Somewhere in the distance, Pachelbel's Canon played. I could not remember if I had set it up like that. It didn't matter. None of that mattered anymore. All that mattered was the pure, unadulterated fear in his eyes and the uncensored hatred in my own.
With movements that were most likely blurs of color to human eyes, I jumped over to the small window, clad with newly-installed iron bars, and perched myself onto the sill. Royce's eyes jerked around like a beetle's, trying to watch me the entire time. I managed to stifle a giggle, keeping up my gruesome fascia. Nothing could compare to the pleasure that I received as Royce recognized that he was alone; I had defeated his insubstantial guard in seconds. It was as if they had never existed. He should have known that it would come down to this. After all, I had sent him hints all week. There had been the rose petals sprinkled on his bureau, and the long crack down the center of his mirror. Yes, it had been obvious enough. It was destiny that it would come down to this. It had been destiny since that night that I had left Vera's home for the last time...
Vera closed the door slightly, leaving a gap just big enough to fit her freckled face.
"My husband can accompany you," she pointed out, furrowing her brow. "There's no need to walk alone." I smiled, shaking my head amiably.
"Thank you for the offer," I replied, "but it's a lovely night. I think I will take the longer way, by the pub, to spare my father the worry."
"Good evening, Mr. King," I cooed, mocking his lofty voice as I curtsied. "You don't look so well, I'm afraid. Are you always that pale, Mr. King? Do you always tremble like that? You're frightened, Royce, and you know it. And I would bet my fair tresses that you do not fancy it much, am I correct?" Feebly, Royce's right hand closed around a hatchet hidden underneath his left thigh. He clearly meant to do this surreptitiously, but I watched him through my peripheral vision as he moved it to his right side, so that it was between us. His eyes narrowed when he realized that I was watching him.
"You're a crazy woman," he hissed, venom in his voice. I laughed. Unfortunately for him, I had venom in places other than my tone.
"I'm a crazy woman?" I repeated, almost sounding pleasant. It was all a part of the arrangement; lure him into a false sense of security and then snap. True, I had probably shaken his nerves the minute that he caught a glimpse of my elaborate wedding gown, but I was counting on my looks to deceive him this time.
"Oy, King," John exclaimed, wrapping his arm around my waist. I let out a shrill scream, muffled by Harvey's wool sleeve. "This one's a- a keeper, I- I think." I let my tears fall now, coating my face and freezing on my eyelashes. Through my peripheral vision, I recognized Royce taking a swig of whiskey.
"Don't touch me!" I cried, trying in vain to push John's heavy arm off of my hip. He would not budge, so I simply collapsed into his arms, limp as a corpse. One of them men let out a gruff laugh, and I felt a pair of greasy hands on my now-bare shoulders.
"I've learned a lot these past few years, Mr. King," I cooed, leaping down into a crouch so that I was eye-to-eye with the man that I hated most. "Would you like to hear it?" I waited patiently for his response, but he came up empty-handed. I stood up and continued anyway, using my hands to tell the story.
"I'll spare you the gory details," I pointed out, "because I do not think that you are capable of truly comprehending them. So I'll be quick. Well, I'll talk quickly. But believe me, Royce, I do not work quickly." Royce's eyelids drooped over his dark, flat eyes. I snickered, swooping down to be at eye level with him.
"Have you heard the stories?" I demanded harshly, barking the words into his face. He grimaced as the gust of icy air that was my own breath hit him.
"Wha- They're all... They're all dead," he stuttered shortly, his eyes flickering open. "I saw this- I saw it coming. God knows what you think of me now, Rosalie Hale, but He knows that I am no- no fool. I would not be where I am today had I been ignorant. You've sent a hit man on all of them. Where is he now? Waiting outside? Yes, that's it. As soon as I start to overthrow you, he'll come barging- he'll come barging in." I let out a high laugh.
"I have not sent somebody to kill you!" I exclaimed, as if it was the stupidest idea that I had ever heard. Royce blinked in shock, gazing up at me warily.
"No- no hit man?" he repeated, sliding down the wall a bit. I pursed my lips and shook my head.
"No," I confirmed. "Just me." Royce froze, an amused grin crossing his face.
"Ah," he whispered, obviously sizing me up. I smirked, placing my hands on my hips. "That's how it's going to be. What is it, Rose? A gun? Do you have a gun in that pretty little dress of yours? I didn't hear any gun shots, and I'm assuming that you killed the guards. It's a shame. Such good employees." It was the word 'pretty' that sparked a flame in the pit of my stomach. Pretty. Who was he to call me or my dress pretty?
"Let's put it this way," I began, initiating the torture session. "This is my wedding dress. There is no gun. This bouquet- this is what I would have held as I walked down the aisle." With one swift strike, I shoved the orchids and roses into his face. The thorns sent deep gashes down his cheek, but they did not break the skin. Once Royce was finished shouting, I plunged my hand into the back of my veil and withdrew a single red rose. I was more careful this time, gently waving the flower under his nose.
"This rose is for the way that you called me beautiful," I whispered, pulling a petal off of the stem. "He loves me? He loves me not." The last quote may have been sugar-coating it, but I was getting carried away. And that suited me just fine.
"This one," I began, revealing another rose from the folds in my satin veil, "is for the night that you asked me to marry you. What were you thinking?" I shook my head, clucking my tongue as if reprimanding a schoolboy. I had saved a third rose, and this one I pulled out from my golden curls. My voice was silent as I spoke.
"And this rose," I murmured, "is for me. I know that you are under the impression that you are superior to everybody, but not this time. No- for once, it's going to be all about me." I placed my fingers delicately on the end of the stem and the tip of the longer petal. With one agile motion, I wrapped the stiff stem around his neck and tugged upwards, sending his chin backwards into the concrete wall.
He writhed in pain, but I seemed to have injured his trachea. Yes; he could not talk. Damnit.
"It's not over yet, Mr. King," I corrected him, holding my index finger up as if telling him off. "I brought you a little gift. You see, unlike you, I am a very... sentimental being. In fact, I happened to bring along a little something that is symbolic of our... feelings for each other. Do you understand?" Royce's eyes rolled back into his head, revealing small slits of glistening white.
"A ring, Royce!" I shrieked, shoving a diamond-encrusted ring in front of his eye. "It's beautiful, is it not?" Royce's right hand closed around my wrist, but I barely felt anything. Judging by the tendons protruding from his skin, I could tell that he was trying to hurt me. What a foolish man...
"I planned on making this longer, Royce King," I snapped shortly, "but, quite frankly, you are boring me and I have places to be. As long as you understand, I suppose, that you will die." I traced the contours of his jaw line with two of my fingers, smiling sweetly yet still taking care to show my teeth.
"Tell me that you'll die," I muttered menacingly. To my intense pleasure, he managed to muster up the ability to speak.
"I'm going to die," he repeated, his voice hoarse and shaking.
For one of the first times in his life, Royce King turned out to be correct.
"Good bye," I whispered, barely loud enough for anybody but myself to hear. As his dying body compulsed violently, I laid a torn red rose over his warped throat. In two swift strides, I swept from the room, my extensive veil catching onto his futile hatchet.