The clouds hid the moon, and the rain fell without mercy or care. Her umbrella was, however, big enough, and her coat was wrapped tightly around her. After she left the car in the lane outside the gates, she settled the umbrella against her shoulder, holding it with one hand. Folding her fingers around the handle of an overnight bag, she walked up the driveway, which was long, but that suited her purposes. There were bushes on either side, and she was glad of the heavy Wellington boots she wore, making her way through the wet grass.

She pushed her bag up to her elbow and pulled her phone out of her coat pocket, tapping in the number.

“I’m here.”

“Great, let me know when you’re done.” He took a deep drag on whatever he was smoking; she heard the sharp intake of breath.

“That’s not how it works; you know that,” came her sing song voice. “If you want to book a service, you have to pay the bill.” There was a pause; it was awkward, but not for her.

“Okay. It’s done.”

A message came through on her phone. Payment received.

She hung up, slipping the phone into her bag. The building ahead was well-lit and grand, if a little faded; it was the perfect place for a weekend away.

The front entrance was busy: someone on the front desk, a restaurant filled with people, a bar not right up her alley. She turned left from the drive before she reached the parking area and walked around the building. The door to the kitchen was open; someone was being shouted at. She kept walking to the fire escape and pulled the door open.

With a smile, she closed her umbrella and slipped inside. Two floors up on the back stairs, she slipped open her overnight bag, sliding her feet out of the rubber boots and into the purple high heels that had been sent to her specially for this job from her bag. The boots slid into the bag and she checked her lipstick in the hallway mirror; pouting a kiss at her reflection, she pushed her heavy dark curls out of her face, slipped her bag and the umbrella into the housekeeping cupboard, took a breath, and knocked on the door.

“Yeah?” The man inside sounded like he was seriously pissed off.

“Hi. Jimmy asked me to come and see you.” Listening to him moving to the door, she imagined he was looking through the peephole and smiled straight at him, if that was where he was. The lock clicked and the door swung open halfway.

“Jimmy told you I would be here?” The fortysomething man was heavyset, with hands like shovels; he watched her from beneath his furrowed brows.

“He sent me as a gift to you.” Standing in the corridor, with his bedroom door open but his hand against the lock, she slowly untied the belt to her coat and let the sides fall open, never taking her eyes off his face.

His eyes widened; his mouth gaped open.

She was wearing nothing underneath.

“Purple shoes,” he whispered to himself.

“You know what they say; the customer gets what he likes.” She smiled, resting her hand on her hip. “Do you want me to stand in the hallway, or shall I come in?”

“Sorry, of course, please come in.” He walked back into the room, and she kicked the door shut behind her.

“Would you like a drink?” Lifting a bottle of brandy, he waved it a little from side to side. She nodded. He poured two generous drinks and put one on the bedside table for her.

“You have me at something of a disadvantage, I think.” She traced a finger slowly from the tip of her chin down to her belly button. Her body was taut from hours in the gym; she knew he was watching. She slipped the coat off her shoulders; his eyes followed every movement: the rounded muscle across her shoulders, and her arms, the tight breasts, the flat stomach, where her finger stayed. She held her hand out; it was his turn. He pulled at his shirt, buttons flying left and right; he was fighting with the buckle on his belt when she slipped her coat a little lower, making him stop and stand still, turning her back to him with the coat scooping the base of her spine and lifting one foot slightly out of the shoe. The shoes had come with instructions to slip one foot out, slowly, so that he could see her heel and the arch of her instep. He drew in a gasp of breath as she continued her turn, her hand dipping into the pocket, bringing out a small calibre weapon, complete with silencer.

He was still looking hopeful of a good time when he hit the bed. Small calibre, no exit wound. No mess, no clean up, less noise than popping a champagne cork.

Careful to touch nothing in the room, using her coat sleeve to open the door, she was gone, leaving him staring at the ceiling with dead eyes. In the housekeeping room, she changed quickly into jeans and a sweatshirt, with a waterproof jacket over the top. She slipped her feet back into the rubber boots, loading the coat and shoes into the bag, and left the way she had arrived, walking slowly.

Back at the car, she hit redial. “It’s done.” She waited to hear that he understood, then dropped the phone and hit it hard with the heel of her purple shoe, smashing the screen. Pushing the shoe back into the bag, she drove past a charity shop and left them the coat and shoes as a gift.

Pulling up on the driveway, no makeup on, her hair in a ponytail, and climbing out of the car, she heard the front door open, and two kids threw themselves out at her.

“Hello, my lovelies.” They wrapped their arms around her, laughing together.

“Thanks for having them, Mum. Sorry, I have to get going.” The kids were already climbing into the back of the car.

“Good weekend, love?”

“Yeah, thanks, nice to catch up with the girls, get dressed up, and wear heels for a change.” She laughed, and her Mum laughed with her, but they were laughing at different jokes.