“Once a whore, always a whore.”
Friday afternoon, 26 December 2008
GM: Celia and Ron have dinner at a nice restaurant a few days after their first meeting. Ron cuts her a cashier’s check for cos school. Money already removed from his bank account.
Mom is doing better, without the wage garnishment. But it’s hard not to see that money bringing tears of relief to her eyes.
Or knowing she’ll be able to stop cheating on her “really nice” boyfriend, and putting another man’s penis in her mouth for money.
Celia: Ron’s check cleared the account and her mom had paid the rest of her tuition with plenty to spare. She’d even gotten to know Ron decently well at dinner, and she’d told him that she wanted to drop off some cookies for him for Christmas if that’s okay with him.
GM: He’d seemed amused, but he’d agreed all the same.
He’d repeated she’d look good on camera. And that he wasn’t her dad.
If his weight is any apparent indication, he’ll enjoy the cookies.
But whether she’s going there for the last time or just another time, Paul greets her at the door to his sterile house with a sterile, plastic smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.
“I presume you are here for more of your whore money.”
Celia’s not sure why he even says so. For what other reason does she come here?
Celia: This is it, then. Her last time here.
She hadn’t had to come. She’d told herself to just stay away, that she doesn’t owe him an explanation as to why she suddenly stopped showing up.
But she’d been dicked around by so many men in her life that she can’t resist when the opportunity is dangled in front of her to take the upper hand. So she’d decided to tell him, to his face, that she isn’t his whore anymore. Dani’s words weigh in her mind—“He really likes you.” She really likes him too. And she isn’t going to mess it up for money she no longer needs. She hadn’t gone to see Ron for a check, but if he’s willing to cut her one to make her life easier, well, she’ll come up off her knees.
She’d worn the uniform to be spiteful. To show him what he’s going to miss. Pleated skirt, white blouse, knee-high tights. Maybe, if he’d even once been kind to her, she wouldn’t get such a thrill out of it.
Celia bows her head at his question. Her last little bit of playing. Ron had said she’d make a good actress, hadn’t he?
GM: Paul closes the door behind her.
“Remove your clothes. Clothes are for people, and you’re not a person. You’re a whore.”
Celia: Celia stares up at him. She’d come to him for help and he’d put her on her knees instead. Turned her into the whore that he wanted, complete with the sick, twisted school girl fantasy. The spankings. The demand that she be “smooth as a child” down there, for all he’d never touched her like that. She’d long wondered if his true desires run even darker than she’d realized.
GM: Paul’s plastic smile quirks humorously. It still doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Did you perform sexual acts for monetary compensation, Celia?”
Celia: “I’m not anymore,” she clarifies. “I’m not going to do this anymore. I came to tell you that. That it’s over. That I don’t need…” she gestures vaguely between the two of them, “this.”
GM: “Once a whore, always a whore,” replies Paul.
“If someone were to be informed of your sexual history and the financial transactions related thereto, would they believe you no longer a whore?” That same plastic smile. “They would not. They would look at you in disgust. Perhaps pity, if they were charitable. Men would refuse to marry you, for men do not marry whores, so you will never tell your prospective mates what you have done with me. You will go through your life, and even decades from now, you will carry that secret shame with you like a scarlet letter. The two of us will always know what you are.”
His hand cups and starts to knead her breast.
“Celia Flores, my pretty little whore.”
She can see the bulge growing against his pants.
Celia: She shouldn’t have come. Should have just left him wondering why she’d never come back.
The words cut her to the core. A lump forms in her throat, moisture pooling in her eyes. She doesn’t even move when he touches her, unable to shake the thought that what he says is true. She’s a whore. She’d blown him for money. Her money. She’d cheated on her boyfriend. One taste of sex with Stephen and she’d gone running to the next man who would take her, and he’d paid her for it. Hadn’t she and Emily talked about how awful it is that girls sell their dignity like that? Now here she is, doing the same. And he’s right: she’s never going to tell. It’s a secret shame she’ll bury deep inside to keep anyone from knowing the foul things that she has done with him, but she’ll always remember what he made her do when she needed his help, when she was young and dumb and desperate.
She hates him.
“I’m not,” she says again, more fiercely this time. “I’m not a whore. I’m not your whore, we’re done, get off—”
She shoves at him.
GM: He grabs her arms and holds them against her sides. She can’t break his grip.
“I will determine when we are done, whore. I think tonight I will penetrate your anus. From behind, like an animal. Whores enjoy anal.”
“I will not use a lubricant. It will be painful. I will enjoy listening to your whore screams.”
Celia: There’s nowhere to go.
It’s all she can think, that there’s nowhere to go. That she was so stupid for coming here. That Paul is going to rape her because she’s too stupid to cut her losses and run. Wide, fearful eyes stare up at him as he pins her arms to her sides and details exactly what he’s going to do with her. The tears she’d tried to withhold streak down her cheeks, her head shaking back and forth.
GM: A knock sounds against the door.
Paul pulls Celia against his body, pins one arm over both of hers, and clamps his hand over her mouth. Celia can feel his erection pressing against her bottom.
“Who is there?” he calls in a raised voice.
“Jamal, sir,” answers a deep male one.
Celia: She starts to say it, to say no again, when the knock comes.
She shrieks against the hand pressed to her mouth. Maybe they’ll hear. Maybe they’ll get help.
GM: Paul’s plastic smile only returns.
He moves towards the door with Celia. He takes his hand off her mouth for a moment, to open the door, then clamps it back over her. A man steps inside the house. He’s big. Really big. About as tall and buff as her dad. He’s even bald, too, though unlike her dad he’s black, with deep ebony skin that starkly complements his crisply-pressed Blackwatch uniform. Also black. There’s a hard cast to his firm jaw and a cruel glint to his dark eyes as he looks at Celia that makes him feel like a bogeyman from every story well-to-do white mothers frighten their white daughters with.
Just one look at this face, and Celia knows.
This is no savior.
He closes the door behind himself.
“Is this the whore, sir?” he leers at Celia.
“Yes, Jamal. This is the whore,” answers Paul.
Celia: Celia jerks, kicks, flails, screams. It doesn’t seem to do any good. She goes still and silent at the sight of the man before her. Jamal. Huge. Black. Her head shakes back and forth—or as much as it can with Paul holding her still—and her shriek turns into pleading words muffled behind the flesh of his hand.
GM: “Whatever business you were here for may wait. Would you like to fuck my whore, Jamal? Only $50. I believe this price will be instructive to the whore as to her true value.”
Paul smiles as she struggles, holding her fast. Celia feels the bulge pressing against her bottom press harder.
“Damn, only $50?” leers Jamal. He cups Celia’s face with one of his large, dark hands. “This one’s just the way I like them.”
“You ever fucked a black man, little whore?”
“You ever had a big black cock slip between your thighs and fill you? The way a man is meant to fuck a woman?”
Celia: He’s joking. He has to be joking. He’s not going to—to let this man fuck her. He can’t. He’s just trying to scare her, to make her remember who he is. She shouldn’t have shoved him. She should have just said sorry, it’s not working out and left. It’s a game. A cruel, sick, game. She’ll say she’s sorry, she will, as soon as he lets her go she’ll say she’s sorry.
It’s working, though. His game. Celia stares up at the man with wide eyes, tears hot on her flushed cheeks. She shakes her head back and forth.
GM: Celia sees the immediate bulge form against Jamal’s crotch at her response.
“Aww, yeah!” he grins, eyes flashing hungrily. Paul shoves Celia to her knees and twists her arms behind her back. Paul unbuckles his belt. Unzips his pants.
His penis is black. His penis is hairy. His penis is huge. It’s so much bigger than Stephen’s. There’s a foreskin, too, like he doesn’t have. Jamal brushes the thick head against Celia’s cheek. It’s warm and all but pulses against her.
“This is the monster.”
“Had another whore who called it that, once. My big fat monster cock.”
“You like monsters, little whore? You ever had a cock this big inside of you?”
Celia: Mouth free, Celia finally does it: she apologizes. Over and over again, her apologies interspersed with “no, please,” and “please let me go.” At least until he unzips, until his cock—that can’t be real—comes close enough to her mouth that she clamps her jaw shut and flattens her lips before he gets the idea to shove it inside.
She shakes her head again and again. No. No, no, no.
GM: Jamal just gives a hard, cruel laugh and pinches her nose shut. She can’t breathe.
He strokes his dick with his other hand, rubbing it up and down along the enormous and all-too erect shaft.
“You are only arousing him further, little whore,” Paul says from behind her in his plastic smile voice.
Celia: She tries to jerk her head away from him, backpedaling, kicking up off the ground.
GM: Paul tightens his grip and presses his weight against her. Jamal makes a fist in her hair and yanks her head down. His pinching fingers don’t relent from her nose. She can feel herself starting to suffocate. Jamal spits on her face. The saliva dribbles down her cheek like pre-cum.
“Bad little whore,” chides Paul.
Celia: Her lungs start to burn with the effort of holding her breath. Her shoulders scream where Paul jerks her hands behind her back. She twists, the motion futile when Jamal has a hold of her by the hair, and finally she opens her mouth to breathe.
GM: Just like that, Jamal shoves ‘the monster’ inside. She can feel the tip brushing against the back of her mouth, titillating her gag reflex. Celia’s eyes roam up his hairy crotch. The entire shaft isn’t even in her mouth. Jamal releases his fingers from her nose. Celia feels her scalp scream as he yanks her forward by her the roots of her hair, burying his cock even deeper. She wants to gag even harder now.
“Yeah! This is how a man fucks a woman!” the Blackwatch merc leers.
“Bite his penis and we will extract your whore teeth with a kitchen knife,” Paul says calmly.
Celia: She gags. Choking, sputtering, she can’t breathe around the thing in her mouth until he lets go of her nose, and then he yanks her further down. Instinct tells her to bite, but Paul’s words stop her before the decision fully manifests. She doesn’t. The sheer size of him stretches her jaw wide, muscles already aching with the effort to keep her mouth open around it. Drool collects in her mouth. She tries to swallow it, absurdly reminded of the dentist—and gags again. She doesn’t do anything for him. Doesn’t suck. Doesn’t move his head. Doesn’t give him what he wants. She stays absolutely, perfectly still, held down by the pair of them while one fucks her face.
GM: Jamal smirks and re-pinches her nose shut. Celia can feel her lungs starting to burn again. Drool leaks from her mouth.
“Put more into it, whore. I can see how wet you are.” One of Paul’s hands strokes her drool-stained lips, gathering some of the saliva over it. “God, you’re so wet,” says Jamal. “Like a faucet. I bet your cunt’s even wetter.” He smirks as Paul wipes the saliva over her face. “It’s all right, lil’ whore, we all know how much this turns you on. Your jaw’s around my dick like a fuckin’ bear trap…”
“Filthy little whore,” Paul smiles blandly.
Celia: Tears leak from her eyes, mingling with the saliva he’d spit in her face earlier. She nods her head, as much as she can with his hand fisted through her hair, and does what he asks. It’s hard, this much of it in her mouth, jaw on fire, but she tries.
GM: Celia got practice on Stephen. He loves when she blows him. Emily says all guys love blowjobs. But when she and Stephen do it, it feel like she’s the one doing it, that she’s driving all the action as she pleases him. And of course, Stephen “owes her one” for it, and later pleases her with his mouth.
Jamal lets go of her hair and clamps his strong hands around the back of her head. He thrusts violently back and forth, burying the massive shaft as deep as he can. It feels like he is the one who is fucking her. Like her mouth is just another hole for him to fill. Celia can barely move her tongue around his cock, but he makes sure she does. He pinches her nose shut again when he isn’t happy.
“Such a good little whore,” Paul whispers in her ear. He licks the side of her face.
Licks up her tears.
“Delicious,” he purrs. “The tears of a whore…”
“All right, whore, let’s graduate you to the big leagues…” Jamal smiles. He lets go of her head to pry her mouth open, as wide as he can, and shoves his hairy balls inside.
It takes a bit of work. Actually, a lot of work. It really, really does. Drool gets all over Jamal’s fingers. Celia’s jaw screams with protest. It simply isn’t meant to stretch this wide. But somehow Jamal manages. Her cheeks have to be bulging. Like a chipmunk’s, just full of cock instead of nuts.
Celia: She’s blown Paul plenty of times. Maybe as many as she’s blown Stephen. Compared to this thick black thing his dick is a tiny, insignificant nothing, for all that he had promised it would hurt if he were to shove it inside of her. She doesn’t think that they come bigger than this. There’s no way that Jamal has ever been satisfied with a blowjob when it’s too large to even fit properly inside a mouth. She can’t imagine that she’s even doing a good job, gagging and drooling and jerked up and down his shaft as she is, unable to even do it on her own. He just doesn’t fit. He doesn’t fit, he doesn’t—and then he tries. He shoves further into her, his hand closing around her face to squeeze the muscles of her jaw that force it open, another yanking her down by the teeth, and she screams because she thinks he’s going to break her jaw… then he’s inside and the sound is abruptly cut off, muffled by the flesh in her mouth. Her cheeks do bulge. More tears leak out of her eyes for Paul to lick, and she shudders each time he touches her like that, but she’s too busy choking on Jamal’s cock to do more than hold still and silently cry while they toy with her. She retches, feels the burning in her esophagus and the back of her throat. Nothing comes up.
