The Aftermath (Broken)

Note: There is light sexual content in this chapter. But, it isn't erotica, not even close. Just a disclaimer.

I arrived in Harlem, New York after a three hour flight. I catnapped the entire way. I guess it was in the back of my mind that anyone on the flight could have been a potential assassin, awaiting the proper time to collect his or her bounty. When I wasn't sleeping I was thinking. I was about to leave behind my entire life in seven days. Everything and everyone that I knew and loved would have to be locked away, like a keepsake inside of a treasure chest.

I thought about what I had done, sometimes wondering whether or not I should have even done it.Although my life had been one of sadness and despair there were bright moments as well. Kenny's handsome face always managed to surface. Aunt DeeDee baking me fresh chocolate chip cookies once a week made me smile, even now. All of the little things that I had taken for granted back then were placedbeneath a whole new light. I felt my eyes water, but I held back the tears. The battle within my soul was tumultous. I did not regret killing Beatrix for a second. But if I could have gone back in time and altered the way things had played out I would have done so in a second. I would have made it so that my mother would've never gone to the Two Pines Wedding chapel, thereby sparing herself Beatrix's wrath. Thus sparing me this life. I felt no remorse for Beatrix because of the countless number of people she had taken out, including my mother. But, just like I deserved my revenge Beatrix deserved her's. What they had done to her was heinous, but what she did to me was equally cruel. The cycle was like a circle, with no beginning nor end. Now, I was apart of it. One day I could unknowingly become the target of someone else's revenge. And I probably deserved it.

When BB died the look in her eyes was all too familiar. It had been mine some years ago. It was the same fear and hatred that I harbored within as my mother fell to the kitchen floor, dead. BB had seen her mother,alongside her entire family, perish the same way I had. I did not blame her for what happened. I tried to rationalize it all as self defense. But in truth, I wanted to hurt her. I wanted Beatrix to feel my hurt, my pain, and my grief. I wanted her to know what it was like to lose someone. My act was not simply retribution for my mother.It was a revenge tour for myself. I put in the work and the effort all for that moment. One moment that I would never have again.

In my rage I did not even second guess what I had done to them, or how efficiently I had accomplished it. What hounded me the most was how much pride I took in my training, and what I was now capable of doing to other human beings. On that plane, in my solace, I realized that I was not only an avenger, but a killer.

As I glanced at the portly gentleman that sat beside me I knew that I could kill him, instantly, and no one on the plane would be any the wiser. The very idea sent a cold chill up my spine. He tried to initiate polite conversation, but I quickly skirted all of his questions. He finally gave up and went back to reading his newspaper.

I knew for certain that I had to flee to Brazil. If that meant never seeing the two people that I loved, ever again, then so be it. I refused to allow myself to sink any deeper. I loved my mother, but I did not want to be like her. Besides, you have it in your genes. I kept hearing Cutlass's quote echo in my mind. It was like the devil whispering in my ear. The scariest thing was that a tiny piece of me agreed with him.I paid no heed to it. I decided then and there that I would never take another life. The price of my soul and hummanity were too precious to me.

When the plane landed I grabbed my things and called for a taxicab. I had the driver take me to my brownstone, the one that Aunt DeeDee and I shared for so many years. However, halfway there, I had him stop by a Four Seasons hotel. I had more than enough money for the next few days(and then some), so I rented a room. I checked in under my assumed name and quickly switched outfits. I changed into a beautiful silk lavender blouse that Sofie had purchased for me in Texas. Over the years I had changed in my appearance, particularly bodywise. During the training I had lost a few inches. Now my body was more slender and svelte, forcing me toalter my wardrobe(all of my clothes were finely my true identity would be alot easier now that I looked different. I unraveled my newly extended hair which fell past my butt. I put on a little makeup and went back to the waiting cab. I kept some money in my pocket because I wanted to take the subway back. For some reason I just felt nostalgic for a train ride.

"Alright sweety, we're here. That'll be one hundred bucks."

My eyes quickly flittered open to see the cabbie looking back at me. It seemed like Ihad only blinked my eyes and bingo, we had traveled several miles.I worked the kinks out of my neck and reached into my pocket. As I did so I saw my old house. It still looked exactly the same. The stoop was swept and Aunt DeeDee's flowers still sat outside the window ledge. Little details like that I used to overlook. But when I saw them, for the first time in three years, I smiled wider than I ever had. I eagerly placed theone hundreddollar bill in the cab driver's hand and got out of the car.

"You want me to wait for you?" He asked.

I nodded my head, "No thank you. I may be here for awhile. Thanks anyway." I said.

With that he drove off.

I stared intently at the stair steps for several moments. So many memories began to flood through my mind. In that tiny instant I forgot about everything else. For one single moment the last three years never even happened. I felt joyous nostalgia creep up on me. I welcomed it in.

I recalled sitting down on the steps, with Kenny, talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I didn't really know what I wanted, aside from avenging my mother. I always said that I wanted to be a moviestar. Kenny wanted to be an astronaut. We used to play on this very sidewalk, practicing our martial arts moves on one another. Aunt DeeDee would tell us to watch out for cars. I remember playing double dutch and hop scotch with all the other girls on my block. We talked about who we would marry when we grew up, and how many kids we wanted. My choice was always L.L. Cool J, and I wanted a boy and a girl, in that order.

I stood there and giggled, while getting misty-eyed at the sametime.All the memories made me so glad to be back, if only for a short while. Suddenly, the moment passed and I returned to the grim reality of my life. Slowly, I walked up the staircase. I raised my fist to knock, but I hesitated. What if Aunt Dee Dee was still upset with me? What if she wasn't here? I was petrified for reasons that I cannot explain. I forced myself to knock after standing at the door for several seconds.

"I'm coming!" I heard a voice cry out. It was definitely her. My heart went a flutter. I was so happy yet so morose at the sametime.

Suddenly the door creeked open. I saw her green eyes peep through the crack, "Oh my god..." She gasped, "Nikkia?"

I smiled broadly. All was right with the world as far as I was concerned, "Auntie? It's me!"

DeeDee slammed the door and hurriedly unlatched the chain before opening it again. She sat in her wheelchair adorned in a lovely house dress. Her hair had become slightly grayer, but she still looked like the same old Aunt DeeDee. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she emitted a broad smile, "Come here girl..." She said, barely able to get her words out as she stretched out her arms.

I couldn't help it. I broke into tears. I ran to her and clutched her within an equally tight embrace. "Auntie I'm so sorry..." I said through tears and sobs.

"Hush. I don't want to hear that. That is all in the past. I am just glad that my little girl is home." She whispered. Aunt DeeDee lovingly ran her fingers through my hair and gently patted my back. I didn't want to let her go.

