Here, hold my morals...
FC: Alexa Demie
Age: Mid to late 20's
Motto: Everything I like is illegal, immoral, & addictive
Anthem: Wreak Havoc; Skylar Grey
Magnetic | Ambitious | Daring | Determined | Impatient | Arrogant | Manipulative | Deceitful | Conniving
Individualistic and loathes restriction. Proud, haughty. Cheri can be all sweetness and charm or completely aggressive and sadistic. It all boils down to a firm determination to gain power and wealth. She can express herself boldly with a confident, assertive manner or with impulsive belligerence. And she is not at all averse to skillfully using the art of seduction and manipulation to get her way. You can count on her to quickly seize any opportunity that lands at her feet… or create some through calculated and oftentimes deadly means. She never backs down from a job or a fight. She doesn’t believe in setbacks… they’re just opportunities to get crafty. And even with a narrow-minded focus on her own personal goals, she is well aware that sometimes a little cooperation can go a long way. Networking and negotiating come as second nature, as long as the terms suit her needs. She tends to live in the moment, without necessarily worrying about consequences or dangers. In fact, she is quite recklessly eager to face them head-on. She goes after what she wants, never doing anything by half measures.
INTERESTS: Alteo | Dove | Gia
STORY - DONE
Foe Life - DONE
We made it, or so the story goes. One task down… how many more to go? Everyone seemed in grand humor, thrilled with the continuance of the competition and the celebratory atmosphere to be had. I wasn’t complaining, I loved a good party.
It’d taken a week to get on to the next phase, a time where I made subtle inquiries regarding the other contestants without many revelations. I knew everyone accomplished their task but to what extent and what points may or may not have been earned was still a mystery.
It helped to be still located in the hotel with other contestants and a number of the big shots. I got to observe the goings-on first hand as I seemingly enjoyed the camaraderie. Being privy to some drunken whispers and some eyewitnessed unusual couplings. The socialites in attendance loved their gossip and rubbing elbows with potentially up-and-coming powerful people. I had little doubt that others, like me, were doing the same. Watching… assessing… calculating. Perhaps with less enthusiasm than others.
Someone else was always available for that job you wanted… or that advancement you craved. It’s a dog-eat-dog world… if you weren’t able or willing to go that extra mile… trust that someone else was. And that was in just our regular day-to-day occupation. The TL was something else entirely. Years of the best jobs… the highest pay… and utter notoriety. Winners were then affiliated with the highest echelon and intimidated even the best governments. Everyone competing had their reasons… the real question is just how far any of us were willing to go to win?
Some would say ‘45 proved someone was willing to take things way too far.
Could times repeat themselves? So far my fellow combatants were all in one piece.
I guess... only time would tell.
Blinding Lights - DONE
A rainbow of beams flashed overhead and darted lightning-fast across shimmering, gyrating forms gathered together more or less in the center of what used to be the casino’s main floor. I squinted slightly, glancing to an array of neon-lit cages to the right containing one paint-speckled dancer each then to the left and down a crowded, heavily stocked bar.
Not that the casino turned club was overly crowded. It was after all still a select group of attendees. There was enough space to move around freely without having to squirm your way between sweaty bodies. Still, I hung back a bit, taking up a position on the farthest end of the bar and people watched.
Not that it meant I was trying to blend into the background. When the lights above happened to flash in my direction, the bright neons of my ‘dress’ almost glowed. No one would accuse me of timidness by a far stretch of the word. And the drink that arrived moments later was nearly as flamboyant as me.
A few of the guests approached, some idly chatting as they awaited drink orders… others more obviously curious about my opinion of the games or my chances in them. Then there were the very few… more intrusive and more suspicious. Of me, my background… my right to be there. Not that they were blatant with their reproach. It was just the sly way they questioned my origin and my suddenness of being inducted into the competition. And the truth was, I didn’t really have any answers that I cared to give… or even that I could give regarding the latter.
One lady, in particular, an older woman with a heavy scent and obnoxious jewelry, squinted way too hard through her bifocal glasses before remarking how familiar I looked and became quite insistent that she knew me from somewhere. She never forgot a face, you see… and she would certainly recall sooner or later.
And if all that wasn’t annoying enough, the two goons that had been attempting to watch me covertly and failing miserably for the past week were back at it again tonight.
I grinned, leaning forward and tapping Gia on the shoulder with a drink almost as bright as my clothes swirling in my glass. The two big bodyguards at her side stepped forward and I smirked assessing the threat they presented. It only took a couple of seconds for her to recover from the startled and she giggled off her protection.
It was almost as if she distrusted someone or something.
“Cheri, hey!” She grinned and offered a welcoming friendly hug. “How are you? Congratulations on your first round.”
“I’m good, thank you… yeah good to get the first one out of the way. Navigating this new experience and all. How are you doing?”
“I’m doing great. Living the life… right?”
“In your position, I’d say it seems to be ideal and grand.”
“It does seem so, doesn’t it?”
There was a hint of something in her tone but the girlish laugh and twinkling eyes melted the terseness away. I had no reason to think otherwise in any way. But then, within a heartbeat, something caught her eye and her whole demeanor turned slightly more rigid. But I was willing to bet no one would have noticed it if they hadn’t already been watching her. Her gaze shifted back to me, just as warm and welcoming as it had been initially.
“You are goals, I’m not shy to admit it.”
She grinned, but there was something a little off. Though I had no clue what it might be or even if I were imagining it.
“I’m having a little party later this week… perhaps you’d like to attend?”
“Oh, yeah… sure, that sounds fun.”
She grinned, promised to send the details to my room later, and excused herself. It all seemed innocent and yet her departure felt more abrupt than it should have. I glanced around the room, wondering if I would find some answer to the nagging in the back of my head but none came to mind.
Some minutes later a deep voice brushed against my cheek before a tall body slipped up to the bar by my side.
“That dress should be illegal”
“For being too outlandish?”
He laughed, running his gaze down, “That too…”
“If it gains the attention of the likes of you, I call it more than useful.”
“Are you trying to gain my attention?”
“Keep you on your toes, perhaps.”
Alteo smirked and motioned to the bartender. Moments later he swirled an amber liquor in a low glass before refacing me. We each continued to lean in while the amplified bass tried to drown out the whole conversation.
“How are you feeling?”
“In general… or about the contest itself?”
There was the tiniest pause where his eyes shifted down and one of his hands inched the edge of my jacket a half-inch wider. He would have needed to look very hard to make out the tiny mark of discoloration near my collarbone.
“Like I’m still trying to figure out the script for this performance…” he arched a brow, “There’s a lot of agendas in this room…”
“And you’re the exception?”
I chuckled, “since I know mine it’s hardly worrisome…”
“So then who are you worried about?”
“Hmm… poor choice of words. It’s more about navigating. Knowing when to backtrack… collude with or barrel right through someone in my path.”
“And you think that you have what it takes to uncover what others are up to?”
His tone was taunting, even doubtful. I shrug.
“Most people are shitty at keeping secrets.”
“Depends on how beneficial the secret is to me… you know the job is to get the target by any means necessary. I’ll do whatever it takes to learn what, when, where, or how people are vulnerable.”
“Target or not?”
“Any person of interest…”
“And who are the people on this list of yours?”
I grinned, leaned back, and finished my drink before speaking again.
“Look at you trying to learn my secrets.”
“Look at you thinking I don’t already know some…”
“Not all though, huh?” It was a jab, one he took without even a flinch.
“Most of the players in this room have been at this far longer than you.”
My hand pressed against my mouth, eyes opened hysterically wide, and I leaned even closer to whisper loudly.
