Chapter 13

Charles lay on his hotel room bed. In his loneliness, he was forced to think about all his mistakes, about his entire life gone to hell, about Kate. He dismissed his thoughts shamefully. He tossed the paper aside and rested his head on the bed with the rest of his weary body.

Charles awoke awhile later to the sound of a ringing telephone, a sound which he had grown to hate over the past few days. He answered it grumpily, "Yeah?"

"Mr. Ebert, this is the front desk. Do you know a Miss Kate Clark?"

"Yes, I do," Charles responded eagerly.

"She is here for you, in the lobby."

"I'll be right down."

"Would you like me to send her up?"

"Go ahead, please."

"Very well."

"Thank you," Charles hung up. He anxiously paced his room, wondering how in hell she had found him, and if she had found out. And then he realized that he didn't care. He wanted to see her face. He wanted his last words to her to be in person.

There was a knock on the door. Charles ran to it and peeped through the eyehole at a beautiful head of brilliant red hair. He unlocked and opened it. Kate was standing timidly, wearing a tan overcoat and staring at the ground. She looked terrible. Without even thinking, Charles advanced and took her in his arms. He felt her arms around his waist and smiled for the first time in three days. When they pulled away, Kate looked at him seriously, "May I come in?"

Charles responded by backing out of the doorway to let Kate in. Kate removed her coat and tossed it onto the bed. She took Charles's hand and set him and herself down on the bed. Looking at him desperately, she asked hesitantly, "Charles. . .tell me the truth. . .Did you. . ." she took a breath, "Did you kill Andrew?"

Charles looked back at her and let out a blubbery, inconsistent breath. He did this twice, and then finally answered, "Yes." Kate closed her eyes. A tear trickled down her cheek.

"And I'm sorry, Kate," Charles insisted. Kate sniffed, but did not open her eyes, "I'm so, so sorry."

"Why? Why did you do it?"

"I was hired. . .It's how I earn money. I fucking kill people. It's pathetic Kate, and I should rot in hell forever. But that's how it is. I'm a professional assassin. I didn't hate him, I don't. . .When I met you, I regretted it. I was so scared because I didn't want you to be frightened. I didn't want to lose you like I've done. I didn't know what to do. . ."

"You haven't lost me."

"What?"

"Charles, as wrong as it seems. . .I love somebody. Be he a professional assassin or not, I loved him for who he appeared to be. I know he's in you because. . .When I look at you, I don't see the assassin. I just see him. And I can't let him go like I let Andrew go. I don't care what you've done."

Charles looked at her, astounded. He could hardly believe he was getting a second chance. He shook his head, "I wasn't expecting this. . ."

"What?"

"This.I wasn't expecting to get a second chance. I just wanted to tell you that I love you and that I'm sorry before I die."

"Die?"

"I'm going to get caught, that fucking Parker will undoubtedly tell them it was me. That must be how you found out."

Kate closed her eyes again and rubbed them with the heel of her hand. Swallowing what little saliva remained in her mouth, she took Charles by the hand and kissed him.