“I know how I like my women.”
Friday night, 18 March 2016, AM
Celia: They’re a mess when it’s over. Jade bleeds the excess into a cup, but there’s something so hot about being covered in blood while she fucks a ghoul and she wishes that Roderick were more into it.
Then again, she thinks that perhaps killing started him down the path that led to the vision, and she’s not interested in that. She’ll leave these moments to those of them who enjoy them. Like Reggie.
She drains the blood from the body with Reggie’s help, using him to hold the man aloft while she uses a hand to pump the heart like the literal valve that it is. She drinks until she’s full, puts the extra aside for later, and showers off the blood with Reggie. She has him take her again and finally gives him the hit she’d promised.
GM: Reggie learns something new when Celia’s heart-squeezing makes the blood come out faster. He takes her a third time with pleasure.
Whether it’s with as much pleasure as the hit is hard to say, but he thoroughly enjoys both.
Along with the fact that Randy is still waiting just the next room.
“He’s such a fucking idiot around you,” Reggie laughs as he dries and dresses himself.
Celia: “You’ve mentioned,” Jade drawls as she wrings the excess water out of her hair. It had been a thorough shower; no need for Carolla to smell the sex on her later and wonder if she’s as perverted as Roxanne. “Maybe getting laid will get it out of his system. And maybe he’ll still be an idiot. Regardless, I have a task for the two of you.”
She dresses, checks to make sure the thin-blood is still staked in the suite, and takes Reggie to find his brother. A wave of her hand dismisses any concern over taking so long. She checks the time to verify there’s enough before her meeting with the Brujah. No doubt fucking Reggie took up some of it, but a quick conversation should be doable.
“Your brother hit a wall looking into the hunters for me. I’d like to try a new tactic,” she says to the pair.
GM: Jade finds the thin-blood staked on the marble table. The man’s eyes do not follow hers as she approaches, but simply stare blankly upwards, seemingly oblivious as to her presence.
The ghouls both nod, listening.
Celia: “The guy he’s looking for doesn’t exist. Fake name. The other names haven’t turned up anything in a search, or at least no one has looked into their disappearances. The other lick I’m working with is sitting on a bugged stake. So yeah, I could twiddle my thumbs and wait, but I’m not a very patient person.” She favors them with a smile. They know.
“I’ve got their phones and the number they were communicating with. We can go about it a few ways. Call and trace the number, see what it turns out. Rusty will probably be on that for me.” Hadn’t he done that already? Why get the number if he’s not looking into it, right? She shoots him a text to tell him to do so if he hasn’t. Coded, obviously. “I can get the pair of you disguises, you can meet with the contacts. Maybe take a body with you.” Jade can think of a few licks she wouldn’t mind seeing the last of. “We can also stake out the apartment where I was nabbed. It’s in Mid-City. I imagine they’ll try again. The IDs they’ve got are fake, too. We’ll see if any of your ‘friends’ recognize the work.”
GM: The pair take a moment to process.
“Okay,” says Reggie. “Whose body?”
Celia: “Dunno yet,” Jade says cheerfully.
“There are so many to pick from.”
GM: Rusty texts back an affirmatory response.
“Sure are. Stake-outs are also boring as fuck,” says Reggie.
Celia: “Chance they won’t return, anyway, since their guys didn’t.”
Celia sends a text to Rod letting him know she found Dani’s phone and that she left her purse at the house for them. A second later she asks if he happened to find her friend’s ID at his apartment after their “wild party lol.”
Celia: “Thoughts on the rest of it?”
GM: Roderick texts back his gladness at the news and says he’ll let Dani know.
Her friend didn’t misplace his ID as far as he could find.
“Sounds good to me,” says Randy. “These guys tried to hurt you. Fuck waiting on some other lick.”
“Take the offense and all that.”
“Hey, you aren’t always an idiot,” says Reggie.
Celia: Jade favors the youngest brother with a smile.
“No IDs,” she says once she reads the text, “never mind that plan I guess.”
GM: “Ok, when do you want to kick this off?” asks the older of the pair.
Celia: “Could do it whenever.” They have the spare parts now. “It’ll be during the day. Lord Savoy has a shadow dancer that has met them already if you think going with him will be best.”
Gotta be a him, right? The one she’d (sort of) fucked in the shower.
“Guess I can’t count on him lending me the guy, though.”
“We’ll need to alter your faces, bodies.”
Celia: She’s only hesitant because she’s worried about losing them. She shouldn’t be worried, right? The other ghouls made it out.
“I guess tomorrow…?” Gives her little enough time to find a lick to send with them, but if they are working with the bitch with the tainted blood maybe it’ll come up.
GM: “Okay,” says Reggie. “Let us know whenever.”
Celia: “…you’re not worried about it? You two? Going in alone? Getting found out?”
“I guess we just need to find a lick, then.”
“Think they’d take a thin-blood?”
GM: “You got out, didn’t you?” Reggie shrugs.
“Be convenient with this guy already here.”
Celia: She might as well drain him while he’s here, too. Give him just enough to leave him “alive.” Keep the hunters from reviving him and learning anything about them, her, or her boys. Unless they don’t function like that. Maybe this is one of those things Edith could have told her; she didn’t think of it at the time.
“Yeah,” she says to that. “We’ll chance it. Fucker has fangs. Uneven, but fangs all the same. Alright. They needed three to be in the club. ‘My’ body was the first, this will be the second, see if they give you an address for the third or if it’s something you need to find yourselves. Find out what you can. Record what you can. But don’t get caught. That’s your priority: getting out. Clear? I’ll send a doc by your place tonight to alter your features. Use a burner. Car. Phone. Everything. Coded. The last pair said groceries. Address out in the fuckin’ boonies.”
