“It’s the blood. Not him. Never him. Not anymore.”
Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, PM
Celia: Celia leaves her family with a final round of hugs, glad that she and Emily had been able to bury the hatchet sooner rather than later. Despite her sister’s forgiveness she still feels a pang of guilt for what she’d done. Almost done. Tried to do.
That’s the worst part, isn’t it. If her mother hadn’t been there she’d have turned her own sister into a vessel. She’d been perfectly happy to turn on the charm and make her consent to the donation of blood.
Donation. Ha. Theft, more like.
And she thought I’d cause problems. Jade’s thoughts flow from somewhere in the back of her mind as Celia gets into her car. She grimaces at herself in the rear view mirror. Her skin ripples at the look, a pair of green eyes staring back at her. For a moment the two are one.
Jade: Then Jade takes over, neatly sliding into the driver’s seat of both car and body. She takes off back to her haven to meet up with Alana, glad to see that the ghoul has already pulled out suitable clothing for the evening.
“Hello, darling,” Jade purrs in her ear, pulling the ghoul towards her. She nips at her neck just hard enough to draw blood.
GM: Alana is waiting at the vanity, staring at her phone, and looking increasingly bored, upset, and even angry.
Then she’s all smiles when she sees Jade.
“There you are, mistress,” she purrs, embracing her and gasping lightly as the Toreador’s fangs prick her skin.
Jade: “Mm,” Jade muses, “what took you to my mom’s house today?”
GM: She pauses at that.
“I just wanted to clear the air between us, mistress. Be sure everything was okay.”
GM: “But that was with Celia’s mom, anyway; Jade doesn’t have a mom, does she?”
Jade: Jade waves a hand at the attempted change of subject, fixing the ghoul with a look.
GM: “Well, you brought up kissing her. And I was scared she was saying bad things about me, and trying to take you away from me.”
Jade: “So you went to confront her.”
GM: “I wanted to find out what she’d been saying and say that we need to be able to share Celia, without getting into stupid fights about it, since she values us both.”
Jade: “Maybe you don’t realize that I have cameras at her house, pet. The truth now. It’ll be much easier on you if you admit it all while I give you the opportunity.”
GM: Alana pauses.
“I was scared. Okay? I thought she was badmouthing me and spreading stories. I freaked out. I went over and yelled at her and caused a giant scene, because I thought she was trying to sabotage things with us.” The ghoul gives Jade a miserable look. “And you always believe her. You always spend time with her. She always comes first. If she told you to get rid of me I think you would, and maybe that’s what she’s planning, and… and sometimes I feel like I’m just waiting until you leave me, and get tired of me. Just f… find another ghoul, another fat loser whose l… life you c… can turn around, and make pretty. Because I c… can’t ever be what she is, will I? You’ll always l… love her… more…”
Alana stifles a sob into her hands.
Jade: “Alana,” Jade murmurs, pulling the ghoul flush against her chest and cradling the back of her head with a soft touch. “I’m not going to find another ghoul. I don’t want to replace you. We’ve been through so much together already, and you’re very good at what you do for me. Diana wasn’t badmouthing you. She mentioned the kiss; I’d wondered if someone had stolen your face to make her uncomfortable, if someone sent another ghoul that looked like you to her home today to cause problems for me.”
Jade pulls back slightly, wiping at the tears on Alana’s cheeks with her thumbs.
“Things are turbulent right now. Many of the people and licks I’ve relied on in the past have fled my side, the boys included. I’ve made some enemies lately. I had to be sure they’re not trying to get to me through you.”
“I was concerned for you.”
GM: Alana gives a sniff and looks up at her domitor with glistening eyes.
“You’re not… mad at me?”
Jade: “Frustrated, mostly. I told you to stay away from Diana’s house and you promised that you would. I also told you last night that your jealousy is getting tedious. I have plenty of lick friends left, darling. Plenty of mortals I can spend time with as well. But I called you.”
GM: Alana sniffs again.
“I’m sorry, mistress. I don’t want to make you mad. I’m just so scared you’re getting tired of me, and going to get rid of me, because it seems like all I do is cause problems.”
Jade: It’s like talking to Celia.
Jade takes a seat on the edge of the bed, pulling Alana onto her lap.
