A/N: So…here's the latest installment: Bullseye gets bored and has a little fun and more is revealed about Lark. Enjoy!
The clock radio read 11:13 p.m.
So many questions ran through her mind, but mostly she wondered what destination was in store for her. Switching her position to a less uncomfortable one, she felt tired. No, not tired, maybe, but an odd sense of relief. She remembered how her chest had began to hitch while she began to reach for her dagger, the one that she was going to plunge through an unsuspecting man's heart. Between kisses, Sal had asked her what the matter was and then…
Who is this guy? She wondered furiously. She knew she'd seen him before, but where?
After the CD had stopped, her driver had turned the stereo off, which she was glad of at first. The quiet, however, grew into something ugly. She wriggled beneath the heavy coat, suddenly feeling suffocated by it. As it slid off of her shoulders, felt a sense of relief.
Her need for answers winning out, Lark finally broke the silence by asking "Where are we going?" Though she didn't expect an answer, she asked in a manner in which she hoped would let him know that she had resigned herself to whatever aim he had in mind.
She looked down at her lap dejectedly, but just as she thought he wasn't going to answer her, he spoke up. "Yer goin' home te yer Da," he said, without taking his eyes off of the road.
She blinked at him, unsure how to feel. As she understood what happened, both relief and shame washed over her. So, her father knew of her career choice. Her father had hired this man to kill her mark and bring her home unscathed by his world of business, lies, and deception. Too late for that, Daddy, she thought with what she knew was bitterness that her father did not deserve. Well, she thought, at least I'm not being sold into a sex-slave ring.
So bored, Bullseye thought as he tried futilely to keep his attention on the road.
Bullseye grinned ever so slightly as he took the Mustang around a turn too fast, sending Lark into the passenger-side door. After she thumped against the door, helpless to protect herself against the momentum, something like a snarl erupted from the girl's throat. Arching his eyebrows in surprise and amusement, he looked away from the road and stared at her with an intense gaze, and jammed his foot down harder on the accelerator.
Lark's eyes shot from his to the road and shrieked: "Watch the road, damn it!" and slouched as low in her seat as she possibly could.
Bullseye let his eyes linger a moment longer and then saw that they were getting a little too close to the guardrail for comfort. Grinning, he pulled the car back onto the road then looked over at Lark, who was most definitely not returning his smile.
"What the hell is your problem?" she fumed, kicking the dashboard of her own car.
"What is it with women always tellin' men how to drive?" he countered with a grin.
"Sorry I suggested that you not get us killed!" she shot back.
His grin only broadened as he took his hands off of the wheel. So this is his game, she thought. She knew that he knew that using those scare tactics was unnecessary, but he did it anyway. Why? She wondered. For fun? While praying that she would not be horribly mangled, Lark did her best to feign boredom, despite the fact that they were headed toward a tree. Don't crash, don't crash, don't crash! She screamed inwardly.
She saw that a look of disappointment crossed the man's face as he placed his hands back on the wheel and calmly regained control of the vehicle. As the car sped on, Lark let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding. That grin promptly returned to his features.
"If you wrecked my car, I would have had to kill you," she said. She then erupted into wild laughter that caught her driver off guard. "Kill you?" she asked, lifting her trembling shoulders into a manic shrug. "How would I kill you?" She attempted to look behind her to where her hands were held tightly by the cuffs. She began to giggle even louder.
"Ugh. Kill you!" she said as though it were some joke that he should be sharing in. He now divided his attention between the road and the apparently hysterical Lark. This is not how he pictured her reaction. He wouldn't have let ruin come to Lark, or the car (and certainly not himself), he was just attempting to add some entertainment value to the car ride back to the Montesano estate.
Tears streamed down her face. Oh, please don't need a shoulder to cry on, he mentally pleaded with her. In a voice that was humorless despite the wild grin on her face she asked, "Who are you?" She sounded as though she had given up on a riddle that she could just not get. Frankly, he was insulted.