GM: “Could just grab the fuckers,” says Reggie. “Hurt them until they squeal.”
Celia: “Think you could?”
GM: “Last ones were trouble, weren’t they?” says Randy.
Celia: “They were. And there’s something weird about these ones.”
GM: “But I dunno, two of us, plus surprise.”
Celia: “I mean yeah, that’s ideal if you could…”
GM: “Weird how?” asks Reggie.
Celia: “Not like normal hunters, my guy said. Looks down on potential assets. Cold.”
“Like… normally hunters want to work together.”
“These guys were real dismissive.”
“Of potential allies, I mean.”
GM: “Maybe ’cuz they were idiots who got themselves killed,” says Reggie.
Celia: “Right, well, the guy who I spoke to about it has more experience with these sort of things and is older than me, so I’m kind of inclined to trust him on this. And they didn’t know the others died.”
“But hey, if you can nab one without risking yourself, do it.”
“Look. Do what you can. Just don’t fucking die, okay?”
GM: “Don’t plan on that anytime soon,” smirks Reggie.
“You got it, babe. We’ll be careful,” says Randy.
Celia: “Then I’ll take what I need from this guy and you can turn him over to then. Expect the doc early this morning.”
She waits a beat in case they have any questions.
They do not.
Celia: Then it’s time to drain a thin-blood to the point of almost-death and get ready for her date.
Friday night, 18 March 2016, AM
Celia: It doesn’t take long for Jade to drain the halfbreed. She puts the blood aside, leaving it just enough to still be… alive. Animated. Whatever. Another night, perhaps, she’d have questioned the thing to learn what she could. But she has so many important things going on this evening, and she’s waited long enough to pounce on the hunters. Her boys aren’t useless, no matter how dumb Randy sometimes acts around her. They’ll get it done. This is the way forward.
The boys take the body with them when they go, still staked. One less trip for her later. She leaves with them, heading back to her haven to get ready for her date. Makeup. Hair. Nails. Once her body is ready she thumbs through her closet.
Years ago Roderick had enjoyed the pants Celia wore to a rant. Or at least to the car on the way to the rant, before they’d stopped to fuck because he couldn’t keep his hands off her. Brujah pants, he’d called them. The Mafiosa might not be an Anarch but he’s certainly still a Brujah, and she looks for something similar. Tight, to show off her tiny waist and shapely rear. Stiletto heels. Black shirt, also tight, and a black jacket top it off. She peruses accessories and settles for a gold branded belt.
Jade winks at her reflection before she saunters from the haven to meet Carolla’s driver at the agreed upon address a few scant blocks away.
GM: Her reflection winks back, as if to say how smoking she is.
The car, a dark SUV, arrives about a minute after the agreed-upon time. The driver, a thuggish-looking man who’s crammed his large frame into a dark suit, gets out to open the passenger door for Jade.
She’s greeted inside the car by the Brujah himself. Will Carolla is a somewhat smaller but still large-framed and square-jawed man with slicked-back hair that has a few strands artfully loose. His features could be called handsome enough, in a blunt sort of way. Where Roderick’s face is narrower and smiles easily, most of his conviction seeming to glare out from within, everything about Carolla’s unsmiling face looks hard. A less kindly description referencing his low brow and flat, incurious eyes might be thuggish. He’s wearing a dark suit without a tie and several buttons around the collar undone.
“You’re a sexy fucking bitch,” he says without preamble as he looks Jade up and down.
“Toreador,” grins the ghoul.
Carolla gets out of the seat, then all but seizes Jade as his hands tightly clamp around her arms, holding them fast against her sides. He slides back into the car and pulls her onto his lap. His hands are coarse and rough as they squeeze her skin through the leather.
“Like a sex doll. One of those robot sex dolls. I want to wind you up, watch you strut your Toreador ass, then bend you over and fuck you. You need a good hard fucking.”
Celia: It’s a different sort of dynamic on this lap. Not as safe and comfortable and smug as the position on Savoy’s, or as loving and warm as Roderick’s, or even as flirty and teasing as she is atop Gui. There’s an edge here, a sort of possessiveness and arrogance Carolla exudes that’s missing from the others. Like he’s already decided that she’s his and there’s nothing she can do about it.
Hauled bodily into the car, arms pinned at her sides, there’s little she can do but squirm against the Brujah’s body, ass grinding down against him with every movement. Almost like an accident; there’s a line between brazen slut and “giving in because he’s so goddamn charismatic and appealing” and she finds it, dancing upon it to give his ego a little stroke.
“Bend me over and fuck me,” Jade echoes, halfway between a drawl and a giggle, “what, like a breather?”
God, that’s hot.
She tells him so. That it’s so hot to finally find someone who knows what they want and isn’t afraid to seize it.
GM: “That’s fucking disgusting,” says Carolla, his features twisting in distaste. He roughly flips her over his knees and brings down his palm on her leather-clad ass. The blow is incredibly strong, and painful. He has to hold her in place with his other hand to keep it from knocking her off.
Celia: It’s not like she said she’s into it. Just asked. She was willing to go along with it if he likes it, that’s all.
Jade doesn’t need to force the yelp that the blow brings. Beneath the leather her flesh jiggles at the force of the slap, skin turning red.
If she weren’t focusing so hard on keeping her perverted nature quiet, she knows she’d be wet between the thighs.