GM: He might be happy if he just stuck less of his dick inside her mouth. Or had a second girl to lick the parts of his dick he didn’t. But he doesn’t, and he does seem happy. When Celia screams, Jamal’s eyes flash like lightning, and his hands fly around her throat. Squeezes her neck, clamps it between his hands, as he humps back and forth. Strangling her as he fucks her. He’s doing more movement with his groin than his penis at this point. There’s no further down it feels like his cock even can go. The head brushes so low inside her throat that she wants to vomit, but the sight of his gun holster is enough, just barely, to curtail that impulse. Sometimes he changes things up. Strangles her with one hand as he spreads is other over the crown of her head, forces her down onto him. Celia’s throat burns. Her jaw feels ready to split open. Snot leaks from her nose.
“Oh yeah… that’s how a man fucks a woman… yeah… you hungry for the dick… you can’t get enough of the dick… you love the dick… live for the dick… you little dicksucker… yeah… you want this dick… God, you’d just swallow this dick if you could… you so horny for the dick… this is what a woman’s made for… what a woman’s good for… to suck all the dick…”
Jamal pinches her nose shut, every so often. There’s a rhythm to how he does it. Sometimes he clamps her nose shut for a while. Sometimes there are long spans where he lets her breathe. Sometimes there are only short spans before his fingers cut off her air supply again. Sometimes he just traces her nose, letting her wonder and letting the dread build. Sometimes his fingers pull away, and sometimes they take away her air again. Sometimes for a long while. Sometimes for a little while. Sometimes for a little while, with a second of relief, before he pinches her nostrils shut again. His other hand alternates between choking her throat, pulling her hair, or pushing her head forward onto his cock. Celia’s vision blackens at the edges. She feels lightheaded, like she could just drift away into oblivion. Her tortured lungs feel ready to explode.
“Too much for you?” Jamal smirks.
Paul just keeps licking her tears, the bulge in his crotch never receding. There are so many to lick. He gives her big wet kisses, his tongue glued to her face, but they aren’t sloppy kisses. There’s nothing about the man that’s sloppy. He’s efficient and businesslike. Celia doesn’t feel so much as a teardrop escape off her cheeks. Paul drinks down every last one. He alternates between each side of her head. Her face is plastered with his saliva.
“Scream, whore! Scream as loud as you can!” pants Jamal, his eyes blazing as he pumps faster. He feels close now. Almost ready to come.
Celia: Panic spirals through her the moment his hands close around her neck. She jerks, trying to move away, but there’s little she can do from her knees with her hands pinned behind her back and Jamal holding her down. Paul is almost a welcome presence at her back; his body keeps hers from collapsing, prevents her from being flung across the floor. Even the ache in her shoulders is nothing compared to the pressure in her jaw, the sharp stretch of her wide open mouth, the dots that make her vision swim until she finally closes her eyes and waits for it to be over. She can’t even retreat into the back of her mind, though, not when she tries to keep up with him, when she thinks that choking means she’s not doing it well enough and pinching her nose shut means she needs to use her tongue and she just doesn’t understand what he wants.
Too much? Yes. Yes, yes, she nods, it is, and she hopes he’ll stop, but there’s no mercy here.
She screams. Like he asks. Tries to, anyway, with her mouth as full of his cock as it is and his hands around her throat. The noise she makes is some sort of strangled cry, anyway, more of a whimper than a yell. Behind her back, her fingers search for something to clamp onto, fisting in Paul’s shirt like he’s some sort of anchor.
GM: “Aww, yeah, you little whhhhoooooooore!!!” Jamal exclaims. His cock pulses in her mouth, and Celia feels a wet stream shoot down her throat. Cat-quick, the Blackwatch merc tugs his penis out as Celia gasps instinctively for air, and blows the rest of his multi-roper load all over her face. He gets it everywhere. Her nose, her mouth, her eyes. It stings. Celia’s never had cum in her eyes before. That shit stings like hell. Her mouth tastes salty.
“Aw, yeah…” Jamal whispers, rubbing his still-moist head along her cheeks.
Paul finally stops licking.
“What do you think, whore? Is that how a man fucks a woman?”
He tilts her face up by the chin to meet his.
“Have you been fucked like a woman?”
Celia: For a moment Celia thinks it’s over. They’ve humiliated her, cum on her face, made her swallow it, treated her like the whore they think she is. She tries to rub her face on her shoulder to get off the worst of it, but his fingers dig into her chin and leave her face before she can do more than touch her cheek to her blouse. She swallows repeatedly, trying to get the taste out of her mouth.
Celia blinks up at him. He can’t. He can’t. She shakes her head back and forth. She shrinks back against Paul, as if he’ll tell Jamal the same thing—that he can’t. That he’s not allowed. Blowjobs only.
GM: “Oh? You don’t think that’s how a man fucks a woman?” asks Jamal.
“Perhaps a further instructive lesson is necessary, whore, if you are unsatisfied with Jamal’s performance,” Paul states blandly. His hands brush through her hair. He presses his nose to her neck and sniffs as if inspecting it.
“It necessary that you be able to perform your essential function.”
Celia: It’s already drying on her face. A sticky, filmy, flaky mess across her cheeks and mouth. She belatedly realizes her error, that she had misunderstood his question, that she had thought he meant to continue to fuck her.
“N-no,” she says finally. “It was. It is. Good. How—how a man f-fucks a woman. I’m sorry, please, I’m sorry, it is.”
GM: “Say it again,” smiles Jamal, brushing her face. “Say you’ve been fucked like a man fucks a woman.”
Celia: Celia closes her eyes. She can’t even look at him. Her mouth forms the words, stammering out what he wants to hear. “I’ve been… been fucked like a man… like a man fucks a woman.” Her cheeks burn.
GM: “We could educate you further,” continues Paul, stroking her hair. “There are so many things we could teach you, my pretty little whore. There are so many things we could train you to do. You haven’t even had either of our penises in your ‘real’ holes. Two-thirds of you is still virgin.”
“Damn, is she really? That’s pretty tempting,” says Jamal.
Celia: She’s crying again, shaking her head. “Please, no, I can’t—”
GM: “Yes. It is very tempting,” replies Paul. “There are entire worlds of experience beyond what your small mind can imagine, little whore. There are procedures by which to break young females and train them to fulfill a variety of sexual functions. The services of these whores can command considerable prices. They do the things no ordinary woman will ever do. They do things even ordinary whores will never do.”
“The market is highly lucrative. It is largely unaffected by economic ups and downs. There is always demand for such commodities by men of wealth and means.”
“You are a commodity, Celia. That is what it means to be a whore, in its purest form. You could command a high price.”
Celia: Is he… is he trying to talk her into it? Into letting him break her so she can be used by men like him, men like Ron, who just wave money around and get what they want?
It’s a joke. It has to be. Surely he doesn’t think that she’s going to say yes, please, fuck me again, turn me into a whore.
“I d-don’t need it anymore, I don’t, I don’t want to be a w-whore.”
GM: “Tell her about the dogs, Jamal,” Paul says with a thin smile.
“There’s a guy who could turn you into a dog,” smirks Jamal. He tousles Celia’s hair. “You go naked, everywhere, on your hands and knees. You wear a shock collar. Mitts around your hands. Shit and piss outdoors. Eat kibble from a dog bowl. Sleep in a cage. Anything comes out of your mouth except barks, you do anything a dog won’t do, he beats you bloody. But if you’re a good little pooch, you get rewards. A softer bed. Scraps from the table. Most girls don’t take long to break. They do everything to please him. Pleasing him makes them happy. They really become fucking dogs.”
“That’s when he gives them the real… litmus test.”
“You fail, he slits your throat and dumps you somewhere.”
“You pass, you go visit the vet. For surgery.”
He leers. “And the real fun begins.”
Celia: Her face steadily drains of color as he explains it to her. By the end of it, by the time he mentions the vet, she’s as white as a sheet beneath the load he’d blown on her. She shakes her head again, fat tears sliding down her cheeks to mingle with the drying cum, turning it into a further mess.
Test? Surgery? She doesn’t want to ask. Doesn’t want to know. But it’s like passing a car wreck on the side of the road: she can’t look away. So, haltingly, she asks what he means. What test? What surgery? What’s left for them after that, how does the real fun begin?
GM: “What a curious little whore we have…” Paul smiles blandly. “I think she may actually want it, Jamal.”
“I bet she does. I can see it in her eyes,” he smirks.
“Unfortunate for you, whore,” says Paul. “We are done with you. Jamal, you may pay this whore for her services.”
Jamal produces a wallet. Five $10 bills. Drops them on the floor.
“Pick them up, whore. Pick up your whore money,” says Paul.
He shoves her to the ground.
Celia: She thinks to protest at their comments, tell them no, she’s not interested, she didn’t mean to ask, she shouldn’t have asked, but the words don’t come. She’s frozen, terrified that her body is going to end up in a ditch somewhere, and then… then he says it’s over, and her shoulders slump, and she starts crying in earnest because it’s finally over, and she’d thought there’d be worse, so much worse, and now she can’t even see past the tears that blur her vision as her hands strike the ground in front of Jamal. On her hands and knees in front of them both, she reaches trembling fingers towards the money to pull it toward her.
GM: Paul waits patiently for her to collect her “whore money,” then touches a finger to Celia’s cum-stained lips. The bland smile is still there on his face. But his eyes have never looked so empty.
“Tell me what you are, Celia. Tell me what you are, and why we will only be done when I say we are done. Tell me what you are, and why you will always be mine to use as I see fit and to reclaim whenever I see fit.”
“Tell me what you will always be.”
Celia: She sits back on her heels once she has the bills in hand, tucking them into the tiny little pocket of her skirt. Shame keeps her head down until Paul touches her, then finally lifts her eyes to his face.
She can’t even summon enough anger to hate him. She’d done this to herself. She’d come here to ask his help and he’d put her on her knees, and when she’d thought to end it he’d shown that he’s still in control. Like he is now, looming over her, touching her; like he’d been the whole time, holding her still, licking her, sniffing her, treating her like… like a pet, not a person.
Like a whore.
That’s what he wants her to say. That she’s a whore. His whore. His pretty little whore. Pretty but stupid.
She stares up at him, silent. If she says it he’s right. If she says it he wins. But if she says it she’s free, she can go, she never has to come back. It’s worth it, right? Worth it to give him what he wants. To let him win. To tell him that she’s nothing but a whore.
The words stick in her throat. Cum on her face, money in her pocket, the words don’t come. Not for a long moment.
Then, finally, she says the word.
Wednesday night, 31 December 2008, PM
Celia: New Year’s Eve arrives, a moderately chilly evening despite their southern locale. The mood over the city is festive: everyone is ready to put the year behind them and ring in the new one. Tulane is host to no less than three parties this evening, with more that Celia is sure she hasn’t heard about, one of them at JLH itself. Emily and Stephen had both told her she should go, but Maxen had informed his daughter that she has other plans: he’s hosting a NYE event and he expects her to be there.
She’d been stuck at home most of the winter break, unable to slip away to visit her mother, Emily, or Stephen, and not being able to see her boyfriend on New Years Eve put a bit of a damper on her plans. She’d wanted to be able to kiss him at midnight like all the other girls with boyfriends get to do. She supposes it’s not the end of the world, though. Daddy had even taken her shopping for a new dress for the event, and he’d let her pick something gold and shiny and above-the-knee. It is still longer than her fingertips when she sets her hands against her sides, so she supposes in the grand scheme of things it’s not even that short. He had, however, told her, in a tone that had no room for argument, that she is to pair it with opaque, black tights, and that if her skirt so much as rides up an inch he’ll make sure she can’t sit for a week. She hadn’t bothered to ask if he would consent to let her wearing lip balm after that.
She had only said, “Yes, Daddy.”
Thus dressed, Celia is the first to greet the guests when they arrive. She does not open the door for them—that is the job of the help, not the lady of the house—but she smiles politely to all of them, welcomes them to their home, and shows them into the kitchen for a refreshment. It keeps her busy for the first hour or so of the party, greeting guests and playing hostess, and her Daddy even favors her with a fond smile when all is said and done. He kisses her cheek and tells her she’s been a good girl and to go enjoy herself.
There isn’t much to enjoy as he might think. The guests are older, the sort of people her daddy rubs elbows with at the office, campaign donors and political types. Mr. McGregor from next door had declined his invitation this year after the argument he and Daddy had gotten into, but almost fifty other people had shown up. Celia flits among them, playing the doting daughter. She makes sure that the background music isn’t too loud, that everyone has gotten the proper drinks, that people can find their way to the bathroom. She answers questions about her plans for the future—"I’m not quite certain yet"—questions about her major—"dance, I’m at Tulane"—and questions about whether she has met any boys, to which she blushes prettily and says that no, she’s not dating anyone.
The house itself is done up for the event in tasteful gold, silver, and black decor. The company had arrived earlier in the day to set up: candles, streamers, balloons, a replica of the ball drop that will take place in Times Square. Celia thinks it might explode with confetti, but she isn’t certain. The catering company had commandeered the kitchen for their own use, and black-tied waiters carry trays of hors d’oeuvres and other small bites. Celia helps herself to shrimp cocktail, artichoke phyllo cups, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and some sort of tuna dish that she doesn’t know the name of but that keeps her coming back for more. She’s careful to make sure that her dress never lifts an inch past where she’d set it earlier, and smiles prettily next to her father for the various photos that he stops to have taken. Her siblings were deemed too young to attend the party, so it’s just Celia on her father’s arm tonight. She can’t even pretend to be upset about it; she’d taken vicious satisfaction in watching Isabel fail to persuade their father to let her attend.
It’s nearly eleven when Celia sees him for the first time: Paul. She hadn’t even known that he was here, had assumed that she would never see him again after he’d made her leave the house covered in Jamal’s cum, but there he is standing next to her father when Celia returns from the kitchen with a glass of sparkling cranberry juice. She stops dead in her tracks.
He looks… normal, in this light. Less like a predator and more like a typical member of her father’s party. Black suit, black tie, his glasses perched on his nose. Even here his smile is thin. He catches her eye and she sees it on his face: trouble.
