nodded and apparently finally registered that eve was dressed for bed.

“Sorry for waking you.”

“No it’s fine. Do you want to stay?”

“Can...may I kiss you?”

Chapter Text

“Papa wants to meet you next time he comes to visit.”

Villanelle said softly, head on Eve’s Lap as they sat on the couch watching a movie.

“You spoke to him about…”

“No he called. Apparently there was a photographer and she was on one of the images for a Newspaper. He was livid.”

Eve’s fingers massaged Villanelle’s scalp and her focus was more on the other woman than what was going on in the movie. She was simply taking Villanelle in. every angle of her face, every reaction. She committed it to memory, filed it away for later.

“You have a good father.”

Eve said, smiling down.

“What...Were Mr and Mrs Song like?”

Villanelle asked, realizing she had never once asked about Eve’s parents.

A tender smile spread across Eve’s face as she remembered her parents. They had been gone for years now and no one had asked...Niko had been indifferent.

“Well...strict.but very loving. I think I broke their heart when I married Niko. Not because he was not korean. They felt he was not worthy. I wish I had listened to my Papa.”

Her fingers stalled and V’s head turned to look up.

“He would have liked you. All spitfire and smartly dressed.”

A tender smile graced Eve’s features.

“My mother not so much because you are too reckless. But...you are a successful business woman. She would have accepted that.”

Villanelle laughed softly, more of a snort. Eve only thought her reckless since she had gotten herself a motorcycle, enjoying driving through the Washington countryside once in a while. Eve had been scandalized when she had visited her on the bike.

“Would...would they have let me date you?”

A curious question indeed.

“Back a few years ago? Mhh good question. After all they didn’t like Niko but accepted it.”

She leaned down and kissed V’s forehead.

“I thought you wanted to watch this movie?”

“It’s more about spending as much time as possible with you. You know that’s what you do when you want to date someone”

Villanelle shot back swiftly.

“Wait...do you want to date me?”

Villanelle turned her head back up to Eve, rolling her body so she was more comfortable, looking at the older woman amused and a little confused.

“I kinda felt we were already.”

She replied grinning and it made Eve grin back.

“But If you want a ‘real’ date I can pick you up with my bike and we can go…”

“No! Absolutely not!”

“Spoilsport.”

**

Eve was nervous. She had not met the parents of someone in forever and here she stood, jeans, shirt and cardigan, in Villanelle’s kitchen, being forbidden to touch the food, demoted to table setting as they waited for Irina and Konstantin.

“Stop fidgeting…”

Villanelle said as she walked past with a bottle of wine, pecking her cheek.

“Well I feel like a teen meeting your father and sister. What if they hate me?”

The younger woman gave her a confused look, then shook her head before softly pulling Eve in and holding her, swaying on the spot to the soft music playing.

“Please just be yourself Eve.”
Villanelle said and then pecked her forehead before letting her go.

Eve’s eyes were glued to the younger woman as she bustled around, checked the pasta if it was al dente, poured it and then stirred the sauce. There was no nervousness in Villanelle, Of course not it was her family and no matter how often she reassured Eve all would be fine, this felt so strange.

Yes, looking back Eve thought they had kind of dated but not really officially so. She wondered if meeting her family was sudden.

“How long will your Sister stay?”

“1 week of her autumn break, then she will go skiing with Papa.”

“Sometimes I wish I had a sibling.”

She had felt alone sometimes with both parents working so late and had often wished for a sister or brother to play with. Now as an adult she had friends but when she heard V talk about her little sister she wished she had such a bond too.

She must have sunken into her thoughts for a while because the next thing she knew, Villanelle’s arms had slung around her from behind, warm hands pushing under her sweater to stroke her flat stomach and lips on her neck.
Eve sighed and leaned into the touch. The next week would leave not much time for them and still, Eve was happy for the younger woman, knowing how she always missed her sister.

“Please don't get me worked up like this.”

She mumbled to the woman behind and a forehead pressed against her shoulder.

“Sorry. You are right.”

She turned and flung her arms across Villanelle’s shoulders, getting on her tiptoes to peck her lips.

“It’s only a week.”

Villanelle said, more to herself apparently and Eve smiled. Just as she leaned in for another soft kiss, the doorbell rang. Both sighed, Eve’s nerves back in full force but Villanelle went to the door with a spring in her step.

Konstantin Vasielev hugged his daughter tightly while his younger daughter clearly was already pestering him that it was her turn, the family reunion making Eve smile as she stood waiting. She had only seen pictures of Villanelle’s family and like in the pictures, Konstantin radiated warmth and happiness. She stood waiting demure and blushing when Villanelle went to her and pulled her against her side, introducing her.

Irina was a bit more held back than her father but soon enough they all sat together, eating dinner and softly speaking. Eve was relieved because she had feared she would feel the odd one out but soon enough she and Konstantin where talking the old classics while the sisters spoke about university.

**

“So why the visit?”

Villanelle asked as she and her father were putting away dishes as Irina and Eve where looking over Seattle attractions online, wanting to see what to do the next few days.

“I...I want to partner you.”

She put down the plate and turned to her father.

“You never spoke to me about this?”

He shrugged.

“It’s normal progression. You did well with this store.”

“Carolyn oversaw most of it…”

Something she said made him take a deep breath and she knew that one too well.

“I'm pulling her away from the Westcoast.”

“Oh..?”

That was a huge step and not a positive one for Carolyn to be ordered back to the Eastcoast.
Her father seemed agitated and she checked, but Irina and Eve were buried deep into their little sightseeing planning on the ouch, heads basically stuck together.

“She broke an order your mother handed out years ago. The Leonovas are persona non grata in our company. I will not have her break deals like this. She isn’t happy with my wishes to partner you and I feel she tried to show you up at the company party.”

He explained and made Villanelle swallow thickly. Her fathers love for her ran deep and Carolyn had gone too far.

“I thought...you and her…”

She had seen Carolyn dance around her father last year at the Christmas party and her father had enjoyed the company but now he scoffed.

“My family first. She won’t do such things to you. Had I only been here…”

“Kenny called Eve...I think had he not something might have happened…”

Her father turned to watch her daughter’s friend with his younger child.

“Are you happy Villanelle?”

Putting her hand on her father’s on the counter she smiled at him.

“I am...I am just constantly scared to mess this up Papochka. I have no idea how to do this relationship stuff.”

“I was always scared too. It is part of this yes? Just try your best for her.”

**

“Stay here?”

Eve turned to Villanelle at her side as they watched Kostantin put his coat on, Irina on the couch selecting a movie.

“I...I don't think that's a good idea.”

“I’ll behave?”

This made Eve snort.

“It’s fine, we will see each other again tomorrow ok?”

A soft kiss and blush because she realized Konstantin was watching them, holding Eve’s coat after having offered to drive her home. Villanelle looked like a puppy dog at her, clearly still trying to get her to stay.

“Tomorrow V. I’ll bring the pastries in the morning.”
Eve said and pecked her lovers cheek softly before following Konstantin out.

“I...I’m sorry she isn’t staying.”

Irina spoke from the couch, looking slightly worried at her sister staring at the closed Apartment door..

“Don’t be bug. Eve isn’t angry she wants us to spend as much time as possible knowing we don’t see each other often.”

V explained and got on the couch with her sister, pinching her side playfully.

“I however…”

And she laughed loudly when Irina scoffed.

“I like her. She’s nice V. You guys won’t fuck it up right?”

Her shoulders tightened at the question.

“We are trying our best…”

But in the end Villanelle knew that it wasn’t always that easy. She had always felt her parents had been blessed but even they had blistering rows when the kids were in bed. They had always just loved more than anything and an argument was never enough.
But V could not give a guarantee because she felt herself so flawed that she had no idea why Eve was still with her.

**

“I must thank you for what you have done for my daughter. I should have seen what was going on with her as a teen. But I was busy. Always so so busy. I try to make it up to her.”

Konstantin was driving and looking straight ahead, his voice soft though, accent thick.

“I...don’t think I deserve your thanks. I wasn’t ...I wasn’t nice to her when we met.”

“She told me, yes. It honors you that you admit that instead of trying to hide it. You try to make it up to her too now and that is the only thing one can do. Sometimes we make mistakes. But it’s the way we deal with it that is the important thing.”

His fatherly words soothed Eve who always felt the sadness of what she had done to Villanelle.

“I see how happy she is right now and that makes me happy Eve. It has been a while since I have seen her smile as she does when she looks at you.”

Once they arrived at her place, Konstantin told her he could pick her up in the morning and they could pick up breakfast together. She smiled and nodded and said her goodnights.

All the worrying about how she would be received had been for naught. As Villanelle had rightly predicted, her family had been welcoming and she knew why the younger woman so missed her Sister. Irina was a lovely young woman and she was looking forward to spending time with the sisters the next day.

Once inside her apartment she checked her phone and smiled at V’s text.

‘I miss you!’

‘Miss you too.’

She shot back then check her discord writing her friend a message.

CrimeFan0079
Hey still traveling stranger?

KillerCook1985
Yeap but I needed that little road trip. Feels good. How was your week?

CrimeFan0079
Been good. God tons of writing done.

She had tuned down the flirtyness hardcore when she started feeling so deeply for Villanelle and her friend had never questioned it.

KillerCook1985
Any plans to get it to a publisher?

CrimeFan0079
I have to. The Apartment is mine cause my parents bought it years ago. And I have some savings I never touched but...well I will have to find work.

It made her feel slight panic inside of herself when she thought of how her life was going right now. She had never worked besides in the shop which she had done even during her studies.

KillerCook1985
I can imagine the pressure. But I am also sure you will find something.

CrimeFan0079
I really hope so. I am sure I am too clumsy for waitressing.

She snorted at the thought, seeing herself fall with plates and glasses, then sobered.
She really needed to sort her job situation out.

**

“Why are you looking like you sucked a lemon?”

Irina asked, staring at her sister, who was checking her phone, and reaching for more popcorn.

“NO WAY!”

Irina yelled after she had leaned over and checked what her sister was looking at, Villanelle to preoccupied with worrying her lip.

“You have to stop writing her V!”

“I know...I know ok? But her friend can’t just vanish...right? Especially right after we decided to start dating.”

Her sister's face was incredulous, her head shaking slightly.

“Villanelle! Are you insane? What if she finds out?”

Villanelle slumped into the couch, eyes not able to look at her sister who sounded so disappointed.

“I ...she would only talk to online me and I liked her so much…”

“You have to stop!”

Villanelle knew of course. This whole online thing...well she could say she had no idea it was Eve...but then Eve would never believe her. Her chest squeezed painfully and she felt emotions bubbling inside of her.

“I am trying...but I feel like...like sometimes she hides stuff from me.”

Irirna slapped her arm.

“That's the point of talking to your friends instead of your significant other! Sometimes because you need someone neutral”
“Well how would you know something like that about relationships huh?”

“I am 18, V!”

“Ooooooohhhhhh!”

Villanelle mocked while making the most ridiculous face and the bickering intensified until they both sat on the couch laughing about the stupidity of it all.

Chapter Text

“Wait...wait V...let me at least...Oh god!”

Eve moaned, Villanelle’s hands under her pullover palming her breasts, the younger woman pressed tightly against her back. They had just seen Konstantin and Irina off, driving them to the airport and watching as they went through security and as soon as they returned back home to Villanelle’s, Eve had barely made it out of her shoes and coat when she had been ‘attacked’ from behind.

“I need you…”

Villanelle whispered against her neck, hands squeezing softly, eliciting a moan from the woman she held, eve’s hips automatically pressing back into hers. The feeling of being wanted like this made Eve tremble, knowing someone could not wait to fall into bed with her, that there were times they barely made it to a bed. She realized what she had missed in most of her marriage and this was like a hail Mary.

“Please Eve...I missed you so!”

Eve snorted, pushing away from the taller woman laughing.

“Need I remind you of the times Irina spend with her friend who studied here? You just came to my place a day ago...no no no don’t give me that look!”

Eve walked backwards into the apartment, laughing as V followed her, trying to grab her around the waist and being evaded by Eve each time.

“We ordered food!”

Back in Villanelle’s arms she went, lips attacking the pulse point below her ear, her own hand pressing against upper arms as she tried to wiggle free, giggling.

“That tickles!”

“Oh does it mhhh?”

Her heart filled suddenly, warmth spreading through her, as happiness engulfed her like a warm blanket and then Villanelle blew an honest to god raspberry against that skin below her ear and they both burst out laughing.

The delivery guy had shot them strange looks, both a giggling mess, Eve’s hair all over the place and both their faces red from their mirth.

**
“What are you looking at?”

V mumbled, face pressed against her lovers flank, Eve’s arm softly stroking her back while she was sitting leaned against the headboard and on her phone.

“Job offers.”

Another sound from Villanelle which sounded like confusion.

“I had…”

“A panic attack again?”

Eve nodded and then but the phone on the nightstand next to her. Yes, she had woken with fear because she remembered she had no job and she needed to find one. V rubbed her eyes and then sat up too.

“Can I make you an offer Eve? Just to finally have you able to sleep without having this on the back of your mind...and hear me out first?”

Eve nodded, her eyes stubbornly staring ahead.

“There is a consultant job open. It’s mostly, decorations, themes, weekly projects, Sales ideas and tiny events to boost sales. It’s based in the office, part time so you would have time for your writing. Now before you say something, I know you have the skills, your shop and its events were well received also with your psychology background…”

“Well that would maybe help you you want to find a serial book killer…wait, how do you know about my writing?”

Villanelle’s heart dropped and she realized she had slipped up. Eve had not really told her what she had been working on, she had only told KillerCook. She felt her mouth go dry and searched for something to say.

“The other day when I was over when Irina was in the Cinema, I...saw some of the pages on your desk in the living room. I am so so sorry I snooped. I shouldn’t have”

“Oh...the chapter outline. Well I mean it’s not really snooping it was laying around.”

Villanelle wanted to blow out the air caught in her lungs, feeling her pulse slow down again.
She looked to see if Eve looked suspicious but Eve was still staring ahead.

“Eve...why are you staring my dresser down?”

The older woman laughed and then shook her head.

“Because this seemed like a serious talk and I wanted to be able to listen while you talk to me half naked.”

V looked down at herself and grinned. Yep, the sheet was not covering her much by now. She got out from under the blanket fully then, only in the lace hipsters she had thrown on after they had both calmed down enough from their little tryst. Always proper Eve had of course also put on a camisole.

Swinging one leg over Eve, Villanelle was perched in the other woman's lap, grinning at her.

“So what do you say to my offer…”

She almost laughed out loud, seeing Eve’s eyes glued to her chest.

“huh?”

Eve’s hands had landed on her hips and she took them in hers, putting them on her breasts, Eve’s eyes widening.

“My offer?”

“Can...can we talk about that tomorrow please?”

Eve answered, hands twitching on V’s breasts.

“And what would you like to do now Eve?”

Villanelle husked, leaning in for more contact, biting the side of her lips, knowing how that turned Eve on everytime she did it. Eve’s hands moved as she swallowed around the lump in her throat, the pads of her thumbs slowly rubbing over dusky nipples.

“Eve...what do you want?”

She was urged and her eyes were hooded, breathing turning faster as she tried to come out of her shell and say what she wanted from the younger woman.
This was still new to her. She had not really been asked for what she wanted with Niko. He just took what he liked and then it was done. There was no romance, no finessing, there was no loving. With Villanelle sex was not something that was expected. It was an adventure. You never knew where a touch would take you from dancing to the radio in her kitchen to ending up naked on the couch. It excited her endlessly, not knowing what was in for them, where the evening would go, but being content with whatever outcome.

“You...always you!

Eve said and could barely finish her sentence before Villanelle’s lips were on hers, kissing her hungrily. She wondered if sleeping with Villanelle would ever grow old like sit had been with Niko. Would she ever bore of the younger woman in her arms? Eve could not imagine it and the thought of them ending like her and Niko almost made her gasp.
No, Villanelle was too different from Niko. She was fierce, loving, gentle, protective and just the right amount of possessive. When Villanelle towered over her it was not threatening. It was arousing, it reduced Eve to a primal mess when Villanelle stepped up close to her, looking down with those endlessly playful Hazel eyes.
The Younger woman always knew and felt what kind of touch Eve needed, from tender and careful to more rough when needed. All while Eve always felt out of sorts and simply went on a hunch while she still learned being with a woman. Eliciting little sighs and moans from the younger woman was Eve’s new past time. From simply walking past in the kitchen, her fingertips reaching out to softly ghost over a buttock, to a more suggestive touch under the blanket on the couch while watching a movie. Eve was finally finding herself, was experiencing who she was and could be sexually and it was in a way evolution to her.

Eve’s camisole came off swiftly and soon their bodies were pressed together as mouth’s explored playfully. Their moans mixed together as one of Eve’s hands traveled from breast, over a flat stomach to the spot that made Villanelle’s breathing hitch, pressing against the thumb suddenly on her. Stopping the kiss, the younger woman leaned her forehead against Eve’s, eyes closed and hips moving, simply enjoying the feelings Eve’s roused in her.

“Please Eve…”

**

“Have you thought about the job?”

Villanelle asked while they ate breakfast, sitting with one leg tucked underneath, eyes on the part of the newspaper she always grabbed while Eve was solving her crossword sitting across.
Eve’s eyes left her crossword, pen being put down and she watched as Villanelle added a dollop of jam to her croissant.

“People would talk.”

Eve answered.

“Eve...I am the boss. People always talk.”
Their eyes met, Eve worrying her lip as she pondered the offer.

“No funny business at work.”

Villanelle scoffed a : what me?

“No! You have to promise.”

“Ok, ok fine! No funny business at work.”

There was no way Eve could say no to a job offer like this. It would give her time to write but also help her pay her bills without depleting her savings completely.
Narrowing her eyes as she saw the twinkle in Villanelle’s eyes and knew the younger woman would certainly find a way around that rule.

“Fine...I’ll take the offer.”

The smile that bloomed on Villanelle’s face was sheer happiness and Eve smiled back, before going back to her crossword.

**

“So, this will be your office.”

Eve followed the HR Lady, Melanie, into the office seeing the color patches on the wall, a white board to put ideas down, books and magazines about decoration trends.

“We have a storage, one story above, full of decorations we used previously and you may use, if you need something else just stay inside the budget. Down the hall is the meeting room. We will see how we do with weekly meetings. There isn’t really a team for this job so it’s a one woman show. The calendar on your PC has times marked where we need a project desperately or when one is optional. Whew...sorry I guess there is so much more I could tell you. Just jump in and if you have questions come find me ok?”

Eve nodded and smiled bravely, maybe she grimaced a little.

“No need to worry we don’t bite here.”

Melanie left and Eve put down her purse on her new desk, switching on the PC.

“Well...she doesn’t bite, me on the other hand…”

Eve’s door closed and she looked at Villanelle something between amused and incredulous.

“I just signed the contract and am already being harassed by the boss.”

“Actually I brought you coffee.”

Villanelled grinned, holding out the most gaudy mug Eve had ever laid eyes on. Bright pink and proclaiming in glitter: decor queen.

“We all have personal mugs..”

“Please don't…”

Eve said and it made Villanelle chuckle how the other woman dared not even touch the ugly mug.

“Well I have a meeting now and I think Melanie will bring up each department colleague taking care of the decorations and soon following your every whim, so you can meet them. Lunch will be in office today, we always do this when someone new starts.”

The mug was put on her desk and V smiled, waving a tiny wave before she left for her meeting.

Eve needed a few minutes to orient herself, then checked the calendar and made a list of what was needed first. Christmas had been planned by her predecessor and that decoration had been up for some time. Next would be Martin Luther King day in January which was marked as needing decor and Event idea. Once Eve started working she found herself in full swing.

The Meeting with the people in the departments had been good, although she had felt a bit strange never having had anyone to tell what to do. After that Kenny popped by, making sure she was set up with her pc and portable ad smalltalking a little.

“By the way, love the mug, Chief!”

He said as he left and laughed making Eve groan, having forgotten the thing. Until lunch she was deeply engrossed with her Martin Luther King day Project wanting to prove herself and the people around that she had not just gotten the job because she was sleeping with the boss, which she certainly was doing, a lot.

When she returned from the in office lunch, where she was welcomed by the office team, she found an envelope on her desk. Inside was an invitation to the official Christmas party in New York, as well as a second handwritten invitation to the private Vasiliev Christmas and New Years celebrations.

“Oh…”

She mumbled.

“I know it’s sudden and really short notice. But I don’t want to be without you on the holidays.”

Eve was still staring at the beautiful official invitation, the cheery lettering.

“Don’t know my boss is riding me hard to get a project ready.”

Replied Eve, not thinking and hearing a snort behind her as well as a door closing.

“Baby, I promise I can ride you really hard if you want me too.”

“Jesus V!”

Eve said and turned to her laughing and blushing a deep red.

“Fine...set myself up for that one.”

She laid that card down, then grabbed Konstantin’s handwritten invitation.

“You are killing me here Eve!”

And then she did turn to V and nodded.

“Yes, I will spend the Holidays with you. But only because I can’t say no to Irina!”

Confused the younger woman grabbed the invitation she had been given for Eve and then laughed when she saw Irina had written “pretty please or V will mope the whole time” underneath her fathers writing.

“Well I wonder if my Father knows about that addendum.”

She leaned in to peck Eve’s lives gratefully but the woman avoided her kiss with a stern look which made her sigh.

“Oh fine then. I’ll go find some mistletoe…”

“You big child…”

Eve laughed and watched her girlfriend leave her office with a determined look.

Chapter Text

Traveling around Christmas time had been a hassle. Eve had never really traveled much and flying with Villanelle certainly was something. They had used airport lounges and Konstantin had simply not listened to her protesting when he paid for her ticket,stating it was included in the invitation to their christmas and new years.
While Villanelle seemed straight at home in first class and lounges, Eve felt like a stranger but that feeling washed away as soon as they were greeted in New York by Konstantin and Irina with their identical wide smiles. She was hugged like she had always been part of this group and then Irina started immediately babbling away that Villanelle had told her she did not have a dress yet and she didn’t either so of course the next day they would go dress shopping together while her father and Villanelle went to the office.

“Actually Myshka, we wanted Eve to be there and talk about her events because we would like to offer some of them in all stor….”

Konstantin sighed when he saw his younger daughters face.

“Fine...fine you will come to the office once you are done though.”

Eve blushed looking at Villanelle a bit confused.

“I wanted to surprise you. Your Martin Luther King Memorial day project was very well received.”

“Very well indeed, we would like to make it a yearly thing!”

Konstantin said happily, smiling at her in the rearview mirror.

“Oh I am happy to hear that!”

Eve answered, her hand being squeezed by Villanelle. Villanelle looked at her proudly, pulling their joined hands up and kissing her knuckles softly. She felt like blushing hard but also proud of hopefully having proven that she was not only good for the job because she slept with her boss.

Once at the Vasiliev townhouse Villanelle was tasked with showing Eve the house while Irina begrudgingly left their side, ordered to set the table and allow the two women some breathing space. Konstantin announced he had ordered from Villanelle’s favourite restaurant as she had told him not to dare make his Borschtsch.

Villanelle led Eve’s upstairs to her room, closing the door with a sigh and a grin.

“This is a beautiful home.”

Eve said and let herself be hugged, V pressing her nose into Eve’s neck and simply taking a moment while eve held her with one arm, the other still holding her carry on.

“You ok?”

“Mhhh...just so happy to have you here with me.”

Villanelle whispered and then kissed her cheek. Eve smiled tenderly at the younger woman who seemed to relax by the minute.

Dinner that night was a relaxing affair but after their travel they decided to turn in early, both so exhausted that as soon as they hit the pillows, Villanelle spooned her and engulfed her with her long limbs, making Eve sigh happily and fall asleep without a hitch.

“I love you…”

V whispered when she thought Eve had nodded off, kissing the other woman's shoulder and then letting herself drift off too.

**

“You look like a princess!”

Irina said, oohing and aahing over the dress Eve had tried on for the company Christmas party. Creme colored empire style with a lace bodice and tiny twinkling rhinestones worked into the lace fabric.

The price tag made her eyes go wide but Irina shushed her, explaining the rental service her father's company had with the store. For Irina they chose a deep emerald green dress which went well with her fiery red hair.

“V will love your dress.”

“I saw her outfit. I love her in a suit even though I think she would be breathtaking in a dress too.”

“She says they make her look more business.”

Irina explained and shrugged the said:

“It’s a company party. I am not a huge fan but I am looking forward to our private Christmas.”

“Me too.”
She thought that, had she decided against the invitation, she would have felt really alone without Villanelle, the younger woman was a daily presence by now in her life and while they were fast diving into this thing. Eve felt she wanted it no other way, she was happy the way they were.

Once on their way to the New York office, Eve felt nervous, she had been surprised how well her ideas had been received and to hear that the rest of the stores wanted to copy them made her proud. She worried that people would only see her as the affair, would not take her seriously, that was why she had worked so hard on the events.

She had asked Villanelle that morning when they had gotten ready sharing a bathroom about how she was supposed to behave at the party. Villanelle had scoffed and told her she was her partner and her plus one and she did not care about what others would think. It soothed Eve even though she had known what Villanelle would say about it.

Her presentation went without a hitch and she felt pride at her work, even though Carolyn Martens in the back had looked at her and Villanelle as if she wanted to strangle them. Clearly her move back to the Eastcoast on Konstantins behest had been badly received.
Eve did not care though, in her eyes Carolyn had deserved it. She had known the Leonovas were not to be invited and did it to hurt Villanelle.

There was so much things to do in New York and since it was Eve’s first visit, Konstantin and his daughters tried to fit as much as possible into their time.
After a long day out, the eldest Vasilliev was sitting in front of his fireplace, sipping his after dinner whiskey as he listened to the happy chatter in his townhouse, wide smile on his face as he looked at the family portrait over the mantle, then closed his eyes imagining his late wife with them. He missed his wife terribly at these moments. She would have liked Eve a lot and her heart would have felt happiness for their daughter who had gone through so many bad things. He felt a light body crash onto him, arms around his neck and a kiss pressed onto his bearded cheek. Opening his eyes he found Irina in his arms who was pointing at the two other women softly dancing to a christmas classic in the dining room, foreheads together and both smiling. Konstantin hugged Irina back and smiled. All he ever had wished for was his children being happy.

**

“Why are you nervous Villanelle?”