“Do you think that’s why I have this lumbering trail following around in my footsteps for the past week…?”
He gave me a sly glance only to notice my elevated brow and dubious expression. At least he didn’t insult my intelligence by denying anything.
“I wouldn’t say lumbering…”
“They sure as hell aren’t very stealthy.”
“They weren’t meant to be.”
He smirked after a quick peek in the direction of his men.
“They could have been anyone’s.”
Okay, maybe I gave him more credit than he deserved.
“You really think I wouldn’t have noticed two members of my own group?”
“It’s not likely you know them all.”
Fair, but I wasn’t about to give him the slack.
“What are you hoping to find out?”
He laughed and polished off his drink. A second later he had a hand held out in front of me.
“Care to dance?”
I narrowed my gaze but he was still grinning and wiggled his fingers tauntingly. The music hadn’t slowed any, so it wasn’t as if this would be something intimate or suggestive. Still, I guessed he was just trying to avoid answering my question. I could have simply demanded an answer but instinct told me he would just be evasive. Instead, I smirked indifferently and slid my hand into his. I’d have been a fool if I ever thought he would be easy to maneuver. And despite some effort, momma didn’t raise a fool.
A few gazes noticed our progress but what they made of it was anyone’s guess. And despite my assumption, after wiggling us to a position somewhere in the middle of the crowd, Alteo slid into position directly behind me and held my waist. We moved rhythmically but at a slightly slower pace than the music would seem to call for. It took only seconds for his words to brush against my ear.
“It’s protection… not recon… for now anyway.”
I could hear and even feel his chuckle.
“Ahhh… are you worried for my safety?”
“I’d like to keep my player in the game for as long as possible.”
“You still want my help?”
There was a hint of something in his tone but without seeing his face or knowing him much better than I did, I had no idea what it meant. It could have been a warning or apprehension… or simple curiosity.
“That doesn’t make me yours.”
“You’re Collective… ergo, mine.”
I laughed, genuinely amused. “I work for you… for now anyway.”
Throwing his words back in his face didn’t seem to be lost on him. He dug his fingers into my waist and nipped at my ear making me squirm, likely as intended when his soft chuckle hissed out.
“You’re suggesting I count on your future disloyalty?”
“I’m saying you and I have identical goals at the moment. Would you profess to have my back for the rest of our lives?” Facing away made it impossible to read any expression he may have given and I didn’t bother to wait for a response. “I want to win… and you want me to win… I think that makes for a winning combination.”
“As long as you’re Collective… which you’ve just said is an iffy projection.”
“I said no such thing…”
“I’ve no intention to leave the Collective any time soon… would you feel better if I even commit to the group for the entire three years after I win the TL?”
There was silence but one of his hands flexed over my abdomen as we continued dancing together during this strange but enlightening conversation. “You mean if…”
“I thought you were in this to see me win it all…”
“I’ll have your oath?”
I giggled, “what happened to honor amongst thieves?”
“You’re a killer, not a thief.”
“Ohh… that reminds me…” He tilted his head slightly, listening as the music continued blaring overhead. “What was that Verity meant… about hunting our own?”
“What do you think it meant?”
“We’re targeting assassins?”
He hummed affirmatively. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up but I worked to try and keep my pace even knowing he could possibly sense a change with how close we were.
“Is that normal?”
“It’s not exactly abnormal… but it’s not simple in any way. Verity isn’t going easy on any of you.”
I arched and brow and peeped over my shoulder, "How do you know?"
I got to see his wicked grin clearly. "I'm a judge"
If he had said anything else I would have been far less surprised... and I knew the matching grin that started to spread across my face was inherently wrong.
The tempo changed again and we simultaneously drew the dance to a close. But he made one parting remark before he took his leave.
“Like minds, I guess... I’ll have my men gather more information about the target and we’ll talk later this week.”
Insomniac - DONE
Alteo’s confession lingered as I roamed the club, mingling and dancing randomly and with little true intent. A nice body and some idle chit-chat were about all I wanted to intrude on my thoughts. At least initially.
In all honesty, it wasn’t just the final admission, it was a good portion of the conversation overall. Clearly, he was keen on my win being connected to the group. More than keen… determined. An oath? Really? I mean, I couldn’t blame him, it is acclaimed to come with some high prestige, which hardly diminishes the riches and security bundled with it. But as far as I knew that went to the winner… what exact benefit could it bring The Collective. It must be something impressive… and I should start figuring it out before too long.
“You look deep in thought.”
My eyes widened, snapping out of my internal monologue as a tall form materialized in front of me.
“I’m a thoughtful gal…”
Raphael chuckled. “I’ll admit, that’s not one of the rumors I’d heard of you thus far.”
“Ooohh… have I already built up good ones at least? Do tell me I’m some sort of wicked sorcerous with a cave full of newts, toads, and the scalped skulls of my previous kills piling gruesomely high.”
“Damn… sorry nope, but I will be happy to start spreading the word as soon as you turn your back.”
“Useful… that’s hella sexy.”
He grinned and motioned for a drink by a passing hostess.
“Congratulations on round one. How do you think you did?”
I grinned proudly offering a mock bow. “Thank you, thank you. I feel confident. I put a lot of effort into the task, hopefully, it pays out in the end.”
“The cherry blossoms were a unique touch… something new you’re playing at or…?”
I grinned. “You’re really aware of the fine details, hmmm? Actually, I’ve used the cherry blossom for a while as a trademark of such. Usually, I'd leave stamps or small carvings at the scene or on the body, if time permitted. But the whole trajectile thing was truly inspirational. I’ve been considering modifying a handheld projectile going forward.”
“You like to leave a mark, it seems.”
“Always.” I gave him a look, my lashes lowering slightly and tongue darting across my lips slowly before grinning. “Good or bad… at least it's memorable.”
“Potentially fatal… or at the very least evidentiary.”
“The bigger the risk the bigger the reward…”
He laughed, “Are you saying you get paid extra for your little trademark?”
“In the long run? I will…” I nod confidently and looked at him skeptically, “You’re in the industry, far longer than me. I know you know how much a signature speaks volumes without even having to say anything.”
“There’s something to be said for clean, quick, and efficient.”
“It’s just as easy to leave an innocuous mark as an overt one. I once left a small glass-encased blossom on a mark’s bookshelf, along with an array of randomly collected knick-knacks, after I took her out with bee venom. She was allergic. The paramedics gave it not one lick of attention.”
“One day you might not be so lucky.”
“I like high chances I might lose…”
“The life of an assassin.”
Grinning, he lifted his glass. “I’m not so far out of the game that I would forget.”
“Oh please… you sit on the high horse now, It’s not like you have to put the extra effort into getting yourself known at this point. And you come as a pair of projected strength.”
“It comes with its perks.”
“Like young, aspiring assassins looking up to you with admiration and longing? You could be some impressionable young thing’s hero.”
“Impressionable things can be dangerous. They aren’t always ready to respect boundaries.”
I smirked, “Like wedding vows?”
“Especially wedding vows.”
“Well if you ever find yourself burdened with one, feel free to send them my way. I know an associate or two I’d love to latch a yappy puppy too.”
“You’d take them off my hands, would ya?”
“Sure, anything for a friend.”
“Are we friends, Cheri?”
“Well… we’re not enemies. Sometimes that’s as good as it gets. But I think it doesn’t have to be all.”
He brushed a knuckle across his lip with a little smirk.
“Maybe not.” I smiled softly just as his name was called out from some point behind his back. “We’ll talk again.”
I nod and watched him stroll away while wondering how pursuing a friendship with Mr. Song could be beneficial… or simply just fun.
