“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.
Previous, by Narrative: Story Twelve, Emmett I
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Next, by Character: Story Twelve, Celia II
I have thus far enjoyed the spa scenes. I think it’s fun to show off my personal knowledge, and I enjoy describing the treatments that Diana (it’s almost always Diana) receives. Bodywork, and massage in particular, is my specialty, so it’s nice to be able to put some of that to use by enhancing the game. We see it in the relaxation she supplies for Diana, as well as the more medical-based “deep tissue” work she supplies to Stephen later in the scene. I actually found a song that I was listening to as I typed Diana’s relaxation massage scene, I should send it to you. It was weirdly relaxing to write to.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but Celia’s concept actually started as a joke I made in another game I was in. “Tzimisce esthetician with an army of ghouled soccer moms.” I didn’t know if it would actually work as a character or just an NPC, and I think that, in another game, it might not have worked. But your game, with its rich backstory and character development, brought her to life. I know not everything is sunshine and roses in the World of Darkness, but I truly enjoy playing Celia in a way I didn’t think I would. She’s become more than someone who is simply obsessed with beauty.
I had originally thought that she gave out vitae to her clients to 1. keep them loyal to the spa and 2. keep them from aging, but this is a more serious game and there would be far too many consequences were that the case. Still, I do look forward to some of that coming up in game with her herd and a few clients I have in mind.
The spa, and Celia’s role / interests, has also developed more than I thought it would. I’d originally only intended for her to play with cosmetics and facial stuff, but her ability to flesh craft and my own medical background has given me a lot more room that I think adds more layers to Celia and the game itself. While we stick to realistic practices, it’s nice to be able to delve beyond what irl would strictly allow.
There’s also the fact that she probably did do some medical study with Emily to know what she’s actually talking about. While some of the anatomy and physiology is studied in esti/massage school, it’s not nearly to the degree that Celia knows. I think, maybe, I’ll flashback to her getting a degree in something else as well. Nothing but time ahead of her, may as well.
Lucy is adorable. I don’t actually like kids, which you know, but it’s easy to pretend that Lucy is my IRL niece and do things that I would do for her, like giving her a nickname and spinning her around and painting her toenails. It’s an interesting dynamic that they share. I’m glad her nickname has also picked up with Emily / Diana / pretty much everyone who talks to her. It adds a cute element. I also think it’s totally adorable that she is the one who corrects Diana about Landen’s gender identity. I would love to do a wholesome babysitting scene with her and Emily or something if Diana ever goes out on a date or takes the night off. I also am definitely looking forward to Lucy being used against Celia somehow, not gonna lie, especially now that someone knows Celia is a vampire. She could potentially become a Touchstone, as well.
I think the compromise with claiming Lucy was Celia’s was a pretty solid move, even if Lucy messes up and calls her Celia (like at the Devillers house, thanks for that, good thing Pete didn’t notice), and Diana messes up by having the girl call her “mom” too. Celia actually would have been way more firm about that, but it’s… whatever I guess. Bad things will happen or they won’t.
On a side note, part of Landen’s description is missing. It jumps from their mouth to their hair and I think a few words were cut out.
“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.”
This is actually something I have to say to my clients more often than not. People feel me about to move their head or arm or whatever and try to do the motion for me, and it’s not helpful. I know where it needs to go, and I’m also feeling for that soft tissue limit so I know what’s going on in the body. The best thing you can do is just lay there like a lump, but saying “relax” to someone is like telling an angry person to “calm down.” Doesn’t do anything.
Not that I want to talk about massage a bunch (maybe I do), but what Celia does for both Diana and Stephen — the intuition — is actually something I experience with clients. My hands feel and just kind of know where to go. Before I started school / practice I thought there might be a learned routine or something, but I can honestly say that no two of my massages are ever the same because I’m kind of just letting my body take over. Sometimes I think, “make sure to do this or that,” but it’s honestly almost like meditating sometimes. My mind just kind of blanks. I literally couldn’t tell you what I think about the entire time. I wonder if there’s some sort of touch / body reading Celia can develop. Not quite like Auspex, not mind reading, but an enhanced Empathy through muscles or something? You can literally feel tension in the body. There’s also the whole premise of muscle memory, which is yes kind of like the riding a bike thing, but in this case I mean it in the sense that our muscles actually store memories. For example, I had a client once who just started sobbing on the table, and they had warned us about this in school, “emotional release.” I asked if she wanted me to continue, and she started telling me that her son had just died and my touch had brought up a memory. You can get really into the mind-body connection as a bodyworker, like there are all sorts of different modalities that deal with it. People hear “holistic” and think “oh that’s hippie garbage,” when the word itself just actually means the body as a whole. Treating the whole thing, not just part of it. Like if someone has pain in their back it might be coming from all the way down in their foot. Or people who spend all day hunched forward at a computer think they want their back worked on, when really it’s the front that needs to be lengthened and stretched.