After several minutes we finally went into the house.

I arrived in Harlem at 9:00 am. DeeDee and I spent the entire day together, catching up on old times. We watched television, she cooked my favorite dishes, and I even took a long nap in my old bedroom(that she never touched while I was away).

It wasn't until the novelty of my return began to wear off that the real issues, the ones that had seperated us for three years, began to resurface.

"Your hair looks so beautiful, Nikki. Come here and let me comb it out like I used to when you were little." She said. I stood up from my chair and walked towards her. I sat Indian style, with my back turned, at her feet. Even though my flowing locks were extensions of my natural hair it still felt good for Aunt DeeDee to comb it out. Whenever she combed my hair out it seemed like everything was right. This ritual was like truth serum. I could talk about anything.

This time was not any different...

"I did it, Auntie..." I said quietly, as I looked down at the floor.

Silence lingered between us.

"I figured you had..." she said, as she continued to run the comb through my lockes, "How do you feel about it?"

I nodded my head everso slightly, "I don't know sometimes...I don't have any regrets about what I did, but--"

"You have regrets about the consequences and repercussions of it all." Aunt DeeDee completed my sentence like she had mental telepathy, "I know how you feel, right now, at this moment. I was there...I have been there so many times."

"I just didn't think there would be so much much pain...." I started crying. I tried to stop, but I couldn't, "I thought it would just be her...But she had a daughter, a husband, and a son..."

"And you killed them too?" DeeDee asked, as she paused momentarily.

"Yes. They were trying to protect her and--" I cut myself off. I thought about the day my own mother died. I rationalized my actions as self defense, but I knew they were only doing what I would have done had I been able to. They loved Beatrix just the way that I loved my own mom, "I just wanted it to be her...At first...Then I wanted to kill them, just because I knew it would hurt her...I wanted to avenge momma, but I also wanted revenge..." I sighed. Strangely, saying those words outloud made me feel better. The saying, "The Truth Shall set you free" wasone hundred percenttrue.

"I understand, sweetie..." DeeDee gently massaged my neck as she continued to comb my hair, "A wise man once said that the road to vengence is a dense forest. When you want one tree sometimes it's necessary to cut down the rest...That is why I tried to dissuade you. I knew it would come to that. I made a promise to myself that I would keep you out of this life. I only got out by the skin of my teeth and a bullet wound to my back...You didn't come up the way your mother and I did..."

"I'm going to live in Brazil, Auntie. I probably won't be coming back either..." I said. While I didn't regret killing Beatrix I now realized that the price I had to pay was too high. I got bloody satisfaction. But I lost myself in the process. I no longer knew who I was as a person. Spiritually and physically I was a lost soul, trying to find her way.

Aunt DeeDee sighed, "I prayed that it would not come to this..." That is when I felt her hands tremble. I turned to face her. DeeDee's face was streaked with tears. It made me cry even harder as I buried mine in her lap. She gently caressed my head, "Oh Nikki I am so sorry that I failed you..."

"Stop it DeeDee...You didn't fail me. It was my choice...I wanted it."

"The cycle never ends in this, don't you understand? They won't stop following you...unless..." DeeDee paused mid sentence.

"Unless what? Who won't stop following me?" I asked.

She kept stroking my hair and looking at me sorrowfully, "I had so many dreams for you. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy and at peace. To finally be able to lead a normal life..."

"Don't worry about me...I'm not so good right now, but I'm gonna be." I forced a smile just to make her feel better. I wasn't sure whether or not I believed my own words, as much as I wanted them to be true.

"Cutlass called me, several hours ago..." She whispered.

I let out a slight gasp as I wiped the tears away.

"What did he want?" I asked with great suspicion.

"Nikki, I would never talk to him on any other occasion, but it was out of my concern for you--"

"What did he want, Auntie?" I asked, more sternly this time.

"You are marked for death."

"I know that. My friend told me so."

"There is more to it than that. In this game it is necessary to have protection, no matter where you are. You are all alone right now sweetie. Cutlass proposed, and I agreed, that--"

"What are you trying to say Aunt DeeDee?" I started getting frustrated.

"I would not ask you to do this if I knew you would be perfectly safe. God knows I wouldn't, and you have to believe me...Cutlass offered you a place with him--"

"NO!" I screamed, "How could you do that? How could you even suggest that? I can't stand that man!"

"Nikki I am only thinking about you! You have no one that can protect you, and if you were to go work for him you would be safe! Don't you understand that? You wouldn't have to run anymore! Believe me, throwing away your identity and fleeing the country will only keep you alive for so long! Your mother was a prime example of that!"

"I would rather die then let him turn me into a killing machine! He is the reason why our familyis sofucked up in the first place!"

"Calm down, sweetie..." She calmly said. I slowly turned back around as she braided my hair into a long ponytail, "I only want what is best for you. I know what is happening to you right now. As I said before I have been through it. You got your revenge, but there are others who want their's. In this business the only way to be safe, for sure, is to be apart of a well known organization. Cutlass is one of the most powerful bosses in the industry. Look, I hold as much animosity towards him as you do.You know I wouldn't have suggested otherwise if the situation were not so dire. Your mother and I worked like hell to make sure this would not happen, and your well being is paramount to me...But..." She paused, "The cycle of vengence is a neverending one."

"Don't worry about me, Auntie. I am going to be fine. Once I go where no one can find me it will be over. I'm just going to miss everything around here. You never really appreciate anything you have until it's gone..." I mused.

We sat in silence for several moments. I absorbed my surroundings, taking everything in. I knew this would probably be the last time I ever saw my home.

"Did Kenny tell you about my letter?" I asked with great interest.

"Yes, infact he was the only person that kept me sane after you left. He came by here everyday, for two months, after your departure...We would just sit and talk about you." she said.

"How is he?"

"Well, the last time I saw him he and his parents were moving away."

I jerked my head around, "Where did they move too?"

I was devastated. Kenny was the real reason I had comeback. I needed to know how he was doing.

"Otis found a new home, and job oppurtunity, in Los Angeles, California. Kitty and Kenny went with him that summer. Kenny told me to tell you that he loved you. That was the last time that I saw him. Such a good boy..."

My lips began to tremble as I broke into tears anew. I put my face in my hands and sobbed quietly. Aunt DeeDee gently caressed my back.

I knew I didn't have time to find Kenny, and I am not sure that I wanted to. I broke up with him because he deserved to lead a normal life. I just hoped that It would have been with me.

After Aunt DeeDee finished doing my hair I left the brownstone, for the final time. I hugged and kissed her for the last time, and promised that we would meet again.

