“You’re both knockouts. I’d be nuts to say no.”
Tuesday evening, 15 March 2016
GM: Celia wakes up on Roderick’s chest. She’s a girl again.
“You take up more space in this form,” he chuckles.
“Still don’t mind petting you, though.” He runs a hand down along her back.
Celia: “I could let Luna come out again, if you’d prefer her company.” Celia can’t purr, not like a cat, but the voice might remind him of the gray furball he picked up last night.
GM: Another chuckle. “Think she’d be out for a while if we did that. You get pretty in-character.”
Celia: “You seemed like you needed a pet to cuddle.”
GM: “I did. I really miss having a pet, sometimes.”
“Animals aren’t too scared of me. I just don’t think my haven would be a good environment for one.”
Celia: “Too many friends with whom they wouldn’t get along?”
GM: “That’s one reason. And the sewer rats, or any lick who’s good at doolittling, could use them.”
Celia: Ah, well, there’s a reason to get rid of Shadow and Victor, at least.
GM: “I’m jealous of the Gangrel. They have lots of animal friends.”
Celia: “You could learn.”
“Roxy has some animal friends.”
GM: “I could. I’ve also heard of licks ghouling animals. Dogs to create hellhounds.”
“Seems a little inhumane, but I suppose that’s not a barrier to most licks.”
Celia: “Is that any worse than ghouling humans?”
GM: “That’s a more complicated ethical debate. But I’d argue animals can’t give consent like humans can.”
Celia: “Some licks don’t need their humans to give consent. They just take what they want.”
GM: “They do. But I’d rather not be that kind of lick.”
Celia: “What do you do when your potential ghoul says no?”
GM: “I wouldn’t take them as my ghoul. I’d have another lick erase their memories.”
Celia: “I had a discussion recently with a ghoul who is on a series of rewards and punishment system with her domitor. Another lick who says she feeds them their monthly hit and more when she thinks they need it. What do you do?”
GM: “Probably closer to the latter, there. Sometimes I give them more for a job well-done. There are licks who give out all sorts of twisted punishments to their ghouls, but there’s no reason to do that beyond sadism. And I think it just breeds hate.”
Celia: “Creating addicts doesn’t bother you?”
GM: “Honestly? Yes. I explained to them that this substance would be incredibly addictive. I could at least be honest about that.”
“My sire… was pretty insistent that I take on ghouls.”
Celia: “I don’t imagine you keep a full stable, though.”
GM: “I have a couple,” he grants, somewhat uncomfortably. “The relationship is fundamentally unequal. I don’t think I realized how much so until I was into it. And at that point… they’d seen too much.”
“There are factions of Anarchs that support greater rights for ghouls. Some of them are pretty radical. But are they so much more so than the status quo?”
“I try to make the relationship an employer-employee one. Blood is money. More than money.”
Celia: “That’s not a bad way to do it.”
GM: “They used to wheedle me for blood pretty hard. I got firmer, but without punishing them. I just made very clear that you’re asking me for money when you’re asking me for blood.”
Celia: She should have tried that instead of bending her mother over her desk.
Now she knows for next time.
“Wish Veronica had explained it like that.”
GM: “Well, Veronica probably abuses the shit out of her ghouls.”
Celia: “Mm.” Celia shrugs. If he’s not going to bash Coco, she’s not going to bash Veronica.
GM: “The process wasn’t perfect. Initially I said yes, you can have more blood if you pay me a couple hundred dollars. I thought that would impress its value on them.”
“That was pretty stupid of me in hindsight.”
Celia: “They go broke trying to get their fix?”
Celia: Celia winces.
GM: “So I stopped. And reimbursed them the money.”
Celia: “That was nice of you.”
GM: “It was my fault. I hadn’t realized what I was doing.”
Celia: “There’s not really a guidebook to this sort of thing. Just what other licks tell you.”
“Sometimes they’re wrong. Or their method doesn’t work for you and yours.”
GM: “Anarchs share a lot of stuff. Maybe we should write a guidebook.”
“Ways to manage your ghouls. Pros and cons to each method.”
“Who to take as ghouls, what works and doesn’t work in domitor-ghoul relationships.”
“There’s a lot of bad information out there. Or at least bad ideas.”
Celia: “It doesn’t help that most of us stop seeing them as people.”
GM: “That’s the key thing. They are people. People we have a lot of power over.”
Celia: “There’s a thing we learned in school for skincare, about the power dynamics. It’s more taught to massage therapists because some people see that as inherently sexual, but there’s a power differential as soon as you have the client / provider relationship. How some people take advantage of it. It’s the same thing.”
“I mean you see it in any relationship like that, really. Teachers. Doctors. Et cetera.”
“But you’re in charge. These people trust you.”
GM: “Really? Interesting. My initial thought had been that it was a more customer-like relationship. They’re paying you for a service they can usually give up without major disruption to their lives and livelihoods. And usually get from elsewhere if there’s a particular masseur they don’t like.”
Celia: “Massage? Sort of. It’s a medical service under the state board regulations. People can get prescriptions for it, that sort of thing. I see a lot of workman’s comp people, people with real injuries who need assessment to return to work. It’s not something I advertise frequently, but they’re the clients I enjoy the most. Helping them walk again. Heal from their injuries, that sort of thing.”
“But you have to remember, right, if you’re the client you’re lying naked on my table and hoping that I can put you back together again.”
“When I say, this is what the problem is, you have to trust me. When I work on you, you’re trusting that I am fixing it. There are plenty of people out there who spread misinformation or get really skeevy about it. Sleep with their clients, that sort of thing.”
GM: “They do? I thought you said that was the surest way to lose your license. That there’s a whole yellow book. Well, figurative yellow book.”
Celia: “If you get caught.”
GM: “Ah. I guess it’s like anything, there.”
Celia: “Convince someone they’re not a victim, are they really going to report it?”
GM: “That explanation makes a lot more sense, as far as power dynamics. Massages have always been a luxury for me. They were something extra my esthetician girlfriend did.”
Celia: “Can still do.”
GM: He smiles. “I’d enjoy that. Though speaking of things to do for each other, what’s your bank account number?”
GM: “I owe you for wrecking your haven. And the chair.”
Celia: “And you want my account number for that instead of handing me a suitcase full of cash?”
GM: “Hm. Maybe it’s better, actually, if there isn’t an electronic record.”
Celia: “What do you even do for money that you just throw it around?”
GM: “Well, I’m not rolling in cash, but I practice law. That pays.”
Celia: “My fancy lawyer boy.”
“But also… how? If you’re, you know.”
GM: “One of my renfields is a lawyer. She brings home work that I do for her. I bill her an hourly rate, so we both come out even. But she also gets a reputation at the office for being incredibly productive, which opens doors.”
Celia: “Ah. Makes sense.”
“I had an idea…”
Celia: “For you and Dani. Going into business together. Since she’s a daywalker.”
“If you keep her in the city, I mean. I imagine, once she comes around, she’d be happy to work with you. I bet you could teach her a lot.”
GM: “That’s… possible,” he hedges. “I still need to figure out what to do with her. The city isn’t safe.”
Celia: “She saw the doc. Last night. Got a mark like yours. I paid for her to make it permanent.”
GM: “Thank you,” Roderick says sincerely. “She’ll benefit from that wherever she lives.”
Celia: “We might pass her off as a ghoul for a while. She seemed open to the idea.”
GM: “I need to get her out of the city. Maybe Savoy isn’t using her as a hostage over me, right now, but that could easily change.”
Celia: “I’m not saying not to. I just… think if you make her leave right now, she’ll be mad.”
GM: “I agree. That’ll be counterproductive.”
Celia: “But she’s not my sister. Not yet.”
GM: “I’d like to mend things with her before getting married. I want her at the wedding, but I don’t want to use it as leverage to try to get her to speak with me again, either. That’d just taint it.”
“Although now that you mention it… there’s otherwise not much reason to hold off, is there?”
Celia: “That’s a romantic proposal.” Celia fans herself.
GM: He chuckles. “That isn’t the real proposal. By any stretch. Was mainly thinking out loud.”
“You deserve something a lot more romantic.”
Celia: “I’d still like you to meet my mom and Emily as Roderick.”
“Though, uh, Dani… was… um…”
“I’d also love to meet them as Roderick. And hopefully Lucy too.”
Celia: “I don’t want to hurt you, but she was unenthused at the idea of us getting married until you… learn to control your Beast, she said.”
GM: “That’s not happening any sooner than a sewer rat learning to be prettier.”
“Or a Ventrue learning to be a less picky eater. Or a Malkavian learning to be less crazy.”
Celia: “Or me not being adorable?”