Celia’s feet feel like lead as she walks across the room to where he stands with her father.
“…here she is, Celia, you remember Mr. Simmons, he handles your trust,” Daddy says to her.
Celia bobs in what might be a curtsy.
“Yes, Daddy. Hello, Mr. Simmons. We’re so happy you could make it this evening. I didn’t see you at the door.”
Paul’s smile stretches.
“No, Celia—do you mind if I call you Celia?—I arrived late. I was just telling your father how grown up you are.”
Flustered, Celia doesn’t do more than smile uncertainly.
“But Celia and I have seen a lot of each other, haven’t we?”
Her stomach flips. A fist clenches her throat; she can’t do more than stare at him in mute horror. Even her father is looking his way, a question in his eyes.
“Celia came to see me a few weeks ago about some trouble she was having.”
“Trouble?” Daddy asks him.
“Money trouble,” Paul confirms.
Celia stares. He can’t.
“But we worked it out, didn’t we, Celia? That math problem was no match for us.”
Her blink comes slower than usual. Daddy looks her way. She doesn’t trust herself to speak so she nods instead, trying to summon a smile. Paul continues, his eyes glinting.
“She wanted to improve her math grade, so she asked if I’d be willing to offer my assistance. How could I refuse such a polite young woman?”
“I didn’t realize,” Daddy says to him. He frowns at his daughter. “You shouldn’t be bothering Paul with things like that. He’s a busy man.”
“Oh, nonsense, Maxen,” Paul claps him on the shoulder, “she’s a quick learner when she puts her mind to it. I’m happy to help.”
“I… my grades went up, Daddy,” Celia says quietly, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, I know how much you value doing things on your own. Mr. Simmons was really helpful when the numbers didn’t make sense to me, he explained it all real well.”
“I’m happy to help, Celia. You’ve a bright one on your hands, Maxen. A real bright one.”
Daddy seems torn between berating his daughter for wasting Paul’s time and soaking in the compliment. He settles on the latter without giving voice to what Celia knows is doubt, and mentions that of course he’ll reimburse Paul for his tutoring lessons.
“Happy to help,” Paul says again. “Actually, if you’d like, I could meet with her once a week to make sure that her grades don’t slip in the new semester.”
“Celia would be happy to receive instruction,” her father tells him.
“Splendid,” Paul says brightly. “Well, I don’t know about you, but this punch ran right through me. Can you point me to the restroom?”
“Celia will show you,” her dad says.
“Yes, Daddy. This way, Mr. Simmons.”
She can feel his gaze on her back as she leads him down the hallway to the restroom. It’s the public half-bath on the first floor that mostly sees guest use, but as soon as Paul sees it he shakes his head at her.
“Oh, this won’t do, this won’t do at all. Haven’t you learned anything…” he leans in to whisper the last word in her ear, “whore? Your daddy just gave you to me.”
Celia shivers. She’d thought that she was done with him. That she would never see him again. But he had effortlessly inserted himself back into her life. And with her father’s permission! She turns to face him, trying and failing to keep the apprehension from her face.
“Mr. Simmons,” she says quietly, “I appreciate your discretion earlier with my daddy, and I was hopin’ that we could end things on a friendly note.”
“Oh, Celia…” Paul touches her cheek. “I told you that I could reclaim you at any moment. Whenever I want. You belong to me, don’t you?”
Celia closes her eyes. She takes a deep breath. When she opens them again she looks past Paul’s shoulder, but no one from the party has even noticed that they disappeared down the hallway together. She looks back to him to see him studying her face with the same thin, bland, plastic smile he always wears. He can ruin her. One wrong word to the right person and he will ruin her, and her daddy will beat her bloody, and Stephen will know what she’s done. She swallows, and finally nods.
“Yes, Mr. Simmons,” she whispers. “Please, sir… please, not here, my daddy might—”
“Your daddy is otherwise occupied, and no one even notices you’re missing. Take me upstairs, whore, and show me how grateful you are that I didn’t say anything to him.”
She reels backward, but she doesn’t see a way out of it. She finally nods, turning her back to him once more, and leads him towards the secondary staircase that Luana mostly uses, then down the hall to the bathroom connected to her room. He follows her in… Now she sees it: why upstairs, why this bathroom. Jamal is waiting for them. She doesn’t know when or how he got in—he’s hardly on the guest list—but there he stands in the same Blackwatch uniform he’d worn last time, already leering at her with the same sort of knowing look in his eye. Celia backpedals immediately, but Paul is behind her and his body blocks the door. He touches her hips with his hands, steadying her, and in a move that’s almost gentle he pushes her forward. She can already feel something pressing into her from behind, knows that it’s his hard cock.
The lock clicks.
Celia stares up at the black man in front of her, already shaking her head. They can’t. Not again. They’d humiliated her at Paul’s house, pushed her onto her knees, made her do things, and she’d thought that she was free. Until Paul had shown up this evening, she’d thought she wouldn’t need to see either one of them again. Jamal touches a hand to her cheek and she freezes, his thumb tracing her lips.
“Liked your mouth the other day, little whore. Thought I’d try it again.”
“Please,” Celia whispers, “please—”
She’s cut off when his thumb slides into her mouth. Her lips close around it.
“Monster missed you. Did you miss Monster? Want another taste of being fucked by a man? I can cum all over your pretty little face again. Oh, you’re crying already, tears of joy? Happy to see me?” He leers at her.
Paul leans in. His tongue laps at the moisture leaking from her eyes. He sniffs her hair, running a hand through it, his fingers curling through her locks to pull her head back. He exposes her neck, presses his lips against it, sending an involuntary shudder down her spine. Her breath catches in her throat.
“Jamal here paid good money to have you blow him again, Celia. What did you do with the last $50?”
“I… I bought a… a Christmas present for my—for my friend.”
“Not even fully trained and you’re bringing in money. Once you’re broken you’ll fetch an even larger price. Doesn’t that excite you? Blowing men for money like the little whore you are. It’s an easy living, on your back.”
“Mr. Simmons, please, not here, my daddy—”
“Your daddy doesn’t have any idea what his filthy whore daughter is getting up to tonight.”
Tears fall thick and hot down her flushed cheeks.
“He’ll know, he’ll know, he will, please, he’ll hurt me—”
“No wonder she’s a whore,” Jamal says, grinning. “All bitches with daddy issues are whores. Maybe I’ll even buy you myself, whore, let you call me daddy. Yeah, I think I’d like that, my own little white bitch. Give it a go, slut, call me daddy.”
He smacks her. Hard. Her head flies to the side, shoulders curling in on herself while she openly sobs. Paul looks to Jamal. No expression changes his face.
“You’ll bruise her.” His voice is flat.
“She needs to learn her place.”
“She is valuable because she is pretty. If you mark her she is less pretty, ergo she does not command as high a price.” He sounds as if he is discussing the weather, not the crying girl in his arms. “Limit your blows to her body. We don’t need her crying about getting hit by a black man.”
There’s a click. Celia looks up to see Jamal holding a wickedly curved blade in his hands. She makes a strangled sound, maybe a whimper or a gasp, and Jamal’s hand flashes out to cover her mouth with his palm. He touches the blade to her neck. Celia’s nostrils flare as she struggles to draw breath, eyes closing, her body as still as she can make it. Paul’s hands prevent her from moving, his body a firm presence behind her.
“She’s not going to say a word,” Jamal promises. “Are you?”
Celia shakes her head back and forth, the movement desperate, fervent. Paul strokes her hair, nuzzles her neck, and she takes some absurd solace in the fact that no one can hear her cry with her mouth covered. Her shoulders heave as she sobs.
“Going to do what we tell you?” Jamal asks, and Celia nods. “Take off your panties, lets see that pussy.”
Celia reaches for her thighs. She digs her fingers into the stretchy nylon material of her tights, trying to pull it down without lifting her dress. Paul makes a sound that might be a laugh and slides the hem up over her hips. The dress is snug; once he puts it there it doesn’t move, and Celia finally slides her thumbs into the waistband of her tights and pulls them down her legs. Jamal uncovers her mouth to slide them the rest of the way down, helping her out of them.
“Cute panties,” he says, touching a finger to the pink satin. He moves almost faster than she can see—she shrieks again, and Paul is quick to silence her with his hand—but the knife doesn’t cut her skin, just the panties. The material falls in scraps to the ground.
“Well look at that, Simmons, smooth as a baby down there. Who you keepin’ that trimmed for, whore? Knew we’d be coming and got yourself prepped, did you? Look how excited that makes Monster.”
Celia can clearly see the outline of his cock straining against his pants. He slides a finger across her lower lips and she jumps, pushing backwards, but Paul holds her steady.
“Can’t wait to bury my cock in that snatch. Make you take it all, nice and deep. What do you think, whore, think it’ll fit?”
Celia shakes her head again.
“Oh, we’ll make it fit, don’t worry. Got it all into your mouth, didn’t we? Why don’t you get back on your knees and remind me how much you liked it. Give it a little kiss. Really make me feel welcome at this rich guy party.”
Paul shoves Celia onto her knees, sliding onto the ground with her to twist her arms behind her back. She’s almost seated on his lap, with him kneeling behind her, her thighs spread across him. Jamal towers over her. He’s already undoing his belt, the blade set aside. Celia stares at it. She can grab it. Bury it in his stomach. Run.
He follows her gaze and laughs.
“Yeah, I bet that’s real tempting, huh? Want to try it? See if you have the guts to stab someone? See if I don’t get out of the way in time, then stick it back in you? Maybe I’ll fuck you with it.”
Slowly, Celia lowers her gaze. She shakes her head.
“No? Don’t want me to shove that blade up your pussy, get it nice and red?”
“N-no, please,” Celia whispers.
“Didn’t think so. Open up, whore, let’s get Monster back where he belongs.”
Celia hesitates for a brief second. Resisting hadn’t done her any good last time; he’d simply pinched her nose shut until she had to open her mouth, and Paul had let it happen. She remembers what it felt like to run out of air, the way black circles had appeared in her vision, thinking that he might not let up in time. She doesn’t think they’ll be as understanding a second time.
She opens her mouth, leaning forward to take Jamal’s monster cock inside. Her tongue flicks against the head and she hears Jamal sigh.
“Isn’t it better when I don’t have to force you? There you go, take it in your mouth, come on, open wide. Ungh, yes, like that. You have to suck it, whore, not just lick it. There.”
She tries to do what he wants. To swallow him, to use her hands at the base of his shaft where she can’t reach with her mouth, to suck and lick and bob. Drool drips past her lips. He thrusts forward and she gags, but he winds his fingers through her hair to prevent her from pulling back.
“Don’t make me choke you again,” Jamal grunts.
Behind her comes the sound of pants unzipping. Paul lifts her skirt even higher, spreading her cheeks with his hands. Celia falters, and Jamal makes good on his threat. He pinches her nose shut and she flails, but that doesn’t distract her from the fact that Paul presses a finger against the tight ring of her asshole. He shoves it inside without warning. Celia shrieks. Or tries to. The sound comes out as a strangled cry, muffled as it is by the thick cock in her mouth and the plugged nose. She struggles against him, shifting her hips, trying to twist away, but Paul grabs onto one arm and Jamal the other and hold her still while they violate her.
“So tight back here,” Paul tells her, his words a whisper in her ear, “isn’t it good that Jamal has you gagged? You can scream all you want, little whore, and no one will hear. It’s going to hurt. I bet you bleed.” Something presses against her ass, another finger that joins the first with one smooth motion. Celia jerks and screams, but true to Paul’s words no sounds make it past the door. Only the two of them can hear her cries. Jamal’s eyes flash in arousal, and he shoves himself further into her mouth until she chokes, sputtering and gagging.
But that’s not the worst of it. No, the worst of it is when Paul removes his fingers from her side, pulls her cheeks apart, and puts the tip of his cock against the recently abused hole. Celia shifts again, trying desperately to twist away, and Jamal closes his fingers around her throat. She stills, but her body rocks forward anyway when Paul shoves his cock inside her asshole. She can’t even scream. She can’t breathe. Can’t move. Can only hold still while her body stretches, tears, while Paul fills her and keeps pushing until his balls hit her thighs. He grunts when he finally gets all the way in, his hands moving around Celia to trap her arms at her sides, burying his face in her hair. He teases her ear with his tongue, fat and wet, his breath warm on her skin.
“Like a glove,” he tells her. “Do you like that, whore? Nod your head, there’s a good girl.”
“Fucking—spitroasted—” Jamal grunts, letting go of her throat, “going to put my balls in her whore mouth again, just fill her, so hot with her cheeks bulging—open wide—no? I’ll pry it open again…” Jamal does just that, pulling her mouth open until her jaw creaks and she screams again, forcing himself further and further into her mouth. The head of his dick hits the back of her throat and goes further still, until one hairy ball and then the other are forced inside.
Celia doesn’t even pretend to suck anymore. She cries, writhes, drools, while the men fuck her, while Jamal humps her face without ever moving his dick. Snot drips from her nose. They don’t care. They don’t even notice. She isn’t a person to them, just a whore, a body with orifices that they slide in and out of until she is limp with agony, until sweat shines on her legs and neck and back, her body too exhausted from struggling and lack of hair and humiliation and—and just sheer helplessness. She’s helpless. They’re bigger than her, stronger than her, faster than her, smarter than her. They take what they want. And she’s Paul’s whore, he made that clear. He will always find her, always own her. She’s his. His whore.