A short time later, a loud hoot of laughter drew my attention and I couldn’t help but grin. I strolled forward and leaned against a column a few paces from a corded area where a group sat around sharing bottle service merrily, among other things.
“Go big or go home, huh?”
I grinned at the lifted bottle and wandered closer, sliding onto the sofa beside Jax.
“Well, you were the one to say this is the place to get yourself seen.”
“Something along those lines.” He laughed, “how’s it working out for you?”
“The competition or the being seen?”
“Oh, I’m fairly sure the crowd in this room knows who I am now… and arrogant enough to say I’m doing great, but I’m not the judges.”
“Well, we’re still here, I’m counting that a big step forward!”
A pretty blond stretched across me to reach for the bottle Jax held and took a sip directly from the rim while eyeing him, then me, lewdly.
“I see you’re keeping up appearances.”
He smirked with a sip of the same bottle after the woman drunkenly scrambled backward and began flirting shamelessly with the guy on her other side.
“If I’m not gonna have fun, who will?”
I laughed and accepted the bottle when he passed it to me. After a few seconds, I leaned back and just absorbed the chill but playful atmosphere.
“How’d your job go?”
Jax leaned back as well, appearing genuinely thrilled by the salacious bunch around us.
“Pretty good, ran into one little complication but I got the job done. You?”
“Awesome, really. Everything went according to plan.”
I grinned and wiggled against his side. Even if I thought I did poorly I wouldn’t share.
“I doubt you didn’t do exceptionally well… and I noticed you gaining quite the little following during dinner. Although, you always have quite the following…”
I made a motion to include those around us.
“You know you’re always welcome to follow the leader.”
I smirked, “Or at least let you think that until I sabotage you from behind…”
“Isn’t that against the rules?”
“I’m fairly sure I only heard something about dead contestants…”
“Something…” he laughed and pinched my arm playfully. “Did you learn any information about the contest… hints… clues…?”
I watched him for a moment while he pretended to be more interested in the couple that started to dance provocatively in front of us. But I knew in my soul he was all too interested in whatever response I might give.
“Not much I’m afraid. I know we can lose points for harming non-targets… but that’s about it. What about you?”
He held back. I knew it instantly at the tiny curl of his lip. He either knew or thought he knew something of import. Or perhaps he simply wasn’t sure about something he heard and was sniffing around for confirmation.
“Same. I’m working on stuff though.”
“Aren’t you always?”
Always something highly ambiguous. But before either of us spoke again another body squeezed up against my opposite side.
“I know y'all aren’t trying to have all the fun over here without me.”
Twisting my head with a wide grin, I stretched out an arm and pulled Dove closer, planting a saucy kiss against Dove’s peach-glazed lips as she squirmed onto the sofa between us. The fact that she barely knew Jax made no difference at all.
“So what are you two doing over here… commiserating over what’s to come?”
“More like bragging about how much better than the other we are…”
“Okay, that doesn’t surprise me about you.” she teased poking a finger at me and then tilting her head at Jax. “Think you can really handle what she can bring?”
“I’ve got some skills…”
“Maybe we’re both too young and dumb in thinking we’re beyond invincible.”
“I’m quite content in my ego-driven world…”
Neither Dove nor I would claim otherwise and so laughs ensued. We chatted for a while, Dove was flippantly flirtatious towards Jax which seemed to entertain him immeasurably. Spent some time expanding on our first-round kills, encouraging Dove to determine which was the more creative for Jax to end up accusing her of playing favoritism over each of our clever use of disguise. Faking offense he pouted…
“If I was uglier you’d be more impressed with me…”
Incredulously, we chuckled giving him an arched brow each. “How’s that?”
He glanced at me then Dove and gave an exaggerated sigh…
“Your expectations would be so fuckin’ low… my damn fine looks… such a burden!”
“Awe… poor guy… I could give you a couple of slices… you’d look a bit more fearsome…”
“Hell no, you psycho!” He jumped up eying Dove suspiciously but there was obvious mirth in his gaze between us still huddled on the lounge. “This…” he framed his face, “is perfection!”
“Awe… don’t run off, I promise to keep her hands occupied and away from your pretty face…”
Jax laughed as Dove took the cue effortlessly and cupped one of my breasts while taking a sip of the champagne we’d been sharing.
“I promise… I’ll be a good girl.” She teased, without a doubt lying through her teeth.
Another laugh erupted before he tugged the bottle from her fingers, “Ain’t nothing good about either of you…”
“Now, that is a lie… we’re very, very good at being bad.”
He smirked; we all did. “If I didn’t have someone to meet, I’d definitely be finding out the truth on the matter, tonight.”
“Maybe if you’re lucky you might catch sight of us again before the night’s over…”
He leans towards me, “I make my own luck…”
“And I take advantage of every opportunity.”
“Birds of a feather…” Dove injected and recaptured the bottle with a lit cigarette suddenly hanging between two fingers.
Jax winked and promised we’d catch up again soon before he slipped through the crowd. Neither Dove nor I followed his progress and never saw which door he eventually disappeared through. The gathering had thinned out a bit by then and we were left rather isolated in the corner of the club finally.
“He’s a cutie…” she grinned taking another sip.
“Fun, yeah. Though I am starting to think I should be trying to get under that surface more...”
“What do you mean?”
I turned, pulling the knee-high hem of my skirt up enough that I could tuck one foot under my thigh facing her. I shook my head at the cigarette after she took a puff.
“He’s good… professionally. A mystery besides that. I know he used to work for the government but nothing more than that. And I think he knows something…”
“Not sure, something with the competition.”
“You think he’s cheating?”
I laughed, “Well, don’t know. Using advantages could be considered cheating but I’m positive all of us are doing that.”
“Is that what you’re doing with Alteo?” She’d tilted her head to blow smoke above her head as she asked so I had no real idea what she was thinking with the question but I wasn’t ignorant of her opinion of my boss. She glanced at me during the silence. “I’ve noticed you getting pretty chummy with him lately.”
I smirked, “I wouldn’t exactly call it chummy. He has an agenda… and he’s not exactly the type to come right out and tell truths. If I stumble into his bed a time or two more… it could be worth the intel I might gather.”
She tossed her head scoffing, making me arch a brow. “I’m not one to be all judgemental or anything…”
“No but… it's just... the man is bad news.”
I smirked, “Do you know something more about him that you haven’t shared?”
Her brows furrowed irritably. “No, why the fuck would I?”
“I don’t know, you seem convicted in your opinion… thought maybe you knew some secrets of his I could take advantage of.”
She rolled her eyes, “his reputation is enough don’t you think? Asshole, pigheaded, sadistic, patriarchy bastard.”
I giggled and did take the cigarette at that point. “Other than the patriarchy part, I could point out at least a dozen others in this room with the same traits… present company included…”
“Well, it’s up to you” she shrugged, obviously through with the topic but with one additional caveat… “just saying… watch your back with that one.”
I leaned forward and kissed her lips softly. I truly appreciated her caution… it was meaningful that she was giving it because Dove rarely cared about anything. Not that I thought she was over enamored with me. Dove did and said whatever the hell she wanted, whenever she wanted. But I couldn’t help but be a bit more liberally minded. I didn’t for a minute trust Alteo… not with any secrets or truths, but I did believe, for the moment at least, my health and success were important to him. For his own reasons, but it was enough right now. It served its purpose. And if I was ever going to get any information out of him, well… this sudden interest and support was the best way I could see to get closer to him.
And while I acknowledged reputation was a great thing to take into consideration, it seemed a little unlike Dove to take such a definitive impression of someone she didn’t actually know. Usually, she was simply dismissive and uncaring. Like she was being at that moment.
“Don’t tell me you’re starting to think I’m an idiot?”
She scoffed again and brushed away a smudge of lipstick from the corner of my mouth. I stroked my tongue across the pad of her thumb teasingly.
“I’d never suffer stupidity.”
“And I’d be equally uninterested if you did.”
Another eye roll but her lips curved at the corners. I smirked and placed another quick kiss on her cheek before I nestled down against her shoulder and looked out over the remaining crowd in the club while she continued with the cigarette. My eyes passed over Gia, speaking with one of the other contestants and my curiosity ran amock.
“What do you know about Angelo Boutella?”
I felt her shrug with another dismissive grunt.
“Vindictive asshole, pigheaded, jerk… you probably would have loved him…” I giggled but she continued, “seriously though, he was really worse than any rumors you might have heard about him…”
“Honestly, the only rumors I’ve heard so far is that Gia rose to power over his and her sibling's dead bodies.”
I continued watching Gia, all bubbly and sweet, playfully exchanging unheard words at a distance. Another one, in a sea of duplicitous characters, that I wouldn’t put anything past. There was more to her than others might see… a strength and complexity that lurks beneath the girlish charms. Was that hidden depth cold and calculating? Or maybe just some stubborn moxie and enterprising spirit? It seemed to be a mystery I was eager to unveil, even if only for my own interest.
“I’m not sure I believe the rumors, but I wouldn’t think negatively about her if they were true.”
I grinned, “you mentioned…”
“Ummhmm.” I brushed a finger in a slow circle against her thigh.
“Well, it’s true.”
“What about the dead contestants from last TL? Do you remember which organization they worked for?”
She hummed and I felt her head moving which made me tilt to look up.
“They were freelance if I remember correctly. Both Misha and Anya worked with all the groups at one point or another. But it ain't like the dead are gonna give you any answers...”
“Color me curiosity.” I laid back again, this time looking to the ceiling. “You know better than anyone I’m still trying to figure it all out you know. How it works… how the strings are pulled. If there is a rhyme or reason to who’s picked and who’s marked.”
She was quiet for a moment. “Honestly babe, I’ve never heard before that it’s not all random. What you’re trying to find out may just end up in a whole ball of nothing and a big fat waste of time.”
“The previous winner picks the contestants… and picks the marks. That much I know for a fact. But what motivates them? Was Verity connected to any groups when she competed?”
Her lips pressed together as she considered it. “Nope, don’t think so. Most people were utterly stunned when she was picked. No one expected that. Or her win.”
“Like me…” I was ignoring the winning part. The winner, in my head, would always be unexpected because anything could and should happen during the tests. Maybe there’d be a front runner but to just know without a doubt… that would have to be some super clairvoyant shit or deadly strategic planning.
“Not just you… but yeah. It’s something being said.”
I smirked, “Whatever…”
“Exactly… enjoy the shit while you’re at it… at least it’s one fucking big party along the way.”
I laughed, cupping the bottle's neck and standing with a hand out for her to join me.
“Then what the fuck are we doing over here missing out on all the fun?”
“Pfft… wherever I am is where the fun is.”
But she joined hands and let me pull her up before we smirked and headed towards the dance floor.
Depending on how you looked at it… it was incredibly late that night… or early the next morning by the time I finally returned to my suite. And yet I still felt restless. Excited. Overwhelmed perhaps. There was a lot to take in still. Too much of this networking felt… strange. I get the mentality of it… but to some extent, I was feeling closed in by it. And a little frustrated by my slow progress at uncovering
If the truth were told, I was starting to question my effort to get involved in this competition. The grandness was right up my alley and the thrill of the kill got my juices flowing. There were definitely some people I was more than interested in probing more effectively. But being drawn to one location and being gawked at and mentally probed for information by virtual strangers wasn’t exactly my idea of fun.
I kicked off my shoes and stripped out my clothes to my bra and panties before bothering to stroll to the desk and my ‘package’. I brushed my finger over the smaller case and wondered why on earth there were two but my mind was still wandering over my preset circumstances too.
I thought myself clever, getting here… seeking to gain the knowledge I wanted… or needed, that it would be a simple adventure. But I was finding out quickly that it put me more in the spotlight than I ever was before. I should have expected it… another rookie move on my part. I should have blackened my past even more than I had. Not that I felt anyone was close to unraveling my truth. I just knew that some people with great resources may be taking the effort to task now that I was front and center. A previously, barely known rookie.
Someone was bound to wonder where I came from. Maybe it was time to get a little assistance with my cover. I just had to make sure I was careful in manipulating the assistance.
Huffing softly, I gathered both cases and moved to the bed. Confusion hit me first as I re-read the note, then chagrin the third time, and finally, rude awakening. What the hell did she mean irregularity? There hadn’t been any instruction for the kill… no rules that we were made aware of… unless one counted the hint I’d just been lucky enough to get secretly from Alteo about not harming anyone besides the target. There certainly was no expectation of having a certain proximity to the mark upon death. I would have noticed that. It sure as hell would have been far easier to just walk in and blast the bitch in the temple right inside the museum.
I grew pissed as I held the tracker in my balled fist only to erupt in a peel of laughter in the next.
Fucking hell. Did this mean I was losing?
Rumor Has It - DONE
I spent the day before the Boutella event store hopping with Dove. Which was always and never a great thing. Each came away with far more than either of us needed and whatever the hell we wanted. On any given day Dove’s mood was contagious, she had a way of bleeding it out on you and getting under your skin. Maybe even intoxicating. Which was part of the reason I liked her ass so much. That chaos was invigorating… the unconditional fervor for the things she likes and utter contempt for those she hated. With both of us in such good and diverted moods, we actually ended the day without causing a single bloody nose or fist. I mean, it was as likely as not to happen. All in all, it was a great day.
The next night, the first thing I noticed upon arriving at the casino was the security. Heavy security. Doubled up at all entrances and, if my guess was correct (and I liked to think it usually was) wearing concealed weapons. I was given a specific entrance to use, which appeared to be reserved for special clientele. Gia would be aware that people like me… assassins, would hardly travel around unarmed. The metal detectors along the public access would have prevented all of our access.
The next thing, upon entering, was the indiscreetly armed guard posted at the entrance to a private room, as if he were some sort of warden keeping the riff-raff out of maximum security. It was becoming too much of a regular occurrence to be asked to relinquish my weapons lately, but I was… and reluctantly I did. My cherry-etched pistols were secured in exchange for a safety deposit key.
I gave the man a scornful smile before moving past and spared a brief, speculative thought to my two stalkers, trapped on the outside of the building as I stepped over the threshold into the private hall. I smirked, wondering if they would be receiving grief from Alteo for losing sight of me. I wasn’t convinced that they were there solely for my protection.
There were many people there, all decoratively dressed and having lively chats around multiple felt-covered tables. I moved through the crowd, becoming increasingly aware that there were some definite new players I had yet to meet along with perhaps every contestant in this year's loot. And yet… not one of the leaders from the other organizations was in attendance. Nor was Verity. It was quite peculiar.
I spoke briefly to Gia, Dove and Jax, greeted many others and spent a king’s ransom at the roulette and poker tables. In the end, the dealer flipped the king of spades on my last hand and I managed to break even. There was some grumbling and some congratulating going around when I finally gave up my seat and mingled in the crowd a bit more until I slipped into a small salon for a bit of respite.
A couple within smiled amicably when I poured myself a drink from a sidebar before they decided to return to the fray finally leaving me with a tiny moment of privacy. After a couple of moments of just enjoying the solitude, I slipped out onto a small, dimly lit patio and lit up a cigarette.
“Oh…” I turned, surprised after a time by the sudden sound, and crushed the tail end of my smoke in a nearby ashtray with a grin. “Cheri… sorry, I didn’t realize anyone was out here.”
“Just me. Indulging in yet another one of my bad habits.”
Gia grinned and glanced at the smoldering butt with an almost wistful expression. A moment later she turned and stared into the night and over to the twinkling bridge across the harbor.
“In the dark, it’s hard to imagine the destruction that still lingers in the city.”
She smiled and turned to face me.
“It is. If only it poofed away so easily.”
I peeped back across the blanket of LED dots and zooming headlights.
“There’s something beautiful in destruction. Knowing that even when things are at the bleakest there’s always something new to discover. It emphasizes transition… it forces you to consider new possibilities. If everything stayed the same how boring would life be?”
She giggled, “My goodness, Cheri… don’t tell me you’re some sort of secret philosopher…”
“Hardly… I’m just a deranged sycophant that likes good excuses to tear shit apart.”
“Ummhmm…” she continued grinning as she looked me over. “What did you do before you entered into the profession? If you don’t mind my asking…”
“I don’t mind…” it was a lie but I tugged my pack out and lit up a second smoke buying myself a bit of time. “Not much really. Practice and prepare until I got sick of the bullshit and just started to do.”
She looked surprised. Why wouldn’t she? Few people came directly into this lifestyle out of the blue. You were born to it or you devolved into it. As far as most people knew, I came with no heritage to speak of at all. A tiny part of me was shocked and impressed that Dove hadn’t given away the bits she knew to her new boss.
“You’ve always planned to be doing this?”
I smirked and released a spiral of smoke. I hadn’t bothered to offer considering she seemed disinclined to partake each time I’d met her thus far.
“This job? Or Talon’s Loot?”
“The first… for as long as I’ve known what this is…” Which didn’t necessarily mean shit without context. “The other, well… in truth, it’s the same answer, just many years apart.”
“How old are you?”
“I’m guessing around about the same age as you… twenty-five…”
She grinned, “twenty-four.”
“And already a leader. You’ve got thousands of miles on me.”
“But you’re here, now. Taking steps to improve your lot.”
“You’ve got a room full of like-minded people right behind me hoping to keep me from making that leap.”
“You don’t seem particularly reluctant or squeamish about the road you’re on… or the people on it with you.”
“I’m not intimidated by it, or them, no. When you play, you win some… you lose some… then you play some more.”
“So you don’t care about winning? Or don’t think you will?”
A peel of laughter escaped me.
“Hell no… I’m not playing to lose. I’m just saying I won’t be deterred from trying from fear of losing in anything. In my head, this shit is mine to lose…”
“Tenacious spirit… did you get that from your mother or father?”
“I’d wager it’s all me…” She grinned. “What about you? Is this all you ever dreamed of?”
She laughed softly, almost musically. “I never imagined I’d end up here.”
“But you’re a Boutella… your father ran the whole organization.”
She nodded, “seems it mattered in the end.”
“Fathers have a way of doing that to a girl, I guess.”
Gia’s girlish cheer was not fooling me for one second. She was sharp and I knew she hadn’t missed my tone.
“Are you close with your father?”
“Heavens no. He’s been dead for as long as I can remember, too.”
I smirked and took a puff of my cig.
“I think shit happens for one reason or another.
“Ahh… so I just got the shit-end of the straw of life…”
“You’re young and sit on the throne of your very own empire… doesn’t sound too shabby to me.”
“No,” she chuckled, “it’s not. I just never expected to be here. In this place, this position. I didn’t grow up with the Boutella family or think I’d take over one day. I certainly wasn’t prepared for it. And frankly, I miss being able to just be me… to enjoy life, you know?”
I was quiet for a moment, just watching her. That was a lot more than I expected her to reveal.
“Why don’t you?”
“Why don’t I what?”
“Enjoy life? You’re the boss, right? Don’t you make the rules?”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Why not? Is your group a democracy? Did they vote you in and can vote you out?”
She laughed, “No, of course not. But it is a family. You got your good, your bad… and the ugly.”
“And still… ultimately what you say goes…”
“Something I figured out. There are no sides here. This is business. And it’s brutal. AND… you’re entitled to have your life too. You think any of these men running these organizations are neglecting their desires? Or maybe you think women should be held to a higher standard on some pedestal like some virgin mary? It’s 2048… can’t we be done with that bullshit yet?”
“Some days it’s obvious I’m not the leader they wanted… but I hold my own and I don’t take shit from anyone.”
“Well… Dove thinks you’re awesome… and she’s not at all generous with any praise.”
“If only I had a whole group full of Dove’s…” My eyes widened in shock and slowly, so did hers. “Shit… scratch that… good gracious, I’d never get shit done.”
“I was about to say…” we laughed. “One is more than any one person can handle… hell more than any ten people can handle… more maybe…”
I thumbed the end of my cig and watched the ash drift to the concrete before looking at her and stretching out my hand.
“I’ll say only this… The Collective doesn’t seem to be lacking in membership and based on all the rumors, the leader’s the biggest asshole on the planet. Does what he wants and says fuck the world. Or at least it appears so. Maybe there’s a little room for you to enjoy a cigarette or two in public if the mood hits you…”
Gia inhaled deeply and I grinned watching the smoke billow around her pretty face.
“Maybe there’s room for more.”
She giggled evasively which didn’t surprise me in the least. She’d already admitted that she hadn’t grown up with her father or siblings. Which led to the reasoning that she was with her mother. And thanks to Dove, I knew that her mother had to have been quite charming and manipulative to have been as successful as my bestie claimed. Gia would have naturally picked up some skills from such a woman.
“You’re way too deceptively innocent.”
“And I’m not sure if I have decided what to make of you yet.”
“Could be that’s the plan across the board.”
“You could make it easier for me… let me take a peek under the mask.”
“You show yours, I’ll show mine.”
Dimples dipped deeply into each of her cheeks and the night lights twinkled in her eyes. Suddenly there was a knock and someone called out to her.
“I guess we will have to do this little dance another time.”
“I look forward to it.”
Another grin and she was off as effortlessly as she had come.
Daddy Issues - DONE
I arched a brow at the command but the light on the door flashed green and I found my access unimpeded. Imagine my surprise, however, after I crossed the threshold and got a glimpse of my boss sitting up from the workbench he’d arranged for his suite at some point since registration.
And it wasn’t the only addition he’d acquired. A seriously advanced light display and networking system took up almost the entirety of a den-like room just off this main sitting area.
“Oh, Cheri… good…”
The shamelessly shirtless Adonis stood and wiped a sheen of sweat from his face and then chest before draping a stark white towel across his shoulders.
“We agreed to meet around about now.”
His eyes slanted to the right and I followed to the digital display.
“Yes… sorry, I lost track of the time.” He grinned and moved towards a wet bar, pulling a large, cold bottled water from the fridge, “Care for a drink?”
“Maybe in a bit.”
The arched brow was followed immediately by a curl of his lips but he shut the door with a nod and took a seat at a round table. He waved a hand towards the opposing chair and tapped his fingers against the surface. A spiral of light burst and he moved illuminated notes, photos, and screens full of digital code. Suddenly a dark-haired, handsome face expanded and Alteo sat back with a nod.
“Toni Franco. 50-ish… husband and father of three. Assassin.”
I nod, reaching forward and pulling the display in my direction.