GM: “Yes, though that’s not a curse,” he smiles. “I don’t think Dani understands what the Beast or clan curses are, anyways. Has she actually seen a frenzy?”
Celia: “I explained it to her. After you left. But no. Show versus tell. Easy to explain, harder to make her understand.”
GM: “Well, that’s how it is with everything. I gave demonstrations of my speed and strength to my ghouls, when I recruited them, so they could see I wasn’t just spouting crazy talk.”
Celia: “I thought you were going to lose it on her the other night.”
GM: “I might have,” he answers somberly. “That meeting was…”
“Well. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for.”
“I’m just glad I didn’t. It did enough damage to our relationship. I don’t need it damaging any others too.”
Celia: She asks what he means.
GM: “I hurt you. I beat you senseless. I made you scared of me,” he answers frankly.
“There’s been a couple times you’ve seemed scared that I’ll lose it. When that’s the last thing I’ve ever wanted. I want you to feel safe with me.”
Celia: Celia looks like she might try to deny it for a moment, then finally looks away. She doesn’t say anything.
GM: He hugs her.
“I’m sorry. I know I’ve apologized. I know I’ve not lost it around you since then. But abusing someone who trusts you leaves scars.”
Celia: “Hard to… to explain to Coco if you do, you know, what you were doing with me again. That’s… that’s all.”
It’s a bad lie.
GM: “Sorry, what does my sire have to do with this?”
Celia: “Last time. After it happened. You took me to her to wake me up.”
Both times, but she doesn’t point it out.
GM: “Yes. I trusted her to. She hasn’t abused or exploited you, has she?”
Celia: “That’s not what I meant. It doesn’t matter.”
GM: “But I know. Twice. If you ever get… torpored around me again, I’ll take you to someone else.” His jaw sets. “But it won’t be because of me.”
Celia: He’s missing the point.
But she just nods her head.
“Wouldn’t be here if I didn’t trust you.”
GM: He holds her close. “Thank you.”
“But I’m still sorry. Hurting someone who loves you is never okay.”
Celia: Then why does he do it at some point in the distant future?
Why the chains, the rape, the tongue pulling?
What does she do or not do to make it happen?
She can’t imagine this sweet boy turning into… that. That thing. That monster. She’d thought, for a moment as Sidra described him, that it was Maxen. Maybe Donovan. Cold and dark.
She would have never guessed it was Roderick.
Tuesday evening, 15 March 2016
GM: The two get ready for their nights and go about their separate ways. Roderick gives an address to meet her at (in cat form), over an hour before dawn, so they have to bang and talk at his haven. He calls a Ryde to get her where she needs to go.
She has some texts on her phone:
Hey, I forgot to tell you about this, but Viv says I’m not in trouble, says Emily.
You wanna come over for dinner sometime so I can tell about it?
Celia: Oh thank god. Yeah when are you thinking? Tmr? Thurs?
GM: How’s tmr? I’ll be studying more on Thurs
Celia: Kk. Sounds good.
GM: There’s another text from Dani.
School went well! Want to look into new places this evening?
Celia: Hey, sorry I don’t know if I can tonight, I have to meet w/ my brother and a few clients. Can call you after but might be late.
Glad school went well!
GM: Thanks! Gimme a call whenever.
Another text is from her mother.
Everyone at work today told me how pretty I am! I told them it was all thanks to YOU! :)
Has she been to work since Celia improved her body, after that meeting with Donovan?
Celia: Celia doesn’t think so. Maybe on Friday she went to work? The thing with her sire happened… Wednesday, and she took off Thursday… right?
Her days are starting to blur together.
You’re beautiful on your own, Mom. ❤️
She’s glad she’s safe, though.
GM: Still more beautiful thanks to you! Emi says you’re coming over for dinner tomorrow, so see you then. :) Love you!
Celia: That was quick.
Love you too.
Tuesday evening, 15 March 2016
GM: She arrives at Flawless. Bentley Downs is her first client for the evening. She’s a blonde 20-something here on Daddy’s money, and last Celia heard, has held no job or harbored any ambitions of note since finishing college. Daddy just pays for everything.
Celia: She vaguely recalls Bentley from McGehee. She’d been the little cunt that had smeared Celia’s name in the mud after her dad attacked her mom because she never came back with the booze.
GM: “I’m still seeing my therapist, you know, about that funeral,” says Bentley.
Celia: She always takes a little more enjoyment than she should when she feeds from the girl.
“I imagine so,” Celia says while she works on Bentley. “That must have been an awful experience.”
GM: Bentley, at least, seems to enjoy it too. Celia’s hands are incredible.
“I still can’t believe I got arrested!”
Celia’s heard the story. There was police violence at Mercurial Fernandez’s funeral. A former client of Bentley’s (for her budding and now largely defunct “talent agency”) who was murdered inside OPP. There was a riot at the funeral. Cops arrested lots of people. Bentley too, though Daddy quickly got her out. She’s been in therapy over the experience ever since.
Celia: Of course he did. He spoils her rotten. He talks about it sometimes on the table, everything he does for her. He has no ability to tell her “no.”
Sometimes Celia fantasizes about draining them both.
But she serves as a sympathetic ear to the girl, nodding and smiling and making soothing noises as needed.
“Who are you seeing again?” she asks while her hands work their magic.
GM: “Dr. Peterson. She’s been good. But I just can’t forget what I saw in there, what it felt like.” Bentley shivers. “I had no idea people could be so cruel…”
Celia: “Sometimes the world can be cruel,” Celia says sympathetically, “but luckily you don’t need to worry about that here. Deep breath for me, Bentley. There you go. Good.”
She works in silence some few moments longer, then asks if Bentley has been taking anything for the anxiety.
GM: Bentley takes a deep breath.
“Yes, I see a psychiatrist for a prescription there…”
Celia: “And you see me for bodily relief.” She finds a spot of tension and presses as Bentley exhales. “You’ll power through this. You’re a champ.”
“What else is going on with you?”
A few more minutes of this and she’ll sink in, but maybe Bentley has been up to something fun lately.
GM: “Honestly, not a lot,” Bentley says glumly. “The boy I was dating dumped me.”
Celia: “Oh no. What happened?”
GM: Bentley gives a sigh. “Just thought I was too big a mess.”
“And made fun of me for still living with my dad.”
“And said I’m never going to be anything but a trust fund kid.”
Celia: He’s probably right.
But Celia won’t be the one to tell her that.
“What do you want to do about that?”
GM: “Right now I just want to get over what happened so I can move on with my life,” sighs Bentley.
“Maybe I need a vacation.”
Celia: Celia wonders where her sympathy has disappeared to, but she finds it hard to feel anything for a girl who spent one whole night in jail before her daddy bailed her out.
“Maybe,” Celia says. She excuses herself a moment to switch candles, letting the scent of sea breeze and mojitos float through the treatment room. “Here’s a little vacation just for you, though.”
Heated oil makes her fingers glide across the girl’s skin. She lulls her into a sense of tranquility and calm, and once she’s finally where she wants her—already half asleep—she leans in to bite.
GM: Bentley gives a soft, fluttering little gasp. Her blood tastes sweetly spoiled, like a child’s birthday cake on their perfect day, but it’s distinctly more sour than it used to be before. There’s more sadness. The flavors don’t go together naturally. Celia might not like it. Or maybe she does, if she’s into the taste of despoiled innocence. Or at least rudely awakened ignorance.
Celia: Her annoyance bleeds into her feeding. She wants her clients to remain pampered and spoiled and sweet, without that tang of sour across the back of her tongue. Her Beast doesn’t care, glutton that it is, but the girl takes more than the single hit she might have otherwise, swallowing down mouthful after mouthful of the sour-sweet fare. She licks the wound once she’s done, savoring the final taste of it on her palate.
The work ends moments later.
Celia places two hands on either of Bentley’s shoulders as she draws the appointment to a close, quietly asking how she’s feeling.
GM: “Oh, that was… that was amazing…” Bentley murmurs, her cheeks flushed with afterglow.
“You’re really amazing, Celia… way better than my therapist…”
Celia: Celia laughs quietly.
“You’re welcome to see me anytime, Bentley.”
“Sometimes all you need is a little body work to feel great.”
GM: Bentley nods, a little paler, and thanks Celia for the amazing session before seeing herself out.
Another night, another client who thinks she’s best thing since sliced bread.
Tuesday evening, 15 March 2016
Celia: Celia flips the room once she’s done, then reaches for her phone to call Logan.
GM: He picks up after a few rings.
Celia: “Hey, Logan. You still free tonight? I know you’re in school and have a bed time and all.”
GM: “I gotta be up early for the ROTC, but yeah, I’m free. You wanna come over?”
