Dutchy gaped.  "P-pardon?"

"Specs.  Samuel 'Specs' Edwards.  That's what he's called.  What's wrong, d'you know him?"

"No.  No, of course not.  It just sounded like something else." Dutchy lied through his teeth.  He dared not to breathe while Vinnie studied him carefully.

"Your gut ain't failin' you now, is it?  You're my best and I'd really hate to see you go, Alec." Vinnie said seriously.

"Please…I've asked you a million times not to call me that…" Dutchy mumbled.  He tensed when cold fingertips touched his cheek, right on the bone.  Dutchy looked up and nervously met Vinnie's gaze.

"I like to.  See you later, Alec." Vinnie got up and let himself out.  Dutchy sighed and demanded of himself on how he was going to pull this job off. 

He walked slowly back into the bedroom and ran his fingers through his blonde hair.  Dutchy's head snapped up with he heard the distinctive cock of a gun.  Specs had one pointed right at the blonde's head and his expression was a deep frown.

"Specs…" Dutchy began.  He stopped when a bullet whizzed by his head.

"Next time, I'm not going to miss."

"Specs, listen!"

"I've already heard it."

"Not the whole story!"

"I can't believe I didn't see it before!"


"Shut up!  I don't want to hear anymore lies!"

"I never lied!"

"What about the thermostat?"

"It was broken!  The landlady fixed it already!"

"I don't believe you."

"Nor should you.  Just put the gun down so we can talk."

"So you can stab me is more like it."

"I won't."


"I'm not lying!"

"You lied about what you did!"


"I…you…never mind!"

"Just listen to me…"


"You have to hear the whole story!"

"What else is there to hear?!"


"You're a hit man and you've been assigned to kill me!  What else do you have to confess?!  That you're just faking it?  You don't really care for me?"

"Specs!  I do!  But-"

"But you have to kill me." Specs said in a sardonic tone that also held the tone of hurt and betrayal.  "Nice.  Real nice.  Why didn't you just kill me when we first met in the bar?  Wouldn't that have been so much easier?  Or were you supposed to gain my trust and slit my throat one night?"

"I didn't know that I'd have you as an assignment!" Dutchy defended.  "We never know in advance!"

"Why should I believe you?"

"Because…because…" Dutchy licked his lips nervously.  "Specs, I love you."

Specs expression seemed to soften as he heard those words.  Dutchy said nothing, waiting for his reply.  Specs dropped the gun and shook his head with a soft snort.  He glared with eyes full of hate at Dutchy.

"The things you'll say!" He snarled, firing a shot.  Dutchy dropped to the floor covered his head.  "You liar!  Everything you ever said was a lie!  The only thing that was true was that your work comes first!"

Dutchy crawled along his stomach and his fingers closed around cool metal.  Specs had thrown down the gun and was now climbing out the window.  Dutchy jumped up and yanked Specs back into the room.  Before Specs could land a blow, Dutchy had jumped back.  Specs leapt forward and was promptly jerked back.  He looked over to where his right wrist was shackled to the bed post.

"You…you…YOU BASTARD!" Specs bellowed, lunging forward and making furious swipes at Dutchy with his freehand.  Dutchy watched him sadly, just out of reach.  He turned and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him with a bang.

Continue to part 9...