“That’s what you’re here for. To be used as I see fit.”
Friday evening, 4 March 2016
Seven years and five ‘best __’ awards later, Celia’s dream on 838 Royal Street is alive and thriving, even if the dreamer herself hasn’t been for equally long. She’s getting the treatment room ready for her 8 PM client as the intercom crackles to life.
“Your mom’s here,” announces Natalie. “She’s also, um, brought Lucy. Is that okay for her to do?”
Celia: No, Celia thinks but doesn’t say. She lets loose a long suffering sigh at her mother’s antics. She’d told her. Multiple times, she had told her: no kids. The response had always been the same: no childcare, don’t want to leave her, she’ll sleep in the corner, she’s so quiet. It had gotten to the point that Celia no longer books her mother at a time when anyone else will be at the spa. Not that anyone else works this late anyway; they take the occasional client past 8pm, but mostly it’s just Celia by herself.
She plasters on a smile as she hits the intercom. People can hear your smile.
“I’m always happy to see my baby,” she says into it. “But generally no, Natalie. I’ll be right out, set them up in TR.”
She finishes the last of the prep, products right where she needs them, and leaves the door open behind her. This late, the spa is winding down. Landen should be finishing with their last client any minute now, and Piper is probably already at the bar.
The walk to the Tranquility Room is brief. She passes through the rows of gauzy curtains to find her mother.
GM: Diana has more wrinkles than she did seven years ago, but for the most part, the 42-year-old wears her age well. Very well, and largely because of Flawless. Celia may have wondered more than once what her mom would look like by now without seven years of regular treatment sessions. She’s dressed in the spa’s complimentary fluffy robe and slippers as she sips sweet tea with Flawless’ less-than-welcome client.
Lucy Flores is a six-year-old girl who shares the rest of her family’s fair skin and several of her relatives’ brownish-blonde hair. She clearly didn’t get that from Celia, though she usually wears it in an unrulier fashion than Diana, so it’s perhaps plausible that could’ve come from her ‘biological mother.’ She’s a bit thin for her age, and missing a recently lost baby tooth, but the worst that seemed to come from Diana’s fretting over an older pregnancy was bad eyesight that takes a fairly thick prescription to correct. She’s dressed in a child-sized bathrobe that Flawless doesn’t have. Celia’s mom must have brought it from home so she could “share in the spa experience.”
“Hi, sweetie! It’s so good to see you!” Celia’s mom exclaims, rising from the couch to hug her daughter.
Celia: Despite the unwelcome guest, Celia doesn’t need to fake the smile that she sends her mom’s way. There’s something about seeing the woman that reminds her of what it’s like to be… well, not alive, but certainly more humane than she is now. She crosses the room to hug her mother. It’s no more brief than normal. It had taken time for her to quell the thing inside of her to a manageable level, and when she had started the business every client looked like a snack. Now, though, she is more level-headed.
Or at least that’s what she tells herself.
“Hi, Momma. And hello to you too, little lady.” Celia releases her mother and squats down low to look at her ‘daughter,’ now at eye level. She opens her arms for a hug. “I see you’ve found a robe. Shall I ask Landen to paint your toes before they go?”
GM: Lucy looks a little sleepy at 8 PM, but when their mom pats her head she hops off the couch and returns the hug.
Celia: Celia scoops the little girl into her arms and spins her around.
“How about a bright, neon pink, hm?”
GM: Lucy giggles and holds out her arms like an airplane.
“Yes please! And blue!”
“It looks like we’ve got a buddin’ cosmetologist on our hands,” Celia’s mom smiles at the pair as she strokes Lucy’s hair.
“And I’m so glad Landen’s still here, I brought cookies! More for him, since he’s doin’ the little lady’s toes. I always feel like we owe y’all somethin’ extra, on account of us both showing up, and at such a late hour. You’re sure you don’t have any day appointments available, soon?”
“Them,” says Lucy.
Celia: Celia starts to correct her mother but Lucy beats her to it. She beams at the child and finally sets her back down on the floor.
“I’ll let them know. They’ll appreciate the cookies, I’m sure.”
GM: Their mom laughs. “Oh, that’s right. I’m sorry, that whole pronouns thing is still so hard for me to wrap my head around. The cookies are in the locker, anyway, they’re white chocolate chip and peanut butter. You want any right now, sweetie, or after we’re done?”
She then adds holds up a hand to her mouth and adds conspiratorially, “Or maybe now and after we’re done?”
Celia: “After we’re done, Momma. Thanks. Why don’t you head into the room and I’ll take Miss Lucy here to get her toes done?” Celia holds her hand out for the girl to take.
GM: “Okay, I’ll get myself settled in. I can’t wait to see how your toes look,” their mom smiles, patting Lucy’s hair again.
Celia’s ‘daughter’ takes her hand.
Celia: Celia waves at her mom over her shoulder and leads the girl from the room to find Landen.
“Pink and blue?” she asks her daughter. “Little rhinestones, too? Make your toes sparkle.”
GM: Lucy nods her head. “Yeah! And can I get my fingers too?”
Celia: “Mmm, we’ll see how much time they have this evening, yeah? But if they can swing it, I don’t see why not. You’ll be the envy of all the girls in your class.”
GM: Lucy smiles. “Mommy also says that I’m the envy. She said I was really good at ballet today.”
She started lessons just this year. Diana had been beyond thrilled.
Celia: “You know who was really good at ballet? Momma. When she was younger, she was a vision. I remember going to her recitals. Did you know,” she says to Lucy as they traverse the spa floor, “that I majored in dance at Tulane?” Not that she had finished, but the child doesn’t know.
She finds Landen and waves at them from afar, gesturing toward her daughter. A lift of her brows tells them what they need to know: yes, she’s paying, yes, it’s extra, yes, she’ll tip.
GM: “Mommy is good at ballet! I see her dance, and she says you’re really good too!” Lucy says as they find the cosmetologist.
Landen is slight and wiry. Their jaw is a little more square than most women, but it’s completed by a pointed chin that takes the harshness from their face, with lips that lack a prominent cupid’s bow but are nonetheless full. Their hair is bottle blonde—platinum, really—but they touch up their hair enough that their roots never show. They’re dressed for the Louisiana March weather in their usual skinny jeans and t-shirt—it’s already warm enough to only wear coats at night again, and for most other people to ditch the beanie.
Landen meets their boss’ eyes for a knowing second, then stoops down to smile at Lucy at eye level. “Well hey there, little princess! Do you want me to do your toes again?”
“Yes please, blue and pink!” Lucy nods.
“Blue and pink, nice choice. Both genders!”
Lucy looks back up at Celia. “I have a question.”
Celia: “I have an answer.”
GM: “Why doesn’t Mommy have any ballet trophies?”
“She said I’d have tons.”
Celia: “Well…” Celia says slowly, “when Momma and Dad split up, she moved into a very small place. And she didn’t have room for all of her trophies, unfortunately, and they were disposed of. I think, sometimes, she’s still sad about it.” Celia crouches once more in front of Lucy. “But we don’t ask her about that because it was a very difficult time in her life. It makes her sad. And we don’t want her to be sad. So I’m glad you asked me, Lucy-Goose.”
GM: “Oh,” says Lucy.
That seems to hang in the air for a moment.
“I could make her trophies,” she says. “In art class. So she doesn’t have to be sad about it.”
Celia: “I think she might like that. You know what else she likes? When you ask her for tips on form and posture.” Celia taps a finger against the girl’s nose. “Now, you go with Landen and let them paint your toesies and nails, and I’m gonna go see to her, and we’ll meet up when you’re done, hm?”
“I heard,” Celia stage whispers, “that there might be cookies in it for everyone.”
GM: “Oh my!” exclaims Landen. “We better get started right away, Lucy-Goose, so we can be sure we’ll get lots of cookies!”
Lucy nods emphatically. “Okay!”
“And I’ll ask Mommy, Mommy.”
Landen quirks a momentary brow at that, then seems to mentally shrug it off.
Celia: Celia shrugs at them. Kids, right?