GM: Carolla yanks her up by her hair and sweeps his other hand beneath her knees, lifting her up like one of those posable sex dolls to set back down on his lap, back to his chest. He makes a fist in her hair and yanks it back again, exposing her throat to the air while holding her head down beneath his shoulder level. His other hand doesn’t knead her breast so much as try to squeeze it apart. His fingers really hurt.
“Such a sexy fucking bitch,” he repeats. “You’d leave this car in a body bag if you were a breather.”
Motion starts beneath them as the car takes off.
Celia: She thinks it’s a compliment. In a weird, death threat sort of way. She rolls with it regardless, squirming in his grasp when he flips her again. There’s a moment where she’s free—but it’s just that, a moment. She loses handily, body bent and twisted the way he wants, throat exposed to fist and fang and whatever else he wants to do to her.
She knows his type. Roderick had told her all about them when they were breathers: how they expect their women to submit and deal with their manhandling. She’s not a woman, and he’s not a man, but the attitude persists despite their even standing: he expects to win. She’ll make him work for it, though. He expects that too. And victory is so much sweeter when your opponent doesn’t just roll over for you.
The breath leaves her body in a pained growl when his fingers dig into her chest. She snarls, lips pulled back to expose the fangs in her mouth. She bucks against him, twisting as if to escape, and brings an elbow into his side.
GM: Her elbow connects hard with the Brujah’s flank and elicits a surprised grunt, giving her a chance to squirm away. He lunges after her, seizing another fistful of hair. Her roots scream as he yanks her back, splaying her over his knees. A vice-like hand clamps around her throat.
“Feisty bitch,” he growls, fangs out as his eyes hungrily roam her leather-clad form. “Need to learn your place…”
Celia: Her roots aren’t the only thing that scream. The sound passes her lips for the brief moment before he cuts off her air, turning it into a strangled wheeze instead. She clamps her fingers around his wrist, trying to throw him off, but it’s all for show. They both know he’s stronger than her. And he can see it in her eyes: arousal.
GM: “Bitch likes that, huh?” He clamps his left hand around around her neck too, squeezing harder and harder until her neck feels ready to snap, then lets go with his right hand. He flips her over on his lap, ass in the air, and strokes his free hand along her leg. His hand runs over the leather before he grips her calf, hefting the leg above his head. His hand squeezes her boot heel.
“Yeah. Those are bitch boots you got on. Make you so fucking helpless. Tottering around. In your bitch boots. Any woman with boots like those is saying she wants to be bent over and fucked.”
He drops her leg to undo his pants, stiffens his cock with an apparent moment’s effort, then shoves her mouth over his member while his left hand continues to all but crush in her neck. His right hand returns to her leg again, pulling up the leather pant leg to expose bare flesh. His fangs sink into her calf like a drumstick.
Celia: She doesn’t need air. Black spots don’t swim in her field of vision. But she flails all the same, batting ineffectually at the hands that hold her down until the bones in her body grind together. Only then does she still, eyes wide upon his face, fingers curling around his wrist. She ceases her struggles. Then the flip, his hands roaming her body, his words running past her while she writhes, limbs twisted and yanked and—
Oh. There. A firm cock in her mouth. For all that he says the breather way is disgusting he sure doesn’t mind mimicking it. Fangs flash, nipping his skin. She fastens her lips around the flesh in her mouth and sucks, letting the warm vitae flow across her tongue. It’s hard to swallow with his hand on her neck but she does what she can, making soft, almost eager whimper-like noises around the vice grip on her throat to show him she has accepted her place in this dance.
The blood on her tongue, though… shock jolts through her, but only for a moment before she smooths it over and focuses on what she’s doing. All the same, emotion wars within her. Some part of her had hoped it wasn’t true. Another is filled with vicious satisfaction.
That lying cunt. She’s going to enjoy watching her kingdom topple.
But what sense does that make?
Is he lying? Doing the same thing she does? Enough shadow dancers in the city, aren’t there; even Edith said she can cloak. Not a very common trick, though.
But why? Why that? There’s no way he knows what she’s looking for. Unless there’s a leak. Who knows? Her, Savoy, Preston. To what end? Make her look foolish in front of her grandsire? Invictus stick together? Sabotage the entire Roderick plot before it begins? No wonder the bitch hasn’t called her back about their supposed meeting.
The lot of it flees her mind when he sinks his fangs into her calf. It’s a problem for another time. Right now she just wants to enjoy herself. She gives in to the thing inside of her that wants to fight, fuck, and feed.
GM: The fighting seems over with, but she still gets to fuck and feed.
Carolla’s blood fills her mouth, hot and furious. Like all Brujah blood. Almost spicy. It’s more bitter than Roderick’s, though. Saltier, too. And thicker. Stronger. Headier. By one way or another, he’s embraced his Beast to an extent her lover hasn’t. She can picture him crushing in hunters’ heads without worrying for their families.
It’s oddly titillating, trying to swallow down so much, and being cruelly denied by the hand crushing in her windpipe. Like a starving man being fed morsels at a time.
The Brujah hungrily rips and bites Jade’s flesh, savaging her calf like a true drumstick as he gulps down her blood by the mouthful. So much more than her. It’s not fair. He switches legs after a moment, dropping her first one and yanking the other into the air to rip into it too. He takes his fill, then drops it too. He uses his free hand to pound her ass as she choke-sucks his cock, bringing his palm down again and again and again. Jade remembers another girl, who screamed and sobbed and blubbered ‘til her throat was raw and her ass was bloody over her father’s knee, and perhaps wonders how much less time it would have taken the man if he had a Brujah’s strength. Jade has to awkwardly grab hold of him, grab the seat, grab anywhere, not to be sent flying off.