He quoted a small fortune of accomplishments… kills, surveillance, and personal details. He'd been busy throughout the years. It also turned out that he was a close friend and associate of the recently deceased Angelo Boutella. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and Alteo must have sensed the sudden spinning in my mind as I analyzed these facts.
“I’m not sure why he’s getting killed off in the TL…”
“There’s usually a reason behind the mark selection?” I could have kicked myself. Alteo’s gaze turned from the display and scanned me entirely too thoroughly. “I guess I thought it was a bit random… names in a hat type thing.”
Chills tingled down my spine. I shrugged. Dammit to hell.
“I mean… I believe no one knows who the marks are outside of the competition, right? The clean-up crew ensures no evidence is left. I’m pretty sure you don’t go back and tell that Collective members of the crew have been casualties to the competition for no good reason other than producing a good competition? I imagine you’d warn your crew to be on their highest guard… unless, of course, you were interested in seeing one or more of them taken out of the way.”
“You’ve given it a bit of thought.”
Shut the hell up, Cheri. Urgh. I quickly laughed and shrugged again. His all too pointed consideration of my words did not bode well. Just how much did he know about the past… was I being paranoid? I didn’t think so. Alteo was around back then. An active member of the collective even if he wasn’t at the head of the heap. How much of the rumors did he remember… how much of the truth might he know? I wanted to know but my boss wasn’t the type of man that walked blindly into any range. Something had gotten Dragan Ivanov killed. Warranted, accidental, or luck of the draw… curiosity had attempted at least three of nine lives thus far.
“Not really, seems fairly logical. Just imagining how I would handle things if I were in your shoes.”
“Not for the first time if I recall correctly.”
“That proves intelligence… critical thinking…”
“You studying for a test?”
I laughed, stood, and went for that drink now. I slipped up and it hadn’t gone unnoticed. Just how much did he assume and how much did he actually know? And what must he be thinking now that he’d gotten a glimpse that I might not be as short-sighted and flippant about the inner circle goings-on within our society?
“Just displaying due diligence and logical thinking. Don’t try to convince me you wouldn’t consider all angles in my position.”
I eyed the decanter but selected water as well and took a long gulp before returning to my seat.
“What is your position?”
“To win, and make a lot of money doing it.”
He was silent for a moment, readjusting the floating material, and seemingly shuffling through his virtual notes.
“Well, good. I never imagined I’d get sucked back into this shit again, but getting you to the prize is the primary motive.”
“Again? I don’t think I’ve heard that you competed before.”
“The competition means very little to me…” he chuckled and used two fingers to stretch the photo wider once more then pushed it back towards me. I pretended to be extremely focused on the information instead of his continued explanation… elusive as it was. “But, yeah… being back here, and judging to boot. It feels off. Like I shouldn’t have done it.”
I packed that away for the moment even though every curious bone in my body tickled for more information.
“Who else are judges?”
He smirked, “Not telling.”
“Well, that’s not very helpful.”
“It’s not enough you’ve already fucked one and got him on your side?”
There was nothing but amusement in his tone.
“You were plotting to be on my side before you fucked me… we haven’t gotten around to me fucking you yet…”
“You were plenty active.”
I smirked, “I’m just saying… you won our little battle last time. Next time the outcome may be quite different.”
“The outcome or the actual act?”
I chuckled again and took another sip. “Well, we’ll just have to see… but in the meantime Mister Judge… should I be worried about the last task? Using the drone seems to have been against some list of in an unpublished rule book. And this bullshit with the tracker?”
He grew a bit more serious turning the topic back to the objective at hand.
“I doubt the drone makes any difference… you just need to make sure you’re keeping track of the rules.” I snorted in light of my last comment but he continued after a sharp glance. “The tracker… I think it’s just a precaution. It’s being used in the upcoming task and seems to be part of the rules for this round so don’t get any rebellious ideas about it.”
“And the mark? You said it seemed weird he was singled out for killing…”
“Not exactly what I said, but he is on the list and is your mark. You won’t get into any trouble for following through with the mission… quite the opposite.”
I hummed softly as I digested the information.
“Is that the yacht in the background?” Squinting I leaned closer and then rolled my eyes, “Working Girl… really?”
“It is.” Alteo leaned forward as well, shoving a screen towards me listing some additional information. “This one’s gonna be tricky. He’s smart and seasoned. Careful. But every man has his weakness…”
I smirked, glancing at him. “Oh yeah?”
“Focus…” I rolled my eyes again but I was serious about the intel. “You’ll need to be flirty… suggestive even… but show your aggression indirectly. He has a… fondness… for dominant women. But will be suspicious if you come on too strong. And he’ll scatter… disappear behind his armed security and you’ll be fucked.”
I listened and we talked for a good portion of the next half-hour. There wasn’t a whole lot of planning needed really. Blending in with a bunch of bikini-clad modelesque women would be a cakewalk, and it was a masquerade party to boot. The Collective had operatives at the marina that would secure my passage onto the super yacht where the party would be held. The rest was up to me.
“All good…” I murmured setting back, mentally planning my disguise and character. Alteo repacked his virtual file and shut the display down. “Tell me… what’s your opinion of the other contestants?”
He shrugged but gave a cursory look. “What do you want to know?”
“Your assessment basically… who you think is my biggest competition…”
“A couple I’ve seen at the TL before… Fiona and V. Not very surprised they’re back. How good they are?” Another shrug. “Both precise, good assets. Not sure they have what it takes to win. Jax is in high demand lately… been making a name for himself boldly so it’s not too usual to see him standing in the crowd. I’m not too worried about him though, or the other guy, Blaise. They both seem more interested in having fun and being entertaining… not really taking them seriously. Melina’s a wild card. She is too closed of a book for comfort. When I can’t dig up more than just work on someone that is noteworthy and potentially troublesome. Lastly, Cadet… seems to have a fire in him… his motivation isn’t the usual brand and it shows.”
He thumbed his fingers together, steeple form in front of his still bare chest.
“Verity picking Fiona, V, Melina and Cadet seemed extremely likely and predictable.”
I noticed he didn’t mention me, but I didn’t need him to say it to know it was true. I was good at what I did… very good, but how Verity picked up on it was the unanswered question. And even if Alteo had his doubts… he’d hitched his wagon to my train.
Although, it suddenly occurred to me as I watched his unfettered, relaxed position across from me, that it was entirely possible he had more than one horse in this race.
One lesson hammered in through Daddy's example... you can always trust a liar to lie. And in my opinion, assassins were the best of them... and the more powerful, well, you get it...
Blood Red Lipstick- DONE
I slipped the cab driver the benjamin for holding the fair a bit longer until I spotted a gaggle of women spew out of a long limo that had just pulled up to the marina’s entrance.
“Oh damn… did you see where Jenna went?” The girl I bumped into looked around curiously as if she were trying to find the imaginary person for me. “Oh well… she must already be on board… I love your wings, girl! The feathers look so effing real!”
She hooted with laughter and turned, making white flutter and flap as her barely covered ass shimmied in the process. Within a second we were chatting with high-pitched excitement over our looks, how fabulous the party was going to be, and whether any big-time famous celebrities would be on board.
It wasn’t at all unusual for parties like this to be stocked full of good-looking escorts from ‘somewhat’ reputable agencies who hardly knew any of the other ladies hired for the same event. As a flock, we tittered and snickered down the boardwalk headed towards the giant streamlined vessel brightly lit at the end of the dock.
The guards, bless their chauvinistic souls, checked perhaps the first two invitations thoroughly before they got distracted by the varying states of undress of the newly arriving giggling guests.