“You do more than that. You took care of everything I asked you to do today. You always make yourself available when I need you. You’ve filled in for me as Celia plenty of times. You keep the spa running, you bring me meals, you keep our employees happy, you collect gossip and tidbits and even if you have no experience doing something you still try it and let me know when you’ve been unsuccessful so I can make sure it gets done.”
She tucks a strand of hair behind Alana’s ear.
“Sometimes I get busy. Sometimes things pull me away from you. But it’s not because I don’t appreciate or value you. That’s just the nature of the Requiem.”
“You just need to show me that you’ve learned from your mistakes, pet.”
GM: Alana snuggles up against her domitor.
“I’m trying, mistress. I really am. It just feels like I’m never good enough, sometimes, and that things happen I can’t control. Like that kissing thing, it seemed to come up out of nowhere, and I felt so helpless about it. Like all I could do was watch it destroy our relationship.”
Jade: “But you didn’t kiss her, right?”
GM: The ghoul laughs faintly.
“Diana’s not nearly as kissable as you are, mistress.”
Jade: “Alana,” Jade says sharply.
GM: “Mistress?” Alana says cautiously at the change in tone.
Jade: “Did you do it or not?”
GM: The ghoul lowers her eyes.
“…yes, mistress, I did. It was years ago.”
Jade: “Why would you do that?”
GM: “She kept pushing food onto me. You know how she is with it. I told her a million times to stop, and she just never would. She kept trying, constantly, to get me to eat. It was the only way I could think of to get her to stop, to leave me alone.”
Jade: Jade keeps her face carefully neutral.
“You lied to me about it.”
GM: “But I didn’t lie, mistress.”
“She isn’t my type. God knows I don’t want to do that again.”
Jade: “I asked you,” Jade says in a deathly quiet voice. “Last night, I asked you. You twisted your words and lied. I just told you that I suspected someone of stealing your image to get to me. I just told you I have enemies now. Why would you lie to me?”
GM: “I’m sorry, mistress,” says Alana, raising her hands. “I didn’t think I was lying. I didn’t think I was hurting anything. I’m sorry.”
Jade: “I’m under more than enough pressure without worrying about someone I’m supposed to trust lying to me because she didn’t think it would hurt.”
Jade removes the ghoul from her lap, rising to her feet.
“Why would you do that to me? Why would you add stress to my unlife? I just went hunting to find the bitch I thought was doing, and it’s only happenstance that I didn’t. Do you know what kind of fight that would have been?”
“I could have gotten myself killed. Because you lied.”
GM: Alana hits the floor. She doesn’t try to arrest her fall. She doesn’t try to get up as her face quavers against her domitor’s displeasure.
“Mistress. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never wanted that to happen. I was wrong. I didn’t see. I didn’t know. I didn’t think you were going to do that, I didn’t know you were going to do that. I’m so sorry.”
Jade: “You have one chance,” she snarls, “one chance to tell me everything you’ve lied to me about, to come clean about all of it. One chance. Right now.”
“I don’t care how bad you think it is, I don’t care how mad you think I’m going to be. You tell me. Right now.”
“Because I can’t account for it if you don’t tell me.”
GM: “I’ve… I’ve thrown out Emily’s lunch, from the staff fridge, and lied to her about it,” the ghoul hyperventilates, hands raised.
Jade: “What else.”
GM: “I’ve, I’ve, I’ve changed Diana’s place in the schedule, a few times, picked some times, a few times, when something was going on for Lucy, so she’d cancel, and wouldn’t come in.”
“I’ve given Emily worse hours, ones I knew she wouldn’t take, or that she’d hate, because she had something due in med school, or a family thing going on, or something with her boyfriend. I’ve given good clients to other girls. I’ve… skimmed some of her tip money.”
“I’ve made her be late for some clients.”
“I, I gave her a client who Anoushka said made creepy ‘happy endings’ jokes.”
Jade: “And outside of the spa? Things with licks. Other ghouls. How about there.”
GM: “I’ve, I’ve been bad to Randy. I once gave him a really bad massage, that hurt his body, and I told him it was something wrong with him, and he needed to go to the ER to get that checked out, and he had a horrible evening and took a bunch of medications he didn’t need to.”
Jade: “You used your ability to help and heal for your own personal vendetta,” Jade repeats.
GM: “But, you’ve done that too, mistress…?”
Jade: Jade glares down at her.
“You injured my interests. You put my business at risk. Made my ghoul sick.”
GM: Alana starts crying.