She swallows when Jamal tells her to, and seconds later she feels Paul’s cock twitching in her ass. He grunts as he cums inside of her, finally still while he pulses, splattering her insides with his seed. She’s glad Jamal didn’t cum on her face at least, but he makes her suck the rest of it out of him—”like there’s diamonds in my balls, whore, suck”—and squeezes the base of his shaft forward, milking the thick, ropey stuff into her waiting mouth. He tells her to kiss it when she’s done, brushing the head of his cock against her lips, and Paul finally pulls out of her. His hands fondle her breasts from behind, holding her to him while she trembles and cries.
“What an obedient little whore. Wasn’t that nice, Celia? My pretty little whore. You’re mine, aren’t you?”
Celia nods her head, exhausted. She doesn’t even care that she’s leaning against him, that she has slumped over and he has caught her, that it’s his body supporting her weight, his fingers wiping the tears from her face. She’s tired. She’s tired and she hurts and she’s just a whore, and he’s… he’s holding her, and he’s warm, and she’s sorry, so sorry, and she tells him that, the words tumbling out, she’s so sorry she told him it was over, she didn’t mean it, she’ll be good, she’ll be his whore, she is his whore.
“Good girl,” Paul murmurs when she’s done, nuzzling her cheek with his. “What a good girl. You are sorry, aren’t you? I can taste it. Be at my house at the usual time. Jamal gets to fuck you next.”
Thursday night, 1 January 2009, AM
Celia: After the incident in the bathroom, Celia had cleaned herself up as best she could before returning to the party. Daddy hadn’t reacted to her long absence, and she had found him at midnight so she could plant a kiss on his cheek and he on hers. He’d told her to run along and go to bed, and she’d been happy to leave the party early and escape to the comfort of her room.
Only when she gets there she sees that she isn’t alone.
“Jamal,” she breathes, flattening herself against the door. She reaches for the knob, to turn it and duck out, but the click of the knife stops her in her tracks. Jamal approaches. Black on black on black in her dark room, she can barely make out his huge form. But she can feel him, the sheer size of him looming over her in the shadows. Twice her size. Legs as thick as her waist. Hands that have been twice around her neck. He lifts a hand now, stroking her cheek with calloused fingers while she trembles.
“Whu… what d’you…” she can barely get the words out. Her mouth is dry.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about your lips, you know. About how you cry when I push inside. Very alluring, the way you struggle before you finally give in. Sexy. And I thought, well, why wait until Simmons tells me I can have his sloppy seconds. I know where you live. Which room is yours. I can take you whenever I want, can’t I?”
“Please,” Celia whispers, tears already threatening to fall. She blinks back the moisture. “Please, it hurts, I can’t, you’re too big—”
“Oh, sweetie, I don’t want your ass. Simmons already fucked you raw, didn’t he? No, I want your cunt. I’m gonna slide my big, black dick between your thighs, really fuck you like a man fucks a woman. Only I’m gonna make you call me Daddy, and you’re gonna be my little baby girl, aren’t you? Because otherwise… well, otherwise, I’m gonna carve up this pretty little face of yours.”
She can’t help the tears. They streak silently down her face, lips trembling. There’s no emotion to his voice. No reservations about doing exactly as he says—carving her up. Why wouldn’t he? What would keep him from stabbing that knife into her, giving her a red smile, leaving her body in a ditch?
“Please,” she whispers, voice cracking, “please don’t, I’m not—I can’t—”
“I like it when you beg,” Jamal tells her, “but I need you to be specific. Please what? C’mon, little girl, pretend I’m your daddy, go ahead and say it, all little girls want to fuck their daddies, tell me you’re not a whore.”
“I’m not!” Celia cries. “I’m not a whore, I’m not, please—”
“Daddy,” Jamal says again. “Say it. Say, ‘I’m not a whore, Daddy.’”
Celia falters, crying silently, until Jamal touches the blade to her cheek. She flinches, jerks, and finally stammers it out.
“P-please, Dad… Daddy, please, don’t, I’m not a whore, please don’t hurt me.”
“Daddy,” Jamal says again. “Really get into it. Maybe say punish instead of hurt.”
“Please, D-daddy, please d-don’t… don’t punish me. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Daddy, please—”
“Oh, there there,” Jamal croons. He scoops her into his arms, pressing her face against his chest while she sobs. His hardened cock presses against her stomach as he rubs her back. She can feel the hilt of the knife in his hand. “It’s okay baby girl, Daddy isn’t mad, Daddy could never be mad at you, baby girl, he just wants your first time to be special. Don’t you want that, Celia? Come on now, smile for Daddy.” He touches her chin, lifting her face. Celia sniffles, face wet with tears, but she tries to smile. It’s a broken, tremulous thing.
“There’s my pretty little girl. Can I have a kiss, baby? Give daddy a kiss. Show me you love me.” His thumb wipes at her tears. He leans in, and Celia doesn’t pull away. His lips press down on hers, thick and warm and all-encompassing. His fingers stroke her cheek. Celia shudders, but Jamal doesn’t relent. He pushes his tongue into her mouth, seeking, claiming, controlling… and Celia melts into his arms. His beard scratches her face. He tastes like smoke and sin and sex, and Celia almost doesn’t realize that he has pushed her back against the wall until his hands hook beneath her knees to lift her. He spreads them around his waist, presses her back so that she can feel the heat of him right at her center. She makes a noise, a gasp maybe, and Jamal groans in response. He finally pulls away. His tongue is a thick thing, brushing against her cheeks in the wake of her tears. Something tightens in her core.
“It’s okay to want me, baby,” he whispers. “Just say it. I’ll make you feel real good, just call me Daddy, come on sweetheart…”
She can’t, she can’t. She won’t. She’s not going to give into him, to give him what he’s asking for, to let him… let him claim her like this. But that knife… it’s in the back of her mind. Sharp. She knows what he can do to her. What he will do to her. And Paul’s voice sounds in her head, reminds her that she’s his, that he’ll always get her back. She trembles, searching for her voice. If he’s going to do it anyway, if he’s going to take what he wants…
“You… you’ll be gentle, Daddy?”
“Real gentle, baby, you want that, don’t you? Want daddy to take it real easy on you your first time, don’t you? Make you a real woman. Oh come on, baby, say it, say you want daddy to fuck you…”
“Please,” Celia whispers, “please fuck me Da-ah!”
Jamal smacks her.
“That’s filthy language. Say you’re sorry.”
“I’m sorry, Daddy.”
“It’s okay, baby, you just got excited, didn’t you? Yeah, my little girl thinking about Daddy filling her with his big cock. Reach down, baby, touch it, come on, rub it… over the pants like that, there you go, wrap your hand around it—oh baby girl, I’m gonna fuck you nice and good—”
He cuts off, capturing her lips once more. The wall moves out from behind her. They move across the room, Celia’s legs around his waist, her hand wrapped around his cock, until they reach the bed. He sinks down onto it with her on his lap, moving her dress up over her hips. Celia writhes against him. He’s not her boyfriend, no, but Stephen has never kissed her as thoroughly as this, and when he bites her lip she makes a sound somewhere between moan and whimper that makes his fingers dig into her hips.
“You want it, baby?” he whispers against her lips. Celia nods.
“You want to ride it for me, baby girl? Bounce up and down on it? I’ll show you how. Put your titties right in my face, how’s that sound?”
“I…” Celia hesitates. “I’ve never…”
“That’s what daddy’s are for, isn’t it? Lay back, baby, take your dress off… oh yeah, there’s my baby girl, let me see your pussy, spread your legs… oh, there you are, already wet aren’t you? Do you want Daddy’s big, thick cock? Nice and smooth, I bet you’re real tight, aren’t you.”
Jamal kneels between her legs. It’s quick work for him to slide his pants down his legs, exposing the monster Celia is already intimately familiar with. He strokes his shaft while she watches.
“Little big for your tight hole, isn’t it?” Celia nods, eyes wide. It can’t possibly fit. “Why don’t we start with a finger, think you can take a finger, baby? Oh, look at that, slides right in doesn’t it? Does that feel good, little girl?”
“Y-yes, Daddy, oh… oh, yes, yes—oh!”
Jamal slides another finger inside her. Her body clamps down around his digits. He wiggles them back and forth, hitting a spot inside of her that makes her toes curl and her eyes close. He fingers her while she pants and moans, trying to be quiet, and finally he leans over to cover her mouth with his hand. She panics until he croons in her ear, telling her to let it out, that he’s just keeping her quiet, that they have to be secret, and she nods and tries not to think about his hand around her throat, but he flicks a thumb across her clit and she can’t even remember her own name after that.
He doesn’t let her cum, but he fingers her for a long while, and when he finally pulls them out of her they glisten, slick with her juices. He uncovers her mouth, crooking a finger at her, and she sits up, then moves onto her knees.
“Suck it a little, baby, can you do that for Daddy? Just until it’s hard, then I’m gonna make you feel real, real good—oh yes, there like that…” He doesn’t wrap is fingers in her hair, doesn’t force her head down, just makes encouraging noise, asks if she can take a little more, go a little deeper, all the while rubbing her ass, her breasts, her back. And Celia does. She takes him deeper, swallows him—she’s had practice, after all—takes his shaft into her mouth until she hits his balls, and when he finally pulls her up he’s beaming at her while he rubs her mouth with his thumb.
“Magical little mouth. You know how to keep daddy happy, don’t you. Lay back, baby girl, there you go.” Jamal looms over her, his cock long and hard and thick hanging between his legs. Celia stares at it, then looks up at him, her eyes wide.
“Don’t be scared,” he tells her.
“Is it… will it hurt?”
“Just for a minute, baby. But it’ll be okay. I’ll hold you the whole time, like daddies should. I’ll kiss it all better. Tell me you want it, Celia, go on, ask for it.” He hovers over her on hands and knees, a hulking figure.
“Please, Daddy,” Celia whispers to him, “please… do it, put it in me, take me, please, please—oh, Daddy—!”
He pushes into her, lowering himself to capture her lips once more to muffle her cries. He’s big. Huge. He’s splitting her, ripping her apart, it’s too much—her back arches but Jamal holds her steady, distracting her with his tongue, and she stretches around him while he pushes inside, bit by bit. She’s panting by the time he comes to a halt, halfway in, whimpering while he nuzzles her cheek and neck and whisper that it’s okay, it’s all okay, she can take it, she can, just a little further, just—
“Oh, oh, oh—”
She can’t even think straight, he’s so big, too big, she tells him so, cries out against him, but he holds her still and whispers, over and over again, that she’s his special little girl, that he’s so proud of her, that it’s just going to hurt for a minute…
And, bit by bit, she gets used to it, used to the thick cock inside of her, used to his weight pressing down on her, used to how it feels to stretch around him. She clings to him while he moves, slowly at first, then faster, hitting a spot inside of her that makes her pant and writhe and gasp, and his lips move to her throat and her fingers curl around him, holding him close, and she whispers his name over and over again, “Daddy, there,” “yes, Daddy,” “please, Daddy.” His arms snake around her, pulling her up when he sits back so that she’s on top of him, riding him, and he keeps a hand on her hips to guide the movement, up and down, and his thumb finds her clit and she…
It hits her suddenly, the climax making her cry out before Jamal claps a hand over her mouth, eyes squeezing shut tight while it spirals through her. He waits until she’s done to bury his face in her tits, biting and licking at one and then the other, and he forces her up and down on his cock until he finally shudders, and she feels the twitching inside of her, the warm spurt of cum inside her pussy. He holds her still while he cums, her arms around him, nuzzling his cheek, seeking his lips, and he finally lays her back down and pulls out of her, curling her against his broad chest.
“There you go, baby girl, there you go… was that good for you?”
Saturday night, 1 January 2011, AM
Celia: She has been to executions before. At Perdido House, with the rest of the city gathered together to witness the example of whoever had transgressed the laws of the city or the Camarilla. The first time she had been stunned that they would do things publicly, that their kind would hoot and holler and turn it into some sort of show. She had watched her sire swing the blade that took off the heads of those who had forfeited their right to eternity and wondered how much blood that saber of his has seen, how many souls it has claimed. Wondered, too, what he would do if she were dragged before him, if she were made to kneel, if her crimes were read to the eager audience.
Tonight, she finds out.
Tonight she stands with three others, her body torn apart by their claws, her dress shredded, makeup smeared down a face that isn’t even hers, every tiny movement a lesson in agony when her synapses fire and her nerves alight. She does not sway. A pair of hands keep her up, the only one of them afforded the “luxury” of a guard.
As if she would run.
As if she could run.
As if there is any place in the city where he would not find her even should she make it out the door. She’s seen him move. She knows the speed he possesses. Knows it as well as she knows herself. After all, he murdered her.
He does not read their crimes. He does not make a grand speech, does not wish them well in the afterlife, does not say a single word to those assembled. Her, the three licks, the ghoul behind her. He simply draws his blade. It arcs through the air. Once. Twice. So quickly that she did not see the gesture, that where once there were two Kindred now sit twin piles of ash.
He advances on her, his blade red with blood, his eyes as dead as the bare walls.
She won’t go out crying. Hadn’t she thought that once before, that she wouldn’t beg, wouldn’t scream, wouldn’t cry? She’d thought she would welcome her death with open arms. It comes for her now wearing the face of her sire. A hand in her hair, head tilted to the side. His fangs sink into her neck.
Friday night, 31 December 2010, PM
Celia: The call comes through shortly before 6 PM. The ID only says “Ray,” and when Celia picks up the phone she’s greeted by the cheery voice of Defallier’s driver.
“Good evenin’, Jasmine,” he says once she answers, “there’s an engagement for you tonight if you’d like it. Triple pay for the holiday and last minute of it all.”