I guess I wasn’t really thinking about it when I decided that of course Celia does massage, but there’s honestly a whole energy / mystical element to it that can be explored. Perhaps she is the one to do it.
Not to jump ahead, but we see a little bit of this when she’s talking to Gui about the science of the dead body. The muscles are animated by electrical shocks, and there’s actually a form of massage called vibration where I imagine Celia can kind of “jump start” the dead flesh. It’s also, to be blunt, a cover for her using flesh craft to fix things for Kindred, but the realism is there as well.
Back to Diana, I think there are two good familial leads here for Celia to pursue, which she has already done with Logan (and gets to work on further), and the mention of Sophia bears looking into as well. I know you and I had discussed a few things pertaining to that and I am eager to get into it. I do question, though, whether Celia is too tied to her mortal family and should be more involved with Kindred politics and whatnot.
On a side note, the syringe was actually just going to be a cover for her sinking her teeth into her mom to feed from her so she didn’t feel the flesh crafting, but this worked out. You didn’t even question me about it, lol. I think Celia definitely has another medical degree that lets her do injections. It varies by state, I know in Ohio you can’t do it without an actual medical degree. I believe that my eventual goal for her is to get into “plastic surgery” as well, like so that people can come to her for things. But she doesn’t have the honesty bone like Roderick does so I doubt she’s going to go through the years of school for it as opposed to just hacking in somewhere and saying she’s licensed.
I feel that my writing in this scene with Diana is a little off. I don’t know if I was at work at the time and on my phone and couldn’t communicate effectively, or if I just ran out of ways to describe massage since I’d just done it with the Roderick scene at the spa and the earlier Diana scene at the spa. There are way more things I’d like to get into with erasing scar tissue, so that might be edited. Ditto to the fleshcrafting of the dead guy; I once wrote a very, very gross piece about skinning a deer and I thought I had replicated that here, but reading it now feels flat to me. I am not sure I love it. Part of me wants to write more clinically, like Celia doesn’t see these people as anything but sacks of flesh and she’s more medically based so of course she’s looking at their bones and muscle and viscera, and part of me is like, “it’s a horror game, get into it.” So I’m either going to edit this log (I’ll let you know) or I’m going to up that factor going forward. All of her Protean use here feels a little flat.
Thus far Celia has not yet fed on her mom. I think that’s the line she’s not willing to cross. She got close here, part of me was like, “well she’s hungry and Diana is right there,” but I have a feeling that it will come up in the future and Celia will lose to her Beast around her mom and that will make it all the more tragic if it’s her first time. Is it fucked that I’m waiting for her to destroy her family? Like both her and Lucy. Being around a vampire is dangerous. That will be her final descent into Corruption that there probably won’t be any coming back from; Celia will become Jade in truth, rather than living these two half-lives that she has.
But Celia has become very careful about feeding before she visits her family, as we see later with the girl that Randy brings her. I was willing to let her murder the girl so that I could make the appropriate Rouse checks without risking frenzy, and Celia was willing to murder her so that when she showed up to dinner it wouldn’t be hungry. I suppose we can talk more about that next log, though.
I believe this is Celia’s first actual in game interaction with Alana, since the incidents prior had been flashbacks and Alana was barely featured. At this point I don’t think she was on my sheet as a Retainer, so while she was ghouled I was very uncertain of her loyalty and whether or not she knew the depths of depravity that Celia gets up to. The conversation feels rather stilted because of it, at first. Then Alana gives her the collar and I’m like, “Oh damn girl.”