Celia: The worst idea in the history of ideas.
“Yeah. Let me find some incognito clothes so your classmates don’t mob me again.”
GM: “Cool. See you soon.”
Celia: She hangs up, trying not to think about the fact that maybe, if she’s caught, her sire will teach her another lesson.
It shouldn’t excite her like it does.
GM: Her hopes are sadly disappointed. She arrives at Logan’s dorm room without incident. He greets her with a hug.
“Hey. Want anything to drink?”
Celia: No, Bentley saw to that.
“Maybe in a bit. Just came from the spa. Pushed water on my clients and all that, have to do the same. How’re you?”
GM: He looks all right. Still big and blonde. He answers her question with a smile.
“Mom and Dad are talking again.”
“He told me you two had dinner and that it went really well.”
Celia: “We did. I have you to thank for that, actually. We got together on Saturday.”
“It did go well.”
“It was kind of emotional, honestly.”
GM: “I bet it was. There was… just a lot there, you know?”
“And Dad’s running for governor! He said he told you there.”
Celia: “He did! I’m really excited for him.”
GM: “Me too! He’ll really clean the state up.”
“I won’t have to worry about ROTC stuff anymore, either. And, hell, maybe he can get me into West Point.”
“Things’ll be great for David and Sophia too, and Isabel when she comes home. And Mom won’t have to work anymore, she can be his queen. Lucy’ll be a princess.”
Celia: “He wants to have dinner with her. Mom, I mean. We might do a whole family thing.”
GM: “Oh yeah, he said he was setting that up with her. I thought it was just gonna be them, you, and Emily.”
Celia: “Who knows. I haven’t seen David in forever, though.”
GM: “Emily’s been kind of a bitch about it all, surprise surprise.”
Celia: “Ah… did you talk to her?”
GM: He rolls his eyes. “More like tried to.”
“She just can’t be happy for them.”
“Mom and Dad both sound really happy and excited when I talk to them, what else does she need?”
Celia: “She only has part of the story.”
GM: “We’ve talked a couple times since your and Dad’s dinner. She came over to my dorm today, though. With food.” He grins.
Celia: “Oooh, lookit your little spoiled ass self.”
GM: He laughs. “I’m not married yet, so.”
Celia: “The inherent sexism. Christ.”
GM: “Hey, I’d appreciate if Dad did, but simple fact Mom’s the better cook and has more time.”
“And that’s how it is in the military too, most wives are stay-at-homes or work part-time jobs. Since you move around so much. Hard for them to have careers.”
“I hear there’s actually a bunch who work at spas and salons.”
Celia: “It’s good part-time work.”
GM: “And just saying, it makes more sense for the part-time partner to do the cooking than the full-time one.”
Celia: “I don’t disagree. Randy did the cooking for us.”
Cooking, hunting, same difference.
Celia was fed either way.
GM: “Did? You guys break up?”
Celia: “Maybe,” Celia sighs.
GM: “It’s kind of a yes or no, isn’t it?”
He hugs her. “Sorry, though. Breakups suck.”
Celia: “I met someone else. I like Randy, but it’s… complicated.”
GM: “Who’s the other guy?”
Celia: “I’ll let you meet him when Mom does. He’s a lawyer.”
Like Stephen, she doesn’t need to say.
Maybe Logan was too young, though.
GM: “Oh, yeah, dump Randy. Lawyer guy’s good.”
Celia: Celia looks amused.
“You don’t even know him.”
GM: “I know enough.”
GM: “Randy’s just kind of a loser, isn’t he?”
Celia: “You’ve never said that before.”
GM: “Like, you’ve been together how many years, and he hasn’t proposed? And he works for a bail bond company.”
“You can do better. Lawyer’s better.”
“I didn’t say anything ’cuz you seemed like you were sticking with him.”
Celia: “Oh. Well, thanks for that. But maybe you’re right.”
GM: “I’ll still wanna meet lawyer guy. I’ll beat him up if he doesn’t treat my sis right.” Logan grins.
Celia: “Actually… you might get the chance. He’s who I want to introduce you to for some of your pent up, uh, feelings.”
GM: “Oh, how’s that?”
Celia: “Boxing. Or hand to hand combat. Whatever you prefer.”
GM: “Oh cool, he’s into that?”
“Yeah, hand to hand’d be pretty nice.”
GM: “I like him already.”
“But I’ll still beat his face in if he doesn’t treat you right.”
Celia: Celia smiles. “Thanks. Appreciate you looking out.”
“Mom tell you she’s going to hang with Robby to learn to fence?”
GM: Logan laughs out loud.
Celia: “She wanted to spend more time with Robby now that he and Emily are getting serious. So Emily suggested it. Family bonding.”
GM: “I don’t think she can really do that with her leg.”
Celia: “Dad said something about a surgery?”
GM: “He did, yeah, after he wins. Which is a little while off.”
Celia: “She can start now, though. Just take it easy, learn slow.”
GM: “I mean, I guess. I dunno how good a teacher Robby is anyway.”
Celia: “You don’t like him?”
GM: “Oh I like him. He’s kind of a nerd, but he’s all right.”
“He’s a nice guy, though. Dad always says you need to be mean, to win in fights. You need the killer instinct.”
Celia: “Ruthless. Is the word you’re looking for.”
GM: “Says that’s what a lot of fights with untrained people come down to, actually. How far you’re willing to hurt, and get hurt.”
“Like. I don’t wanna kill people or anything, but just smashing someone’s face in, who deserves it. I like that.”
“I don’t think Robby wants to do that. He’s basically just playing D&D with swords and stuff.”
Celia: “LARPing,” Celia supplies.
“But yeah. You’re probably right.”
GM: “And Mom definitely doesn’t wanna smash in faces.”
Celia: “Sure, but she can learn.”
GM: “I dunno, I think you’re either born with it or you’re not. Like, Dad has it, I have it, but a lot of people don’t. ‘Cuz it’s more than just fighting, it’s how you go through life. Hunger to win.”
Celia: “Someone else said that to me, too.”
GM: “I think Roberts has that, ‘cuz, props to him, he’s a former Army Ranger, so I’m not gonna totally write him off.”
Celia: “And maybe she’ll hate it, but if she wants to try it I’m not going to discourage her.”
GM: “I guess it doesn’t hurt. Just be aware, she’s not actually gonna learn to fight or anything.”
“Robby isn’t competitive, and she sure as hell isn’t.”
Celia: “Go with them,” Celia suggests, “and then show me what it really looks like.”
GM: “Might hurt for Robby,” Logan smirks. “But sure, I can show ‘em how it’s done.”
There’s someone else who could, Celia knows.
He has the killer instinct.
Killer instinct to make Logan look like Mom.
Celia: Does she? Is that why he’d stolen her from her home, because she, too, has that sort of killer instinct?
She doubts it. No one has ever said that about her.
But he does. That voice in her head is right. He’s the most ruthless, coldest, darkest Kindred in the city, and the only one who makes her feel alive. He makes her heart beat again. Brings a flush to her cheeks and runs a tingle down her spine.
Is something wrong with her that the thought of him makes her…
Well. That doesn’t warrant mentioning in front of her brother.
“Looking forward to it.”
Tuesday evening, 15 March 2016
Celia: Logan and Celia make plans to meet up later in the week with her new boyfriend—Logan insists on calling him that even though Celia shakes her head and tells him it’s not that serious yet (which is a lie, but her human facade means she can’t really explain that Randy has never been her actual boyfriend)—and Celia heads out with a final hug.
Fortunately, she’s not mobbed on the way out.
She heads back to her haven to meet with Alana and the girls take their time going through the closet to select outfits. Celia does her face, then her own, and they take turns coming up with more and more outlandish backstories for their “characters.”
The problem, of course, is that Celia can’t simply make them drop-dead gorgeous, because that’s a bit of a dead giveaway to anyone who looks at them. Why would they be interested in a mobster, right? But she has zero desire to appear ugly, and Alana doesn’t want to be made more curvy than she needs to be.
So Celia ages them, turning them into handsome 30-somethings rather than the young-20s they usually portray. Cute enough in a “recent divorcée” kind of way.
They head to the casino with plenty of dollars in their pockets to blow on a good time. Celia tells Alana who she’s looking for on the way; she doesn’t tell her about Harrah’s, just the job she’d been given in return for a favor.
“First contact,” she tells the girl when they arrive, both of them sucking in their auras to pass as mere mortals. “Real important part of the process. Help me find him, sweetheart.”