The man pulled off his skull cap, but said nothing. Looking at the rear-view mirror at his reflection, she saw the scar on his forehead, and it dawned on her. "Bullseye," she said with a touch of awe in her voice.
She had seen his picture before. When she was studying other hit men, she'd found his photo particularly interesting. She had even traced her finger over the scar while wondering about him.
"Aye," he said. The grin returned to his face.
"Wow," she said dumbly, not really knowing what else could be said. "So how much is my dad paying you?" Her father had to be shelling out a pretty penny for her return; she was curious.
"Fifty large." His reply came without any prying. She whistled softly.
They drove on in silence until Bullseye asked her a question that caught her off guard. "Are ye goin' te try it again? The job, I mean."
Her brow furrowed. She hadn't even considered it. Was there a point in continuing? She could only recall the overwhelming sense of relief she'd felt when she realized she wouldn't be the one to kill Gianatiempo. With a humorless chuckle, she said, "I chose this."
Glancing over at Lark, Bullseye would have sworn she'd aged by a decade. Her hair was now unkempt and eyeliner had smudged to form dark rims below her eyes, which stared out the window with an unsettling intensity. He opened his mouth to ask why she 'chose this', but no words formed, so he just continued to drive.
"I'm a killer." She said this with a chilling simplicity. "I was seventeen when the head of my father's security unit decided that he wanted to have a little too much fun."
Bullseye grimaced, the origins of the girl's ferocity suddenly becoming clear.
"One night he chased me to my bedroom, and…" another chuckle, "my dad had bought me that dagger the week before and I'd had it lying out on my dresser that night."
He looked her in the eye and had a pretty good idea of how the story would end. It is a very nice knife, he thought to himself.
"He didn't believe me when I told him I'd kill him," she recalled. "He should have. He attacked me and I stabbed him though the heart and then I dumped his corpse down the well that's on our property." There was no remorse in her voice for what she had done, yet there was something there that made even Bullseye uncomfortable. (Although, he had to admit he admired the efficiency with which she maneuvered in that situation.)
"He should have believed me." She repeated with a biting bitterness in her voice. "I thought that if I could kill that easily, that I could make a business out of it. I have the connections and everything so…why not?"
"Only this time it was different, yeah?" He asked. She looked at him with what he thought was shame in her features.
"Yeah," she said, nibbling her lower lip.
"Datin' the guy probably didn't help yer cause." He said, trying to make a joke, but he was fairly certain it didn't help. She snorted derisively and gave a dry chuckle.
"Ya think so?" she asked with an eye-roll. She smiled despite herself.
The car was silent again.
Lark thought over Bullseye's question and honestly did not think she would carry on a career as a hit man…er, woman, she amended mentally. She did not lack the capacity to kill, but really, did any human? I can choose something else, she thought, finally giving herself permission to thick such a thing.
She reached this decision with more than a little frustration. She'd spent a great amount of time and energy bending her will to become ruthless, lethal, and without remorse…just like the man now sitting next to her. She wasn't like him; she wasn't like him at all, and she knew she could never be.
Bullseye pulled the car over to the shoulder of the road and put the car into park. "What?" Lark questioned in a resigned, somewhat weary voice.
"Do ye want the cuffs off o' yer wrists?" he asked, pulling keys from his dark pants.
She blinked at him, hoping it wasn't another one of his awkward little 'jokes.' "Yeah," she said with a relieved smile, and turned to allow Bullseye to unbind her.
Before he removed the cuffs, Lark felt him lift the back of her shirt. Going rigid, she said in a low voice that would make the blood of most men run cold; "Don't touch me."
Bullseye only tisked. "What's this? Does yer Da know about that?"
It took a moment to register with Lark what he meant and then she realized he was talking about her tattoo. For her eighteenth birthday, she'd had the tattoo etched into the flesh of her lower back. It was of her own design. With sharp, black, looping wisps of ink, it was what she called 'Celtic with a gothic edge.'