On the subject of ghouls: I actually really, truly enjoy both of mine. Alana is the perfect Toreador companion, she’s so eager and willing to please. When she told the hunters that the phone belonged to Celia I was like, “you bitch,” but then she went and lied/backed up Celia about “Jade” and I was like “awwww.” I don’t know if Alana actually has any artistic talent or if Celia just scooped her up because she was someone that would remain loyal due to owing Celia literally her entire identity. I imagine she has some gift with Expression (Cosmetics) if Celia is willing to let her put on her makeup and pretend to be her during the day. Their relationship is… nice. I think it’s nice. Celia doesn’t really tell her everything, but I think they’re closer than a lot of ghouls/domitors and Celia has actual affection for the girl. Like a pet. I love my dog; why can’t Celia feel the same for her ghoul? In treating her relatively well, Celia has managed to cultivate her loyalty beyond the blood bond. Maybe I’m making that up and Alana actually hates Celia, but it feels like the girl would honestly do a lot for her mistress. Anyway, my point is that I really like Alana.
I also enjoyed the scenes with Randy. Letting Izzy play him has been super fun for me, because he usually throws me a curve ball that I’m not expecting. Which is fun in the right setting, such as when they’re in the car alone together and he questions her, and less fun when they’re in the sewers and she gives him an order and he ignores it. But we can get to that. I’d really like to do more scenes with just him that aren’t high-stakes, or at least not Kindred related; I think Celia uses Randy to blow off steam sometimes and just do stupid shit. I think Izzy was a little thrown off OOC when Celia was dismissive of Randy at first, but he recovered nicely.
I guess I’m leaving feedback out of order. Oh well.
Anyway. Gui, man. I like that guy. A lot. I’d like to do more with him. We’d mentioned the Coterie connection and how Celia probably wouldn’t fit with the High Rollers, but before that came up we had also discussed Gui as one of the potentials for Celia’s coterie since they’re both promising young neonates with Savoy’s faction. Now that Roderick is out of the picture I think Celia might be more willing to get her hands dirty, so to speak. I also, like I said, thought about the fact that she’d have jumped ship from Roderick to Gui just to be spiteful. Even if they weren’t fucking she might have hung around him more. That being said, my/her interest in him goes far beyond “making Roderick jealous,” so I’m not sure that’s something I want to declare. Prior to Roderick entering the picture I had thought that Gui might make a fitting Paramour as well.
I thought their conversation over the phone was silly. In a fun way. Got the point across and was on brand for Celia/Jade. Ditto to their conversation at the spa, with Celia flirting. Of course she flirted.
I think I’d originally been leaning toward Cartwright for her contact for a body, but Gui makes more sense and I had fun with it. I’d still like to meet Cartwright considering their “business dealings.”
“Maybe she should have someone teach her that flex thing. Maybe Donovan.” I wonder if this means she has seen him recently and their relationship is warmer.
Also. Bro. Let me just say. Alana mentioned this meeting with Savoy like IRL over a month ago, and I have literally been looking forward to it since then, and then other stuff just kept happening. And then she missed it! I’m so salty. I imagine he can catch her up on what it was supposed to be about now that they’re finally going to meet, but god damn talk about a long tease.
I thought my description of the boho bag was funny. Small things like that amuse me. I am also highly entertained by Celia’s thoughts of stuffing Maxen and turning his cock into a headband to give to Isabel. Eager to see where things go with Isabel because I had future plans for her, but I’m more than happy to adjust them if it means an end to the bitch.
The problem, of course, with discussing my plans with Alana and asking if she thinks they’re okay is that the ghoul might just be lying to her and telling her what she wants to hear, which I don’t like. Randy, at least, is honest. Alana said the name “Sparky” for a pig was great, so I’m not sure I trust her to not lie to me.
Speaking of Sparky, is that the kind of thing I need to add to my sheet? I didn’t, but I’ve got enough domain/herd for two more ghouls and I think Celia plans on keeping Sparky around for a while. At least until she finds a better use for entrails. I believe that I had something in mind at some point but now I couldn’t tell you what that was.
“this new Jade persona is charming and witty and confident, a little bit cool, everything that Celia had always wanted to be. How easy it is to put on a mask and simply become someone else. Two parts Em, one part Caroline, one part Pietro, with a dash of Veronica and a heaping scoop of Savoy to top it all off.” See, Celia wasn’t lying to Caroline when she said she used to channel her. Interesting combination of people that she has become under the guise of Jade, but I believe that it is fairly accurate.
