Part 2: Backstabber


The first thing Jayne noticed was her emerald eyes, tragic and mysterious—a shroud of sad, wary energy concealed in a lush jungle canopy. The second thing was her earrings.

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“I like your ring,” the girl said by way of introduction from behind a shabby, shopworn cart transformed into a tropical bakery. Squares of silk were draped at odd angles and it was crowded with lolo rolls, coconut cakes and pineapple crisp bars. It was the Baker Cart Girl, as Jayne called her, and every day for the past few weeks she’d served her a treat as Jayne made her way to work at the tourist-mobbed beaches of Sulani’s Ohan’Ali Town—where she’d landed after leaving home. But this was the first time she’d said more than the price.

“Thanks,” Jayne said as she flashed the milky white pearl in front of her like a gushing fiance. “It was my great-grandmother’s. It used to belong to a princess, who sold it after a revolution.” Over the years, Jayne had given her ring—the first thing she ever stole—not just a backstory but a provenance.

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The Baker Girl nodded and a solemn gravity came over her palm frond eyes. Her right hand grazed an earring, a hollow gold triangle edged by a halfmoon of turquoise fringe. Jayne had never seen her without them. “These used to belong to a princess too,” she said and Jayne smiled, feeling seen for the first time in her life.

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All day at work, slinging tropical daiquiris and over-seasoned fries at the Sand Bar, Jayne couldn’t stop thinking of the Baker Girl. Who was she? Where was she from? And why did her eyes look so sad? Jayne worked for the sheen of respectable income but also to key in on idiot tourists to rob blind. Last month she paid her rent by putting a couple drunk Canadians in a taxi, and helping herself to a tennis bracelet and Tag Heuer watch for her trouble.

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But solo thefts were risky and hardly made her rich. Lately, she’d begun brainstorming a few cons perfect for a partner. 


Her name was Matilda and she was even sadder than she seemed. Every day at the baking cart Jayne tried to coax out a little more information. She was new in town, from a faraway place Jayne had never heard of and her parents were dead. She looked over her shoulder a lot and kept a hunting knife by the bed in her beachfront cottage. Oh, and she really hated monarchies.

“I grew up with them. They take everything and give nothing to the people,” she said one day, narrowing her cloverleaf eyes into menacing slits. “I have enemies everywhere—the queen’s guard.”

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“It’s the same with all rich people—even here,” Jayne replied, ignoring that last remark. It was best not to indulge her paranoid delusions of being a fugitive servant to a queen—a ridiculous lie. “Sometimes, girls like us just have to take some of it back.”

Matilda nodded and Jayne knew she had made a friend—or an accomplice at least.


Marvin Mondegreen wore wire-frame glasses and linen suits, even in the heat. He had a receding hairline, a dopey British accent and a ton of money. “Online advertising,” he’d said carefully as if it was a difficult concept to grasp. 

For the past week, he’d also been Jayne’s top mark.


They’d met at Jayne’s bar soon after he arrived—a quick vacation between business trips—and he offered to take her on a date. On their first, she smeared a greasy finger on his phone and snuck a peek at his passcode when he unlocked it. The next night, back at his hotel, she punched the code into the room’s safe while he was in the bathroom and it swung open. Idiot

Jayne’s eyes turned to saucers when she saw what was inside: stacks of cash, high-end watches and a diamond bracelet—probably for some girlfriend back home. It was almost too good to be true. All she’d have to do is pass Matilda a room key and she could clean house while Marvin and Jayne canoodled on the beach. They’d make out like bandits and Jayne would have the perfect alibi. 

Matilda didn’t need much convincing. “He’s British, you know, and his brother knows Kate Middleton,” Jayne said with a breezy air while relaying the plan. “They’re all connected.” Matilda looked over her shoulder again. Finally, she smiled.

She’s thinking about the money, Jayne thought.

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The night of the heist Matilda seemed on edge. Her face was flushed and she’d refused to meet Jayne at home, opting for the beach. Through her baggy clothes, Jayne could make out the hunting knife tucked inside. Well, you can never be too careful, Jayne thought.

“Say, why don’t you take my pretty earrings,” Matilda offered, fumbling to take them off. “They look better on you anyway.” Matilda wove a messy fishtail braid in Jayne’s hair and touched up her makeup. In the right light, they could be sisters. Jayne could hardly object to the earrings—a bit of insurance, really. You can never be too careful.

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All night with Marvin, Jayne played her part like the actress she’d always wanted to become, topping things off with a sensuous kiss outside her front door. If anything, this was getting easier. She paused a beat for Marvin to amble away and stepped inside her apartment. Her heart dropped as she flicked on the light. Empty. Everything was gone. She’d been cleaned out.

Jayne’s cheeks burned and her blood ran cold as she flew like a cruise missile to Matilda’s cottage. She didn’t even have to look inside to know it was empty too. No, no, no, she thought. No.

A figure crept up behind her. Something grabbed her waist and sent a white shot of pain though the small of her back—surely a knife. Matilda, she thought as a hand ripped off an earring with a jolt.

But as Jayne collapsed, a gruff voice answered. “The queen sends her regards.”

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Author’s note: Down to the wire this month! Thanks to everyone for reading and voting last month. The tie win was unexpected but appreciated! Special thanks to MsBellaSims for her fascinating and sinister Matilda, who I just loved. Catch up on her story here, and stay tuned for next month’s conclusion. If you haven’t, check out my new story Cutback as well. —B.

16 thoughts on “Part 2: Backstabber

  1. Oh Wow! I loved this story. Matilda who knew you had it in you..


  2. Wonderful entry! I can’t wait to see how Jayne gets out of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoa! I didn’t see that coming! Now we are really left hanging until next month. I’m glad you made it back with part 2.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a twist! I like the fact that jewellery (in this case, the earrings) plays a role in the whole story. Can’t wait to see how this ends!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL BTW I enjoyed the punny title (not sure if that was intentional but clever – literally back-stabbed)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha thanks. yes, very intentional, just adds to the twist. Lots of backstabbing all the way around.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL I enjoy good puns so I enjoyed it!


  6. Back to re-read and still punny .. and suspenseful!


  7. “His brother knows Kate Middleton” LOL! Matilda played Jayne real good. I hope Jayne is all right, but she did need to get a taste of her own medicine (not stabbed though!) I’m very excited to see how this ends.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, that was still a surprise even though the title gave it away! 😮

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my gosh thank you for choosing my character i had to sit up to read this i wasnt expecting this what a twist! I did not see that coming! But i love the little things like how they almost look alike with the exchange earings & same hairstyle. My best part was ”
    best not to indulge her paranoid delusions of being a fugitive servant to a queen—a ridiculous lie” lol thats was a good one lol little bandits. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yours was my favorite character. I felt like they went well together.


  10. katrinasforest March 6, 2020 — 5:51 pm

    Oo, that ending! I did not expect the title to be so literal. Nice work!


  11. Yeah, that’s gonna scar. What is that, the thoracic-lumbar junction? So now she’s a patsy for stealing the princess’s earrings and maybe also partially paralyzed, we don’t know yet.

    Love the Hit and Run LOLO vibes at the beginning. Maybe they could be friends in a universe where Jayne didn’t get stabbed.


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