Idescended into the subway station and caught the next train to my hotel. I would make me trip early tommorrow. I no longer had any reason to remain.

"Nikki? Is that you?" A very familiar voice said.

When I boarded the subway I completely zoned out. So much was happening. My thoughts were a whirlpool, and I paid absolutely no attention to anyone else around me. Until I heard the voice. The sound waslower and huskier, but it was still the same nevertheless. I slowly turned my head, and saw a very tall, athletically built, young man walking towards me. I instantly recognized the blinding megawatt smile. Joy washed over me like a wave. My lips curled into a smile as my eyes lit up like candles, "Kenny?" I said.

I could hardly believe it was him. He looked so good. He didn't just look good, he looked exquisite. Kenny's appearance had matured drastically. He no longer wore cornrows. Instead he sported a nice clean cut. His neck, shoulders, and arms had broadened, tremendously. It was obvious that he had been hitting the gym, hard. The results were excellent. The sleeveless white sweater and black corduroy pants that he wore showcased his hardwork quite nicely. But the onething that remained the same were his happy eyes and brilliant smile. Those traits had not changed one iota.

When the train stopped I stood up and absentmindedly ran to him. He wrapped me in his arms and twirled me around. I didn't want him to let go. I squeezed him so tight that I thought I would strangle him.

"How you been girl?" He asked, as we slowly stepped back from each other. He looked me up and down. Apparently he was pleased by my new appearance as well, "Damn, you look really, REALLY, Great." He emphasized.

"I'm great, now, and thanks for the compliment." I replied. The passengers on the train were still unloading and it was time for me to get off. "Well, this is my stop. You can walk with me if you want to." I said, inwardly praying that he would.

"You know I'm going too." He smiled. We both stepped off the train and onto the platform. We walked up the stairs towards the street.

When we reached the top of the stairwell the sun was beginning to set, and New York City looked even better than the last time I had seen it. The bright neon lightsreminded me of a constellation of stars. I loved New York City.

But, the sight that pleased me most was the stunningly handsome visage of my childhood friend. In the short span of time I'd been gone he became a man. And manhood suited Kenny very well.

Kenny looked me up and down again, "Damn, I can't get over how gorgeous you look, Nikki. You resemble a movie star now." He said again.

"I can say the same for you. I see someone got a haircut and gym membership." I teased, as I playfully punched him on his bare bicep, "You look really handsome."

"Yeah, you know, gotta keep the abs tight...Plus, it is kinda a job requirement when you play college football." He replied, "Let's goto the park and talk...if that's cool with you?"

"Wait, since when did you start playing football?" I laughed.

"Since a couple years ago. Why is that so shocking?" He joked.

I shrugged playfully, "I just always thought you would be still be Kenny the computer whiz. Don't mind me I'm just adapting to you looking like a grown up." I couldn't help but giggle.

"Well, things change. I'm sure you can attest to that."

I nodded my head, "True."

"So, we still on for the park, like old times?"

"That would be great...We have so much catching up to do." I replied enthusiastically.

We went into Central Park and found an empty bench, beneath a scintillating street light. I remembered when we used to come here, on the train, atleast once a week. For a moment Kenny and I just sat and stared at one another. I was so happy to see him again that I could have done cartwheels in the grass. However, I refrained.The irony that we had managed to find each other, at this crucial juncture in my life, was uncanny. It was like kismet. This was meant to happen. Perhaps I was supposed to end up with him.

"I asked my Aunt DeeDee about you today. She said you and your parents went away to California. I didn't think I would get to see you again." I said with a warm smile.

"Yeah, I haven't been back to NYC since that summer." said Kenny, "My parents moved to Los Angeles, so I decided to attend Stanford University. NYU wanted me butI didn't wanna be so far away from the family, y'know? Anyway, I just graduated from there a few weeks ago." he said, proudly.

"Oh god Kenny, good for you!" I was elated, "See, I knew you would do it. So, what did you get your degree in?"

"I double majored. I got one in computer science and the other in Mathematics."

"I never doubted you for a second." I was dripping with enthusiasm. I was genuinely happy for my friend.

"Yeah, College was a blast. Who woulda thought that skinny Kenny could bump heads with the fighting Irish of Notre Dame? We even won the college football championship my senior year. Guess who won MVP?" said Kenny, as he struck a totally GQ pose.

I was so astounded that I laughed, " I cannot believe you. You are a regular Mr. Do It All." I said, "So, what are you up to now, Mr. College Man?"

"Well, I got this job lined up in Virginia, with computers and etc. I got a cool software program that may make me some big money. I start working there this fall."

"That is wonderful, Kenny! Everything fell into place. I am so proud of you! So, why did you come back to New York?"

"I was actually coming to pay a visit to Deidre. I lost touch with her when my parents and I left the city. Plus, I missed NYC something serious. Nowhere else in the world compares to this place. But, Meeting you again was icing on the cake." We held each other's gaze for a long moment. I smiled shyly. I felt like a little school girl around him now. It was so crazy. I actually wanted to giggle.

"So, how did everything go down with you?" He asked.

The giggles vacated the premesis immediately then. My face turned somber as I searched for an answer.

"Hey, if you don't wanna tell me that's coo--"

"No I do. I owe you an explanation, moreso than anyone." I responded, "I did it. I killed her."

"How do you feel about it?" His tone was sincere and thoughtful. Kenny moved closer to me.

"You mean how did I feel about killing her or how do I feel now?"


I let out a long sigh, "When I finally did it I felt overjoyed. But, as time goes on sometimes I don't know how I feel, y'know?" I began to open up at this point, "I spent almost my entire life searching for Now, I don't know where I belong or what I am supposed to do with my life. Sometimes it feels empty."

"You'll figure it out. I know you Nikki, and nothing will hold you back." He gently placed his hand upon my face and pushed away a stray strand of hair. My body tingled when he touched me.

"It's so easy to say that..." I tried to keep myself from shaking, "But so many people died. I never thought about anything else. I am just so afraid of being a bad person..."

"You aren't a bad person." He rested his hand on my knee.

Silence rested between us once again. The wind began to blow ever so slightly. I lookedout at our surroundings and finally back at him. Kenny's remorsefulexpression spoke volumes. "I was crushed when I got your letter three years ago. You know that right?" He asked with a hesitant smile, "I even read it over and over, one hundred times, just to make sure I wasn't reading something wrong."

"It hurt me to write it." I said.

"It took me a longtime to get over the only girl that I ever loved."