Also. Randy is just. Like. Rereading this. He’s just so amusing. Stumbling and awkward and trying so hard to impress this pretty lady. Comments about fucking underage girls and beating up school kids that he blunders his way through. I’m just amused beyond belief. I think Celia is too, which is why she lets him fumble his way through things. He hasn’t fucked up enough that she has to take him out yet.
And then… the sex scene. First of all, love the collar that Alana gave her. I have a fun picture somewhere. I think Celia likes it so much that she accessories or something. I could picture a different collar for multiple outfits, but I also think that the removal of the collar in and of itself is kind of a blasphemous act in the nature of their relationship, and that Celia would only do it for special occasions. I guess I’ll figure it out.
And then Randy walking in at that moment… too funny. Of course he wants to join, why wouldn’t he, but then Alana went and ruined it. Truly, I think Celia handled the situation with her ghoul well. She made Alana aware that she was disappointed rather than angry (which I personally feel is more devastating), then made Alana explain what she did and how she deserved to be punished for it, then gave her the options of punishment. Once it was over Celia even rewarded her / kissed it better. Deftly done.
Celia 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. Lol.
I’m happy that Randy, at least, is honest enough to tell her when she’s gone too far. I kind of feel bad for using another player to punish an NPC, and while Celia would have probably torn his tongue out if he’d spoken to her like that in front of other vampires, here he was smart enough to say nothing. He cares enough about her that he doesn’t want her to be a bad person and it’s kind of sweet, even if it’s wrong. Celia is a bad person. That’s really all there is to it.
I know there were some comments on Celia treating her ghouls the way she does. I think she can afford to be a little “lenient,” though only privately. They both know better than to pull stunts like these around other licks. It is, uh, very clear that Randy is kind of an Emmett stand-in for Celia. I’m not sure if Izzy made the character to be that way or if it just kind of came up organically, but that’s pretty much what she sees when she looks at him, which I believe is why she lets him get away with as much as he does. And also probably why she hasn’t actually had sex with him. Too much like fucking her cousin.
Calder Today at 9:13 AM
In answer to Emily’s uber feedback
I’ve loved the spa scenes a ton too. Your RL expertise shines through in every one. Makes them a real treat to read
I’m also looking forward to seeing her do spa stuff for people besides her mom
That is the primary venue they see each other at, but Celia obviously has other clients
Who she just as obviously has a very different dynamic with
Those clients being her Herd
What was the song you had on?
Emily Today at 9:17 AM
Let me see if I can find it
Pretty sure it was this one.
You can find a lot of good ones, this one just made me like… idk, do you ever meditate? Or feel like you’re just sinking into something? Like water is crushing you from every angle but in a good way?
Calder Today at 9:20 AM
All that “make an account” BS
Emily Today at 9:21 AM
I have a student account for $5. >>
Plus Hulu. With adblock it’s like… worth.
Calder Today at 9:22 AM
“I truly enjoy playing Celia in a way I didn’t think I would. She’s become more than someone who is simply obsessed with beauty.”
Sounds like we amply succeeded with her as a character
Emily Today at 9:23 AM
I wasn’t pumped about her when I’d finished with her concept. She seemed kind of “meh” and one dimensional.
She’s… Idk. I enjoy her. A lot.
Calder Today at 9:23 AM
no such thing as a bad idea, just bad execution of an idea
I also think she could lace clients with her vitae if she wanted to
It just wouldn’t be a case of every client being a ghoul
Given how many she has
Related, I could see a Presence Devotion that makes victims loyal to your business
With an impulse to “come back again”
That the v
Emily ire uses every time
Until the client is accustomed enough to coming that they don’t need it
Emily Today at 9:27 AM
Yeah that was my initial plan. Actually, it was to develop a “Yana-esque” shot of antioxidants / other buzzwords that she gives to clients when they come in that is really just vitae mixed with something to slow down the aging process as opposed to stopping it.
Yana is an actual product that is… uh, idk, place I work sells it, one of the girls is really into it, says it helps with her skin and hair and stuff. Have to take it every day kind of thing. I personally don’t buy into it.
Calder Today at 9:28 AM
I could see a Devotion which does that too. It’s basically watered down vitae
Though Celia can already do that with Fleshcraft
Give the victim a few less wrinkles
Emily Today at 9:28 AM
Plus Nylea wants to experiment with vitae
Calder Today at 9:28 AM
Emily Today at 9:28 AM
So I don’t want to repeat.