Celia: It’s mostly over, anyway. She still “struggles” a bit when he seems to be going soft on her, making sure to keep him on his toes. She’s a lick, not some blubbering breather that just submits to people when they win. And maybe she likes the idea of “losing” to Carolla. Maybe she likes it a lot. Maybe it’s him, or his blood, or the fact that he seems to know exactly what turns her on: the hard smacks against her ass that leave her yelping, yowling, hissing (strangled half-sounds, all of it), and clawing at him before he makes her settle back down so he can deliver another, a third, a fourth. She loses count. But she’s throbbing by the end of it, and there’s no doubt that if he tried this sort of thing with a breather she would leave in a body bag. But Jade is made of hardier material than all that; she doesn’t even bruise.
She’s not Celia.
She lets the Brujah have his fun. And when it’s done—when they’re relatively sated on blood and sex and aggression even though they both know there will be a round two whenever they reach their destination—she lets him arrange her on his lap again like those sex dolls he seems to favor, idly nipping at his neck with the flats of her teeth while the rest of her bleeds and throbs and curls contentedly against him like an overly large lap cat.
GM: Carolla seems to enjoy the continued token struggles, for they seem to make his hand come down all the harder and all the more times as he pounds her ass raw through the tight leather pants, like it’s a piece of meat he’s trying to pulverize with a tenderizer. He finally picks her up again, flips her over, and plops her back down on his lap. One of his hands fits around her waist.
“I had a girl, when I was a breather. I’d make her fuck a sex doll in front of me. I’d piss on her face and tell her she wasn’t good enough for my cock. Doll was all she’d get, unless she put on a really good show. Usually didn’t.”
“Then I’d bring in my other girl, and we’d fuck while she watched. She’d get to eat my cum out of the other girl’s snatch if she was good.”
“Then I’d slug them for being whores, and jack off over their faces, because I was tired of sticking my prick in a whore.”
“You remind me of the doll.”
Celia: “Of the… doll?”
Celia: “How’s that?”
GM: “Dunno. Just do.”
Celia: She’s not quite certain if it’s a compliment.
“Sounds like you knew how you liked your women.”
GM: “I know how I like my women.”
“Don’t have the girl anymore, but still have the doll.”
Celia: “And your licks?” An appreciative glance up and down his form before she settles again. She lets out an amused sound at his mention of the doll. “What do you do with it now?”
GM: “Same thing. Make juicebag girls fuck it. See if they deserve my prick.”
Celia: “That do anything for you? Watching the kine fuck it?”
GM: “Sometimes. If they’re good.”
Celia: She arches a brow at him.
GM: “They’re good, I take just a little. They’re bad, I take everything.”
Celia: “And that line about deserving your prick?”
GM: “Getting to suck juice out of it.”
Celia: “So if they’re good you take a little, give a little,” Jade muses, “and keep them around for your entertainment?” A nod to the ghoul driving. “Their entertainment?”
GM: He effects a snort. “Would have to be really fucking entertainment to get juice just for that.”
“And fuck no. He buys his own whores.”
Celia: “Mm. Then what’s the point of keeping them around?”
GM: He barks a laugh.
“Fuck, you’re a Toreador. I don’t just use renfields for fucking.”
Celia: It’s Jade’s turn to effect a snort.
“Let that rumor get to you, I see.” She sounds more amused than heated.
GM: “I’ll bet $1,000 you fuck yours.”
Celia: “You think I’d let some renfield put their cock in me? Really.” Jade trails a hand down his chest. “There’s nothing interesting about a breather when I can have this.”
GM: “Fucking right.”
Celia: Ego as big as any stiff. Jade all but purrs at him, stroking the muscle beneath his suit jacket. She nips at his neck.
“Where are we headed, then?”
GM: His hand slides down her waist to give her ass an extremely hard squeeze.
“Roxanne’s hangouts. Porn studio after we find her.”
Celia: “Force her to perform? Nothing quite like the sight of a blue blood on their knees.”
Celia: Too bad they won’t find the bitch.
“And what’s your plan for when she gets her krewe together to come after you for showing everyone her proper place? Pathetic as they are, they’ve still got the numbers.”
GM: “She’s never gonna leave.”
Celia: “Tragic,” Jade drawls.
GM: “For her.”
Celia: “Won’t age out like some of the girls in the biz. Has that whole teenage bimbo look going on.” Jade considers, then finally nods. “Good pick.”
The pair go on a wild goose chase through the CBD, visiting an assortment of locations where Carolla apparently believes Roxanne may be found, each one as fruitless as the last. The evening slowly ticks by, and the Brujah’s temper rises with it. His driver starts to look nervous.
“Where the fuck is that whore?”
Celia: Jade, at least, hides her nerves better than the driver. She knows that Roxanne isn’t going to be found, but she does her part searching for the bitch. She finds any clues as to Roxanne’s recent activities that she can, looking for anything that ties her to Vidal, or anything that might lead her to Evan. This many months removed she doesn’t think there’s much to find, but she turns over what she can, bounces ideas off of Carolla, and makes sure to keep his mood in good spirits when he’s around her. So smart. So clever. How did he even hear about this particular place? She milks it for what it’s worth.
GM: True to Jade’s expectation, the trail is long cold this many months removed. There’s ample evidence Roxanne was a staunch Vidal supporter, but none that she had any personal ties to the prince. That fact does not help the Brujah’s increasingly volatile temper, which even her practiced flattery seems to do only so much to abate. Indeed, Jade can only reach one conclusion:
Carolla isn’t really looking for Roxanne to get a porn actress.