I felt goosebumps prickle on my skin. I knew then that I had made a colossal error letting him go. All I wanted was for him to tell me that he wanted me, that he needed me, that he was still in love with me,

Tell me that Kenny and I will be yours forever, I pleaded inwardly.

"Initially, I had a hardtime getting over you. But, I met someone..."

He smiled.

My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. I felt a lump form in my throat. I swallowed hard. My eyes bulged as I did so.

"Her name is Bree."

I felt the wind leave me body. I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. I felt humiliated even though I had said absolutely nothing. "I'm so happy for you, Kenny. How long have you two been together?" I asked, hoping that the question didn't come off too forced and obvious.

"Seven months as of yesterday. It's just so ironic that I ran into you today. I came here to invite DeeDee to my wedding and now I see you again. This is perfect. Bree and I are getting married in two weeks, in New York."

I wanted to cry. In that moment I died a thousand deaths. This was the first time that I truly knew heartbreak.

"Kenny, you walk the side of Angels. No single man should have all your good fortune." I joked half heartedly, "Congratulations. She is really lucky to have you."

Kenny just looked at me momentarily. I held his gaze. He looked away and reached into his pocket.Then hepulled out a picture, "This is her."

I reached for his wallet and divined the photo for myself.

"God, she is so beautiful..." I said. She was. Bree looked like a fashion model. I envied her. I wanted to be the girl in his wallet.

"She still isn't as pretty as you though..." He remarked. The comment caught me completely off guard. I didn't know what to say then. I could tell he was a bit embarressed by it as well. So he quickly changed the subject.

"Will you come to my wedding? Now that you're back I have to have my best friend there--"

"I don't think I can, Kenny." I blurted out. I knew I couldn't. I was still in love with him. To see him with another woman would have killed me, figuratively and literally.

"Why not? This is an important time in my life. I need my best girl by my side."

"I am moving to Brazil in a few days. More than likely I will not be returning...ever."

I made my decision then and there. I had nothing to gain from being here anymore. The man I loved was marrying another woman. And, I was marked for death by any assassin that might want to collect Beatrix's trust fund. Leaving was the easiest thing to do now.

"Why so far away? Why won't you be coming back?"

Kenny's eyes pleaded for an answer.

"After what happened...What I did... there are bound to be others after me...I have to leave for my safety, and yours." I said. I slowly stood up from the park bench and walked over to Kenny. I kissed him gently upon the cheek, "I have to go Ken. I am so happy to see you, and I am happy to know that you are happy. I am going to be leaving in another couple of days. Anytime between now and then you can come visit me at my hotel. We can hang out and catch up." I said, "My name is Amilah Patel at the hotel."

My hotel was only a block away so I decided to walk the distance. I needed the fresh air now more than before.

As I walked off Kenny caught up behind me. I was about to leave the park when He took my arm from behind. He looked confused and a tad bit distraught.

"Nikki, Give me one reason why I shouldn't get married." He said.

Only one came to mind. Because I still Love you!

"I can't think of one, Ken. I just want you to be happy." I said, weakly.

I slowly stepped away from him. Kenny did not move. Neither of us broke eye contact until I crossed the street and entered the hotel. When I saw him walk off a profound wave of sadness swept me. I had lost him, for good this time.

Things really do change. That was the hardest lesson I had to learn.

The moment I entered my hotel room Istarted packing my things. I decided that I was going to leave sooner than later. I needed to get away and startover with a clean slate. I kept wondering whether or not I was taking the coward's way out. Just giving up on my life like this was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But, if I was going to have some normalcy I needed to try something different.

That night it rained, hard. The downpour came in sheets that beat upon my window sill like a snare drum. Normally rain was the perfect thing to induce sleep, however, I couldn't. I stayed awake and stared at the ceiling. All I could think about was Kenny. When I wrote that letter I thought I would never see him again. But, I underestimated myself; moreover, I underestimated my feelings for him. All I could think about was how lucky Bree was to have him. I turned over on my side and tried to close my eyes.

The rain continued to come down.

Then I heard a knock at my door. At first I thought it was the rain, but the heavy rap continued. I slowly got out of my bed and put my silk robe on over my night-gown.

I looked through the peep hole. I saw a very tall figure with his back turned to the door. At first I thought it was someone who might be there to take me out. My heart began to palpitate. He knocked again.

"Nikki, are you there?"


"Kenny?" I said.

"Yeah, it's me. Can I come in?" He asked.

I looked at my clock. It was two o'clock in the morning.

What is he doing here at this hour?

I slowly opened the door. He turned around. Kenny was soaking wet.

"Oh my god, what are you doing out this late, in all this rain?" He was dripping and his body was trembling.

"I couldn't sleep..." He said half heartedly.

"Well, don't just stand there. Come in." I urged. He walked in dripping water all over the fancy carpeting.

"Here, let me take your jacket. You want a towel or something?" I asked.

"Yes please." he responded.

"Look, they have some robes in the bathroom closets. You need to get out of those wet clothes before you catch pneumonia or something."

I quickly retrieved a large beach towel for him. He dried his hair and face.Kenny handed mehis large overcoat. Beneath it all he wore was a white tank top, shorts, and his house slippers. His damp clothes clung to him like wet rags, and I could not help but stare at his muscular form. I quickly averted my gaze and handed him a bathrobe."You can goto my bathroom and take a warm shower if you like." I said, nervously.

He shook his head and voluntarily went in.

About twenty minutes later he walked back out and took a seat across from me on the plush white couch.

Kenny looked very troubled. He looked much like he did earlier that day. I was nervous as well.

"Kenny, what is the matter?" I asked, sitting downin thechairbefore him.

He looked at me for a second. Then he broke eye contact."I don't know.Just alot of things, y'know? I have so much going on for me...This new job...moving away To Virginia...The wedding...It's so much..." He shook his head sadly.

"You should be happy about that. Your life is going in such a positive direction..."

"Yeah I know, but just alot of things seem so wrong now...Bree is driving me crazy about the wedding..All the guests, the invitations, the suits, the dresses...All that shit that I don't care about. Did you know that she wants her French poodle, Fefe, to be the ring bearer? " He laughed slightly.

I could tell he was frustrated, so I just let him talk.

"I don't know. Maybe I am not cut out for all of this? Things seem like they are happening so fast. Maybe I should just call it off, atleast for a few more months to see how I really feel about the situation, about Bree..."

Then I interrupted...