I was lectured once on the difference between a client and a customer by an old boss who ran a “consulting” company. I thought he was pretentious as fuck.
Calder Today at 9:31 AM
Client = you perform service for
Customer = you sell things to
Emily Today at 9:31 AM
Clients are also generally repeats, or people you want to repeat. Have a stronger relationship with.
But yeah essentially
I kind of ignored him to be honest.
Calder Today at 9:31 AM
Ah, that also makes sense
I’m also glad you’ve expanded the spa’s scope beyond just cosmetics, anyways
I’m sure there’s plenty you could’ve done with that
But more is usually better
We’ve also discussed Celia’s relative medical expertise in the past
I could well see her with some kind of degree there
Like you say, she has forever
May as well
Emily Today at 9:34 AM
I’d like to get into cosmetic surgery. Augmentations. Face / print lifts for criminals.
There’s a lot to get into.
Calder Today at 9:35 AM
There’s going to be further time skips down the line. Good time to intro those things
Glad Lucy’s been a hit. Roleplaying small kids can be a challenge
The Goose nickname is also great
You’re right, you’ve got pretty much everyone using it
Diana and Emily both think it’s adorable
Do you feel invested enough in her that she’s a Touchstone, or needs more screentime still?
Emily Today at 9:38 AM
I think more screentime, more one-on-one time together. Celia getting roped into babysitting (with Emily for a girls night?) or, more likely, just continuing the ruse that she’s the girl’s actual mother.
“Gotta take some photos for Instagram.”
Bring her to the Evergreen. V
Emily ires like babies, don’t they?
Calder Today at 9:39 AM
We can do a babysitting scene pretty easily, anyways
Diana loves to have the two of them around each other
And laments how Celia is only around during evenings these days
Emily Today at 9:40 AM
Calder Today at 9:40 AM
Good excuse with the business
Fixed Landen’s descrip, good catch
That’s all great stuff so far as the massage nitty-gritty
And the reason we gave you an Empathy Specialty there
Emily Today at 9:45 AM
Excited to start using it.
Calder Today at 9:46 AM
Plus massage Devotions
Emily Today at 9:47 AM
At least now she has an excuse to be so handsy.
Calder Today at 9:47 AM
That’s great stuff so far as the sobbing client
I could well see that translating over to Social rolls/Devotions
Emily Today at 9:48 AM
People do all sorts of weird things on the table. Tell me stuff. They just open up.
The first thing a lady once said to me, as I was working on her neck, was, “my mom used to beat me.”
And I was like whooooaaaaa.
Calder Today at 9:49 AM
I could see Celia getting into some mystic stuff as you say
Chakra points etc
Emily Today at 9:51 AM
Yeah I was going to expand on that but I had already talked about a bunch of massage stuff
But there’s like Reiki, which is actual energy work, and then there’s this thing called Polarity that I had done once by my massage instructor and it was… I’m not big into that kind of thing, or I wasn’t at least, but I had a legitimate vision while on the table.
And it was crazy.
Calder Today at 9:52 AM
That’s awesome stuff to use IG
Emily Today at 9:53 AM
I could see her getting into an Auspex thing like that.
Calder Today at 9:53 AM
Yep. Even Blood Sorcery, but feel like Celia could be good with just Auspex
Emily Today at 9:53 AM
Unless the work itself is the ritual she’d use for Blood Sorcery.
Calder Today at 9:54 AM
You do have Mentor who’s at least somewhat into that stuff with the Lilith veneration
Emily Today at 9:54 AM
I’ll have to chat with her about it. Might be a good practice partner then.
Calder Today at 9:56 AM
Syringe-wise wasn’t much for me to question
Diana probably doesn’t know what laws are there
Emily Today at 9:56 AM
Ah, you’re right.
A lot of people don’t.
Calder Today at 9:57 AM
And it’s hardly like she’d turn Celia in if she knew her daughter was operating without a license
I sure don’t know what the laws are
I’d probably just assume if a salon worker was doing that “okay, that must be on the up and up” if everything else about the business seemed to be
Emily Today at 10:00 AM
Varies by state, but generally need a separate license to do injections. More of a med spa thing. Even laser hair removal, at least here, needs a doctor to oversee and a nurse to operate the machine. Whereas Electrolysis is, I believe, a separate license.