GM: At this hour, the actual horse racing is long since closed. It’s mainly the casino and food places that are open now. Fairgrounds doesn’t feel like the spot for someone to win huge jackpots, but it does feel like a good place to wind down after work with a couple drinks and fun at the penny slots. There’s a more Southern, down to-earth feel than there is at Harrah’s more corporate atmosphere.
“I think he’s right there,” whispers Alana, pointing at one of the slot machines. Celia sees a man who fits the photo she viewed online.
Celia: Celia, with a face that is distinctly non-Celia, nods at Alana’s direction. But she doesn’t approach. Not yet. That’s too needy. Instead she does what she does best: she spins a web. She orders a drink for both of them from a girl in a corset and short skirt (what is with casino uniforms, anyway? She expects it at Harrah’s or the Alystra, but not here), and sets them up at another slot machine.
“So you just put in the coin and pull?” she asks Alana.
As if she doesn’t know.
GM: Alana nods. “And if three of the same icon come up, you win!”
She takes a pull from the drink, sparing her domitor.
Celia: Celia gives her a grateful wink.
She puts the coin in and pulls the lever.
The problem, she realizes, is that slots are kind of a one person game.
GM: The machine comes up with a red letter A, J, and Q.
“Aww!” exclaims Alana.
Like it’s a surprise.
She glances at the poker table.
“Maybe lure him away…?” she murmurs.
Celia: Poker isn’t exactly a two player game, either. Blackjack would be good. Roulette. Craps. Anything but poker or slots.
She pulls again on the lever, idly wondering the best way to do this. She doesn’t want to just hit him with charm, but she could.
Just seems like cheating.
“Solo player games. Could spill a drink on him.”
Like in a movie.
She watches Vinny out of the corner of her eye to see what he’s up to.
GM: He’s still at the machine, and by all appearances, having no more luck than they are. A rueful smile touches his lips when he gets two horse symbols followed by a red ‘Q.’
“You spill the drink, mistress?” Alana whispers. A smile touches her lips at calling Celia ‘mistress’ in public.
“I could also check with the food staff if he’s had anything to eat, maybe he hasn’t yet.”
Celia: “Do that,” Celia nods.
“Bathroom is over there,” she says to Alana, then says she’s going to try a new machine. She positions herself closer to Vinny.
GM: Alana comes back in a little while. “He hasn’t,” she whispers.
Celia: “Invite him to dinner, you think?” Celia murmurs to Alana when she loses another coin.
GM: “I like the drink idea, mistress,” she answers. “Maybe both, after you spill?”
Celia: “Think he’s the kind of guy to forgive a pretty girl for spilling on him?”
GM: “Who couldn’t forgive a girl as pretty and winsome as you, mistress?” Alana beams.
Celia: It’s not like she can’t try again with another face if it doesn’t work.
GM: “I know I consider it an honor to get fluids from you spilled all over me…”
Celia: Celia giggles at Alana’s words. Still, she doesn’t think that spilling a drink on Vinny is the best way to get his attention. Unlike her, she doubts that Vinny keeps a spare change of clothes in his car or at various points around the city, and no one wants to sit at a casino cold and wet because some bimbo spilled their drink.
She comes up with a more direct plan, waiting until the machine swallows more of her coins and returns more horse-Q-horse and J-J-A results before crossing her arms over her chest. A toss of her head flips her hair over her shoulder and she finally turns to eye Vinny more blatantly.
“What’s your secret, then?” she asks. “Pull the lever a certain way?”
GM: He gives her a rueful smile. “Two symbols or one, payout’s the same either way.”
Celia: Celia pouts magnificently.
“We need a good luck charm.”
Another coin, another pull of the lever, another loss. She sighs, then moves a seat closer.
“I heard some people bet on bets. Like in poker, they’ll bet they get red or black cards in addition to on their hands, like normal.” She eyes him speculatively. “You want to make our own wager?”
GM: “Oh really?” he asks, face curious. “Sure. I’ll bet on getting a horse with you.” Another rueful smile. “Better odds of a payout than from these anyway.”
Celia: Celia grins at him. She pulls her chair closer.
“I bet you don’t get one, then, and I’ll double it if you get two. Go on then.”
GM: “Okay. How’s $5 for you if I get no horses, and $20 for me I get one?”
“Odds favor you, but I get three shots.”
Celia: Celia considers it, then nods.
GM: “All right. Let’s try our luck…”
He pulls the lever.
Three symbols come up. There’s not a horse in them.
“Guess you’re the house,” Vinny says wryly. “You want chips or cash?”
Celia: “Oh, go on again,” Celia says, waving a hand. “It would hardly be sporting if I didn’t give you a chance to win it back. Jenny, you’ll keep track, won’t you?” Celia says to Alana.
GM: She nods and sips her drink. “$5 to you.”
“Okay, let’s go again,” says Vinny.
Still no more horses.
“$10,” smiles Vinny.
Just like that, in goes another token.
The horses still elude him.
Celia: “One more makes us even if you win,” she offers.
GM: He nods. “I had the same thought.”
There’s a letter, there’s another letter… and then there’s a horse.
“And we’re even. Better payouts than real gambling,” chuckles Vinny.
“How about I buy you ladies some sandwiches with that $20?”
Celia: Celia can’t help but squeal when the horse comes up. She immediately blushes, giggling about how she was just excited to finally see it.
“I wouldn’t say no to that. You’re rather better company than the machines tonight.”
GM: Jenny squeals too and adds a, “Yes, please.”
Vinny chuckles at their excitement.
“Machines at least won’t buy sandwiches. I’m Vinny.”
He extends a hand.
Celia: “They’re not very personable,” Celia agrees. She takes his hand. “Heather. And this is Jenny.”
GM: “Nice to meet you ladies,” he says, shaking Alana’s and then standing up. “This your first time gambling?”
Celia: “Oh no,” Heather tells him, “Jenny here is a card shark, don’t let the pretty face fool you. She’s meaner than a gator at Hold ‘Em. We were going to go to Harrah’s earlier only she said the last time she was there the play was lacking and everyone was real tight. So we thought we’d have some fun here instead.”
“And she said something about how all Harrah’s are the same and she wanted to see something with character while she’s in town. That right, Jenny?”
GM: She nods. “Harrah’s is like every other casino! I thought the only land-based one in the state would be something special.”
“Main thing keeping this one special is the horse races,” says Vinny. “You’ve obviously missed those, and slot machines are the same anywhere. But this one’s cozier. The people learn your name.”
Celia: “Maybe I’ll have to come back sometime to catch those. Do you come here often?” The overused pickup line comes out of her mouth and she laughs at herself. “I just meant do they know your name?”
GM: “First time I’ve actually heard someone ask that,” Vinny laughs. “Yeah. They do. I lose money here all the time.”
Celia: “That’s how they get you,” Heather says, nodding seriously.
GM: “So what are you ladies hungry for?” he asks as they approach the concessions. There’s hot dogs, grilled cheese, po’boys, pizza, hamburgers, salads, wraps, beans and rice, hot plates, chicken sandwiches, chicken wings, gumbo, sides, desserts and the usual to-go casual dining fare.
Celia: She surveys the options of food, not hungry for anything here, but orders something that she knows Alana might like. Not that she expects to be able to get out of pretending to eat; she vows to spend a few minutes in the spa tonight with Alana building the new stomach for her so she doesn’t need to keep going through this. Stomach, then penis, then sex.
GM: Alana goes for a healthy salad. Vinny orders a corned beef sandwich and onion rings. He asks if they’re sure all they want is one salad between them.
Celia: Oh, no, that won’t do. Heather orders her own. A wrap. Wraps are healthy, right? Chicken and lettuce and stuff inside a carb-loaded tortilla.
GM: The three collect their food and sit down.
“You two from the city, or in town for the gambling?” Vinny asks as he takes a bite of his sandwich.
Celia: Heather puts off taking a bite of her wrap as long as she can, focusing on the conversation.
“I’m from here. Jenny is visiting. Birthday weekend.” Heather grins. It’s Tuesday. “What about you? I assume if you come here often enough they know you that you’re a local?”
GM: “Oh, happy birthday, Jenny,” smiles Vinny.
“Thanks,” says Alana with a dainty salad bite.
“Yep,” he answers. “Born and raised. Served in the Coast Guard for a little while and came back here after they kicked me out.”
Celia: “Uh oh. What’d you get kicked out for?”
“Is it a fun story? Did you go streaking?” Heather wiggles her eyebrows.
GM: Vinny laughs. “Me and some friends broke into our C.O.’s liquor cabinet and threw a party on a pleasure yacht, when we were supposed to be doing our jobs. We all got bad conduct discharges.”
“We were dumb kids.”
Celia: Heather laughs.
“That’s actually not that bad. Sounds like a good time.”
