She was wearing a slumming cloak: a thick, dirty canvas thing that hid the finery beneath it. He heard the knock on his door and opened it, and she was there.

“I brought what you needed,” she said.

Roake asked, “Where is it?”

She turned her head toward the street. “In the carriage.” She smiled. “Javis’ carriage.”

He nodded and followed her down to the street.

The carriage had black canvas over the doors to hide the crest. He opened the doors and found luggage inside. Large, hard-sided bags.

“The livery is inside the bags,” she said.

Roake nodded and grabbed the bags. They were heavy and he needed to make two trips to get them all. He looked around as he carried them. This late at night, nobody would be watching. At least, almost nobody.

She followed him up to the room on the second trip. He put down the bags on the bed and opened them while she shut the door behind them.

The uniforms were real silk. He laid each of them out on the bed.

“I brought four of them,” she said. “They’re very large. I hope they fit.”

“They don’t need to fit,” he said. “We won’t be getting that close to anyone.”

She sat on the edge of the bed. “Tell me again,” she said. “Tell me the plan again.”

He looked at her. She was getting excited. “No,” he said. “And you aren’t staying tonight.”

She frowned at him. “Why not?” she asked.

“You’re a partner now,” he said. “You’re in on the job.”

She pouted a little, putting out her thick lower lip. “After the job?” she asked.

Roake considered lying to her. He said, “No.”

A shadow crossed her brow. “Once and you’re done with me, then?” she asked.

“Don’t do this,” he said. “Two more days and all this will be over. Then, we’ll think about other things.”

She smiled a little. “So, your ‘no’ just turned to ‘perhaps?’”

Roake didn’t say anything. He let her assume his answer.

She popped back up from the bed. “Twenty percent of whatever you take, yes?”

He nodded. “Yes,” he said. “That’s your cut.”

She curtseyed. “Thank you, sir.” She said. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.”

Then, she pranced to the door. She opened it, turned to look at him quickly and closed it behind her.

Roake looked back down at the livery and the bags. Then, he watched out the window. She hopped into the carriage and the carriage drove away.

Roake didn’t want to kill her, but she was making that decision for him.

Fantasy Noir 9
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