“Ignorance. When I first met Tom that was what my codename was. Personally, I would say the 8th sin is really ‘willful ignorance’. It is reveling in your own inability to accept a given truth. It’s a cross between sloth and pride, but I always thought it deserves special recognition. It is hard sometimes for us to accept the truths in our lives. Like you Desire. Are you ignorant, son? Have you not been aware that your whole life I’ve been preparing you to be an assassin. Tom didn’t kidnap you, at least not without my consent. I gave him to you.”
My mother was Destiny Grey. Her hair has turned white. She has pursed lips that have come from old age and wrinkles on her forehead. She still has the warm eyes that I remember. They are dark brown and beautiful. She’s put on pounds over the years. Back in the day she even described herself as being “pleasantly plump”. She has such a homeliness to her especially with the small gap between her tooth. You could place her next to Paula Dean and they would look like America’s mothers. She was a popular cooking television show host from the 90s. She had three cookbooks that were on the bestseller’s list. She prepared her favorite duck dish for three presidents. She didn’t look like an assassin. Hell. She was the last woman in the world who you would think would be one. This was impossible. My mother wasn’t an assassin.
That was impossible.
And for me to think it was so impossible after all I knew was ignorance.
I look over at Ego and Urge, “Did you guys know?”
Ego doesn’t respond. We have all been tied up with ropes. We are all lined up. Urge and Ego have been relatively quiet during my mother talking. I’m sure they are still pissed at me for blowing up their mission like I did.
Urge’s response is telling, “Does it matter?”
Urge is talking weird like there is something in his mouth. His voice is deep and grunting. Honestly, I think it’s just the fact that he is pissed off with me, though.
I look back over at my mother. She gets out of her chair. There is a huge statue in the background that casts a shadow over her but she comes out of the shadow. With Denny, my memory was skewered. I couldn’t really remember him. There are certain memories of my mother that the brainwashing has taken away as well. When Tom kidnapped me I lost a lot of myself. Still, I remember the stare she would give me. I remember that stare she was giving me now. It would make me sometimes feel like I was the only one in the room.
Back then I was Jonathan Grey and she was Destiny Grey.
Now I was Desire and she was Ignorance.
“ Back then I was just a chef and Tom was just a man with an idea. Your father, of course was a business man and he was investing in Tom and his ideas. Little did I know I’d fall in love with this man. Sooner or later I think your father became suspicious of my affair with Tom. He pulled me away but I kept in touch with Tom. I’d go on my business trips but really I’d be seeing Tom.”
“You were cheating on Dad?”
How funny was this? I had blown my spot trying to find out of my fiancé was cheating only to find out that my mother was cheating on my father with my fiance’s father. I don’t know how to react to this news. Maybe I should have known. Denny was watching me for a reason all those years ago. Did he know my mother was involved with Tom? Did he know my mother was the 8th sin?
Is that why Denny sent me here?
Is that why Baron Steele didn’t want to send me?”
All of a sudden I just feel stupid. I feel so fucking stupid. It feels like everyone knew who my mother was except for me.
“Tom was married but of course that never stopped things,” my mother explains, “I remained married to your father and attempted to pretend like I was happy with him for years. But in my other life I trained and I helped Tom build what became the Assembly. I had no idea I was pregnant. I’d become his top assassin when I started showing. I was the only one who willingly joined the Assembly. I wasn’t just a recruit. I was his partner.”
“You think that’s something to be proud of?” Ego asks.
My mother looks over at Ego, “I don’t like to be interrupted. Stupidity. Come show him what I think about being interrupted.”
There is a big man. At first, I swore it was some sort of statue on the other side of the room. I’m wrong. This guy was huge. He was twice the size of Craving. He looked like some sort of giant. He literally stood almost at 7 feet tall! My mouth drops open when I see the guy. He is bulky as fuck. When he moves the ground shakes a little bit. I think Ego wasn’t expecting the guy to be real either. He tries to scramble when the guy grabs him.
“NO!” Urge tries to stop this Stupidity guy.
It’s useless. Stupidity takes Ego outside. There are screams at that moment. The most horrifying screams that I’ve ever heard. A minute later Stupidity brings Ego back into the room and lays him beside me.
Ego is different. He has no eye! It's been removed!
Stupidity hands the eye to my mother.
“Thank you Stupidity,” she states.