Calder Today at 10:01 AM
Celia can easily get away with not having one
I mean, even beyond WoD Louisiana corruption being what it is
There’s always Presence
Emily Today at 10:01 AM
Oh for sure. She’s not too worried about it.
A lot of people get away with doing things they’re not licensed for or even trained in.
Calder Today at 10:02 AM
That’s also sweet she decided to use the injection rather than feed on her mom
I like that being a line she’s not willing to cross
Caroline was the same way with Cecilia
Does not want to consume family members’ blood
Emily Today at 10:07 AM
You know who she would feed on?
And Roxanne, when she diablerizes the bitch.
Calder Today at 10:13 AM
Ah, but I thought you wanted to leave her in Savoy’s hands
Emily Today at 10:13 AM
Pete wanted that
Calder Today at 10:13 AM
Our game’s second PC diablerie
Calder: I thought the fleshbag description was fantastic, though agree the one altering Diana’s leg could’ve been more played up
Know your medical knowledge gives you a lot of stuff to draw on
Vis a vis her becoming Jade, I think there’s a gradient from less to more awful
* Using Disciplines on family
* Feeding on family
* Ghouling family
Emily: I was gonna ghoul Logan
Calder: I mean, there is a gradient
VtR 2e has a great fiction piece about a vampire feeding on their brother who feels soul-stained but not absolutely awful
I think it’s perhaps more apt to say every vampire has lines they draw in the sand
Or at least tried to
Like, brother feeder might try hard to avoid killing, and see brother feeding as a way to facilitate that
Whereas Celia murders strangers for their hair and has basically tied up all of her humanity in a small group of people
Emily: Gonna be real messy when they all die.
Calder: They will, if she doesn’t ghoul or Embrace them
Emily: idk I think they’re gonna die young. Dramatically.
Calder: Diana 42. Good life
Emily: younger. Pretty sad
Lucy a kid, tragic
Logan clearly isn’t among their special group tho
Emily: He’s my ally now, sir.
Emily: We are bffs.
True story, thought about fucking logan.
Calder: You’ve thought about fucking everybody but
* Prepubescent children
PeteFucking Logan? Sick
Calder: Pete gave that piece Logan found so inspirational
Emily: Celia’s long term plan is to fuck Maxen.
Calder: Not genetically related
NavyMaybe you can take Maxen’s dick to finally give Randy his asscheek back.
Calder: Plus the major taboo against incest is passing undesirable traits to offspring
Navy(Just popping in, drowning in readings)
Calder: Celia can’t have any
So incest as a taboo is purely social
PeteZoroastrianism did it
Emily: I’ve literally thought about fucking Maxen since I joined the game
And it is the reason he is not dead.
PeteMarried their rulers brother to sister, mother to son, father to daughter
Calder: The Ptolemics did it too
Lot of incest in Cleopatra’s tree
PeteI had a run in ck 2 as Zoroastrians
Calder: Feel like you could also edit the Alana convo a bit too
Calder: You were originally trying to hide what you did from her
Like why, ghoul
Granted, some more loyal than others, some told more than others
Emily: I didn’t think she’d be that loyal
Calder: But a vamp without at least one ghoul they can be fairly open with is in a bad place
PeteTraitor bitch Audrey
Calder: I mean, covering up atrocities is part of the ghoul job descrip
Clean up the shit your domitor gets up to
Caroline though has indeed seen the increased difficulties that come from managing so many ghouls
Also how jealous they can be of each other, which even Celia has seen between just two
Emily: And it was hot
Now that I’m not in the middle of the scene I will admit to being turned on.
Calder: Yeah, I’ve said this before, but I really like how distinct a dynamic Caroline and Celia have with their ghouls
You admitted that earlier
We crack jokes about what a sub Celia is but she can definitely play the dom too
She does that harder with her ghouls than Caroline does
Granted, that’s easier when you fuck them
Which is a line Caroline hasn’t crossed
PeteCaroline is about authority. Celia is about power.
Calder: And doesn’t seem likely to
Celia was a total tyrant bitch to Randy in the car. Such a great domitor
Emily: Was she?
I thought she was kind of soft there.
Calder: I mean, you could have ripped off his other asscheek
But she was pretty mean verbally
Loved the bit too where she stepped on Alana’s leash and kept her face pinned to the ground
Such a great dom
Emily: Everyone says she’s a sub.