The code is easy to decipher: the use of her “real” name means it’s a political thing and that Defallier doesn’t trust one of the usual girls with it. And a boon to top it off. It’s an interesting proposal. Celia can’t imagine why Defallier would feel the need to offer a boon on top of their usual arrangement. Must be juicy. She smiles, though she knows that the driver can’t see.
“I suppose I can make it work, Ray. Who am I meeting?”
“There’s my girl. Your old friend Martin is in town. I’ll swing by around eight. Apparently there’s a party; wear something sparkly.”
Celia laughs and says she’ll do just that. She hangs up and tosses the phone on her bed, wondering what in the fuck Defallier is doing sending her on a date with Martin Borges. She doesn’t know for sure whose boots he’s licking, but he’s got a powerful backer that’s keeping him fat and happy.
She assumes she’ll be briefed in the car, anyway, and sets the thought from her mind while she gets ready. A series of texts go out. First to Alana, letting her know she has a date tonight and to not wait up. A second to Randy, telling him the same thing. She cancels the ride he was supposed to give her and tells them both to enjoy their evening. His brothers need no text to her whereabouts; tonight they’re doing their own thing. Once she’s out of the shower she calls the lick she’s been seeing for the past year.
“Jade, babe, what’s up.” On the other end of the line Celia can clearly picture him taking a drag from a cigarette. She knows he doesn’t smoke, but he looks like the kind of guy who used to smoke. And if his slightly husky voice is anything to go by, she’s pretty sure that he did.
“Hey, Nico. I have some bad news.”
“Don’t tell me you’re bailin’ on me, babe.”
“You don’t sound surprised.”
“It’s New Year’s Eve. I figure a pretty girl like you got all sorta things keepin’ her busy tonight.”
Celia breathes a sigh of relief. She doesn’t need to, but the habit dies about as hard as she had.
“You’re not mad?” she asks.
“Nah. Disappointed, maybe, but I know you’re good for it.”
“I’ll make it up to you,” she tells him. He laughs.
“Yeah, babe, lookin’ forward to it. Have fun tonight. Give ‘em hell.”
“I always do.”
She hangs up to continue getting ready, pleased that Nico doesn’t seem too put out about canceling on him. It’s not the first time she’s had to do it, and he might throw a fit occasionally but she thinks it’s more to show he cares than any real concern over missed plans. She doesn’t tell him it’s whoring that she’s doing, of course, but he knows that she’s got an agreement with another lick that occasionally ties up her evenings.
Still, the “makeup sex” is always good.
With that thought in mind, Celia sits down in front of her vanity to do her face. Her literal face, using her fingers to sculpt and shape the skin and muscles to pull it into the face of the woman she will be tonight: Violet Moerani, real name Jasmine, one of Christina Robert’s most highly paid escorts. The bone structure remains the same—she isn’t yet so advanced that she can shift that around—but Celia doesn’t mind. The heart-shaped face is particularly appealing to her, and she uses her gift to enhance the natural beauty she was born with. Makeup follows, a primer followed by liquid foundation followed by a setting powder, blush, shadow across her eyes. She avoids sparkles with her makeup and picks a lip color that won’t feather or transfer; Whoring 101 means that the wife at home should never learn about the other woman through something careless like makeup or perfume. Black liner, black mascara, and a final spritz to set it all. She curls her hair and piles it atop her head in an easy, casual up-do, then moves across her haven to the walk-in closet.
The closet is organized into neat sections based on the face she’s wearing. Violet’s section has almost as many party dresses and gowns as Jade’s section; it doesn’t take her long to find the right sort of thing for this evening. Gold and black, it clings to her hips and waist and ends just above her knees, with a high neckline and sheer sleeves that end in cuffs at her wrists. A pair of strappy black heels and she’s ready to go.
She meets Ray down the block. He knows she lives in the area, just not which particular house, and she doesn’t intend to bring him up for coffee any time soon. There’s only so much trust she’s willing to show Defallier’s ghoul. She’s not even sure if he knows she’s a lick; she never asked. She keeps her aura shrouded when she’s wears these other faces of her, puts the Beast to sleep inside of her so that its scent cannot give her away. It’s the most frequently used tool in her kit and she’s glad to know it. Ray opens the door of the black SUV for her and she climbs inside, buckling in as he pulls away from the curb.
“Senator Borges?” she asks him, brows raised.
Ray flashes her a wide smile, white teeth shining.
“Requested you, Miss Moerani. Said he’d seen you at another function and has been thinking about what he wants to do to you.”
“Really?” Celia—Violet now—lifts her brows at the driver.
“Dossier in the box.”
Violet nods, reaching forward to pull the manila folder from the glove compartment. She flips through it, looking for the pertinent information. Positions he likes. Talking points. Requested information from Defallier. Known associates… ah, shit.
She had assumed as much, but this confirms it.
Dangerous night ahead of her, if this is the truth.
Friday night, 31 December 2010, PM
Celia: Violet appears to be the first arrival to the party. The house is lit up with leftover white Christmas lights and a handful of cars sit in the driveway, but when Violet rings the bell after Ray drops her off there’s no sound of partying coming from within. An overweight maid in a blue uniform answers the door and invites her in, though she doesn’t offer to take her coat. She simply says that Mr. Borges will be with her in a moment and to please wait over here.
She’s used to waiting. The elders play this game as well, where they make her wait when they summon her to a meeting. As if she hadn’t just waited nights to meet with them. Some make her wait longer than others—the Invictus, at least, know better than to waste each other’s time—but she has found the same sort of games played among the mortal men with whom she visits. No one wants to appear overeager to greet an escort.
Violet plays her role well. When the almost-obese man appears in the doorway in a black tuxedo with wing-tip shoes Violet lets her face relax into a pleased smile. Her heels click against the floor with every step that she takes toward him.
“Good evening, Senator Borges.” She kisses both of his cheeks, one after the other.
“Good evening, Miss Moerani. I’m pleased you were able to make it.”
“I was delighted to accept the invitation. Am I the first to arrive?”
“You’re the only arrival. Party isn’t here.”
“Oh?” She takes the arm that he offers her, her white French-tipped nails stark against the black outfit.
“Going to an event. Come on, then, you can blow me in the car.”
The pair slide into the back seat of a town car with tinted windows. Borges makes no secret of what she is in front of his driver, who must be used to it if his vacant look is any indication, but he puts up the privacy divider and Violet spends the ride on her knees with Borge’s cock in her mouth. It’s as thick as the rest of him, which gives her plenty of room to sink her fangs in. He might have intended for his date to swallow something else this evening, but by the time the car begins to slow Borges is singing her praises and says he’s “tempted to skip the damn party so you can do more of that, sweetheart.”
Violet merely smiles at him and licks her lips while he tucks himself away.
“We’re here,” the driver announces as the car stops. He knocks on the door before opening it, letting Borges slide out first. He turns to offer Violet a hand and she looks around to take in her surroundings as she steps from the car.
It’s a familiar sight. Large houses. Immaculately kept lawns. A wall all the way around the perimeter.
Audubon. Her stomach clenches. She can’t be in Audubon. She isn’t cleared to be here, and trying to get permission now… no, no, no, someone messed up, someone really dropped the ball on this one. The party was supposed to be at Borges’ house, not… not here. Not her sire’s domain. Not only that, but the house they’ve stopped at… Number 3 Audubon Place.
The dangerous locale aside, she can’t imagine why they’re here. Borges and Flores don’t play for the same team. She knows better than to furrow her brow, but the curiosity gnaws at her all the same.
Violet forces a smile at Borges when he reaches for her, sliding an arm around her waist. He leads her to the door, ignorant of the way her mind races. How is she going to get out of this one? Pretend she’s sick? Claim her period started? No, he’ll just want her on her knees again. She can make him think she drank or ate something funny, maybe. Family emergency… Defallier will be pissed, but it’s better than being caught here. Isn’t it? Something must be going on if Borges is gatecrashing a Republican party.
“Now, Miss Moerani,” Borges drawls, drawing her attention toward him, “if you can’t think of anythin’ clever to say, you just go ahead and let me speak for you, hm? Buncha politicking goin’ on behind these here doors. Just need you to smile pretty for me.”
“Yes, Senator Borges.”
“There’s a doll. And call me Martin here. Save the senator stuff for later.”
“Of course, Martin.” She simpers up at him, batting her lashes. Martin gives a firm nod and knocks on the door.
Seconds later the door swings open to reveal Maxen Flores. Violet’s stomach churns at the sight of him. She hadn’t thought that he’d stoop so low as to open his own door; isn’t that what the help is for? She’d expected to be able to slip quietly inside and avoid him the entire evening. The last time she’d seen him was just after he’d fucked Isabel; he’d been on his knees with his hands clutching his head, screaming. She can’t even stomach to watch him on TV but here he is now, standing two feet in front of her. The bald senator has an easy smile on his face. It dims noticeably when he sees who waits at his door. He doesn’t even pretend to be happy to see them.
“Senator Borges.” It sounds less like a greeting than a simple stating of his name. “To what do I owe this… presence?”
“Evenin’, Maxen,” Martin says with an easy smile. He ignores the way Maxen’s jaw tightens at the casual use of his name, plowing forward as if they’re old friends. “Had some business in the area that I thought could use a second set of eyes. And who better than a room fulla the GOP?”
Code? Has to be code. Maxen looks less surprised than annoyed. He flicks his gaze to Violet, eyes roving her body.
“Who’s this then?”
“This here is Violet Moerani. She’s new to the city, lookin’ to get into politics. I thought your party would be the perfect place to bring her.”
Maxen looks down at Violet and she can see it in his eyes: disgust. His lip doesn’t do so much as curl, but she’d been on the receiving end of that look enough times to know it when it’s leveled at her. Usually from the same people who wish she were on their arm instead of whoever she’d accompanied that night. She smiles up at him, then dips into a curtsy.
“Good evenin’, Senator Flores.” Her accent comes out a little more Southern than normal, but Martin doesn’t seem to notice. “I hope you don’t mind that I’ve accompanied Martin this evenin’, only he told me how you flipped the whole state legislature red for the first time in a real long time, an’ how you were elected at only twenty-five, an’ I jus’ couldn’t stay away.” Her eyes widen, lips parting slightly. “You’ve done a lot of good work for the state, sir, it’s a real pleasure to meet you. An’, don’t tell Martin,” she leans in, lowering her voice to a stage-whisper, “but I been playin’ for your team since my daddy taught me which way was up.”
Whatever distaste had been present moments ago on his face is wiped away by her words. His smile finally reaches his eyes and he steps back to let them in.
“Not often young women like you take an interest in politics,” he says.
“Oh no, sir, most of it goes right over our heads. But I know a winner when I see one.” She touches a hand to his shoulder when she passes him, leaving him smiling in her wake. Any response he might offer is interrupted by another knock on the door, and Maxen bids them a good evening with a lingering look at Violet before turning to greet his guests.
“Makin’ friends, darlin’?” Martin asks a moment later as they shuck their coats off to the hired help for the evening.
“I didn’t like the way he was lookin’ at us, Martin,” Violet confesses quietly. “I thought he might be passin’ judgment and it just didn’t sit right with me. You’re not mad, are you, on account of the team playin’?” She looks up into his eyes, expression earnest. It’s enough to earn a smile from him and he kisses her cheek when he takes her coat.
“’Course not. Think you made quite the impression on him, though. He’s been lookin’ your way since you left.”
“I s’pose it’s unfortunate for him that I’m here with you, then.” She wraps her hands around his arm, leaning in close to convey that very sentiment to the party at large.
“Well I don’t know about that, Violet,” he says slowly. “Wouldn’t mind watchin’ you work the room knowin’ that you’re comin’ home with me tonight. Why don’tcha see how many of ‘em you can wrap around your pretty little finger ‘fore midnight, then come find me for a kiss? Sight’a you workin’ your magic might getcha somethin’ real thick tonight.”
Violet bats her lashes at him. She leans in to kiss his cheek.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Senator,” she whispers in his ear. He swats her behind when she spins away, giggling, to make the most of her evening.
Friday night, 31 December 2010, PM
Celia: Violet shouldn’t be surprised that most of the people in the room are what she’d call bootlickers. People who want the favor of Maxen Flores or the other assorted politicos he invited to this event, people who want to donate to his cause or beg a favor. She recognizes a fair few of them from the news, one or two that she’s been with before—she winks at them when they look her way—and various people that she hasn’t. She isn’t surprised to see that she isn’t the only escort here this evening, though she and the other girls take care to avoid eye contact. They nod at one another over glasses of champagne, and two of them make a habit of disappearing down the hall to the bathroom together, presumably to talk shop, but Violet keeps her distance. She doesn’t need it getting back to Defallier that she’d been mingling with the others or accidentally blew her cover.
She’s in the middle of a chat with one of the Pavaghis when she hears his voice. As bland and empty as his eyes and smile, it can only belong to one person: Paul Simmons. She turns her head to see him giving that same forced, bland smile to the man in front of him—a cop, she thinks—and the light in her eyes dies.
She still remembers the way she’d gone to him for help. How she’d just wanted to know about her trust. Nineteen years old and she’d been desperate for a way out; rather than help he’d put her on her knees, told her to suck him like a popsicle. He’d let another man have her later when she’d tried to end their “relationship,” had held her down and licked her tears while the black man choked and face fucked her and finally blew his load all over her.
The memory stings, even now. She’d wanted to go after him after her devil’s bargain, had wanted to burn his house down with him inside of it. But Pete had told her who lives with him, and she… well, she’d stayed away. Has managed to avoid him since.
But of course he’s here. Why wouldn’t he be? He lives next door. He and Maxen serve the same master.
Violet turns her head away, but the Pavaghi—what was his name? Charlie?—notices her stare. He’s one of the few people in the room that’s young enough to be near her age, and he lifts his brows at her when he sees her grimace.