"Kenny, you are just having cold feet. That is a normal reaction. Marraige is a huge step. You are about to spend the rest of your life with the woman you love--"

"What if I'm not about to spend the rest of my life with the woman I love?" He asked.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what if I am about to make a huge mistake? What if the woman I am about to walk down the aisle with is just a place holder?What if the woman that I truly love is not with me, then what? Am I supposed to just settle for a life of mediocrity? Am I just supposed to go along just because everyone thinks we ought to be together? Everyone looks at me and Bree like we're this perfect couple...She's the cheerleader and I'm the jock, and viola a Happy marraige? I just think it's all so bogus...If I get married to her I could be stuck for the rest of my life." I could hear a tinge of resentment in his voice.

"Kenny, calm down. I know you don't mean that."

Kenny stood up and began pacing, like he always did whenever he was upset and confused. I knew he was having doubts, serious doubts...

"When you wrote me that letter I was anihilated, Nikki. I didn't think I would ever get over you. I didn't think I could ever move on. Then, I went to college and met Bree. I thought she was the best thing that ever happened to me...But when I saw you again... today..." His voice started to crack, as he continued to pace, "I realized that you were just out of sight...Not out of my heart..."

I got nervous and tensed up, "Kenny...don't. Don't do this--"

"Don't do what? Say that I love You? Well I do Nikki!" He exclaimed. Kenny stopped pacing as his eyes locked with mine. His stare bored intome like a laser beam. I felt like he could see right through me, right through to the burning desire I held for him," I am still in love with you. I have been in love with you since I was a little boy. That never changed and it probably never will." He said, as he walked towards me.

He gently took my hands into his.

Tears began to dribble down my cheek. I had wanted so badly for him to say it, because I still loved him too. But I did not want to be the other woman in his life. I did not want to hurt Bree. I had hurt enough people, and I was tired of hurting.

"When I saw you on the train I knew that I wasn't over you, Nikkia. All I ever wanted was you. And I can't spend the rest of my life wondering what if we never made this work." He pulled me out of my chair and closer to him. I wanted to back away but my body wouldn't budge. For the first time I felt completely out of control, "Tell me you don't feel the same way? Tell me you don't love me either. If you can look me in the eye and say it--"

"Kenny...stop..." The tears fell unbidden. I couldn't tell him that I didn't love him, because I did, "Don't make me...I can't--" I whispered.

"Make you what? All I want is an answer, Nikki. I just need to know. It was you who broke it off with me. I just need to know if Bree can love me better than you could. I can't spend the rest of my life thinking about being with you--"

"Kenny...I do. I do love you." I whispered.

For a moment we just looked at each other. My heart was beating so fast. I felt myself become warm. Kenny pulled me into his space. I wanted to push away, but I couldn't. He was steel and I was a magnet. I wrapped my arms around his neck and looked up into his eyes. That is when he kissed me, passionately. I began to melt. I could no longer hold back. The emotion within me came unbridled. It all felt so right, as wrong as I knew it was. Lust and love fused together to create a cataclysmic explosion. I had never been intimate with a man before. But all I wanted was for Kenny to be the one. We continued to kiss until somehow, we made it back to my bedroom.

Kenny removed my gown and I his robe. I felt the warmth of his body against mine.I held onto him as if I were drowning and hewere my life preserver. The way Kenny touched me made every inch of my body quiver. He was so gentle, yet so strong. Kenny made love to me with gentle awe and wonder. He explored every inch of my body and I returned the favor. The way he touched me, kissed me, and caressed my form let me know that his love was real. I never knew that I could inspire such passionate emotions in another human being, but in those earth shattering moments I knew Kenny's love was real.

He was not alone in his feelings. I gave my love to him freely and completely. I became passion personified. I had never experienced such pure and utter satisfaction. I was flying and I didn't want to come down. I begged him not to stop, but whenhe finally did I cuddled close to him and lie in his arms, the way we used to when we were kids.

For the next three days, and three nights, Kenny and I stayed in my room, making love every single chance we got. After we finished expressing our love we would order room service. When dinner was over we would make love again. Sometimes we even laughed about the fact that we were doing "it." When we weren't being physical we would lie togetherand talk. He would tickle me and I would tickle him. It was all so romantic. It may sound corny and cliche but I loved loving Kenny. I did not realize that I had so much love inside of me.If the world had exploded during those moments I would have died a happy girl. Inbetween sex and food Kenny and I would stay in bed and watch basketball and football games, wrapped in each other's arms. "I am really getting used to this, Nikki." He would say. That comment always made me smile, and we would end up having more love sessions during halftime.

During those three days we never mentioned anything that was going on in our lives. We were suspended within our own fantasy world, and neither of us wanted to leave.

However, it all changed on our last night alone.One eveningI overheard him talking on the phone, to Bree. He was consoling her, and telling her that everything was fine. The part that grabbed me is when he said he had important news to share with her. I knew that he was refering to me. I felt true joy within. If Kenny wanted to be with me I would go with him, anywhere.

When I awakened the morning of the fourth--and last--day I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt truly happy for the first time in awhile. I was madly in love, and that someone loved me back, no strings attached. I slowly tiptoed into the bedroom to find Kenny still sound asleep. I stood in the doorway and watched him. What a wonderful man.

As I absentmindedly ran my fingers through my hair reality began to set in. I don't know why, but I felt an overwhelming need to be completely rational. I'm usually always rational, but in this situation I wanted to think about someone else's needs rather than my own. The tender moments that Kenny and I shared would go down in my diary as the best three days of my life. However, they were not enough to base a true, long standing, relationship upon.

As I watched him sleep I thought of my life in comparison to his. I thought of his fiance, Bree, and how hurt she would be by this. I was sick and tired of hurting other people, including myself. My momentary bliss came to an abrupt halt. The fantasy had faded. I was not going to let him leave her for me. I loved Kenny with all of my heart, but I would not have him like this. I refused to take him from his life. His life was stable and filled with great achievement. How fair would it be to him to live with a wanted woman? If I ran he would have to as well. If I changed my identity he would as well.I kept weighing all of the intangibles. What if we had children? What if my past caught up to me and my own child had to watch me die, further perpetuating the revenge scenario that I found myself trapped in?

As I watched him sleep, loving every moment of our time together, my heart broke. I would have to turn him away, again. God knows that I did not want to, not after everything we had shared.

I decided to order some breakfast and discuss it with him when he woke up.

As I set the table Kenny walked out of the bedroom with a huge grin on his face. He walked over and kissed me gently on the lips, "Hmm, this smells good. God knows we worked up an appetite." He teased.

I smiled at him, "Scrambled eggs, bacon, a bagel, and some O.J." I began to set his plate and the napkin in his lap. Since I was not going to be his wife I decided to pretend, if only for a moment...

We both sat down and ate. I didn't utter a word as Kenny jabbered on and on about things that we were going to do now that we were officially back together.