“I’m sorry, mistress, I’m so sorry, you asked me to, to tell it all, you don’t want me to lie…”
Jade: “What else. What else have you done, Alana.”
GM: “I’ve, I’ve stolen money from him, from his wallet.”
Jade: “Who else have you sold out. Who have you spoken to about me, about who I am, what I do? Who have you sold secrets to for a hit?”
GM: “N-no one, mistress!” Alana sobs. “I’ve never done that, I SWEAR!”
Jade: “No? Never? Really.”
GM: The ghoul keeps crying. “Yes, mistress, I swear, I’ve never sold you out, I’ve never betrayed you, I’ve only done bad things to the others, NEVER you!”
“I l-love, you, I’d never hurt you, never!”
Jade: This, at last, is where it differs from a conversation Celia had only nights ago.
Only she was the one on the floor crying. And she had knowingly hurt someone.
Jade stares down at the weeping ghoul.
Now she knows what it feels like. Now she knows how it had been on the other side of lies and deceit, not knowing if she could trust the words coming out of the pretty face in front of her. Not knowing if she’s still being lied to, or what damage had been done because of the lies, or if the girl is going to continue to lie.
That fragile, glass-spun trust shatters into a thousand tiny pieces.
Karma, isn’t it? The idea that what she sends out into the world will come back three times as much. Is Alana the first? Or were the boys the first, Alana the third? And Benji, where does he fit in? What about Dani?
Who else? Who’s left? How many friends does she even have anymore?
“Stay put,” Jade says to Alana. She walks into her bedroom and closes the door behind her, digging into her pocket to pull out her phone. She scrolls through her contacts to the name ‘Ronnie L’ and presses the call button.
GM: Alana manages a nod between tears.
She’s answered after several rings by the movie director’s,
Celia: “Oh good, you’re up,” says Celia, face shifting to match. “It too late for me to stop by?”
GM: “You ever hear of these things called ‘lunches’?”
Celia: “Not in my vocabulary.”
GM: “You have them around noon or so. Give or take an hour. You go to a restaurant, order some food, and talk about shit.”
Celia: “Oh, sounds fun. How’s dinner? I’ll bring you something yummy. A nice bottle.”
GM: “That’s more what I’m talking about. This old man don’t stay up as late as he used to.”
Celia: “You can wear that fluffy robe I got you for your birthday,” she offers, “and I’ll send over your favorite girl tomorrow, hm? I’ll be in and out.”
GM: “Yeah, you still owe me a girl. I’m staying up plenty late if she’s doing her job.”
“What’s eatin’ you, anyway, callin’ this hour?”
Celia: “Nothing,” she says, and even she can hear the lie for what it is. She sighs. “Just finished up some work. Time got away from me. Meant to stop by earlier.”
GM: “Do it tomorrow then, or whenever.”
“Always another tomorrow ‘til there ain’t.”
Celia: “Yeah,” she says, “guess so. Tomorrow, then.”
GM: “Yeah. Night.”
Celia: “Night.” She hangs up.
What had she hoped to accomplish? Ronnie isn’t her friend. And he’s not her dad, either. He’d made that clear. She knew before she called that it would be a waste of her time.
Her flesh warps again.
Jade: Jade ignores the name above Ron’s. She doesn’t want to think about him. About the ghoul in the other room. She scrolls down instead, shooting off a text to Roxy to ask how she’s doing and if she wants to go out tonight. Then she scrolls all the way to the top of her contacts list, selects Andi’s name, and hits the call button once more.
GM: There’s no immediate response from the Gangrel.
Jade’s call goes through, though, after a few rings. She hears the blare of what sounds like punk rock music. Fast, rough, and very, very loud.
Jade: Maybe she’s busy. Maybe she’s hunting or fucking or spying on someone or running with the loops. Maybe she left her phone at her haven.
Or maybe she’s with Benji and they both went to meet Draco and even now they’re agreeing to kick ‘Ren’ out of the krewe so Draco can take her place and bring his stupid little snake friends because she doesn’t think he’d actually ever said he wouldn’t come after her and what better way to make her pay for what she’s done than take out her entire support system in one go now that the rest of her friends are dead or hate her?
Jade—Celia?—which face does she have on? one? both?—
The loud music in her ears shakes her from the thoughts.
“Hey,” she says back, raising her voice so Andi can hear her, “how’s the tour? When’re you guys due back?”
GM: Jade isn’t supposed to be the insecure one.