Her father asked, accent thicker today because of the stress the company Christmas party always caused him. Konstantin wanted things to be perfect, because the people he had invited had deserved it. He stared at his daughter who was nervously fidgeting with the wrist hem of her tailored white dress shirt.

“Maybe I should have worn something else…”

“Stop fidgeting you look perfectly fine. You always do!”

They stood in the rented ballroom, tables and buffet to one side, dancefloor to the other a bit staircase leading down into the room from a story up. Slowly the room was filling with their closest co workers and affiliates, Kenny had stayed in Seattle deciding to stay with Elena.

“Carolyn looks sour still.”

“Well she isn’t happy. Especially since Eve is beloved by all. The little presentation proved she knows what she is doing and should have shut up the people talking behind her back about her having the job because of you.”

Her father explained, waving at people, making sure the tables looked right.

Just as his eldest had turned away from the staircase, Eve and Irina entered and he smiled. Villanelle was looking towards the stage, the band setting up and ready to get going.

“My, My Villanelle. You can count yourself lucky really.”

Villanelle made a confused sound, saw her father stare at something at the staircase and turned too. Her breath got caught in her throat and she was sure she was gaping. Eve looked breathtaking in her empire cut dress, the lightning in the room making her sparkle. She barely registered that Eve was beaming at her, as she walked towards the foot of the stairs, holding out her hand for her girlfriend to take.

“Hi…”

Eve whispered when they finally stood toe to toe, eve gazing up in her warm hazel eyes.

“You look exceptional.”

Villanelle said and then kissed the side of her mouth tenderly. Eve took her in, blushing as she felt just what that tailored to perfection suit on V did for her. It was no secret that Eve was mystified how the younger woman always seemed to pull of any look.

“You look so good V. I didn’t want to be embarrassing you.”

This world she was guest in, was vastly different from her world but Villanelle had never made her feel bad for it. Yes sometimes she wanted to buy something she saw and thought would look amazing on Eve, but her girlfriend liked her the way she was, no style and all.

“You could never embarrass me Eve.”

Villanelle’s eyes were filled with such tenderness that Eve felt herself grin even more. She leaned into the hand caressing her cheek, kissing the palm. As Villanelle stepped away from her and took her hand again, probably to lead her towards Irina and her father, Eve’ pulled her back towards her.

“Wait...Villanelle...I love you too.”

Hands framed her face and seconds after she felt her lovers lips on hers, kissing her softly and smiling against her mouth. Villanelle looked so relieved, realizing Eve must have heard her that first night. Eve had thought about those words all these days, assessing her feelings even though she had wanted to say it back straight away. She was still already divorced after having married Niko straight after High School because she thought she loved him.
Her feelings for Villanelle ran deeper though and seeing her look at her tonight with such love and care just cemented that knowledge. After the kiss their foreheads pressed together and both grinned stupidly, Eve was stroking Villanelle side’s through her shirt, knowing people would probably stare at them by now. They stepped apart and V led her over to her father, both blushing when Konstantin smiled at them with a raised brow and Irina was making kissy lips at them.

Hours later, after most of the guests had left and only Konstantin’s closest friends remained, seated with him at his table drinking whiskey and smoking, the two women chose to make use of the last song being played.

“That must have been some interesting topic between you and Mrs Waters. I think you two must have spoken for about an hour.”

Villanelle whispered into her ear as they swayed to the music on the dancefloor.

“Mhhh. We spoke about publishing. She said I should send my rough manuscript in she would like to see it.”

She was squeezed, then she felt a kiss on her cheek, temple to temple as they danced.

“That is amazing news Eve!”

Konstantin’s boisterous laugh reached them and both turned their heads to look at him.

“I haven’t seen him this happy in years.”

V mumbled sounding relieved. Eve’s heart ached, holding her tighter and leaning in to kiss her soothingly.

“You mother would be so proud of you V.”

“My Mother would have also like you very much. I wish she could have met you...I wish she could have seen me happy.”

Villanelle answered and her voice hitched a bit, feeling Eve squeeze her.

**

While the Company Christmas had been stressful for Konstantin, Christmas he vowed would be a calm affair, just them, Christmas songs maybe some nice sappy movies. Simple Relaxation.

On the 24th they watched snowflakes fall in the morning, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows, huddled in front of the fire Konstantin had started. Villanelle sat behind eve, arms and legs around her, chin on her shoulder and the blanket draped over them.

Irina and Konstantin then left to get the last groceries together for the next few days, Konstantin also wanting to give Villanelle and Eve some time as Irina was glued to them. The two women had not moved from their spot , simply basking in the glow of the fire.

“How long will they be gone?”

Eve whispered.

“Two, maybe three hours. Traffic is bad.”

She turned her head slightly to get a look at Villanelle, biting her lip and then licking it. Villanelle knew exactly where Eve’s mind had strayed. She winked at the woman in front, one hand cupping a soft cheek and then leaning in, nibbling on that plump lower lip of the korean.

As Eve tried to stand up to make them move, Villanelle stopped her, winking.
Lips progressed down Eve’s neck, starting from her ear, teeth nipping from time to time, knowing what Eve liked. Her deft fingers meanwhile unbuttoned Eve’s PJ top, parting it and then letting her fingertips playfully glide over the naked skin revealed, all while they were hidden under the blanket, which excited Eve even more because she could not see where the next touch would be.

Eve sucked in a sharp breath as she felt fingertips circle around her nipples, turning her head and Villanelle’s mouth left her neck to claim her lips, tongue pushing hungrily into her lovers mouth.
While they kissed Eve was so distracted that she had not realized one of Villanelle’s hands had left her breasts, traveling under pajama pants and finding her more than excited. She gasped as she felt a hand on her center, body leaning more into her younger lover.
**

“Papochka always makes dried mushroom soup for Christmas evening. Just light snack foods and we watch movies all night. Tomorrow for lunch we will have goose baked with apples.”

Villanelle explained as they were tasked with helping Konstantin cook.

“I love the goose!”

Irina chimed from the couch where she sat and watched a movie having been excused from helping more after having been dragged grocery shopping. Kosntantin laughed and then explained to Eve how the soup was made, Villanelle prepping their traditional Olivier Salad.

“Also we get one present tonight right Papa?”

Irina asked not even looking away from TV.

“Yes. We mix traditions. One tonight, rest tomorrow morning. In Russia and most of Europe the 24th is the main Christmas day.”

Konstantin explained to Eve. Which explained why Villanelle had them get two presents for her father and Irina. They had gotten something together and Eve was relieved about. The only thing she had been sure about was the ‘War and Peace’ from MacGibbon & Kee, a first Edition she had left over from her store. He had told her that he loved the story, they had talked about Tolstoi when he had visited with Irina.

Eve was actually nervous about the gifts she had for Villanelle. One was a rather personal one she would surely not have the other woman unpack in front of her family. The other was a leather jacket she had seen the younger woman eye in a second hand shop while they were strolling and while V had kept browsing, having almost settled to get the jacket, Eve had talked to the owner to put it away. Villanelle had been miffed for not having grabbed it straight away. Her other present was a framed Photo of the two of them. It had been taken by Elena at Kenny’s birthday party, the two standing in the kitchen, almost toe to toe, Eve looking up at her with a mirthful expression, Villanelle looking down at her tenderly. When she had first seen the picture she had felt such love radiate and she hoped Villanelle would like it.

Chapter Text

Their Christmas Eve was the most relaxed evening Eve had ever had on christmas. They had opted to let a movie run and play a board game, Irina wearing the earrings they had gotten her and the matching Necklace from her father. Konstantin had loved his new silkscarf and when he had seen the picture Eve had given Villanelle he had requested a copy for the mantle to put next to Olga’s picture. Villanelle had given Eve a Beautiful V neck made from very fine wool in a rich green color, which Eve was already scared she would ruin, and from Konstantin and Irina, Eve and Villanelle had gotten a special bauble, blown glass and proclaiming the year plus ‘First Christmas together’ to mark this event for them.

**

CrimeFan0079
Happy New Year! Hope you had a great time! Just returned home to Seattle. New York was amazing. Might have a deal for my Book.

Villanelle had been called to the office and had dropped Eve off at her own place.
She was now preparing her draft to be sent in to publishers, nervously going over her story and checking again, after a few days of break, that everything made sense.

KillerCook1985
Hey! Happy New Year!
Happy to hear about that. You must be so excited!

CrimeFan0079
Nervous really! I hope I can secure something. How have you been?

KillerCook1985
Busy. Always busy. Lots of work trips in the future. But met someone and lives been good you know.

CrimeFan0079
Aww! So happy for you!

 

“You are still writing with her?”

Kenny had peeked at her phone as they were in the elevator up to the offices.

“Letting it twindle out now. I just can’t just leave all of a sudden it would seem strange.”

He shook his head but made no comment, as soon as they entered her office, she took something from her pocket and was about to deposit it in her personal safe when he saw the shape.

“Is this what I think it is boss?”

Kenny said, reaching and grabbing the box from her hand as she protested and tried to get it back. But Kenny was fast, opening the little velvet box and whistling.

“Woa…”

Villanelle leaned against her desk, arms crossed over her chest, watching as kenny took out the ring, one solitaire diamond in the middle flanked by to eye shaped diamonds on each side. It sparkled under the light of the office, the facets beautifully cut. It was not a flashy ring, not really big. It would be perfect for Eve.

“When did you get that?”

“31st. I...I don’t know, Pa send me to get more wine and champagne and I walked past the window of the jeweler and when I saw it…”

Kenny nodded and put the ring back into its box.

“When I saw it I just knew, that’s her ring. I’m going to marry Eve one day. I am not going to ask straight away but at some point.”

Kenny clapped her on the shoulder and grinned.

“You seem really happy and we both know you have a shit past with the women you choose, so I am really happy you met Eve.”

It was reassuring in a way. Not that she needed Kenny’s ok. But he had never liked any of the girls she had flings with and Eve was the first woman he did like. Eve was different, she had turned Villanelle’s life around, turning the business woman into a warm ball of mush, perpetually looking at the other woman with puppy eyes. He was sure if Eve asked her to Jump off the Spaceneedle, Villanelle would do it.

**

After that evening Kenny never mentioned the ring again, nor asked when V had planned dropping to the knee but he watched as his friends grew as a couple, whirlwind sure, but they seemed happy. Eve had settled well into the company, her Events well received by customers and her numbers were fantastic.

Kenny had helped move when Villanelle decided she needed a bigger place than her studio to give her and especially Eve space to work as well as allowing her family to visit and still keep their privacy. So Villanelle went from flashy modern apartment to little house on capitol hill with a garden in the back, that allowed them some relaxation. In the garden was a garden house with window fronts that would house Eve’s writing and working office.

There had only been one hitch really, a dark moment marring his friends happiness. Apparently Eve’s new status had been relayed to her ex-husband and he had turned up at Eve’s old place while she was packing boxes, telling her about how he could never forget her and he would leave his soon to be wife Gemma for her if she just said it. Eve had been unpleasantly surprised by his visit, feeling cornered as she tried to get rid of him.

Kenny remembered arriving with the rental moving truck, Villanelle in the passenger seat and seeing Eve being grabbed by the wrist, the painful look on the Koreans face. He had known immediately that V would explode and she did. He was barely able to follow as she ran to her girlfriends side, pushing Niko away. Had Kenny not stopped her there would have been police involved he was sure. The threats of involving lawyers and making this public as well as Niko realizing just who Eve’s new partner was, scared the other man off though.

Seeing Villanelle all smiles most of the time, seeing her happiness, had been such a change for Kenny. Never had he thought she would ever settle with someone. But Eve had been a balm on her bruised soul and he truly was grateful, because Kenny believed Villanelle deserved happiness.

It was the ‘move in BBQ’ at his friends new place, everyone enjoying the lush garden in summer, ‘aaahing’ over the beautiful house, that Kenny noticed Villanelle fidget nervously with something in her pants pocket. He tapped Elena’s shoulder and nodded towards Eve and Villanelle standing a bit offside with their drinks, gazing at their home and taking in the reality of it.

They watched with smiles on their faces as Villanelle said something to Eve, making the shorter woman turn and look up at her, grinning impishly. That grin changed into shock and wonder as Villanelle got to her knee, speaking softly and holding Eve’s hand. Kostantin and Irina stood next to them by then. The Elder Vasilliev with teary eyes and happy smile and Irina gasping, nervously waiting for Eve’s reaction. When Eve nodded and pulled Villanelle up for a very deep kiss, their friends and family cheered and Kenny joked that Eve had tamed Villanelle and finally would make an honest woman of her.

And just a few weeks later, Eve got news that she would be published, making Villanelle joke she would now marry a famous author who would sit in her eccentric garden office writing all day and then wait for her love to return from many a book tour. The older woman tried to balance her work at Booklovers inc. with the work she now had to put into the process after the book hit the stores and her biggest fan was Villanelle. Eve all the while just hoped some copies of the book would sell, so they did a Newspaper interview and one radio interview, hoping her book could spark interest in some.

**

“What do you mean with international tour?”

Eve asked a bit confused, Samantha Walters on the phone.

“Darling have you not checked anything about the book news this morning?”

Eve stopped short, excusing herself from the people decorating the window for the fall season, which she had been working on with them all evening.

“Uhm...not really? With Fall season and festivities coming up I was busy in store.”

“Honey, the New York Times named your book a fall must read for crime lovers and hopeful to a new, riveting crimes series.”

A deep breath and Eve felt her pulse quicken, finding a chair and sitting down.

“They didn’t even call?”

“They told us you were on the probable list but since your release was rather late they were not sure if it would be read before winter, so not to get our or your hopes up. Sales are expected to explode world wide. How does that feel?”

She stared at her team trying to put up the decorations, waiting for her input.

“Feels like I have to talk to my fiance.”

“It will be in print tomorrow but it is already on their online page. I will send you the link. Eve...Walters publishing would like to congratulate you and hopes you will stay with us throughout the series.”

Eve went up to the office in a funk, feeling like she was about to faint, going over the article on her phone on the way up. She blushed at the praise, felt so happy about it because she had always just hoped for some people liking her book but now it seemed like it could be bigger.
She went straight to Villanelle’s office, finding her at the phone sounding stressed and pissed.

V signed for her to sit she would be done soon.

“No I don’t care what Martens thinks, the numbers will be there when I am done with them, that is what you can tell her. And the more you call the longer this will take me!”

She could not hear the answer but V’s mood seemed too darken even more.

“Well we will see about that!”

She said and hung up, rubbing her temples and staring detestingly at the million papers in front of her. Eve stood from her chair in front of the desk and went around, hugging her fiance who leaned into her gratefully.

“You okay baby?”

She whispered and Villanelle sighed.

“Martens is pestering me for the numbers and wants me to present them in New York next month. You know I am not a fan of business trips.”

Their life was busy as it was and Villanelle hated not spending the bit of time they got somewhere across the country. So instead she had fitted a video conference system in the meeting room and mostly operated from there.

Eve kissed her cheek and rubbed her shoulders.

“I thought you were down overseeing the decorating and then going home?”

Villanelle asked, almost whispering with her eyes closed, head leaned back and simply enjoying her soon to be’s touch.

“I just got a call from Walters. Here...”

Eve said and then handed over her phone, letting Villanelle read the Times article.

“Oh my god! Eve….that is huge!”

Villanelle exclaimed and then stood so she could hug her fiance.

“I am so excited for you! This could give the sales a huge boost.”

“Yes Samantha said so. I..I have no idea what to feel. I am happy and proud but scared too because I don’t know what will happen now.”

The taller woman’s eyes turned understanding but there was such happiness in them.

“I told you you are amazing.”

Smiling back even leaned in for a kiss before remembering the part of the news that was worrying her some.

“Walters said to prepare for a book tour and she doesn’t only talk the US but some bigger European cities…It could be well over 3 months of traveling”

Villanelle’s face did fall a little, as she realized what this meant for them as a couple, but she tried to look brave.

“Look...let’s let this happen and see where it goes Eve and no matter what, we will be fine. You deserve this and I am sure we can work something out.”

The heavy feeling in her belly calmed and she fell into V, hugging her and trying to block out her fears.

True to Walters words, the Book exploded and all of a sudden Eve had to deal with Post launch Parties, meetings about a series, interviews for Newspapers, radios and TV and then she had to deal with the realisation that this also brought on people very vocal about why her book was shit. Soon, Villanelle and her had decided to block some internet review pages to keep Eve’s sanity. She also strictly refused most TV interviews feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Villanelle was her rock through the next tumultuous weeks as the younger woman herself tried to get her work life in check. More and more did she have to remind Villanelle to come home, the younger woman slumped with work after she had been partnered.
Eve did not like it, felt it was slowly sapping up all of her fiance’s strength. The days grew longer and while they kept talking about being stressed, Eve felt as if Villanelle was slipping away from her with her work. Their busy schedules clashed but they tried to hold on, telling themselves it was only some time. It would get better again.

**

“I am just saying that you are of no use to the company perpetually half asleep Villanelle!”

Eve said, following her angry Fiance into the kitchen. She had woken at night, feeling the bed next to her empty. Realising Villanelle had left after coming home around ten pm and falling into it, finding her back in her study working.

“I already told you a hundred times that once I am done and presented this it will get better.”

Villanelle countered annoyed, rubbing her temples to ward off the oncoming headache.

“And then Christmas is just around the corner! I barely see you anymore. I am off to L.A. tomorrow morning for that Ellen interview. You knew that, but you could not even make it home so we at least had time for a dinner together. You just can’t be fucking bothered.”

Eve fired back loudly, looking at V angrily.

“So I am at fault for us not seeing each other? You are the one always in some interview! I can’t even make plans for the weekend with you, because you are booked for 6 months in advance and I had Walters fucking secretary move our vacation to next year! Don’t dare cry about me not trying! I at least don’t have a secretary tell my fiance off. I come home exhausted every night not from some interview party but work!”

She was downright yelling by then. Never had they fought before and the anger coming from V and Eve together with their frustration with each other made them lash out.

Eve blinked away tears at the harsh words.

“Shit...Eve…”

Villanelle’s face fell the angry mask gone as she realized what she had said. She reached for Eve, trying to catch her hand but Eve pulled away. Squaring her shoulders and leaving, Villanelle rooted to the spot, absolutely shocked at her words. She heard Eve upstairs getting to bed but when she finally had calmed enough to go to their bedroom, Eve wasn’t there after having moved to their guest bedroom.

She knocked, wanting to clear the air with her fiance, knowing she had crossed a few lines and feeling horrible for the things she had said to Eve. She loved Eve! She was proud of her and simply had been having a bad week. They had never fought before and had both been surprised badly by the others sudden anger.

“Leave me alone.”

Eve mumbled and Villanelle felt like wanting to cry at the rejection.

“I’m sorry…”

She mumbled through the door before traipsing back to their now empty bed.

When Villanelle woke the next morning Eve was already gone, having left her some breakfast on the counter. Her heart broke realizing she had hurt Eve so much, the other woman had left without saying anything for her Interview in L.A. and she herself was en route to New York by tomorrow, not Seeing Eve for a week at least.

She couldn’t even bring herself to eat, sitting at the counter with tears rolling down her cheeks.

Chapter Text

At first Eve had tried to move the Interview with Ellen to another spot, but her Publisher was strictly against it. She had put the proverbial Gun against Samatha Walters chest and said she would move with her series to another publisher, if she was not granted more time with her fiance and she said from now on she would have her own secretary and they would not be allowed to move her personal time ever again.

It was such a threat that the publisher gave in straight away, apologizing for the handling of her schedule and promising to do better. Only then had she said, she would actually do the Ellen Interview. It was quickly filmed and The host was amazing of course, But Eve’s mind was only with Villanelle and their argument. Her handling of it had been poor. Everything she had done lately had been poorly planned and Eve had been overwhelmed with the whole fame that came with her book.

At least when she came back home she could tell Villanelle she was trying to make things better. Yes, what V had said to her had stung and the way she said it had been hurtful but Eve realized there was some truth to it. She had neglected the relationship just as well and holding it only against her fiance had been wrong. She vowed she would make things better, because there was no way she was ever giving up on Villanelle, she loved her.

When Eve heard she was asked to the New York Publishing office whenever she found time, they had worded it carefully this time, she saw her chance. Villanelle was in New York and Eve wanted to, needed to see her. So she replied cheerily that she would travel straight from L.A..
As soon as she had made that decision, Eve felt lighter. They would talk and make up and they would find ways to solve their troubles. Eve hoped that maybe Villanelle would come with her to some of her book tour events so they could have sort of little vacations.

**

As soon as Villanelle had arrived at her Father's townhouse after her flight, she had fallen into his arms and tears had built. Konstantin was absolutely shocked. His daughter looked pale, puffy eyed.

“Villanelle?”

He asked concerned, pulling her to one of the stools immediately starting on a soothing tea as he saw his daughter tried to collect herself.

“You are scaring me!”

She apologized, then spoke, voice meek.

“I...me and Eve argued. I said really horrible stuff. She was so angry and I was so annoyed and then she just left for L.A. and she didn’t even say goodbye because I was a total bitch to her.”
Konstantin was relieved at first, he had feared something worse than an argument had happened.

Placing the mug in front of her, he urged his daughter to explain.

“I feel such pressure over in Seattle lately. Martens assistants called daily and I worked longer and longer. Eve had so much stuff going on for the book that we just barely have seen each other in the last month. I just wanted to get the numbers done and this presentation so I can finally plan my wedding with Eve but her publisher even moved our vacation time. I just lost it.”

His heart broke when he saw his child like this.

“Well just text her what you said. You girls love each other, this is nothing you can not overcome by talking to each other.”

“I would have texted her but I left my phone at home. I just can’t think straight. I...I want to gather my thoughts here and then make it up to Eve.”

“Listen, I will make sure the pressure eases. But Myshka you need to delegate work better. You can’t do everything. Get someone that does those damn numbers.”

She nodded, gods she knew this, then just as she thought she had calmed down she felt her lips quiver.

“Why do I always fuck up Papa?”

He went around the counter and enclosed her in his arms.

“Shh...now now. Every couple argues. What matters is how you get back from it together. Getting over such fights is what will strengthen your marriage Villanelle.”

He said softly as he held his child, rubbing her back tenderly.
How she had grown, Konstantin thought, remembering the sickly thin child from the orphanage. Bright blonde hair, empty eyes. They said she did not speak, said they had pulled her from the apartment after her father died being shot by police. She refused to speak. And he had looked at her and his heart had been breaking.

All the children had flocked around him and his wife, especially since they had brought things. Villanelle took no interest in any of the toys or sweets, simply watching the other children silently, something in Konstantin had broken and though his wife had wanted to take a much younger child with them, he had decided on the lonely girl. The first year had been rough. But as soon as his cheating first wife left, he felt his connection to Oksana grow. She would sit in her corner in his shop listening to all the people. He would read to her in english and she loved books and tales. Oksana seemed to forget her past the longer she was with him. She had always been a spindly thing. All long limbs and deep wondrous eyes.
As he held her, swaying his distressed child tenderly, he remembered the first time she had wanted to be held by him. Having fallen in the bookstore, hitting the side of her head on a bookstand. He had been so scared because she had a bump the size of an egg over her temple. The big fat tears rolling down her cheeks, no other sound coming from her, shocked him and he had held his arms out, feeling her little body slam into him soon after, big fat sobs erupting from her. Soon after she had called him Papa for the first time.

When he had met Olga he had been anxious about Oksana meeting her. He had told Olga about her, about her plight and that she would not easily accept Olga, warned her it might not be a fast friendship, but his sweet Olga accepted that, saying his daughter came first to him and she felt he was a very good father because he was so thoughtful of his child. His fears had been for nothing, Olga’s tender care made Oksana like her swiftly.

Now here they stood, his grown child without the mother she might have needed now to help her with advice.

“I have not been a good role model to you Myshka. I never had much time. I missed so many things I should have been here for. I did not even realize how Leonova had hurt you, how she was about to destroy you. Your mother knew something was terribly wrong. After Kenny hid you at his place when his parents where on that trip, she went to Leonovas place and after she returned she told me: ”Konstantin they shall never set foot here again or I will destroy her and her little husband”. Oh we argued these days. She was so angry at me for missing all of this because of work. And she was right.”

And he had started delegating more work, not wishing to miss things in his family further. When Oksana returned to them she demanded a name change and refused to speak of what had happened was when Konstantin had realized, all the work and care he had put into her to be a carefree, happy child, had been somehow destroyed in a few months time. That was why, when she moved to Seattle and started being friends with Eve, then dating her, he had been relieved to see that carefreeness in her again.

He wiped Villanelle’s tears, smiling tenderly.

“Go get some rest Villanelle, you look like you have not slept in weeks.”

Villanelle felt she had no strength left to do anything but follow her father's order, walking to her room and as soon as her head hit the pillow, she was asleep.

**

The presentation the next day was taxing, her anger at this situation boiling under her skin. After she was done she almost had started a fight with Carolyn who had snidely commented that she was finally starting to be fit for partnership.
She had kept her cool somehow and excused herself, leaving the building needing fresh air. It was a cold autumn day ut she had walked the city, but her heart was heavy. She wanted to be home. Once back at her father’s place she found herself back hiding in her bed, channel surfing and wishing she was back home making up to Eve. Just about to switch off the TV, Villanelle saw Eve’s face suddenly on her TV, gasping. Her interview on the Ellen show was on and Villanelle stared as if she was starving and Eve’s image water.
It was an amazing interview and Eve’s nervousness had easily faded with a bit of help from the host. They spoke about the book, about how she came to writing. Standard questions.
When it was over, Villanelle realized tears had slipped down her cheeks as she had watched.
Eve’s eyes weren’t smiling. Villanelle could easily spot the sadness and stress in them.
It killed her.

She got up and got dressed deciding she needed another bout of fresh air, deciding to go to the lounge she frequented often, just a block from her father’s place.
It wasn’t too packed, the patrons probably already moving on to clubs and she sat at the bar and ordered Whisky. She was on her third when someone slid into the chair next to her, but V did not look up. Refusing to acknowledge the presence of another lonely soul.

“My My Villanelle...you look like I felt when you left me.”

The glass in her hand was grabbed tightly, eyes closing and V took a deep calming breath as she realized just who had sat down next to her.

“I am warning you Nadia.”

“Oh shush. I am just here for a drink.”

The other woman replied boredly. Villanelle chanced a sideways glance over, almost sneering when she found her ex there in a dramatic canary yellow dress. Nadia had always been bold in her style and Villanelle really could not remember what she had ever liked about this woman.

“So what brings you to the apple? Daddy said you moved to the Westcoast.”

Her Father was a Banker and had been most embarrassed by his daughters display at fashion week years ago, especially since there had been rumors he was looking to run for city council. When his daughters sneering facade had made it to all of New York's frontpages and even further, it was quickly reported the family felt sorry and had gotten their daughter adequate help to battle the heartache properly.

“Business.”

She muttered and watched as the unwanted Companion finished her berry margherita.

“Look...I don’t particularly want to talk to you so just...leave. I’ll even pay your drink.”

“Oh don’t bother Villanelle I was just here to see you miserable.”

She got off the Barstool with a fake playfulness, hand landing on Villanelle’s shoulder to mock steady herself, really just to annoy the other woman and as Villanelle turned her head to give her a telling off for touching her, Nadia’s lips claimed hers, her old ravishing hunger in the kiss, tongue pressing into her mouth and claiming it. As soon as V’s brain registered what was going on, it was a few seconds of alcohol muddled reaction, she turned her head away, seething but knowing she could not cause a scene here.

“Leave!”

She forced out, refusing to look at Nadia.

“Leave or I will make your Daddy regret he did not put you into therapy longer.”

**

Eve had arrived at midday in New York, going over to the publishers office, having a very stern talk with Samantha, who apologized once more and then, together with Eve changed the schedule of her future Events. Eve made sure again they realized if they wanted her to keep writing her series with them she would not accept interference of such sort into her private life again. Her home, her family came first from now on.

By evening they were done and Eve ordered a cab to Konstantin’s home, but sadly found it empty no one opening the door as she rang the bell. She got back into the cab and the first thing that came to her mind was Villanelle’s favorite Lounge not far down. So they drove there and Eve told the cabbie to wait. She had barely gotten out of the car when her eyes scanned the bar through the big Windows, hand still clutching the car door.

She froze, feeling like ice was rushing through her veins as she saw a woman leaned into her Fiance and kiss her hungrily. A kiss that spoke of them knowing each other. She felt like the world dropped out from under her and swiftly got back into the cabs back, staring at the floor.

“Where to Ma’am?”

It jolted her head up, and she swiftly answered with the address of her hotel, trying not to get violently sick at what she had just seen.

Chapter Text

Eve had barely noticed the city passing as she was driven back to her hotel, trying hard not to cry about the kiss she had witnessed.

Once back in her room, she sagged down onto the bed, eyes glued to her engagement ring. Over and over the scene played in her head as if trying to gauge if it was really her Fiance kissing another woman. But she knew Villanelle too well, had spend hours in bed just committing her to memory.

Tears traveled down her cheeks silently, lips tightly shut, afraid to allow herself the sounds of anguish.
Never would she have thought, she did not even want to believe it now, that V could do this. Eve suddenly felt more alone than she had ever felt even after her father passed away. Everything she loved all of a sudden gone. Villanelle whom she had considered her family.

That night Eve barely slept, her mind full of what now's, sadness and loss. One thing she knew for sure was that she had to leave. She thought she should probably yell at Villanelle but there was no energy in her. While en route to Seaatle she used the flights internet and spoke to the publisher, deciding she should start her tour in europe as the market there was slowly catching up and interviews might push sales.
Walters had been confused since she had just been in new york to announce she needed more time, but accepted happily seeing the winter sales brighten.

CrimeFan0079
Hey...I know we have both been busy lately but if you see this, I could really use a friend to talk to.
:sad:

No answer came, even hours later. Her friend had, just like her found happiness in real life and besides the random: how are you, text they had not talked much lately. Basically not at all after talking about Eve’s engagement.

Once she was back at their home, her heart broke as she entered and finally she screamed and whimpered, seeing all they had made together, feeling like it had been ripped from her by a woman in the ugliest yellow color she had ever seen. She was breathless soon, eyes burning from her constant tears and chest aching. She felt like someone had ripped her heart out really.

After what seemed like hours on the couch crying she dragged herself up and into the kitchen in search for water, her throat parched and body left absolutely weak. Pouring herself a glass she knew she needed to write Elena, having promised her she would once she was safely back. She did, wondering if she should tell El...but then remembering she was with Kenny and Kenny was V’s best friend.

She instead tried Discord again.
CrimeFan0079
I am sorry for being a bother. I hope you are doing alright!

She hit send and almost jumped out of her skin when the fruit bowl vibrated and rang.
With confusion Eve checked and found V’s phone in it, as always she dropped it wherever she just stood, they had found it in ridiculous places. She frowned and switched it on, for a moment debating if she should check but then remembering the Kiss in the bar, stomach lurching sickly.

They knew each others pins, never hid anything from each other and often Eve was on Villanelle’s phone when the younger woman had her hands full and needed to hand a call over. Often she would say to grab her phone and dictate a number. It wasn’t usually strange. The situation had change though. Stil she bit her lip as she checked notifications. It said she had messages on Discord and Eve didn’t even know Villanelle had that.

When she opened the messenger the rest of the sanity she had held onto, slipped from her.
Her messages where on V’s phone, her username was KillerCook1985,. Villanelle had been her online contact all this time.

Eve gasped, staring ahead as she tried to get some control back over her body. With shaking hands she made a picture with her phone and send it to Villanelle via messenger.
Then, all out of tears, shivering from all the emotion inside of her, she packed her large luggage. She then called her publisher, putting an information stop onto her travel details for anyone asking and asked where her first European stint it would be. London was the answer and she booked herself the fastest flight and then browsed for hotels. It at least gave her something to take her mind off the double betrayal.

Villanelle had basically spied on her, hiding behind her online alter Ego and then Villanelle had kissed the canary girl in the bar. Nothing Eve had believed in had seemed to be true and it felt like her world had shaken and was now all over. She had wanted to marry this woman, but she knew nothing from her all of a sudden. The ring on her finger weighed heavy and she took it off, putting it on V’s phone on the kitchen counter, writing on a note: ‘I can’t do this’.

The house around her seemed like a cage suddenly the feeling of home they had created here, was gone.

She had trusted Villanelle with everything, had opened to her completely, especially online she thought she had found a confidante. Why would Villanelle ever do this? What had made her lie like this to Eve?

Her head ached and Eve knew she had cried herself basically sick by now. She had to get out, had to leave this place and all it stood for and just leave. It simply hurt too much. One more time her fingers landed on her ring, the promise it had been, the love it had been supposed to reflect, the understanding and trust. All gone.
**

When Villanelle finally opened the door to her home she felt her shoulders slump weekly, luggage dropped straight at the door.

“Eve? Eve? I’m home.”

She yelled, listening to any sounds from the house to find out where Eve was. Checking her watch she shrugged. It was lunch, maybe Eve was out. Gave her enough time to at least freshen up. Villanelle felt like shit but at least under her fathers watch she had gotten some much needed sleep.

First things first though, she had been without her personal phone for 3 days she needed to check if anything important had reached it.

“Fuck…”

Villanelle had no idea where she dropped it this time. She started searching in the bedroom, then the living room, her office and then she made her way to the kitchen, already hearing her message tone call to her. Of course it would be where she thought of last.

As she stepped into her kitchen, Villanelle stopped dead in her tracks, paling as she saw her phone in the middle of the Island counter, something sparkly on it.

“No! no no no!”

She stumbled forwards, hands grasping the counter, staring breathing through the hand squeezing her heart painfully.

She had hoped it was another, she had known it was not.

Tears were instant, Villanelle gasping for breath as she saw the note, Eve’s handwriting saying she could not do this. Nothing else. Just 4 words, ending Villanelle’s world.

She slid to the floor, ring clutched in her fist and phone in the other.

It beeped again, making the young woman flinch. With shaking fingers she unlocked her phone and found a message from Eve on her messenger, hoping it was telling her all was fine, she could do this, they could work this out.

But the message made her body feel like it had been doused with ice water, as she felt like she was choking.

Eve had sent her a picture of her discord chat as KillerCook1985. She had found out. Eve had found out her secret. Eve had left her.

A whimper, then a scream of sheer desperation as she cried sitting on the kitchen floor.
At some point she had called her father, crying on the phone, trying to tell him through hiccups what was going on.

“She..left me...she left her ...ring. Papa...she is gone.”

**

And hour later Kenny was suddenly with her, picking her up from the floor and getting her to the couch, closely followed by a worried and confused Elena.
They whispered to each other for a moment and then El went to make coffee or tea.

Slowly Kenny tried to calm her down. He had been absolutely terrified when Konstantin had called him and said Villanelle had called him in a state, barely able to speak and saying Eve had given the ring back. Elena had simply not believed that Eve would do something like that, especially without telling her anything.

She brought Villanelle something to drink, shocked at the woman in front of her. Hair a mess, eyes swollen, cheeks angry red from tears and shaking from head to toe as she tried to stop crying for long enough to tell her friend what had happened. Nothing of the usually composed and model like woman was left.

She did so, needing time because she needed to calm her breathing and stop fresh tears, but slowly she unraveled the story, Kenny holding her. Elena absolutely surprised at what had transpired between them and at the fact that V had been Eve’s online friend. She knew Eve must have been heartbroken having found that, knew that in the beginning she had always chatted with that person, well with V, and had thought to have found a good friend.

She watched Kenny, saw the tenderness he held for his friend. Elena knew they were close like siblings, Kenny and V had done everything together since they went to Elementary together and they had never been separated even studied at the same University. The bond they shared made it hard for her to pick sides and that was probably why Eve had not said anything to her.

She went back to the kitchen of her friends, and shot Eve a text.

‘Look babe, I have no idea what is happening right now and I am really scared, can you just tell me you are ok?’

It took minutes but there was a message.

‘I need time. I can’t stay.’

Elena felt her heart break for her friends. They had been such an amazing couple, everyone looking up at them, everyone awed by their kind of love that seemed so deep.
Now here she stood one trying to calm in the living room and the other vanished.

‘Tell me what’s going on Eve. Please’

‘I can’t...I don't want to think of it...her right now. Please El...give me time.’

When she went back to the living room with her phone, Kenny looked at her worried and expecting some news. But she shook her head.

**

The first thing Eve did when she arrived at the hotel in London was find a AirBnB she could rent for the next weeks and work there. She had decided to throw herself into her books to distract herself from thinking of V. She did not want to think of the pain the other woman had caused. Could not yet. She had 3 weeks until her first Interview with the Guardian and some TV stint ad would use it to just ground herself again.

She had been divorced before. Granted there was no love left for Niko, but she had gotten over it. Just that her stupid heart yelled that it did not want to get over Villanelle. She had no idea really how she could but her time away would help. She found a good place soon and threw herself into the next part of her series. It made Walters happy. It would make readers Happy. Eve felt like she had died inside.

She did wonder what her friends where doing, knowing they had to deal with her fallout. Elena wrote her from time to time and each message she itched to ask about Villanelle and she was not sure if it was because she wanted the other woman to hurt or if she was worried by the strange info’s in El’s texts. But fact was also, that she did not wish to put Elena between them. Her friend and Kenny loved each other deeply and she did not want to strain that. So she refused to give info about her reasons.

After weeks in London Eve knew she would probably not return to Seattle, the place felt tainted to her and she would stay in London possibly, travel around Europe more. Her decision stood and she put in her resignation with Booklovers inc. her phone exploding an hour later.
That was the day when she got a new phone and only gave Elena her number. Before she switched the other device off, she read the messages from Irina, Konstantin and Kenny. All begging her to come home and at least talk this over, give Villanelle a chance to explain. But Eve felt she had no energy for that right now. She loved these people, she had loved Konstantin and Irina like family, but she could not go back yet, it hurt so much, because each time she thought of V, she saw her kissing the canary yellow lady. She wrote them each a heartfelt message, telling them she would at some point but right now she was too hurt, she needed time.

Eve had no idea how long she would need. All she knew was that she ached every day. A dull pain inside of her that she could not soothe.

Chapter Text

Kenny shielded Villanelle in the following days and weeks from anything that was on the news from Eve who had started her European tour. He watched his friend fade and wither away and his resentment at Eve grew. When she handed in her resignation V had simply accepted that blow too and went home.

“How is she?”

El asked when he came home.

“Depressed. Seriously. I tried talking to her about therapy.”

Elena sighed and put a plate in front of him.

“Eve won't talk to me. I can’t believe she is this angry because of the chat thing. I told her to just listen to V’s explanation but she is blocking it so hard.”

Everyone was exasperated with Eve by now, her refusal to talk and listen was puzzling but it was also making El angry. She saw one friend run away and the other was basically withering away in front of her and no one had any idea what was going on.

Kenny sighed pushing the salat around his plate.

“How’s Eve?”

This time it was Elena’s turn to sigh and she stood, grabbing the wine from the kitchen and pouring them more.

“To be honest...I am angry at her and I wonder if I still care how she does. She saunters along Europe giving her interviews as if nothing ever happened. I don’t know what the fuck happened but I can’t believe the private messaging is a reason to treat V the way she does. I am pissed cause she won’t even speak to me.”

Kenny nodded, staring at his plate.

“She’s moving out of the house.”

He said and his shoulders were stiff.

“Wait...what?”

“V says she can’t stay. She got a small studio, she’s more at work or in New York anyways she says, has no time for the garden and the house and there is more…”

Elena leaned back in her chair as if reading herself for the next blow.

“She signed the house over to Eve. Said she can’t sell it because Eve loved it so much and it would mean if would return home and have no space.”

“How is she...god what the fuck happened Kenny because all I see is V taking one beating after the other? Everything she thinks off is Eve.”

And then there was unreachable Eve who hid away on her European adventure. She was in the news sometimes, often in Papers and El got google alerts for it.
Kenny was silent. The way his friend felt hurt him too. He wasn’t eating right and worried about Villanelle the whole time.

“She is working herself into a stupor.”

He said and then pushed his plate away, excusing himself with a kiss to her forehead and then going to the balcony with his glass. El cleaned their plates away. The hardest part of this was, not knowing how to deal with it all. They were like passengers watching the ship they were on sink.

She hurt because Kenny hurt. They had V stay with them for a while and it was like a ghost walking the house and nowadays V seemed to find joy in nothing. By now she was often jetting over to her father and Sister and at least for a day or two after she would speak more and might go out to eat with them. But Villanelle seemed to have left with Eve.

**

Eve sighed deeply and shakily as she sunk into the chair at the stationaire in her hotel room. For months now she was traveling around, trying to lose herself in interviews, readings and writing. Trying to outrun the sadness and heartbreak and each time she came back to the latest hotel room, she felt the sadness encroaching on her.

She couldn’t. Everytime she was back in these rooms it was there. They had put Dinner in her room because at some point Walters had called her with concern, since she had seemed frail and from then on they made sure there was always food so at some point she ate.

Her next Book was coming along fine, well she felt it was. Her Publisher had said it was a big step into darkness. Well, she guessed she was depressed. Who wouldn’t be? She smiled every day for cameras and interviewers but she felt dead inside. What did she have to come home to? Endless hotel rooms and AirBnB’s.
She had finally secured a space in London, feeling the city let her hide adequately.
Eve could be alone and mopey all she wanted in London, no one cared and no one judged.

It had been 5 months now, with a christmas and new years break in switzerland, just the beginning of february now and she was in Berlin for her last Interview, a city bustling with young artists and people from all over. She had spoken about her book and the next in series in the morning news and had found the presenters to ask her questions about future plans. Questions she evaded saying her concentration was on her books.

There was no future plans, not any longer. She went from day to day. Tomorrow she would fly to London where she would spend 6 months only writing. She hoped that her mind could stay holed up in London, that she could keep sad thoughts away. But she knew better.

She wondered what she would have said to Villanelle had she waited for her. Would she have argued? Maybe. Would there have been excuses as to why she had kissed the other woman? Where there excuses? What would she have said to the chat. Eve had re-read their chats over and over, besides knowing it would not be healthy.

Her phone rang and she saw it was the assistant Walters had given her for her time in germany, a local woman that cheerily told her, for their last evening in Germany they had tasked her with taking her out to wherever Eve wished to. Eve opted for the Hotel Bar. That had stopped the cheery chattering about what places they could see. Eve did not care to see any of the places she had went to. Because in her mind she was supposed to be there with Villanelle.

She waited for Susan in the lobby and the woman turned up looking a little confused. Susan, or Susi as she said to call her, had been flirty and Eve thought it had been part of the orders for her, be nice the author needs some cheerful company. She knew that it was clear she and Villanelle had separated and thus reckoned that they had found someone open to that deal. At least that's what she felt like the woman was doing. They sat in the far back of the Bar and ordered their drinks, talking about nothing important and she felt her guide’s flirting ramp up once more.

After their third drink, she felt a hand on her thigh and Susi had leaned in closer as they spoke about writing and publishing work. Eve took the hand on her thigh, just needing it not to be there but Susi took it wrong and asked if she would want to show her her room.
A blush crept up Eve’s neck and she slid a bit farther away on the lounge couch. It would be so easy to just take the woman up on the offer, have sex and leave the city. But Eve could not, it would not feel right.

“I...I am sorry no. I think I should go I have an early flight.”

She excused herself and stood, seeing the slight panic in Susi’s eyes.

“Thank you for your company. I appreciate all you tried to do to show me the city.”

It seemed to calm the other woman some and she nodded, they said their goodbyes and Eve fled to her room.

Lying in the large bed, a light buzz from the cocktails, her mind wandered to Villanelle, and the hole in her chest was back, eating every ounce of happiness inside.

**

“An exceptional second part, Eve. But so dark. Now we like the ark though even though it leaves Det. Steward and her wife in Limbo. Is...the wife really the next victim of the serial killer obsessed with your main character?”

Samantha asked and Eve sat back in her chair in the writing room in her London flat. It was thanksgiving soon and traveling would be hell.

“I would like to keep the suspense.”

“We are publishing you.”

“Certainly but I heed Bills warning.”

Bill Pargraves had been her friend in London and one of his books endings had been leaked. Not the same Publisher but still. He had warned her to give to much even to her publisher to stop leaks and she would follow that. Besides, she had no idea yet if the wife was dead. Who knew what mood struck her writing. She had been heralded as someone getting a lesbian relationship rigth in her books, not making the book about it, or the charcters but simply stating: this is them, that’s it. Readers loved the natural feel of the relationship but she had felt she could not keep writing them happy. Bill had told her to be careful that not too much off her is flowing into the character. She had told him at some point all that had happened and he had listened without judging.

“Well. Still we need you to come in and go over the book with our editors see if everything adds up and so on.”

She knew the process yes.

“I am sure we can do this via a Video conference.”

She shot back. Returning to the US installed a strange fear in her. There she could not run any longer. It would all catch up with her.

“Eve, you know the processes. You have not been home in a year. There are things we can only do here.”

**

“Villanelle...I asked you not to spend so much time in office. Irina called me today saying you turned up at your dinner date yesterday with her, looking completely dead to the world. Villanelle...OKSANA!”

He yelled as his daughter positively ignored him and kept walking through the hallway and up the stairs.

She turned to him, looking angry.

“Don't...call me that.”

He rubbed his neck.

“We need to speak. This has been going on for too long. I am making you take a sabbatical.”

She did come back down the stairs then, looking thinner than he ever remembered her hair in a simple bun.

“I did not come to New York for a lecture.”

“Actually you did. I am not watching you self destruct like this any longer. It’s been over a year and I am concerned for you. Everyone is. Have you looked into therapy as I have asked you?”

The word made his daughter bristle again.

“I don’t need therapy.”

“You should have gone to therapy as a teenager Villanelle. But I wasn’t a good father and…”

His daughter was shaking her head and pushed past him going for the hallways, deciding she needed to get out.

“You asked me to come here for thanksgiving, if that was just a ruse to lecture me.”

“You are skin and bones! You are pale and look like you haven’t slept in ages! You look haggard and I am scared for your well being all the time. Kenny told me you drive that damn bike of yours recklessly, that you have been fined few times for being over the speed limit, that he is scared you will end up dead on that bike. He said you only work and they have stopped trying to kick you out of the building. You fired every decorator you guys hired after a matter of days and people know why you are doing this!”

Pulling her coat on in vicious pulls she turned to her father after his tirade.

“I don’t care what other people think! I don’t care what Kenny thinks about my driving. I don’t care about what he thinks about my work times and I don’t care for these stupid decorators you keep hiring! Because no matter if I care or not, the turn out is the same! She left and I am alone and I don’t care ok?”

He blanched a little, that sadness that had been in her the whole time exploding out as she turned red from the emotions, arms flailing in wide gestures to make her point.

“Never have I felt happiness like that and apparently I must have done something really fucked up for the world taking it away again, because for god's sakes I don’t get why she had to run away like that and not give me the chance to explain myself. And yes to be honest I just don’t care for anything.”

And with that she left, door slamming on her way out and leaving her pained father behind. He felt so helpless watching his child self destruct, unable to help and make things better for her.
She was lost to him and he felt anger at Eve for doing this. Why had these two never been able to just talk things out properly?

She had no idea where she was going, just that she needed to get out of the house where her father and sister treated her like she was broken. She knew that herself. She knew the pain she felt, others would have gotten over by now. But she still loved Eve while simultaneously hating her for never giving her a chance.

She crossed a side street, deep in thoughts and the last thing she heard, before something crashed into her legs, was breaks and a horn. The crash thankfully was not hard but she fell, staring at the Mercedes logo on the grill shocked, before looking down at her legs, pulling up her jeans and finding a bruise that would probably hurt the next day.

She heard doors open but her heart was hammering in her chest like a drum and the blood rushing in her ears was like white noise, blocking out everything.

“Are you ok?”

She heard a female voice and the heart hammering in her chest stopped painfully like a wrench had been thrown in. Tears threatened and her steely facade crumbled. She was still with her head lowered and apparently not recognizable. She did not want to look up and see. But her head did what it wanted and her dead hazel eyes, gazed up into the chocolate eyes she had once lost herself in, going wide now with realization as the man next to Eve was trying to find out if she was hurt.
She stood shakily, feeling the burn on her palms, seeing the scratches from catching her fall on the street, she looked down at both palms, legs shaking and suddenly she felt a small hand on her elbow and her reaction was instant. Villanelle pulled her arm away, she knew she must look a state, felt ashamed at not facing Eve and looking like back then. No she was not the strong woman from back when they met.

She turned and left, wincing at the feeling in her leg. Voices called behind her but she ignored it. She ignored Eve like she had been ignored.

Eve stared after Villanelle walking away, heart going a mile a minute in her chest and she knew she was probably pale. Her driver was left confused and kept asking her if she was alright. She was and apparently better than Villanelle. The other woman had looked...scary. Like after a long bout of sickness. She had not been able to see her face at first because V had been staring at the bruised leg. She had looked weak, skin and bones and just tired. Not the tired you looked after days of not sleeping well. Villanelle had looked tired from it all.

Chapter Text

The whole day at Walter's Publishing Eve could not shake the look of Villanelle, the woman had always been life herself but what she had seen this morning was a shell. The touch to the elbow had confirmed that the younger woman was skin and bones and suddenly Eve felt conflicted.

She should have followed her, made sure she would be ok, driven her home or called her a cab, anything. Eve had only watched as V left though and now she felt worry creeping up top the anger and sadness, so as soon as she was through the last meeting and in the car to the Hotel, she bit the bullet so to speak and wrote to Elena.

‘Hey El...look I know you are angry at me...I saw Villanelle today and she didn’t look good.’

She winced after she sent the message and prepared for what was to come.

‘Are you for real?’

Yes, she had thought that would be it.

‘Can I call you please?’

She wrote back, thinking if she just explained better Elena would understand.

‘Look Eve I asked you months ago to talk to me. I guess I just don’t want to hear it any longer. Stay away from V!’

The rejection from El was clear. The order added to stay away from her Ex as if she was some deranged loony hurt even more. She had avoided it all so much that things had moved on and now, now no one wanted to hear it any more. That evening after dinner she called up the number of her only friend not involved in this. Bill got to the phone after the third ring greeting her exuberant with a babbling baby to be heard in the background.

“I...saw my Ex today. She looked horrible and so I wrote my friend Elena and she would not speak to me. I am ...I have no right to ask I guess.”

She heard him put down his child and turn on some soft music.

“Love...what did you expect? You ran away, refused all contact, you refused to give them closure. For a year they only saw your ex and her side and you refused to show yours. They don’t know you felt bad.”

She told him exactly what had happened that morning and he listened attentively.

“I am worried. I tried not to think of her again and I tried to stop these feelings and I am so, so angry at her but...I am worried.”
“Well of course you are. You did not only not allow her closure. You took it from yourself too. Running from Problems only takes you this far.”

Bill said gently and Eve knew he was right. She had done everything in her power to forget but nothing had worked. She was still sat here and after meeting today, all her thoughts were on the worry for the other woman, nothing had changed. Bill was right they had stayed in the Limbo she had forced them into.

“Eve...I think it is time you go back home and face these things.”

**

She went back to London first, needing to pack up her things. Bill and his wife helped while Eve felt scared of it all. She was reluctant because she had burned her bridges. There was not too much to pack an she would leave some things behind.

She had written Elena this morning that she would come back to Seattle and hoped they could sit down and talk, had sent her flight info but received no answer. It had made her sad but Bill told her to not lose determination. She had to clear things up. Whatever the outcome it was time to finally put an end to it.
He was right of course, he always was and they parted with promises of staying in contact.

**
“I am not telling her. She is doing bad enough after the Thanksgiving run in.”

Elena said determined and grabbed the key Kenny had held out. The old house keys he had held onto for Villanelle.

“Hey...I am all for it. I just think we should at least speak to Eve, gauge the situation better. If she is here to make amends…”

“SHE HAS NO RIGHT!”

Elena said loudly and Kenny winced.

“She left V. She told no one what was going on. She left us to pick up the pieces and left for Europe to travel around!”

Hands grabbed both of hers to calm them and stop them from flailing.

“We can’t decide what they deserve. El...if there is any chance she pulls V out of that dark hole…”

His eyes were pleading and Elena understood what Kenny was saying, but she was angry.

“Fine. I’ll...go there. See what she has to say for herself. But I swear to god if she blocks anything one more time I am …”

He kissed her tenderly to stop her tirade, hugging her tightly and swaying. For so long they had tried their best for their friends that it had left them often so exhausted. That El was still with him after all the Bullshit, made Kenny love her all the more. She hugged him tight in return and the world around them went silent for a bit as they held each other, all the emotions in them always so overwhelming.

