Even after the question that's nothing short of a formality, he continues to stare her down.
His face in itself is above average; light eyes, a sharp jawline, stunning but youthful features enhancing his wavy ginger hair.
Amidst the alleyway they're in, the buildings are tight together, and loom over them like a forest of brick, save for some of the slivers of light that trickle in from nearby lampposts. Snores erupt from a homeless man sprawled across the cement, the stench of alcohol, vomit and even cigarettes clogging up the air.
Owing to her inebriated state, Leda Jenson fumbles over her words. "Listen, mister. I always go all or nothing."
"You're aware of the risk then, correct?" He furrows his eyebrows. "We are gambling—"
"All your yappin' is giving me a headache." The night air is cool on her russet-coloured skin, but it hasn't done much to sober her up, or relent her agonizing migraine. Per usual, she'd gone and drank too much. "You realize what kinda establishment we met in don't cha'?"
"—Life or death." He heaves a disgruntled breath before fixing his attention to her once more. "If we continue this, one of us will—"
"Is this the gun we're using?"
Being drunk has never given her a filter for her thoughts or actions, which accounts for how she fearlessly scoops the icy device from the man's hand.
She immediately stumbles. "Whoa, it's heavy."
He spares her the dirtiest look known to man but Leda's fascination has entirely been stolen by the weapon, similar to an infant encountering new stimuli.
"Do I put it on your head like this?" She shakily raises her arms to direct it to his forehead. "Fork over the fifty grand you promised for this bet! Pfft, don't glare at me so seriously, man. I'm kidding."
She lowers it, and while he scowls profound daggers that could otherwise inflict damage, she stares at the revolver, even hoists the barrel to eye-level to peek inside.
"Does this really contain a bullet...?"
"Ignore me if you will. This is your last opportunity to back out."
For a good while, her mind blanks. Then, "Pew pew. Now your body's mine."
His foul mood increases tenfold. He balls his fists around the briefcase he's previously unveiled, filled with the money they agreed to gamble in exchange for their lives. Granted, to Leda, she'd argue the man is already regretting involving himself with her.
She laughs as she lowers the gun at her side.
"Say." She swings it around her pointer finger as if it won't accidentally fire. "Wanna forget this and do somethin' else? I know a place we can go if you're up for some action—"
The ginger-haired male immediately draws her gaze upward. He extends his gloved finger to the side of his head.
"Place the barrel on your temple."
"Oh!" she gasps, comprehending his demand. "I like men who take lead."
He pinches the space between his thick brows. "I should have targeted another, less frustrating human."
He says it as if he isn't one himself.
She's about to point that out when he leans forward and props up her arm, easing the opening of the gun onto her forehead as he's requested. She allows him, fixated on his mesmerizing green irises that never leave hers.
"You're awfully close to me, mister."
"I'm well-aware," he responds. "I can smell your horrid breath."
Regardless of the blatant insult, she flashes him a toothy grin. "Don't flirt with me so openly. I'll get the wrong idea."
Brushing aside her slurred speech and intoxication, he retreats, and crosses his arms.
"You want me to shoot through your heart with my charming looks and personality?"
"I want you to shoot yourself in the head." His order is as brusque as his stiff manner of talking. "And if you live, I'll let you walk off with the fifty thousand I have promised. If you die, your body is mine to possess. Those were the terms."
"You seriously want my dead body?" She cranes her neck, pursing her lips. "I make it a hobby not to judge others, but that's some weird kink, mister. Can't a living body give you enough pleasure? Does the smell of rotting flesh turn you on or somethin'—"
"Shut your filthy mouth and shoot a dent through your head." He clicks his tongue, peering elsewhere but her. "I should have asked Orian to handle this. Your species is truly nauseating."
"'Species'?" she parrots. "Are ya' drunk, mister?"
His scowl speaks volumes. Therefore, she stops talking.
"Are you following through with this proposition or not?"
"Fine," she concedes, "I'll shoot. Do this whole Russian roulette." The fifty grand is far too much for a homeless orphan like her to pass up. "But I have a request in case I do die."
Solemnity hangs over her face like the shadows cast by her long, brittled bangs. She doesn't break eye contact. "Once you're done having fun with my dead body and you sell my organs and all that psychopathic jazz, make me a proper grave. A little rock will work. It's not like I have anyone who'd come pray for me, but... it'd mean a lot, if you can do that."
"A grave?" Albeit slight, he nods. "I'll consider it."
A smirk peels back her lips. Gratitude bubbles in her gut.
"Of course," she says, "that's only if I die. I have a fifty percent chance of living and getting the fifty grand in that briefcase. And so long as I, Leda Jenson, have a chance to live, I'll grip to it. It's the only way of life a street rat like me knows."
Her finger flounders over the trigger. She peels if off her head to consider it.
"If I remember... you have to cock it first..."
The man watches in silence as she babbles to herself in order to correct her stance. Once she finally has it, there's not the slightest hesitation when she pulls the trigger, and it recoils. A loud bang! erupts. Though the nearby hobo is jolted out of sleep, the ginger-haired man doesn't falter an inch as the girl's body sways sideways before collapsing straight onto the pavement. Blood seeps from the wound in her head, alongside her oozing brain.
"Leda, you said, correct?" he says, beady eyes unwavering on her corpse. "Truly a folly being. Did you trust me when I said it contained only one bullet? Or did your inebriated state make you sincerely believe you could win? Or was it neither, and that you simply put yourself in this situation because you wanted a quick and easy death..."
He swoops down to pluck the gun right out of her still warm hand.
"Regardless, a grave would be a waste considering the services you can offer. I'll be making good use of you while I can. You should be grateful."