“GREAT, PROBABLY A WHILE, TYRELL’S FOU-!”
Andi’s next words get cut off over a particularly loud (musical?) crash-like sound.
Jade: Found something interesting or expensive or good, Jade mentally supplies. She doesn’t ask the rock star to repeat it.
“Where’s your next stop?”
Jade: On the way to LA if she takes the I-10. Maybe she can meet up with them if Draco is serious about heading out to Cali with her. Good excuse for her to travel if she’s not taking the movie deal as Celia, right?
“Sounds awesome,” Jade says, “but I can barely hear you. Call me when you’re not busy, yeah?”
GM: “YEAH I WAS-”
More words are lost over the music’s blare.
There’s another thunderous crash.
Jade: “Perfect,” Jade agrees. Something about tomorrow. She can always text if not. “Enjoy your show!”
Jade can’t make out anything more.
Jade: “Text me,” she yells into the phone, “I can’t hear you.”
GM: The call disconnects.
Jade: Jade fires off a quick text to Andi. Too loud to hear lol, what did you say?
GM: There’s no immediate reply.
Jade: Busy having a good time. Jade checks the thread with Roxy to see if the Gangrel has gotten back to her.
GM: She has not.
She also tends to be worse about texting than the coterie’s younger members.
Jade: Jade gives her a call.
GM: It rings to voicemail.
The rock star, though, responds,
Oh I thought you were gonna see Benji’s fight
Jade: Jade glances at the time.
GM: Around 10.
Jade: Within thirty seconds she strips, yanks on leggings, stiletto boots, and a form fitted cold-shoulder sweater dress with a hood. She yells for Alana to sit tight. Then she’s out the window, a pair of feathered wings taking her toward the Evergreen as quickly as she can go.
Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, PM
GM: There’s a “private party” notice over the Evergreen’s front door. Jade arrives inside to find a modest gathering of Kindred seated around a makeshift arena. Draco and Benny are fighting in the center.
Both Kindred are brutally strong. Jade’s watched two vampires with stone fist fight before. It was ugly there, and it’s ugly here. The seated Kindred roar their approval as the combatants smash chairs and tables over one another’s backs. Stoneskin just makes the whole affair last that much longer.
Yet it looks as if Draco has the upper hand. Benny’s fighting prowess was forged through back-alley brawls and scraps against his fellow Anarchs. Draco, or at least Roderick, cut his teeth there too, and both Kindred have solid reps among their covenant-mates (at least, under one name or other). But Draco, Jade knows, also had his sire’s training. There’s form and discipline to his technique—and frightening speed that Benny lacks. The Caitiff solidly accepts Draco’s hits, and even gets in some good punches that messily shatter the Brujah’s face, but he can’t keep up. Hit after hit after hit smashes through his guard until he crashes to the ground, out torpid.
Draco raises a triumphant fist amidst alternating boos and applause. Some Kindred gleefully demand their fellows pay up. Others bitch and grouse. Cash, blood, and promises of boons owed or favored to be paid up later change hands.
“I’m sick of your face anyway,” Veronica sneers to Micheal. She throws his leash over to Natasha Preston.
“Enjoy your new bitch.”
Jade: As Jade takes in the assorted Kindred watching the two licks duke it out she can’t help but wonder if there’s some message board or group text that she’s not part of. How had everyone else known about this? Even Andi had known, and she’s hundreds or thousands of miles away.
She blames the blood for the way her fangs lengthen in her mouth as Draco takes the upper hand and sends Benji crashing to the ground. It’s the blood, hot and heady, that calls to her. Not the sight of her ex solidly beating her krewemate into a bloody pulp. Not the thought of what she’d had, or how they’d have celebrated his victory were they still together. Deadly with his fists and one of the smartest people she’s ever known. Maybe the last decent lick in the city. Bonded through real affection, an emotional attachment that supersedes any of the fake bullshit these other Kindred ever experience.
And she’d thrown it away.
No, she tells herself, it’s the blood. Not him. Never him. Not anymore.
Jade doesn’t join the throng of licks who exchange blood or boons or money. She hadn’t placed any bets; if she had she’d be collecting with the rest of the winners. But she makes note of who collects and who pays up, amused to see Preston accepting Micheal’s lead from Veronica. What does she need a bitch for?
Jade doesn’t ask. She keeps that amused, slightly disinterested mask plastered across her face as she slides through the crowd toward her alleged sire and the thief beside her.