“It will be ok Elena. We’ll get through it ok?”

Taking a deep steadying breath she nodded, feeling some of the anger in her die down.

“Where is V?”

“At the office today. I am bringing her dinner later and maybe I can coax her to go to a bar and just get out. I’ll call you ok?”

Elena had no idea how she was supposed to stay calm around Eve and talk to her normally any longer. She drove to the airport in an inner monologue with the Eve in her head, arguing, talking, screaming. She just tried to find the words she could say but her anger was so strong. She and Eve had been friends for so long and Eve had not even spoken to her.

**

The scenery rushed past Villanelle as she drove her motorcycle down south towards Mt. Rainier. She loved riding the machine, thinking of nothing, only the road ahead, only feeling the power of the bike and the street below it. It was the only activity that kept giving her joy. She was in her Leather suit, helmet on and a backpack on her back for necessities. The plan for the day had been to stay at the office, then return to her sad Studio apartment but she had felt restless and decided to drive. She could not drive as fast with the weather conditions especially the closer she got to Rainier but she did not want to go to close today knowing there would be snow up there. She just wanted an hour tour, then head back, stop somewhere and eat her food, then head back to Seattle.

She had stopped at a Tourist spot, off season it was calm there, and had her food, staring up towards the mountains white top. Her thoughts free where she was now.

Since meeting Eve in New York, Villanelle had felt things with her had gotten different. Laying eyes on her was as if seeing a ghost. Eve had gotten thinner and her eyes seemed just as empty as hers. She had seen that in the interviews Kenny pretended did not exist. They had treated her like a child, like she would not go home and watch the videos however often she wanted. But seeing her in real life, feeling the touch of her hand even on top of layers of clothing was still something else. Eve’s eyes had burned into her and it was like there was some fight still left in Villanelle.
She had spoken to her father then and had decided maybe therapy was a possibility, because she knew one thing for sure, she would confront Eve. She just had to built up courage. And once that was back she would find Eve and have their talk. Whatever the outcome, it would be better than this constant suffering.

Once Villanelle was done she packed back up and checked her watch. 1pm. Perfect time to go back before it started getting dark and Colder. Clouds loomed up north en route to Seattle and she wanted to be home before that hit anywhere. Back on 18, just past SeaTec airport she felt the bike lose some of its grip and decided to slow down further, seeing the wetness on the asphalt.

She had been looking down at her display and speedometer just for a second but when she looked back up suddenly an oncoming car was swerving into her lane and her bodies reaction was pulling the bike to the right.

Villanelle remembered the feeling of the bike slipping under her, landing on her leg and a painful feeling making a scream explode in her lungs, the pain almost making her pass out. Then she felt like she had been picked up and violently thrown, head hitting something and then her body tumbling. As her body finally stopped she felt detached, numb, hearing herself whimper before she passed out, the pain in the back of her head radiating outwards in waves.

 

**

Elena had not waved when she saw a tired looking Eve step out of the security zone, she had not offered to help carry anything, she had said Hello and felt more could not be expected.
Leading Eve to her car she had no idea what to say to the other woman and Eve looked like she knew she had fucked up. She followed head cast down.

Once inside the Car Elena handed the house keys over, seeing the confused reaction.

“I ..are these.”

“Yes. Your ex moved out and I don’t understand why she did it, but she wrote it over to you.”

Elenas tone made Eve want to cry. The revelation made her feel like a piece of shit.

“Which you can’t have known since you just ran away and never cared enough.”

“Elena...please I…”

“Don’t! Just lets get there and then I have a few things to say to you.”

The streets where frosty and clouds promised snow or rain soon, so Elena just wanted to get them safely back into the city.

Eve had swallowed all pride and stayed silent in the car until they stepped into the house which was as if she had never left it. Her chest ached realizing Villanelle had just left like she had. The garden looked kempt though and Eve realized there was probably cleaners and gardens that had taken care of all of this. She stood in the entry hall, gazing at the living room and Elena moved past her.

“Yea...welcome home i reckon.”

She opened some windows while Eve still stood in the entry like a kicked puppy.

“Look lets not beat around the bush here Eve. I had no idea that all our years of friendship meant shit to you. You up and left us to deal with your fall out and never had the decency to clear shit up while we watched V just stop being, all the while wondering what the fuck was going on. Then you have the gall to feel worried for her after a year of radio silence?”

Eve sat down heavily at the Island watching Elena pace back and forth through her tirade.

Eve felt so tired from all of this. Bill was right, it was time to clear things up.

“I can’t apologize enough, it will not change how I handled things or what it has done. But I am sorry. I just had no idea how to deal with everything. The Beginning argument and what followed after.”

“I get being angry about the argument. Fuck Eve I was livid when I heard about the chat. But seriously leaving like this for a stupid chat? I know it wasn’t right off her but come on.”

Elena shot back and sat down across, really wanting to understand how this could lead to Eve’s reaction. She saw the other woman smile painfully.

“Yea...the argument was shit. I was so angry with how I had handled it that I flew from L.A. to New York knowing she was there. I wanted to apologize. I had talked to Walters and threatened to leave because of my schedule. So I flew to New York to see Villanelle and talk to my Publisher. I saw V kissing another woman in a bar. That’s...I...watched and the next thing I know is I am back here and I found out she was my online friend all along.”

Elena looked shocked at the revelation.

“What...are you...are you sure it was her?”

“El...I know...I knew her. Everyday since then my mind strayed back to it. Trying to make sure. I never felt such pain like that moment and yes, my reaction was wrong. But El...I loved her more than anything else and suddenly…”

Elena seemed to deflated, worrying her lip and torn.

“She...she only talked about the argument and the chat. Why are you two never able to just talk normally?”

“How would you feel if you walked into a bar after a big argument with Kenny and saw him kissing someone?”

Eve shot back hotly, crying by now because this had ripped open all her old wounds.

“I would have confronted him, yelled at him and made sure he knew what he had done to me.”

“Yes! But I couldn’t because...because i love her...loved her so much that every day I tried to find a way to be without constantly thinking of her! And I can’t! You think I went off and lived a happy life? When I saw her in New York...it killed me knowing I had done everything wrong and I should have done as you would have. I should have yelled and I should have gotten us closure. But I fled because I didn’t want to think further of it and I hoped if I just ran fast and far, it would stay away and I could keep pretending it was just imagination. I know she suffered and I know you guys had to go through that and I am sorry but I just had to...I had to leave and hope to wake one day and be with her and realize: this was just a nightmare and I had woken and all was fine.”

Eve was breathing heavily, tears in her eyes as she let go off all that she had kept inside. Most of all the realization, that she still loved Villanelle. She was hurt beyond belief, she was angry, she felt betrayed and used, but she loved still. That hurt the most.

Elena had listened and her hand suddenly reached for Eve’s with new understanding in her eyes. She was confused by it all and the news that Villanelle had kissed someone else. She had never said anything.

“I...I am still angry. It will take time.”

But at least Elena held out a hand for her and maybe Eve could make things better again.

She was about to say more, when her phone rang and she saw Kenny’s number and took the call swiftly.

Eve watched the myriad of emotions cross her once friends face, how she sat back down, how she paled.

“Please...please no! Which hospital? Are you there?”

Eve paled too, standing suddenly and then sinking back down onto the stool as she realized her blodd pressure had dropped and she felt like fainting.

“Is...is she alive?”

A sick feeling spread inside of Eve, only hearing one side of the conversation and hoping it wasn’t who she thought.

“What do you mean they won’t tell you anything?...”

More yelling from the other side and Elena was pacing nervously.

“Who is her emergency contact then?”

Then her eyes went to Eve and Eve’s world stopped. It was not someone else, she felt like retching leaning against the counter as she felt faint and had not realized she was mumbling,

“No...no...no..”

Elena turned to her, staring and taking gulping breathes too by now. Anger had shifted to pure fear.

“V...V was in an accident with her bike. She is...in Seattle Grace. She…”

A shudder and whimper and Elena grabbed her shoulders to calm them both.

“She has you listed as next of kin.”

Chapter Text

Eve had no memory of the drive to Seattle Grace. They had called a cab knowing neither she nor Elena was in any condition to drive, then they rushed into the entrance and asked for Villanelle, stating Eve was the next of kin. They were informed that there was a waiting area for emergency surgery. White tiled hallways passed, soft talking, the smell of disinfectant and cleaner in the air as they walk, Eve being pulled by her elbow.

If she closed her eyes and counted to ten maybe, just maybe, once she opened her eyes again this too would have passed. But instead she found herself in front of Kenny in the waiting area. The young man, who was like a brother to Villanelle, had red rimmed eyes and was immediately hugged by Elena. She felt like the odd one out, she felt unwelcome. After the hug Kenny started pacing, wringing his hands.

“We...we need to call Konstantin and Irina…”

Eve said almost in a whisper but she knew she had set Kenny off anyway.

“This is your fault! Ever since you hightailed it out of here, she has been driving that thing like a mad woman! It’s like she hoped this would happen some day! I don’t even know why she still wants you as next of kin!”

As fast as he had exploded, the whole body of the man went weak and he had to sit.

“Ok...guys right now all that matters is V. So let’s try to stay civil and work together.”

Elena, voice of reason. Person always in between that circle of friends.

“I’ll try to reach Konstantin again. He is in Russia.”

Eve was about to sit when she saw a nurse walked past and she stopped her.

“Is there any way to get information about Villanelle Vasielliev? I am her next of kin?”

“You have to wait here as soon as she is out of surgery a surgeon will come here and update you.”

Her hand rubbed her forehead as she felt that desperation creep inside of her, crawl up her spine and take over her mind. She paced a few times, her mind going a mile a minute as she tried to not think of bad news. She tried to not think of Kenny’s words either. The accusation stood in the room now and she deserved his anger. It hurt her so much to think of V not having left any care for what happened.

A cup of water suddenly appeared close to her and Elena was holding it out, having sat on the couch table in front of Eve.
“He is just really scared. He has been trying to make her stop riding that thing for…”

She closed her eyes nodding.

“For a year. I…get it El. I would feel the same if roles reversed. I hated when she got it. I feel...like I don’t belong here. I am here so you can get answers and I am sure she wouldn’t even want me to be here.”

Elena did not immediately answer, pondering and gathering her thoughts.

“We can’t just go back to the way things were before Eve. Kenny watched Villanelle self destruct, unable to do anything. There is too much that went down and that needs to be resolved. But the thing is...that’s between you and her first. She has you as next of kin still, if she did not want you here she would have changed that.”

It soothed Eve a bit.

“I am so scared...that she…”

Eve choked up and Elena’s hand landed on her shoulder, squeezing soothingly.

“Please Eve...we can’t think this way.”

Grabbing some kerchiefs from the box provided on the table she wiped her eyes. She felt so drained and tired she swore if she laid down now she would fall asleep instantly. Kenny returned after half an hour, a back in his hands which he put on the table and then looked at Eve whose leg was bouncing nervously, eyes red rimmed by now.

“I reached Konstantin he is coming home with the next flight possible and collect Irina on the way. He...he asked me to inform you of what has happened and I told him you are already here.”

That Konstantin, after everything she had done, still thought of informing her in such a situation, made her ache worse.

“I got us some BLT sandwiches.”

Eve was back to pacing and biting her nails, she knew they might have to wait for a long time to hear anything and it was driving her insane. The feelings inside of her in the last couple of days had been confusing enough and now this worry was added. She was legitimately scared that she would lose someone she had not even spoken to in a year, someone she had parted ways with badly. Someone that broke her heart and she went and broke the whole person in turn.

“Eve...you need to sit you are getting really pale.”

Elena was right, she was feeling clammy.

“Explain to me what she did to piss you off so much that you never gave her closure Eve? That you treated her like she deserved nothing after all she had given you.”

Kenny mumbled suddenly, sitting slumped in one of the chairs, lost and empty. He looked so much older all of a sudden, the stress creasing his pale face.

Eve did not want to go into this here, now. But she knew she was the supplicant here. She wanted them to listen and maybe forgive some day.

“After our argument I talked to the publisher and told them, they either stopped taking up all my time like this and daring to even cancel my vacation time with Villanelle, or I would stop working with them for the series. I went straight from L.A. to New York to tell her I am sorry and I was wrong. When I got there I found her in a Bar kissing...kissing another woman.”

Kenny shook his head.

“V never cheated. V would never cheat because that’s the shit Nadia did to her. It killed her each time Nadia was in the news with a new boy toy.”

Kenny was confused really because he was so sure Villanelle would never ever kiss someone else. She loved Eve, her leaving had ripped her apart.

“Eve...you giving the ring back made her completely fall apart. WHY did you never give her a chance? Why did you not...I can’t believe this! You preached to her, that you guys needed to talk and then turn around and run...who do you think you are?”

He was getting louder by the second and Eve shied back from his visible anger.

“Hey...that’s enough! We are all stressed out here and we need to keep calm for V ok? I get you’re angry. I am too but this doesn’t help right now Kenny.”

Elena said and pointed for him to sit back in his chair.

“Might I add that I share this sentiment.”

Came a female, very commanding voice, from a large double door.They turned and came face to face with a doctor who must have just emerged from the surgery tract.

“My name is Dr. Grey. Who is the next of kin to Ms Vasielliev??”

Eve raised her hand looking worried and knowing she was going pale again.

“That’s...that’s me. I am in the Files. Eve Song.”

She was supposed to be Vasielliev, but they had fucked up royally.

The Doctor looked at the other two standing with her.

“It is okay they can hear...please is…”

“Let me say that Ms Vasielliev was extremely lucky. She was not going fast, her protective clothing was top notch and had spine and neck protection, the hardcase backpack added to shield her. Usually our bike crash victims are worse off. So her spine and neck are fine. She has a broken Tibia from when the bike fell, we put a cast on that. From the scene they described she has been thrown and had a rough landing, she has two broken ribs, is bruised all over. What concerns us right now is that when she was awake for a short moment with the EMT she spoke of headache and sickness, with the way she landed we diagnosed her with a traumatic brain injury. There is slight swelling in her brain and need to monitor that and the concussion. She is pretty much under but is being brought to a private room. She needs a lot of rest and no stress whatsoever.”

At ‘no stress whatsoever’ the doctor looked scoldingly between them.

Eve sunk in a chair followed soon by the other two, relief washing over the group. And then Eve did cry, face hiding behind her hands as Elena thanked Dr. Grey for the update.

 

**

After another 30 minutes Eve, Kenny and Elenna where lead upstairs and Eve was handed a chip card with which she could enter or allow the other to entry to the private ward.

“You go in first Kenny.”

She said, wiping her eyes, the fear of what was waiting behind the door making tears form once more. But Kenny shook his head.

“You go in Eve. I need to call Konstantin any ways and for some reason she wanted you as her next of kin. She never stopped loving you and no matter how wrong I think that is...”

He said and turned to leave down one of the hallways probably searching for a spot where he could call Konstantin.

Eve was scared out of her wits by going inside, was scared to see Villanelle like this. A nurse passed them and Elena looked at her imploringly.

“She needs someone with her. Don’t let her be alone.”

The room smelled even stronger of disinfectant than the outside did. She heard the beeping of the machines that monitored Villanelle, eyes glued to the tiles on the floor. Inside she was giving herself a talk, she could do this, it would be scary, Villanelle needed her.

Villanelle was ashen white, even her lips had paled. Oxygen was given to her via a nose tube, the room was cooled down and the nurse that had handed her the entry, explained it was done because of the swelling in her head.
Eve pulled the one chair in the room close to the bed, staring at the beaten body in front of her.
Fingertips laid on V’s hand, just ascerting someone was there, Eve too scared to grasp her hand, scared of breaking her further. She had lost so much weight, her knuckles where more prominent than before.

The door opened and broke her thoughts, she pulled her hand away as the nurse came in, checking vital signs, noting things down on a chart. A soft smile was sent towards Eve and if people only knew who she was they probably would not smile.

“You can hold the hand without the venous access. Speak to her so she knows someone is here. The next few days she will be mostly out of it as her brain swelling is taken care off but some patients reported they remembered hearing voices and feeling relieved they were not alone.”

The young nurse said, then checked room temp before she left.

She shouldn’t even be here. She had no right to have next of kin when there was a Kenny outside. She was not family any longer. She had given that right away the day she ran. Looking at Villanelle laid out like this scared Eve senseless. She could have died today. She could have died and Eve could have sat in London none the wiser. She would have probably heard from it in the news first. Villanelle could have died like this, unknowing why Eve left her.

She took the thin hand carefully, almost gasping at the cold feeling. She was too scared to hold it tightly, V seemed so frail lying in this bed.

“Hey...they said we should talk to you that you might hear but I am sure my voice would be the last one you would want to hear. You were really lucky apparently and they say it could have been way worse. I don’t ...I am really scared.”

She whispered the words, thumb softly stroking over the Back of the younger woman’s hand.

Fresh tears irritated her eyes, the weight of the situation pressing down on her.

“I always told you not to drive that thing. That it could get you killed. And you were so damn lucky you had slowed down and your gear protected you.”

More tears fell and Eve wiped them with the sleeve of her free arm.

“Kenny reached your Pa and he will be here soon.”

Eve wished V would just open her eyes and say anything. No matter if it was nice or nasty. Eve wanted her to wake and be ok.

**

They sat in turns with V, nurses and doctors coming and going, softly speaking to her about whatever came to their mind, just so she could hear them. Villanelle’s swelling did not seem to get worse after 2 days, now it just needed time for it to go down while her body tried to heal. On the third day in the Hospital, they were alerted that Konstantin had arrived at SeaTec with Irina, Elena offering to get them and bring them to the Hospital.

Kenny and Eve were left and her discomfort grew tenfold, kenny’s anger at her palpable.

“Do...you want me to get some food?”

Eve asked when she came out of Villanelle’s room.

“What are you doing here Eve?”

She stopped dead in her tracks, realizing with Elena gone he felt free to speak.

“You play the concerned girlfriend like you actually care.”

She winced and sat in the chair across the hallway, signing and rubbing her temples.

“I know you think I am the biggest Bitch on the planet. Hell Kenny, I think I am so have a go really. You all think I left living the live and turing my feelings off like a damn switch. You think I ran away to end things? I ran away because I thought I could outrun that feeling I had inside. Because for the love of god, I was ashamed that even after seeing her kiss someone else, no matter what and how that had happened, I loved her so, so much. You think you are warden over my feelings? I could not talk to any of you because you are her almost brother and Elena is your girlfriend and I felt so confused and alone with no place to turn. I did not want to tell any of you because you love her and I did not want to cause any more trouble. You may think me a callous bitch, fine Kenny, hate me all you want. But don’t dictate what I feel or am supposed to feel, when for a year all I thought off was her and how this was fucked up and I had no idea what to do. I made mistakes and I know everything that happened here correlates with what I decided to do so add on that burden. Fine! But I am trying. I am trying to be better. For her.”

Eve argued hotly, keeping her voice down as much as possible as anger and all these tumultuous feelings raged in her. Anger at herself and what she had caused.

“You talk about your feelings and how shitty you felt this past year. Did you even think of what this did to her?”

Squaring her shoulders she looked Kenny dead in the eye.

“All I could think of was that she kissed someone else Kenny and then that she had used her online persona to get close to me. I know you don’t get that. I know you know her better. But I saw her and in that moment I felt everything I loved was a lie. I know you don’t want to understand or see that but I am sure you would feel the same had you seen Elena kiss someone else. I am here now to make amends. Does that count for nothing?”

No, because Kenny needed someone to vent his anger to. He needed someone to take the blame for a road accident no one was to blame for.

“No. You just need someone to take the blame for the accident. And accident caused by severe weather. It’s easier for you to blame me for her being out.”

She surmised and saw no reaction in him. She had hit it spot on. In his mind, she was to blame. Because in Kenny’s head V rode that bike to get over her.

“I think you should leave.”

He muttered and Eve nodded, not having any strength left in her, after spending day and night in this hospital, battling his feelings and accusations and trying not to break apart when looking at Villanelle.

She stood and handed him the keycard. But she went into Villanelle’s room one more time, grasping her hand and kissing her bruised knuckles before leaning in and kissing her temple.

“You need to wake up ok? I promise, when you are awake and ready, you can scream all you want at me. If you just wake up and are fine I don’t care. You can yell at me for days on end. But I need you to fight. I need to leave now. When you are healed I will find you I promise!”

Eve said, holding on to her tears and pressing one last kiss to the side of her mouth, like Villanelle had often done for her in their tender moments.

She left then, calling a cab and crying in the back of it, the poor cabbie absolutely confused by her emotional state and wishing whomever she had been with in the hospital well.

**

“Where is Eve?”

Elena asked hotly after Kenny had greeted Konstantin and Irina and let them go inside to see Villanelle.

“I told her to leave. Why do you care?”

“Weren’t you the one telling me, that if she could make V better we needed to keep out of their affairs and let them?”

Elena’s anger at him threw Kenny off and he got defensive.

“It’s her fault we are here!”

“No it’s not Kenny. V got that bike way before Eve left her. She always rode that thing, even though Eve begged her not to. It was a freak accident on a slippery road. No one is to blame so go out and yell at the clouds if you need to blame someone! You had no right to send her away!”

He was about to argue back when he saw Konstantin standing behind them, looking tired.

“Both of you...stop the arguing, it’s not helpful. She is waking up.”

When Kenny walked past him he felt Konstantins stare, swallowing hard knowing the elder Vasielliev had heard and was not happy with him.

Chapter Text

All was dark around her and she felt like floating through molasses, sounds reaching her but almost too dull to make out. She felt a tingling in her hand sometimes and it would feel warmer than the rest of her. Slowly the voices grew more clear, more pronounced. She felt like a blanket weighed her down, keeping her in place. For sometime Villanelle tried to move the hand when it tingled, lift it, but nothing happened no matter how much she willed herself.

Something kept pulling her under and Villanelle felt she could not keep fighting when the tingle in her hand returned and then, for the first time a voice was clear to her, still like a whisper but she would know that voice anywhere! Eve spoke to her, begging her to wake up, telling her she was scared, telling her she was angry because of the bike rides. Something inside of her bloomed, a memory of her body like a ragdoll, immense pain, the screeching of tires. She felt panic and closed herself off, letting the Molasses pull her under again.

She had no feeling for time and did not know how long she was gone in between. Was it sleep? Was she awake when she felt the tingles? When she returned to what she thought was being awake she steeled herself against the memories this time. It seemed like she was not dead so that was something. More speaking but not what she wanted to hear.

And then there was her voice was again! Villanelle wanted to yell out in relief, wanted to cry with happiness as Eve’s voice washed over her. She listened carefully not wanting to miss what was being said!

‘You need to wake up ok?’

Yes! She wanted to wake! She wanted to see Eve’s face and hold her hand. The tingle was back and Eve seemed so close. The side of her face warmed and her voice was so clear.

’I promise, when you are awake and ready, you can scream all you want at me. If you just wake up and are fine I don’t care. You can yell at me for days on end. But I need you to fight.’

She wouldn’t scream! She just wanted to see Eve. She just wanted to wake up and see Eve, hold her again one more time. She would hold Eve and she would tell her she was sorry. Villanelle desperately tried to get her hand to do something so Eve knew she was there.

’I need to leave now. When you are healed I will find you I promise!’

No! She could not leave again! Villanelle wanted to yell, wanted to hold onto Eve but she could not, no matter how much she tried to will her hand to close and hold Eve. Her mind thrashed as she desperately fought for control in her body, yelling no over and over in the hopes at some point actual sound would escape her.

Suddenly there was the feeling of a kiss, just a flutter, on the corner of her mouth and Villanelle whimpered inside of her head. She was losing her again! Eve was leaving once more and again she could not stop her. She was helplessly drifting unable to do anything about it. In her mind she curled up into a tight ball as she let herself succumb once more.

**

“Papa...I think she is crying.”

Irina said with a shaking voice, watching in shock as tears leaked from Villanelles tightly shut eyes. Her father was at her side immediately, taking Villanelle’s hand and sure enough there were tears.

“You hold her hand and speak to her Myshka.”

He went outside to alert the others of Villanelle possible waking and heard the end of their heated words.

“Both of you...stop the arguing, it’s not helpful. She is waking up.”

He said and then regarded Kenny with disappointment. They all knew Eve was not at fault for a car swerving into his daughter. He nodded to a nurse alerting them to the possibility that they were needed and then went back to be with his daughter. How unfair live always treated her. Just as she felt like she might be able to heal and pull herself out of depression this happened.
Konstantin had never felt so powerless in all of his life. What did his money matter when he had no means to keep his child safe?

When he returned into the room, Irina was leaned in, whispering into Villanelle’s ear, begging her sister to wake up again, hand held tightly. He joined, laying his hand on top of his daughters, squeezing softly and watching with pain in his heart as more tears leaked from his eldest daughters eyes, the eyeballs fluttering under the lid.

“We are here Myshka. Don’t worry everything is fine.”

Elena and Kenny entered and stood across watching as Villanelle fought to wake.
When she did open her eyes, the heartbeat monitor sounded erratic, and her eyes blinked, the light in the room thank god always dim should the patient wake. Villanelle was saying something as her eyes flitted through the room and Irina leaned down as she felt the slightest squeeze back against her hand.

Before Irina, eyes wide, could say what Villanelle was muttering, She croaked it herself, voice slowly coming back.

“Eve? I'm here...”

Heads turned to Kenny and Konstantin was furious with the young man as he pressed the button to alert the nurses.

He leaned down and tried to calm his now panicking daughter down, who was moaning in pain from moving and frantic because she could not find Eve in the room.

When the nurses and doctors rushed in, they were sent outside to wait and Konstantin lead Kenny down the hallway with a strong hand on his shoulder, steering the other man. Kenny knew Konstantin was angry and he swallowed down his own anger.

“I know you love my daughter like a sister. I regard you family Kenny and you know that. Since you two went to primary school together you were always at her side. I understand your pain. But I will do ANYTHING to help my daughter get well.”

Kenny turned to him, looking up with desperation.

“I am too!”

“She needs Eve here. You knew that! You still send her away. Because you felt anger at her for something she had no hand in. Maybe even anger that after all, Villanelle still loves her. That she who left her is still so important while you, her friends who were always there, don’t take that place. You will send a car to retrieve Eve and you will stay away from her is that clear? What happened Kenny, was no one’s fault. She is alive and now she needs to heal.”

