PRINCELESS by Cam Jace Storykiller
Copyright©by Cameron Jace
January 15 2019
Mother clicked another light on and stared back in an expressionless face.
God, Venus thought, her mother aged so well. She looked even fitter. Stronger. Only those eyes grew distant, shrouded in pain from her mysterious past.
Venus put the box of chocolates to the side. She felt awkward. She had thought she would never see her mother again. Should they have hugged? Should she have cheered and squealed with passion, seeing her mother ten years later?
Mother stood stiff, staring with no descriptive emotion.
“I’m proud of you.” Mother said.
Venus almost didn't hear her. Her eyes scanned for a definitive expression on her mother’s face, a twitch of cheeks, a hint of gratitude, a glimmer of gratefulness, anything to match the words on her lips.
Mother talked with one hand rested on the side of the sofa, a gun hanging loosely in the other.
“I’m proud of myself.” Venus said defensively.
Now Mother’s lips slightly curled up. “It was a sloppy job, but hey it was your first.”
“I’m a sloppy daughter left behind by a sloppy mother.”
Describing this moment as ‘tense' was an understatement.
““You’re not a sloppy daughter,” Mother’s eyes dilated like a cat seeing something humans couldn't. “I did my best for your survival. Soon you will understand.”
“Soon was ten years ago.”
Mother sighed and leaned forward, “I’m not here to make you feel better about me.”
“Neither can you make me feel better about me.”
“We’ll have this kind of conversation later,” Mother said. “I’m here to warn you.”
“Are you capable of anything else?” Venus said. “The world is a piss-pool in your eyes. I've once counted the times I saw you smile. Thirteen. Seven of them you were watching a movie. A Guinness record in being a pessimist.”
“I do have a record,” Mother’s voice tensed. “Of killing over a dozen of men to keep you alive..”
Venus lowered her head. She couldn't argue against this statement.
Mother stood up. End of conversation. She was about to leave.
“Wait,” Venus said. “Please hug me,” she didn’t say that. “What should I be warned of,” she said instead.
Mother turned, “Love.”
Venus suspected she misheard her.
“Or whatever that thing is that men like you to believe it’s called love.” Mother said.
“I’m twenty years old, Mother,” her jaw clenched. “You’re not going to teach me…”
“You’re one day old in the business,” Mother interrupted. “You don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Fuck off.” Venus broke her gaze.
Mother didn’t flinch. She was a woman who only reacted to bullets, not the bratty and foul mouthed girl who want to complain about their feelings. “I saw the way you looked at the boys in the club tonight.”
“What? You were there?”
“I’m almost always there.”
Venus didn’t know what to say. What to make of it. Was that comforting or distressing?
“Boys will hurt you. It’s too soon for you to experience that. You need to execute more jobs first. You need to stay Princeless.”
“You don't want me to meet a boy?”
“I want you to understand.”
“That in this business men will do whatever it takes to get things done.”
Venus had always taken this thing about being Princeless as a metaphor for a greater perspective on life. The Organization itself hired her, so this couldn't have been a literal war between genders. Somehow talking to Mother suggested that, and it devastated her.
“I want you to understand that Love is a Lie.” Mother continued.
Venus sat speechless, thinking about how much she missed her childhood fairytales.
Mother sighed, “You’ll understand sooner or later. I can’t rush you into it, I guess.”
“Are you sick, Mother?”
“What did you just say?” Mother's grip on her gun tightened.
“I mean it, wholeheartedly,” Venus said. “Mentally maybe? Are you on prescriptions?”
Mother said nothing, and in all irony her face suddenly showed emotion. Not a good one though. Anger with a tinge of disappointment. An emotion that escalated quickly to a mother pointing a gun in her daughter's direction.
Venus blinked. The rest of her body froze. She couldn’t quite believe it when Mother aimed the gun at her.
A sedative, not a bullet.