“What’s got them throwing down?”
GM: “A marvelous throw-down, you two!” grins Savoy as he applauds. “Well fought and well won!”
Preston passes off Micheal’s lead to Princess.
“Thank you, my lord,” replies Draco, bowing. He soon turns to roughly kiss and fondle the sultry redheaded vampire who was present with him earlier. She looks very aroused by his victory. He looks very aroused by his victory. Some laughing onlookers seem to enjoy that.
Veronica shrugs at Jade’s question.
“Who gives a shit?”
Jade: Her. That’s why she asked. Obviously.
Jade doesn’t bother to respond to the acerbic question. She slides an arm around the thief’s waist, glancing at him instead.
“How about you, darling? Did you win something pretty, or is someone going to find their pockets lighter when they leave?”
GM: “Probably the latter,” smirks Pietro. “I’ve never liked betting as much.”
Jade: “Why gamble when you can make it a sure thing,” she agrees.
“Surely,” she drawls to Pietro and Veronica, “this wasn’t all set up so we could watch a nobody spank a Caitiff.”
GM: It doesn’t look like it was. Next in the ring is Ramon Korda against Marcio de la Cruz.
Jade: Jade fires off a text to Andi while the two square up, letting her know that Benji lost.
GM: Oh that sucks he’d really expected to win
Jade: Why was he fighting?
“You should steal her,” she whispers in Pietro’s ear while she waits for Andi’s response, nodding discretely toward the redhead.
GM: “Steal her yourself, you’ve already asked me to steal a person.”
Jade: Which hasn’t been done yet. Because she’s too busy doing things for Savoy and her sire and her family and destroying relationships to focus on goals like seducing cops for Pietro.
GM: uh idk the full story, he seemed pretty mad tho
Jade: “Mm,” is all she says.
damn that sucks, I’ll have to ask him later
“Change of target,” she offers, “same deal.”
GM: “Do it yourself,” the thief repeats as he watches the unfolding violence. The match between Marcio and Ramon is fierce and a closer thing than the last one, drawing even more Kindred onto the edges of their seats. It ends with Marcio’s win, but also with the two combatants clasping arms in seeming goodwill. Veronica looks rather more bored by that.
Jade: She’s not the only one. Jade’s expression mirrors her sire’s.
GM: Draco laughs as he forks over some cash to the redhead, who’s sitting on his lap. He remarks ruefully about “always betting against the clanless. Thought that would be a sure thing.”
“Don’t always bet against the underdog,” she purrs, licking his throat.
Jade: Jade doesn’t give a single fuck what Draco and his slut get up to.
She’s not looking forward to seeing more of him around the Quarter. He should have stayed in the slums of Mid-City where he belongs, the pampered fuck.
Cried a week ago when he committed his first murder but he’s out here now like he’s some hotshot badass with a cunt on his lap—
Jade murmurs her excuses to the ancillae—not that they care—and slips through the crowd toward the door, cloaking herself in shadows as she goes.
GM: Her last sound as she departs is the crack of Draco’s fists and the cheering of the crowd after he leaps back into the ring.
Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, PM
Jade: Jade stalks the streets, anger in her veins. She has had her own victories this evening, her own wins against two men, but the rational part of her mind knows that they were weak, pathetic kine. They don’t stand a chance against a lick, even a lick like her who prefers words to fists.
What if she’d jumped in the ring?
What if she’d challenged someone and ripped them to shreds with her claws?
What if she’d told the redhead she wants to throw down and torn her throat out in front of everyone?
She shouldn’t want it as much as she does. She shouldn’t be imagining herself on his lap instead, licking the blood from his chest, sinking her fangs into his neck in front of everyone, claiming him as hers in front of the entire faction.
What a power couple they’d have been. Smart. Strong. Fast. Charismatic. They’d been in love. No outside force could have torn them apart.
Except her sire. Whatever affection she’d felt or still feels for Roderick pales in comparison to what she has with her sire. Is it worth it? Is breaking a good man worth it?
She hates that she doesn’t have an answer to that question.
So Jade stalks through the streets like a huntress in the night, moving into her domain to search for someone with whom to let out this built up tension in her chest.
GM: Few disturb the seething huntress on her lonely errand. A light rain drizzles down from overheard. It’s always raining in this city.
The night rolls past as Jade stalks the kine. She finally winds up at the Bourbon Heat’s bathroom. It’s a place not unlike the one where she reconnected with Dani. There’s a lone pair of female-looking legs visible under a stall door.
Jade: It’s not the fight she was looking for.
She’d wanted to wipe the smug look off of someone’s face. Wanted to turn her knuckles red with someone else’s blood.
And even as she thinks it she knows that she wouldn’t be satisfied with kine right now anyway. She should have gone poaching. Made herself stand out. Let someone pick a fight with her and lay them out, because that’s so much smarter than just jumping into the ring at the Evergreen.
Jade curls her lip at herself in the mirror.
Laying out this bitch won’t be satisfying. But she’s already here. She might as well get a hit. She dissolves into nothing but shadows and waits for the stall door to open, intending to shove herself inside once it unlocks.
GM: She waits a while. Heavy panting sounds from inside the stall.
Jade: Seriously? Jade steps onto the toilet seat in another stall and peers over.
GM: The 20something club-going woman’s face is strained as she takes a particularly constipated-seeming shit.
“Ffffuuuuck…” she moans.
Jade: So much for the idea of someone getting hot and heavy in a stall.
GM: “Aggh…” groans the woman.
Jade smells it, even past the slowly expelling shit.
Jade: Hemorrhoids? Or period blood?
Does it matter?
What’s that expression about not eating where you shit? Not that she shits. And not that this is what that saying means. But fuck, it sounded funny for half a second in her head before she realized that, for all her searching, this is what she’s ended up with.
She’s torn between disgust and hunger.
In the end disgust wins. Jade stalks from the bathroom and heads back to her haven, irritation growing with every step.
GM: “Mistress!” exclaims Alana when she’s back. The ghoul’s eyes are red. She doesn’t look like she’s left the spot where Jade told her to stay put. She’s still sitting there.
“Are we… okay?”
Jade: Jade wants to snap at her. Tear her head off. Lay into her for being a pathetic little cunt.
But she knows how it feels. Watching someone else take the person you love away from you. Feeling useless. Feeling stupid. Feeling worthless.
Well, no. She doesn’t know. But Celia knows.
So rather than greet the ghoul with anger Jade simply sighs, sinking onto the floor in front of Alana.
“You’re going to make this up to Emily by calling a company tomorrow and giving her a glowing review. And then you’re going to leave the Flores family alone. All of them. Lucy, Diana, Emily, the boys, everyone, unless I explicitly tell you otherwise. The new job gets Emily out of your face here. No contact with the family will show me that you value me more than you’re jealous of them.”
GM: Alana nods her head raptly.
“Yes, mistress, of course. Glowing review, leave them alone.”
“What should I do when they’re at Flawless, just not talk to them?”
Jade: “Last time I told you to leave them alone you disobeyed.”
“This job isn’t important to Emily. It’s important to me. It’s a step in a direction I want to take, and she’s my in, just a pawn planted inside so I have a foot in the door. If you think it will be cute or funny to mess it up for me then we will not be okay.”
GM: The ghoul lowers her head.
“I’m sorry, mistress. I must have misunderstood you then. I understand now. Leave the Flores alone. Emily’s job is important to you, if I mess it up I’m hurting you.”
“I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to mess up. I want to do what you want.”
Jade: “When they’re in the spa,” Jade says, lifting Alana’s chin, “be civil. You don’t need to seek them out. But don’t be rude. They don’t know about me. You know about me. All of it. I don’t trust them like I trust you.”
GM: Alana nods, smiling at the contact. And her domitor’s words.
“That’s right, mistress. They’d just mess things up for you, if they knew.”
Jade: Jade nods.
“So we understand each other? Good. Grab my laptop for me, I want to show you something.”
GM: The ghoul all but springs to her feet and is back in moments with the Sunburst laptop.
Jade: Jade moves to the couch, pulling Alana in front of her so she can see the screen. She nuzzles her neck as she types in her password and then connects to her WiFi and a VPN.
“I had you look for that man earlier today. Did you visit his house and find it empty?”
GM: “Ah, I couldn’t find a house for him, mistress.”
She gladly snuggles against her domitor on the couch.
Jade: “His address was on his ID.”
“What do you mean you couldn’t find it?”
GM: “I’m sorry, mistress, I misspoke. A house in New Orleans. Since the ID said he lived in Houston…?”
Jade: Had it? Why had she thought it said New Orleans?