“What do you do now?”
GM: “I work for the city,” he says. “I’ve also been a boxer, jockey, and pawn shop worker.”
Celia: Interesting way to avoid saying he’s a cop.
“That sounds like a lot of different hats. What was your favorite?”
GM: “Hm, tough.” Vinny takes another sandwich bite. “Probably the pawn shop, though.”
“You get a lot of desperate people. Ones who want to pass off their crap as something other than it is. Something more valuable.”
“It’s a predatory business, in a lot of ways. And like I said, lot of desperate people. I don’t blame them.”
“But I’ve always loved busting fakes and phonies. Showing what’s real and what’s not.”
Celia: “You good at it? Spotting fakes?”
GM: “The guys I worked with thought so.”
Celia: “What kind of things do people try to pass off? Jewelry? Coins?”
GM: “Those are pretty common. You also run into fake watches, gold, jewels, that’s versus jewelry, baseball cards, designer items like purses… if you can think of it, and it’s worth something, there are fakes of it.”
“Don’t even get me started on fake art, but that tends to move in different circles than pawn shops. Though that’s also changing.”
Celia: “There’s a big market for fake designer purses. A lot pf people can’t tell the difference. Fake art, though? I thought that was something that only really happened in movies?”
She knows that’s not the case.
But she tilts her head a little, favoring him with a smile.
GM: “I thought so too,” nods Alana. “Like in conman movies, trying to swipe the Mona Lisa?”
“Oh, lord no,” says Vinny. “There are millions of fakes in the art world. Millions.”
“It’s harder to pass off now than it used to be, though, thanks to newer technologies. That’s why more pawnbrokers are dealing with it.”
“Because a lot of them are independent stores which can’t afford to use the same modern dating and analysis techniques.”
“But since the recession, pawnbrokers have been accepting more high-end items, like art.”
Celia: “Is that what you do now, consult with different pawn shops?”
GM: “Yeah. I still do a bit of that. Busting the fakes. Exposing the frauds. That’s where it’s at.”
Celia: “That sounds pretty exciting, to be honest.”
GM: “It is for me. Usually the other people are pissed.”
“Pissed they couldn’t make a larger buck, or pissed someone else tried to off them.”
Celia: “How do you prove the person who brought it in to pawn is either ignorant or guilty?”
GM: “Doesn’t really matter to the brokers. If it’s worth less than the seller claimed, it’s worth less than the seller claimed.”
“But I’ll tell them it’s a fake, explain why, and that’s usually the end of that. Don’t think I’ve ever met a broker who still wanted to buy something I said was fake at the initial price.”
Celia: “That makes sense,” Heather says with a nod. She finally picks at her wrap, abstaining from making a face as the taste of ash and shit touch her tongue.
This boy better be good in bed if she’s going to eat for him.
She chews, swallows, nods again.
“That’s way more exciting than what I do. And you were a jockey, you said? Here?”
GM: “Yep,” Vinny answers over another bite. “That came to an end after I put another jockey in the hospital.”
“You’ve had a pretty exciting life, it sounds,” smiles Alana. “What’s the story there?”
“He was cheating and tried to taser me in the bathroom,” says Vinny.
“I lost my temper pretty bad. It was a hot day and I’d had a bad losing streak. So I beat him into a coma and hung a toilet lid around his neck.”
“Sponsors dropped me pretty fast after that.”
Celia: “Do you regret it?”
“Kind of sounds like he deserved it if he was cheating.”
“Not to… be like that.”
GM: “Yeah. And I don’t. I got locked up in OPP for it when Katrina hit. That… helped open my eyes. That I needed to clean up my act.”
Celia: “You were locked in OPP during Katrina?”
GM: “Oh no, didn’t a lot of people die in the jail?” asks Alana.
“Yep,” says Vinny. “The place flooded. We were locked in our cells. People drowned like rats.”
Celia: “That’s awful.”
GM: “Lot of the guards couldn’t be assed to get us out. Some were even locked in themselves.”
“I spent two and a half days up to my chest in sewage water.”
Celia: Celia is suddenly more grateful for the way her father had whisked them out of the city, even if he’d decided to hit her for a while afterward.
Her nose wrinkles.
“How did you get out?”
GM: “Search and rescue. Cop found us. If she hadn’t, I’d be dead.”
“Sheriff said to leave us where we belonged. They actually transferred kids from juvenile to OPP. To ride out the storm.”
“They were shorter than us,” he adds grimly.
“Oh no…” murmurs Alana. “But you all got out safe? Well… the taller people?”
“Some of us died too,” says Vinny. “There wasn’t any food, water, light, ventilation.”
“Wasn’t much better after we got out, to be honest.”
Celia: “I can’t even imagine,” Heather says softly, shaking her head. “That’s just… that’s awful. I’m glad you got out.” She reaches out, touching his hand. As if realizing the breach of conduct she blushes, pulling back. “How’d things change for you then?”
GM: He offers her a reassuring smile as if to say all’s forgiven. “Well, like I said, they didn’t. They moved us to a prison camp. Guards beat a lot of people. Lot of prisoners had weapons. Wasn’t much food or medical care to go around. Bad recipe. Guy tried to shiv me for my dinner. Guards shot at us a couple times. When they were sick of dealing with that.”
“Were a lot of rapes, too. Gender segregation wasn’t as enforced.”
Celia: Heather blinks at that.
GM: “They didn’t mix us all together. But everything was an even bigger shit show, and lots of corners got cut.”
“For instance, we could watch the girls use the toilet. There was a 13-year-old who got a lot of catcalls when she did.”
GM: “Eventually she just stopped. I think she found a corner of the camp to piss in. So the older women beat her up. Then I think she just started pissing herself.”
“My god…” murmurs Alana. “What happened to her?”
“She got out. They probably left her on the side of the road somewhere with a jumpsuit on.”
“That’s how I got out, anyways. I wandered around for a while and tried to convince someone to let me use a phone to call my family. That was hard with the jumpsuit.”
Vinny shakes his head.
“Anyway. This isn’t a fun topic. But it was my wake-up call. I cleaned up my act.”
Celia: “Sorry,” Heather murmurs, “I didn’t mean to pry into it.”
“But that’s good, at least, that you were able to turn things around.”
GM: “I’m okay talking about it. More figured you ladies would rather talk about nicer things.”
Celia: Heather shakes her head.
“I thought it was pretty interesting. I didn’t live here then, so I’ve only really heard stories about what it was like, and the media kind of blows things up sometimes, you know?”
GM: “Or just doesn’t talk about them. They didn’t say anything about the jail inmates.”
“We were some of the worst hit. No one cared.”
Celia: “That’s what I mean, yeah.”
GM: “I made it out okay. Plenty others who didn’t.”
Celia: “I’m glad you did.”
Is that too much, too soon?
She says it anyway.
GM: “Me too,” he smiles back, taking another sandwich bite.
“Anyway. I’ve talked a lot about myself. Tell me about yourselves.”
Celia: “Oh,” Heather says, with a sly glance at Alana “Well, that’s a long story, but we met at college. I’m not sure that how is appropriate for the venue.” She laughs. “We’ve basically been friends since, but she lives in Austin and I moved to New Orleans. We still talk pretty much all the time and get together for birthdays and holidays. I keep trying to convince her to move here, but haven’t swayed her yet.”
GM: “Maybe someday,” smiles Jenny. “It’s tempting, but I have a job I really like in Austin.”
“What’s that?” asks Vinny.
“I’m a massage therapist,” answers Jenny. “I make people happy with my hands.”
“Good way to put it,” chuckles Vinny. “So how’d you and Heather meet?”
Jenny glances slyly back at Heather. “Like she said, it’s not very appropriate…”
“Oh, I think you’ve heard some pretty inappropriate stories from me already,” says Vinny, smiling between the two. “And now you’ve got me curious. How’d you two meet?”
Celia: Alana is the perfect partner for this.
“Well…” Heather says slowly, drawing the word out. She shares a look with Alana. “We were in our sophomore year and lived in the same dorm, and we had a class together. And there was a boy in the class that we both kind of had a thing for.”
Heather’s cheeks turn a little red. She looks away, as if she might not continue for a moment, and then finally finds his eyes again.
“So we thought that instead of fighting over him we’d just share him.”
GM: “Oh, boy,” laughs Vinny.
“I doubt he was complaining.”
“How’d it pan out?”
Celia: “We ended up as best friends and have done it a few times since.” Heather can’t help her grin. “I thought she was more interesting than him, in the end.”
GM: Jenny flashes another one and puts her arm around Heather’s waist.
Vinny laughs harder. “Oh, boy,” he repeats. “You two still together?”