She smiles. I’m shocked. I'm struggling to understand! My mother was always so kind and gentle. This woman that was standing in front of me right now as a monster. Ego is screaming in pain. I’m shocked that she literally had Ego’s eye removed just for interrupting her. There is no way to dull Ego’s pain. I may not like him but right now I feel so bad for him.
This is all my fucking fault. This is all my fucking fault!
“Where was I? Oh. I remember. I was living a double life as a celebrity chef during the day and an assassin at night. Then you were born…”
My mother rubs her hands on my face. I notice the feel of her hands now. They were hard. I always thought back then it was just because she worked a lot with knives. Little did I know what she had been using her knives for.
“My whole life was a lie?” I ask.
“No. I tried to give you a normal life,” she responds, “I left the Assembly. I went back to your father. I raised you as best as I could but deep in my mind I knew your father could never satisfy me the way Tom could. He was spoiling you and I wasn’t doing much better. There was only so much I could do for you. So I contacted Tom. I needed him to train you.”
“Did my Dad know?
“Oh he had no say. I killed him the same day I had Tom kidnap you in Tahiti.”
The trip to Tahiti. It was all a plan. It was all some fucked up plan.
I want to cry but I don’t. Maybe I don’t cry because it was so long ago. Maybe I don’t cry because I’m all cried out over Urge. All I know is that right now there is a deep pain in me that I can’t release. This whole time I thought I was robbed from my family. I thought I was taken from my family. I was wrong.
My mother had given me up.
She wanted me to live this life all along?
“You’re a horrible person,” I tell her.
“I’ve been hearing about you throughout the years,” my mother states, “I was always the best person in the world when it came to killing with a knife. I find out my son has inherited my skills. Everytime, I heard you killed a sense of pride filled me up. When I found out you killed Tom, I knew that you were everything I wanted you to be. A cold blooded killer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. So yes. Maybe I am a horrible person but like mother, like son.”
“I’m nothing like you.”
“Oh I have to disagree. I hear how you came out of no where and attacked this half blind piece of shit in the bar. It was amazing.”
I look down at Ego who Ignorance is referring to. Ego is laying on the ground. He’s bleeding out. He is rolling around the floor. Ignorance is laughing at him as he does it. She’s enjoying this. In a way, she reminds me so much of Tom. She has no sense of sympathy or compassion. This was the woman who would bake my class chocolate chip cookies and who would read me Harry Potter when I was feeling down.
This woman who raised me butchered humans and had Ego’s eyeball still in her hands. I watch at that moment as she shows Ego his eye.
He reaches for it, “Give it back…”
I don’t know if it’s a mental thing for him. The eye was gone. Him squirming in pain and screaming wasn’t going to help him. Him reaching out for the eye wasn’t going to help him. I dislike Ego but I can’t watch my mother play with him like this. I look away.
“Here...reach for it. Just a little bit more,” my mother says.
“STOP THIS!” I scream at her.
She’s toying with Ego.
That’s when my mother does something that I don’t even think Tom would do. She literally BITES into Ego’s eye! She CHEWS IT! The membrane gushes out of her mouth. I can’t help it. I turn away. Urge looks on staring bullets at my mother. All I know is that this is sick. All I know is that I hate this woman so fucking much right now.
Is this what she meant by dinner? The bodies hanging up. I knew my mother was a chef but...was she a cannibal?
Ego is crying. At least I think that is what he is doing. The sound coming out of his mouth is haunting to say the least.
“You’re a monster,” I state.
She smiles, “Oh we just need to catch up. That’s all. I'll show you all the delicacies you don't find on the cooking channel. Meals you'll never find in a cookbook. Now that Tom’s gone the Assembly is mine. And you’re going to be my heir. So how about this? How about I kill off your friends here and you and I can have a little bit of a reunion?”
My mother reaches out to me. Ego is still rolling around on the ground. Urge is pressed up against the wall.
“Baby come here…” Urge states.
I know Urge. He had something up his sleeve. I just wasn’t sure what it was but it was clear that he wanted me close to him for whatever he was about to pull.
“Baby?” my mother asks.
She must not have been paying close enough attention.
“They are engaged,” Avarice tells my mother.
My mother touches her arm at that moment. She rubs her chin. She gets quiet. She seems like she is about to say something. Just as she gets quiet there are gunshots that ring out. Automatic gunshots! I knew exactly what was going on as soon as I hear the automatic bullets ring out up front. A few people run past.
“Something’s happening! They have backup!” one of the Assembly members states.