Kenny nodded, having paled at the dressing down, feeling like he had been caught.

Long minutes later the doctor came back out and pulled Konstantin aside.

“We had to sedate your daughter, she was in a panic. Now sometimes that’s the shock of waking up after an accident. But next time she wakes, I hope you will do your best to keep stress from her. She was asking for someone named…”

“She is being brought here.”

Konstantin answered quickly.

“I want no more than two people with her so she won’t overwhelm.”

The Doctor explained and then left.

**

Eve had just finished showering and drying her hair when her phone rang and she found a message on her phone from an unknown number.

‘She is awake. She needs you. A car will pick you up. Sorry about Kenny. ~ Konstantin”

She almost dropped the phone as she read that Villanelle had woken and quickly threw on some pants and a hoodie she had nicked from Villanelle right when they had started dating, the thing too large for her but it was her comfort clothing.

Sure enough when she stepped out there was a black car waiting.

When she made it back to the private care unit she was greeted by Konstantin and Irina, barely able to look at them. As soon as she was in range Konstantin engulfed her in a tight hug and she melted into him, sobbing. A year of anguish and 3 days of fearing for Villanelle suddenly left her and she was held up by Konstantin only.

“Shhh…shhhhhh Eve! No matter what happened it’s done now. She was asking for you. Needed to be sedated when she couldn’t find you so be careful when she wakes yes? Now now...no more crying. Make a clean cut for now.”

He soothed, rubbing her back. How could he simply forgive her for all that had happened? The elder Vasielliev stepped back a little, stroking her cheeks.

“Eve...whatever happened is not important right now. There will be a moment to clear it all up. Remember what I once said? It’s the way we deal with mistakes that is the important thing. This crash, was not your fault.”

She nodded and he let her go, watching her wipe her eyes and looking absolutely lost in that big pullover that was once his daughters. Irina mustered a smile for her and a nod in greeting before Konstantin led her into V’s room.

“I’ll take care of some food with Irina. Elena told me you had not been eating well.”

He said and left Eve with a sleeping Villanelle.

She looked like there was some color back in her face after waking. Eve sat next to her again, grabbing her hand, which was still so cold. Exhaustion washed over her, she had barely slept these past days, only little naps in between watching over Villanelle. It caught up on her now and she let her head sink to the bed next to V’s hip, holding the bruised hand close to her face. Konstantin’s tenderness had left her weak and she let herself fall asleep, knowing that Villanelle had woken up, had asked for her.

**

Villanelle did not wish to wake again. Not after the pain of the last time and then only to find Eve was not there. Maybe she had just imagined her voice and touch? Maybe it was just the pain medication she was given.

She felt herself wake again slowly, fighting it as best as she could but the beeping of the machines roused her. Her eyes fluttered and she felt the undercurrent of dull pain inside of her whole body, wanting to cry from the feeling. More and more sound registered to her waking self. Bubbling like someone blowing into a water glass with a straw, a newspaper page turned.

She opened her eyes, grateful that the room had dim lights, blinking to get her eyes to focus, the first thing she saw was her father across from her, slowly folding up his newspaper as he watched her slowly come to.
She felt tears threaten as she remembered the accident. Tried to remember if she had hit another car, the one in front she remembered had kids on the backseat, staring at her when they had overtaken her. Had she hurt anyone? Why had the other car swerved?
She felt her body shiver and shake and tried to battle down the fear, the sadness. Eyes went over the room and found no one but her father, anguish hitting her. She had imagined it all,there was no Eve!

She blinked rapidly as the tears rolled down her cheek and she felt she could not properly breathe. Yes, the doctor told her she had broken ribs. She looked to her father and found him making a calming motion with his hands, then pointed to someplace on her bed. She felt her hand twitch, the motion making her realize it was being held and when her eyes traveled down her arm and landed on a mop of very unruly black locks. She stared down with wonder, her heart bursting and panic slowly subsiding.

“Eve…”

Her voice croaked, fingers flexing and feeling stiff from not having moved in days.
The sound and movement must have woken the older woman, she groaned and lifted her upper body off the bed, still not realizing what, or who, had woken her. Her head turned to Konstantin who was standing up, walking towards the other side and leaning down to kiss V’s forehead, the other woman’s head leaning towards him. That was when Eve’s eyes finally snapped to hers and chocolate met hazel. They both heard the faint click of the door when Konstantin left them.

Eve stood, squeezing the hand still in hers and reached out with the other hand, softly stroking Villanelle’s cheek, wiping away the wetness fresh tears had left. She felt the younger woman lean into the touch and her hand stayed were it was for the contact.

“Eve. You’re here.”

She nodded, then let go of cheek and hand. She stared at Villanelle that looked at her as if she was a saint

“Give me a second.”

Eve muttered when she realized Villanelle tried to reach for her. She stepped away from the bed and to the window, back turned to Villanelle and face in her hands as she sobbed. Everything was so fucked and she had no idea how to deal with the conflicting emotions inside. From happiness and relief, to love for this woman and then the memory why she had left her.

“Eve?”

She turned back around to face V, wiping her eyes with her sleeves.

“Sorry...too much going on right now.”

She mumbled and moved back to sit with Villanelle hands in her lap. The younger woman felt the distance suddenly between them, face falling.

“I am sorry…I am sorry for everything Eve! Please…”

The heart monitor started getting erratic again and Eve’s head shot up.

“Please calm down V. I am here ok?”

“Please...I know you are angry. I know I did wrong. I am so sorry. I didn’t think”

The panic grew again and Eve stood, leaning down, framing the younger womans face with her hands.

“Shhh please! V you need to stay calm you will hurt yourself.”

And sure enough she wheezed because she was breathing too deeply. Eve’s forehead pressed against hers.

“I didn’t want to hurt you Eve.”

Villanelle sobbed.

“It’s okay...it’s okay. It’s okay. Shhh. I am not leaving again ok? I’m here. I am sorry I left. You deserved an explanation.”

And she had. She deserved to be talked to like a grown up, maybe even yelled at, just something. V was still breathing wrong and crying and Eve knew she was supposed to stay calm.

“We can talk about all of this when you are out of here but right now I need you to calm down ok? You will hurt yourself.”

Villanelle tried, closing her eyes and swallowing thickly. Eve grabbed the cup with water and straw. And let her sip the refreshing beverage until she let go of the drinking utensil.

“Please Eve…”

“I promise I am staying here. Right by your side. We will speak when you are home but right now all I care about is you healing. Nothing else matters.”

“You...promise?”

Grabbing her hand tenderly, she kissed the knuckles softly, scared of hurting.

“I ran away and that is my biggest regret V. I am home. I am not running. I am at your side as long as you need me. I’ll take care of you, ok?”

A soft ok and then Eve watched V slowly drift back into sleep.

A cough from behind her and Konstantin held a bag up.

“Come let her rest. We will eat something.”

They went out to the family dining area where family members could have meals, read or watch TV while waiting for their loved one’s to get better and sat down, Konstantin handing her a food container. She felt no hunger but he pressed her to eat, looking at her softly.

“I should have stayed and talked.”

“We have been over this Eve. You both made a barrage of mistakes. I care about you being here for her in her toughest time. Will...will you tell me what happened?”

He asked unsure.

“I...I think I need to speak to her first.”

“I understand.”

They ate in relative silence each lost in thought.

“The doctor said the swelling was down and the concussion is healing fine. The most bothersome will be those ribs and her leg. She should be out in a week.”

Eve nodded and poured them both a water.

“Are you moving back here?”

“Yes. If she lets me, I want to help her.”

Konstantin grabbed her hand over the table.

“Has my daughter done a horrible thing?”

He suddenly asked and realized that question must have burn in the back of his mind for long.

“She hurt me Konstantin, not physically. I ran instead of facing our problems. I never gave her a chance to explain."

Chapter Text

“Welcome home.”

A banner above the wide arch that separated Kitchen from Living room, proclaimed, having been made by Irina before her and Konstantin left for New York again. Kenny had held doors open for her as she slowly made her way inside on the crutches. She was sweaty by the time she reached the couch, her ribs aching.

In the Kitchen Elena helped put food away into the fridge.

Kenny’s eyes bored into her and he sat next to her.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Besides her cooking this is the best idea for me right now.”

“Look...I told you, you could stay with me and El.”

She knew what Kenny was playing at, the differences between him and Eve had not been lost on her. So she grabbed his hand and said:

“Kenny...you are like a brother. I need you to understand that I am trying to solve whatever the fuck happened between us because my feelings for her haven’t changed. I can’t ask you to support that. But I need you to respect it.”

She said and he nodded, sighing.

“I do. I know you love her. I just don’t want to see you hurt again.”

“Kenny, I hurt her. She left because I did what everyone told me not to, even you. Just...maybe a meal here and there, because god save me if she tries to cook.”

And they both burst out laughing until Villanelle suddenly yelped and and her laughing was mixed with a strange crying.

“Are you okay?!”

Eve came bursting into the room worried and V did her best to calm, holding her ribcage.

**

“V...come on you need to take your medicine and go to bed.”

Eve whispered to her and Villanelle could feel fingertips stroking her cheek. Slowly her eyes blinked open and she looked at Eve in wonder. Still always so worried she would leave again.

“Come on. You can’t stay on this couch and i need to re-bind your ribs.”

That got a groan from Villanelle, the pain of the process not a fond memory.

“Hey...I know it hurts but it will get better ok?”

But Villanelle still pouted her way to the guest bedroom down the hallway. Eve helped her into Pajamas pants, which was strange enough, but then Eve also had to redo the binding over her ribcage, Villanelle crying in pain and Eve apologizing all the way, distracting them both from the younger woman's nakedness.

Once she finally had a wide nightshirt on she found Eve’s hands were still shaking from the rib binding. She caught them in her hands, wrapping around securely.

“I...can’t thank you enough for all you do. I don’t deserve it”

Villanelle whispered.

Eve stroked a stray lock of hair behind Villanelle’s ear, hand staying on her cheek.

“Eve...you said when I am home we could…”

“When you are healed.”

She pouted at the answer.

“Please V...seeing you so hurt, I need you to...I need you to heal before I can even gather a healthy thought about anything else. I am still so angry you were driving that thing.”

“He was in the hospital...the man that swerved into my lane. He had hit a patch of ice and slid.
He apologized.”

Villanelle whispered. Eve knew, Konstantin had asked her if it was a good idea to let him visit.
Eve grabbed the pills from the night stand and handed them to Villanelle with a glass of water. Then she positioned the crutches so that V could reach them. Once V had taken the pills, Eve helped her adjust the leg in a cast so she could sleep.

“I will leave the door open ok? Yell if you need anything.”

Villanelle was in the downstairs bedroom next to her old office which right now was occupied by Eve editing some passages in her book.

“Can you stay a little?”

Eve smiled softly and nodded.

“Until you are asleep.”

Villanelle grinned at the victory but then frowned when she saw Eve pull up a chair.

“I will wake you if I try to climb out of bed. V you need rest even though the nap gave you some energy.”

After that V contented with Eve holding her hand, falling back asleep swiftly as they painkiller started working. Once she had drifted off, Eve made sure she was covered properly by the blanket and then left for the office, keeping the door open as promised.

**
Villanelle had woken because she needed to use the bathroom and as she was about to return to her room she overheard Eve in a phone conversation. She did not want to pry but Eve sounded agitated.

“We had the same discussion last year Samantha my family comes first. I won’t make the same mistakes I made last time.”

Something in V’s chest swelled and then deflated. She had hurt Eve.

“No I am staying right where I am. I want the publish date pushed back. Yes for me there is more important things than this book. It’s my private live that I have left in shambles for a full year. Now is my time and you know I have enough publishers with good deals. I want to stay with Walters publishing but it is time you guys started respecting my private life.”

There was silence for a few seconds.

“Thank you Samantha. I will inform you when I am ready to talk about a publishing date.”

She hung up and Villanelle decided to slowly make her way back to her bed.

“Next time switch on the hallway light V! I don’t want you to fall over.”

When she looked up Eve stood in the office door, phone still in her hand.

“I did not want to eavesdrop…”

“I know, my door was open. Sorry if I woke you.”

Eve was leaned casually against the door jamb and Villanelle’s heart was just threatening to burst at the sight of her in this home. This was were she had always belonged.

“You want to know what I was talking about with Walters?”

She asked Villanelle and the younger woman nodded.

“Come on. Let’s have some tea. You go sit at the dining table.”

When Eve came to the table with two steaming teas, Villanelle had adjusted herself so her leg was up on another chair and resting.

“Walters, against my wishes, wanted to publish the book next month. I had explained the situation to them and they are still pushing for it. They also want me to tour again which I have refused.”

Villanelle’s hands where around the mug, staring at the dark liquid.

“You said same discussion last year.”

She saw Eve lean back in her chair, staring out into the winter worn garden.

“Last year, after we argued, I called Walters and said I would change publisher after their...I couldn’t go on like we had and decided they either changed my schedule or I would leave.”

Eve tried to explain, swallowing hard when she spoke about the argument.

“You...you wanted to…”

Eve did not look at her but nodded.

“I would have done anything for you V.”

Her eyes closed and Villanelle realized how tired she looked. Villanelle felt her throat close and chest constrict painfully. The past tense in that sentence killed her, but she realized even know Eve was here, at her side as she had promised.

“Eve...I know you said when I am better. But you deserved better from me. I...the Discord thing...I didn’t know it was you in the beginning. I thought...and then we met at Tapas, I realized who you are and you were so angry. I had no chance. And you were so nice to me when there was no name to me. I just wished you would let me get to know you. But you hated me for being Vasilliev. When we met more and more as friends and you gave me a chance I tried to let the contact online dwindle out…I… am sorry. I should have told you. But I feared you would hate me again.”

And she had! Had she not, V thought.

“I felt like you used the chat against me. I feared I had been manipulated.”

Eve explained, walking to the patio door and staring out, arms around herself.

“I had a marriage were I always felt gaslighted. I trusted you and suddenly I wondered…”

“I never once told you what to do in regards to me Eve. I tried my best not to let conversations stray to your feelings.”

Yes, Eve knew that. She had read the chats often enough, trying to see if she had missed clues.

“I know.”

Eve turned to her, gazing at the younger woman with her head slightly cocked sideways. They were talking about it now anyways, she might as well ask.

“Who was the woman in canary yellow?”

The younger woman frowned, wrecking her brain for someone in yellow lately.

“Not these days Villanelle. Last year, New York. Your favorite lounge. You had a drink with a woman in yellow.”

Eyes widened and Eve watched as the other woman looked completely confused.

“You wonder how I know? I went to New York to apologize to you and make up. I talked to Walters that day. Remember the talk I told you about”

Before Eve could go on V held up her hand to stop her. She realized just what Eve had witnessed. Eyes filled with tears as Villanelle finally understood what had brought on the last year. She understood completely and she understood Eve’s anger.
She took shaky breaths, feeling her ribs painfully spasm, but she did not complain, going ashen white from the pain.

“Nadia. I was in the bar after I saw your...your Ellen interview. I needed to get out because you looked so sad even though you smiled and I knew I had done that. I went to the lounge, had a couple of whiskeys when someone sat down next to me. It was Nadia saying she just wanted to see me look miserable.”

She adjusted how she sat but knew it was too late already, muscles spasming.

“Told her to leave and that I’d even pay the damn drink if she would. When she got off the chair she grabbed my shoulder and when i turned to tell her off she kissed me. I turned away and you know I wish to this day I would have done more, I should have yelled, pushed her something. But I know she is pushing for a reaction because she was put into therapy for her little fashion week blow up and just tries to get back at me with a scandal of my own. My dad always warned me of her. Kenny warned me of her.”

Eve had only seen seconds of it before jumping back in the cab, she had not seen V pull away.
She had reacted this time. Unlike when she had found Niko cheating with gemma on her couch, where she had stood rooted to the spot in shock until they had seen her.

Villanelle's breathing was pained and she needed to get off from the chair, needed to lay down and let her ribcage relax. She stood, shaking, sweaty from the exertion. Eve, even after all sprung to action and went to her side.

“You need to get back into bed.”

the taller woman nodded, baffled by it all.

“I wish...you had let me explain.”

Eve worried at the way V spoke.

“Villenelle...please we can speak more tomorrow but you need rest.”

The Doctors had warned her that over exertion could lead to very painful muscle spasms. They barely got V back onto her bed and she laid on it in pain, sweat rolling down her pale face as Eve held her hand and wiped her face with a cool damp washcloth.

“It hurts…”

“I know...I know. I shouldn’t have let you sit so long.”

“No...it hurts that...I hurt you. It hurts you think I didn’t love you enough to be faithful.”

Another whimper and this spasm was a bigger, and Eve started feeling helpless as well as completely broken by V’s words. BUt she had a history and getting over what other people had done to her and not letting it guide her reactions was hard.

“V…”

Glassy eyes turned to her and Villanelles thin fingers reached out and stroked her cheek.

“And even though...I did all of this you are here.”

Eve had had to call Villanelle’s GP in the middle of the night, the spasms not letting up at all, she apologized a hundred times to the older gentleman but he shushed her and then sat with Villanelle. They spoke softly and though Villanelle refused at first, he got her to accept the muscle relaxant after a while. He even left some of it, if the spasms should return, explaining the reason for them to Eve, so she would better know what to look out for.

Eve sat with Villanelle, soon falling asleep like she had so often in the hospital, head on the bed, arms underneath supporting.

**

“Did you two talk?”

Elena asked, as they started with their Christmas decorations around the house. Eve did not have much, El had gotten her some stuff and she had sent Kenny to take V out to get some fresh air and select a tree. V could not go to Konstantin’s this year so she had invited him and Irina.

“Yes. The night she had these terrible muscle spasms a few days ago.”

Since then there was a strange undercurrent in the house. Like a trepidation.

“So…what did she say.”

“That she never pushed my opinion of herself on discord, which is true it still sucks but it...it was not malicious. And that the lady in the Bar was her ex, trying to make her cause a scene.”

Eve explained as they untangled the lights.

“Do you believe her?”

“In a way. It’s just...with my past…”

“Eve...Niko never loved you. Not like Villanelle.”

She knew that. But that did not take away the insecurity. Eve had always felt she was not the same step on the ladder as Villanelle was. Why would she not rather be with someone like Nadia? Same social standing, same Background and posh schools?
Inside Eve had always wondered what a woman like V wanted with her. All ratty wide pullovers and not knowing what cutlery went with what. She was a clam chowder kind of girl. Villanelle was Caviar and champagne. So it was easy to think: one day she will stray and search for someone more fitting.

She had gotten the baubles from her walk in dresser, having to reach up high and stretching to reach the box. She pulled and barely got it down when a little box on top slipped and crashed to the floor, a sickening sound of glass breaking making Eve flinch and curse. She grabbed the tiny box and carried all down. Once at the dining table she checked what had been shattered and gasped, paling. She excused herself suddenly, leaving the house and going into her garden shed. When Elena checked the box confused, she found what must have been a beautiful bauble inside, in many pieces, proclaiming ‘First Christmas together.’

Minutes Later the Front door opened and she knew Kenny and V were back. Eve had asked Kenny to take V out for a while so she could get some fresh air into herself under the premise they couldn’t stay too long.

“We’re back.”

Kenny yelled and a grumpy looking Villanelle hobbled inside on her crutches.

“Don’t mind the grinch.”

Elena looked confused at the last sentence from Kenny, who was busy carrying a tree in to where Eve had already placed the stand.

“Look at what he put on my leg!”

And sure enough the most Ugly christmas sock had been pulled over her cast to protect her from the cold. Villanelle complained while the two laughed but stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the bauble pieces on the table and no sign of Eve.

“I am sorry I was about to put it…It fell down when Eve tried to get the tree decorations from her closet”

Villanelle raised her hand, there was no need to be sorry. Villanelle knew where Eve was. Saw the light on in the garden house. Eve’s little sanctuary they had called it, the spot where she went to think and mull and be alone.

“Has she been there long?”

“Maybe 15 minutes.”

A stoic short nod and then V turned to Kenny.

“Thanks for taking me out. I really needed that.”

Just as she said this, Eve returned from the garden, hugged El and thanked Kenny and then saw them off with V. All the while ignoring the the box with the broken Bauble in the younger woman’s hand.

“You like the tree?”

Eve nodded but did not speak, simply looking at the tree.

“Do you want me to get rid of…”

“Let’s get you out of these thick clothes before you sweat yourself to death.”

“...Eve…”

The older woman turned to her then. Sad eyes looked up at Villanelle then Eve’s soft hands grabbed the box, opening the lid so the older woman could look inside.

“It fell and broke.”

Tears were in Eve’s voice, And Villanelle laid her hand on top of Eve’s, soothingly rubbing her thumbs over the back of Eve’s hands. It was ironic really.

“We’ll get a new one.”

The offer was clear in Villanelle’s words. She was not giving up on them, She would fight for Eve and them. One hand went to Eve’s neck, holding her ever so tender, Villanelle’s forehead softly leaning against Eve’s, who swallowed hard.

“Give me a chance Eve. Please...let us make new memories. I know what happened doesn’t look good for me. But I swear I never cheated on you. I would rather hack my hands off than do that to you. I am not asking you to just get back like that, as if nothing happened, as if I didn’t say these horrible things, as if I didn’t make the mistake with the chat and as if you haven’t ran away for a year. I never stopped loving you Eve and I don’t think I could. I just want us to start over.”

The older woman was reduced to tears and sniffling but nodded at some point and it caused such a weight to fall off Villanelle. They could do this. They could try again and make things better, not make the same mistakes as before. They would grow stronger from this.

Chapter Text

“I am so...so full!”

Villanelle exclaimed, leaning back in her chair, then yelping in pain as her ribcage spasmed.

“I told you …”

“I know...I know...but…”

“I swear to god if you insert a joke about my cooking, I will hide your painkillers.”

Eve said and then started clearing the dishes, thanking a laughing Irina who had stood to help.

“Konstantin can you help her to the couch?”

Ever worried Eve asked.

The Elder Vasilliev helped his daughter to the said couch and helped her sit slowly, pushing the bench close so she could put her leg up. While the other two cleaned the Dining room and kitchen they could talk some. There was live back in his daughter's eyes and he had never felt this happy.

“How are you Myshka?”

“Healing just fine. It’s just annoying I can’t move about properly. I hate that Eve has to do all this stuff around the house alone. I can’t stand long, I can’t sit long. But the Doctors say I am healing well.”

She looked at him and his strange smile and rubbed her neck.

“That’s not what you meant.”

“Eve keeps me well informed about your healing process. You know we speak each day.”

Villanelle did have the grace to blush about, but smiled at the laughter and chatter coming from the kitchen.

“We talked. We want to try to start over. Slow and steady.”

Konstantin nodded. He had never seen two such people that seemed to fit so perfectly yet somehow could not get their act together.

"Myshka...what happened?"
His daughter flinched and then explained the messenger thing as well as what Eve had seen on her surprise visit in New York.

“You should have taken out that restraining order against Nadia.”

Her father said, nonplussed at the odyssey of a story.

“I know.”

**

“Where did you spend Christmas last year?”

Villanelle whispered from the bed next to her. Since they needed both guest rooms They had decided Villanelle would move back up. The large bed they had gotten together left them enough space since Eve was paranoid of rolling onto the younger woman and hurt her.

“Switzerland. It was boring. It felt wrong. I...felt wrong.”

Eve explained and frowned at her inability to use words properly.

“Why did you feel wrong?”

There was a huff, then the mattress moved and Eve rolled onto her side to face her.

“Because I don’t belong.”

Villanelle made a confused sound and her hand fished for Eve’s, squeezing it once she found it.

“Why would you not? Because you worked yourself upwards instead of being born into someone else’s wealth?”

The silence grew and Eve sighed as if she wouldn’t understand.

“You think you don’t belong and I don’t know why. You are absolutely breathtaking, smart and well spoken. You can hold yourself in a conversation with anyone. I was the envy of my fathers christmas party because you were there with me.”

Eve was silent for long moments, pondering what to say but ultimately decidinf that maybe she should explain why she was so insecure.

“He usually started the day by telling me he married the most useless woman, because I did not cook well. At first he made it sound like a joke, banter. But the longer we were married, the more his little jokes grew into open resentment. I dressed wrong, My hair looked messy, I am so boring, I can’t run a bookshop...I think the pinnacle was when I came home and found him fucking his colleague on my couch and all he said was I couldn’t satisfy him.”

The anger in Villanelle grew with each word and she wished she could properly move because she wanted to hold Eve and show her how worth she was.

“He was really surprised I filed for divorce.”

The first thing she probably had done that Niko had not thought was boring.

“I love your hair. Especially in the morning when you just got up and it’s all wild. I love carding my hands through your locks. I love the way you look casually. When you wear these big pullovers and they swallow you whole. Because you allow me to see you this way and I want to curl you up against me. I love it especially when you wear my clothes and I love how you can suddenly wear the finest clothing and still look cute instead of snooty. Your ideas ran several stores. You have become a big author with readers all over the world. And once I can move again properly, without wheezing my lungs out, I will tell and show you exactly how you satisfy me in bed.”

Eve blushed heavily at all the praise from Villanelle, especially that last part.

Fingertips landed on the side of her neck, then traveled up to the cheek, simply caressing Villanelle.

“I don’t feel I am good enough for you. Like at some point you will realize what I am and you will run.”

“Eve...I have met many people. I have been with many. But I never wanted anyone like I want and need you in my life.”

This fear was what drove a lot of their interactions when they faced troubles, Villanelle felt. She tried to turn onto her side and then cursed.

“Please don’t hurt yourself.”

Eve whispered.

“I just want to hold you.”

Eve shuffled towards her, laying at the uninsured side anyways, and pressed up to V’s side and the blonde pulled her against her safe side, letting Eve press her face against her neck.
After a minute or two, Eve felt wetness on her forehead.

“Villanelle…”

She must have held the sob in for a while because it did come now, still being fought against.

“Sorry.”

Shuffling up, Eve pressed her forehead against V’s temple and whispered softly.

“Are you ok? Any pain?”

A nod, a sniffle and then a shake of her head probably to the pain question.

“I just didn’t think I would get to hold you again a few weeks ago and I am really, really relieved.”

The meaning behind these words pained Eve, seeing this raw emotion from the other woman.

