Chapter 1

Nika exited the car and took out her papers, examining them carefully and comparing the picture of the vineyard to the real one right in front of her. She smiled as she took in the massive acreage that now belonged to her. With excitement in her stride, she ran up to the front door and rang the bell. Greeting her was the property's housekeeping team: Mr. and Mrs. Wilford. They were a charming couple both in their late fifties.

"Hello dear, you must be Nika." Mrs. Wilford said in her british accent.

"Yes. Did the real estate company notify you that I was coming today?" Nika asked aware of her own Russian accent.

"Of course dear, welcome to your new home."

Home. Nika had never really had one of those before. The last few years had been nothing but living in near squalor and being shuttled around between hotel rooms and Mikhail's many funhouses. She shuddered at the thought of his whip striking her back. Shaking the memory from her head, Nika entered into the large mansion and gasped at its splendor. Gold railings, glass ceilings and art work worth a fortune.

"Let me show you around." The elderly woman took her arm and led her through the house. There were so many rooms Nika would have gotten lost without the old woman's assistance. Finally Nika was taken outside and shown the vineyards and wine barrels. The workers worked standard weekday hours. However as it was a Saturday the vineyards were empty. Mr. Wilford came strolling down the isle with a bucket of freshly picked grapes.

"I thought you might like to sample your produce." He smiled as he handed her a handful of the dark fruit. Nika took some into her mouth and relished in their sweetness.

"Thank you." She said as she wiped away the juice from her chin.

The afternoon sun was beginning to set and the temperature became cooler in the breeze. Nika rubbed her bare shoulders in response.

"Come dear, I have prepared supper." The couple led Nika back to the house where a stew was waiting in the kitchen. The three of them made small talk as they ate their meals. It was a beef stew with carrots, celery, potato and pumpkin. After finishing her meal, Nika took her plate up to the sink where Mrs. Wilford was rinsing.

"It's alright dear, it's been a long day, why don't you go to the master bedroom and unpack your things. I'm sure you must be tired." Mrs. Wilford took Nika's plate as Nika smiled.

"I would, except I've forgotten where it is." She chuckled.

Mr. Wilford came forward and offered to show her the way. The master bedroom was on the top floor, forth room down the hallway. Once the door was closed and she was alone, Nika began to unpack. She didn't have very much, only one suitcase. After unzipping it, the first item she pulled out was the red dress Agent 47 had bought her in Istanbul. It was the nicest thing she owned. Seeing its brilliant colour instantly made her think of his red tie in the middle of his white shirt and black suit. He was as much as mystery to her now as he was then. She would never forget the smell of his crisp cologne mixed with the cold scent of gun metal grey. His cold eyes gradually became warmer after spending more time together. His touch was gentler and his voice became friendlier. The last time she saw him was on the train near the Russian border. She sensed he had so much to say to her yet only muttered that his name was 47. With tears in her eyes he had walked away so easily. There had been so many things she had wanted to say to him like don't leave, stay, come back for me. After going their separate ways from the train, a day hadn't gone by without her thinking of him. Bellicoff was dead and she was free to live a good financially secure life however it all seemed hollow without him with her. Stopping her emotions from overwhelming her, she quickly put the dress away along with all the other items in her suitcase. After taking a bath and settling into the massive kingsized bed for the night, Nika turned off the lamp and put her head on the white satin pillow. The balcony doors to her room were open and the gentle breeze from the night caused the white sheer curtains to float and dance. There was something unsettling about the wind as it howled and squealed outside. Just as she began to drift off into slumber, she heard glass break. Her eyes snapped open. Someone was in her house. Climbing out of bed, she put on a night gown and crept to the door of her bedroom. Opening it slightly, she peered out down the hallway and noticed several armed gunmen wearing balaclavas dressed in black. They were searching the rooms one by one, probably looking for her.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilford heard the glass break as well and went to investigate. They didn't get very far before several bullets were emptied into their chests. After hearing the gun fire, Nika shut and locked her door but began to panic when she realized that she was trapped. They had her corned in her bedroom. Remembering that she had a balcony, Nika peered out in the night sky and saw the columns and poles running down the side of her house. She climbed over the railing and began her descent down the side of the three level mansion. Once her bare feet hit the ground she sprinted towards some thick bushes in the nearby garden concealing herself within it. From her new vantage point she could see the armed gunmen making their way through her house with their high tech laser sighted weaponry. Fearing that they would find her eventually, her heart started to race. Suddenly a black gloved hand wrapped around her mouth. Startled she was prepared to struggle when his face came into view. After he knew she recognized him, he took his hand away from her mouth. Before she could open her mouth to speak, he put his finger to his lips.

"Shhh…" He whispered.

Nika became silent and waited for Agent 47's next move. The gunmen continued their search through the house. Agent 47 took out a black remote control and pushed a button. Suddenly several bombs within the house detonated. Nika covered her ears in response. The blasts caused the surviving members of the hit squad to retreat and exit the house which was when 47 took out his Blazer sniper rifle and shot the remaining men dead. Once there were no more gunmen left alive, 47 stood out from the bushes and offered Nika his hand. She took it instantly and once she was on her feet she wrapped her arms around his neck in relief.

"I was scared that I'd never see you again." She whispered hoarsely into his ear.

"We must leave. I have a car." He told her breaking her hold on him.

"Wait, are they dead?" She asked referring to the elderly housekeepers.

"Yes." 47 remarked coldly, but this time she expected it from him. Walking quickly he led her to a black Audi that was parked down the road off the track. Once moving, Nika felt like she was able to breathe again.

"Where did you go after Bellicoff died?" She asked.

47 didn't answer her, he continued driving fast and faster. She wasn't scared of the speed that he was going, by now she trusted him impeccably to keep her safe. He had proved himself many times in the past at protecting her. After two hours of driving in silence, she realized that he had driven her into Rome, the capital of Italy. Checking the car into and underground garage, they exited the vehicle and made their way into an elevator.

"Where are we going?" She asked him.

"Somewhere safe." He responded devoid of emotion. It brought back memories of the first time they'd met, except before, he threw her into the back of a car and drove her to what she thought would be her death. However he kept her alive despite being ordered to kill her several times. The elevator stopped on the fifth floor. They walked to a room. 47 presented a card and gained access to a room. Before he closed the door, he emptied a small glass tube filled with little balls at the entry way. After shutting the door, he assembled a device across it. Nika did not bother asking questions as to what it was for. Nika pulled the silk dressing gown tighter around herself. She was tired.

"Get some sleep." 47 took off his coat and gestured towards the only bed in the room.

"Only if you join me." Nika said boldly.

Without even giving her a second glance 47 said, "I have to work." He took out a large case and opened it on the table. Inside were several weapons ranging from assault rifles to hand guns. 47 methodically checked them and made sure they were in working order. He put them back in their cases