Gathering the lunch plates, Pauley carried the remains of their meal into the kitchen. While they waited for Vivian to come back, she helped Lenore prepared caipirinhas.
“I did not know Señora Vivian before she came to live here,” Lenore quartered limes picked from Vivian’s garden, muddling the fruit chunks in two glasses with a little sugar. “Tell me about this Millicent.”
Filling the glasses with ice, Pauley thought about her answer.
“She’s very much like Vivian,” she said handing the glasses to Lenore. “She has the same sense of style and the same acerbic personality, but Vivian has lost Millicent’s confidence. Back when, nothing phased Millie. She was stone cold.”
Lenore poured a shot of cachaça into each glass, stirring to blend the juice and liquor.
Accepting a drink, Pauley took a tentative sip.
“I’m afraid I might be to blame for Vivian’s potentially fatal thaw.”
“How is that Señora Pauley?” Lenore wiped down the cutting board, and put away her knife.
“We became friends,” Pauley put down her drink, wrapping her hands around the cold glass. “Millie… Vivian was very… independent. Never worried about anyone else. That’s changed, for both of us. It’s hard to explain, but we’ve come to trust each other in ways we’ve never trusted anyone before. I think that attachment has dulled her edge. We have to find a way to sharpen it again.“
“I’ll drink to that,” Vivian walked into the kitchen, and picked up her drink, raising it in a toast.
Lenore left the women to discuss their future.
Over their drinks, Pauley relayed what she learned from Stanley, her boss back in New York.
“Tomas’ consiglieri aren’t as loyal as you might expect,” Pauley swirled the ice in her glass. “There’s an apparent power struggle among the minions.”
Vivian traced a bead of condensation with her thumb as it slid down her tumbler, an arched eyebrow her only reaction.
“Stan thinks if we can isolate which of his captains are most likely to rebel, we can bring Tomas down,” Pauley watched a smirk spread across Vivian’s face. “We can churn that pod of sharks a little and there’ll be a feeding frenzy. They’ll do most of the work for us.”
Vivian picked up an ice cube, and ran it down her throat, letting it melt into a puddle at the hallow of her neck. “Why should we let them have all the fun?”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Pauley marveled at the re-emergence of Millicent. “You and I get to bait the waters with chum. We pick out two of Tomas’ best men, and eliminate them, making it look like Tomas ordered the hits. Then sit back and watch the fallout.”
“How do we find out who our targets should be?” Vivian was warming to the idea of bringing out her syringe again.
“I’m thinking we should make that shop girl of yours redeem herself,” Pauley grinned. “Danela has to know about the Sampas. We find her, and ‘persuade’ her to give us information. I have a lead on a source where I can secure what I need, and I’m sure you already have what you’ll need.”
“You have to ask?” Vivian laughed.
“Sounds like we have the germ of a plan,” Pauley sat back, excited about the job.
“Now, that we have somewhere to start, tell me something,” It was Vivian’s turn to watch her friend’s reaction. “What’s with you and Stan?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Pauley stammered.
“You’re not fooling me, Pauley. Every time you talk with him or even mention his name, you turn 50 shades of high school, bubblegum pink.”
*Pauley and Vivian are taking Christmas off and will be back in 2013. Please enjoy these new chapters in Brazilian Job with your favorite assassins, Pauley and Vivian. Written with Lance from “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.” His chapter this week is, “It’s Time.“
For more from our Killer Ladies, check out these previous chapters: