Riva's gray eyes reach out and grab anyone careless enough to look directly at her. Her flawless skin glows in contrast to her long black hair.
She knows the effect she has on men and is not afraid to use it... most days. Not today. Her hair is a tangled mess, eyes bloodshot, skin a sickly pallor from whatever ailment has befallen her as she holes up in a 4-star high-rise hotel on LA's west side. She hates waiting on anyone or anything, but is now awaiting the arrival of her boss and mentor, Serge. The fact that she might be coming down with something only makes it worse.
She is in the downward-facing dog position, doing her evening yoga, when she gets the feeling she is not alone. Someone is in the room with her.
She ends the session with namasté, picks up the small-caliber pistol always within reach, and digs into her purse for a device given to her at training. The thing magically detects electronic bugs and heat signatures, all in one. She is not typically impressed with gadgets but has to admit this thing is pretty cool.
"There you are," she coos when she finds what might be mistaken for a cell phone. Clipping it to her waistband to leave her left hand free while she holds the gun in her right, she flips the device on and begins her inspection of the hotel suite.
Finding nothing behind the couch, she moves to the kitchenette, opening every cabinet and drawer. Nothing. She edges down the narrow hallway past the front door. The device says there's nothing there, either.
This thing thinks I am crazy, she laughs to herself. People have accused her of it most of her life, but she always proves them wrong.
She takes a peek out the front door peephole, but if there is anyone out there they are not generating any body heat. There is no one in the bathroom, shower or cabinets, either.
Maybe this place is haunted, she wonders.
Entering the bedroom, the device vibrates furiously as a deep-voiced chortle emanates from the back of the room. She flips on the ceiling light and, there on her bed sits Serge, with his hands tucked behind his head, propped against the headboard.
He is wearing his signature black thick-rimmed eyeglasses, a smile, and absolutely nothing else. His chortle turns to roaring laughter now that he's been discovered.
"Oh, dear God," she gasps at the site of his naked, middle-aged corpulence. "Put some clothes on! Nobody wants to see that."
"You look like hell," he manages between laughs, running a hand through his longish greasy black hair.
Riva is fluent in several languages and now uses one of her all-time favorite phrases, "Bite me."
With or without clothes, healthy or not, with his bulging, narrowly-set eyes, bulldog jowls and just a hint of a chin that only serves to accentuate his oversized nose, Serge is not what anyone in any culture would consider attractive.
He is fully aware of this and will often adopt a jovial air, knowing people are inclined to trust a happy person. It is only for the purpose of gaining their ill-advised confidence that he cares what anyone thinks of him.
"You couldn't text first?" she complains.
"I have to keep you on your toes," he speaks with an accent vaguely foreign to anyone listening, no matter the listener's native tongue. Born Sergiusz Kolza, he anglicized it to Serge Coleman upon migrating illegally from Bulgaria to England as a teenager.