She leaves them to it. She waves her fingers over her shoulder as she retreats back into the proper spa area to find her mother who should, hopefully, be laid out on the table Celia had pointed out earlier.
GM: Celia’s mom is no stranger to the spa routine. She’s laid out and waiting.
“Sorry to bring her over like this, I just feel bad asking Emily to do much childcare right now, with how soon she’s graduating.”
“And of course, you know her, she’ll do it anyway even if you don’t ask her to.”
Celia: Celia closes the door behind her once she enters the room, and uses the provided sink to wash her hands before she gets started. She seats herself on the small wheeled stool at the head of the table and lays one hand over her mother’s forehead, the other against her chest.
“I know, Momma. Take a deep breath for me. And exhale. And another… and exhale.”
Her voice is low, soothing. It matches the music in the room, some ambient sound that is soft strings, piano, and breezy woodwinds with a BPM of 66. She lets her touch connect to her mother, listens for the beat of her heart. It’s a steady thrum beneath her fingertips.
She starts at the scalp, using fingers and nails to gently scrape and rub her crown and temples. From there she moves to the face, fingers gliding effortlessly without oil, and then she’s on to a series of neck stretches. One side, then the other, turning her head into the table and applying a light pressure to get in deep.
“Let your body be heavy,” Celia tells her when she feels resistance, when Diana tries to move her neck before Celia can. “Let me do the movement for you.”
There’s a point the body gets to before it breaks. They study it in school, range of motion, and there’s a soft tell and a hard tell. Celia has become familiar with them both. Her hands are light, deft, smoothing and stroking up her mother’s neck, then stripping the SCM with her thumb. She does one side and then the other, mindful of the way it feels; it’s not painful, but when someone carries a lot of tension or is constantly under stress, this is one of the areas where it accumulates. Do both at the same time and it’s reminiscent of being choked.
From the neck her hands move downward, fingers digging into the scalene, the traps, then over to the deltoids. She does one arm and then the other, kneading and pulling and stretching. From the arms she moves to the leg. This is where the real work happens, because Celia knows the old injury that has plagued her mother for years.
She starts at the feet. There’s a thicker cream she uses on the soles of the feet, one that doesn’t hinder her glide or the way her knuckles dig into the soft, fleshy pads of the soles. There’s a spot on the heel that helps relieve the pain all the way up to her hip. Years later and Celia is still caught, sometimes, by the sight of the three toes that had been cut off. She pays special attention to them, pressing her thumbs into the meat of the tiny muscles, before her hands travel upward.
Shin, calf, thigh. And that’s the real problem, she knows, the leg that was almost taken off by her ex-husband. Even now, years later, she can still hear her mother screaming. The scar tissue is ugly. She pauses, her mother’s body draped carefully to only reveal the leg she is working on, and Celia finally voices the thought that has been bouncing around the back of her mind since she first learned to do this.
“Momma.” She keeps her voice low. “Have you thought about what I said, the scar treatment?”
GM: Celia’s mother breathes deeply at her request. Celia remembers well what it’s been like to work on her mom over the past seven years. There was lots of stress, at first. Lots of tension in the muscles, in the aftermath of what Emily called “your second divorce,” the house hunting, the bankruptcy, the custody arrangements, the still-fresh terror of her former husband. Celia remembers that dark thought she’d had to “massage her wrong” and induce a miscarriage. Get rid of the rape baby.
But she took her own advice. To simply relax and let someone else “move” for her. And in time, so did her mother. The lawsuit paid out, and quite handsomely, on top of her ex’s child support. Diana Flores hasn’t had to worry about money in some time. She reconnected with her children (most of them), even if she couldn’t take them away from her husband, or do much for their hurts besides offer what balms she could.
And of course, there was Lucy’s birth. The sole child he never got to. That he has never even met.
The story is all there in the muscles.
In time, as life calmed, and as Celia grew experienced in her craft, her mother became like putty under her hands. Most of the time, these days, she doesn’t even ask for specific treatments when she books appointments. She trusts Celia to just “do your thing, sweetie.”
The story is all there in the muscles.
They feel tenser today.
“I have, a bit,” her mom says slowly. “I know I keep sayin’ that.”
“Emily brings it up too.”
Celia: There’s a certain skill that people hone when they do this type of body work. It isn’t quite the sense of touch, and it isn’t quite intuition, but it’s something that straddles both of those lines. Celia has spent the better part of the past seven years flexing and honing that muscle and now, as her hands move along her mother’s body, her gut tells her that something is wrong.
She continues to knead the quads beneath her, rolling out the IT band with her hands. One hand is anchored at her mother’s hip to keep it steady, the other glides along the band. The movement is slow. Contemplative.
“Somethin’ bothering you, Momma?”
GM: “It’s… your brother, sweetie,” her mom sighs. “Logan.”
“I told you about those fights he’s been getting into.”
Celia: “Mhm,” Celia says, prompting her to continue. She can’t help but stare at the scar tissue beneath her hands. It’s visible to her even in the dim light of the room.
GM: Celia’s mother stares up at the ceiling.
“He… hit his girlfriend. In a fight they had.”
Celia: She stops moving.
GM: “He told me he said sorry, immediately,” her mom adds.
“Believe me, sweetie, it’s really torn him up.”
Celia: She’ll kill him.
How dare he.
How dare he.
“He…” She can’t get words out. She breaks the physical connection with her mother, hands curling into fists.
GM: “He’s very, very sorry,” her mom adds. “He’s cried about it, sweetie. He says he doesn’t know what came over him. He wishes he could take it back.”
Celia: A second later they’re back at it. Kneading. Gliding.
She doesn’t sound convinced.
“You know what happens when you throw a plate on the ground and tell it you’re sorry?”
“It’s still broken.”
GM: “Well, yes,” her mother grants. “She’s stopped talking to him.”
GM: “They were such a cute couple together.”
Celia: “And yet he hit her. So what does that matter? You and Maxen were a handsome couple.”
The blow is low, she knows it before she says it.
GM: Celia’s mother stops talking.
Then she says what she says in response to any blow loved ones land on her.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. You’re right.”
Celia: God damnit.
“What did you tell him?” she asks after a moment.
GM: “I told him he should… give her space, to deal with things. Confess what he did, at church. And maybe see a therapist.”
Celia: “How did he take that?”
GM: “But your dad’s always told him shrinks are for women and… men who aren’t real men.”
Celia: “Of course he has.”
There’s a pause. Then, “Do you want me to talk to him?”
GM: “I think it could only help,” her mom considers. “He’s always looked up to you, for goin’ your own way.” She pauses. “But please be gentle with him, sweetie. Please don’t be angry. He isn’t your dad. He doesn’t want to turn into your dad.”
Celia: “I know,” Celia tells her. It’s the only thing that’s keeping her from fantasizing about ripping his throat out. He doesn’t want to be that person.
And she’ll do her damndest to make sure he doesn’t become it.
GM: “Lucy’s doing very well in ballet,” her mom adds, more brightly.
“I wish there were more openings in your schedule, to see her practice. She’s beyond adorable in her tutu. She wants to wear it to every class, not just plain ol’ leotards.”
Celia: “I wish so too, Momma. I’d love to see her dance.” That’s the truth, too. “She said she’s going to ask you for a few pointers, so heads up on that.” Celia can’t help but smile.
GM: “Oh really? Thanks for the heads up, I’ll actually have to think on what to tell her,” her mom smiles back. “I mean, she already knows how to engage her stomach muscles and align her spine, knows the English definitions of all her French terms, knows her knees and toes are supposed to point sideways and her feet are supposed to point every time they leave floor… she can’t physically do all those things all the time, yet, but there’s not much either of us can do about that except wait. She’s very talented.”
“I want her to do whatever makes her happy, of course. You and Isabel and Sophia all did ballet and went on to do other things, and I was fine with that. But I admit I’d love to be a pro ballerina’s mom.”
Celia: “How is Sophia, by the way? And Emily? I know she’s busy with school, and I’ve been wrapped up with, well…” she trails off. The vague gesture is there in her voice. She does not mention Isabel.