He suddenly looked thoughtful, "You know what? I am going to spare Bree the trip down here. I'm going to call her up and tell her it is off. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I have to be with my Nikki..." His face lit up when he said that.

I dropped my eyes to the floor and let out a sigh.

"Kenny, I don't think you should stop seeing Bree..." I said outright.

"Why not?" he asked, leaning forward. He was thoroughly confused by what I was saying, "Look, if you think I just intend on having you on the side you can rest assured that isn't true...You know me better than that, Nikkia."

"I know it isn't that Kenny. I just don't want you to throw your life away, not on account of me--"

"No. Nikki, we are not doing this again. I know what I want. This is my decision this time." He said sternly.

"Don't say that, Kenny. I know how we feel about each other, but right now my life is so very complicated...And it may be that way for awhile."

"What's up Nikki? Did you just magically forget our three days together? All of the I love you's?" He put his fork down and looked me in the eye, "You do love me, right?"

"Yes, I do. I love you more the air I breathe..."

"So, why are you trying to back out of being with me? Look baby, we can work this out. I know we can--"

"Do you remember what my letter said?" I interrupted, "Kenny, your life is stable. You have gained and accomplished so much. I don't want you to throw that away because of me--"

"Don't start this Nikki...don't do this to me again." Kenny started shaking his head, "For three fuckin years I worried about you. For three years I had to pretend, and lie to myself, that I didn't love you anymore. Now, when we finally have the oppurtunity to be together you wanna crush it? What the fuck is wrong with you?"

"I love you, that is what's wrong with me!" I yelled. Silence came between us, "Kenny, I killed people. What I did wasn't a Hollywood film script. It was real. No credits are going to roll to showcase the end of the film. My life--OUR lives--are in jeopardy if we stay together. Right now I have to leave or else someone may kill me too, don't you understand that? I am a wanted woman. I can't have a normal life anymore. I have to watch my back constantly. Even if that entails moving to a different country on a dime I have to do it..." I stood up from my chair and sat in the one beside my love. I gently caressed his neck and tried to make him understand.

"The three days that I spent with you were the most beautiful ones that I will probably ever have. My entire outlook on life was bleak, and I didn't think I would find any measure of peace. That was until you came along. Three days ago I knew I loved you, and I still do now. Kenny, if you had asked me I would have gone with you to Siberia. I wouldn't have cared what anyone said or thought. But, when I was finally able to hold you in my arms I knew that I loved you, truly. So much so that it hurt me to even think about you being hurt. I kept thinking about all of the what ifs and possibilities. What if, god forbid, we had a child and oneday someone who wanted to get back at me--" I cupped my hand over my mouth as the tears fell from my eyes. Kenny gently touched my hand, "So much has much much loss. I would die if I ever lost you. Kenny, I am mature enough to realize that love isn't selfish. Any woman would cling to you, but because I care for you I want what's best. I hope you can understand?"

I finally regained my composure and looked up at him. The look on his face was so thoughtful and placid. We both stared at each other momentarily...

"Bree cooks me bacon and eggs in the morning too, sometimes..." he mused.

I smiled at him, "See, she knows you just as well as I do."

Kenny stood up from his chair, "Well, I guess I better get back to my hotel room and call her. I have to makeup a really good lie now." He smiled nervously.

Kenny and I finished up our breakfast. Before he got dressed and prepared to leave.

"I guess this is the end of the line for the two of us?" He said, his voice was trembling.Kenny looked like a little boy that had lost his best friend. One half of that equation was true.

I swallowed hard as I let the tears flow.

"We'll always have New York..." I said.

Kenny wrapped his arms around me and hugged tight. I reciprocated his gesture. I don't know how long we stood there, but the two of us knew that it would probably be the last time.

"I love you Nikki Bell." He whispered into my ear.

"I love you too." I said.

We finally seperated and slowly parted ways. A long morose moment enraptured us. When Kenny finally boarded the elevator the hands of time began to tick once more. Iremained in the doorway for several minutes, staring into oblivion. Everything was done. There was nothing left for me in the city that I had called home for ten years.

I packed my things and checked out of the Four Seasons Hotel.

I caught a flight to Rio De Jeniro that evening...

I remained in Rio De Jeniro for the next five years. It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. I broke all contact with Aunt DeeDee, Kenny, and everyone else that had anything to do with my previous life as Nikkia Bell. I managed to find Elle Driver's old Mansion and claimed it under the name, Carmilla DaCosta. Since I spoke fluent portrguese I blended end perfectly with the native Brazillians. With my American money I was able to live in a posh well to do area in Rio. My mansion was just off the coast, and I had a wonderful view of the ocean. I got a job working as an English Teacher. Although Nikki Bell had never gone to college, Carmilla DaCosta was a licensed teacher with a degree from Princeton University. My pay was wonderful and I loved working with the kids that I taught.

Brazillian people are perhaps the most beautiful in the entire world. Whether theyare black, white, indian, or Mestizo, there is something about them that exudes a natural sensuality and zest for life. There was not the same level of greed and narcissism that I had dealt with and experienced in my homeland. Here, everyone was bound by culture and values, not reality television and McDonalds. Upon moving to Brazil I felt like a new woman. I had shucked away my old life like a dried corn husk.

From all appearances everything seemed to be going well, and I was happy.

But that was not to last...

One night, while I was sleeping, I heard a creaking sound downstairs. My house did creek on occasion but this one sounded peculiar. I slowly got out of bed, dressed only in my gown and undergarments, and peeped out of my door. I gasped when I divined a shadowy figure skulking up my stairs. All I could see was his outline. When the door opened he stopped dead in his tracks, and then dissappeared.

I quickly ran to my nightstand and turned off the lamplight. I opened it up and retrieved the only weapon I could find, a box cutter.

Oh god, my sword is downstairs. I thought.

I had to think quickly. He ran when he saw me, and I didn't hear anyone exiting the house. The figure was here to take my life, that much was for certain. I ejected the box cutter and slowly peeped out of the doorway again. The house was completely dark. And for the first time it's sheer enormity was a drawback, He could be hiding anywhere. A light sheen of perspiration enveloped my skin as I went to secure the second floor of my house. Istepped lightly, andpaused every few seconds. I needed to hear whether or not he or she was still in my mansion.

I slowly crept down the stairs, making my way to the lightswitch at the bottom. I flicked it on and suddenly the entire first floor was illuminated. I hid the box cutter behind my back. I looked over at my book shelf and, just as I suspected, my Katana blade was missing. I got nervous but I had to keep my composure. Then I went for my telephone. But I knew better. The minute I picked up the reciever...

The lines have been cut.

