Chapter 32: When Will I See You Again?
Hell week came and went, as did a few weeks. Things went back to straight business...no more parties, dinners and such. Bill had realized, while managing his budget one night that he'd been spending far too much on such niceties. He didn't need to pamper his employees. Things like that should only be used as rewards. He'd learned that rule long ago, and now realized he'd been slipping a bit on that as of late.
Assignments were doled out. Elle had to do a triple job, going from Costa Rica, then Guatemala and finally to Tennessee. Needless to say, she was not pleased. Vernita was sent to Maine, which on return she said was "possibly the most goddamn boring place I've ever been." Bill sent Beatrix on a few very difficult missions. Not out of some sort of spite, but because he knew she could handle it the best. She was amazingly good at quick recoveries and he knew he could count on her to be able to pull everything off. Budd was sent off to work with some guys of Vincent's. They were doing a job, but they wanted one of the Viper's along and the assignment seemed like a very Budd-like job. O-Ren was continently sent off to Japan to do an easy assignment and thus giving her some time there to do what she needed to do before returning. Bill was always willing to make amends for O-Ren.
Then one quiet Tuesday afternoon, Bill's cell phone rang. He raised an eyebrow at the caller ID and flipped open the phone.
"It's draft pick time Bill," a cool male voice said, "And I've already made my first round picks."
"Hello Bob...so nice to hear your soothing voice again." Bill replied with a smirk.
"You likewise Bill. Still a bastard I presume?"
"Good to hear...now...let's get down to business..."
A few hours later Bill sat in the living room across from O-Ren and Beatrix. Budd was milling around the room. Bill hadn't told the two women why they had been summoned here when he spoke to them on the phone. Now, he was seated across from them...a stoic expression on his face. After a moment he pushed two pieces of paper across the coffee table, one for each of them. These were contracts; every DiVA member was very familiar with these sorts of contracts. Almost all professional killers used them.
Bill spoke up, "These are mandatory leave of absence contracts. These release you from my employ as contract killers under my association for an undetermined amount of time." He pushed a pen into the middle of the table and then leaned back against the couch.
"Sign them ladies."
O-Ren and Beatrix sat there both looking dumbfounded and flabbergasted. Their facades could have been seen as amusing but they were far from it. O-Ren snatched up her contract and read over it in a hasty manner. Soon after she read the contents she let the paper fall back to the table. Her lips twitched as it was very clear this Chinese half breed was in a hot fury. This rarely occurred but when O-Ren got upset, it was scary.
"Goddammit, Bill. No!" Her tone of voice kept a mixture of calm and irate. Beatrix stayed in her stoic manner, leaning back on the couch, and arms folded over her chest. She hadn't touched the contract. O-Ren continued, "No, I can't comply with this. We've done...I've done nothing wrong."
"Actually," Beatrix chimed in calmly. The contract was now in her slender hands. "We aren't being 'fired' we're being... traded."
O-Ren shot a cold glare in the blonde's direction. "That's equally as worse."
Budd was sitting at the counter across the way. He was fiddling with a cowboy hat and didn't look up to anyone. "You're being traded like a bunch of common baseball cards."
Both women turned and gave Budd a look that shut him up for quite awhile.
"I have to agree with O-Ren, Bill," Beatrix began in a cool demeanor. She was taking this rather lightly. Lightly meaning she wasn't going into a hissy fit but inside she was fuming. Her blue eyes registered the emotion. "We like it here. And unless you have a damn good reason for 'trading'...us...I wouldn't count on those contracts being signed."
Bill was unaffected by O-Ren's outburst of anger. His hard gaze flicked over to the half-breed, but he said nothing to her. He'd seen O-Ren's temper in action before.
"You don't have a choice Kiddo," he replied coolly, "You and O-Ren are both going to sign those pieces of paper, or I'll simply find a way around even needing a contract. I've done it before." He let that sink in, not giving them an ounce of warmth. Budd's little comment hadn't helped the situation...even if it was cruelly accurate. But Beatrix and O-Ren were far from "common" cards...he'd count them more in the "ultra rare" category.