“Did you want to try that scar cream, by the way? Before I flip you?”
GM: “Oh, ah, do whatever you think is best, sweetie. You know I trust you. I’m play-doh in your hands.”
“Sophia sounded a little… subdued, last we talked. She has for a while. I think she’s really looking forward to graduating. But also maybe afraid to come home.”
Her mom smiles. “But I’m so proud of Emily. She’s going to be a doctor soon. Dr. Rosure. Isn’t that just like a gumdrop on your tongue to say?”
“She keeps telling me she’s not going to be a ‘real’ doctor for another four years. Residency and all that. But still. Dr. Rosure.”
Celia: “Did Sophia mention looking for something else? Somewhere else? One sec, Momma, let me grab what I need.” Celia finishes the muscles she’s working on, sliding her hands down her mother’s body until she reaches her feet. From there she disconnects, stepping away from the table to the cabinet to find what she needs.
She’s back a moment later, syringe in hand. She checks to see if her mom’s eyes are closed, and if not then she lets the woman see it.
“Numbing solution,” she tells her. “Going to put it here, at the thigh.” Celia bends low. The needle presses against her mother’s leg. Two of them, actually.
GM: “That must be some cream,” her mom says with a faint chuckle. Her eyes are closed. There’s a slight wince, but soon her leg relaxes as she loses feeling.
“She hasn’t, to be honest. You know your dad’s always told her that a woman’s degree isn’t… worth a whole lot. I think she’s depressed over her GPA, too. I’ve thought about trying to help her find a job, but I don’t know how much that might upset him.”
“I think he expects her to move back in. Until she finds a husband. I think he expected her to do that at Liberty. Only, she hasn’t yet.”
Celia: “They can’t even fraternize at Liberty,” Celia mutters.
GM: “I sure am glad you didn’t go there,” her mom nods. “Tulane was a very valuable experience for you, I think.”
Celia: She takes advantage of her mother’s distraction, though, and pumps a small amount of cream into her hands. It smells different. Eucalyptus, maybe, or spearmint. Her hands move across her mother’s leg. It’s similar to the deep tissue kneading she’d done earlier, though she focuses only on the outside of the scar tissue for now, flattening and smoothing it until it dissolves into her skin.
She’s quiet, thinking about her mother’s words while she works.
Tulane was a very valuable experience for you.
It was, wasn’t it? She’d learned about trust and betrayal. Loyalty and friendship. Love… and loss.
As soon as the thought enters her mind she cannot control the rush of… everything. The spiraling of her brain. The trip down her memory’s path.
She can barely think his name, but in the dim light of the massage room his face swims in front of her.
GM: “All that before how we got to see each other again, too,” Celia’s mom continues from the table.
She pauses for a moment, as if reliving some of the same memories as her daughter.
“And… Stephen. He was just… such a nice boy.”
Celia: “He was,” Celia agrees.
She’s focused on what she’s doing, though, rather than her mother’s words. She doesn’t want to think about Stephen or what he’s turned into; she doesn’t want to remember how it felt to have his fists hit her face, break her bones, shatter her… heart. Cold and dead though it is, he’d still managed to rip it out and stomp all over it the night he told her he could forgive her and then walked back on his words.
Celia stares down at the scar tissue. This, at least, is something that she can fix. Surface flaws. Not what’s really wrong, and not what’s inside, but the package will be nice. The anesthetic should have set in by now; she focuses on her work rather than her memories, beginning with the edges of the tissue.
“Randy is nice,” Celia offers. “He wants to come by sometime again. He likes your cooking. Has Emily spoken to you about her boyfriend at all? I keep wondering when he’s going to pop the question.”
GM: “Oh, you tell him he’s more than welcome! I’m always happy to cook for you both,” her mom beams.
Celia: “I’ll let him know.”
GM: Diana chuckles. “And you believe me, I definitely think I’ve established my mom credentials askin’ her when Robby’s gonna ask. She keeps saying she’s not even thinking about that until after med school, but you know, life never gets less hectic. We’re always busier than months in mittens.”
“I want him to propose already. I’d love for them to give me some grandbabies!”
Celia: Months in mittens?
Celia doesn’t ask.
“Don’t tell her, but I’m already half planning it.”
GM: Celia’s mom beams again.
“Well why don’t you just bring in me, and we can move half to full.”
Celia: “She’ll be in for a real treat when he finally proposes when we whip out these wedding books and it’s already taken care of.”
GM: “Exactly! Weddings are just such a hassle to plan, I honestly can’t think of a better wedding gift than to hear ‘this has all been taken care of, you just show up and say your vows.’”
Celia: “Think she’d accept if I just pay for it in lieu of a traditional gift?”
GM: Celia’s mom is always very relaxed on the table, after seven years of regular appointments, but her leg must be pretty numb by now.
Celia: Celia starts the real work, then.
The manipulation of the scar tissue.
The stretching and pulling of healthy skin to cover what’s dead.
GM: “Oh yes, I think she would. Med school does keep her so busy, and her residency isn’t goin’ to let up. Time is just the gift to give her.”
“Though I’d give her an actual present too. Nothin’ too big or expensive, just a little personal keepsake to go with the others she’ll get.”
“Cash is the gift you can never go wrong with, but it can’t go right like a really thoughtful, well-chosen gift either.”
Celia: Her mother’s flesh is like clay in her hands. She manipulates it as she needs to, smoothing out what needs to be smoothed. She’s careful not to fix the whole thing at once; she’s gotten good about knowing how much to do in one sitting. Keeps people coming back, for one. And keeps it believable.
“I’ll call her. See how things are going. It’s been too long.” It hasn’t, really, but Emily is still Celia’s best friend, despite the differences in their mortality.
“Leg okay?” she checks.
GM: “Why don’t we have her and Robby over for dinner, too, if you’d like some quality time? Talkin’ over the phone is just no substitute.”
Celia’s mom doesn’t move or flinch under the anesthetic. That’s one blessing she enjoys as one of the kine. Reshaping someone’s flesh, Celia knows intimately well, is far from painless.
But has that not always been the price for beauty? The corset constricts. The high heel blisters. The wax… Celia has seen how people react to that. And the ballerina, of course, puts their body through hell in so many ways.
Beauty takes effort. Beauty takes pain.
But at least sometimes, there is a pill for that. Or shot.
Celia runs her fingers along her mother’s leg and watches the skin flow like mud in its path. She’s careful to keep the alterations small, for now. Believable. A touch here, a touch there. Stretching the nearby, hale skin over the scar tissue. It’s like using the smudge tool in Photoshop.
Yet beauty takes pain and effort for all involved. Celia can feel the eternal thirst, always there, burning away behind her throat as the Beast growls in her ear. It must fed. It must always be fed.
Celia: “All set,” Celia announces at the end of it, in a voice that is decidedly chipper. She has been dead long enough to know when she needs to feed, and she will not stretch herself thin while her mother and daughter are on the premises. Perhaps Landen… no, she can always return to Savoy’s holdings if she’s really in need, one of the dolls there will quench her burning desire.
“I’ll step out and let you get changed. Meet you outside, Momma.”
Celia heads to the door.
GM: Her mom hesitates for a moment, then looks down at her leg. “Oh my goodness. Oh my… Celia, I can see a difference already…”
Celia: “Just wait, Momma,” Celia says once she reaches the door, “wait until we’re done. It’ll be as if it never happened.”
GM: Celia’s mom meets her back outside the door changed into Flawless’ fluffy white robe and slippers. She took a little while.
“I was just looking my leg over, sweetie,” she says slowly. “You… know I don’t really like to look at it. I’m amazed there’s a difference already. Just amazed.”
“You’re so talented. You really are, you just have such a gift.”
Her mom sniffles and hugs her. Celia can hear the thump-thumping of the woman’s heart, pressed so closely against her own. She can smell the luscious coppery tang of the blood coursing under her mother’s skin.
Celia: Celia is not feeding on her mom. She’s not. She just isn’t. That’s not happening. Not with Lucy here. Not with Landen here.
