The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Denial was how she coped. Though she'd never admit it.
Hevn stepped out of the bathroom in a veil of steam, her skin turned pink from the almost-scalding water. Her outfit for the day lay neatly on the bed, and she inspected each item before walking over to the lingerie drawer.
Dressing up was a routine she always did unhurriedly, systematically. For a single hour in the morning, there were no jobs, no clients for whom to bend over backwards in the name of commerce--just her and personal grooming. Today was no different.
She had perfected it into an art.
The skirt was two inches too short for current fashion, but Hevn ignored it and sat on the dresser. She picked up the eyeliner and proceeded to draw dark, liquid lines around her eyes.
She didn't consider yesterday as a fuck-up, although technically it was. The suit was not retrieved, the culprit still at large. Her objectivity and loyalty was compromised, or so the client said, a weasel-faced government bureaucrat who knew nothing beyond his office desk. No payment, of course--that stung a little--but capitalizing from a loss is the mark of a true businesswoman.
Blusher next, just one light swipe, because the height of summer was approaching and melting cosmetics was definitely not attractive.
First order of business would be to assure her two retrievers that she is indeed in one piece, and that no amount of juicy gossip about her past would be enough to blackmail her into cutting back her commission. They wouldn't ask about Eiji, she was sure, and she was grateful that two idiots like Ban and Ginji could understand her.
The Eiji of yesterday was not the Eiji that she knew years before, the man that she once buried. She had already mourned him, and to do so another time would be redundant. Three clients are already lined up, and the looming threat of starvation should motivate the GetBackers into finishing them all quickly.
Work was filling up her time. Dwelling over ghosts was inconvenient.
She picked up a lipstick, the color of wine--
---and for a minute there was a memory of a thousand candles around her, the soft clink of crystal as she and Eiji raised their glasses in a toast. Caught unaware, she blinked and saw that she had dropped the tube and picked it up. Then she thought it over and decided to use another shade instead.
Eiji didn't die by her hands not because she loved him--she tells herself as she applied the lipstick, glaring at the mirror. Or because she was weak, or even because it was the right thing to do. She didn't kill him because he was expendable, easy to let go. She wants to possess no part of him-his deceit, his laughable morals, most of all his lies.
Hevn needed none of those.
Her makeup finished, she leaned and scrutinized her public face. Skillfully applied, as always. There were hints of shadows under her eyes that made her frown and resolve to sleep better from now on and fight the vicious battle against aging.
She slipped into her business suit--sexy corporate, she called it--and readied herself for the day. There was work to be done, and commissions to collect. There was no time to waste. She pasted on a jaunty smile before grabbing a handbag.
The door clicked decisively behind her as she stepped into the world and headed towards the Honky Tonk.