I was about to go back upstairs when I looked in the mirror in front of me. My body went rigid. In my closet stood a figure clad only in black, save for his eyes. I saw him and he knew it.

I turned and hurled the box cutter at him. He screamed when it slammed full tilt into his thigh. The assassin came out of the closet with my Honzo sword clasped in his clutches. I ducked the first swing, and did a backwards summersault to get away from him. I picked up a huge porcelain vase' and hurled it at him! The vase' struck him in the head, but that was not enough to stop him. He tried to stab me with a diagnol slashed, but I lept over the blade and gave him a powerful jump kick to the face. He fell into a wall and dropped the sword. I dove for my katana, but he grabbed me by the hair and wrapped his muscular arm around my throat. I started gasping and choking. My neck felt like it was caught in an iron mannacle. I tried towiggle free, but he was like stone. He wouldn't break.

That is when I gave him one hard elbow to the kidney that sent him recoiling. I turned around and struck him with an open palm across the nose. I heard it break. He ran and tackled me with a head butt to my stomach. It literally knocked the wind outta me. I clasped my hands together and bashed him in the back. Then he tried to push me up against the wall, but that attempt failed. I pushed off the wall and turned his momentum against him, sending him crashing into my 50 inch screen television. He tried to hit me but I grabbed his arm and snapped it in two. This illicited a scream. I ran to get my Honzo sword and by then he was up again. Too bad for him. The moment he stood up I made a clean swipe. His head was instantely liberated from his body.

The body flailed for a moment and died.

I walked over to the decapitated head and pulled the mask off. It was no one that I knew. Just a nameless faceless assassin. However, It meant everything to me. They knew where I was.

I'm not safe.

The words echoed themselves over and over again.

Where there was one there would be more, that was a given.

While I was thinking about what I would do next I heard a beeping sound, like a stop watch.

I walked over to the fallen corpse and held up his wrist. His watch was going off, and it looked like it was on a timer.

The timer appeared to be counting down, "Oh shit..." I said. I had a feeling that when the clock hit zero the results wouldn't be nice.

I grabbed my sword and ran out of the house.

And, literally, seconds later I heard a loud blast. My entire mansion exploded! I was thrown forward by themight of thefallout and went careening into the dirt. I couldn't believe it. Had I stayed in there a second longer I would have died.

As I watched my home burn to a cinder I knew that Carmilla DaCosta died inside. It was one more identity that I had to give up to ensure my own protection. But, I was tired of running. I was tired of being afraid. A hard decision had to be made...

I stayed staked out on the rooftop almost the entire day before I got the call from my employer, Cutlass. I removed the rifle from my briefcase and slowly pieced it together. I put the bullets in and set the gun upon its perch.

Today was my first official assignment.

Two years had passed since my home in Brazil had been blown to smithereens. I flew back to America as fast as I could, hoping that Aunt DeeDee could give me some advice on what I should do next. But when I got home Aunt DeeDee was dead. She was shot dead by an unknown assailant. Why would someone kill a cripple? No one knew. I did, however. It was because of me.

I visited her gravesite everyday for a week. I didn't let on about my presence to anyone. Knowing me had endedAunt DeeDee'slife.It was the first time I truly regretted murdering Beatrix. Even from the grave she was lashing out against me, tormenting me. She would never leave me alone. Beatrix Kiddo was a revenge driven demon from hell.

So I did the only thing Icould.I made a pact with the devil himself. I called Cutlass, and offered him my services. He gladly accepted.

I trained with him for an entire year at his beautiful compound in Capecod. Cutlass taught me even more than Elle. His home was like a school for young assassins, and the only subject we needed to know was human anatomy. We learned the human body and everymethod imaginable to kill it.

I tried to rationalize what I was doing, of course. Cutlass and his operatives were now government sanctioned CIA operatives. I believed that by working as a black ops CIAagent I was somehow doing my country a great service. But the only reason I was here was because this was all I knew how to do. All of my life had been spent preparing for this 'job.' I no longer had anyone, and on my own I was a target. Now, I was declared legally dead and had a roof, a huge salary, and protection. I hated it, but I had run out of options.

I had become the very thing that I hated.

"Mongoose, do you copy me?" said Cutlass over my earpiece.

I placed my finger on the trigger and my eye to the scope.

"Loud and clear, DarkPanther...Over." I said quietly.

"Attagirl.."He replied.

I could just see his smug smile through the audio. Another Bell girl was in his clutches. I no longer cared. Most of the targets we were dealing with were scum of the Earth anyway. Just remembering that little detail made it easier for me.

My target was a multibillionaire who had earned the bulk of his fortune from trading secrets to enemy terrorist groups from: Korea, Iraq, China, and Afghanistan. He had gone undiscovered for the past four years and amassed nearly half the world's money, all for himself.

Thankfully, he was a filthy capitalist pig. I would probably walk away from this with no guilt on my conscience.

The roof I sat atop was located across the way from The newly famous Baxter Convention Center, where celebrities and political figures gathered to kiss each other's asses and hand out awards. Only the very rich and very powerful hobb knobbed here. Why Cutlass sent me on this particularmission I did not know. This was particularly important, and if I failed he said that the CIA would kill me for real.

I breathed in slowly, and exhaled even slower.

The convention was about to end and thedoormen opened the beautiful glass double doors.

"Alright Mongoose, your target should be making his appearance in 0.5 seconds."

Almost instantly did people begin to walk out of the door. I saw three men joined arm in arm with their wives, apparently.

I pressed my eye to the scope as beads of sweat started to trickle down my brow, "Which one is it?" My heart was beating rapidly.

"The one in the middle, with the woman in the red dress."

I aimed the gun. I peered through the scope. I gasped, "No..." I whispered in stunned disbelief. I recognized the face.

It was Kenny.

"Do you have him? Do you have a shot?"

I started trembling, my grip became unsteady. I felt myself beginning to hyperventilate.

"Mongoose, do you have a shot?" Cutlass demanded.

Tears started to fall. I welcomed them, because atleast I knew I still had compassion in my heart, "I-I c-can't do it..."

"What do you mean you can't? You have the shot, take it!" He ordered.

As I peered through the scope all I could see was that beautiful smile. All of the memories came rushing back. The time that Kenny and I spent together as children; Our death defying weekend in Tokyo, and our three days together in New York. As he walked down the stairs, with his beautiful wife, Bree, I could not find it in my heart to do it. He could have slaughtered a litter of kittens with an uzi, I didn't care. It was Kenny and no matter what I loved him.

Kenny and Bree began to advance towards their limo when they were stopped by a reporter.

"Nikkia, take the goddamn shot or so help me god I will kill you myself!"