Not in general.
She gently disentangles herself from her mother, then makes a show of checking the time.
“Oh! My next client is here. I’m sorry, Momma, I have to get going, that scar tissue work took longer than I thought. We’ll talk soon, okay? Landen can take care of you and Lucy at the front desk. Love you. Bye!”
She waves as she retreats, ducking into the room Jade uses. She locks the door behind her.
GM: “O-okay, sweetie! I love you too, I’ll call about dinner!” her mom calls after her, sounding a little taken aback by the abrupt departure.
But it beats feeding on the woman.
Friday evening, 4 March 2016
Celia: Alone inside the room, Celia breathes easier. She will wait until her mother and daughter have gone, until Landen has closed up shop, before she emerges once more. There is blood to be had inside these walls that she keeps on hand for emergencies. Perhaps a taste will do her good. Clear her head for the rest of the evening.
She finds a bag of it and retreats further into the suite, where even her Beast cannot escape. It is cold. Sterile. There is nothing in here with which she can amuse herself, and the thing curled inside of her will not like it when it awakens. Jade doesn’t care. She shuts the door on them both and opens the bag with her teeth.
That, too, is cold. Vile. But she has work yet to be done, and her face must change before she can do it, and she will not risk a frenzy when it is so easily prevented. She drinks. It slides down her throat like liquid garbage. She gags and sputters and hates it, but she forces it down.
GM: Alana had suggested keeping a microwave in the room, when she’d heard how bad the cold stuff tasted. Replacing ones destroyed by frenzies would just be “cost of doing business.”
Celia: Jade is working on a different sort of solution to the bagged blood problem. She’s just still collecting materials. This is the reminder that she needs to get her ass in gear about it.
She needs bodies. Lots and lots of bodies.
Doesn’t she have a friend who produces bodies?
GM: Most of her ‘friends’ these night produce bodies, if she’s to be frank about it.
Though some more frequently than others.
Celia: Once her hunger is firmly under control she peruses her contacts on her phone, looking for the name of someone more likely to have a body they need disposed of.
GM: It doesn’t take much imagination there.
Reynaldo Gui and his associates would produce bodies even if he wasn’t a vampire.
Celia: She gives her favorite Ventrue cowboy a call.
GM: He picks up after several rings.
“Why hello, Miss Kalani.”
Celia: “Ah, Mister Gui, how’s my favorite handsome friend doing this evening?”
GM: “I’m still handsome. You’re still beautiful?”
Celia: “Nothing short of flawless, darling. A little birdie told me you might have something messy for me.”
GM: “I did have a breakout on my face, if I’m being honest. I was going to take care of it at home.”
“I wouldn’t want to show the world I’m anything besides handsome.”
Celia: “No one who knows you would think such a thing. But I have all the salves and creams that you need down here to make it vanish as if it never was. Why don’t you stop by and let me take a look?”
GM: A little while later, Gui is there in the Kindred suite of rooms along with a thuggish-looking ghoul. The latter opens a body bag with the corpse of a middle-aged African-American man who has a bloody hole in the back of his head. His eyes gaze blankly upwards.
He’s still got a set of glasses on.
Celia: Celia took the time to do her face before Gui stopped by. Jade is the one waiting for them. She has the ghoul put the body on the table and peers down at the man. She spends a minute unfastening his clothes to take a look at the skin. Middle-aged but black don’t crack.
“What’d he do?”
GM: Gui just offers a humoring smile.
“Do you want me asking what you want a corpse for?”
Celia: “Mmm, idle chit chat, can’t blame a Kindred for asking.” She looks away from the corpse, back at Gui.
“You do look ravishing this evening. When do I get to get my hands on you, hmm?”
Despite the years of flirting, Jade has not yet made a move on the Ventrue. She’d been scooped up by Nico and his krewe before the cowboy could get a firm hold on her, though since his banishment and her breakup with Roderick she hasn’t seen much of a reason to stay away. The mobster has been more and more appealing as the nights pass, no matter what her one-time lover had told her.
GM: The Ventrue wiseguy is dressed in a dark jacket and slacks, though without a tie and with the top buttons left undone, like usual. Unlike at church, he’s got the wide-brimmed cowboy hat on.
“I look ravishing every evening, but then so do you.”
He smirks and traces a hand along Jade’s cheek.
“Maybe next evening, lush. Tonight’s business. Never pays to mix that with pleasure.”
Celia: Jade heaves a long-suffering sigh, playful in nature. She looks up at him from beneath her lashes, lips pulled into a pout.
“I hate that you’re right. Next evening, then.”
It’s a reminder that they’re called stiffs for a reason. No one in her clan would mind mixing business with pleasure.
She offers to walk them out.
GM: “Being right as often as me is a terrible curse, but I live with it,” Gui answers.
She sees the pair out with some more light flirting.
The glasses-wearing man’s corpse lies motionless on her table.
Celia: Roderick had told her enough during their time together that she has a hunch these glasses have some sort of special prescription. They’ll get her in trouble if she isn’t careful with them. Have the cops show up at her door demanding answers.
Then again, this hardly looks like the type of man who can afford her services.
She gets to work, though. His clothes are stripped from his body and tossed aside. Anything without blood will be given to Alana to dispose of. She’s pretty sure the ghoul just launders them and delivers them in a big pile to the local thrift store. ‘Why would the cops check a thrift store?’ she is fond of saying.
It gets a little more messy when she has to dissemble the body. First she drains him. Cuts his neck, lifts one side of the table with the hydraulic press, lets the blood drain into the pan set beneath the table just for this purpose. Without the blood the body is lighter. She’d read somewhere that blood is about seven percent of the weight of the body. Decent-sized guy like this, probably about a gallon and a half.
She shaves his head of what little is left. Not long enough to use for extensions, no good for her there. But the skin, though, she needs that scalp skin.
She starts cutting after that. She’d watched a video once on how to skin a deer a long time ago. Working with humans is similar, though she doesn’t just take the skin. She cuts down to the bone at each of his joints with a knife as sharp as a scalpel. It almost is a scalpel, just larger. She’d gotten it for dermaplaning before she’d realized the blade was too big to effectively use on the face.
Waste not and all that.
Once the cuts are made she peels it back. It’s tough going. Maybe she should have someone teach her that flex thing. Maybe Donovan. Or Gui, if she’s going to bang him anyway. She can’t wait to sink her teeth into that cutie. Regardless, it’s tough going, and she spends the better part of an hour peeling the skin, fat, and muscle from the bones. She doesn’t get it all. There’s a layer of periosteum around the bones that she can cut free. More to work with later. It might not be what she’s looking for, but she’ll give it a go. Trial and error, so to speak.
The internal organs are dumped onto the floor. There’s nothing ceremonial about it. She’ll go through them later to find the connective tissue she needs, the collagen she can use for injections. Likewise the skeleton itself is dumped onto the floor. She’ll practice her bone work on it, maybe. Or grind it up into bone meal for someone’s garden. She mentally adds “buy spice or coffee grinder” to her list of things to do. She’d heard good things about Preethi.
Once everything is out she’s looking down at what is, essentially, a deflated human. Just a sack of beautiful dark skin.
GM: Jade knows her mom enjoys a spot of gardening.
Celia: Perfect. She’ll tell her mom to make it a big garden. Maybe a rooftop garden. Lots of bone meal for Momma.
She hums while she works.
GM: The skin is less than beautiful, if she’s to be quite honest. The subject is older, overweight, and doesn’t look as if he led the healthiest lifestyle. But she can fix that too.
She can fix anything to do with skin.
Celia: She starts to do so. It’ll take a while, and she’ll be hungry afterward, but she’s got a whole bucket of blood under the table she can use if she needs to.
She starts with the scalp. After shaving it is smooth and hairless, easy to work with. She leaves it mostly as is, though she pinches closed the eye holes, flattens the nose back into the face, smooths out the lips so they don’t take up half the face.