“Oh no, I have a boyfriend now,” says Jenny.
Celia: “When she’s around, though.”
GM: “A little more often lately,” Jenny grants with a smile. “Heather got divorced.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” says Vinny.
Celia: Heather shrugs. “We weren’t well matched. How ’bout you, though? Girlfriend? Wife?”
GM: He shakes his head. “My aunts nag me about it all the time, but I’m not really looking.”
Celia: Heather shares a look with Alana, then glances back at him.
“Not even for a good time?”
GM: Vinny’s eyebrows raise. Not unappreciatively.
“Oh, my. That’s quite an offer.”
Celia: “If the machines aren’t putting out, someone might as well.”
GM: “You’re both knockouts. I’d be nuts to say no. Just, so we’re clear, no strings attached. I’m not looking for more right now.”
Celia: “No strings is exactly what I’m looking for.”
GM: “Perfect. How’s a hotel?”
Celia: “Perfect,” Heather echoes.
GM: The three finish their food. Vinny presumes the two came in their own car, so he offers to meet them there at a nearby place.
It’s casual enough how he phrases things, and maybe Heather wouldn’t pick up, but Celia does.
He really wants them to take separate cars to the hotel.
Celia: Why, though? What a weird thing to want.
Heather gives the best road head.
“You don’t want a preview?” she asks, flicking her tongue across her lips.
GM: Vinny laughs. “I’ll take no spoilers. Build up my anticipation.”
Celia: Heather giggles. “All right. We’ll meet you there.”
GM: “But Heather gives the best road head,” Alana remarks as they drive to the hotel.
“Oh well. Jenny can give Heather some, if she wants.”
Celia: “You spoil me, darling,” Celia says to Alana. “Why don’t you save it for tonight? Let’s blow this boy’s mind.”
“He seemed hesitant to share a car, anyway. But you did wonderful.”
GM: “Thank you, mistress,” Alana purrs, nuzzling against Celia’s head. “I’m just sorry I’ll have to share you with him.”
Celia: “We’ll have each other later, though, as promised. I know I told you no sex for a week, but your actions lately have shown me how deserving you are to have your punishment lifted.”
GM: “Oh, thank you, mistress,” Alana beams, her face radiant. “I can’t wait to suck your cock tonight. I’ll swallow it whole.”
“But I should still be punished a little, don’t you think? Maybe you can spank me…”
Celia: “I will. I’ll spank you tonight.”
“And then you can suck me off.”
“And then I’m going to fuck you.”
“After we fuck him, though.”
GM: “I can’t wait, mistress,” Alana purrs, rubbing against Celia.
“I want you to fuck my ass, while it’s nice and sore…”
“But I want you to fuck my pussy too, man and woman like it’s meant.”
Celia: Celia reaches a hand out as she drives, stroking a hand along the ghoul’s cheek.
“We’ll do it all tonight, darling. You’ll see.”
GM: Some ghouls, at least, respond well to rewards and punishments.
Or at least rewards.
Celia: Alana won’t mind when Celia gets wet while spanking her, either, or slips a few fingers inside.
GM: The pair arrive at the hotel with Vinny. It’s not as luxurious as one that Celia only dimly recalls another person going to, but the room is clean and the bed spacious and comfortable. Vinny greets the two women, then starts hungrily kissing Heather. His beard tickles her chin. His breath comes hot and heavy. He doesn’t feel like he’s done this in a while.
Celia: Heather has done this recently enough for the both of them. She’s happy to lead or follow as he needs, though once she realizes his inexperience she takes a more dominant role. Her lips clash against his, fingers sliding across his shoulders and then down his chest to undo the buttons on his shirt.
GM: Jenny unbuckles his pants. And Heather’s. She strokes his dick back and forth in her hand and slides a finger up Heather. Vinny tugs off her blouse. He squeezes and kisses her breasts, relishing in their touch. How long has it been since he held a woman’s tits?
“God, you’re both so hot…”
Celia: They are, aren’t they? Celia did that. Gave both of them the perfect round globes on their chest for him to touch. Her nipples stiffen at his attention, and when Alana starts to touch her she finds her domitor already wet. She lets him play how he wants, leaning in to kiss the side of his neck. Her fingers curl through his hair. She bites with the flats of her teeth, though keeps her fangs tucked away for now. After a second she reaches for Jenny, slipping the skirt down her long, shapely thighs to pool on the floor.
GM: He’s a slim man, with his clothes off, but toned and taut. Celia’s been with handsomer men, and better-smelling ones. His facial hair smells of sweat and drier cologne, only recently washed—for them? His head is starting to go bald with his hat removed. Still, he’s vigorous and enthusiastic, and has a tight ass. He alternates between filling each woman as they kiss and fondle one another, stroking their clits. After Vinny blows his load in Celia, he goes down on Alana, pleasing both women with his mouth and fingers until he’s ready to go again with his dick. Vinny lasts a while. There’s a lot of energy in him, even beyond the hunger that must come from going a while without release (or at least a partner). The three finally lie still in a sweaty heap, Vinny with his arms around both women’s shoulders.
“Wow,” he says.
“That was… something else.”
Celia: His eagerness makes up for his lack of expertise, and Alana’s swift fingers find the spots that he doesn’t. Heather is just as loud as a girl named Cici had once been, showing her appreciation for Vinny with eager, happy noises and soft, breathy sounds that rise up from the back of her throat. When it’s over she curls herself against him, nuzzling his neck while Alana does the same from the other side.
“Amazing?” she supplies with a wicked grin.
GM: “I think I just lived every adolescent boy’s wet dream.”
Celia: “Happy to oblige,” Heather laughs.
GM: “Happier to have been obliged,” he remarks, squeezing the two women’s shoulders.
“It’s been a while since I last did this.”
Celia: “Yeah?” Heather kisses his cheek, her fingers tracing idle circles down his chest. “Doesn’t seem like it. I think I came at least three times.”
“If you want…” she shifts, rolling over to straddle his hips. Her thighs spread around him. “Jenny’s leaving town soon, but I’m always down for a no strings good time.”
GM: “It’s hard to say I wouldn’t be either, after this.”
His manhood looks too spent to go again, at least this soon, but he slides a finger inside of her with one hand. His other one starts stroking her clit.
Celia: Her body shifts, moving against the finger inside of her. A small noise comes from her throat, half a gasp and half a moan, needy and wanton. She leans back, palms stretched out behind her, letting him see all of her body while he brings her to another shuddering climax. It doesn’t take long. When it’s done she shifts again, leaning forward, capturing his lips in a lingering kiss that tells him all she needs him to know: she’ll always come when he calls.
Tuesday night, 15 March 2016, PM
GM: Celia returns to the brothers’ house after vomiting into a toilet, Vinny’s number newly added to her contacts. The thin-blood is still there. Gagged and tied to a chair inside of a closet. They smell worse than they did last time. Like stale sweat. Their eyes widen and they make loud muffled noises through the gag.
Celia: Jade smiles down at the thing once she arrives back at the home, in a forgiving mood now that she has made some progress for Pietro, herself, and Savoy and had a handful of orgasms to boot.
“Hello, there. Did you have a good day?” She reaches forward to undo the gag.
“I never learned your name,” she says idly.
GM: “Lady, lady lick, why you keepin’ me here, I did all you wanted…” protests the thin-blood.
Celia: “Did you?”
Does he remember?
GM: “Yeah, I did, didn’t I? C’mon, tell me what I ain’t done!”
Celia: “What do you remember?”
GM: “I tol’ you how I planted the bug, but I didn’ hear shit over it, lady, okay?”
Celia: Jade nods. “You were going to get your friend for me, though.”
GM: “But, but you said you’d lemme go…”
Celia: “I did. After you get your friend for me. Otherwise you’ll just be back in my spa in a week, won’t you?”
“And we’ll do this all over again.”
“And while I enjoy seeing you and the night we shared… I’d rather deal with this now.”
GM: The thin-blood shakes their head. “I won’t, lady, swear! Caught me once, you ain’t gonna be as nice the second time, right?”
Celia: “No,” she agrees.
GM: “But okay, I’ll get your friend, jus’ lemme go after I do, lady, okay?”
Celia: “Which door are you marking?”
GM: The thin-blood tells her which.
Celia: “As soon as we collect your friend you are free to go.”
GM: “Okay, lady, you want me to lead you there?”
Celia: “No. I want you to stay here, comfortably as my guest, until we get him.”
GM: “But, but if I ain’ there, lady, how you know he gonna show?”
Celia: “I doubt he has eyes on you all the time.”
GM: “Can you at least lemme outta the closet, I’m all sore…”
Celia: “I can adjust your position,” Jade offers.
