“Well I’m glad to know that’s what made you drop off the face of the earth for the last two weeks.” Uncle sits down heavily, rubbing his knee with his free hand.
I situate myself on our bench, and take a bite out of my cone.
“So that’s what it’s called these days? Doing the dishes?” Uncle leans back and shakes his head.
“Washing.” I correct him, feeling myself blush slightly. I can feel myself squirming on the bench and try to regain my composure.
“Interesting. They certainly never called it that in my time.” He scoops up his ice cream and holds it for a moment as if in thought.
“What did they call it?”
He clears his throat, then looks up at the sky. “Well back then we used to…” his head starts to go back down, and I see him narrow his eyes suddenly.
“Kirika.” His tone changes, and is now very serious. I feel myself tensing just at the way he says my name.
“What is it?”
“Do you still carry your gun?”
“No.” I never want to touch a gun again. My days as an assassin are over, and I no longer worry about Soldats, now that I have Uncle.
“That is unwise.” He scoops into his ice cream again. “As it seems we are being watched right now. I would suggest you return to my office with me.”
I stare at him in disbelief, until the melting ice cream running over my hand gets my attention.
“Finish your cone, then we’ll go.” he says calmly, and returns to scooping.
I finish my cone, glancing casually about me in the park. I see there are at least two men that appear to be watching us. A sudden fear grips my chest.
“There’s nothing you can do at the moment. Where is she?”
“She went to the range with Anton.”
“Then they are both armed, and in an area of law enforcement. I wouldn’t be too concerned for her safety there.”
“Okay.” I feel as if I can breathe again, but this sudden fear will not leave my heart.
He motions for us to stand, and I walk over to his limo with him. I slide into the back seat, and look out the window once the door is closed. It seems the two men watching us are not following us; I breathe a sigh of relief, and lean back into the seat.
Uncle is talking on his cell phone, his voice low, almost as if he doesn’t want me to overhear his conversation. He clicks the phone off as I slide forward in the seat, trying to listen.
“Do you want to come to my office, or go home?”
“Home.” I say immediately. I want to be there to protect Mireille.
“As you wish.” He nods his head to the driver, and I feel the car turn. He digs down inside his vest and pulls out a gun. “Here. Use this until you have your own again.”
I take the gun, feeling it in my hands, the metal warmed from his body. I automatically check the gun and make sure the safety is off, and that it’s fully loaded. I lay it down in my lap and sigh. Perhaps I was foolish to think I could ever truly leave my past behind me… I rub the spot on my belly where I was shot, feeling the knot. My hands go back down to the lump of metal in my lap. I look down at the gun and wonder if it is another scar I will have to carry with me the rest of my life.
“Uncle- do you know who was watching us today?” I ask as we pull up in front of the apartment. He turns around in his seat as much as possible to face me.
“Both Noir and Soldats have enemies, Kirika. The question is, which one of us is the target?”

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