It’s like a black bag, almost. One of those boho bags girls throw over their shoulders with only the one opening, the kind that everything gets lost inside of so you’re standing there at the store while the girl in question fishes through her bag and tries to find her credit card for whatever inane purchase it is she’s trying to make, and the cashier just smiles and nods when she says “just a moment,” and then she looks back at you and apologizes and you just smile and nod, too, because really what else can you do?
She never understood how girls could stand it, really.
The gaping wound at the back of the head takes longer. It’s a series of pulling at the skin until it stretches far enough to cover the hole, then severing the ears completely to re-attach them at the back of the head to thicken and reinforce the skin back there. Leaks are bad for business.
She finds the pan of blood and pours it into the open neck hole until it’s almost full, then pinches it shut.
GM: Some clicking footsteps from outside precede a knock against the door. It’s probably Alana, unless Randy has started crossdressing.
Support: As if.
Celia: “’Lana?” she calls out. She looks down at herself, at the body on the table. Good thing there’s another door between here and the outside door. She’s a little messy, though. Not her usual immaculate self. She’ll have to start keeping clothes in here instead of her office upstairs. Or a rubber apron, like they use for the Vichy showers.
She closes the door to the wet room behind her.
Celia: Ah, yes, the robes! Of course there are robes waiting for her next client. There always are. She can wear one of those if she has to.
GM: It’s Alana. Jade’s first ghoul is a vision of beauty and the epitome of the word Flawless, from her long flowing hair to her toned, lithe body. Every inch of her is sculpted perfection—sculpted by Jade. Her cheekbones are high and reflect the light with the highlighter she’s wearing tonight. Delicate freckles dot her nose. Her eyes are large, black pools that people frequently fall into, and her lips are full with a prominent cupid’s bow. Her face is made up in the full glam that Jade has permanently sculpted onto it. ‘Permanent makeup’ has nothing next to what Flawless offers. Her hair tonight is a tan blonde that nicely complements her caramel skin, and has ever since Jade made it that color. She’s dressed in a low-cut, loose silky blouse, black leggings, and strappy heels.
She’s definitely one of the Toreador’s better works.
“Oh, mistress, you’re messy. Do you want me to clean you up?” the ghoul immediately volunteers.
Celia: “Alana,” Jade greets the ghoul. She abandons the idea of a robe. No need to do more laundry than she has to. Or rather, that Alana has to. She’s seen her in worse states.
“No, not right now. I’m still working on a project and bound to just get messy again. What is it?”
GM: “It was Mélissaire, mistress. She said that Lord Savoy wanted to see you three days from now, at the Evergreen. You had an opening in your schedule then, so I told her you could make it.”
Celia: “Ah. Yes. Thank you.” There’s a pause. Jade considers her, though her mind is already atop the Evergreen’s roof, wondering at her grandsire’s summon. “My mother wants dinner at some point with Randy and I.”
GM: “I can call them to set that up if you don’t want to be bothered, mistress.”
Celia: “Call him. I’ll let you know. Stay here a moment.”
Jade disappears into the treatment room. She’s back a moment later with the flesh bag. It looks less like a human face than it had prior.
“What do you think of this?”
GM: “It looks like a bag,” Alana says thoughtfully. She reaches out to touch it.
“So… smooth.” She sniffs. “Is that juice in it?”
Celia: “Yes.” Juice is just another word for blood, after all. “I’m working on a new line. You’re not any good at fashion design, are you?”
GM: “People could be good at anything for you, mistress,” the ghoul beams.
Celia: That doesn’t quite answer her question. She appreciates the sentiment, though. She reaches out to touch Alana’s cheek, running the tips of her fingers across the smooth skin. She really did a phenomenal job on this one.
“Draw something up for me, ’Lana. Something fierce. Neutral colors.”
GM: Alana’s smile only further brightens at her mistress’s touch.
“Right away, mistress. And can I say you look Flawless tonight. Like every night.”
Celia: There’s a good girl. Jade’s answering smile is positively radiant. She leans in to press a chaste kiss against the ghoul’s lips.
“You as well, darling. Bring those by when you’re done. I’ll be here for a while yet. Let me know about dinner.”
There’s a pause.
“I might implement your microwave idea after all. Oh, and find a grinder for me, will you? Something large.”
“And a pig,” she adds. “Live.”
“And maybe cold storage. See what you can work out, if there’s room in this suite for it. Not in the frenzy room, I’ve heard those giant refrigerators are expensive and I’m not interested in replacing them every single time a Brujah forgets to feed before he comes in. The space under the table isn’t large enough for the projects I have in mind. Though I suppose, really, it’s not the best thing to keep them on hand that long. Maybe a secret room? Not my haven… Alana, look for empty real estate nearby. See when the lease is up for the business next door. Or find building plans for underground. I know we don’t quite have sewers, but I’ll figure something out. Literal hole in the ground. Ha.”
“Actually,” she continues, nodding, “that might be brilliant. The drain already leads down. I’m sure we can find someone to rig it to get off the city’s system, catch the chunks, filter the blood. Entrance through the table itself? Ooh. Is that too cliché, ‘Lana? Secret entrances? You’d tell me if I were being a stereotype, wouldn’t you?”
GM: Alana glows under her domitor’s kiss.
“Yes, mistress,” to the dinner.
“Yes, mistress,” to the grinder.
“Yes, mistress,” to the live pig.
“Yes, mistress,” to the cold storage space options.
“I think it’s genius, mistress,” she beams at the secret entrance idea. “Of course I’d tell you. Who actually expects to look for something like that in real life?”
“Nobody does, that’s who. It’s just like vampires.”
“The fiction makes it an even better secret.”
Celia: “You really are my favorite, you know. Don’t tell Randy, the poor boy’s head would explode.” Jade pats her cheek in genuine affection. “Put an extra hundred in Landen’s tip jar for me, just pull it from the register. There’s a dear. I’ll be working a while yet. Then a scrub. You’ll scrub me down, won’t you ’Lana? Maybe a trade of services.”
There’s a suggestion there, a promise of massage or blood or sex. Nothing she needs to do to keep the ghoul in line, but she does so love to spoil this exquisite creature.
“Run along now, while I finish my work.”
GM: Jade did make her so exquisitely spoilable, after all. The aging, single, homely-faced, and almost 300-pound woman who laid down on that table never got back off it.
“Threaten to turn her back, if she gets out of line,” like Veronica had once suggested, isn’t a stick she’s had to use. At least yet.
Jade is also pretty sure Alana would consider scrubbing her down to be a service in of itself, if the ghoul’s desirous look is any indication, but there’s only another smiled, “Yes, mistress,” to all three orders before Alana bows her head and withdraws, quietly closing the door behind her.
Celia: She hadn’t had to threaten either of her ghouls with sticks, thus far, when the carrots she dangled before them had been reason enough not to give her any trouble. It’s there, though, in the back of her mind.
She once more locks the door behind the ghoul and heads back into the treatment room to continue her work, flesh bag in hand. She eyes it for a moment, considering, and finally lifts it to her mouth to pierce it with her fangs. She needs to get an idea of how it compares to biting into a real person.
GM: It’s distinct.
It’s not like biting a real vessel is. Having an actual person underneath you, a happy little toy making happy noises in response to your touch. The feeling of holding their life in their hands, sampling their unique flavor and resonance as they experience it, knowing they are giving of themselves to sustain you.
But it’s leagues better than plastic, or a ceramic cup. The texture of the smooth skin, the sensation of her fangs piercing flesh as she steadily sucks, is something she should be well-pleased to have replicated.
It’s the difference between an expensive vibrator with a good porn vid next to her fingers and a blank wall. It’s not the real thing, but it’s better.
The cold stuff is still liquid slop that makes her want to gag, though.
Celia: She doesn’t stop, once she starts. Even though it’s cold, old blood. Even though it’s vile. It’s blood. And she’s hungry, so hungry, and she knows she’s going to feed from Alana later, and she doesn’t want to risk tearing the poor girl’s throat out. So she feeds. It’s better than the plastic. Her Beast doesn’t even try to stir. It’s like a snoozing cat inside her chest: it swipes a lazy paw at her and goes right back to curling contentedly in the center of her.