Celia: Jade hadn’t expected to find much. All the same, she filches any interesting tidbits that she comes across.
“What did she do to you,” Jade ventures after one of their stops, “and how can I make it better?”
GM: “She crossed my uncle,” he says flatly.
Celia: “The one with the crocs?” She can’t help but sound intrigued.
GM: Flint dances in his eyes. “No. The other fucking uncle with the crocs.”
Celia: Jade is silent for a moment, letting him stew. Finally she says, “I didn’t know she had anything to do with him.”
There’s an invitation to share, if he wants to tell her the story.
GM: Carolla’s fist smashes into Jade’s face like a sledgehammer, crunching in her jaw and nose with a grisly shatter that sends teeth flying. She goes flying too, across the car’s interior, and hits the door with a painful thud before landing on the ground. Blood seeps onto the floor mat from her face. Jade barely wrestles down her furious Beast as the red fury starts to edge out Carolla’s eyes.
“Fucking waste of a fucking night! Fucking cocksucking camwhore FUCK! FUCK!!!!”
The Brujah’s next blow caves in the driver’s headrest and smashes it off the seat altogether. Carolla’s ghoul barely ducks as the headrest flies past him to hit the steering wheel, causing him to jerkingly swerve the car. Angry honks go up from traffic.
Celia: Jade should have kept her mouth shut. She rears backwards when the fist slams into her face, smothering her Beast inside her chest before it can do so much as hiss. She finds a spot on the floor and hunkers down, arms over her head, protecting herself from the almost-raging Brujah.
Occupational hazard, isn’t it, hanging out with the angry ones.
She waits a beat, looking for the signs of him completely losing his cool, and only once she’s sure he hasn’t she offers something else: the opportunity to put Gui in his place.
GM: “Yeah? Fucking how?” snarls the Brujah, fangs still jutting from his mouth.
Celia: “Party at the Evergreen on Saturday,” Jade offers, hands still up. “He set the theme. 1920s. In honor of his sire. I bet we can make him look real fuckin’ stupid.”
GM: Carolla grabs Jade by the hair and yanks her across the car floor. He twists it hard, forcing her to look up at him from the ground with her throat bared. He leans close.
“Look at you. You with your long fucking hair in your fucking bitch boots with your fucking hands up, you scared fucking woman.”
Celia: Jade’s fingers close around the wrist of the hand that yanks her head back, but she knows better than to try to get away. She meets his gaze, forcing herself to stare into the cold eyes that look upon her now. Bloodied, but not beaten.
“Lick,” she hisses at him, “and one who’s offering you another annoyance on a silver platter since we can’t find the cunt.”
GM: The Brujah doesn’t let go. He leans closer, enough to kiss.
“Say you’re a woman.”
Celia: Anger simmers just beneath the surface. He’s just like a bald man she used to know, using the word “woman” as an insult.
As if having a vagina is a fucking crippling disability.
“I’m as much a woman as you are a man.”
GM: And with those words, he smiles faintly and lets go.
“Right. Beast got riled up.”
Celia: If she were still mortal she might breathe a sigh of relief. But she’s not; she’s the undead abomination she claims to be, so she is still and silent, wary, rubbing at the roots of her hair with her fingers.
“Yeah,” she finally says.
GM: He picks her up and plops her back down on the seat.
“That sounds fun.”
“We can do that, you want.”
“Or there’s something we can do right now.”
GM: “Asshole your sire would be pretty happy if we ruined the night of.”
Celia: “That hardly narrows it down.”
GM: He barks another laugh.
“Yeah. She’s a piece of work.”
Celia: “She’s somethin’ all right. What do you have in mind? Or rather, who?”
GM: “I been working this a while. Asshole’s been a pain in my ass too. But now…”
He pulls out a phone. He unlocks it, then shows it to Jade. She sees a blipping dot on a map.
“…I can do this anytime, at my leisure.”
“Follow asshole’s every move.”
Celia: “Which asshole?” she asks, watching the blip.
GM: Carolla starts to answer, then follows her gaze to the screen.
“Oh fuck! Asshole’s in City Park, this is fucking perfect!”
“City Park,” he tells the ghoul.
Celia: Jade supposes that answers that. She’s along for the ride.
Friday night, 18 March 2016, AM
GM: True to its name, City Park is the city’s largest park, replete with a miniature golf course, art museum, amusement park, playground, restaurants, and other attractions to the point that ‘park’ actually looks rather scarce, at least this far south. Still, there aren’t many people around this late at night.
The ghoul pulls into the closest parking lot. A children’s playground is visible across from the asphalt. The swings, slides, seesaws, sandbox, and other playground equipment stand still and barren at the late night hour.
It’s the same one Roderick took her to back in 2012.
Carolla opens the door and gets out. He picks Jade up, around the waist with both hands, then sets her down on the pavement.
“Let me see you strut your ass in those bitch boots.”
Celia: Jade uses the time in the car to wipe the worst of the blood from her face. It only serves to enhance the look. Like Rod once said, no one likes a lick showing up in brand new leathers to a rant; it screams of trying too hard.
She’s all eyes for the Brujah during the ride otherwise, letting out a delighted giggle when he picks her bodily up and sets her on her feet. She’s happy to show off her ample posterior with a strut in her bitch boots, heel-toe, one foot in front of the other. The boots lift her ass into the air, a sway with every step.
GM: Carolla watches appreciatively as her heels go click-click-click against the pavement.