“Jenna!!” I yelled once past the security checkpoint and lifted my hand, waving frantically knowing that my voice would be a muffled sound any distance ahead of us with the DJ blasting techno-EDM beats so loud they vibrated the deck. Unsurprisingly, at least one girl turned back and squinted through the crowd probably curious if they had actually heard their name called. I leaned closer to my temporary companion… “There she is… have fun!”
Too busy being caught up in her own excitement she did little more than wishing me a good time as well.
Then I prowled.
The whip clutched in my fist with the tracker embedded in the hilt wisped across the highly polished sundeck and every now and again I’d snap the tail with a sharp flick of my wrist. The sound would draw the attention of those closest to me and I began taking stock of the men that eyed the whip more than they eyed my tiny suit. With so many other ladies dressed as angels, bunnies, and any variation of skimpy bikinis with generic masks… my horned temptress offered a bit of contrast.
Within an hour of my arrival the guest of honor, Franco’s son, came front and center. Cheers and squeals of excitement exploded from the crowd, his buddies all stepped up and gave congratulatory speeches and promised how much fun his last night as a free man was bound to be. Toni, however, was nowhere to be seen as of yet.
Luckily for me, one of the best buds just happened to be one of the men I’d noted earlier. In a series of deceptively casual and strategic moves, I positioned myself at a point that led directly from the so-called staging area. When the group descended they had to walk past to get to a sort of VIP lounging area where the main group would likely spend the evening.
Unsurprisingly, the bachelor and crew began gathering what to them must seem like the choice picks of the gathered ladies, draping arms around and clutching hands of giddy-to-be-chosen morsels. The friend, mid-20-ish, somewhat chubby around the belt, and with a baby-smooth chin spied me almost immediately as I stood against the closest bar and twirled the tail of the whip between two fingers. I made no effort to push into the crowd. I did, however, lock eyes with him steadily, steamily. I swear I could see him blush from the distance. Boisterously, like some preening teen he hooted and leaned into the bachelor’s ear, and a second later Frano, Jr was turning in my direction.
Deliberately, I turned to the bartender and motioned for a drink even as younger Franco called out to the ‘lil devil’. I heard each of his three calls and ignored them all. It wasn’t until I received the tap on the shoulder that I finally turned, noticing that junior and his eager friend had taken steps closer and the crowd was now making the effort for him. The curl of his finger was unmistakable but I still gathered my drink and draped my whip across my shoulders before deigning to strut toward the group.
It was at that moment that I spotted Franco Sr. slipping into the corded area after speaking to two guards nearby.
“Are you playing hard to get, imp?”
I smirked giving the bachelor the briefest of glances and directed my look back on his friend.
“I’m not playin’.”
There was a trace of an Irish accent to my words as I turned my gaze back to the friend whom I expected was wholly unlikely to receive initial or ever-lasting interest from the women they partied with. I was certain he got the cast-offs and trusting my gut, I felt he lived vicariously through his rich friend’s experiences with hot women.
“You hear that Chuck… she’s hard to get.” A round of laughter responded, Chuck’s, my bait, more awkward than the others. “Join us?”
I tilted my head and accepted the offered hand that helped guide me up the two steps onto their little section of the deck. Toni was sitting a short ways back with two likely well-known associates but I only looked briefly, not wanting him to suspect any intent on my part. I knew I could have used the son, his interest was piqued by my indifference or arrogance but he was a bigger risk. There was no telling whether the father would fall for the trap if I directed the game at his boy.
“I’m Sal… Chuck,” Sal Franco clapped his friend on the shoulder, “Gary, Randy… Paul,” He stood on tiptoes but waved his hand dismissively after pointing to the other three guys nearby “and others…”
I responded just as dismissively, lingering on Chuck. “Morgen…”
Soon enough the area was crowded with bodies with drinks and flirtation amock. Sal tried a couple of times to steer my attention but when I mistakenly called him Sam when I dismissively asked him to get me a drink he took the hint and wandered to more fruitful territory. His friends were jeering and perhaps a little envious, but within thirty minutes I already had poor Chuck eating out of my hands.
I curled up on a lounge beside him, poised sort of on my knees but leaning back on my thigh, and dragged one long, sharp nail across his throat teasingly as I leaned into his ear.
“I think I like the name Gerbil for you tonight…”
He chuckled, putting up a front as if this sort of thing happened to him every day. But I saw his pulse race along his collar and I steepled my nail against his flesh with a daringly tight pinch.
I grin, wickedly, and leaned in to dart my tongue against his ear. “Ummhmm… you’ll be my lil pet, won’t you?”
He blinked and squirmed where he sat.
“I.. ah… um… I don’t kno-”
I mashed one finger against his lips and slithered against his side as my other hand stroked the length of the whip over my shoulder. I did not miss his gaze shifting towards it. A soft groan brushed against my hand. He was putty.
“I want a pet, Gerbil… if you don’t want to be it…” I shrugged and glanced out to the crowd. “I guess I can go find someone else.”
I shifted and started to unfold my legs.
“Noo…no I… sure, you can call me that.”
I grin, “you’re a good boy aren’t you?”
He nodded and swallowed a lump. “Yes.”
“Yes, Goddess Morgen.”
His eyes grew round as saucers but I gave him a stern look. It took a few minutes of coercion and refusing to give in to his whimpering and soft-spoken responses before finally, he uttered the words I wanted. It was also during this time that I knew, with some creatively sly glances that Toni had finally noticed the little performance.
I sent Chuck on a scavenger hunt to gather toys… anything that he thought would entertain me or that I might consider putting to good use if he pleased me enough that night. He almost tripped over himself making haste with my request.
While I lingered, I offered both bland and arrogant rejections to all the guys that tried to slip into Chuck’s now evacuated place by my side. Eventually though, taking a guess that my bait might return shortly I finally made my move. It took only a couple of seconds to edge to the bar near Toni’s seat.
I motioned to the bartender who responded quickly then I spun, resting the sole of my boot against the bar, and pretended to watch for Chuck’s return while waiting for my order. The whip in my palm inched slowly against the curve of my inner thigh lazily.
“Why are you picking on my son’s lil friend.”
“Picking on…?” I laughed wickedly as I spun, pretending to be caught off guard by the sudden words as Toni scooted along and leaned forward from the cushioned bench he sat upon. “You’re kidding, right? He loves it.”
“He wouldn’t even know what to do with you.”
I smirked, suddenly spotting his son’s chubby friend who was trying to break through the crowd while I gave Toni only marginal interest. The timing was perhaps a fraction too soon but I was slightly impressed by the medium-sized box Chuck curried and wondered what goodies he’d rounded up. Luckily, he was held up by Sal, and his buddies riffing on him rowdily. Not that I could hear the words but the thicker guy’s neck was as red as a beet.
“I think he will do whatever the fuck I want him to do. Beg me even… then thank me for whatever the hell it will be.”
I flashed him my grin, dismissively, as the bartender returned with my order. I heard the bench under him creak slightly as his weight lifted and I grinned inwardly. A moment later he was by my side, nodding off the bartender.
“What are you planning?”
I gave him a curt grin, “That’s none of your business.”
Something flashed in his eyes as I turned away uninterestedly.
“This is my boat… humor me…”
I scoffed softly, finally turning my gaze on him fully. He was certainly a well-built specimen, handsome, fit… aged with distinction. If he wasn’t such a beta I could imagine a whole other set of ways to entertain myself with him. Well, until he had to die.
“Sorry… are you one of those guys that thinks your money can get you whatever you want?”
“It usually can.”