She drains the bag, licks her lips clean. The head can be reused, that’s a perk. Maybe she can make designer bags. Emergency only kind of things. There are those gloves that keep their own heat; can she develop something like that?
Oooh, or make bags out of the heads of enemies. Trophies to keep around. Imagine taking down a rival or an old flame or just someone who annoyed you and getting to keep them as a juice pouch forever.
Who would she keep? Maxen, of course. Her lips curl into a sneer at the thought of the bald man. He deserves worse. She’ll turn him into a coat. A pair of boots. She’ll cut off his cock and make it into a headband. Gift it to Isabel so she always remembers Daddy’s love. Maybe she’ll just stuff the man and give the whole thing to her lost sister.
There’s a thought.
This body, though, has work to be done yet. She gets back to it.
Saturday evening, 5 March 2016
GM: The next night, Alana has procured a grinder and live pig for her domitor. Both are delivered into the Kindred rooms without questions.
Celia: Good ghoul.
Jade makes sure that she has the required time in her schedule to work with both. She had found a cooler in the meantime for the body parts, and she has Alana lead the pig into the treatment room with a little leash (“how thoughtful, Lana”) that she ties to the table. When it squeals in alarm at Jade’s approach she bites her wrist and dribbles her vitae into its open mouth.
“Settle, pig. Can’t have you making a mess. You don’t want to know what happened to the last guy who made a mess in here,” she tells it.
GM: The animal squeals in terror like only a pig can. Alana keeps the leash tied pretty short, because the animal pulls like mad to get away. Jade can draw in the kine like lemmings to their doom, but not all the skincare and beauty products in the world can hide what she is from creatures that do not ignore their own nagging instincts. Their own inner Beasts.
But then she feeds it her blood, and it starts contently gorging itself on the gory human remains.
Alana also has some basic information on the adjacent spaces to 855 Royal Street, just to mull over next to the literally under the table idea. Jade already knows the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum is a tourist attraction and the Myth Gallery is an art gallery. She’d be unsurprised if her grandsire had his fingers in both. Royal Street makes them close neighbors to the Evergreen.
Celia: It’s really amazing what a little bit of blood can do. She strokes the pig’s back as it feeds on the entrails, pleased. She’ll need to find a home for it; she has no intention of keeping the beast here. Maybe another addition? Hm. She’ll ask Savoy if it’s possible to borrow a tiny amount of space from either one of the adjacent businesses. She’s seeing him the night after tomorrow, anyway. Maybe upstairs? She can hardly have the pig brought in and out, that’s bound to draw attention. Maybe she’ll mold it into one of those teacup pigs.
“I think I’m going to call him Sparky.”
“Anything underneath here?” she asks, meaning the business at large.
GM: “Just the usual sewage lines, mistress, as far as I can tell,” answers Alana. “We could hire a contractor to do the work you’re looking for. Didn’t you say there was a Nosferatu one who lives in the Quarter?”
“I think Sparky’s a wonderful name,” she smiles as she strokes the hungrily munching pig.
Celia: “Call him,” Jade agrees. “Bring him in for an estimate. Tonight, if he’s free.” The sewer rats are always free. She sets to grinding bone while Alana works and the pig eats. It’ll be another busy night.
GM: Alana always hates to disappoint her domitor. The Nosferatu isn’t free, tonight, she reports several hours later. He’ll be free in four nights.
“I bet he doesn’t have anything going on, and is just telling you that to feel important,” Alana huffs. “Because his ghoul said he could see you tonight… if you came down to the sewers.”
Celia: “How can I show him what I need done and get an estimate if I’m in the sewers?” Jade sighs, a habit she has taken to to show her annoyance despite the fact she doesn’t need to breathe, shaking her head at the girl. “You’re probably right, though. I just wanted a number to give Lord Savoy, though of course he probably wants something more eclectic than petty cash. No sense going all the way down there for nothing, darling. Tell him four nights is good.”
“Don’t mention the pretending to be busy thing. Let the rat keep his pride.”
GM: “That’s exactly what I told him,” Alana agrees. “He just said his boss would get it done. Somehow. I think they just want to see a Toreador in the sewers.”
Celia: “They think I can’t slum it? Ha. I could slum it. A little bit of filth doesn’t bother me. Do they know what I do?” She gestures toward the pig, the grinding bones, the body she had torn apart with her hands. Do they even know how hard it is to get blood out of the nail beds? How it stains the cuticles? But of course they don’t, no one does. That’s the point.
GM: “They don’t, ma’am. They don’t know anything except ugliness and filth!” Alana readily agrees.
Celia: “I’ve changed my mind. I’ll go. You stay here, pet, I don’t need them getting any ideas about what they’d like to stick you with.” Jade touches a hand to her ghoul’s cheek. “Call Randy for me though, tell him to wear boots. And nothing he’ll miss.” Where’d her wetsuit get to.
Jade leaves Alana with instructions to finish feeding the pig and grinding the bones. She tells her to get a shower ready for later this evening as well. Scented products.
Anything to get rid of the putrid stench she’s sure she’ll bring back with her.
Saturday night, 5 March 2016, PM
Celia: Jade takes the time to make herself presentable for the Nosferatu and their games. It’s a different sort of getting ready than she’s used to; rather than glam up she glams down. It won’t do to be caught in anything less than the best, even if she’ll be stomping through sewer water and other garbage besides. There’s probably some sort of etiquette around not wearing rain boots into the sewer—Mélissaire would know—but Jade doesn’t own rain boots anyway. She opts for leather pants instead. They’re an older pair, probably something she already wore once that she doesn’t plan on using again. She pairs it with black jump boots (she says she’d gotten them from an Army boy she fooled around with for a while, and they’re the kind of boot that shit just slides right off), and a dark shirt.
She passes time flirting with Alana until Randy arrives.
GM: “You look badass, ma’am,” Alana purrs as she slides onto Jade’s lap.
“So strong. So tough. So fierce.”
“I’m just your cute little toy.”
Celia: “Telling me I can’t handle the sewers,” Jade mutters. Her hands busy themselves on Alana, a distraction from the upcoming trip. She nips at the girl’s neck, though she doesn’t bite. “You are a very cute toy. You know what I’m going to do with you later, little toy?”
GM: Alana starts to make ‘happy noises’ as Jade fondles her breasts. Quiet at first, little inhalations of breath with just a note of trembling. She rubs her shapely rear (that Jade so carefully shaped into what it is) against Jade’s lap in a steadily clockwise motion. She smiles wickedly at the sensation of the leather against her skin.
“Whatever… you want… to me…” she whispers, nuzzling the vampire’s neck. “I’m such a… happy toy…”
Celia: That’s what she likes to hear. She nods encouragingly at the little toy on her lap. She’s never as rough with her as Veronica had been; her touches are gentle instead of cruel. It keeps them happy.
Her hands move down the girl’s stomach to her thighs, sliding up along her bare skin to dip two fingers inside.
“Look how wet you are, little toy. Do you want me to take care of that for you?”
GM: “Yes… mistress…” she whimpers, louder now. “Yes… please… but I have… ohhh… something… for you… first…”
Celia: She doesn’t stop. She likes the way the girl shivers on her lap. Her thumb flicks across Alana’s clit, once, twice, then traces slow circles around it.
GM: Alana closes her eyes and makes happy noises, steadily breathing in and out as color rises to her cheeks.
“Yes…” she finally whimpers. “When you… called me pet… it made me think…”
She slides off Jade’s lap and bends low to the floor, giving the Toreador a very clear view of her ass before she pulls something out from underneath the seat. This seems as if it was planned in advance.
She holds up a thick black leather collar with attachments for a leash. It has a heart-shaped tag she’s written ‘Property of Jade’ on in neat cursive. There’s also an attached bell, like a kitten’s.
“Do you want to put it on me, mistress?” she smiles. “I’d love for everyone to know I belong to you.”
She demurely bows her head low and raises the collar in her palms, like an offering.