“Fuck yeah. Look at those fucking hips. God. Any other time, I’d fuck you right here. "
“We’ll do that when we’re done. Can you fight?”
Celia: “Not as well as you, I imagine. But I manage.”
“We taking down a big tough guy?”
He doesn’t contest the “not as well” assertion at all.
Celia: She’s hardly going to lie about it with her ass on the line. Her hand squeezes his bicep, aroused despite the serious nature of his claim and burning curiosity.
“What’s the plan? I could distract him.”
GM: “The plan starts with you taking off the fucking bitch boots, if you’re actually serious about fighting too.”
Celia: Jade unzips and kicks them off without a word.
GM: He holds out his hand. The ghoul gives him a set of binoculars. He pulls up the map on his phone again.
“Right. We follow asshole from a distance. See if asshole’s with any friends. Odds look good, we jump asshole there, pound a stake into asshole’s chest.”
Celia: “And after?”
GM: “I fuck you in your bitch boots on top of asshole.”
Celia: Jade grins.
GM: “Put them in the car,” he says to the ghoul. “Fucking homeless or pervert will steal them.”
The ghoul picks up Jade’s shoes and puts them in the car.
“If asshole walks by the water, we hide under there. If asshole walks by a tree, we hide up there. Jump asshole out of fucking nowhere.”
“Tree is better. This suit is fucking expensive.”
Celia: “Hide. Jump the asshole. Fuck on the asshole.” She nods.
GM: “Yep. You know how to shoot or use a sword?”
Celia: “I’m okay with a knife. Better with these.” And there they are: claws sprouting from the tips of her fingers, just as pretty as the rest of her but with a lethal edge.
GM: “Good,” he nods. “How about shooting, in case there’s renfields?”
Celia: “Not really,” she admits. The claws slide back into her nail beds.
GM: “Okay. He’ll handle the shooting, if there’s any.”
The ghoul loads a firearm.
Celia: “Are you expecting a whole retinue?”
GM: “Probably not. Why take a retinue on a fucking walk in the park. But plan for the worst. Who knows what he’s doing here.”
Celia: She nods again. She does the same.
GM: “Stay out sight. Behind trees and bushes and shit. Doesn’t fucking matter asshole can see in the dark if there’s a plant in the way.”
Celia: She almost offers to cloak. But she’s already shared the claws, no need to tip her whole hand.
“Okay. I’ll follow your lead.” She pauses, then finally reaches out to touch his wrist. “Hey, Will, is he… dangerous? Stronger than you?”
GM: The Brujah barks a laugh.
“But I’m not underestimating him either. He’ll be dangerous.”
“He can definitely take you.”
Celia: That’s not saying much.
“Guess I’ll have to work on it.”
GM: He shrugs.
“You’re a Toreador who struts around in bitch boots.”
Celia: “So’s my sire. Can still throw down with the best of them.”
GM: “Can throw down with the best of neonates. Bet the sheriff would hand her her ass.”
Celia: “Can’t imagine many asses he wouldn’t handle.”
She wishes he’d handle hers.
Carolla grunts and walks down the park’s trail, dimming the brightness on his phone. The ghoul gets out a heavy knife, locks the car, and follows behind.
Celia: Jade falls into step beside him, dimming her aura when he dims his phone. No need to make it look like there’s two licks around if she can avoid it.
GM: Jade’s never been on any dates here, but it’s a literal trip down memory lane for Celia.
At the post-midnight hour, the trio seem to have the winding trails all to themselves. The forested park with its tall, drooping branches feels like something out of a primordial dream.
Celia: It might be romantic, if not for the way he’d slugged her earlier and the fact that they’re about to jump some unsuspecting soul.
GM: Carolla doesn’t pause to appreciate them like Roderick did, either. He just seems to make note of the camouflage in between checking his phone. He also says to “Watch out for any fucking Gangrel.”
Celia: Jade keeps her eyes peeled for other licks, whatever form they happen to choose.
A girl named Celia had once been worried about them while she was with her date, though she’d been riding the high of rekindled romance. Nothing had touched them that night.
The park seems altogether more sinister now.
GM: Carolla and the ghoul keep their eyes peeled too, albeit with the Brujah distracted following his map, but none of the trio sees any. Yet.
They finally reach a point where Carolla nods, “Fucking perfect. Asshole’s headed this way.”
He grabs Jade and unceremoniously throws her up at the canopy.
He throws his ghoul into the tree too, then seems to all but fly as he does a standing leap from the ground into the tree’s crown.
Celia: God, it’s hot.
Even now, middle of the night, waiting to jump some asshole—thrown bodily into the air really seems to do it for her. She doesn’t say anything, though, just keeps her eyes peeled on the path once she settles atop the branch he’d thrown her onto.
It’s almost like flying.
GM: He catches a branch too and swings around it, pulling out his phone. The dot on the map draws steadily closer. Carolla’s ghoul pulls the rifle off his back.
“I hold up one finger,” whispers Carolla. “You hit asshole with a head shot.”
“Two fingers. Up to you who to fire on.”
Celia: Smart. Roderick had told her he’d rather slow down a lick from afar with bullets.
GM: He shakes his head. “Fuck. Wish we’d had two heavy hitters in the car. I’d try to blow his head off too.”
Celia: Jade lets them plan. Without a gun she doesn’t have much to add to the conversation. She keeps her eyes peeled on the path.
GM: “Wait. You can’t fucking see in the dark, you useless piece of shit.”
“You should have fucking said so. Give me that.”