“Mm,” Jade says, opening the browser. “Pity, that. But there are things we can still do that I’d like to show you. Better if it’s local since we could just visit, so it’s a little more complicated than showing up at his door. First, we’re going to search his name.”
She types it into the search bar.
“A very high percentage of people have social media profiles. It’s only a matter of tracking down which one is his. I don’t imagine he thought his wallet would be stolen.”
“His face,” she adds idly, “was stolen from someone in Houston.”
“No doubt he thought he could get in and out and everyone would think him an ordinary ghoul. Someone’s new toy.”
“Unfortunately for him I have friends out that way.”
“And,” she adds in a whisper, lips brushing against the shell of Alana’s ear, “I made his mask.”
GM: Jade gets a result that says a Facemash account associated with his name has been deleted.
“You’re so smart, mistress,” giggles Alana, nuzzling her neck.
Jade: “Sometimes they do this,” she says to her ghoul, “and think they’ve gotten away with it. But things you put online are never really gone, are they? There are sites you can use to find old pages that have since been deleted.” Jade pulls one up, copying the part of the URL on his profile before it hits the 404 error. She pastes it into the new site.
GM: To her chagrin, she gets another 404.
Jade also knows people can ask those sites to delete their data.
Jade: “Good sign,” she murmurs. “That means this name is real. He went through a lot of effort to hide who he is. So the ID is his.”
GM: “That’s very good, then, mistress,” Alana nods.
Jade: “So now,” she says, pulling open another browser, “we find his house. Every county has a database you can search to find out who owns what property, what it sold for, tax information, things like that. It’s all public record. Which is why we don’t use my name on anything. Or yours.” Jade runs a hand down her thigh. “Too easy to find if you know what to look for.”
Most people don’t.
“It’s called a real property search. That plus the county, which is…” a quick search returns the results, “Harris County.” She taps it in and pulls up a state government website.
“It’s the same here even though we have parishes instead of counties. So now you go through this legal popup, click the accept button, type in the address, and… voila.”
“Everything you ever wanted to know about the house. Size, layout, last time it was sold, estimated taxes or taxes that are owed, sometimes work that has been done, most recent appraisal price, and the person who owns it. Which could be our guy, or it could be his wife or partner, or it could be a business.”
Jade points out the fields of text as she explains them.
GM: “I know about these, mistress,” nods the ghoul. “My sister once looked up information on the property where she lived, when she was pissed at the landlord.”
“Didn’t really do anything, though.”
Jade: “There’s not always something to be done. But we’re not looking to do anything, just find a name.”
GM: “I wouldn’t have thought to use it here, though,” Alana says. “I’d honestly forgotten all about it.”
Jade finds the subject of her search lives at a shitty-looking apartment building owned by the Pavaghi clan. Shwari had mentioned during one spa visit that her son Walter is doing well with his Houston startup.
Jade: Jade unlocks her phone and opens a well-used burner app. Violet’s number. She gives Chuck a call.
GM: The yuppie lawyer picks up after a few rings.
Jade: “Hey baby,” Violet croons into the phone. “You got a sec? I was hopin’ you could help me out with a little pickle. And then I can help you out with a big pickle.” She giggles.
GM: “I wanna see it in your mouth,” says Chuck. “I want you to gag on my dick. I want that thing rammed down your throat, far as it can go. I wanna see drool coming out of your mouth, as you stare up with big wide eyes, from your knees.”
“Chuck? Who is it?” calls a distant voice. Female.
“Just a client, Sarah,” calls Chuck. “Go back to bed.”
“At this hour?”
“Yeah, some of ’em just got no boundaries. Go to sleep.”
There’s footsteps, then Chuck whispers, “And when I blow my load in your mouth, I want your eyes to get even bigger, and for you to choke, ‘cause it’s too much for you.”
“And when I pull out, you hack all my cum out, over the ground.”
“Then I wanna watch you lick it all up, off the floor.”
Jade: Violet gives a little gasp of delight, the same sort of noise Alana makes when Jade touches her. She lowers her voice, all but purring into the phone.
“You want me on my knees, baby? How ‘bout two of us. I have a friend I told allllll about how hard you make me cum, and she says it’s not fair I don’t share. I’ll lick it all up and give her a taste of what she’s missin’.”
GM: “Oh, yeah. I wanna see you lick it all up, then french her and glob it all into her mouth, like a baby bird.”