“And I know how much you want a dog… so you could give me walks, on a lead… and I could eat from a bowl at your feet…”
“And you could fuck me right now,” she purrs, “really doggy-style…”
Celia: Jade’s smile could light up an entire city block. She takes the leather collar from Alana and touches her chin to lift her head so she can fasten it around the girl’s neck. It’s a beautiful, beautiful sight, and she flicks her finger across the bell to make it chime.
“Oh, ’Lana,” Jade breathes, “you certainly know how to keep me happy.”
She drops to her knees and puts a hand on Alana’s back to bend her back over. She doesn’t have time to craft herself a cock, much to her chagrin, but she has the next best thing: fist and fingers. She slides in two, then three, and with her other hand reaches around to the front to pinch her nipples before finding her clit once more.
“You are such a good girl, Alana, such a good girl.”
She leans down to bite right into the cheek of the ghoul’s shapely ass.
GM: Alana’s smile is equally radiant as she basks under Jade’s praise. She shudders as her domitor fastens the collar shut and runs a long-nailed hand against it, as if unaware of what the large, thick, and snug thing would feel like with its home around her neck.
Then she offers a leash in her other hand. So Jade can jerk on it and hold her taut while they fuck.
Her ‘happy noises’ have a yipping, almost dog-like quality as they start, then become delirious under the ecstasy of the vampire’s kiss.
Support: Randy pokes his head in through the door. “Hey, sorry I’m late, Ruby was making some noise—oh. Sorry.” He doesn’t sound sorry or leave the room, however, absorbed in the sight before him.
Ruby is his car, too, which is probably even more embarrassing.
Celia: Jade’s eyes flick toward the door to meet Randy’s.
She doesn’t stop what she’s doing.
Support: He’s wearing his driver’s outfit that he’s so proud of. She picked it out for him. It makes him look like a chauffeur.
“Uh,” he says. “Is her mouth… open?”
There’s either a racetrack in his pocket or he’s happy to see them.
Celia: She crooks a finger at him.
GM: Alana’s eyes are half-glazed over with the ecstasy of the kiss as she moans with pleasure, but she still offers Randy a smug smirk as he comes in.
Even naked and fucked doggy-style with a collar and leash, yipping like an actual dog, she looks like she’s gloating.
The mistress loves her.
Support: He stares at her, jealousy and lust warring on his face.
Then Jade invites him over.
He grins at her.
“Is that a yes? Because she isn’t opening her mouth.”
Celia: Jade lifts her mouth from those two pinpricks long enough to admonish her pet for not making Randy feel more at home. She pulls her hand free and swats the girl for good measure, flat-palmed against her ass. Once, twice, three times. Stinging blows, but nothing extreme.
“Open up, Alana.”
Support: Randy’s making eye contact with the other ghoul as he, ah, prepares.
He’s happy with this compromise. Alana won’t be able to brag, this way.
GM: Alana’s eyes clear as the ecstasy of her mistress’ kiss so abruptly ends. She yelps at the spanks, then looks up at Randy.
The smug look dies.
Her cheeks angrily redden.
But she knows better than to protest. She opens her mouth.
Celia: “Good girl, Alana, you are such a good girl,” Jade croons at her. “You are the best little toy pet, yes you are.” Exactly like she’d speak to a dog. The fingers slide back inside. She returns to feeding.
Support: Randy isn’t a sadist. He doesn’t enjoy seeing other people in pain, per se. He’s not a monster. But her not wanting it does make it better for him. He joins with a smirk, stroking the ghoul caught between them’s chin and hair, knowing he’s ruining her experience.
Sometimes, it’s good to be the driver.
GM: Alana loudly moans as Jade’s fingers re-enter her while the vampire’s kiss resumes. When Randy does, she obediently sucks. Quietly at first, but since her mouth is full, she can’t make very audible happy noises in response to Jade anymore.
After a little while, she starts making choked coughing sounds, as though in pain. Randy’s hurting her.
Support: Randy stops and pulls out. She’s annoying, but it’s what he’d want her to do.
GM: Alana immediately turns around and nuzzles her face against Jade’s hands, seeking reassurance as she softly cries. He’s hurt her.
Celia: Jade pulls the girl into her embrace. She checks the collar to make sure it isn’t too tight, makes sure there are no ligature marks around her neck, murmurs soft nothings in the ghoul’s ear as she cries.
“Oh, pet, did he hurt you?” Her eyes find Randy. She points at the door. “Outside,” she says tersely, “I’ll deal with you in a moment.”
GM: Alana just sniffles and nods. She buries her face against Jade’s chest.
Support: He walks out, head cast downward. He’s also looking at the ground.
Celia: “Oh, ‘Lana. You know you’re my favorite little toy, don’t you?” Her fingers pinch. “But that doesn’t mean you get to lie to me. If I want you to suck off Randy while I fuck you, you do it.” She nips at her again, kissing a teasing line down her neck. “I had such plans for you later, such good plans, but if you can’t submit to my other toy how do you think I can take you out on walks and show you off, ’Lana?”
There’s nothing but cool disappointment in her voice.
Her ghoul let her down.
She ruined a special moment for Jade.
GM: Alana immediately comports her face at her domitor’s displeasure.
“I’m sorry, mistress. I’ll submit to him. I had other ideas, that we could do. All sorts of ideas.”
Her tone isn’t quite suggestive, yet, but clearly seeking to mend the damage.
Celia: “Tell me what you did wrong, Alana. I need to know that you understand why you will be punished for this.”
GM: Alana demurely lowers her gaze. She truly does look submissive, naked except for the collar and lead.
“I lied to you and disobeyed you, mistress. Sucking off Randy wasn’t important. Obeying you was important. If I can’t obey you, and do whatever you want, you can’t show me off. You won’t want to show me off.”
“And that makes you less happy, mistress. That’s inexcusable.”
“All I want is to make you happy. I know I’m not always good enough to do that, or good enough for you. I’m not Flawless, like you are. But I want to be. There’s nothing I want more in the world than to make you happy.”
She prostrates herself on her hands and knees, lowering her face against the floor.
“I know that you know best, mistress. I know that you’ll do whatever is best, even if it hurts. I trust you. I love you.”
“I’m sorry I let you down. Help me never let you down again.”
Celia: “You know that if he joined us now I’d have made it up to you later. I had such plans for later, Alana, when we would finally have a moment alone, when I could take my time with you. And now what? Nothing. Now you don’t get that sweet release, and now I have to punish my little toy. Do you think I enjoy punishing you, Alana? Am I a harsh mistress?”
She rises. She keeps her booted foot on the leash, preventing Alana from lifting her head.
“Randy,” she calls out. “Come in here.”
Support: He comes back in. His white gloves are crossed and folded in front of his crotch.
He looks genuinely remorseful.
Celia: “Alana has an apology for you.”
GM: Alana’s face looks crushed at Jade’s words. There doesn’t sound anything faked in her tears this time before Randy comes in.
She steadies her voice and speaks up from the floor. She doesn’t try to raise her head.
“I wasn’t hurt. I’m sorry for lying to get you in trouble, and for disobeying mistress.”
Support: “Um,” Randy says. “Cool. That’s okay.”
He’s pretty sure he’s still somehow the ass in this.
Celia: “You have two choices here, Alana. You can let Randy finish what he started and fuck you, or I’m going to take that collar off of you and you won’t get it back.”
GM: Alana blinks for a moment.
But it’s only to process the cruel, cruel, question, not make the decision.
That doesn’t take any time.
“I choose for him to fuck me, mistress. I want to be your pet.”
Her voice breaks. She still doesn’t try to look up from the floor.
“Please. Please have him fuck me. I want to be your pet.”
Celia: “You heard her, Randy. Fuck her.”
Support: He’s surprised.
And also a little weirded out. It was kinky before. Now it’s…
Is rapey the right word? He doesn’t think of himself as a rapist.
It’s not like he can say no.
GM: Alana doesn’t move. If Jade wants her to move, she’ll get off.
Support: She’s already naked. He takes off his pants in a few, short movements. He doesn’t take off his boxers, though. Just takes out his cock.