Celia: Fucking renfields.
GM: “It’s got a scope,” declares the ghoul.
“I don’t fucking care. I’m taking the shot.” Carolla pulls it out of his hands.
Celia: Jade hesitates. Then, almost quicker than the eye can follow, she reaches out to mark the ghoul’s arm with her claws. An eye, slitted down the middle like a cat’s, stares up at them when she’s done.
“Blink,” she tells the ghoul.
GM: He blinks. His eyes glow red.
“Holy shit. I can see fine.”
“Like, not just through the scope. Fuckin’ everywhere.”
“Huh. Okay,” says Carolla. He looks at Jade, then back to his ghoul. “You take the shot. Better this way. Couldn’t pause to hand you back the gun after I took the shot.”
Celia: No one ever asks how. Jade doesn’t sigh. She just thinks about it.
GM: They settle in to wait.
Friday night, 18 March 2016, AM
GM: The trio don’t wait long before Jade sees Roderick and Dani walking down the trail together, clad in their masks. Their voices are inaudible at the current distance, but brother and sister are smiling at each other.
Dread curls in her gut.
Not this. Not them.
He’ll kill her with the head shot. She doesn’t know if thin-bloods can come back from that, but she’s not going to risk Dani’s life on it. She has to stop him. Carolla and the goon. And she’d just marked him.
Jesus Christ she’s fucking stupid.
So fucking stupid.
What matters more to her: her lover… or her grandsire?
Neither, whispers his voice in her head.
She wishes he were here now. That he’d swoop in and take out Carolla for her so that she doesn’t need to dirty her hands, so that she can just play dumb when they ask her about it, because she’s so fucking good at that. Is there a way to reason with him? A way to get him to not attack?
Yeah. By redirecting his rage. Taking it out on her instead of Roderick.
Jade swallows. He’s had Roderick bugged for who knows how long. Following his every move. Leading him right back to her. Savoy offered to take him out for Roderick anyway, didn’t he? It’s no skin off their back if she just does it first.
Those masks might be their saving grace, though.
“Bugged a breather, did you? Hardly worth Veronica’s time.”
GM: Carolla holds a finger to his lips with a pissed off expression.
Celia: Jade gestures at where the non-vampires walk through the park.
“Worried about kine,” she continues. Stage whisper. “Took my fucking boots off for this nonsense.”
GM: “Shut UP, you stupid cunt,” he whisper-hisses.
Celia: Roderick… or her grandsire?
It’s not even a choice.
“I bet you five grand I can take them on my own.”
GM: Carolla looks as if he wants to rip Jade’s head off as she keeps talking and potentially compromising their hiding spot.
“Shut. Your. Mouth.”
But he doesn’t look at her. His eyes whip ahead towards the ‘mortals’ she points out for him.
Celia: “Hiding in the trees from fucking breathers.”
“Big bad fucking lick.”
“Give me the gun, let’s at least make it sporting.”
GM: Carolla seizes Jade and clamps one hand over her mouth to silence her. The Toreador’s struggles seem to only further enrage the Brujah. He closes his other hand over Jade’s right and casually squeezes until the delicate bones snap apart. Her left hand follows a moment later. What’s left looks as if someone pounded a sledgehammer over them.
Celia: Pain flares white hot through her body when her wrists snap, the eight tiny bones no match for his crushing grip. She doesn’t dare shriek when the Brujah has already made his annoyance known; the sound that passes from her lips to his palm is a low, keening whimper that cuts off as quickly as it begins. Jade ceases her struggles.
In the car, even riding the dangerous edge, she’d thought herself relatively safe. His strength had been hot. Here and now with her lover, his sister, and her own self on the line, it’s downright terrifying.
GM: A brief smile plays over Carolla’s rough features, but then he and his ghoul frown at the unfamiliar approaching faces. The apparent breathers. Carolla looks down at his phone again, frowning in confusion as it apparently confirms that ‘asshole’ is right by, then seems to do a mental calculus if his ghoul takes the shot.
They’re Roderick in disguise. His ghoul shoots Roderick in the head.
They’re a pair of random breathers. His ghoul shoots a random breather in the head.
The Brujah points at the male ‘breather,’ then holds up one finger.
Celia: Licks smell even the faintest traces of blood in the air. Jade lets the tears come. Her aura flickers and drops. Her eyes flash red in the night. Haphazard, as if she can’t control it, as if the pain of having both wrists broken keeps her from being able to concentrate on maintaining the deception, but maybe the message reaches Roderick all the same. Maybe it’s enough to let him know something is wrong. She plays up the weak, womanly angle that Carolla has her pegged in, leaning back against him as if to silently acknowledge his superiority, nodding her head again and again to say I get it, I’ll be quiet. Each movement that jostles her arms sends a fresh cascade of bloody tears down her face. She sobs into the Brujah’s hand.
She should have played it another way. Could have played it another way. Now she’s sitting in a tree with a monster and his ghoul, learning first-hand why Roderick speaks so ill of the Mafia if this is the way they treat people. At least her spot pressed against Carolla’s side will keep him from jumping down immediately once the gun goes off.
No time for should have/could have, though. She has seconds before Roderick walks into view of the renfield. Seconds before he squeezes the trigger.
She makes them count.
Jade shifts against Carolla as she can, keeping her hands from view. No need to let him know that she’s sending the blood she needs to the area to snap her wrists back into place. She plays up the damsel; she’s just a weak woman and he’s a big strong manly man and she has definitely learned her place. She’s so sorry that she doubted him, sorry she questioned him; she just wanted him to think she’s as much of a badass as he is, and now she knows how stupid that was. Of course he’s in charge. She knows a winner when she sees one.