“Know him?” he asks.
“No,” Violet says. Violet doesn’t know Paul. “But he reminds me of someone I did know.”
“Back in Atlanta?”
“I never said I was from Atlanta.” Violet gives him a coy smile.
“Pavaghi.” Maxen’s voice cuts through the boy’s retort. Both of them turn to see the senator standing nearby with a flute of champagne in hand. “Who let you in?” She can’t believe the gall of the question until Charlie laughs. Forced, but laughter all the same.
“Your maid, Senator. Said the party was missing some charm.”
Maxen’s answering smile is tight.
“How did I know I’d find you with the pretty one?”
“Oh, Senator Flores, I hardly think he’s the only pretty face here tonight,” Violet says with a giggle. Both men smile at that, the tension evaporating at the simple sound of a pretty girl’s laugh. “Mr. Pavaghi here was tellin’ me that his uncle is in real estate, has some big plans for the city. Aren’t you in real estate as well, sir?”
“I was,” Maxen tells her. The expression that crosses his face flees just as quickly as it came, a gentle arching of his brows that puts a tiny little wrinkle in his forehead. She could smooth that out, she thinks. Keep him looking young, if she wanted.
“An’ it was all commercial, Senator? I hear that’s a real big market these days, better’n the housewives tryin’ to sell the little one- and two-bedroom places.” She takes a look around the house, as if appreciating the glamour and comfort his job had brought him, then returns her gaze to his face with a smile. “An’, if you don’t mind me sayin’ so, you’re a level three at Roux? How d’you find the time?”
Maxen has a harder time concealing his surprise at the mention of his martial arts practice.
“And how, Miss Moerani, do you know about that?”
Violet blushes a pretty shade of pink, lashes fluttering. Her eyes drop to the floor, then lift back to his face. She lifts her shoulders in a shy, uncertain gesture.
“I, ah, I saw you at the gym, Senator. I didn’t want to interrupt your set, an’ I know it’s probably real awkward havin’ people you don’t know come up to you in public, let alone at a place like that. An’ I was all sweaty, anyhow.”
Pavaghi excuses himself from their conversation, telling Violet that he hopes to see her later. Violet turns an earnest expression to Maxen.
“If I’m oversteppin’, sir—”
“Not at all,” Maxen cuts in. “I’m always happy to chat and hear a fresh perspective.”
That’s a lie if she’s ever heard one. But she smiles and nods, eager.
“You’re looking to get into politics?” he clarifies. She nods again. “Why don’t you send your resume over. I’ll see if I can find a place for you.”
Violet knows from his tone what sort of place he has in mind: on her knees. But she smiles at him and tells him she’ll do just that. He starts to turn away when she reaches for him, touching his hand to halt him in his tracks.
“Senator Flores, I don’t mean to be forward, but I overheard somethin’, an’ I know it’s not my place…”
Maxen gives her a look. His eyes rake her form, brows lifting. After a moment he nods.
“Midnight soon,” he says, “once the ball drops why don’t you find me and we can discuss it.”
“Yes, sir.” Violet smiles at him. He nods at her and turns away once more, leaving the girl alone with her thoughts. For a party at her father’s house, it’s certainly less hostile than she was expecting. The presence of Paul makes her wary, but the rest of the guests… well, the alcohol has flowed liberally this evening and she’d managed to snatch a few tidbits from the various political and legal attendees. Everyone wants to impress the pretty girl, after all.
Five minutes before midnight she makes her way back to Martin’s side. He’s entertaining a handful of corporate-looking gentlemen who chuckle at the punchline of his joke as Violet slides neatly into their circle with a drink in hand. Martin slips an arm around her shoulders and gives her a squeeze.
“Havin’ a good time, Violet?”
“Always, Martin. But the ball is droppin’ soon and I wanted to make sure I could get a good luck kiss from you once it does. Get my year started off right.”
A few men chuckle at that. Violet doesn’t doubt that most of them wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with her at midnight, either. Two of them blatantly eye her, but she keeps her gaze on Martin. He’s her client this evening, so he’s where her attention stays. His hand slides from her shoulders to her waist, fingers tracing small circles against her sequined dress. Their resumed conversation washes over her. Nothing important. Golf statistics, she thinks. She’s content to simply be admired for a few moments, proverbial arm candy.
The countdown begins. The crowd chants along with it, all eyes on the large flat-screen in the corner that shows the coverage in New York.
Someone drops a glass in the kitchen. The sound echoes through the room.
Maxen shoots an annoyed glance at the wait staff.
One of the waiters slips into the kitchen to clean it up.
Martin pulls Violet close. His lips brush the crown of her head.
Paul stares at her from across the room.
In a corner of the room, Charlie whispers in a girl’s ear.
The scent of blood wafts out of the kitchen.
Violet meets Paul’s stare. He lifts his brows, his bland smile still in place.
Charlie moves toward the door.
A chorus of “Happy New Year!”s go up from the assembled crowd. People lift their glasses. Music plays from the TV. Violet turns to Martin, rising to the tips of her toes to press a kiss against his lips. His hands fondle her rear.
She giggles as she pulls away, softly chiding him for his behavior in such a public place. He taps a finger against her nose and tells her that there’s more waiting for her when he gets her back home, to which she blushes prettily. She’s content to lean against him for a moment, enjoying the warmth of his body against her. He isn’t who she wants to be with this New Years Eve, but… is anyone, really? No one she has access to. Holidays for the last few years have made her more lonely than not. Even with Emily and her mother around… well, it’s not quite the same as how she imagined spending her life.
“Who is this treat?” Paul’s voice sounds from behind her. Violet turns, Martin’s arm still around her waist, to see him standing just behind the pair. She reminds herself that, as Violet, she has no reason to hate him. She smiles from beneath her lashes.
“Hello, sir. I’m Violet. I’m Senator Borges’ guest for this evenin’.”
“Violet, is it?” Paul doesn’t quite leer, but she gets the impression that he knows. Only there’s no possible way for him to know anything about her. She doesn’t even look like herself.
“Yes, sir,” she tells him. She holds out her hand. His touch sends shivers down her spine, made all the worse when he lifts her hand to his lips and presses a kiss against the back of it.
“This is Paul Simmons.” Maxen stands beside them. Come over to hear what she’d had to say to him earlier, she bets. He looks between the pair of them with a furrowed brow.
“It’s wonderful to meet you, Mr. Simmons,” Violet says to him. She takes her hand back, making a conscious effort not to wipe it off on her dress.
“New to the city, Violet?” Simmons asks.
“Sort of,” Violet tells him. “I’ve been here about a year.”
“And you’re meeting all the right people, hm?”
Violet smiles uncertainly.
“Yes, Mr. Simmons, thank you for askin’. Everyone has been real polite down here.”
“Awful kind of the Senator to let you in when you didn’t have an invitation of your own.”
Violet smiles again, but underneath it her body has gone cold. He knows. He knows she’s not supposed to be here. Maybe he doesn’t know who she is, not the particulars, but he knows, somehow, despite the masking she’d done earlier.
“Well I was hardly expectin’ it, Mr. Simmons, I just got an invite from Martin here. An’ who can say ‘no’ to this face?” She strokes his cheek as if he isn’t paying her for the privilege.
“Who indeed.” Paul’s smile is thin. His eyes practically glitter beneath the glasses perched on his nose. “Lucky you that he’s provided such ample fare, hm?”
“Oh I’ve hardly touched a bite, Mr. Simmons.”
“Keeping herself in shape,” Martin chortles. He pinches her rear. Violet jumps and swats at his hand, but the heat is saved for her cheeks. They turn a delicate shade of pink with the eyes on her.
“Yessir, as he says.” She looks to Maxen, searching for an out. “Senator Flores, I’m sorry to ask, but will you point me to your washroom?”
“Certainly, Violet.” He lifts a hand to gesture toward where she knows it is, but Martin stymies him with a shake of his head.
“I’ll show her where it’s at, Senator. You go on and enjoy your party, hear?”
Maxen’s smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes, but he dips his head and turns away. Paul gives Violet a final bland smile—oh god she’s in trouble—and follows in his wake.
“Come on, then,” Martin says to her, arm around her waist, “nothin’ like a blowie in someone else’s house to make a man feel alive. Didn’t like the way he was looking at you, neither. Think he knows what you are?”
A whore, Violet realizes he means. Not a lick like she’d been thinking. She wraps her hands around Martin’s arm as he escorts her through the crowd.
“I don’t think so, Martin.”
“H’aint one of your friends, is he?”
“A lady doesn’t kiss and tell,” she chides him, giggling.
“Oh you’d be surprised,” someone cuts in. “Some do.”
Violet stops in her tracks, Martin beside her. A mid-twenties, heavily tattooed man stands in front of them in a black suit, his hair slicked back. He doesn’t smile so much as leer, steel-blue eyes raking her body. They linger on her waist, where Martin’s hand firmly rests, and then lift to the pair of them.
What is he doing here? How is he here? Why is he here? Violet stares, caught fast by the eyes and lazy smile that had lured her in not so long ago. He must be shadow dancing, she thinks, covering up the tattoos and the very real appearance that does not fit in with this crowd. But she can see it. She can see, very clearly, that he does not belong.
“Hello, gorgeous.” He reaches out to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. “What’s a pretty thing like you doin’ with this oaf?”
Beside her, Martin blusters.
“Go home, old man,” Nico says to him, peering into his eyes. “Go home and forget all about this little beauty on your arm. You struck out with the ladies tonight.”
Martin jerks. After a moment he nods his head, turning to go. Violet watches him with wide eyes, but he doesn’t even make it to the door before she’s pulled flush against Nico’s body. She closes her eyes and hears him laugh, cool fingers against her cheek.
“That won’t protect you,” he whispers in her ear. She shivers.
“Wha… what do you want?” She puts the right amount of tremor in her voice, makes it breathy and wavering. Just like a normal girl in this situation would feel. Inside, her mind races. She could reveal herself. They’re dating. He doesn’t know about this trick of hers, this identity, doesn’t know that she parades as a whore. But that’s easy enough to explain. But if he’s here… why is he here?
“Same thing every man wants,” he tells her. “The prettiest girl at the party.”
“You shouldn’t be here,” she manages.
He laughs, running a thumb across her lips. The charm pours out of him and forces her to look at him, to see the smirk on his face, the amusement in his eyes.
“What’s stoppin’ me, eh? The man in charge? Met him. Not impressed.” He leans in, lips brushing her ear. “In fact, between you and me, he ain’t long for this world. ‘Course, neither are you, sweetheart, which is why I don’t mind saying it.”
He tugs her hand, pulling her out onto the impromptu dance floor. Couples sway around them. Nico lifts her arms to put her hands on his shoulders, then slides his hands back down her body to her waist.
“What?” she asks.
“Oh, sweet, don’t look so alarmed. So many politicos in one place, though, who could pass that up.” He keeps her close, twirling and dipping with her in time to the music. “Shame you got caught up in it. Tell you what, tell me a secret and I’ll whisk you away from here. You can be my pet. How’s that sound?”
Violet blinks at him. She flicks her tongue across her lips, glancing away. Her eyes dart down the hallway she’d been heading toward just moments ago. Maxen’s office is down that way, just beyond the restroom. If she can get him alone… But he’s not alone, is he? How many others are there? Who would have the balls to attack a gathering like this in the sheriff’s territory? Right next door to his haven, too. Savoy? It’s not like he’d tell her, not after last time. But it’s so public… the Baron, maybe?
Her gaze flits back toward Nico. Her lashes flutter.
“Oho,” he muses, “you really are a slut. Trying to fuck your way out of this? I’ll bite.”
“I bet you will,” she says, voice breathy.
She sees them then. They appear in his mouth in a flash and are gone just as quickly. Fangs.
Violet drains the blood from her face. She misses a step of their dance, stumbling into him. He catches her easily against his chest as she knew that he would, holding her close. Does he have no intention of preserving the sanctity of the Masquerade? How could he flash his fangs like that? She stares up at him, lips half-parted, unable to even fathom how someone normal would react in this situation. Fear? Confusion? Lust? She tries it on, a combination of all three, slipping into it like she would a floor-length gown. She shivers when his hands trace idle circles down her back, holds back a delicate gasp when he presses his lips to her brow.
“I just wanted… privacy,” she manages.
“How can I deny your dying wish?” He slides an arm around her waist, pulling her beside him as he steps through the crowd. People part around them without even giving them a look. Violet lets him lead her to the hall, the office at the end. She doesn’t ask how he knew it was there; she can only imagine that if he’d gotten into the party he’d done his research on the house itself, too. Better this way. She can tell him to get out once they’re alone.
Nico doesn’t let go of Violet even once they’re alone in the office. He pulls her in front of him once more, his fingertips brushing down her cheeks. It’s the same move he does when she’s Jade, the same tender way he touches her before he tilts her chin back and presses a kiss to her lips. It always makes her weak in the knees.
No different than when he does it now, leaning in with his fingers curling through her hair, cradling the back of her head with his palm. Her heart thuds in her chest.
“Don’t,” she whispers, his lips a hair’s breadth away from her own.
“No?” he asks. He meets her gaze. “But you want it. And it will feel so, so delicious…” he purrs the word right in her ear, tilting her chin to meet her eyes once more before she can do so much as shudder. “Stay still, stay quiet.”
The force of the command behind his words washes over her. Her mouth closes.
“There’s a good girl,” he murmurs, stroking her hair. “Shame you were here, isn’t it, you’re kind of cute. I bet my girl would love you.”
