“You can’t kill him.”
Villanelle groans. Flicks the car window down, then up. Fidgets her legs.
“And why is that?”
“Because you might get covid, dumbass.” Eve rolls her eyes.
“Okayyy, but if I get covid right now, the vaccine will cancel it out,” Villanelle argues, staring out beyond the dashboard towards the masses of waiting cars in-front of them, “that is how science works.”
“That is explicitly not how science works,” Eve sighs, risking an annoyed look in Villanelle’s direction. Villanelle pouts back, “you have to get the first dose, then wait, then get a second dose, then wait, then …”
“That is a lot of waiting, Eve. Are you telling me I will be elderly by the time I can safely kill someone again?” Villanelle furrows her eyebrows, mock-serious. Eve glares.
“Yeah, because there’s a safe way to kill someone…” Eve shakes her head, continually in disbelief at her choice in… companion. But then again, there were more ridiculous realities at play here―oh, being alive during a pandemic, for one.
“Of course there is. I am very cautious in my work,” Villanelle emphasizes, offense written into her features, “I always wear gloves, wash my hands, moisturize...”
“I can guarantee you that moisturizer is not scaring away the pathogens.”
“Oh, so you tell me I am not a scientist, but suddenly you are the leading source on medicine? Interesting,” Villanelle quirks her head, raising an eyebrow. She leans over from the passenger’s seat and honks the wheel.
“Stop it!” Eve chastises, hitting her hand away. Villanelle grins.
“What? They are not moving,” Villanelle shrugs.
“No one is moving. We’re not moving. That’s how a line works.”
“Shitty line,” Villanelle frowns. She pauses, then reaches for her mask. Eve watches her with suspicion.
“What are you doing?”
“Keeping safe,” Villanelle says, strapping the mask over her features, “duh.”
“I highly doubt that,” Eve watches as Villanelle reaches for the car door, “where do you think you’re going? You can’t walk to the front of the line, Villanelle. This is a drive-through.”
“Then I will find a faster car,” she rolls her eyes, undoing her seatbelt and exiting the car.
Eve gawks, whispers harshly, “if you kill someone, I’m leaving you here. And calling the authorities. I’m serious.”
“Eve, that’s not very nice,” Villanelle frowns, grabbing her purse from the passenger’s seat “I’m just trying to help.”
“One more wanted poster with your Russian mugshot hanging around downtown is not helping ―”
“― yes, I know! That picture is so ugly. I will have to send them an email with an updated one,” Villanelle stretches, closing the door. She gives Eve a final glance from outside the window, “I’ll be right back. Do not move this Uber an inch, hm?”
Villanelle was right ― she was immune.
Eve would kill her before any virus ever got close.
Eve jolts to an unexpected honk, her eyes shooting open.
“The fuck ―” Eve picks her head up from the steering wheel, finding a medical cart meandering up to her side window. At its helm: Villanelle, dressed suspiciously different than a moment before; she’s donning a nurse’s hat, a face shield and white linens.
Eve frowns. She did not.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” Villanelle announces, putting on an affected southern drawl, “it seems it’s your turn for the vaccine.”
“Where in the fresh hell did you get the costume?” Eve harshly whispers, nearly falling out of her car door. Villanelle smirks proudly, tipping her cap.
“The office, of course, ma’am…” she shrugs, faux-naive, “it’s where we keep all the gear. Now, I’m quite in a rush, would you like a ride up to the front?”
“Villanelle, I swear to God ―” Eve threatens, clamoring onto the vehicle.
“That’s it,” Villanelle grins, strapping Eve down with a seatbelt and pressing her foot to the pedal. Before Eve can complain, they’re zipping at illegal speeds across the wide lot, passing car after car in a flurry. Eve grips to Villanelle’s arm, holding on for dear life.
“Will you slow down?!”
“Sorry, ma’am,” she laughs, the wheels of the cart screeching, “now you see here in America our carts go just as fast as our vaccine distribution!”
Villanelle hits the breaks just as they approach the tent, vaulting Eve’s heart into her throat. She gasps for air, digs her nails into Villanelle’s forearm.
“I really don’t know why I’m even worried about dying from this virus,” Eve seethes, “I’m in a relationship with you. On purpose.”
