Epilogue: A Rose for the Assassin
Ten months later . . .
'A Rose for the Assassin' by Thom E. Gemcity is a tragic and poetic love story about a young man who falls in love with a female assassin. Told with such clarity and poignancy, 'A Rose for the Assassin' is undoubtedly going to be a hit. While a stark deviation from Gemcity's typical crime story, his newest novel is bound to sent hearts on fire and attract a large female following. Despite doubts that Gemcity's transition into romance would be a failure, 'A Rose for the Assassin' defies all criticism and perhaps Gemcity has as fruitful future in the art of romance novelisation.
"Tim? Tim? Are you even listening to me?" Abby sounded annoyed and had her hands on her hips.
Tim looked up from the review he was reading. "Sorry. I was distracted."
Abby sighed. "You're always distracted these days. What's going on?"
Tim stood up and brushed Abby aside. "Nothing. It's nothing."
"It's not nothing, Timmy," Abby said, trailing after him as he walked over to the refreshment table. "Talk to me."
"Just leave me alone," Tim muttered, picking up one of the little pasties. He took one bit, then tossed it into the trash and stormed off.
Abby looked affronted. "Hey. That's not like you," she called after him.
Tim stopped, spun around on the spot and glared at her. "Maybe I don't want to be me."
"Talk to me," Abby repeated as she cautiously made her way over to where Tim was standing. "Please?"
"I said go away," Tim murmured and staggered over to one of the couches before collapsing on it. "I'm fine."
"You're not fine and I think you should talk," Abby replied stubbornly.
"No, Abby," Tim snapped, pulling his knees to his chest. "I'll be fine. I'll get over it . . . eventually."
"Get over what?" Abby looked worried.
"Roses? Tim, you're not making any sense to me," Abby said, sounding confused.
"And you think I make sense to myself," he replied softly, so that only he could hear. He shook his head and changed the subject.
"Do you know when Lyndi wants us downstairs?" Tim asked with false cheeriness.
Abby gave him a suspicious look, but shrugged her shoulders. "Soon, I guess. The guests are arriving."
"Just like last time," Tim murmured, remembering his previous book launch over a year ago. "I . . ."
"Hey, this was delivered for you downstairs," one of the assistants called, cutting off any further conversation between Tim and Abby. He was clutching a long, white box.
Lyndi hurried over to the sofa. "Is it safe?"
Tim rolled his eyes. "The threat against me was cleared months ago."
It turned out that a rival crime author had used his royalties to put out a hit on Tim. He was jealous of Thom E. Gemcity's successful career, and the fact that he had gone off his schizophrenia medication hadn't helped the situation. He had been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and was now in a secure mental facility.
"Still." Lyndi looked worried.
"It was cleared downstairs," the assistant reassured. "They scan everything these days. It's safe."
Lyndi nodded. "Then hurry up. You're wanted downstairs pronto."
Tim nodded and took the box from the assistant. He stood, walked over to the table and placed in on top. Abby hurried over.
"Ooh, a secret admirer," Abby said excitedly, bouncing lightly on the balls of her feet.
"I highly doubt it," Tim muttered as he pulled back the lid. "I'm sure . . ."
Tim trailed off and paled. Abby looked at him worriedly and clutched his arm, leaning in to see what was in the box. Tim gave a strangled half sob-half laugh and Abby looked at him weirdly. Looking into the box, she was confused.
Lying in the centre of the box was a perfectly formed, long stemmed red rose.