Fuck this was the best time to have a best friend who was addicted to automatic weapons.
My mother reaches out to me to grab me but someone stops her. It’s Urge. Urge isn’t tied up anymore. He’s broken out somehow. He has a razor blade in his hand. He throws it at me. It’s wet with saliva. Something was in Urge’s mouth after all!
I cut the ropes and attempt to free myself.
My fiancé is free and he’s pissed off. He takes a few steps towards us. The look in his eyes says it all.
The gunshots are getting closer. Craving was giving them hell with his assault rifle. I think Ignorance realizes that.
She looks over at Avarice, “Kill them all.”
“All of them? Your son?”
My mother hears the gunshots getting close, “All of them.”
I’m shocked. My mother leaves with her huge bodyguard Stupidity walking behind her. They are trying to make an escape before Craving gets close enough.
I watch at that moment as Avarice goes forward attempting to fight Urge. They go back and forth boxing in the backroom. I’m trying desperately to cut through the ropes at that moment. Ego is no help. He’s squirming around. He isn’t tied up anymore but he’s useless because of the amount of pain he is in.
Avarice throws her weight at Urge attempting to sweep him off the ground with a low kick. Urge doesn’t block the kick but still it has no effect on him. His hard limbs seem to hurt Avarice instead. She seems shocked when he eats her kick. Urge grabs Avarice by her neck and slams her hard into the nearest wall a few times. He punches her in her stomach. Avarice punches back but soon enough Urge’s hard punches start getting the most of her. She collapses underneath him and passes out.
I release myself. I hear the guns close and I see Craving run into the room.
“Did you see her?” I ask Craving.
Craving’s automatic rifle is smoking when he walks back in the room with us, “I don’t know. I killed a bunch of people. A bunch of other people got away. I’m not sure who you’re talking about.”
I run over to Urge, “Are you OK?”
After his fight with Avarice I just want to check on him. Urge completely dodges me my embrace. I’m not imagining it. He literally dodges right past me! I’m shocked.
“Ego’s hurt. We should focus on him right now,” Urge says instead.
A few days pass. Avarice has been taken in by SOS and they are attempting to get information out of her. I haven't heard anything about it though. I haven't heard anything about anyone honestly. We are back in Pleasantville. Urge hasn’t been coming back to the house at least not when I was there. I hadn’t gone back to SOS. I wasn’t sure how I could show my face. I get a knock on the door and I swear I’m shocked that it is Love and Allure who are at my door.
“You look like shit,” Allure says, "Avarice is in better condition then you."
“Thanks. I really needed that,” I say sarcastically.
“That’s what friends are for. You know I take care of my boys.”
Love is in my fridge. I walk over to the fridge and close the door on him hard, “Why are you guys here? I wanted to be alone.”
Love rolls his eyes, “I don’t need to be here.”
“Bye,” Love states.
Love is on his way out when Allure stops him. She grabs his arm and swings him around, “Ok, let’s start this conversation over. That didn’t work out well. You asked us why we are here, Desire? Craving sent us. He said you have been ignoring your calls.”
“Why didn’t he come himself?”
“He’s on a mission in Vegas with SOS members. They sent him back to clean up your mess. The Assembly has relocated out of their new hideout. The civilians out there are asking a lot of questions because of the massacre. It's all over the news. They are blaming this on radical Islam. This is going to be a huge coverup,” Love states before laughing a little bit, “You fucked up.”
Being faced with this is tough. Hearing it is tougher. Love is smiling in glee about this and Allure looks disappointed.
“Desire, hunny. What were you thinking?” Allure asks me.
Love crosses his arms as though waiting to hear my excuse.
“I was thinking Urge was cheating on me.”
“Urge the guy who is obsessed with you?” Allure asks, “The guy who killed your old fiancé and literally walks around acting like your demon shadow? We can’t be talking about the same Urge? Not the same Urge whose first thought waking up is Desire and his last thought at night is Desire and everything in between is Desire, Desire, Desire, Desire…”
“OK!” I respond, “I get it. There’s more to the story, though. I promise.”
Allure raises an eyebrow, “Like what? Because honestly, Urge loves you. hunny. That kind of love isn’t the kind that you just trade away for a fuck. He would never cheat on you. We all know that…”
She’s making me feel like shit. I know Allure is just trying to help.
“Craving was in love with me. Or at least he thought he was. He tried to have sex with me in Vegas and….”
Love and Allure look at each other. The expressions on their faces make me stop talking. I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have brought up Craving at all.