“You are so romantic, Eve,” Villanelle smiles, and the worst part is that she means it; she leans in to Eve, momentarily forgetting the blocky face shield. The plastic pushes up against Eve’s nose and Eve snorts.
“Shut up,” Eve knocks her head against the plastic, pushing Villanelle off her, “get us this vaccine before I remember how stupid I’m being for following along.”
“Of course, ma’am,” Villanelle switches again, putting out her hand to assist Eve off the cart, “now, act your age.”
“Act elderly, Eve,” she winks. Eve remembers why she spends a large chunk of her day hating this woman.
Before Eve can complain, Villanelle takes her shoulder and leads her into the tent, going past the car and sauntering directly up to the table where the rest of the nursing staff sit. Eve eyes the absolute pandemonium: stacks and stacks of vaccines, syringes, nurses shuffling from car to car, discarding and re-equipping gloves, gear, masks.
“God bless the medical workers,” Eve mumbles.
“Oh, thank you,” Villanelle grins. Eve elbows her in the rib.
Villanelle exaggeratedly helps Eve towards the table, attracting the attention of a male nurse.
“Um, can I help you?” he looks between them, clearly not recognizing Villanelle or Eve, “are you working here?”
“Of course I am,” Villanelle says, equal parts faux-southern cheer and retired assassin dominance, “this is Eve. She and I both need the vaccine right now. Can you arrange that?”
“Um, shouldn’t you already have it?” he questions, growing wary, “and there’s a line…”
“Now, now,” Villanelle looks down at his nametag, “Thomas. You are asking a lot of questions. Taking up a lot of time. Don’t you think it would be a lot faster if you just gave it to us?”
“That is not how this works. Plus, why did you walk in from the back of the tent? That’s an emergency exit, not an entrance ―”
“Eve is dying, Thomas,” Villanelle grows serious, looking sadly at Eve. Eve’s jaw drops, “she could die at any moment. At any second. She has a very rare auto-immune disorder. And she works full-time at Starbucks. And she lives in a household of fifteen people. Fifteen, Thomas. Do you know high-risk she is? She is the highest risk person on the planet. The local government has determined that she needs the vaccine now. Right now. This very minute. Do you want me to call the Mayor, Thomas? Do you want to be the reason that Eve drops dead right now?”
“Oh, shit, fuck, I didn’t know,” his cheeks enflame, eyebrows raising.
“Of course you didn’t. But now you do. So you’re going to grab two vaccinations and put them in the syringes or whatever, and stab her in the arm. Okay? And then me. Because I am ―”
“My coworker,” Eve interjects, extremely tired of Villanelle’s train of thought, “at… Starbucks.”
He looks between them. Blinks.
“Nursing does not pay like it used to,” Villanelle says, like it makes perfect sense, “now, get to it!”
He shakes his head fervently and reaches for a new pair of gloves, grabbing the doses. He motions to Eve first, rolling up her sleeve. Eve feels the needle enter, exit. Quick as a breath, and it’s over. All that time waiting, all that time thinking this moment would never come, and here it was ―
Once the pair of them are finished, Villanelle thanks Thomas profusely, reminding him of the service he’s done to an elderly woman in need. Eve thinks she deserves an award in self-discipline for not kicking her ass. But managing not to kick Villanelle’s ass was, at this point, a well developed muscle.
Once they’re back in their car, Eve tears off her mask and points a finger at Villanelle.
“You are so ―” Eve starts, but the words die in her throat as she notices the look in Villanelle’s eyes, the slight wetness staining her eyelashes.
“Wait, shit, what’s wrong?” Eve frowns, the anger shuttering out of her in seconds.
“What? Nothing is wrong. I’m fine,” Villanelle pauses. Thinks. After a moment, she grabs Eve’s hand and squeezes, “It’s stupid. I mean ― I’m just glad that you… that… I am glad that we made it through this. That we’re going to… make it through this.”
Oh. Eve smiles sadly, slowly - understanding dawning.
“Yeah, well, me too,” she squeezes Villanelle’s hand back, “but we’re like cockroaches, honestly. The only thing that’s going to take us out at this point is a nuclear bomb.”
“Don’t jinx it. 2021 just began.”
Eve laughs, turns the keys in the ignition.