She only submits when it’s better than topping.
PeteSwings both ways
Calder: She’s a switch
Calder: Continuing feedback, anyways
Alana has some skill with cosmetics/skin
Though readily admits to being her mistress’ lesser
PeteI bet she does…
Calder: Yeah, she seems to enjoy it
I do think/agree it’s possible for Kindred to hold real affection for their ghouls
Even if it may be a little twisted
I thought Randy was great too
He’s clearly Celia’s Em substitute
I do like how he hasn’t been totally obedient too
Neither has Alana, for that matter
Emily: What did Alana do D:
Calder: Tried to get Randy in trouble
Calder: Lied he hurt her
Emily: Yeah that’s fine though i thought it was funny
Calder: Jealous ghouls
Emily: Celia is jealous too. :^)
What’s it you like about Gui?
Emily: He’s amusing.
Calder: Last PC to have any big interactions with him was George, way back when
Emily: I like his mafia connection. I like his, uh, eloquence. And status. He makes me laugh.
Calder: The cowboy hat
Emily: That too
She’s gonna wear it when they bang
Calder: Cowgirl position of course
Calder: Just kidding, he doesn’t want to stick his dick in her
Emily: Intrigued by him being Capones childe, too
Calder: Capone childe has a lot of Kindred dubious but he swears by it
Emily: Celia is fine being lied to
let’s be real
About some stuff
Calder: Just so long as there’s flirting
I still want us to meet Cartwright and Benson too
I was amused by the boho bag line too
What future Isabel plans did you have?
Emily: Nothing that can’t be adjusted
PeteMend her relationship, fix he toe, become loving sisters like Caroline and her sisters.
Navy: Eat her soul.
Emily: Make her kill Maxen, watch the sheriff take her head off
Calder: Oooooh, second diablerie
NavyDiablerie is cool and all, but so is not having a dark secret hanging over your head.
I’d love to kill her. Don’t want that coming out though.
Calder: Ghouling Logan, killing Isabel
The things you do to your poor mother’s babies
Least she has a lot of spares
All those parents who have 1-2 kids, so foolish
You have to prepare for the fact some of your offspring may not survive to pass on your genes
Calder: Only good practice to have lots
Alana did think Sparky a great name
Ghouls tend not to be good at criticism
Sparky is livestock, he doesn’t need to be on your sheet
He’s purely an extension of Resources
I was wondering if you’d have a use for entrails
Emily: Does he not count toward my ghouls then
Calder: He does count
Emily: also I dohave a use for them I just literally can’t remember
Calder: Free up a ghoul if you remember
Emily: I’ll ask Gary, he’s fucked up enough to know / remember / have new ideas
Calder: I also liked Randy calling her out. Alana would not have done that
When do you think Celia officially became A Bad Person?
The college student who just wanted to help her mom and best friend out of some tight spots definitely wasn’t one
Petewhen she got the power from Veronica
and used it to make her dad rape her sister
NavyYeah that’s a pretty awful thing to do.
Maybe it’s when she looked into Donovan’s soul, saw the evil within him, and accepted him.
Calder: That was a big moment for sure, though with a lot leading up to it
Peteyeah, but everything until then wasn’t really bad
Emily: Both of those
Peteit was wrong, or dumb, or messed up, but not bad
Calder: Her Embrace was pretty horrific
Emily: She became pretty corrupt using the powers, being Embraced by Donovan and seeing into his head just cemented it
because she wanted him, still
Calder: Raping Em I’d say was bad, but by a way smaller margin
Emily: “That doesn’t scare me.” She’d have gone further if not for fear of becoming a wight.
Petewhen she got power
was when she went bad
which is pretty typical
Emily: She went, literally, as far as she could without her own mind splintering
Calder: What’s so sad is that her initial intentions were so pure. She just wanted to stop her dad from hurting her loved ones
But you know what the road to hell is paved with
Calder: You’ve also brought up hitting Corruption 3 with her. How could you see her coming back from what she is?
Emily: Forgiving her dad or Isabel.
Calder: Isabel easier order than dad, likely
Apologizing to Em, maybe.
But prob not
maybe a temp reduction
Unless he fucks her real hard for it
Calder: Em apology probably that
Bar hard fucking