“What?” Love asks me.
“Love I was going to tell you. It wasn’t that serious. Craving was just confused. We figured it out, though. See, Ego wanted Urge. Ego was using Craving to get to Urge…or at least that’s what I thought. I guess…maybe I was wrong. They were on a mission.”
I'm tripping over my tongue. I sound like I"m lying. I"m honestly just confused.
“Fuck you Desire, sincerely,” Love states.
“Excuse me?” I ask.
Love gets in my face.
“I don’t have time for this,” Love responds, “I used to think I was jealous of your relationship with Urge. I was wrong. The two of you have gone around for years with this scary, mutually destructive relationship. Now it’s not only exploding in your faces but it’s taking the rest of us with you.”
Love walks out at that moment. He slams the door hard as hell behind him. He seems pissed. I don't get it.
Allure just stares at me at that moment.
“He’s just upset about Craving. You know things between them have been weird. Now he probably just thinks you are at the center of why their relationship didn’t work out,” Allure explains.
I punch the wall. The last thing I needed was to make things with Love worse than they already were. Love and I may not have always gotten along but he was a real friend of mine. Everything was fucking falling apart in my life and the common denominator was me.
“I’m a fuck up. Love is right. My relationship with Urge is destructive.”
Allure shakes her head, “It’s beautiful Desire.”
“He killed my fiancé back in the day. We lived in the woods. We have to beat each other up before we we fuck almost every single time. I just travelled across the country and my mother pulled out a guy’s eye and ate it because I got a little bit jealous out of no where.”
Allure is not surprised about the eye or my mother. She must have heard or hell maybe she knew all along as well. At this point it didn't even matter.
Allure sighs, “Damn. Well I guess your relationship is a little fucked up.”
I roll my eyes.
“But baby. We are all fucked up. Look at me. I’m almost 30 and I never had a relationship with a man or a woman,” Allure responds, “Every time I get close I run as fast as I can to my guns and my bullets and hide. Love and Craving are the opposite. They fall in love with anything that shows them attention including each other. Then there is you and Urge. Yes you are a mess All of us are. That’s what happens when you are kidnapped as teenagers and forced to be assassins. We all carry around all this baggage with us.”
“I’m sure that baggage is full with weapons,” I respond, trying my hardest to crack a smile.
Allure smiles with me, “Oh yeah. My baggage has a M24 Sniper rifle with a detachable telescopic sight, chambered with a short action cartridge.”
I laugh a little bit.
I could only think of the shit I carried around with me. Now I had to add to that list that my mother was the leader of the new Assembly.
“When does your baggage become too heavy?” I ask.
Allure shakes her head, “When it becomes too heavy that’s when we are there to help you carry it. We are here for you. Craving, Urge, me and even Love. We're more than friends. We are family. We go through our ups and downs but I promise you we will help lighten the load.”
Allure always knows what to say. She’s always been that team leader. Maybe I should have had a conversation with her when I first started feeling suspicious about Ego and Urge. Maybe then I wouldn’t have done the stupid shit that I did.
“Thank you Allure.”
“Don’t thank me yet. The SOS wants me to bring you in. They are pissed. Vegas was a huge fuck up. Steele wants to know who cleared you to go to Vegas. They want your report.”
Allure takes me back to the Assembly. I’m standing there in the hallway. As we walk I notice we pass a room and I can smell him. I can smell Urge. He smells so good.
“Give me a minute,” I say.
“Steele wants your report, Desire,” Allure warns me.
“Just a minute,” I respond.
She waits for me by the doorway. I walk into the room where Urge is. I notice it’s a little rehabilitation room. It’s not for him. It’s for Ego. Ego is laying there on a table. He has a patch over his eye. He’s seems like he must be high off pain pills because he is completely knocked out. Urge is at his bedside just listening to him breathing.
“You haven’t been coming home,” I tell Urge.
Urge sighs a little bit.
“Relax. I’m not cheating on you. I’m just making sure that my friend is OK. Emphasis on the word friend,” Urge states.
I look at Ego. I want to break down seeing him laying there. He’d never be able to see out of his left eye again.
“It’s my fault,” I state, “I’m sorry. It’s my jealousy that caused all this Urge. I’m so sorry.”
“You keep apologizing to me,” he states, “I wasn’t the one who lost an eye. Maybe you should apologize to Ego. Because I have a feeling you never did for anything."
Urge is being cold. He’s being distant.