I hesitated. I knew that they were going to get into the car at any second. Sweat poured down my face. I began to breathe in and out.

Jesus, why? I can't do this...

"God forgive me..." I sobbed. I gently placed my finger on the trigger, "Bye baby..."

I squeezed it. Kenny's head immediatelysnapped back as the bullet struck him. He toppled to the ground, dead. Pandemonium ensued as everyone in the immediate area ducked for cover. I hesitated for a moment, just so I could see, if by some freek accident, I had missed the shot. I hadn't. Bree lie over Kenny's fallen form weeping. But I did even moreso.

I broke the gun down and placed it in the briefcase. I fled to the next rendezvous point. As I ran I thought about taking the gun and killing myself. The very thought of living in a world without my Kenny was almost too much to bear. I didn't care what crimes he had commited against the country, all I knew was that he loved me. And now he was gone.

I killed Kenny.

"Why did you make me do it, why?!" I screamed as I grabbed Cutlass by the lapels of his shirt.

He slowly took my hands away and tried to calm me down.

"I had to break you, Nikki. It's protocol sweetie. They,The CIA,want to know whether or not their operatives are going to do what is best for this country, personal feelings be damned." He said, "That is business as usual for all of us. I break all my operatives before I hire them permanently."

I jerked my hands away and sat down in front of him. My eyes were bloodshot red from all the crying I had done, "You knew how special he was to me. You knew--"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, what the fuck ever," Cutlass said, condescendingly. Cutlass pulled out a file from his desk. He started reading from it, "Kentaro Taneyoshi Lloyd was not the innocent victim that you might want to believe he is, babygirl. This man is responsible for passing along some of our most valuable intel to arms dealers, hackers, and earning most of his money from trading secrets-and funding-to terrorists. This ain't about some fuckin crush that you had on your childhood best friend. Nikkia, you just did this country a favor by taking out the trash..."

I just sat and looked at him for a moment.

"Why couldn't you have had someone else do it?"

Cutlass took out a cigar and placed it between his lips, "Babygirl, you might be called on to shoot thePope one day. Would you not take the job just because you are Catholic? When you are assigned a mission you take it, no ifs, ands, or buts. My point is this, and listen to me clearly. Lloyd was going to die anyway. Just incase you let him go I had another man on him. Whether you shot him or not he was still dead, case closed. I just needed to know whether or not you had the balls. I wanted to know if the latest generation of Bell girls still had it..."

"You repulse me." I whispered.

Cutlass lit his cigar and laughed, "Yeah, but you're working for me now, honey. So stop acting like you are so goddamn high and mighty...Besides..." Cutlass stood up from his chair and went over to his desk. He sat a huge briefcase in front of me. He popped it open, "You shouldn't be too sad...You are ten million dollars richer. Just think, the other guy might have had this money."

I didn't say a word. I couldn't by then. I just stared at the money.

Cutlass leered at me momentarily, "Look, I'm real sorry about what happened to DeeDee, and what you had to do to your boy. But face it, you are what you are right now...So you might as well accept it. You have the potential to be the best there is, and I will do you right if you do me right, understand?" He gently lifted my chin with his index finger so that we made direct eye contact, "Nikki, people like us are doing the world a service. There is trash out there. It has to be taken out Someone has to do it. Why not you? You have all that talent and you would rather waste your time being a fuckin school teacher? Naw, I don't believe it. Like I told you before, "The Game" is in your blood babygirl. And let's face it, you don't have too many choices now. This is a lifetime gig. If you fuck up here the CIA will dispose of you nice and quick. If you leave, well those other head hunters will keep tryin to take you out.You stay with me and I can make it real good for you. So, what do you say?"

"W-were you ever "broken?" I asked.

"No..." He said, "You can't break what's already broke. I grew up a gang banger. All I know is death."

I wasn't surprised in the least. I closed the briefcase and grabbed the handle. I stood up from my chair, "When is my next assignment?"

Cutlass smiled, "I think you should take a little time off. I have a nice place set up for you in Paris, France. I should have the information for you within the next three weeks...Now, why don't you go and rest that pretty little head of yours...I'm proud of you girl." He said, "I swear, you Bell girls are the best there is at what we do." Cutlass smiled and waved good bye.

I turned around and walked out of his office. I headed to my quarters amidst the hustle and bustle of all the operatives inside the compound. I could tell that many of them revered me. Most of them had heard of my exploits. But, I didn't care. None of it mattered anymore.

I opened the door to my quarters and just as quickly slammed it shut. I dropped the money filled briefcase to the floor and plopped down on my bed. I hated what my life had become, and it seemed like I had no control, whatsoever. I felt like a puppet being controlled by some malicious force in the universe.

I wanted to cry but I couldn't. When I killed Billy Cade and Valentine Jordan it had been in self defense. When I killed BB, Bobby, Patrick, and Beatrix, it had been for revenge and retribution. But with each death a small piece of me was chipped away. When Kenny died the piece of me that was filled with love and compassion died with him. I was a broken warrior now. I didn't know if I would ever be the same again.

I clicked off my lights and closed my eyes. I vividly recalled my Three days in New York. A smile alighted upon my lips as my eyes began to water...I savoredthose feelings. I imagined my mother's beautiful face, and Aunt DeeDee combing my hair. I clung to those images for dear life. One day I would find my way out of this dark cesspool that I had fallen into. I needed to retain as much of my hummanity that I could. It would not always be this way.

I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. Tommorrow, I was officially an employee for the CIA black ops assassination program.


Author's Notes: Not exactly the fairytale ending, was it? Well, I started to go with that but it would have been to cliche and predictable. I wrestled with myself about having it end on such a somber note.Infact I even wrote an alternate ending, simply because it hurt me to kill off Kenny and Aunt DeeDee. However, what I wanted to showcase in this story was the phrase, "Crime doesn't pay." In the end we have to suffer the consequences for our choices, good and bad. Yes, Nikki got her revenge but at a very high price...herself. So, that was officially the end, and I hope none of Kenny's fans are too upset.

Now to answer questions...

Kill Bill Rocks: Thanks for reviewing...but...uhm...BB got killed in chapter 16.

Joe England: Thank you for the very insightful review. Infact reading it helped me alot with this chapter. As you can see I incorporated alot of your ideas into it. However, I wanted Nikki's lack of remorse for Beatrix to stand pat. She truly is glad that she killed her, but ultimately she paid a price for doing so. Anyway, thanks for the valuable crit.

To Everyone Else who has supported my story: Thank You tremendously. I had a blast!

So, until the next one(which probably won't be Kill Bill. The muse has left me on this one.)...Hope to read your's!