Guild of Daggers
by Deborah Smythe
I was a dead woman.
There was no aftertaste of flower or metal on my tongue, no pain twisting my gut, but it was done. I saw it in Philip's expression.
Eyes half-lidded, he watched as I set the wineglass back on the nightstand. His body was exquisite, limned in moonlight from the window, his face ethereal. He leaned over and kissed me, warm and lingering, but on the neck. A prudent man, my beloved.
"Sorry, Sian." His eyes were sad, but he shook his head and I knew what he was thinking. The fault was mine.
We all had affectations, those of us in the guild: a rose left upon a breathless chest, a faux-gold chain 'round the victim's neck. These were our calling cards, and often our weapon as well. Philip and I had been lovers for six months, I knew his method. I'd gotten careless.
"It was a no-name contract," he explained, hands warm on my body. "I didn't know you were the target when I accepted. You know I love you." His kiss, on the lips this time and deep, told me all trace of poison had left my mouth.
I kissed him back and we both enjoyed it, up until the finish. His eyes popped open, wide and startled. I smiled bittersweet. "I love you too, Philip."
His calling card was poison in a glass of red wine. Mine was a stiletto in the back. I slept with one under the pillow. He knew that.