Violet struggles against the command, fighting to break free of the orders he had given her. They reside within her mind as much as her body; the very idea of moving, of speaking, fill her with a sort of dread, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. She just can’t. Not only can she not, she doesn’t even think that she wants to. What’s the worst that happens? He’ll bite her soon enough, find out the truth of things.
It happens like she thinks it will. He strokes her cheek. Turns her head to the side. Exposes the fangs in his mouth, fangs that have sunk into her so many times before. His lips touch hers, then descend steadily lower. The tips of his fangs caress her skin.
She pitches forward, lost in the ecstasy of his kiss.
Abruptly, it ends. She sees the blood on his lips, the confusion in his eyes.
The word cuts off. Now it’s him pitching forward, knocking her aside as his body collapses onto the ground. Jade gives a startled yelp when she sees the stake sticking out of his back… and the man behind him.
Her mask slides firmly back into place. Her hand flies to cover her mouth, eyes widening. Her gaze alternates between Nico and Paul, as if she doesn’t understand.
“Save it,” Paul snaps at her. It’s the sharpest she has ever heard his voice. “I know what you are, and I know that you’re trespassing.” He holds another stake. Violet lifts her hands, taking a step backwards.
“Mr. Simmons, I’m not with them, I swear—”
“I’ll let the sheriff sort you—”
His knees give out, body collapsing. Violet stares, unable to comprehend what has happened until the first bit of blood appears on his body. He gapes up at her, mouth moving wordlessly. The blood spreads across his shirt, pools beneath him. His attacker materializes beside her, claws red. He swipes at her abdomen. Violet stumbles backwards and ducks out of the way of his claws, her own nails growing into long, sharp things. She launches herself at him, teeth bared, blood pumping through her body to give her the strength she needs to take him out.
Their tussle leaves her in a bloody heap on the floor, the other lick stretched out over her. His fangs distend past his lips, ready to sink into her helpless body—
Until she plunges the stake Paul brought into his chest.
She shoves his paralyzed form off of her, staring down at the shredded dress, the skin beneath it that has been torn apart. She’s fine. She’ll be fine. Can’t leave, not like this, but if she can get upstairs, steal something out of a closet… Beside her, Paul gasps, the sound wet and ragged.
She should let him die.
She should let him bleed out on the ground, the fucker, he deserves it.
She should. But she doesn’t. She pierces her wrist with her fangs, pressing it to his mouth. For a moment he lies still… and then he sucks at her wrist, drinking it down mouthful after mouthful. After a moment he closes his hands around her arm, sucking greedily, his lips stained red by the vitae that she offers.
“Enough,” she says, pulling away. Paul stares at her, for once not giving her that bland, fake smile of his. No, he looks at her like they all do when they’re given a taste of the red: like an addict who hasn’t had nearly enough, who is so close to getting their fix that they’ll do anything for it. “Call your master.”
A third. A third lick, and this one bigger than the other two. He’s got a knife in his hand, a gun tucked into his belt. His other arm stretches beyond the doorway. He gives a tug and the man he’d been holding comes into view, stumbling a step before he rights himself. Bald head. Black suit. Maxen.
What are they going to do, kill him?
Christ, she should let them. She’s fantasized about it long enough. Kill Maxen, kill Paul, rip the stake out of Nico and run.
“Get over there. Go stand by the whore.” He shoves. Maxen moves into the room with as dignified a walk as he can, his eyes moving over Violet’s torn body, Paul’s bloody shirt, the two men with stakes sticking out of their chests. He doesn’t say anything. Doesn’t ask the obvious question: what the fuck is going on here? Point in his favor, she has to admit. If she were him she might have dropped all semblance of composure the moment she saw two bodies with stakes in them. Maybe it’s not new to him. Maybe his memories of the night he met his master weren’t edited, maybe he remembers every thrust inside his daughter’s cunt because she told him to do it. Hard to imagine her sire being that sloppy. Maybe he’s the other thing, the one that isn’t him, the second Maxen she had seen the night she died. Maybe he knows all about this.
“Fuckin’ renfields,” the lick spits. Violet doesn’t recognize him. He steps into the room, eyes narrowed at Paul. Violet presses a hand to her stomach, playing the role of wounded kine. He looks right past her, doesn’t even register that she’s a threat. And maybe she isn’t. Half-dead, caught up in a plot that’s way above her paygrade, unable to even take out this one.
The lick moves across the room, every gesture fluid. His shirt strains to contain the size of his chest, the muscles firm underneath it. He stops just shy of where she’s still sprawled on the floor, green eyes flicking down toward her.
“Waste of blood, innit?” He bends, yanks her to her feet. “Nothin’ personal, sweetheart, but no witnesses.”
Violet strikes first. The power surges out of her, sinking into him as easily as the claws had sunk into Paul’s gut. He looks down at her, stars in his eyes, hesitating just long enough for her to sink her teeth into his neck. He groans, pushing her back against the wall, but Violet has no intention of fucking him; a jerk of her head has his throat torn out and his body collapsing into unconsciousness. He lands on the floor in a heap.
Paul rises, reaching into his pocket for a phone. Maxen blusters behind them, demanding to know what is going on. Neither one of them answer him. There’s no time. Because before Paul even finishes his call a presence makes itself known in the room. A chill that strikes her to her very core.
And there he is. Standing in the doorway, clad in his usual black, his face an unreadable icy mask.
She opens her mouth and never gets the chance to say anything. Pain explodes at the back of her head. The world goes dark.
Saturday night, 1 January 2011, AM
Celia: Donovan lets go of her. She crumples, caught only by the man standing behind her. His arms encircle her waist. Large, black hands. Familiar hands. Her blood isn’t visible against the dark skin. She makes no attempt to hold herself up, letting him support her weight.
Her sire doesn’t say anything. He simply stands and stares. Expectant. Waiting for her to offer an excuse. Waiting for her to defend her actions. But there is no defense, is there? He’s right. She has done all that.
Maybe it would be better if he paced, if he raged, if he showed any sort of emotion. The weight of his gaze makes her bow her head. The floor offers no answer to her troubles, no matter how long she stares at it.
“I tried to stop them,” she says quietly. “I tried to prevent it from happening. I…” She doesn’t know what else to say. She hurts. Everything hurts. She hadn’t wanted to mend, hadn’t wanted to risk a frenzy in his territory. Another mess to clean up. She won’t do that to him. But she wishes she had. That she’d fed from one of the licks she’d downed, at least, which isn’t technically poaching and would have let her face him with full coherence.
“I tried to protect him—”
“He’s yours. They’re both yours.”
“He is your lover.” No inflection in his voice, nothing but a stony mask when she lifts her eyes to see his face.
“Yes, sire,” she whispers. She bows her head once more, hair falling in front of her face. “I’m sorry. I’m… I’m sorry. I tried to stop it as soon as I knew, I…” It doesn’t matter what she tried to do. Only what she had done. And she had failed.
“I broke the rules,” she says to the floor, admitting her transgressions.
Broke the Masquerade. Violated the laws of his domain. A drink from his wrist, usually, but in this case… in this case she thinks it’s worse.
The weight of his gaze bears down on her. It makes her want to squirm, makes her want to fall to her knees and beg him for mercy. She does neither. He has no mercy. She lifts her eyes but not her chin, defiance fleeing in the wake of earnest sincerity, in the need to set things right between them. She’d fucked up. It’s as simple as that. She’d gotten involved in something way over her head and she’d… she’d fucked up.
No wonder he doesn’t acknowledge her as his.
The thought stings.
“Your word is law,” she says quietly. “I… I accept my punishment.” Her eyes briefly close. He’ll kill Nico. Maybe not her, maybe he’ll spare her, but Nico… Nico will die. He’ll go the way of his two friends for starting this shit and become another pile of ash on the floor. No one will miss him. No one but her.
“And his,” she tacks on, voice no more than a whisper. “I accept his punishment as well. If you’ll spare him.”
She doesn’t see the expression on his face. Doesn’t lift her eyes from the floor. But she hears the steady pace of his boots striking the ground as he leaves.
Saturday night, 1 January 2011, AM
Celia: Back with Jade’s face, the Blackwatch guards lead her into the room. Cement floors beneath the steel overlay, gently sloped toward the center drain. Easy cleaning, she imagines, just hose it all down. The walls display the cruelties of his imagination, chains and cuffs and devices she assumes can only cause pain. A St. Andrew’s cross sits in one corner, a large wooden wheel with steel spikes next to it. Beyond that various tools and fixtures: stocks, a pillory, an iron chair, an iron maiden. All of them look well used and well cared for.
His, she wonders, or the other’s?
Jade can’t help but stare.
And there, in the center of the room, Nico. Bound with his hands behind his back, kneeling, a hood over his head. But Jade knows it’s him. Knows that he is the sole survivor of the three who invaded the sheriff’s domain; she’d watched him take the heads off the other two already. Her heart leaps.
“Another has accepted your punishment,” Donovan tells Nico. He stands over the bound and kneeling lick. “You are banished from the archdiocese on pain of final death.”
Nico stays silent for a long moment. When he finally speaks, a bitter laugh precedes his words.
“Final death or banishment? Yeah, easy choice. Who’s the sap getting ashed instead of me?”
The guard behind him yanks off his hood. Nico looks up to see Jade. His mouth falls open, then his expression hardens. He turns angry eyes on the sheriff, though they are not without a hint of wariness. Celia has seen few licks able to entirely forget their fear around her sire.
“What the fuck is this?”
“You are aware,” Donovan answers coolly.
“You can’t seriously—”
“Nico,” Jade cuts in. “Just go.”
“I’m not letting you die for me. She didn’t do anything,” he says to the sheriff. “Let her come with me, at least. Banish the both of us.”
Donovan doesn’t so much as glance at his childe.
“She may perish or you both may perish. Decide."
Jade flinches at the words. The knife in her heart twists, gaze dropping to the floor. This is it, then. She’d taken on his debt, assumed the responsibility for his transgressions, and she will die for it.
He must make a motion or give some other signal because the men holding her drag her forward. They lift her arms to slap metal cuffs around her wrists, then crank a lever to pull her arms up over her head and further still, until she dangles from the ceiling with just the tips of her toes touching the floor. The position puts strain on her shoulders, stretching the joint. She doesn’t make a sound.
“No,” Nico says flatly.
“So be it,” whispers the sheriff.
She can’t see either one of them from where she hangs, just the wall of devices in front of her. But she hears the thump, the grunt, someone moving, shoes against the ground. Someone presses a blade to the back of her neck and she closes her eyes. But pain never comes. There’s a flick, a whisper of steel against her skin, and her already destroyed dress parts in the back. Another flick cuts through the strap of her bra, then her panties. The scraps of fabric flutter to the ground.
And pain explodes across her back. She shrieks, the sound guttural, torn from her throat in a ragged gasp that leaves her panting despite her lack of compulsion to breathe. Jade presses her face against her arm just in time to catch another flash of pain in her back. Another cry ripples up from inside of her, presents itself to her audience. Her fingers close around the chains that bind her to the ceiling. A third band of searing agony across her back, her body rocking forward with the force of the blow. She shuts her eyes against the fire in her nerves. It doesn’t help. Again, again, again, the blows rain down on her. She can’t breathe, can’t think, can’t move; she simply hangs, helpless before the fury of her sire. It has to be him. It has to be. His hand wielding the whip. His arm bringing it to bear against her. His rage that he works out on her back.
Her back is a red ruin by the time it stops, her skin broken and stripped down to the bone. Blood trickles down her back, down the cheeks of her ass, down the backs of her thighs. It drips onto the floor, just another thing to be washed away when they clean the room. She sags against her bindings, unable to even lift her head when someone’s boots sound against the floor. She sees black pants, a black dress shirt, feels hands on her face…
Nico in front of her, his eyes hard, his mouth set in a thin line. He lifts her chin, makes her look at him, and she can smell the blood on him. Her blood. The backsplash of what he had done to her when he hit her over and over again. He has the strength to do it, she knows. Because Donovan had made him? Or because he values his existence more than her own? Is he pleased that she has offered herself in his place, that she will face her sire’s blade so he can go?
Is she as stupid as her father, Paul, and Donovan think she is?
Sanguine teardrops leak from her eyes. Nico leans in. He presses a kiss against her lips, whispers two words to her. Then he’s gone.
“Salt,” someone says from behind her. Not her sire, but someone else. A voice she doesn’t know.
“Lemon juice,” someone else adds.
There’s a grunt. She shrieks all over again when they rub the literal salt into her wounds, when they douse her with lemon juice. She shrieks and writhes and pulls at her bindings, until the searing pain turns white hot, until her throat gives out, until she can’t even manage to contract her muscles to try to escape.
She might not be able to slip her bonds, but her Beast has no trouble snapping the leash after it has been frayed by an evening of abuse. The red haze descends over her. She turns into a snarling, slavering mess, her broken body jerking and twisting, teeth gnashing at nothing. Mocking laughter cuts through to her; she howls, head thrown back as the sound rips from her maw, fangs tearing into her own arm. The taste of her blood does little to quell the monster inside her chest. It rages on, all sense of purpose lost to the single-minded desire to fight or feed. To rip, tear, kill. To slaughter, sink its teeth into the kine who dare touch her, swallow mouthful after mouthful of hot, red blood. She yowls and thrashes against the bindings until it, too, exhausts itself.
When the Beast recedes she’s left hanging. Alone again. Abandoned by her lover. Abandoned by the very thing that their kind have in common, the Beast inside that tugs at the reins. She prods at it, urging it to wake up again, to let her fade into the red mist, to accept the pain on her behalf. It ignores her, pacing instead like a sullen tiger inside the bars of a cage.
She hangs, limp, until it’s over.
They let her down. Her body hits the ground hard, knees cracking against the steel.