I smirked. “Probably. And you can probably have any other woman on this boat you want. Me though… rich, spoiled playboys aren’t really my kink.”
“And sweaty, plump pigs are?”
“Obedient pigs certainly.”
Another gleam filled his eyes before we both turned, hearing Chuck insisting that he didn’t have time to chat.
“You’ll grow bored with him in a matter of minutes.”
“And you think some low stamina wrinkled old goat would better entertain me?”
The insult was meant to be exactly that, biting and degrading, even though I was careful to keep it low. This was the sort of man that would lash out if his subordinates got wind of what I knew to be true about him. He appeared calm but I could see the vein thumping along his neck.
Chuck was slightly breathless when he stepped closer, grinning at me and then straightening some before Toni. It was clear though that his main interest lie in getting on with his exquisite torment. This was the make-or-break moment.
“What did you find me, gerbil…”
His eyes cut to Toni and he swallowed a lump with the flush creeping higher up his neck. I flicked the whip sharply, making it crack against the underside of the bar before I coiled it slowly. I did not miss the twitch that startled both men, perhaps a couple of others nearby, at the sound.
Chuck hesitated, peeping at Toni again before offering me the box and trying to mumble the words he’d been instructed on just a short time ago.
“Sorry, I didn’t hear you…”
“I… I found you some stuff, Goddess Morgen.”
I flipped the box open to take a peek inside, exposing it enough for Toni to see whatever had been delivered. The erotic grouping of gags, handcuffs, lubes, and even a decently sized dildo made me smirk at Chuck and what the contents suggested about him.
“Chuck… go find Bobby… he has a gift I want to be prepared perfectly for Sal…”
Chuck looked confused and conflicted as Toni hovered barely inches beside me. The implication wasn’t even subtle. Daddy Franco was confiscating his Goddess.
“I… I don’t know where he is.”
“Go find him.”
He gave a pathetic glance to me but he knew he wasn’t about to disobey Toni. Reluctantly, he did what he was told.
“That wasn’t very nice, sending away my playtoy…”
“I guess you need a new one.”
I leaned close, keeping my words exclusively for him. “It better be a better one or someone’s getting punished.”
His jaw flexed but he nodded and proceeded to lead me off the sundeck and down to the master suite.
Located on the lower level and clear across to the opposite end of the large yacht we were a good distance and completely out of earshot of the guests partying hardy up above. The room was exquisite, offering a 180° view of the New York Bay complete with a private, outdoor terrace and jacuzzi.
“I guess it’s fun being able to buy all your little rich boy toys…”
I slowly trailed into the room, taking my time to assess in the guise of appreciating its richness of it. There was a lounge on the right, an office on the left, and a walk-through wardrobe behind the huge king-sized octagon bed, with his-and-her en-suite bathroom directly behind that. No viable exits in that direction.
“Yes, Goddess Morgen.”
I did not acknowledge his immediate obedience, choosing to leave him wondering instead while I completed my exploration. He was obviously experienced, obeying commands with hardly any effort at all, kneeling, crawling, bowing with simple orders. I pretended to indulge the common kink customs, asking about his hard and soft limits, safe words, and special interests.
And then I toyed with my prey, forcing him to strip and expose himself to my machinations. He tasted the fiery tip of my whip on his faintly blemished flesh, the ball-crushing weight of my boot, and got verbal degradation that had his flag waving violently. I’m not even sure how long I tormented him, his whimpered pleas served to please the sadistic beast ragging inside of me. He begged, implored… prayed for whatever salvation Goddess Morgen could give as I pushed and pulled him demonically to orgasm only to deny him the satisfaction and start the torture all over again. But finally, I decided to put the poor desperate bastard out of his blue-balled agony.
I tossed the handcuffs at him, ordering him to do the deed himself and he eagerly obeyed, hooking the chains inside a custom joint he’d had manufactured specifically for his bed. so certain in his trust in the wicked temptress only there to give him the sexual release he’d apparently been holding in for a time. I used binding to secure his legs as well, softly stroking his flesh teasingly to keep him from suspecting a thing.
Then I crawled up onto the bed, straddling him as I secured a thick red ball between his lips and strapped it down. His eyes rolled back in pure bliss.
“You really are a pretty man… too bad.” I purred and licked his cheek lewdly.
He looked confused but I was busy unscrewing one of the horns on my mask. His eyes widened in shock then as I pulled a syringe from the hidden compartment and pushed the aconite fluid until a tiny drop spilled from the tip. I giggled when he bucked, trying to toss me off but I slipped off on my own. He continued thrashing, yanking at his binds desperately.
“Shhh shhh… it’s okay toy… I mean, it’s not… but you won’t have to worry about anything after a few minutes.”
He growled and grumbled and tried to shout but the slobbering muffles were utterly pointless. I hummed softly as I gently moved his shaft upward. He squealed… or well sort of. It did sound surprisingly like a gagged pig. But I stopped toying and injected the poison at the base.
“Everyone will think you had a heart attack… you really should have considered your age before you played your dirty little games.”
His eyes grew glossy as paralyzation took hold and within the next minute, he was dead. I stood, debating if I should uncuff him or leave him like that when I suddenly felt the shift. Frowning, I looked around, waiting but then it happened again.
“Fucking hell.” I hissed walking towards the window. Nothing but darkness stretched out ahead but I could definitely feel the swaying and forward motion. Opening the door silenced any potential hopes I might have harbored. The boat sliced through the water at a casual, but steady clip.
“Shit, shit, shit.”
I nibbled on my lip peeping around and took a step towards the closet. Maybe there was something I could alter my disguise with.
“Franco! Ay, yo, Toni…”
“Fuckk” I hissed again darting my gaze to the door and what was clearly a deep voice calling out down the hall. Or rather directly, a knock rapped playfully against the wood.
“Yo, Toni… Sal wants you to come to do some shots…”
I gritted my teeth and snatched up the syringe and whip, quickly scanning the perimeter to see if there was anything I was forgetting. Rapidly, I zipped and snatched my boots off and padded barefoot to the terrace, slowly and carefully tugging the glass back into place as the knocking grew more insistent.
The bedroom lights behind me distorted my vision in the darkness but I could hear the crowd riotously hollering above and behind me. It wouldn’t be long before whoever was looking for Toni would barge in and I couldn’t just stand here hoping some miracle would open up and save me. I decided to head to the equipment docking which should… if the intelligence Alteo showed yesterday was correct, be directly below this deck.
I gritted my teeth and stepped to the railing, intent on climbing down the side of the boat when I noticed the narrow stairwell. I almost laughed in relief and rushed down still halfway listening for shouts of alarm.
There was a decently sized tender on board but there was no way in hell I’d be able to lower that into the sea without being heard and equally seen after the fact. The row of jet skis was just as unlikely… the motor would be far too revealing. Scuba gear it was.
I snatched my wig and mask away, ripped my tail out, and quickly shimmied into the wetsuit, snapping it over my shoulders just as loud footfalls crashed overhead. There were a number of bodies in the hall now, loud voices erupting, more banging. I snatched a wet bag and stuffed all my garments inside, thrusting it over my back before adding the tank and mask. I grabbed flippers and goggles and moved rapidly to the railing just as the sound of the door splintering and Toni’s name was shouted.
Lights lit up the deck above as loud voices exclaimed and shouted in obvious confusion and agony. I didn’t wait to find out if their confusion would lead to an investigation. I fit my goggles and slide off the side, fitting the flippers only after I dove under the icy currents and swam in the direction of the shore.
R1-DONE | R2-DONE
Last edited by BambiFoxx (08/07/2022 at 10:33)