Talia walked into the cocktail party wearing a red sequined dress. Large seawater pearls wrapped around and caressed her smooth olive neck. Her raven black hair shone against the light from the crystal chandeliers of the embassy. Every eye turned, and she froze. Her eyes scanned the audience before her. Older ladies bejeweled with large blue sapphires and diamonds smiled her way. Young women smirked and went back to their gossip. Men of every age could not take their eyes off of her. Talia swallowed hard but continued her search.

To her left stood a man with piercing black eyes. His thin beard formed a dark shadow across his narrow jaw. The man’s wavy black hair was combed back without a part in it. His mouth broke into a broad smile revealing his perfect teeth. Talia smiled and sashayed across the room to the man she had thought about the entire day. Everyone else faded from Talia’s view. The handsome tuxedo-clad man grabbed two champagnes from a waiter walking between them. Talia smirked at his movie-like swagger.

“Talia, you’re a vision.”

Talia smiled, “Frank Coleman, I was almost afraid I wouldn’t find you.”

Frank smiled, “I wouldn’t miss this evening for the world. Do you think I could forget our afternoon on the beach? I’m just happy security accepted the note I gave you.”

Talia took a glass of champagne from Frank’s hand. “It’s a lovely evening. Does this place have a balcony?”

Frank took Talia’s hand and walked her past the throng of people. Talia tried to ignore the stares, but Frank seemed to be enjoying every moment of them. The smirk on his face did not disappear until they walked up a flight of steps and out two French doors. The view of the gardens was breathtaking under the full moon.

Talia and Frank turned and looked into each other’s eyes. Before she knew what was happening, Talia found herself kissing Frank. Electricity seemed to fill her body. He was good, really good. They released, and Talia caught her breath. “Frank, I’m sorry, I’m not normally this forward.”

Frank stroked her cheek with his finger, “I don’t mind.”

Talia turned back towards the stunning view to refocus her mind. “It’s beautiful here. How long have you been in Spain?”

Frank shrugged, “A couple of weeks.”

“Oh, you must have arrived near the time of the explosion.”

Frank gave a slow nod. “Yes, that was horrible. I arrived the day before. If I hadn’t caught an early flight, I hate to think what would have happened.”

“Some people think it was an assassination attempt on some politician. I can’t remember his name.”

Frank turned towards Talia and leaned against the rail with his elbow. “If it was, it was a poor attempt. Ten people were killed, but enough talk about death. I want to talk about your beauty. You look stunning in that red dress here in the moonlight. I believe the gardens are even jealous of your beauty.”

Talia turned towards Frank. Her eyes glistened in the moonlight. She stared straight into Frank’s eyes as she took a long slow sip of her champagne. Talia suddenly winced and spat her drink back into the glass. “Excuse me. There is something wrong with the champagne.”

Frank took a sip of his and then finished it off in one swallow. He reached over and took Talia’s glass. “Allow me, my dear.” With a lustful look in his eye, he swallowed her glass of champagne. His mouth puckered, he shook his head, and then said, “Wow, that was bitter. Where did they find those grapes?”

Talia smiled, lifted her palm in front of her mouth and spit out a broken capsule into her hand. “Oh Frank, did you think we didn’t know you were here? We know your pedigree, your aliases, and we even have you on facial recognition. MI6 has a long reach. The day before the bombing an alert was sent out that you were spotted in Spain. The Spanish wanted to arrest you after the bombing attack, but I wanted to question you first. The British have some interest in you and certain knife attacks in our country.  So, tell me, did ISIS hire you, or are you a true believer.”

Terror filled Frank’s eyes. He grabbed Talia by the shoulders, and she knocked his hands away in one swift motion of her hands. “What did you put in there?” asked Frank.

“Oh Frank, you’re just like all the other men. Always in a hurry, where’s the foreplay? Now tell me, are you a true believer?”

“I don’t follow anyone. It was a job, that’s all. Now tell me what you did.”

“Oh, you’re going to be dead very soon, but I might be able to stop it if you tell me who you were working for.”

Beads of sweat began to form on Frank’s forehead, “I can’t, they’ll kill me.”

“You’re dying anyway.”

“This is nothing compared to what they will do to me.”

Talia stared into Frank’s eyes. He was desperate but honest. She shrugged and reached into the top of her low cut dress. A vial of green liquid appeared between her fingers. Talia shook her head, “Suit yourself.” With a flip of her hand, the vial’s contents disappeared into Talia’s mouth. Frank tried to speak, but his tongue had swollen, and he could no longer form any words.

“Help!” yelled Talia, and she rushed from the balcony. “I think Frank’s having an allergic reaction to his drink. Please, someone help!”

A crowd of men and women rushed upstairs towards the opened French doors of the balcony. Talia slowly glided down the steps. The main floor was mostly empty, and she walked calmly towards the front door. Two men dressed in tuxedos opened both entry doors for her. She winked at them, and they both nodded as she exited the party.

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