Sighing audibly, she said "No, he doesn't know." She didn't know why she never told or showed her father; it's not like he would have grounded her or even raised an eyebrow at it. She supposed she just wanted to keep it her own little secret. (Then again, her job was supposed to be a secret, so maybe he knew about the mark on her flesh as well.)
She felt the cuffs unclasp and she immediately began massaging her wrists and rolling her shoulders in an attempt to banish the soreness that the prolonged immobility had caused. "Thank you," she said.
"Don' mention it."
Montesano sat heavily in his red, leather armchair with a Lambrusco, wondering just how high his blood pressure had gotten. Though his daughter's well-being reigned chiefly in his mind, the events of the day's last business meeting replayed in his mind.
Garret Shelby had been looking into investing heavily in Montesano's developing technologies. Outwardly, the young man had been evenly tempered until the deal had not gone as he'd wished. Shelby's funding proposal had certainly been more than generous, but the rate at which he expected results was simply unreasonable.
After having debated the issue for an hour and a half, Montesano finally declined the deal. The younger man became absolutely livid, making the sturdy, wooden table rattle as he slammed his fists down on it. After Shelby shouted a most uncalled for death threat, promising a slow, painful demise, Montesano had (as calmly as he could) pressed the intercom and asked his secretary, Katherine to have security escort Mr. Shelby from the premises.
As several of his guards (Rich and Alan) entered, Shelby instantly calmed himself, seeing that he was no match for the two, burly security workers. Allowing himself to be led out of the office, he shot a malicious glare toward Montesano, probably about to say something like: 'This isn't over.'
Daniel Montesano mulled the situation over in his head, but could not for the life of him recall having done anything to have sparked such ire in the man. He'd been honest with Shelby, telling him that the product would not be even close to ready for testing in such a short amount of time. Wasn't that better than not having his expectations met and his money wasted? Or had Shelby actually expected to bully results out of him and his lab?
Taking another sip of whine, Daniel Montesano recalled how after the meeting, Al Denison, with whom he'd had a meeting earlier that day (right before he'd hired an obviously psychotic hit man to rescue his daughter), had actually tried to convince him, almost desperately so, to accept Shelby's offer. After regarding his business associate with a certain amount of aggravation, Daniel had given him a stern 'No,' and turned away from him.
The discussion did not continue.
Now he sat, looking at a family photo that hanged on the wall opposite him. Lark's wide, blue eyes, Celia's unfailingly beautiful smile. Daniel looked at himself. His hair hadn't a gray strand and he didn't look nearly as weary; they looked happy. What had happened to his daughter? Why would she kill? She certainly had no need of the money. She couldn't possibly be some sadistic murderer, could she?
Sitting in the small den where he and Celia used to enjoy reading when they could spare the time (Celia would read a suspense novel and he had always fancied Westerns. She had insisted that he not bring his work into that room.), Daniel searched his mind and heart, but found no answers to his desperate questions.
Montesano's emotional plight was immediately banished from his thoughts when a crash came from another room. The hair on his arms stood; he knew that something wasn't right. The staff had left for the day, and would most likely not have been careless enough to knock anything over. As his mind raced, he wondered why his guards would not have caught this intrusion. His thoughts went back to the volatile situation with Shelby, and he reached beneath the coffee table and retrieved a well-crafted mahogany box. After opening it, he made certain that the cartridge in his 9 mm Glock was loaded.
By the time Bullseye pulled the Mustang into the estate's long driveway, it was after one o'clock in the morning.
Lark sat slouched in the passenger side seat, deep in thought. For years, she'd thought of herself as a killer. What was she? What would she do?
Seeming to sense her mental angst, Bullseye piped up. "Just leave the killin' to the killers." He said.
Knowing somehow that Bullseye was most likely not one to offer advice of any sort, Lark nodded her appreciation for his words.
A/N: I'm now workin' on chapter four. While I had initially intended to make this a short fanfic (one or two chapters following this one) I've got some other ideas jumbled in my head that might make an interesting story. I may add other Marvel characters so…tell me what ya think!!!