Celia has had so much practice in this role. She takes the reins, swimming to the surface to make it as believable as she can. She squirms, not to get free but to press herself closer, twisting her face to press it against his chest.
And there’s his throat. Waiting for her.
That’s the thing about lap cats: you never know how true the cat part of it is until the girl you’ve got your hands on shifts in the blink of an eye, turning into a deadly, 600-pound predator with nails as long as the fingers of the girl she used to be. The tiger’s jaws open wide to close around that throat in front of her, its snarl ripping through the night.
GM: The tree branch snaps under the big cat’s quarter-ton weight, sending tiger and Brujah crashing to the grass in a heap. The tiger recovers first, with its four legs. Great jaws shoot straight for its prone adversary’s throat. Bone crunches and flesh tears as blood sprays over the striped cat.
Then, out of nowhere, Roderick appears. Perhaps he has no clue who the tiger is. But he knows who the mafioso underneath the tiger is. He doesn’t hesitate for a moment. He can’t get in a punch past the tiger’s bulk, but bone-shattering, brutally hard kicks smash into Carolla in blurs of motion.
Celia remembers a conversation at Flawless once, how Piper read an article about what to do if you’re attacked by a tiger. She said she read to stick your fist up its mouth. That will really fuck up its day. Emily was immediately skeptical. She said you should go for the sensitive parts instead, like its eyes. “You can’t fucking beat a tiger in a fight,” she’d said. “You just want to cause it enough pain to back away and figure this meal is more trouble than it’s worth. Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll blind it.”
She’d asked Robby his opinion afterwards, too. The HEMA enthusiast had agreed. Fighting a tiger alone and unarmed is a suicidally terrible idea: all you can do is cause it enough pain to back off. “I only know the basics of shooting, but that’s a situation where I’d MUCH rather have a gun than one of my swords,” she’d said he said. “The noise might scare it off even if you miss.”
“But yeah. This is why humans invented tools and hunted in groups. Lone unarmed human against an apex predator is no contest.”
Licks aren’t humans, though.
Carolla doesn’t go for the eye. He just drives his fist into the tiger’s throat, messily crunching in bone, before an equally savage follow-up to the nose smashes in the animal’s face. Undeterred, the tiger savages the shit out of Carolla with its claws, shredding muscle and sinew and reducing the mafioso’s fine suit to gore-stained tatters. Strips of bloody meat dangle from the beast’s claws and teeth.
Carolla’s ribs crunch apart under Roderick’s continued kicks. With a roar of bestial fury, Carolla seizes the tiger under its forelimbs and hurls the quarter-ton animal against the tree, which shakes to its roots. Branches and leaves snap off from the canopy as more gunshots split the air. The tiger can’t say from who as it regains its paws.
Roderick takes advantage of the opening, though, and delivers a downward punch to his still half-risen clanmate that all but explodes Carolla’s skull. His face looks like a shattered vase after a two-year-old tried to glue it back together.
Carolla is slammed back into the grass even as Roderick’s follow-up punch descends from his other fist. For a moment, it looks like he and tiger have won the fight, until the next gunshot takes him square in the back of the neck. He staggers forward. Carolla ambles to his feet, fangs bared and roaring past his half-destroyed throat, just as the tiger lunges at him. The great cat’s claws rip open his stomach but fail to knock him off his feet even as Roderick falls into a boxer’s stance, taking advantage of Carolla’s preoccupation to launch one-two combos with the full force of his body behind them. They’d be easier to counter if only the fight was one-on-one, and shatter bones faster than the other Brujah can mend them.
More gunshots go off.
Carolla has more than one foot in the grave already, but the frenzying Brujah fights like a demon, driving the tiger and his clanmate back with wild, bone-shattering blows. There’s a thump against the grass. A machete rams into the tiger’s flank. Carolla’s ghoul drags it back like he’s carving up a steak, taking some of the pressure off his domitor.
Celia: In this form, with this speed and size, the tiger can keep up with the fight where the girl couldn’t. Even launched as it is against the tree, body savaged by the fists of the Brujah that rain down upon it, its single-minded instinct runs deep: fuck up the other guy before he can fuck up the tiger and its allies. It shreds, bites, crushes, snaps—whatever part of the lick it can get to it rips into.
The gunshots register only in the back of its mind—how many people heard? will it draw the cops? how quickly does it need to end the fight to prevent the Masquerade from unraveling?—and it’s that last thought that propels the tiger forward to sink teeth and claw into the enemy.
Until that sword slices its flank. A machete. Who brings a fucking machete to the park. That’s all the girl inside the tiger has time to think before the Beast itself takes over; she doesn’t even fight it, letting the reins slip free of her grasp to give in to the monster inside just as surely as she gave in to the monster outside. Roderick had told her that she should keep it contained in a fight, but fuck that. She’ll take the edge. The annoyance of the sword is nothing compared to what the asshole in front of her can do with his bare hands. And once he goes down that sword-wielding douchebag is one chomp away from turning into a red smear on the ground. The tiger focuses its rage on the lick, launching itself forward on powerful hindquarters to knock his feet out from under him and take him down in a shower of blood and muscle and gore, claws ripping at his stomach and teeth clamping down around his throat. It rips and tears and ravages.
No one fucks with the girl’s property and gets off with it.
GM: She doesn’t see what happens.
She never does, when the Beast takes over.
She just opens the floodgates, lets the red tide pour out, and stands back to let the Beast have its fun.