“I will,” I respond, “I didn’t mean to cause this kind of pain. I didn’t mean to cause this kind of hurt. I understand if you’re re-thinking marrying me. I understand if you think that maybe we should even wait to do it. Whatever you decide I completely understand.”
I start walking out of the room at that moment. I feel so fucking stupid. I feel so fucking useless. As I walk out of the room, however I am stopped. Urge has followed me to the doorway. He grabs my hand before he leaves me.
Urge is tough at first when he grabs my hand but his finger tips get gentle as they slide inbetween mine. He gives me a sweet little stare. In that moment at the door, I feel all the love that I’ve always felt for Urge. None of the love goes away.
Urge leans into me.
He kisses me. He kisses me hard. His tongue goes into my mouth. He puts his hand on the back of my head. He presses me up against the wall.
“Look at me. I love you. You hear me? I’m going to marry you. Period. Nothing or no one will ever come between what we have. We’ve been through way too much. We’ve been through ups and downs. Hell, we probably been through more downs then ups, but that’s what makes our love so strong. It was when I was down that you helped lift me up. Because it’s when I was down so many times that you were my ladder. And now that you are down I’ll make sure that I come right back down that ladder and help carry you up.”
My heart sinks in my chest. The words are something that mean more than anything anyone has ever told me. This was an unconditional love. Nothing was going to ever come between us.
“So you still want to marry me? You don’t want to even hold it off?”
“Let’s speed it up.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying let’s get married this weekend,” he responds, “We can get your friends. We can head back to Vegas. When I was out there I found this nice little place…only if you want though. I don’t want to rush you…or anything…”
I cut him off, “Yes.”
He seems surprised. We are so reckless. We are so mutually destructive as Love stated, but I loved every moment of it. Our love was dangerous to everyone and everything around us but nothing else felt so right.
“Yes,” I respond kissing Urge again.
I walk back into the hallway again. Allure is sitting there crossing her arms and looking at me as though wanting to say “I told you so.”
She doesn’t though. Instead, she smiles at me and asks, “Shortest fight ever?”
I nod, “Pretty much.”
Allure rolls her eyes, “I hate how cute you two are. Nothing is going to separate the two of you.”
I smile. For the moment I actually think she is right when she leads me back into the office with Steele. He is giving me this really funky look when Allure leaves me in the office with him. He doesn’t say anything for a while. He’s grilling me. He’s pissed about Vegas. I think Steele is even more pissed when I have a smile on my face. I was getting married to the man of my dreams this weekend who wasn’t mad even though I had completely fucked up his mission. If Urge wasn’t mad I didn’t give a fuck what Steele had to think about it.
“How’d you know the mission was in Vegas?” he asks me.
I wasn’t going to snitch on Denny. Denny had done me a big favor helping me out. Sure it probably ended up fucking things up but hell, at least he was honest.
“Just a wild guess,” I respond with a smirk on my face.
There is no reason my mood should be this jovial at this moment. It was very unprofessional after I just fucked up a mission. I just couldn’t stand Steele though. I didn’t trust him and I didn’t like him honestly. I thought he was full of shit.
“You’re lying,” Steele responds to me.
“Seems like is a habit of that happening in conversations between you and I huh?” I ask.
My comment pisses Steele off even more. He is steaming. Smoke might as well be coming out of his ears.
“So you know the truth?”
“Absoutely. I met my mother. She told me everything.”
“So you know why I lied?”
“You think I’m too emotional.”
“With this matter yes. It was necessary to protect you and protect the team.”
“Well maybe I am too emotional. I fucked up. I’m going to make things right with Ego when he recovers. I already made things right with Urge. It won't happen again. We are going to get married this weekend. You are more than welcome to come…”
Mr. Steele looks confused. He raises an eyebrow. As I look at his face I realize that that is more than confusion on his face. It’s complete and utter shock. The shock changes into disgust at that moment.
“Are you serious?”
“Why wouldn’t I be serious?”
“I just assumed you wouldn’t want to marry Urge after what you found out the truth.”
“My mother being the 8th sin did not affect my relationship with Urge in the slightest. Who is Urge to judge especially who his father is.”
“You mean who your father is, don’t you?”
What the fuck did this conversation have to do with my father? He was dead. My mother killed him.
Mr. Steele is shaking his head furiously with confusion, “Desire you said you were told the whole truth. Tom was your father. Didn’t your mother tell you that? Urge is your brother…”
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