"Neither of you did anything wrong, in fact...quite the opposite. You're both the best I have, and no matter how much you like it here, or how much you don't want to leave, you are obligated to follow my instructions on this." He picked up the pen, glaring at them before setting it down with a loud smack back down on the table. "I don't need to explain myself to either of you. All you need to know is written on those contracts."
There was not a touch of personal biasness in Bill's mannerisms.
"All that's written on these contracts is bullshit," O-Ren sneered. Her words weren't necessarily directed at Bill. As furious as she was at him she never ever crossed him. She snatched up the pen and scripted her name on the piece of paper. She then thrust the pen at Beatrix who caught it in her lap.
With raised eyebrows at O-Ren she leaned over and painted her name on the line. She pushed the papers back to Bill's side of the table and rose to her feet. Arms were crossed over her chest and it was hard to make out her emotions at the present moment. Of course she was furious that Bill was 'trading' them but she knew he had his reasons. He always did. But what pissed her off even more was how he lacked to explain himself. He'd never explain himself not even during the most crucial periods.
O-Ren followed and got up as well. "It was nice working for you Bill," she said in a bitterly snide tone. She'd be bitter towards Bill for quite some time on this but they had ways of fixing things. Surrogate fathers could do that. She turned and made haste for the door. "My place at ten o'clock, Beatrix," she called down the hall way before slamming the door.
Ten O'clock, that gave her a good two hours to pack. The tall blonde turned her gaze to Bill. Her temperature was frozen. "When will I see you again?"
Bill was pleased that they had both signed the contracts, without too much effort on his part to make them do it. Not that it really mattered, he just would have forged their names anyways. He used to forge fake checks all of them time...back in the day, that is and still considered himself a formidable forger. But nowadays he preferred the more legit and "honorable" way. O-Ren was angry with him, but Bill wasn't all too worried about that. She had one hell of a temper...she'd gotten mad at him many times before, but she always got over it. Of course, there were things that O-Ren didn't know...that she would most likely never get over. Hrm, well...ignorance is bliss as they say.
Bill stood, tossing the contracts onto the counter to be filed away later. When Beatrix asked when she would see him again, he fought a small smile as an obscure connection was made in his mind. "When will you see me again?" He sat down on one of the tall bar stools, "That Kiddo...I do not know. Could be...a few weeks...a few months, could be," he shrugged, "A year." He leaned on the counter, "This is a rare occurrence, but when it does happen...it's really impossible to say how long it will be." He cast a glance over at Budd, who didn't seem to be paying much attention, and then returned to looking at Beatrix.
A flicker of genuine emotion seeped through the cracks of his icy expression. "It's not like I'm happy about it either..." he said in a low tone rushed of voice, "But, that's just the way things work...not a damn thing I can do about it."
Beatrix had followed him over to the bar and stood a foot way, her arms still crossed over her chest and her expression mixed. "Now that I don't believe." Bill could always do something to get out of doing something that one did not want to do. Especially if that thing involved him. He could have declined, said fuck it, and if the person got pissed off he'd have five Vipers to deal with. Ah, but she wasn't a Viper anymore. The thought sent her stomach flipping. "But, be as it may you're still the boss." She tilted her head to him. "And what the boss says go's." She took a step away to the hall way. "I'll miss you," she added quietly as she came up beside him.
"We'll miss you too, Bea," Budd quipped in missing the 'meaning' to her words.
"I'm sure you will," she replied tartly any affection she had long gone.
Bill watched her getting ready to go...walk out...for who knew how long. She was right of course. He could easily have not gone along with it, told Bob to go fuck himself...or insist somebody else take Beatrix's place. But he didn't, he once again compromised his feelings for the own good of the organization...or perhaps his own good. And why not? He'd been doing that for years. They were his assassins goddamnit, and no amount of personal attachments should be allowed to taint those moments of judgment.
