Prelude Part I: March 1993
Something was going to go wrong. She rolled over on the expansive hotel bed, expensive sheets rustling with the movement. 10:49PM. The dinner started at midnight and was schedule to go on for several hours. The guest list was exclusive. The security was going to be tight. Still she was sure something was going to go wrong. And when it was she was going to scream.
It had taken five months to set up this cover. Five long months of flirting with every man high up in the Italian mob and acted like the spoiled daughter of a prominent American oil king just looking for some fun. Five months that had led up to this night. Antonio Zaccaro had been playing games with MI6 for almost two years and M had decided they had taken enough. It was time to play Zaccaro for all he was worth. That was where she had come in.
Nikita Alden was one of the best seductresses in MI6. Half Russian and half British, Nikita was not, admittedly, a seductress in her natural state. Her face was a little too sharp, her hair stick straight, and something about her almost sallow face scream unattractive. With the proper work, however, she was stunning. It helped too that she was small. Five foot four inches in two inch heels with a curvy, delicate frame that almost made up for the sallow face. With medical tape to change her facial shape from sharp to heart, her hair curled, and her makeup perfect she was, simply put, stunning. Now as she waited for her alarm to ring, signalling it was time to wake up, she went over the steps in her mind.
First came curling her hair, each strand coated lightly in hairspray so it would keep its shape for the hours to come. Then came the medical tape, strategically placed to soften sharp cheekbones. The makeup was applied carefully over that, giving her a delicate, ethereal beauty. Then she would style her hair, slip into the dress, and apply some soft pink lipstick before slipping into shoes and heading for the door.
The alarm beeped once before Nikita's hand found it and silenced it. 11:00PM. Time to get to work. Nikita moved about her routine with the calm efficiency that clearly stated she had done this hundreds of times before. At a quarter till twelve she was walking out the door of the hotel and stepping into the car sent for. The driver pulled away silently as soon as her door was shut. Nikita let out a silent breath and allowed her other persona to take over.
It started simply, chatting up the driver in a bored, drawling tone. That was accompanied by fluid arm movements and expressive faces. By the time Nikita stepped out of the car at exactly midnight she was safely hidden in the character of Alexis Walters, a spoiled and rich brat with too much money on her hands.
The hall in which Antonio Zaccaro had decided to hold his gathering of arms smugglers, mobsters, and femme fatales was nothing short of extravagant. The shimmer of gold on her white dress and the click of her heels was muffled by the rustle of elegant gowns and the tap of shoes on the cream colored tile. The walls were painted gold with green flowers stenciled on to them. The columns were pure jade with golden dragons, the Chinese sort. swirling around them. Nikita took a wine glass from one of the servers, holding the delicate stem carefully as she made her way across the room.
Standing in the center was her target. Antonio Zaccaro was handsome for being in his mid forties. His eyes were a dark brown bordering on black and his hair was chocolate colored curls without a hint of grey. He was four inches taller than Nikita and his smiles were a pleasant surprise that made you want to bask in them. "My darling," he greeted her, beaming at her with one of those smiles. "I had hoped you would come tonight."
"I couldn't resist the invitation," Nikita cooed, smiling back at him sweetly.
"You look simply stunning," he said, offering her his arm. She placed her hand gently on his with a brilliant smile and a murmur of thanks. So began the night.