“I should have spoken to you...I hurt so much at the thought…”

“Sh...Eve...please I understand.”

V did. She understood because Eve’s history set her up to believe she was being cheated on.
Straining, Villanelle turned and pressed a very tender kiss to Eve’s forehead.

“We’ll do better this time.”

Eve knew she would have to move away from this position soon so she would not roll half onto Villanelle, one of her favored positions of sleep when V wasn’t wrapping her whole lanky body around her from behind.

“Switzerland felt wrong, because I would rather spend christmas like we do now.”

She whispered, not seeing the satisfied smile on Villanelle’s face.

**

“You should be in bed resting Eve. Our visit here has been stressful for you.”

Konstantin whispered from the door, which made her look up from the papers on her desk, smiling softly and pointing at the chair in front of the desk. She watched him sit down comfortably.

“It’s the good kind of stress though to have you and Irina here.”

It made Konstantin smile warmly before he looked at the mess on the desk concerned.

“What are you up to in the middle of the night?”

She took off her reading glasses, leaned back in the chair and sighed.

“Walters Publishing is not happy about me pushing back the publishing of the book. I am going over the contract because I am running out of leverage.”

He looked concerned.

“They are still pressuring you even though you have a personal emergency?”

She nodded and felt the frustration full force.

“I think I will have to find a lawyer for this one. And...possibly switch publishers. I have offers I just don’t know if I can get out of the contract.”

Konstantin nodded.

“Send me the contract via E-Mail. Our Family lawyer will handle it.”

She shook her head softly.

“Konstantin...I”

“No arguing. You are family and don’t argue about that either. You took care of my daughter even though practically you had separated. I know you have gone through a lot and still you are at each other’s side. I won’t let them bully you and stress you more.”

Eve stood and went around the desk and Konstantin did, what he always did so well, giving her a fatherly hug.

“Let me worry about those things. You and my daughter sort out what is going on and get better.”

It was a wonder the man did not hate her for the way she had left things, that he still trusted her.

“Now go to bed Eve. Sleep in. Irina and I will take care of breakfast.”

**

When she woke the next morning, Eve’s hand instantly reached and searched for Villanelle. She had done that when she had left too, which often made the beginning of her day a sad affair, realizing no one was there to reach for. She frowned and buried under the sheets again, for a moment, the feeling of it all had been a dream, overwhelmed her. The door opened, the mattress dipped slightly and only then did she peek out from under the blanket. She found Villanelle head turned sideways at her.

“Hey sleepyhead.”

A grunt and her head was back under the blankets. If she just tried hard enough she could go back to that nice dream she had had. The thought of it and the subject of her dream made her blush. A hand snuck under the blanket with her, stroking her lower back.

“Papochka said you were up late with some publisher problems. Again.”

Eve shuffled close to the spot Villanelle sat on and then sat up, revealing a wild bed head. Villanelle’s loving smile, she knew Eve was no morning person, made her feel immediately better and she leaned into V, sighing happily.

“Papa and Irina made a very nice looking breakfast but if you want, we’ll let you sleep more.”

“They’re going to the Crystal Mountains for skiing right? I’ll be right down.”

She did not move an inch, eyes closed, head on V’s shoulder so the younger woman let her for a moment until she heard her name being called.

“I’ll tell them to pour you an extra big mug.”

Once she made it downstairs, hair somehow tamed and looking halfway presentable the chatter from the kitchen made her smile. She stood in the hallway a moment and took it in. That was what they had bought this house for, to fill it with laughter and happiness. Villanelle and her would be fine, they just needed to work on it. She needed to get over her insecurities. She knew Villanelle was not Niko, would never be like that, but she was scared to lose that one good thing.

An arm slung around her suddenly and Eve realized that she had been so deep in thought she had not seen Villanelle come up to her.

“Hey. Sorry in thoughts.”

She wanted to move but V stopped her with a smile that stole her breath for a second, a smile that was reminiscent of times before arguments. Playful and so in love.

“Wait…”

V said and nodded up. Her eyes followed and she found the younger woman's arm stretched, in her hand a mistletoe. When she looked back down, smiling herself, she found V’s lips on hers, oh so tenderly and the feeling of being kissed by her again made eve a mass of emotions.

They could not let it go too far for many reasons, V’s broken bones amongst them. But it was the sweetest of kisses and portrayed the happiness and love that was still somehow there. That had not left them, had only been buried. It was like a ray of sunshine breaking through the cloudy skies after days of rain. That warm feeling washing over Eve and she was home! She was finally back home. She kept Villanelle against her, not letting her move as she felt she did not wish this moment to end. She wondered briefly if taking things slowly would ever work between them, the old flames swiftly ignited just from a kiss or look.

“Thank you…”

Eve whispered.

“For what?”

V asked, laughing.

“For bringing me home.”

She said and blushed but the woman in her arms simply smiled and hugged her one more time before letting her go to the dining room.

Chapter Text

Eve was in the garden house, sitting over the rough draft for the third book of her series. It was the end of January and Villanelle had been taken to the Dr.s by Kenny, to check on the leg and ribs. To give her some time for her work, V had asked her friend to drive her around, knowing her fathers lawyers were still arguing with Eve’s publishers and she needed to make sure they could not say she was not doing her job properly.

The second Book had just been published, pushed as far back as she could make them. Sales looked good, reviews were slowly trickling in. She still refused checking online. Reddit had a fanpage and there was a Fanforum. She knew the open ending would cause an outcry. But she had been in a bad spot when she had let the British Assassin kidnap the estranged wife of the Main character, a female detective, mutually obsessed with the suave female killer.

She sighed and wondered what to do with the wife, then had an idea and typed it up in her base roadmap and idea document.
The cold winter sun shone through the large windows and movement in the garden, seen from the corner of her eye, made her look up. A wide smile bloomed on Eve’s face as she leaned back and enjoyed watching Villanelle walk towards her. She was in faded jeans, a dark shirt, french tugged, as Villanelle had explained and aviator leather jacket from a christmas that seemed so long ago. She had her hands in her pockets casually, strolling towards her writing retrieve, looking simply put dapper. The door to the garden house opened and V came in smiling.

“Well would you look at you.”

Eve said and grinned, turning her chair to so she could better look at V.

She herself was in jeans, shirt and overlong cardigan. Villanelle said nothing, simply held her hand out, pulling Eve into her arms as soon ash the older woman had taken the offered hand. Her lips crashed to Eve’s and she held her close against her body, turning them slowly and walking Eve towards the closest wall. The moment a tongue pushed into her mouth, Eve stopped thinking and simply let herself be pushed wherever V wanted her, until she felt the wall against her back and she gasped.

“Wait...wait…”

Softly pushing at the other woman’s shoulders to get some space between them.

“What about taking it slowly mhh?”

Villanelle looked confused, eyes wild and groaned.

“Sorry Eve...I just...I can finally walk and hold you without looking out for my ribs.”

And she missed Eve. Simple. She had yearned for Eve for over a year, had wanted to hold and kiss her, to wrap her body around Eve again. Villanelle had thought she would never get to do that again and all of a sudden, and she knew she could never say that out loud, that bike crash had been like a blessing. It was wrong to think that way. Slow suddenly seemed like torture.

“Will you have time tonight? I want to celebrate being declared healthy as a horse.”

Eve laughed and nodded. Yes, she would of course have time or take the time she wanted.

“What do you have planned.”

She was pulled against the long lean body again and Villanelle swayed them softly.

“We will have a nice dinner and then I want to watch a movie with you in my arms.”
“Sounds like a very good plan.”

Another very soft kiss before Villanelle, a ball of energy now that she could freely move around, bounced off, phone already in her hand.

“I’ll go get everything I need for cooking.”

And off she was again, as fast as she had appeared and Eve laughed, lips still swollen from the sudden attack. They had easily fallen back into their own rhythm but Eve felt sometimes both had an invisible boundary, not sure if a reaction was right or if they could say something.
Her mind wandered back to the image of Villanelle in that casual outfit, strolling to the garden, wanting to commit that picture to her memory.

**

The Publishing party followed weeks after the book itself started selling. Sales were good, really good actually and Eve was happy. When they Invitation followed for the Party in New York Eve had immediately let Villanelle take the time off.

“You want me to come with you?”

“I want you to be my +1”

It had made the younger woman smile happily before her grin turned wolfish and she declared:

“We need to go shopping.”

Eve had groaned but in the end it had been nice to spend a day out like this again, holding hands, strolling the stores Villanelle liked. In the end they settled for a tailored suit for Eve while Villanelle refused to show her what she had gotten. It frustrated Eve but she forgot about it quickly being busy with the Daily barrage of reviews to read.

Konstantin was happy to have them in New York again even though, for Eve it was more work than business. When the Party finally came Eve was waiting for her plus one with Konstantin in the kitchen and having a drink to calm her nerves, speaking about the meeting she had with the family lawyers, what they all talked about. She had been adamant about a Will having seen how fast something bad could happen. She had made a rather large amount of money with her first book and her investments had gone well too.

“You won’t return tonight, Villanelle said?”

“No the gig comes with a lavish suite booking. I thought about cancelling that but then I decided for all the stress they put me through I can cost them some.”

He laughed his loud laugh and then it died in his throat when his daughter came into the kitchen. Eve stared, cheeks blushed as she found no words. Villanelle in her dark red evening gown was simply breathtaking. The V neck teasing but still classic and not too revealing, the bodice of the dress hugging and accentuating her beautiful shape. Her hair was open and flowy and Eve felt a schmuck in her presence.

“Hi.”

V said so happy to see Ev’s reaction, who was spluttering for words. The usually suave writer unable to form a simple sentence.

“You look so good.”

Eve said stupidly, still very much amazed. It was usually Villanelle in the suits and her in dresses and suddenly she wished it was more often like this.

Konstantin wished them both a nice evening, the Limousine waiting for them outside.

Before stepping out, V stepped up all proud at the way the older woman looked at her, eyes roaming and unsure where to stay. There was a neediness in Eve’s eyes and that hunger fueled V to tease her. They had not taken it too far yet, concentrating on each other’s needs to make their relationship work again. They had kissed and cuddled but Villanelle had sworn she would only take the last step if Eve initiated. V stepped up to her love and looked down tenderly, stroking a soft cheek.

“You look amazing Eve.”

And she leaned down and kissed her softly, then laughed after breaking the kiss.

“Sorry for smudging your lipstick. I will behave now.”

When they arrived Eve felt nervous, seeing the line of photographers and the other guests that all looked so amazing. But V’s hand squeezing hers, her loving eyes, gave her some strength. Villanelle was proud of her, was delighted they would attend such an event together as it was press official. It was a big step for them. They had not hidden away before, but well they had also never been to Eve’s events together.

The door was opened for them and the Flashlights started immediately. Eve got out first, and then held out her hand for Villanelle, who got out of the car looking regal, head held high, shoulders proud. The older woman was seriously star struck. She barely heard the constant yells to look here or there, she just stood, arm around V looking happy. Because who would not be happy having this beauty at their side?

They turned from camera to camera, V leaning into her and at one point a guy from a Newspaper asked if Villanelle was there to support her author friend and the young woman laughed prettily.

“We are actually a couple and I am very proud to support Eve tonight at the publishing of her second book.”

After that the flashlight’s got even more frantic. Eve was so amazed how classy Villanelle was on the red carpet, like a Hollywood Diva of old, the one’s her mother watched the movies off. She was blessed being held softly and at one point she felt V’s lips on her cheek, mumbling I love you’s into her ear.

Once they made it inside, being ushered by the Party planner, Eve was still blushed up.

“Well that caused a stir.”

 

The whole evening Eve’s sole attention was on Villanelle and the feelings she caused inside. There was this hunger she had always felt,but had pushed away because they had said they would take it slow, do it right this time. Both had deserved better from the other and Eve never wanted to be parted from V again. This was too serious for her. They had to make things right.

It was not too late, when they decided to have one more dance together and Eve, feeling confident and rather aroused all night whispered to Villanelle.

“Want to see the suite they booked us?”

It seemed ages before they reached it and Eve really saw nothing much of it, because as soon as they entered the two women were a mess of limbs, kissing hungrily.
Villanelle enjoyed this Eve immensely, all bossy, suit wearing five foot five ball of hungry energy.

They made it to the bed, somehow without falling over anything or themselves, their lips never parting for too long. When Eve tried to reach for the zipper on the back of her dress, Villanelle stopped her, smirking and pushed her to sit down on the bed. Then she slowly stripped out of the dress for her. Letting it pool at her legs, watching in delight how Eve’s pupils widened, hands grabbing the luxurious bed sheets tightly and swallowing thickly at the very sexy underwear and garters.

“Oh…”

Eve mumbled making Villanelle grin rather proudly. She had not been sure where the evening would lead but she had been ready for the possibility.
Stepping up in between Eve’s legs, V bit the side of her lips, making her lover groan shakily. Gentle fingers slowly started unbuttoning Eve’s vest, then dress shirt, the blonde revelling at the effect she had, causing a nice flush across the Koreans skin partnered with a heaving chest. Parting the shirt she looked into her lovers eyes, laying her hand over her heart.

“I love you so…”

Hands grabbed her on the back of her thighs, pulling her in and Villanelle moaned hotly as Eve’s fingertips naughtily snuck up between her legs, her lovers face pressed against her flat belly.

“I want you.”

Eve husked hungrily, voice cracking with need and while one hand held V in place, the other pulled her panties aside and then her hips bucked, knees going weak when she felt her lovers fingers explore her playfully. Her hands on eve’s shoulders held her upright and she was almost embarrassed how fast she had come the first few times that night. It was simply sexy beyond belief to stand between Eve’s legs, look down and see her lover gaze at her full of need, panties a mess by then. She was so aroused she blushed at the thought of how her lovers fingers found her and when she felt lips and tongue on her it was over way too fast.

It seemed Eve’s mission was to completely unravel her and she was reduced to a moaning, screaming mess, sweaty and thoroughly taken. Villanelle had missed her lover and the excitement of having Eve back, of Eve still loving and wanting her like this, made V feel like a teenager again. All needy for touch and kiss and not even once that night did she think of slowing down or getting sleep. They could spend the rest of the day in bed if they needed. This first night of being together again intimately was theirs.

**

“Three Cities in Europe and every few weeks a city in the US after. Not more. In these cities there will be an interview in radio or TV, some Newspaper meetings. But no more than that. That is what the new Contract would entail, no more mandatory events but the publishing party anything else is your choice. We only had this leverage because your new book is already on bestseller lists here and in Europe.”

Konstantins family lawyer explained via the Video conference. Eve was sitting in the Booklovers Inc. meeting room, having decided to visit Villanelle, who was back in full Boss mode and working no longer from home. It was also a perfect opportunity to use the meeting room.

Konstantin, who was with the lawyer, shrugged.

“I spoke to other authors I personally know and they say it’s a good deal. Walters wants to hold on to you because of the other thing we have to talk to you about.”

Eve nooded, she had handed all legal matters over to Konstantin’s lawyers, so everything concerning the family stayed in one hand.

“We were approached by a streaming service, they want the exclusive production rights to the book. Either movies or TV Series. They are still working this out and want to send a full contract offer by the end of the week. You would be involved in writing and production decisions.”

While Konstantin grinned proudly, Eve felt shocked. She had never thought…

“Of course we would make sure that the contract holds up to your time standards. We know your fian...well partner comes first.”

The lawyer said, stumbling over what Eve and Villanelle were. She blushed and nodded.

“I will have to speak with my partner first but if they want to send an offer I will certainly not stop them.”

Eve said and soon after they ended the call.

She was in absolute disbelief when she got out of the meeting room and decided to find V, not having to search long she was in the open kitchenette with Kenny, making coffee.

“Hey! How was your talk with the monkey suit man.”

“Please don’t call Michael that. He is a very nice guy that tried very hard to make sure I get a better contract.”

“Ooooooohhh Michael…”

Eve rolled her eyes and then frowned at the offered mug of coffee.

“You still have that mug?”

Kenny could barely hold back the laugh.

“And nobody got to use it because V kept firing them fast.”

Eve frowned and looked back and forth between the two, V shooting daggers at Kenny.

“Wait...who is...You have no one for decorations?”

The younger woman shrugged, Kenny decided he was not gonna be part of that fall out and left saying he had servers to check.

“I don’t want someone else.”

Eve grabbed her hand and pulled her towards her office, not wanting others to listen.

“You need someone for the decorations.”

“Eve...your stuff is fine for the future.”

In truth Villanelle had not wanted the spot to be filled, feeling that if Eve ever made it back it was hers, which was a stupid thing to feel like and she lowered her head a bit ashamed.

“I don’t want anyone else…”

Eve stepped up, grasping her hand and making her look at her again.

“I know...but I ...I can’t do it all. Your father just told me that the rights to my book for films or TV is being asked for.”

“Oh…”

Eve could see it, the fear that they would be apart again too much.

“Hold on! I already told them they know my rules to a deal, also I said nothing would be decided before I have not spoken to you. I am not letting anyone get the better of our time again and I only have 3 weeks of europe travel plus a few things here and there in the US. Mostly TV Interviews.”

Villanelle tugged Eve close, putting her chin on the crown of her head. Eve was doing a lot for them, she knew that.

“That sounds reasonable.”

“It does...I also hoped that maybe you could come with me to Europe. You haven’t taken a real vacation in ages.”

At this thought Villanelle brightened and immediately jumped to action, happy at the thought to spend time with Eve traveling. Yes some time would be taken up by interviews, but they day in between were theirs.

By evening it was settled Villanelle would go with her.
They had ordered out and Eve decided to give the events of the Seattle store a look over, maybe she could squeeze a few hours weekly in and help with some things.

“Hey Baby Vanity fair called.”

Eve looked up from the color swatch book in V’s office.

“Huh?”

Villanelle stood in the doorway looking at her with a smirk, eyes wandering already.

“They want to write a story about the ‘Books Powercouple’ as they said.”

“Oh…what did you say?”

Eve crossed out another color which she didn’t think fitting this seasons coming summer colors.

“No.”

It needed to register and when Eve looked up again V was gone. She was baffled at the short answer. She could not believe the younger woman would give such a rude answer really. So she quickly closed the color book and followed her to the dining room. Since they would be eating in, Eve had opted for loose pants and one of V’s running pullovers, which was as always rather big on her. But when she entered the Dining room it was only lit by candles and the table prepared beautifully.

Her partner smiled brightly and the confusion was now complete. Besides that Eve felt severely underdressed.

“Oh...what’s going on?”

“Can’t I want to have a nice dinner with you?”

Villanelle asked playfully and went to her, slinging her arms around her waist, pressing a kiss against Eve’s forehead.

“Of course you can.”

Eve soothed and looked up smiling.

“Did you really tell Vanity Fair just...no?”

Villanelle laughed and then sobered.

“I used more words.”

“Villanelle!”

Eve said incredulously and stared at her leaving back as she went to the kitchen to get their plates.
Who said no to Vanity Fair? What had gotten into V?

She returned with the Pasta from their favorite italian restaurant and Eve poured them each a white wine.

“Okay...you are acting strangely.”

Eve said at Villanelle who shrugged nonchalantly.

“Maybe I just want to get you in the mood for a full night of sex.”

Besides the heavy blush that one caused, Eve answered voice a husk:

“I don’t think you would need all this…”

And they both grinned.

Nothing more came from V towards the Vanity fair thing, she started eating and ignored Eve’s questioning looks. They ate, enjoying the meal and small talk and Eve almost forgot about the whole incident. But then When they cleared the dishes and Eve stood at the kitchen counter, small talking to V while the other woman filled up the dishwasher (‘I just think you ought to put the pots somewhere els...let me do it ok?’), she remembered.

“Can we finish our talk about Vanity Fair? When did they call?”

V wiped her hands, satisfied with her tetris skills, and then suddenly she was pressed up against Eve’s back, hand on each side of her on the marble counter, lips on the sensitive skin under her ear, eliciting a moan from Eve.

“When you were studying color swatches.”

V husked into her ear and Eve moaned again, ass automatically pressing back needily.
One slender arm slung across her belly and kept her nice and close, Eve’s head moving to the side to grand the woman behind more access to her neck.

“What...oh god...what did you say exactly?”

Teeth scraped her skin and her knees buckled, only held upright by being held up. She wanted to turn so badly, but V would not let her, enjoying riling her up like this always. The hand from the counter moved back for a short moment before it was back, the fist on the counter so she could see it.

“I told them not yet. Because I wanted to make you my wife first.”

Eve’s breath caught in her throat and the hand on the counter left, leaving behind the engagement ring she had given back. She stared at it, still as perfect as back then and V gave her space, stepping back from her. She almost protested at the loss of touch but her eyes were glued to the ring.

“I made huge mistakes Eve. I hate myself every day I see that finger missing the ring. I still want to marry you and I know you might need time for this but...when you are ready, please…”

Eve turned to her and simply hugged her, perfectly tucked under Villanelle’s chin. Perfectly held, perfectly loved.

**

Eve had found herself alone in bed the next morning, Villanelle definitely letting her sleep in after the previous night's activities. She smiled and stretched, feeling her body hum from the delicious ache her lover had left behind.

She showered and dried her hair, then went downstairs already smelling cinnamon rolls and coffee, smiling. The table was set for them but there was no Villanelle. Eve frowned but then saw her standing in the garden, regarding their large tree. V had a love hate relationship with it. In Summers she loved the shade in autumn she hated clearing it’s leaves. So finding her standing there in winter, look at the branches was, odd. Eve closed her fluffy robe tighter around herself and then went to join V in the garden.

Her steps made her girlfriend turn and look at her sheepishly. Eve pressed herself against the younger woman’s back, arms around her midriff and face pressed in between shoulders.

“Thank you for breakfast.”

A nod and smile to the thanks and turning, putting her arm around Eve’s shoulders, they ended up hugging properly.

“You’re welcome. Did you sleep well?”

Eve smirked and blushed at her own thoughts.

“Oh you know…”

Lips against her forehead and a chuckle.

“What are you doing out here?”

Villanelle’s smile faltered a bit and she looked at the tree again.

“Do you think the branch would hold a swing?”

That was an odd question and Eve turned her head to look at the tree too.

“I reckon...why do you want a swing?”

“Just wondered. Come on the cinnamon rolls will go all cold.”

Eve followed, turning once more to the tree absolutely baffled. Once inside Eve found Villanelle different. She seemed so deep in thought and there was this boundary again. As Eve got her coffee she stopped next to V and took her hand.

“Talk to me?”

Villanelle snapped out of it and ten bit her lip but nodded.

“I know we never spoke about this...and i don’t even know how to ask…”

“Just straight out is probably the best.”

A nod from the younger woman but she seemed a bit scared still.

“Eve...why did you and Niko...never have children?”

Chapter Text

“Eve...why did you and Niko...never have children?”

Eve let that question wash over her. Yes, that was indeed a loaded question. She grabbed their coffees and put them on the table, then went to get the cinnamon rolls. Once she was back at the table she thought of how to put it.

“I wanted children in the beginning. But then I wasn’t happy any longer and well...Niko, I don’t think he wanted children with me and I was kind of happy, because I certainly would have never put a child into a home like that. ”

And it dawned on her where this might be going.

“Do...do you want children Villanelle?”

Of course she might want them. Villanelle was only thirty. But it was true, they had never touched on that subject. For her it was something that reminded her of how Niko thought she wasn’t worth having a child with. But now she was happy she had not done this to a child that deserved better.

“My dad and I talked a lot about my adoption lately, because I can not really remember the time and I wondered...if I, we could do that for a child. And then such thoughts snowball and I kind of …”

Villanelle had imagined Eve holding a child, swaying them like her Papa had swayed her when she was sad, reading to her or him. She imagined pushing a child on a swing. She imagined her father being a grandfather and suddenly she could not stop imagining it.

Eve nodded and she did not seem to look repulsed which relieved Villanelle.

“If you don’t want an adoption that’s fine...I swear I just…”

She panicked suddenly wondering if this had been the wrong time. They had just gotten back together really, were trying to find their footing.
Eve’s hand grasped hers and squeezed soothingly.

“You are right to bring it up. Afterall you said you want to marry me. So yes, we should probably be on the same page what we see in the future V. Don’t get scared of it. Let’s have breakfast and then just talk.”

And they did just that, Eve needing to gather her thoughts on the subject. As a young woman, fresh in love with Niko she had wanted children. The longer they were married the more she was scared of the thought. But now she was with Villanelle and she had seriously never thought of Children yet.

Both were lost in thought during breakfast but after Eve felt ready. She had coffee and felt alert.

“Are there pictures of you as a child...I mean here?”

Villanelle nodded and excused herself to find the picture book in the attic while Eve poured them more coffee and carried it to the living room.
When Villanelle returned with the picture book, Eve pulled her down next to her and slung the large blanket around the both of them, snuggling in under the arm V had raised and now slung around.

“My Dad had all the pictures copied for me the originals are in New york. They start from the first day they visited the orphanage.”

They looked at the first pages, Konstantin smiling wide as always, his first wife seemed to fake smile. He definitely had more hair and it wasn’t greyed. The orphanage building looked rather sad and Eve’s heart squeezed at all the children without a family in what today would be described as squalid living. Villanelle pointed at the back of a picture showing children playing, there sat a child away from the group, spindly thin, long blond hair.

“They found me...in the apartment where my biological father killed my…”

Eve squeezed her.

“Don’t it’s okay.”

Some more pictures followed of Konstantin and his ex wife talking to children, Mostly him though while his wife stood farther in the back. There was one where he sat at the desk with Villanelle and smiled widely at her and she looked so empty.

“She wanted to adopt a Baby. But he saw me and I don’t know why, I was not talking back then, nor reacting much and they told him to take another child. But he saw something in me.”

And what luck it was that Konstantin had decided to adopt Villanelle. The next pictures showed Villanelle on christmas in the USA. A little less thin, still no smile and all sad eyes. Then A picture of Pre school Villanelle and there was Kenny, arm around her shoulders and grinning, missing some teeth. And V looked almost normal. She was not smiling, but she looked like she was content.

There were pictures of her in the bookstore in her little corner. And then Villanelle looked different. Because she was smiling. There were pictures of her and Konstantin in the Zoo, eating Ice Cream, School plays and celebrations.
“I went from empty to this. My father gave that to me when his first wife was gone we suddenly connected. I spend a long time in therapy too but his endless understanding and support helped.”