She’s tossed over someone’s shoulder. The black man who had held her earlier. He isn’t gentle when he carries her from the room. All she can see is the floor beneath his feet, pavement, a familiar doormat, sterile carpet. Paul’s house. Steps. No, no, no. Bare hallway. Why? A beep, then a door opening. It closes behind them. The man deposits her onto a bed—she whimpers again when her back hits the sheets, recoiling from the sensation, but he grabs her wrists and holds her still.
“Hush,” he tells her. She knows that voice. That face. It’s been a while, but…
Jamal looks surprised, but he nods.
“Sheriff’s house. You’re his guest until he says otherwise. Whippings twice nightly.”
Her eyes close. Whippings. Just like that one. She’s tired. So tired. Sun isn’t even up yet and she wants to curl into a ball and let the sweet oblivion of daysleep claim her.
“You hungry?” he asks. Celia looks up at him. He can’t mean it. Slowly, she nods. He takes her wrists, the movement pulling at her back and making her whimper once more, but he doesn’t halt the motion. He pins them above her head with one hand, warns her that if she loses control he’s going to beat her senseless, and finally holds his other wrist over her mouth.
Celia doesn’t hesitate. She sinks her teeth into his skin. His blood fills her mouth, warm and wet and exactly what she needs. She draws it forth, mouthful after mouthful, sucking eagerly at the wound. He tastes like tightly coiled control. Like anger waiting to happen. Like sex. Hot, peppery, heady. Before she’s even close to done he pulls his hand away. She whines, licking her lips, but Jamal isn’t gone for long. He spreads her thighs with his hands. He settles himself over her and thrusts inside of her.
Celia’s back arches, a moan torn from her throat as Jamal fills her. Her back aches too much for her to do more than simply lie there and take it, but Jamal doesn’t seem to need anything more than that from her. He’s content to take what he wants. He grunts as he fucks her. It doesn’t take long; within moments he stills, cock spasming inside of her, and Celia shudders as he withdraws.
“Never fucked a vampire before.” He hadn’t even pulled his pants all the way down; it’s a simple fix to tug them back to where they belong. He rises, buckling his belt. “Thought it’d be better than that.”
Celia makes a noise that might be a laugh.
“Can’t enjoy it,” she gets out through gritted teeth. “Most of us. Don’t put effort in.”
“Nerves are dead,” she tells him. “We feel pain. But nothing good. The blood is sex.”
“You were wet,” he points out.
Celia laughs again, the sound hollow.
“I’m different. I can enjoy it. Still…”
She stares at him.
“Heartbeat. Warm. You breathe. Sheriff don’t.”
He stares at her a moment longer. Then he’s gone without so much as a goodbye.
Celia sinks back into the bed, trying to think about anything besides the pain in her back. He’d given her blood. Why? Had Donovan told him to? Or is he trying to get her in trouble? Should she mend? She stares at the door as if the answer will appear to her.
It doesn’t. The door remains solid steel. Blank.
Celia closes her eyes. Her consciousness pulls inward. She breathes, but only to give herself something to count by. In, two three four. Out, two three four. Her back throbs in tempo with the heart she forces to beat. She sinks into it. Lets the pain wash over her, fill her. Bright red at the center with black edges, overwhelming in its all-encompassing absolution. Black circles bloom in her field of vision. Her chest lifts as her lungs expand. In, two three four. Her lungs empty and her chest falls. Out, two three four. She breathes. For long moments she simply lies back and breathes.
Her mind takes stock of her body. Her back has been stripped raw; every tiny movement she makes sends ripples of agony swirling through her. Her breath stops. Her heart stops. Silence. Less pain this way. In her mind she sees the wounds across her back brought on by her lover’s hand, the exposed muscle and bone. Her sire could have done worse, she knows. He could have done way worse. Reduced her to nothing. She turns her energy to that thought, the fact that he didn’t. He’s angry—very angry—but not enough to kill her. Did her blood protect her, she wonders, or was it when she’d stopped the attack on Maxen, when she’d prevented Paul from bleeding out on the floor?
Does it matter?
She forces the blood to the area. Begins the process of mending her body. The blood vessels reconnect, the muscles grow, the flesh slowly knits itself back together.
She’s hungry again when it’s over. But there’s no more blood to have.
She wakes to her sire standing over her. He doesn’t say a word. Celia rises. She turns her back to him. His fingers are cool against her skin; she shivers, eyes closing, as he runs a hand down the smooth skin of her back.
He draws his blade.
Celia bites through her own lip to keep from screaming when it whistles down upon her. The flat of it tears her open as effectively as the whip last night. Again, again, again, each blow preceded by a sharp whistle through the air, punctuated by tearing skin, burning down her back.
When it’s over he leaves without a word, and Celia collapses into a heap on the ground.
Hours later, Jamal finds her. He offers his wrist. He fucks her again. She mends. Donovan comes back to repeat the process. She sleeps. She wakes and he’s in front of her once more. She offers her back. He whips her. Jamal feeds her. He fucks her. Donovan whips her. She sleeps. Donovan whips her. Jamal fucks her. Donovan whips her. She sleeps.
So it goes, night by night. Hunger is her constant companion, a mindless thirst that threatens to turn her into the slavering Beast inside of her. She beats it back, barely, the first night, and again on the following. The third evening it slips its bonds on Donovan’s second visit as soon as the sword whistles down upon her. But she’s a child attacking an adult, a kitten to his leopard. She’s missing her fangs when she comes to, ripped or cut or torn out of her mouth. She tongues the holes they leave behind.
She hates her weakness. Hates that it has the strength to take over her body, take over her mind, reduce her to nothing. Never again, she promises herself. If she makes it out of this she will never again give in to the thing inside of her. She will never again misstep. Will never give him cause to hurt her like this again, will never take action to cause such disappointment in the eyes of her sire. She wants him to acknowledge her, and this is how she does it? Failing? No. Never again. She can become ice. She will become ice. Like him. Strong, steady, lethal. She searches for the lesson in the pain, commits it to her memory. She is weak. This will make her stronger. How many times do they beat a sword before they deem it complete? She is the sword. She will be the sword, forged in the wake of his ire. Entire cultures do this to their people, make themselves harder by cutting into their own skin, letting it scar, repeating the process. That’s all this is. Scarification. She clings to that.
Some small, pathetic part of her is grateful for his attention.
She doesn’t beg. She never stoops to begging him. To asking him not to hit her, not to hurt her. It’s his job, she knows that. To teach her. To punish her when she gets it wrong. The road to success is paved with wrong answers, didn’t someone tell her that once? Had said that in front of her teachers she’s allowed to be wrong? The fact that he keeps this lesson private tells her all she needs to know: his attention is a gift, his sword just another tool. Like books or pencils or protractors, only this has a sharper edge to it. He does not humiliate her by dragging her before the court, by listing her transgressions to the city. He just corrects her path.
And she is grateful. Humbled by his restraint, that he would show such mercy to her. Sheltering her. Feeding her. Guiding her. Every blow makes her stronger. Every sound pulled from her throat is one less that someone else can take. She does not revel in her weakness; she sheds it, a snake who has outgrown its skin, a flower whose roots tangle until steady hands move her to a larger pot. His presence lights her way. He corrects her mistakes, listens to her cries of pain, forces her Beast to submit when it slips its cage. Pain: the great equalizer. She does not fear his wrath. She does not shrink from his attention. He is her sire. He chose her.
They’re the same. Not in the way that he and his other childe are the same, not in frigid aloofness, but the same for the masks that they wear, the same for the games that they play. She is part of him. She has been inside of him. He took her into himself that night, body and mind, showed her his truth, saw hers in turn. That understanding is more intimate than she has ever been, can ever be, with anyone else.
She loves him for it.
He knows. He has to know the depth of her affection. Her single-minded devotion to his cause, his promise, his success. His happiness, a shy part of her adds; she desires that with a longing she has felt for little else in her years of life and unlife. Young yet, she knows, but how brightly that yearning burns inside of her. It would consume her if she let it. If he asked it of her. She’d burn.
For him? Oh, yes, she’d burn. Gladly walk into that raging inferno, let the flames lick her skin, feel it split and crack beneath the gaze of the embers.
Her Beast rattles its cage, rakes its claws upon her insides at the very thought of burning. Smolder, she tells it, soothes it, calms it. Smoldering. It’s as good a word as any, and the vernacular is not so implosive as the other raw, jagged words adjacent to “fire.” Smoldering, like coal on the grill after it’s been put out. Like the fire he had taken from her the night of her Embrace, the warmth he had sucked out of her with her lifeblood. She’d thought it had guttered out. But no, there it is, waiting to be rekindled.
She hadn’t done it for Nico. The realization strikes her one evening as Jamal slips inside, pressing her torn and bloodied back against the bed while he takes what he wants from her, pumping away between her thighs. She hadn’t done it for her lover. She’d done it for herself. For her sire. For their lineage, for their connection. To prevent his soul from being tainted by another unlife taken. For Nico, yes, but because he couldn’t survive this, wouldn’t survive this. She has seen his rage; she knows that he would break beneath the iron hammer. But her? Oh, no, she is a survivor. She will bend.
Pain lances down her back when she moves. She forces her skin to knit back together, forces the muscles into place. And despite Jamal’s size, despite his strength, she flips them. Legs around his waist, breasts bouncing, she rides him. His eyes widen for a moment before his hands touch her hips, her nipples, her ass, groping and squeezing with his large hands. She doesn’t get fucked, not this time. This time she fucks him. This time she throws her head back as she grinds down on top of him, searching for her own release in a selfish drive toward the finish line. She finds it quickly, her entire body tensing and releasing, spasms running through her, lightning shooting from her core outwards. She cums. She doesn’t stop. She takes what she wants from the kine beneath her, takes his cock as deep as she likes it, rides him the way that she wants to ride him. She shows him how a woman fucks a man.
When it’s done, when he has finished inside of her and she has exhausted herself, when his dick has finally started to go limp, Celia slides off of him. She hits the bed and rolls onto her side, listening to him dress. He leaves without a word.
Hours later, she takes her lashes from her sire. They hurt no less this time than they had earlier in the evening, but her Beast stays locked inside her chest.
The next evening he visits again, lashes her again, and she pushes the Beast down when it threatens to snarl and snap in his face. Jamal finds her waiting for him. She pulls him to her as soon as he locks the door behind him, tugging at his belt, hand snaking beneath his pants to stroke him hard. She uses her mouth, her hands, the graze of her fangs against him, lapping at his blood. Just a sip. Enough to keep the Beast from clawing to the surface. Then she takes him inside of her, pulling him so that her freshly regrown back is against the wall, legs around his waist. She finds her release, crying out as it washes over her. Not his name. Not his face that she looks at. She closes her eyes and sees the face she wants pressing her against the wall. Hears his voice in her ear, like a crack splitting the side of a glacier. Cold hands, cold lips, cold eyes. She sees it.
Jamal fucks her. Donovan whips her. She sleeps. Donovan whips her. Jamal fucks her. Donovan whips her. She sleeps. On and on. Night after night, until she no longer knows how long it’s been, no longer counts the seconds and minutes and hours as they tick by, no longer knows the tally of how many sword strokes upon her back. Until Nico’s face stops swimming in front of her every time she closes her eyes.
Jamal stands over her. Her sire is nowhere in sight. She stares. She’s limp when he reaches for her, pulling her into his arms as if she weighs nothing. Not over his shoulder like before, but with one arm beneath her knees, the other around her back. Celia doesn’t fight him; she lets him carry her out of the room, down the hall. The bathroom. He puts her in the shower and turns the water on. He scrubs her back for her, washes her hair, and never says anything.
Celia finds her voice when his hands linger on her breasts.
“Where’s the sheriff?”
“Not here. He’s done with you.”
The words are a knife to her heart. She blinks at Jamal.
“Done?” she asks. She swallows. Where did this lump in her throat come from? How is it that mere words twist deeper than the sword he’d beaten her bloody with? Had she not pleased him, had she not learned quickly enough, had her Beast come out too many times?
“Your punishment. Over. One night for every mind he had to fix, he said. Twelve nights.”
The words draw her up short. Her punishment is over. Somewhere along the line she had forgotten that this was a punishment. It had simply become her reality. Now she doesn’t know what to think, what to feel. As if someone had pressed pause on her unlife and now suddenly they hit play again and she is thrust back into the thick of things. She’s off balance. Reeling. She’d gotten used to the room, the steel door, the twice-nightly visits from her sire, from him.
“What now?” she asks.
“Free to go.”
Just like that. Celia nods. She’s still while Jamal washes her, pliant when he makes her move this way and that beneath the spray of the water, spreads her legs for him when he slips a hand between her thighs. The water covers her moan. Something inside of her finds the idea of fucking in the sheriff’s shower delicious, and Jamal seems to have no qualms with it either. His cock presses against her from behind. She spins before he can slide it into her, mounting him rather than letting him fuck her. A final tryst to send her off. She takes advantage of it, of him, of his obvious desire for her. Their bodies writhe beneath the spray of the water.
When they’re done he rinses her again, slides a finger inside of her to get the cum out. He wraps her in a towel and takes her back to the bedroom, where clean clothes have been laid out. Not her clothes, but they’ll serve until she gets home. Jamal watches her dress, eyes still hungry.
“I don’t suppose you have a phone I can use to call for a ride,” she says once she’s clothed.
“I’m your ride,” he tells her.
“Thought the lesson was over ‘cause he don’t wanna waste his time beating you? Nah, princess. It’s my turn now. All week I get to keep you from doing anything stupid. Told me to use force, if necessary.” He smiles at the thought. “So get dressed, and get going. Can’t wait to see what sort of dumb shit you get up to nightly if you thought comin’ here was a good idea.”
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