He doesn’t fuck her face because looking at her would be awkward. There’s no triumph for him in this, even if there’s shame for her.
Celia: “Finish inside of her, Randy.”
Support: He does throw in a few spanks, though.
Because what, he’s not allowed to have fun?
Celia: Jade keeps her foot on the leash. She watches.
Support: He obeys. In a small, pathetic way, he’s grateful she’s there to tell him what to do.
GM: Alana yelps as appropriate. She moves around a bit, to tug at the leash and give a show. There’s less enthusiasm than with Jade, but she doesn’t just lie there like a wooden board.
Celia: “Such a good girl,” Jade says, approving. “Such a good pet to take it like your mistress wants.”
GM: At her domitor’s encouragement, Alana smiles, desperately, through her tears. She moves around more. She makes moaning happy noises. She tugs at the leash, harder, and licks Jade’s boots.
She still cries a bit, though.
Support: Randy isn’t crying. But it takes him an awkward amount of time to finish, and he has a feeling he’s going to want to take it easy for, like, a few weeks.
But he finishes.
Like a good dog she’s played red rocket with.
Celia: Jade waits until he’s done. Until his body gives that telltale shudder and he makes the face that guys make where they’re trying to hold it in but they’re secretly enjoying themselves and then afterward they wonder what the fuck it was they were just watching. She waits until he pulls out and his cum drips from Alana’s body. She doesn’t dismiss him.
Finally, she lets go of the leash. She lowers herself to her knees to look at the girl and puts her finger beneath her chin to lift her face. She rubs a thumb across her face to dry her tears.
“You are such a good girl, Alana. I am so proud of you for making this special for me. I am so happy you’re mine. I love you.” She pulls her into her arms, presses a kiss against her lips. There’s nothing chaste about it. She presses Alana back until she’s laying down, trails a line of kisses down her body. She settles between her legs and licks her until she cums, too, and the taste of her two ghouls is on her tongue.
She bites her wrist. Holds it over her toy’s mouth.
“Drink, pet. Drink and know how much I love you.”
Support: Randy puts his pants on.
Clears his throat.
Celia: Jade ignores him. Her eyes are on Alana. Her attention is on Alana.
GM: Alana looks beside herself with relief at her domitor’s praise. She cries some more into Jade’s arms, but they’re happy tears. She kisses the Toreador hungrily, desperately back, and shakes her head as Jade eats her out to make the bell go ding-a-ling-a-ling. She makes happy noises, too, alternating between moans and yips, interspersed with cries of how she is Jade’s toy, Jade’s pet, and thanking her. Thanking her for all sorta of things, no doubt, but she’s too short on breath to go into specifics.
The coup de grace, though, is the slit wrist. Alana falls on it like a newborn, closed-eyed puppy after its mother’s milk. She closes her eyes too and sucks, in timeless, total bliss, until her domitor finally withdraws that life-giving font. There’s that momentary flash of disappointment, like always, when the feeding has to end.
Alana closes her eyes and nuzzles her face against Jade’s lap.
“Thank you, mistress,” she whispers. “Thank you, thank you, for everything. I love you so much. I have so many ideas, for how I can be such a good pet to you…”
Celia: Jade lets it go on for a time. Lets Randy linger, awkwardly, while Jade comforts Alana, while she feeds her, while she soothes her hurts with whispers and kisses and gentle touches.
Finally, she lets go of the girl.
“Prepare a shower for the two of us when we return. Get yourself cleaned up. Be a good girl and you can join us.”
She leaves Alana with a final kiss, snapping her fingers at Randy so he can fall in line behind her.
GM: Alana’s face falls again as she looks up at the clock.
“Oh… I’m sorry, mistress, I’m so sorry, but… we’re past the time their ghoul said he could meet you, to escort you to the sewers.”
“You and Randy can still see him tomorrow,” she adds. “After the dinner with your family, the night before you see Lord Savoy. You can also see him after Lord Savoy. I’m sure he has even fewer better things to do than Ramon.”
Celia: Jade pauses at the door as Alana speaks.
“Then clean yourself up. Randy and I are going to have a word.”
GM: “Yes, mistress,” Alana nods. She rises to her feet, leash still dangling from neck, gathers up her clothes, then bows and withdraws.
Support: “So,” Randy says after a moment. “What the fuck?”
Celia: Jade gives him a look.
“Take me home, Randy. We’ll chat.”
Saturday night, 5 March 2016, PM
Support: He keeps his mouth shut until he’s behind Ruby’s wheel and they’re zipping at unsafe speeds through the Quarter.
“What the fuck?” he repeats.
Celia: She’s silent. She doesn’t engage.
She lets it linger.
Just the sound of the car, the night, the wind.
Support: He snorts. “Okay, take that tone.”
Support: “I wanted to, back there.”
Celia: “Stop the car, Randy.”
Support: He stops the car.
Celia: She moves. She’s not as quick as others like her. She doesn’t have that supernatural speed. But anger moves her, and just like that she’s on his lap with her thighs spread across him and the steering wheel at her back. It’s late enough that no one is around to see when her lips part and she bares her fangs at him, hissing. Her eyes flash.
It’s an echo of their first time together, only now he knows what she is. Her hand is at his throat.
“Don’t. You. Question. Me.”
Support: He clams up. A small noise wells up from the back of his throat.
“I’m. I’m just. Saying. S-sorry. Babe.”
Celia: “You think I was too hard on her.” Her lips curl back into a sneer. “You resent me for using you, perhaps. That’s what you’re here for, Randy. To be used as I see fit.”
Support: “I—I love you. I know what I am. Just your driver. I mean, I did it. I’d do it again. I love you, doll.”
Celia: “So does she. Do you think that’ll prevent me from ripping out your tongue if you annoy me?”
She doesn’t wait for a response. She doesn’t need to; he’s seen her do it.
“You do not lie to me. Ever. Understand that. She lied to me. She was punished accordingly.”
Support: “I can’t lie! I’m a shitty liar! You know that, Jade. Babe.”
Celia: “Do you think,” she hisses, “that I enjoy punishing my toys? That I enjoy breaking you? Have I not been more than fair? Letting you race. Leaving your mother alone. Letting you touch me.”
Support: His expression goes flat at the mention of his mother.
“The answer you’re looking for is yes,” he says finally. “But I don’t wanna lie to you. You just asked me not to, right? I get that you can do whatever you want to me. But… I’ve met your mom. Your family. You’re good people. I don’t get why you have to do shit like punish us. If you don’t want to. Because you’re such a sweet person, babe. That’s all. I just want you to be happy, Jade. That’s all. And I know you don’t enjoy hurting her. Is all. Is that… okay?”
It’s there in his eyes.
The tortured, abused love.
Just like in Em’s.
Celia: She is very still for a very long time.
Finally, she says, “She lied to me to get you into trouble. If I cannot trust my ghouls, then I cannot trust anyone. Now she knows to never do it again. Now you know that if you lie to me you’ll face worse, as you’ve been warned. You enjoy a very, very lofty position at my side. Don’t fuck it up, Randy.”
Support: “I don’t want… I won’t lie to you, babe. Ever. I promise. I’d sell Ruby for parts first.”
“You can trust me.”
GM: Alana said the same thing. Or would’ve.
You can’t ever completely trust what comes out of a ghoul’s mouth, Savoy had chuckled.
Oh yes, they’ll do anything for you.
Any stupid thing.
They’ll lie and cheat and do desperate, stupid, things, to feel close to you.
“That’s always the challenge of having more than one,” the French Quarter lord had remarked. “They get jealous. So you’ve got to discipline them, my dear. A firm hand to keep those tugging hearts in line…”
Celia: The fangs disappear, but not before they slice into her own lip. She’s purring instead when she leans in. When she finds his lips with hers. Gives him what he wants, the blood, like she’d given Alana.
She’s not a monster. She recognizes what she did to Randy. What she made him do. They’d both been punished this evening, though the boy had done nothing but possess a hardened cock.
She really does love them, she tells herself.
Support: Randy tells himself, too.
She loves him.
And he likes it.