Eve smiled. There was so many more pictures of her growing up, many with her and Kenny horsing around. She was so happy. Soon Olga turned up and Eve could see the other woman truly adored her step daughter. A later picture showed Olga, Konstantin and her in a courtroom, Olga having adopted V.

They took their time, V telling stories to the pictures and smiling fondly at the memories.
Afterwards they cuddled together under the blankets, simply content in being.

“I haven’t thought of children in such a long time…”

Eve admitted.

“I just told you yesterday that I still want to marry you, so I don’t even want to ask things like: would you adopt with me, I just...It’s something I want in my future. So I think it’s important to know.”

She had been so scared of saying these words but now that they were out she felt good.

“Why....why adoption? There is donors.”

Villanelle nodded and tried to find out how to best say why she decided adoption.

“Multiple reasons. The first would be...I don’t think I want my DNA carried on. My father was a monster. I am scared it’s...in me. I don’t want a stranger making a child with you. It’s stupid and I feel horrible and possessive but it feels really wrong to me. The third reason is because I want to give an orphan the same chance in life that I had.”

Eve found it were solid reasons, even though it pained her that V thought she had something bad in her DNA. Konstantin had once told her what the Police report had said about what her biological father had done and she was right, he was a monster.
The picture of Villanelle in the orphanage popped into her head and she realized had Konstantin not taken her home, she would be god knew where and they would not have met.

 

**

Like last time, the first Big TV interview was on the Ellen show. This time Eve was used to it though. March in L.A. was still warm and Villanelle grumbled when she face timed from cold New York, being stuck at a partner meeting.

Plan was that Eve would fly over from L.A. And from New York they would go to London, their first stop. Eve was looking forward to see Bill and Keiko again, knowing he had been a constant friend to her, especially after V’s accident he had often talked to her after the other woman was in bed, listening to her worries.

That morning, after getting woken by a call from Villanelle and video chatting with her for a good 20 minutes before she got out of bed, she had found herself sitting at her in room table eating a very nice room service breakfast, that had been ordered by Villanelle for her, and gazing at the ring she had taken with her.

Lost in thoughts about all the things that had happened in the past year, the new revelations such as V's wish to adopt. She closed her eyes and did what her mother told her to do when she had told her she wanted to marry Niko. She imagined her future with Villanelle. Waking in the morning, breakfast together. She imagined the laughter of a child as they went to the aquarium. She imagined that child on V's shoulders pointing at otters.
Eve thought of the hard times they would face but thought nothing could be as hard as what they had already gone through. She thought of a child in her arms, as she sat in her garden house, holding them as she wrote.
Could she see herself as a wife and mother? Wife, surely always. Mother? Was that even a thought you could imagine? Being a parent was not only ups, she had to accept the downs too and Eve knew if she was against being a mother with Villanelle, who said this was what she saw in her future, then there could be no marriage.

**

‘Well it has been over a year since you were here last. Busy year for you. Your first book was an International Bestseller and now your second Book has just been published a month ago and made it to Bestselling in a short amount of time, congratulations’

“Thank you. Yes quite busy at least the publishing part.”

‘How much of your time in London influenced this new part of the series?’

“Well, quite a lot. I can say this without spoilering because it’s on the Back Cover: London will be one of the main stages of this story.”

‘Now the Publishing was recent and the Publishers companion party caused quite a stir, because it was the first time you and your Partner stepped out officially as a couple, although you know each other for quite a while. We have this photo from the Event and you hear from the cheering and whistles here: you two make quite the couple.’

Eve blushed at that part and smiled happily.

“Thank you. Yes well we have not been hiding a relationship we just never, due to very crazy schedules on both sides, been able to attend one of the events together.”

‘Yes, she is quite busy herself being one of the partners of Booklovers Inc. and daughter of owner Konstantin Vasiliev. So that must be crazy scheduling indeed. What is the Big plan for the coming year, will you move around again?’

Eve smiled and shook her head.

“I don’t think so. I have some things to work on this year and I really don’t want to be all over the world.”

‘There are rumors that there might be talks about a TV show or Movie?’

“That would be rumors but if you hear of an offer tell me.”

She laughed and the crowd followed suit.

‘Well if that is not the thing you are planning, can you tell us what is in the works this coming year?’

Eve was nervous, even though she wasn’t showing it. She was a pro with Interviews by now. She had spoken to Konstantin and Irina before going to the studio. Had explained to them what might happen, had asked their blessing.

“Well, I will of course be working on Book three but I will also have to plan a wedding, so I hope it goes as smooth as my head suggests right now. It probably won't, So quite the year ahead.”

‘Wait...are you saying?’

She nodded and the people in the studio cheered, the Host congratulating.

In New York, watching the Interview a day later with her family, Villanelle sat on the couch gaping before she broke out into the biggest smile her father had ever seen. Irina yell cheered and his eldest simply fell into her father’s arms, unable to grasp her emotions correctly, so she was caught between grinning, sobbing and laughing.
She missed the rest of Eve’s segment because she was kind of crying of relief. As soon as it was over though, her phone started ringing and she answered well wishes from Kenny and Elena first. Then some other not so close friends and family.
Irina commented Fanforums and reddit were going crazy, absolutely delighted. And Villanelle did care not an ounce. All she cared about was that they had made things right again.

The doorbell rang and V almost ran to it, ripping it open and finding a grinning Eve on the other side, wearing the ring, because that was the first thing her eyes checked. She let Eve come inside first, carrying her luggage for her, as was proper, but then hugged her where she stood. More tears of joy and absolute relieve, the pain of the past year slowly fading into memory.

They stood and hugged and Villanelle kissed Eve over and over, just not caring about the world around them.

“I love you so, so much Eve.”

Was whispered over and over and Eve replied in kind then wiped V’s tears with her thumbs, smiling tearily herself.

“Hey…”

She said and they grinned stupidly. Behind them Konstantin coughed and when they broke apart he went to Eve, hugging her tightly.

It felt different this time, it felt like they had overcome one of the worst obstacles together. They had gotten through this and they would get through whatever else life threw at them.

“So will you both wear a dress?”

And simultaneously both women pointed to Villanelle and said suit.

**

Eve was just getting ready for bed and decided to get another glass of water, finding Konstantin still at the island counter, sipping some Whisky. He smiled softly at her as she grabbed her water.

“I knew you would find your way home.”

He said and she felt grateful to have him in her life as a kind of father figure. Konstantin was a good man.

Eve sat in the stool next to him.

“I was so scared you would hate me. You and Irina.”

“Both of you have made mistakes and I beg you to not repeat such horrible arguments. It broke my heart to see you girls suffering.”

Eve was like a third daughter to him by now and he had seen her pain too, had been amazed and proud when she was there for Villanelle after her crash. He had watched his daughter move to Seattle all angry at it, then slowly warming up to the city and when she told him it was because of a woman he had been amazed. Villanelle had once told him about a woman she dated. That was with Nadia. Which had been a disaster. He knew his daughter otherwise never settled.

He had spoken to her, heard the things she and that Eve had done after Eve let his daughter in, their start had been disastrous and it seemed they attracted trouble. But once they got to know each other, his daughter changed so much, and he liked that change in her. She seemed happy to see each day and Konstantin knew his decision had been right. When he first met Eve she was nothing like he expected from the likes of Nadia and the affairs he knew of. Eve was down to earth. She worked hard, she worked honest. She was well spoken and deep thinking.

“I wasted a year running. I wasted a year because I always wait for something bad to happen and when it does it suddenly seems like I can’t deal with things.”

He nodded, having seen this himself.

“But I can’t run any longer Konstantin.”

“It is never easy Eve to break out of old habits. But both you and my daughter have grown up in the last few months. After all the things that happened, you still found each other in your darkest moments. That is what matters. Not being there for each other, when your life is good. When it’s all smiles and laughter and happiness. Your relationship, your future marriage is defined by the darkest moments, when your life is bad and you want to give up.”

Eve knew Konstantin knew the dark moments. He had watched his daughter try to get through grooming and having been used by a grown up, had watched his beloved wife die to cancer. And he had stood by her and gone through that with her. Although he knew she was losing the fight.

“We...talked about adoption. Konstantin, when did you know it was the right time? Is there a moment when you feel ready?”

He grinned and took a big sip.

“No Eve. You are never ready for what a child brings. You simply go along and do your best. My wife wanted a child. I still felt so young, so busy. We soon found out she could not have children. So we went with adoption. I went because it was what she wanted. But then, in the orphanage, when I saw Villanelle, that was when I knew. I looked at her and I wanted to be the parent she needed.”

The things he said resonated with her. Konstantin was someone that told you it was ok to be weak. It was ok to falter. Keep trying.

“First concentrate on marrying, Eve.”

When she went to bed after her talk with Konstantin she found Villanelle curled up into a tiny ball, only in panties, sheets kicked half off of her. Tomorrow they would have to face the music. There would be calls for interviews, newspapers and so on.

Eve’s nightstand light was still on, softly illuminating the room. She could see each vertebrae in her soon to be’s back. Watched her breathe for long minutes, realizing she could have been gone. The crash could have been fatal and Eve would have lost her.

“Come to bed…?”

She heard V mumble and smiled. Turning of the lamp on her nightstand she got comfy under the blankets, soon arms snaking around her and she turned her body to the owner of the long limbs, Villanelle shuffling close until she was buried against Eve’s chest.

“Tomorrow will be an interesting day”

V said and then shuddered, Eve’s fingertips traveling over her spine.

“True. But we have faced worse.”

Goosebumps rose on her fiance’s skin and Eve’s smiled, feeling her shudder.
Languidly Villanelle raised her luxurious body towards her lover, her hand reaching and tucking a strand of Eve’s wild locks behind her ear. Eve’s fingers slowly traveled from navel to the valley between Villanelle’s breasts.

Her eyes closed and she let her hand feel the strong heartbeat under her hand. Soon her fingers were not alone any longer, fingers tangled but they rested on V’s heart. She remembered vividly standing at a hospital bed, Villanelle bruised and broken beneath, her hand in the same spot, making sure.

“Eve?”

The name was a whisper as not to break her reverie.

“I almost lost you.”

She saw the reaction in V, the breath hitching.

“Eve…”

But Eve smiled relieved, knowing V was still with her and they had gotten so far, then leaned in and kissed her softly.

“Is it bad that I want to get married as fast as possible?”

Was what Eve asked after laying down and tucking Villanelle against her, always in contact

“No to be honest Eve, I just want to be married. I don’t care about all the….stuff around. But I know it won’t be that easy. Not in these New York circles.”

They both sighed and then chuckled.

“I still can’t believe you...I wasn’t sure if you still wanted to get married.”

Villanelle had known talking about her future thoughts of children could have scared Eve away, she had been prepared for the possibility.

“Why?”

“Because we talked about my wish to adopt and I knew you might not feel the same.”

But this time she had promised herself no holding back from Eve.

“I thought a lot of it V. Although I am scared if I will be a good mother I do want to raise a child with you.”

The smile almost split her fiance’s face and a happy giggle escaped, that the younger woman tried to silence against Eve’s neck. It made Eve laugh to, the sheer happiness.

“Sorry…”

She said still giggling.

“Don’t ever be sorry for being happy V.”

Chapter Text

Their little Europe tour was the best thing they could have decided for. Eve and Villanelle enjoyed their time together immensely. In London they spend a lot of time with Bill and Keiko, Villanelle feeling very welcomed. They were of course invited straight away to the wedding and V thought Bill and her father would get along fine.
There was this moment when Eve and Bill were cleaning the dishes, watching V and Keiko with the toddler through the open door way. Eve watched as Keiko handed the child to V and the way looked V with a child filled Eve’s heart. She looked so content swaying the toddler, talking to him.

“She looks like a natural.”

Bill said and bumped her shoulder.

“I know. She told me she wanted to adopt.”

Bill watched Eve’s face closely.

“I would not have agreed to marry her if I was against it. I am just really a bit scared.”

He laughed and then nodded.

“We all are. It’s a big decision to make Eve and ok to feel that way. Now tell me about your wedding.”

Eve smiled brightly, a soft blush lining her skin.

“We decided to marry as fast as possible and talked to Konstantin. The ceremony will only be family and closest friends, at the botanical garden. It will be under the cherry blossoms and the reception will be held in the palm house for the big reception.”

Konstantin had moved all he could so that they could marry fast. He had hired a wedding planner straight away and told the girls to concentrate on themselves.

“Me and Irina, Villanelle’s sister, went for a dress before we left for london. Want to see?”

She showed Bill the picture of her dress and Bill whistled.

“That is a stunning dress.”

“Yes! It’s being altered while we are touring so it’s ready for the big day. Thank you for saying yes to the invitation even though it is such short notice.”

They put away the cleaned silver ware, laughter coming from the living room.

“Why the hurry?”

Bill asked seriously.

“I am not letting life get between again. If I hadn’t been such an idiot we would be married by now.”

Villanelle and Eve had wanted just one thing for their wedding. Small wedding itself and fast. She did not want to wait any more. She had seen how quick life was to take something from you. She could barely stop looking at Villanelle, Bill was right she looked like a natural with a child. She probably would be. V turned to her and grinned and Eve smiled back brightly.

“Well we are honored you two are inviting us.”

Bill said and smiled at his wife.

**

In Paris she had mostly Newspaper interviews and lots of time to spend with Villanelle, who had been in the city with her parents a few times. Each day they would call Konstantin and Irina or Elena and Kenny.

While Eve was at one of her interviews Villanelle used her time to go shopping, then ordered room service for that evening, wanting to spend an evening in with Eve. It was the city of love after all.
After she had prepared the evening she decided to call Kenny. She had spoken to Eve about making him best man. They had gotten okay again after Kenny had realized what Eve did for her ex, how she was there and after V talked to him explaining she would always love that woman and she understood he was protective of her, but she needed him to be the kind of friend that kicked her ass when she fucked up, instead of making it Eve’s fault.

“Hey V! How’s Paris?”

“Good Kenny! How’s Seattle?”

“Rainy as fuck.”

They laughed.

“I actually called to make sure you are getting a nice suit for my wedding. Can’t have you standing with me looking like a schmuck.”

She heard Elena in the background asking how they were doing, Kenny answering her.

“You’ll be my best man right?”

“Of course V!”

“I told my dad to send your numbers to the wedding planner, Eve has already talked to El about dress I think they kept it easy.”

“What color are you going for?”

He asked.

“I went with an Ivory one. My Tailor is doing it as always. Black is fine for you.”

“Any color on it?”

She thought about it, then decided she wanted her simple Ivory.

“I mean I think if you could coordinate with whatever El decides for.”

“Yea I can do that. Stag do?”

In the background El was warning him that the wedding was too soon and if they dared do something to turn up hungover. Villanelle laughed.

“Right El and Eve are spending the night before together so let’s just hang out, have some drinks and watch me be over nervous.”

Kenny laughed.

“Hey V...I know I wasn’t always supportive...but I am really happy for you.”

“Thanks Kenny! I’m lucky to have a friend like you.”

**

“Hey Baby I’m back! We have plenty of time still, didn’t you see a boutique you wanted to check out?”

Eve said, walking into the large suite, dropping her laptop on the work desk in the ensuite. The Suite was made of a Bedroom with a large bed, luxurious bathroom with big walk in shower, large tub and double sinks, living room with attached dining table and an office like room.
Villanelle was not in the living room nor Office so next Eve checked the bedroom.

“Villanelle?”

“Bathroom I will be right out! Why don’t you get comfortable?”

Came the muffled reply that made Eve frown a bit.

“You don’t want to go out?”

She took off her coat, the weather in Europe was mild for winter. She hung the coat, took off her shoes really confused by her fiance’s sudden mood.
The Bathroom door opened but Eve was still trying to get a shoe off, talking to her fiance as she tried to lose the pump strap.

“If we go now we could maybe check that boutique as well as looking for that dress your sister was gushing about.”

“I don’t think it would be proper for me to go out with a guest.”

The french english accent made Eve’s head snap up and there she found her future wife in maid dress, with a skirt so short, that she easily saw the edge of the thigh highs and garters. She gaped and blinked stupidly as Villanelle bend over to pick up the shoes Eve had just dropped, the skirt riding up and revealing very thin and see through lace panties.

How the hell V had gotten her hand on that outfit was beyond her but then Eve realized, she did not really care. She knew what her lover was doing and it felt exciting. As if doing something very forbidden and scandalous without having to face repercussions.

“Do you need me to straighten out anything for you Mademoiselle?”

The expression on Eve’s face changed to roguish and she pointed to the little secretary desk where postcards they had been writing where strewn with a map and some other papers of theirs. V nodded and went to the desk and after a moment Eve put a bit of disarray to the bed and stood.

“When you are done with that, please straighten the bedsheets.”

Another curt nod and Eve got rid of her blazer while Villanelle did what she had been told and as soon as she was bent over the bed, Eve was with her, standing behind and lifting the skirt to reveal the lace glad rear, her hand playfully connecting with the round flesh.

“Mademoiselle!”
Eve actually laughed.

“I saw you eyeing me the other times you cleaned. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”

She said as V stood straight up, facing her with a demure look.

“You are my favorite author…”

Licking her lips, Eve’s hand reached out, fingertips ghosting over a hip, tongue wetting her lips and eyes hungry.

“Is that so?”

A very eager nod.

“Well I have never done this with a fan before, but why don’t you and I open that champagne and have some fun?”

Gods she would never speak to anyone like this, it was outrageous but then it was all play.
Eve grabbed the bottle and Villanelle followed her to the Living room where she had her open the bottle while she grabbed the champagne flutes. With a pop the cork went and Eve poured them each a glass handing the fake maid one. She sat very close to V on the couch, their legs touching and Eve clinked glasses.

“So you said you read my books?”

A fast nod.

“Yes. The second one made me very scared for the Police womans wife. But then she seems very enthralled by the Assassin non?”

“We always crave what we should not have.”

Eve husked, her free hand landing on a warm thigh, playing with the garter there.

“Madam…”

“Have you ever been with a woman dear?”

“Non…”

“And did you think of me like that?”

A shy nod and Eve wanted to snort because she knew her fiance was not shy in the bedroom at all. But this little roleplay pleased and aroused her, so she tried to stay in role. She watched as Villanelle greedily finished that glass of Champagne and put it down on the sofa’s side table, Eve following suit but not emptying the glass. Her hand was still on that soft thigh, hand straying to the flesh on the inside, making the younger woman shudder and clamp her legs together.

“Please...I should not.”

“But you want?”

Looking coyly from under her lashes, French Maid Villanelle nodded.

“Now don’t be shy.”

And the legs fell open with a shaky breath, allowing Eve’s hand to tease higher and higher.

“Kiss me.”

Eve ordered softly and her fiance’s body twisted so she could softly kiss her, a mewl mixing into their lip tangle as Eve’s fingers found their wet, hot goal, stroking tenderly through soaking wet panties. Their tongues tangled as Eve’s fingers rubbed her lovers center through her panties, feeling the slick heat and feeling aroused knowing this was just for her.

“My...my, you rather seem to enjoy yourself! Now you have two options here darling. Either I take you right on this couch or I will tie you to the bed and show you how i work out a steamy scene for my books.”

Villanelle’s eyes were heavy lidded and lips swollen from their kiss. Eve knew exactly where to tease by now to reduce her lover into a moaning mess.

“Be...Bed!”

Eve smirked and her fingers left V, the younger woman protesting before she was pulled up and towards the bedroom by a very determined Eve.

**

“Where on earth did you get this outfit?!”

“Believe me, you don’t want to know.”

Villanelle answered with a giggle against Eve’s flat belly, biting a protruding hip bone playfully and making the other woman groan. Fingers tangled in her long blond hair, stroking her scalp lovingly. Just as V was about to kiss lower and see if her lover could go another round, Roomservice rang the bell.

“I ordered us dinner so we can stay inside.”

Eve smirked as she watched her lover get into the robe.

“Planned this all, haven’t you?”

She heard the giggle and decided to freshen up a little in the bathroom. Her legs still felt like jelly, body aching in places only V could get to ache pleasantly. Once she returned to the bedroom she could already hear her fiance set up the dining table, she put on underwear and the leftover robe, leaning against the doorway and watching.

“You keep pampering me. Watch out I might get used to it.”

Eve joked. Villanelle had already upgraded the room on her dime.

“You may Eve, you deserve to be pampered by me.”

Came the answer and soon Villanelle stood before her, kissing her tenderly. She loved being kissed like this, all tender but with an underlying hunger. Her hands went beneath her lovers robe, trying to part it and Villanelle, in turn, nipped on her lips.

“No no Eve. I am not done with you by a long shot, you will need to eat.”

It made her blush heavily, almost moaning at the promise.

**

Traveling with Villanelle somehow made the time pass faster and Eve, while looking forward to return to New York and spend the rest of their days before the wedding there, wished they would have longer.

In Berlin they had Currywurst and Doner Kebab, visited the Parliament and Holocaust Memorial.
And once their days came to an end they both said they wanted to visit the bustling city again as well as Paris and of course London.

Back in New York, Eve was glad that Konstantin had hired such a good wedding planner. The first day back, Eve and Villanelle met with her and talked flowers, Music, cake and so on. The decisions were easily made as both trusted the woman. She was friendly and absolutely professional. The only protest came regarding the payment for the Wedding. Both women wanted to pay themselves but Konstantin was rather stubborn in that regard. Eve had been mind blown sitting at a table with him and Villanelle. The two arguing in Russian while she was still regarding if she wanted one big cake or multiple smaller ones, with different tastes and frostings. The samples were on the table and while the two Vasillievs argued hotly, Eve tried them all.

“We will take smaller cakes instead of a Big one. Thank you Konstantin for wanting to do this for us. Villanelle and I are blessed and we are sure you will therefore refrain from giving anything else as we consider this our wedding present from you.”

Eve said strongly after standing abruptly.

“Now would you two please taste the cakes and tell me which combinations you prefer.”

She looked at them both, back and forth until the hot heads had sat back down and she handed out cakes to them. She had never gotten in between the two, so her assertive tone certainly made them shut up.

“Thank you Papochka.”

Villanelle said after a while of being stared at by Eve, who stood again to press a kiss to Konstantins cheek.

“Yes thank you Konstantin.”

He smiled at her tenderly, squeezing her arm.

“Now Irina and I are going to try on the altered dresses. You don’t forget you two have an appointment for suits.”

And then she kissed Villanelle tenderly before calling for Irina as she went into the hallway and getting into her coat.

Konstantin laughed as he realized they dutifully had started tasting all cakes.

“What a wife you have chosen huh? She has you wrapped around her little finger.”

His daughter scoffed.

“Not just me Papochka.”

And her father grinned wryly and nodded.

“Papa… we want something for her parents and Mama to be present at the wedding. We thought about putting the rings into our flowers, her parents rings in her bouquet and Mama’s would in the corsage for my suit. Would that be ok?”

Her father blinked against the tears and nodded.

“Absolutely. I...wish your mother was here. She would have loved Eve. She would have been very proud of you Myshka.”

**

Villanelle was not someone to openly cry in front of people. She always tried to keep collected and she barely broke that rule. But standing there with the justice of peace in the botanical garden under beautifully blooming cherry trees, her best man and Elena the bridesmaid, V could not stop her eyes from tearing up. She had been nervous, swaying back and forth until Kenny stopped her, then fidgeting with the hem of her suit. Keiko and Bill sat on Eve’s side, on her side would be her father and Irina.
When Eve was lead down the path towards her, by Konstantin, Villanelle felt another onset of tears. Eve was in a beautiful white A line, off the shoulder dress, looking absolutely stunning. She knew she was grinning like an idiot, watching as her father whispered to Eve and her smile radiating. She had told Villanelle she wanted Konstantin to walk her down the Aisle as she had no father left and Konstantin had been like a father to her. Each step closer made their smiles bigger and V did not care that she constantly had to dab tears away.
They were finally here. After all they had made it. Villanelle knew she was lucky beyond belief.
Standing here now, her father handing Eve’s hand to her, their hands clasping one last time unmarried, she realized that she was blessed. Irina had held onto their rings and everything felt out of body to Villanelle and only when they were finally pronounced married did everything just fall into place.

Still reeling with the feeling of happiness and disbelieve the two were led away by the photographer for some pictures while the small circle of family and friends had champagne to toast the couple.

Once they finally made it to the venue, they still had some time before the guests arrived and Villanelle whisked Eve off to a private room, where she finally got to kiss her wife without eyes on them. Eve had given her a beautiful watch in a timeless design with an inscription on the back and Villanelle in turn had given eve a beautiful necklace two hearts intertwined their birthstones worked into the meeting point.

Once they made it back to the main room they went to a table that would stay empty, a picture of Eve’s parents and V’s mother on the table, together with a large candle, they put down their flowers with the rings worked into them and lit the candle together. A tribute to those not alive to celebrate with them. Always in their thoughts.
**

“V? Why is there a hammock in the garden house?”

Eve asked, having just returned home from a day out with Elena and wanting to put some books she had purchased into the bookcase in her writing office when she had seen the large hammock. She had smirked for a moment before going inside to find out how that one had ended up there, finding Villanelle preparing dinner and pecking her cheek tenderly.

“You said you loved the Hammock in our Honeymoon resort in Laucala.”

Her wife answered stirring the pot of spaghetti and smiling when Eve leaned against her back, arms slinging around her midriff.

“Mhhh thank you.”

It was a beautiful spot right by the large window, lots of sun shining through.

“But what if I sleep more now than write?”

V laughed heartily and turned in Eve’s arms, dropping a kiss on her forehead.

“Then I will make a picture and post it on that reddit, saying you are dreaming up new ways to torture Det. Stewart.”

Eve was close to finishing the rough version of the third book. Had spent most of her summer fretting over tough choices to make. Being married had not changed anything between her and Villanelle besides that she finally could stop using girlfriend (juvenile) or partner (oldish). They were still very much in love, always in need of some form of contact between them.

“Oh god if you did that, the thing would go up in flames. Irina would love it.”

She still refused to even look herself up on google. Irina kept her informed of the most important things online. It was protecting her mental health and happiness. Irina told her that when Vanity Fair published their article with pictures made from them and some of the wedding, the Internet went wild. She also knew there were people throwing around insults, hate mongering for her being married to a woman, writing characters that loved woman and so she stood firm on keeping away from certain places.

“By the way, Irina said to tell you Hi and she is looking forward to showing us all her pictures from her summer trip in the winter break.”