GM: “Please, lady, can’t you jus’… lock me in a room, or somethin’?”
Celia: “Are you going to run?”
GM: The thin-blood shakes their head. “I swear I won’t, lady, you’ll be real mad if I do. I’ll be locked in anyway, right?”
“C’mon, please, I’m real sore… I been sittin’ here all day, all night…”
Celia: “One moment.” Jade closes the door on it to see which of the brothers are around.
GM: Currently, only Randy seems to think staying to guard the prisoner is worth his time.
Celia: He’s right, but she needs the others for her plan this evening. She has him move the prisoner, making sure that he keeps him tied nice and tight, and gives Reggie a call.
GM: “Can I just keep… uh, is this a man or a woman?” asks Randy.
Celia: Jade shrugs at him. “Won’t tell me their name.”
“Be nice, we’re releasing them after this.”
GM: “Ok, can I just… keep them tied up in a room, but not be in the room?”
Celia: “You’re coming with me tonight,” Jade tells him, “so tie them tight.”
GM: “Oh, great, babe!” Randy beams.
“I’ll tie them tighter than, uh, really tight!”
Celia: “Excellent, darling.”
“Don’t let them get out or we’ll need to have words.”
GM: Randy nods along.
Reggie picks up after a few rings.
Celia: “I need you,” Jade says into the phone, “to show me what a badass you are.”
GM: “I’d say anytime, but I do that all the time.”
Celia: “Will you come home so I can explain?”
GM: “Sure. Less homely now, though, without your mom and friend.”
Celia: “But I’m here.”
GM: “True. Big net plus.”
“They were getting a lot less fun anyway.”
Celia: “I know,” Jade sighs into the phone, “I appreciate you putting up with them though.”
“Come see me, baby. I have fun plans for us tonight.”
GM: “On my way.”
“Also. Should probably keep your friend away from any knives in the house, if she’s staying with you,” he says before she hangs up.
Celia: She’ll have to ask him to explain that when he gets here.
Jade says she’ll see him soon and hangs up. She moves to check the bindings on their thin-blood friend.
She trusts Randy, but she’d rather not lose her asset.
And she has a question for the thin-blood.
She seats herself on the side of the bed where it has been tied, looking down at it with a gentle smile.
“I have one last question for you.”
GM: “Sure, lady lick, sure, what you wanna know?” asks the thin-blood.
Celia: “I’ve been told that some of the duskborn have the ability to use their blood for a sort of alchemy.”
GM: “Oh, uh, whas’ alchemy?”
Celia: “A sort of trick you do with your blood. Technically it’s a transformation of something from one state to another. Old chemistry. Some people think you can use it to turn metal into gold.” Jade smiles again, clearly dismissing the notion. “But the duskborn are said to be able to do things with the blood, and I had hoped to utilize your services if you knew about it.”
“I keep my contacts very, very comfortable.”
GM: “Oh, you mean like the mixers, lady? The cooks?”
GM: “Yeah, I migh’, migh’ know one or two.”
Celia: “After all this is done with your friend, would you be willing to introduce me?”
GM: “Ah, sure, lady, keep me comfy how?”
Celia: “Money, blood, safety. You mentioned you don’t have a place to stay during the day. You live night to night.”
GM: “Yeah, yeah I do.”
Celia: “That can’t be very comfortable.”
GM: “Well, it, it how I always got by, I guess.”
Celia: Jade nods. “But you can’t thrive if you’re busy trying to survive.”
GM: “Well, sure, lady, I’ll hook you up, for somea all that.”
Celia: “Excellent. As soon as I get our friend I’ll come back for you to tell me more about these… cooks.”
GM: “Sure, you bet!”
“Can you untie me a little, maybe jus’ my legs?”
Celia: “Not yet, darling. Soon.”
GM: “C’mon, I ain’ gonna run, you said you’d give me blood an’ money an’ a place to sleep!”
“I can’t run anyway without my hands!”
Celia: “You invaded my domain,” Jade says to it, “which means you’re mine to do with as I wish under the laws of the Camarilla and the city. I could put you down, but I feel some affection for you.”
Jade reaches out, stroking a hand down its face. “I just don’t trust you yet. Prove to me I can while I’m gone and you’ll have the run of the house, or we can find you somewhere else.”
GM: The thin-blood pales at her initial words, then nods eagerly as if to encourage her. “Somewhere else?”
Celia: “If you want your own digs.”
GM: “Oh. Yeah, lady, that’d be great, that’d be real great!”
Celia: “Then just a little bit longer, okay?”
GM: “Okay, lady, okay…”
Celia: “I still need your name,” Jade says to it. “I just keep calling you ‘the duskborn’ in my head.”
GM: “Ah, my name’s Ebony, lady lick.”
Celia: “Ebony,” Jade repeats, “fitting. Did you pull that because mine is Jade?”
GM: “Ah, sorry, lady?”
Celia: “Your name isn’t Ebony. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me when you want to be my friend. Truthfully, it rather hurts my feelings.”
GM: “Ah, I’m sorry, Jade, I’m real sorry, my name’s Shanice.”
Celia: Jade sighs at the thing.
“It’s like when you ask a stripper at a club, you know, and she gives you a fake name on top of her fake name.”
GM: “Look, lady, you say you don’ trust me, okay, I don’ really trust you! You tied me up all day!”
Celia: “I was honest about the fact that I’d leave you tied up all day. You bugged my spa and spied on me.”
GM: “Well, okay, my name ain’ Shanice, I’d jus’ rather hold out on the real one ‘til I ain’ tied up, yeah?”
Celia: Jade shrugs at it.
“Very well. There goes your bonus.”
She rises, striding for the door.
GM: “Wait, bonus?”
Celia: She pauses, glancing over her shoulder.
“Bonus,” she repeats, “for when I don’t need to play guessing games and waste my time prying information out of people.”
GM: “Okay, lady lick, I’m sorry, if I tell you my name, can I have the bonus?”
Celia: “I don’t know, darling, do you have proof it’s your name? You’ve lied to me twice.”
GM: “Ah, not really, sorry. I ain’ got any ID or stuff.”
Celia: Jade strides back to the bed, reaching out a hand to stroke it down the side of the thing’s face. Her touch is light, gentle enough to show it that she doesn’t wish it any harm. She sends a little burst of desire to please into that touch, reaching out with the innate sense of self as much as she does her hand. After a moment she asks again.
“Will you tell me your name? The truth, this time.” The words are just a murmur in the air between them, the promise of that “bonus” heavy on her tongue.
GM: “Deja,” the thin-blood gets out thickly.
“Can I have the bonus…?”
Celia: “Do you really know any cooks, Deja? I won’t be mad if you lied, just if you waste my time.”
GM: “I do, lady lick, swear!”
Celia: Jade just nods. She rises once more, pulling the money she hadn’t gambled away from her pocket. She pulls five bills free and sets it on the table next to the thin-blood, out of their reach but visible all the same.
“Yours,” she says to it. “I’ll see you soon, Deja.”
Tuesday night, 15 March 2016, PM
GM: Reggie greets her at the door with a hungry kiss.
“Missed me, sexy?”
Celia: If she had breath, he’d steal it.
As it is she gives the kisses freely, glad that she can have her way with him without feeling self-conscious about her mother, Lucy, or Dani in the room. Randy is otherwise occupied for at least another minute or two; she pulls Reggie forcibly against her by the front of his shirt, sandwiching herself between him and whatever wall is closest.
“Always,” she gets out, “stop leaving me. I need you.”
GM: “Makes you miss me…” His teeth grind against hers as his tongue explores her mouth. He shoves her hard against the wall, his hands possessively roaming her breasts, rear, and hips. One hand reaches inside her panties and teasingly explores her lower lips.
Celia: “It makes me impatient,” she disagrees, but her body responds to his touch all the same, and his fingers come away slick. Two sharp points trace down his neck, but Jade doesn’t bite into him despite how very tempting he is this evening. Nor does she let him go any further than this. Not with Randy in the house.
And she needs him for other things, besides.
She tells him so, whispering her desire to him in fragmented kisses while he fondles her, telling him that she needs him to help her trap an enemy. A big, strong enemy, someone he’ll be proud of taking down. A real vampire, not a pathetic half-breed.
Help me take him out, she tells him, show me how strong and tough you are.
GM: He’s up for it.
He always is.
He cups her head back with one hand and raises his wet fingers to her lips.
“Have a taste…”
Celia: Jade takes his fingers into her mouth, closing her lips around the digits to suck them clean. Her eyes never leave his.
GM: “Always,” he repeats, stroking back her hair from her face.