Jade: “Ditch your old lady,” Violet says, “and come make it happen.”
GM: “She’s 17,” Chuck mentions off-hand. Jade thinks he’s… 26, 27?
“And what, tonight?”
“Or tomorrow, but I want that favor tonight if I’m bringing a friend for you.”
GM: “Yeah, tomorrow’s better.”
“How good is the friend and how big is the favor?”
Jade: “Outside of you she’s my favorite partner. And it’s not big at all, not like you are. Just need to find someone real quick. Think you can handle that?”
“I met a guy tonight,” she says, “and he stiffed me. And not in the good way, Chuckie. But he left his wallet—no cash, ugh, and it wasn’t good enough to arrange another deal—so I looked him up and he rents from your family out in Houston. Thought maybe he might have left a forwarding address, and if not then his number will work.”
GM: “Ha. Ha. Yeah, most people who rent from my family are peasants. They’re bad people to fuck.”
“I mean, sexually.”
Jade: “Lesson learned,” she sighs.
“But you’ll make up for it tomorrow. You always show me a good time.”
GM: “Fuckin’ straight. So this friend of yours is free, right, ‘cuz I’m not paying for two girls if you want a favor on top.”
Jade: “Of course, baby.”
GM: “Okay, I can look into this. Won’t be tonight. Got work tomorrow.”
“I dunno if the juice is even worth the squeeze for some poor dude out in Houston, but I’m not complaining if it gets another girl swallowing my cum.”
Jade: “It’s gotta be tonight,” Violet whines, “please, Chuckie? Just a quick lookup? I’ll let you cum on my face after my friend and I suck and swallow.”
GM: “There’s nothing for me to look up. It’s not like we have a database with every tenant’s names and numbers. I need to call my uncle to ask him, and he needs to call one of his people to ask them, and they’re probably gonna call someone else, ‘cuz fuck if he knows every poor dude he rents to, and I’m not gonna bother him this late.”
“What’s Poor Dude’s name, anyway?”
Jade: “Joel Price.”
GM: “’Kay. What a loser name.”
“Say you’re a cocksucker.”
Jade: Violet rolls her eyes. “I’m a cocksucker,” she croons.
GM: “Ah yeah, that’s what I love to hear from a girl.”
Jade: “I’ll see you tomorrow, Chuckie, to show instead of tell. Mwah.” She blows a kiss into the phone and hangs up.
“Fuckwad,” she mutters to Alana.
GM: “What a jerk,” Alana agrees.
Her hand starts to rub along Jade’s crotch.
“Let me worship you, mistress,” she whispers. “Let me treat you the way you deserve.”
“Let me make you feel good.”
Jade: “I want to find this guy,” Jade grouses. “Why is no one fucking helpful anymore?”
GM: “I know, mistress, they’re all such jerks… none of them appreciate you, like they should…”
Jade: The ghoul’s words do little to assuage her.
“I hate them. This whole fucking city.”
GM: “All a bunch of jerks,” Alana nods, moving her hands up to massage Jade’s shoulders.
“Jerks and fuckwads.”
Jade: “Are you just agreeing with everything I say?”
GM: “Of course not, mistress, you just happen to be right.”
“That jerk could’ve done more for you, called his uncle tonight, gotten the ball rolling.”
Jade: She’s lying, but Jade doesn’t bother pushing the issue. Of course she’s agreeing with everything Jade says. She’s under a bond.
GM: “Would you feel better if you took it out on me, spanked me good?”
Jade: “No,” Jade sighs, “I want to rip someone’s throat out.”
“And you’re too pretty for me to do that to you.”
“I want to fucking do something while Drakey sits at the Evergreen throwing punches like it fucking means anything.”
GM: “You could beat me ‘til I’m black and blue, mistress… I don’t mind,” suggests the ghoul.
“You could patch me up afterwards.”
“Maybe I deserve it anyways. For being bad.”
Jade: “Not tonight,” Jade says. She snaps her laptop shut and slips one of the credit cards from the wallet into a pocket. “I’m going out. I’ll see you later tonight. Get some sleep, pretty.”
GM: “All right, mistress.” She kisses Jade’s cheek. “You know that however they treat you, whatever happens out there, I’ll always love you.”
“We’ll always have a home here together.”
Jade: “Love you too, ’Lana.”
Her heart isn’t in it, but she’s so very good at convincing people. She’s the only one who knows how truly broken it is.