Konstantin had been a bit lost with his youngest daughter being an adult and traveling around, hanging more and more with her NYU crowd. He had bemoaned both his daughters leaving the nest and Villanelle had promised they would try to visit more often.

Eve turned to the counter, letting her wife work on the Alfredo sauce and checking the mail basket where a large envelope caught her eye. It was addressed to the both of them and when she took out the contents she was a bit confused and tons nervous.

“I just wanted to get some information together...I wanted to talk to you about that after dinner.”
Came the explanation from behind her while Eve still stared at the brochures explaining adoption processes.

“Oh…”

Chapter Text

“I am sorry Eve I don’t want you to feel pressure! It’s honestly just for me to get informed about the process, wanting to know more.”

Villanelle said watching as Eve went through the Brochures. They had just finished dinner, the younger woman speaking of all kinds of things trying to seem normal. But after Eve had finished her plate she had poured them both another wine and gotten the envelope.

“I believe you. It just kind of got me from the blind side. But I understand.”

Was it a full year since V had mentioned her wish to adopt? Thy had spoken about it here and there, not in depth though.

“Villanelle, just tell me what timeline is in your head here.”

Eve said, looking at the address list for orphanages in their region, number of children in them, ages from to, it were so many. When she looked up at her wife she was rubbing her neck and shrugging.

“Come on baby, talk to me.”

Eve knew V was scared to push her too hart, scared of a fight.

“I...I want to be young still when adopting”

Yes, that was understandable Eve was six years older she understood it perfectly. She stood and went to stand behind V’s chair, arms draping over shoulders to create a comforting hug, her wife leaning back against her, the sides of their faces touching.

“I won’t be mad but I need you to talk to me about this openly. It’s a very important decision and I know this has been in your head for a year.”

Villanelle sighed and nodded.

“I know. It’s just I feel like, we just got married I am scared that you will feel ambushed or pressured. I want a family with you Eve. Badly. I want Birthday parties with kids in the garden and christmases spend in pajamas, listening to happy squeals with you in my arms. I want hockey Practices or football or Ballet. I want all that schmaltzy stuff and it makes me feel all weird inside.”

V blushed and Eve simply pecked her cheek. So apparently her wife had a form of Baby fever. Villanelle was right, they were not getting younger and other couples by now had been done with family planning.

 

“I understand. It says in the brochures it may take time so...I am fine if we start looking into it. I know I have been pretty held back on the whole subject but I don’t want you to think I don’t want this with you. I want to raise a child with you. But yes the thought intimidates me because I am scared of not being good enough.”

**

After having chosen and agency they thought was fitting for them and offered good package of help around the adoption process, Eve and Villanelle had an agency person visit their home, assess their surroundings, ask questions about their work, relationships, family and friends. The woman was lovely and seemed genuinely happy with them as prospective parents. They also had to take a Caregiver Core Training, which they could at least do online where they learned about the system, how it worked, how to deal with children grieving or under trauma and so on. A few weeks later they got an invitation to one of the larger orphanages but they were also handed access to files of children in an agency foster program.

"What if we like a different child? What kind of thought is that even?!"

Eve blurted in the car, hands fidgeting with nervousness as they drove to the orphanage.

"This is a decision we take together. 100% or we wait."

She knew her father had done it different but then she thought back then his relationship was vastly different from theirs.

"Eve...do you want me to turn around and we'll wait some more?"

Eve was nervous, her inner insecurities telling her she could never be a good mother to anyone but Villanelle would surely not force her into anything. They both had to absolutely want this.

“No I’m just nervous V.”

When they drove onto the gated property and parked the car, Villanelle just stayed seated, holding her wife’s hand and softly stroking the back of it with her thumb. They could see children on a playground, could hear their laughter. Eve watched and breathed deeply and once she felt ready she nodded to V and they got out.

It was a very nice house and compound, nothing like the things V had to endure as a child. As soon as they walked up the stairs one of the Care staff greeted them and asked for their names, checking that they had been proper invited. Once inside they were first invited to the ‘overseer’s office and talked a bit about the facility, the children there, explaining these were mostly new cases that would stay with them until a foster family had space.

After that they took a tour through the complex, which offered a lot to the children brought here, but Eve knew even that could not give these children their parents back. She swallowed thickly as they walked past a group of children drawing with a kindergarten teacher, one boy sitting in a corner and sobbing as the kindergarten teacher trying to soothe him.
Her wife stopped and looked too and the manager stopped and nodded sadly.

“Alexander has been here for a few weeks now. His father passed away in an accident.”

“Was...he in the accident?”

Eve asked, heart breaking as she watched big fat tears roll down a red face.

“He was in Kindergarten. Well, I have shown you everything you may walk around this downstairs area.”

Eve took a deep breath and went away from the doorway, gazing out one of the windows.
She looked pale to Villanelle, who stepped up to her, hugging her softly.

“Are you okay?”

“It...breaks my heart.”

How did you even make the decision which child to give a home to without feeling bad towards the others?

“I know…”

They stepped outside into the backyard, Eve feeling like she needed fresh air. Some of the children looked at them with interest, mostly the older one’s knowing they were prospective parents. Eve was soon roped into pushing two girls on the swings, talking to the girls softly. The staff nodded to her as she asked with a look if it was okay and soon she listened to favourite colors and flowers being listed. She had no idea how long she had been doing that, when she looked up and found Eve talking to the Kindergarten teacher from earlier, sobbing child at the table.

She saw Villanelle sit next to him and speak to him and she must have said something that caught his attention, the boy staring up at her as she smiled down. He nodded and then she pulled the tray with his food close and, without sobbing, he started eating.
Bill had been right, V was a natural with children. Eve excused herself from the girls and walked towards her wife and then she heard what must have made the boy stop crying. Villanelle was speaking Russian.

She sat across and waved at Alexander, the boy quickly averting his eyes. But Villanelle kept speaking to him and he even offered her a grape from his meal. Eve thought Villanelle and the boy looked good together. He had the brightest blue eyes and wild blonde hair, freckles lining his nose and cheeks. His features where cherub and he looked so young and tiny, even though they were told he would be 4 soon.
After Alexander's group was called inside, which he did not like because he had wanted to stay seated, Eve got a feeling when she watched her wife gaze after the boy. Konstantin had described that he had had a feeling when he had seen Villanelle. He had known. Her wife knew too.

**

“The file says his mother died at birth she had come to the US to live with Alexander's father and had no living family in Russia, although the papers mention that documentation from her village was shoddy at best. The father was the son of immigrant parents and ran a seattle Russian food store.”

Eve sat across her wife at the dining table, gazing at her intently. They had taken no other childs file with them. Eve reached across, and took V’s hand.

“Do you even want to go to other foster places the agency runs?”

It made Villanelle stop and close the file, then shook her head.

“Did you feel anything Eve? When you saw him?”

Squeezing the younger woman's hand she smiled.

“I felt that you two looked very good together, natural. When he was crying in that art room I felt a need to reach out and soothe him. It made me so sad to see his anguish. It relieved me when he seemed to feel better with you around. I think we can give him a happy home.”

It relieved Villanelle to hear this.

“Eve...I would really like to try for adoption with Alexander.”

Eve stood and went to her side, kissing her forehead.

“Then we will try. Let’s call the agency tomorrow morning and see that we can get everything rolling.”

In the next weeks they prepared their home for a child, Eve throwing herself into decorating the upstairs guest room and switch it to a boys room. She felt good doing that, it was what she did best, decorating. In the end she had created a boys room with glowing stars on the ceiling, leaving the walls so that Alexander could choose posters to put up. They got clothing, toys, a load of books and worked together with the agency, meeting Alexander for short half day trips.
He was a sweet and shy child but interested in the things going on around him. He had loved going to the Aquarium and the Zoo. They went on a boat tour of Elliot Bay and showed him the playground close to their house. And soon half day trips turned into overnight stays, the agency easing them into the process so they could all get used to each other.

The adoption took a few months but after New Years celebrations, where they stayed in Seattle once more, they got the go from the Agency that told them they were allowed to take Alex home with them full time and adopt. That day Villanelle could not stop grinning and being all giddy and her happiness made Eve happy.

The only dampener was that Eve’s third Book would be published and she had to leave so soon after Alexander came home with them. It would only be the few weeks in Europe but they decided this time it would not make sense to drag the child across the globe. So Eve would travel alone. While the third part of her series took off as well as the other books had, she missed home. She missed her wife and she missed the time spend with Alexander. She knew this time was crucial and their agency worker told them to spend as much time as possible on Video calls.

They did that and each evening before Alexander had to go to bed they chatted, Alex on Villanelle’s lap on the couch. Alexander was very attached to Villanelle and Eve tried her hardest to get some sign of interest from him but the longer she was gone, the farther removed she felt. On her last stop she was relieved it would be over soon and she could go home.
Konstantin would visit them as soon as she was back in Seattle.

Sure enough her fears seemed to have come true, when she returned Alexander rather stayed around her wife. They had been warned it could happen but Eve felt such a set back by it. It didn’t much help that he refused to speak english and when she asked him something he would turn to Villanelle and speak Russian, her wife answering easily.
They knew he spoke English perfectly, that at home his father had spoken russian often though.

The day Konstantin arrived Villanelle had taken Alex to Kindergarten since Eve had appointments for the fourth book she could not shuffle. It almost killed her that she felt relieved because she had no idea how to deal with the rejection of the boy that was supposed to be her son. She felt horrible and like a failure. At lunch, instead of going home, she excused herself with Villanelle and said her appointments would take longer. She called her friend from University that had studied psychology and had specialized on families. She was on vacation but since it was Eve, said she should come by if it was important.

“Hey Max! Thanks for having me.”

Eve said as she followed her old friend Maxine inside the house, to the spacious kitchen.

“No thanks needed Eve. Congrats to the newest publishing it’s going well I heard? But that’s not why you are here?”

Eve sat at the Island and grabbed the offered tea.

“Thanks, yes it’s going well. The reason I am here is...my wife and I recently adopted a 4 year old and I just returned from the Europe tour and feel like a stranger intruding.”

Her friend stopped her and asked her to tell her all about their family and the dynamics and so Eve tried to do that as best as possible.

“Good I think I have a base understanding of it. Now I will ask you some basic questions and you just answer ok?”

Eve nodded.

“Who bonded with Alex first?”

“Villanelle.”

“When he cries or needs a parent do you go to him?”

“I usually can’t. As soon as he makes a sound V is with him. He had a nightmare yesterday and I heard him and wanted to go to him but V told me to lay back down and rest after my long flight.”

“Does he speak to you at all?”

She swallowed the lump in her throat.

“He refuses to speak english right now. It’s only russian and I speak none of that. I can’t understand most of what is being said around the house.”

Her friend was silent for long moments, mulling it all over.

“You are facing multiple problems right now. First is your wife not allowing you to mother your son. She most probably does not realize what she is doing, thinks she is keeping stress from you, but this causes a rift between you and Alexander. The second problem is the heavy use of a language you don’t speak. Since Alexander feels that rift and feels closer to Villanelle he uses her language. Now your time away brought an instability to the household. Your child feels that instability, especially after coming from an orphanage situation, so his bond went to the parent who was at home for him. My advice is that you need to speak with your wife about her behaviour. You need her to allow you to be a mother. You need her to reinforce you as a mother in your son’s mind and she needs to stop ostracizing you with the language. And you need to work on yourself Eve. If she tries to take a childcare job from you, you need to stay firm. She needs to let you spend time with your child without her presence so you can bond too.”

The things her friend said made absolute sense to her, described what she had not been able to say.

“Now if you feel you are hitting walls with this, I would love to have you both in.”

**

When she stepped through the front door of her home she found Alexander on the ground, playing cars with Konstantin. She smiled at them both, kissed Konstantins cheek and then kneeled to hug Alex but he turned from her. Eve tried to keep her smile intact and swallowed around the lump in her throat, feeling Konstantins eyes burn into her. Just as she got up from the ground, ruffling Alex’s hair instead, feeling beaten down, V stormed in.

“Eve! Where have you been? We planned to go out for dinner but you were not home. I ordered in now.”

It wasn’t that the tone was accusing, it wasn’t really but dong this infront of her father in law and the child that seemed to dislike her anyways hurt. V didn’t do it on purpose, Eve knew as much, but it was still damaging. She stared back and then her shoulders slumped, because Eve was not even sure what to say.

“Sorry…”

She mumbled and everything seemed to overwhelm her. Alex was speaking Russian again behind her, V answering and she had no idea what they even spoke about.

“Excuse me...I am not hungry.”

She mumbled and stepped around Villanelle and Alex, hurried steps carrying her into her garden house.

**

“Все хорошо”

She said looking down at Alex who had looked up at her confused.
She had watched her wife leave too, but right now she concentrated on Alex, who had been hungry. When she looked at her father, his eyes were boring into her and Villanelle was confused. In Russian she send Alex to go wash his hands.

“What?!”

Konstantin looked at her non plussed.

“Are...are you dumb or blind? Your wife just left.”

“Papa she is stressed she has just returned from her tour a few days ago. She needs her downtime to relax.”

Her father stood and pulled her into the living room.

“Villanelle!”

He grasped both her forearms.

“She is hurt! Don’t you see?”

What was Eve hurt about? Everything was fine, V thought. But her father looked at her like she had something on her head.

“Since I am here I only hear Russian from you and Alex. You do realize Eve speaks no Russian? How long have you been doing this? Does she even know what her son is talking about with you?”

A cold feeling spread in her belly, as Villanelle looked back on the months since meeting Alex. They always spoke Russian. She had simply done it to soothe the child but soon it was only Russian between them.

“I...Papa...I did it because it made him comfortable.”

Her father looked so shocked at her.

“And Eve? She came here today happy to see her child and then had to endure him turn away from her, not even say Hello and then speak russian to you. And then you make it sound like it is bad we had to order in.”

Her mouth opened and closed like that of a fish but she had no answer. She realized all her father said was right. She had been doing all that without realizing how it might look. All she had concentrated on the last weeks and months was Alexander.

“You did not even ask her if everything was okay after she was gone all day.”

With sudden dread she realized her mistake and went pale. When Alex returned and asked her in Russian why she looked sad, she answered in English.

“I made a mistake. It makes me sad.”

**

Eve had pulled all the blinds closed in her little sanctuary. The day had drained her and she just...wanted to close herself off and forget. She sat at her desk going over the notes she had taken that day at her regular meetings, trying to lose herself in that, forget for a moment what was going on at home so she could gather her wits.

But no such luck, her door opened and her wife stepped in, closing the door behind her. She rubbed her eyes tiredly and took off her reading glasses.

“Please don’t…”

Eve mumbled and stopped Villanelle where she stood. But she did not budge and Eve felt eyes boring into her, so she closed her note book and turned to her wife, looking at her imploringly. Villanelle looked back at her absolutely lost.

“I did not come home today because right now Home for me means a family where I feel like I am intruding V. It’s a family I don’t understand because they speak Russian. And instead of looking forward to coming home, since my return from Europe, I feel dread. So instead of coming home, I went to a therapist trying to find out why I am failing at this family life so hard and why my son won’t even speak to me or why my wife has stopped involving me.”

Villanelle looked at her sadly.

“Eve I am sorry I didn’t realize…”

She nodded. Yes, she knew V didn’t realize what she was doing.

“V...have I at any point given you the feeling that I can’t be a mother to Alexander? I feel like you do your damndest to keep me away. We haven’t been intimate in weeks. I miss my wife, my son resents me and you two are so close no one will even speak my language any longer. I don’t know what to do anymore. You told me you wanted to adopt a child with me, raise a child with me, but you are not letting me get close to our child. I feel so alone right now and I just don’t know what to do any longer.”

Villanelle shook her head and tried to grasp her hand.

“No you haven’t! Eve I just tried to be as comforting as possible and I didn’t realize we had slipped so deeply into Russian. I never wanted to make you feel this way I just wanted to keep the stress from you because you just published again and with all the meetings you had…”

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Eve thought.

“Please come back inside. I’ll work...we’ll work on it. Together.”

Villanelle hurt at the things she had done without realizing. She had only wanted to make this less stressful for Eve. So this decision to adopt would not impact her negatively and she had no idea why she felt this way.

Eve did go back inside with Villanelle, feeling drained and only taking one slice from the Pizza V had ordered. She avoided Konstantin’s looks and gave short answers. When they were finished she stood and went to Alex’s chair.

“Come on buddy, time for bed.”

He shook his head, said something and Eve kneeled next to his chair.

“I am really sorry but I don’t speak Russian, so when you say something I can’t understand you. Now, it’s past your bedtime. Which is my fault I know, so come on and I’ll read you a story.”

He did look at her then and she knew he was not in favor of that solution.

“I want Mamochka!”

“It’s my turn though and I really want to read a story with you.”

“But…”

He started again and looked to Villanelle who then looked at Eve before saying.

“No buddy. Do as your Mom said.”

She picked him up easily then, before he could start a tantrum, and carried him upstairs to the bathroom, rubbing his back soothingly. He was overtired, she knew that, and she knew he got teary when he was like this. Eve had him changed into his night things quickly, brushing teeth and washing his face before she told him to pick a book.

“No book Alex? Ok. I’ll tell Mama to come up and say goodnight. Grandpa too?”

He did peek out from under the blanket and nodded and she smiled softly, when she leaned in to say goodnight his head vanished again and she tried not to let the hurt show, switching on his little night light.

“Nighty Alex.”

She she turned to the door, she saw her wife standing there looking sad, having seen his reaction to her, so Eve squared her shoulders and left the room to get Konstantin to say goodnight.

**

She had retired early that night, almost straight after making sure the kitchen was straightened, leaving Villanelle and her father with goodnights. When V came bed an hour later she was still sat up reading.

“Pa and I spoke and I think I should go to New York alone so you and Alex have time for yourselves, so he can’t turn to me.”

Villanelle said and got into bed next to her.

“We can try that, yes.”

Eve said, but when Villanelle’s hand landed high on her thigh under the blankets she moved away.

“Don’t do that. Don’t reduce me to a wife that needs to be touched because she complained.”

She said and Villanelle’s hand retracted fast. With a sigh Eve put her book on her nightstand and then switched off her light, laying down her back facing her wife.

“Eve...I know I fucked up but I want to make it up to you.”

“All I am asking you is to trust me with Alex, to let me try to be a mother too. I love you V, I need you more than breathing and I know you only meant well but it hurt me and I am really trying to just make sure we all do better. No I don’t feel like sleeping with you right now. Because yes, I am a bit angry that it never occured to you how painful this could be for me. I feel like you never trusted my feelings on adoption and adopting Alex. That you doubted my motivation for the adoption of our son. You want to know why I wanted to adopt him? Because my heart beat faster when I saw him and you. Because I saw him and it felt right. I never wondered what my feelings were because when I looked at him, I wanted him to be our child and that was all I needed to know.”

She heard Villanelle’s breathing hitch a little.

“I am sorry I made you feel this way. I have no excuse. I made a mistake and I really want to do better by you. Ca...can I hold you at least?”

Eve nodded and felt her wife wrapped herself around her smaller body, arms and legs.

**

“Ok Buddy time to let Mama and Grandpa go so they can catch their plane.”

Eve said softly to their son who was in V’s arms, his face pressed against her neck. She rubbed his back soothingly as V told him she would be home in 4 days and they would all go out to dinner when she was home. He did not really want to let go but Villanelle handed him over to Eve, big tears rolling down his cheeks. They watched V and Konstantin wave and then left the area before the security check in, Eve setting him down on his feet, wiping his nose and smiling bravely.

“I miss her too Alex. Everytime she has to go on a business trip but we will video call Mama every night ok?”

He nodded slightly.

“Good and because we both have to be brave, I say we go have some nuggets and ice and keep it a secret.”

They limited junk food as much as possible but Eve felt this day warranted junk food and it did get Alex to take her hand and get his feet moving away from the security area.
Once they had their food and sat at a table, Eve tried to engage Alex but he was busy with his toy.

“Alex, can you teach me the word for car?”

And so she tried to get her son to engage with her by pointing out things and asking him for the russian word. She wanted him to understand that she was willing to learn for him.

That evening, after their video call with Villanelle, Eve cooked them dinner but Alex looked tired.

“Hey try a little of the Shepards pie?”

She had learned to make more and more recipe’s since she was back with Villanelle and especially after they decided to adopt, knowing she had to be absolutely able to make food a kid would eat.

“ ‘m not hungry.”

She did not pester him, he tried a few bites and he did not look disgusted but simply downtrodden, the day probably too stressy for him.

“Okay, I’ll clear the table and then it’s bedtime.”

This night she could barely wrestled him into his jammies and as soon as he laid down, he was asleep, Eve stroking his forehead for a few moments before leaving.
She called V one more time after she went to bed, just wanting to hear her voice.

The next morning Eve prepared breakfast before she went to wake her son. She found him, blanket half kicked off and looking clammy. She was at his side in a second, touching his forehead. He was bathed in sweat and when he woke he coughed, tearing up and holding his throat.

“Hey, hey I am here buddy.”

Eve picked the child up swaying him tenderly.

Usually he did not want to be in her arms for long but he coughed and when he tried speaking his voice was scratchy. So after bathing him and making him drink tea with honey, to soothe his throat ache, she drove to the doctors with him. Sitting in the waiting room with a coughing boy in her lap who felt too weak to protest being held by her, many other parents in the same spot in the doctor's office. They sat for a while, Eve thank god having thought of taking snacks for Alex and a water to tide him over, since he had not wanted breakfast. After 2 hours it was finally their turn and they talked to Alex’ GP, who diagnosed an upper respiratory tract infection.

After she buckled a sleepy Alex back in his seat, they drove to the nearest store where she could get that prescription filled. She hated dragging Alex with her but it was better she got these things now and then took him home to rest. There was of course a longer line at the desk and Eve sighed, Alex standing next to her staring miserably into space, nose running. She desperately searched her bag for handkerchiefs to wipe his nose, had turned away a few seconds and when she finally found what she had searched and looked down to were Alex had stood just a second ago, he was gone.
She paled, immediately in panic mode, searching with her eyes if she could see him somewhere.

“No...no..no..”

She mumbled and stepped out of line, asking the man behind her if he had seen her child walk away, he shook his head. She cursed under her breath and started walking through the large target store, angry at herself for turning away for a few seconds. She went to the toy section first but he was not there so she decided to walk through aisle by aisle and after making it through half of the damn store, she heard crying, her heart beating faster. She followed the sounds that broke into pure sobbing and found Alex sitting on the floor between Isles, holding a red knee.

“ALEX!”

She yelled and when he turned and saw her, he raised his arms and she picked up, holding him close and tight.

“Mommy!!”

He hiccupped, his arms tight around her neck. She tried to soothe him by swaying him.

“Shhh I am here. It’s okay. Please promise me to never run away again ok?”

He nodded.

“I followed a doggy.”

He tried to explain

“I fell. My knee hurts.”

She was not angry at him, she was angry at herself. Rubbing his back she carried him back to the Pharmacy desk and thanked the man that had been behind her profusely as he told her to take her previous spot again.

**

Villanelle had wanted to return as soon as she heard Alex was sick, but her father told her she was being ridiculous. Eve would be more than able to care for Alex and she had promised to give them space. It was hard though because she wanted to be with her family.
She had told Eve not to get her at the airport and when she stepped into the house, all was quiet. She found Eve and Alex in the garden house, soft music playing, Alex nestled on Eve in the hammock, blanket covering him warmly, Eve’s arms protectively around the boy.

Villanelle made a photo with her phone for the family album, her heart melting at the picture and also breaking at having kept Eve, unknowingly, from this for so long. She knew now what Eve had meant, when she said that her heart had filled when she had seen Alex and her together. She stroked her sleeping wives cheek and when eyes blinked open she leaned in for a very soft kiss.

“I love you.”

Villanelle whispered and Eve smiled at her, Alex burying himself further against Eve.

**

~ 4 Years later ~

Eve was setting the table while Villanelle added the finishing touches to their Dinner. Alex sat in one of the stools at the Island counter, pouring over a comic book.

“Buddy can you get Hana, we want to eat?”

He nodded and Eve ruffled his hair, watching as he stood and walked to the hallway.

“HAAAAAANNAAA DINNER!!!”

V laughed, which wasn’t helpful cause it made Alex grin while Eve looked at him exasperated.

“I said get not yell! Really now!?”

He knew all too well that she could not stay mad for long when he grinned at her all toothily. Soon she heard the little steps run down the hallway. They had moved two years ago needing more space and wanting to be more in the outskirts of Seattle to be closer to nature and calmer city parts. It was also closer to the kids school and Kindergarten.

When Hana emerged, Eve stopped her run and picked her up, smiling at the 5 year old wriggling in her arms and blowing a raspberry against her neck.

“Hey little miss whirlwind, what did Mama and I say to running down the hall like this?”

“Awww…”

The little girl said. Hana had always been a ball of energy. They had not planned adopting another child but had been approached by the agency to foster Hana, a little 3 year old with korean roots, due to Eve’s heritage and after a year of fostering they decided that Hana belonged to their family.

It was Pelmeni night and the kids loved them so much, that they could barely wait until dinner finally came around. She set Hana down and looked at Alex.

“Go take your sister and wash your hands.”

Arms slung around her from behind and Eve smiled, cheek to cheek with Villanelle watching as Alex gently took Hana and led her to the bathroom. She turned and V kissed her deeply.

“I missed you. The kids too. Alex was mopey you didn’t take him. But Hana was easily bribed with an ice cream, of which I had half because she couldn’t eat it all.”

Eve laughed at their kids antics.

“I was only gone for 3 weeks and it isn’t like we won’t go on vacation this year, we will spend the summer at the beach house with your Pa and Irina:”

V shrugged, knowing Eve was right, but Alex had not understood, begged each year to be allowed to go. Her book tours were rather cramped, now that she tried to do them in the fastest manner possible, to return home to her family. She had published the 8th book in the series and there seemed to be no slowing down in the cat and mouse of the Detective and Assassin and readers simply loved it, while also being head Event and decorations Manager of the Booklovers Brand.

Villanelle stroked both her cheeks, her eyes filled with a love they had never been able to put into words and that had never cooled down or gotten commonplace. She felt loved like the first time they had gone out. Foreheads pressed together, both smiling at each other so full in love, their lips softly met.

Hana laughed.

“Aw c’mon guys”

Alex groaned and Eve and V burst out giggling, the happiness too much to contain.

 

THE END