“I’ll pound a stake into that motherfucker.”
“Then I’ll pound something else into you…”
Celia: She certainly hopes so.
GM: He gathers weapons and equipment for the job, asking if there’s anything else they need before they get to the address.
Celia: They need his brother and Alana, actually, so while Reggie does his thing Jade does hers in a private room with the two of them. She had thought to turn Randy into the thin-blood, but between the two of them Alana is the better liar and closer to the thin-blood’s size anyway. She apologizes for the ugly face while she sculpts the flesh beneath her fingers, forming her into an exact replica of the thing tied up in the bedroom. Her blood in Alana’s veins will make her smell enough like a thin-blood that no one should detect the difference.
“Your name is Deja,” she tells Alana as she works, “but you might respond to Ebony or Shanice. When they arrive, tell them you picked up something good and that you want to talk privately.” She fills her in on a few of the thin-blood’s habits and speech patterns.
GM: “I look so ugly, mistress,” Alana mopes.
Celia: “It’s just for an hour or two, ‘Lana. Then we’ll put you back to sorts and we get the rest of the night to unwind in each other’s arms.”
GM: “Okay, mistress. Okay.” The ghoul still shudders a little and looks away from her reflection.
Celia: Unfortunately Randy doesn’t shadow dance, but Jade gives him a small mark on his inner arm that will let him use the ability for the evening. Then she does her own face, turning herself into a nondescript nobody that no one would look twice at.
She goes over the plan with all of them: Alana will lure them out with the X on the door. The other three will keep lookout. If more than one lick shows or if they bring a retinue of ghouls, the plan becomes “extract Alana and get out.” Otherwise, Alana will take the contact somewhere private to be ambushed by Reggie, Randy, and Jade.
The rules are clear: minimize risks to themselves, don’t break the Masquerade, don’t tip off the guy to what’s going on.
Jade paces in the living room once it’s all set, finally turning to ask the boys if they think they’ll need more muscle. Combat, things like this, none of it is her strong suit, and they’re going in almost blind. Jade has a few ideas about who it might be, but she’s been wrong before. Either way, they can’t mess up. This isn’t a thin-blood they’re going after, but an honest to god vampire with who knows what abilities.
While Randy and Reggie discuss, Jade pulls Alana aside to record something for the bug.
“We found your sister,” Jade says to Celia.
There’s a pause.
“Where? How? What happened?” Celia’s voice sounds frantic, panicked.
“Dead,” Jade says heavily.
There’s a sharp intake of breath. Then the soft sound of crying.
“The new blonde stiff told her that Meadows killed her boyfriend. Apparently thought she could take on the scourge herself.”
“Oh… oh my god, I…”
There’s muffled sobbing, as if the girl pressed her face into someone’s shoulder.
“I know, sweetheart,” Jade whispers, voice barely audible, “I know. Come here—”
“N-no! You said—you said you’d keep her safe! You said you’d help her, n-not let her die!"
“Stop it! Stop it! I don’t want this anymore! I hate you!"
“I understand,” Jade says in a tightly controlled voice, “that you are emotional right now, and that you spoke without thinking. So you’ll only get ten blows for your outburst. Do it again and I’ll take your tongue. Do you understand? Good. Bend over. Skirt and panties. You know the words.”
Celia yelps at the blow.
“Whu—one, mistress, thank you for the lesson.”
“Two—two, mistress, thank you for the lesson.”
So it goes, on and on until ten. By the end of it Celia barely gasps out the numbers and words to her domitor.
“Clean yourself up,” Jade says coldly. Heels click across the ground. The door closes. Celia slumps to the ground, sobbing openly now that she’s alone.
GM: Alana listens, entranced, to the recording.
“It’s actually kind of hot…” she whispers at Celia with a salacious look.
Celia: Celia smiles. “Just in case things go south,” she tells Alana. “You get the signal then you hand over the information and tell him there’s more where that came from and that the bug is still in place. My priority is keeping you safe. Now… what’s a good tidbit we can record for this?”
GM: “Maybe a time and place where you’ll be alone? If they wanted to hurt you?”
Celia: “We don’t know that they do. I had another thought, tell me if this is too… weird…”
Jade tells Alana her idea.
GM: “It’s perfect, mistress,” Alana beams.
“And… pretty sexy, too…”
“Whoever gets it will really have something on their hands…”
Celia: “You mean their dick?” Jade drawls, brows lifted.
She’s not sure she agrees with the ghoul’s assessment, anyway. Maybe it’s better to to use her initial idea about a time she’s alone. Her grandsire always says you can never trust a ghoul to be honest with you…
Maybe it’s too much.
But it’s their backup plan, anyway.
God, she hopes she’s right about this.
Jade takes a moment to record what she had pitched to Alana, then returns to the living room to find out what Randy and Reggie have decided.
GM: The brothers are gung ho and ready to stride boldly into the night. Maybe they should let Alana go first, though, with her phone on so the rest of them can listen to what’s happening and plan accordingly.
Both brothers are bringing stakes. There’s also hairspray, if they want to literally play with fire.
GM: Celia’s phone then buzzes with texts from Dani.
Oh btw two dinner things
My dad said he could do Friday this week with your family, does that work for you?
Your mom also invited me to dinner tomorrow, guess we’ll be seeing each other a lot :)
She says I should come by your spa sometime too
Celia: Jade does not want fire anywhere near her. She tells the boys as much, her Beast whining in instinctive unease at the thought of an open, uncontrolled flame. They’ll stick to stakes and blades against their Kindred foes. And Jade has a few tricks of her own up her sleeve that should, hopefully, even the playing field if it comes down to that. Combat isn’t her strength, but she has other tools at her disposal should it come down to that. She will make do.
Alana will go in first to summon him, with an open line of communication on her person to let them hear what’s going on and decide how to play things. Jade gives her one last missive on her way out the door: if, for any reason, she is taken away from the scene, sell them on the idea of Celia as a ghoul who apparently resents her mistress and isn’t fully bound.
The rest of them will shadow dance to hide what they are and keep the lick ignorant to their presence. Randy and Reggie wear mundane disguises to hide who they are.
Jade checks her phone while she heats the remaining blood from her hunting expedition last night in the microwave, then calls Reggie over, asking what he meant about her friend and knives on the phone. She’s getting a bit of a Single White Female vibe from Dani anymore.
GM: The ghouls all agree to the parameters of Jade’s plan.
“She’s crazy, is what,” Reggie says.
“She tried to stab me last time we talked.”
“Your mom tried to kick me in the balls.”
“They’re both lucky I’m such a gentleman.”
Celia: “Whoa, what?”
GM: “What, you didn’t figure I could be sexy, competent, and a gentleman too?”
Celia: “I mean the stabbing and ball kicking.”
GM: “Like I said, they’re crazy.”
Celia: “When was this?”
GM: “When you were asleep.”
GM: “Because they’re crazy.”
Celia: “What did you do to them, Reggie?” Jade finishes off the last of the warmed blood, eyeing him past the rim.
GM: His gaze fixes on it.
“Hey, I didn’t do anything besides kiss them.”
“Told you. Gentleman.”
Celia: Jade just gives him a look.
“Reggie, I told you to leave them alone.”
GM: “Hey, I did. I didn’t try to fuck them.”
Celia: “Stop trying to kiss my mom. It makes me not want to fuck you.”
GM: “She isn’t here anymore, so happy to oblige. But if it makes you feel any better, she took away all the food she cooked.”
“Went on this crazy rant about it.”
GM: “Like I said. She and your friend are crazy. Happy not to have ’em back.”
“This is a very un-sexy topic.”
Celia: Sounds like Diana finally stood up for herself. Dani too. Jade just makes a sympathetic noise at her ghoul, though.
“Eventually someone is going to geld you when you try to put it where it doesn’t belong, sweetheart. Stop trying to fuck my mom and friend. Any other woman, mkay?”
GM: “Any other woman, I wouldn’t be such a gentleman about her mom and friend.”
Celia: There’s nothing left in the glass when she’s done with it. She rinses it in the sink, watching the clock. She doesn’t want to give Alana too long a head start; she’s worried it will land her in trouble.
“Reggie,” she says, turning to him, “I like you. A lot. I don’t want you getting stabbed because you couldn’t keep it in your pants, mkay?”
GM: “Relax. Girl had no idea how to use that thing.”
Celia: That’s an oversight that will need fixed.
“This guy tonight might. Don’t get stabbed on me. I’ll miss you too much.”
GM: “Yeah, that guy I’ll stab the fuck back.”
Celia: “Right in his heart,” Jade agrees. “Put the big piece of wood in his chest. Then after you can put it in me.”
GM: “Count on it.”