Bill suddenly realized he was really fucking pissed off. He was mad at her, and mad at himself and he sure as hell didn't want to be. Slamming a fist down on the bar, he stood up. Coming up behind Beatrix, he grabbed her by the elbow and "walked" her up the hallway out towards the front door. He wasn't entirely sure why he'd done that...but he wasn't going to let her walk out like that...not this time. He had no plan of action; he simply wanted everything to be clear before she left.
Once they got onto the front patio, he turned on her, "Just..." he threw his hands up, "...wait..." He took a deep breath, "Your not stepping off this patio until you swear to me that you're not angry with me." For some weird reason, he felt this was very important.
Beatrix stood there in a moment of unease. He was truly upset about this whole trading shit. Hands were slipped down to her sides to hold less of a haughty posture and lips were parted an inch. Truthfully she was mad at him only because she didn't want to leave him. Things were going well and an indefinite leave of absence could shatter something that took years to build up. Was it worth fucking up everything just because he was obligated to a trade? Apparently.
She turned blue eyes downcast and licked her lips. "I'd be swearing a lie," she stated quietly.
There was a brief moment, where some maniacal uncontrolled corner of Bill's mind just wanted to yell at her "then just lie to me!" But he was rarely one for such angsty dramatics. He could understand why she was angry with him. But she wasn't in his shoes...she hadn't spent more than half of her life building up something. Contract killing wasn't exactly the most stable of occupations. It had taken Bill years...many years to get to the point he was at now. This "trading" business seemed a little silly to her, but if he did not retain respectful relations with those who were his equals in crime...there could be bad consequences. Then again, the same could be said for them...he and Beatrix that is...something that he'd spent years working on. Maybe not in the sense it was now...but it all had served to create the situation that they were in now. And it was desperately fragile at the moment.
She was taking it personally. And he had dished it out impersonally, because he had to. He wished he could make her understand that. But he couldn't. He was too old for this sort of shit.
"Very well..." he took a few steps back. "I'm...just going to go inside." He tried to bite back the inclination for cruel words. This was no easy task. "Your angry...fine...an acceptable reaction Kiddo..." Despite all of Bill's cunning and wit, he completely missed the real reason behind her anger. He simply didn't see it. "I'll take the blame for it." He took a deep breath, "Now," he waved a hand towards her parked car, "You should get going. This one's going to require a little more packing then usual and O-Ren's a stickler for timeliness."
He turned back towards the house, verbally spent.
She took a backwards step from the patio, her eyes still on him though his back was turned. Her lips were tight together in an attempt to seal off dangerous emotions and words. She wanted to lie to him but it would be a lie and sometimes a lie hurt more than the truth especially when you knew it was a lie.
Another backwards motion and she was nearing the steps. Beatrix shook her head from side to side in a weary manner. "Almost, Bill," she said in a hoarse whisper. She had no doubt he'd hear. She took the first step off the patio. "We came...so...close."
The tall blonde turned and took the remainder of the steps forward. Deep down Beatrix knew that she'd see him again. This wasn't permanent but she was sure that things would be different when she came back. Just like they were after her time with Pai Mei. People change, feelings change. She made haste to the car, got in, started it up, and drove away.
AUTHOR'S NOTES READ!
Okay...everyone chill...take a breath...breathe...good. Feel better?
So, how does everyone like the story so far? We, Mel and I, greatly appreciate all of your wonderful reviews! Really, all of your support and encouraging words have really pulled this story along. Just as this story has meant something to all of you, your reviews have meant a great deal to us.
Alright...enough 'reviewer appreciation' let's get down to business.
No...the story doesn't end here.
Mel and I decided that since this story is so long we are putting it into a Volume 1 and a Volume 2. So, in due time I will post a new story on that will be called: Kill Bill: Prequel Volume 2. In time I will rename this one as well. We also thought that those that are reading this story for the first time won't feel so...overwhelmed by all the chapters.
Well...there you have it. The end of the first part of Kill Bill: Prequel.
Check out: Kill Bill the prequel: Volume 2 on ffnet to continue.