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"You will never meet another soul like me."

0 · 1,325 views · located in Cirque Regalis

a character in “Cirque Regalis”, as played by Vix


“Life is far too short to not be daring.”

The Basics

Full Name
Aqila Isra Nejem

Nicknames and Aliases
Belle, Bells, & Rose. Onstage, she is The Desert Rose.



Arabian - Libyan, to be exact

Sexual Orientation

Occupation or Act
Exotic Dancer, Big Cat and Snake Tamer/Trainer, and Contortionist

What's on the Outside

Hair Color
Her hair is purely blonde but when damp it looks a bit more brown.

Eye Color



She has no tattoos but it isn't uncommon to see her decorated with henna.

She has her ears pierced.


Belle is a well built woman who takes an immense amount of pride in her figure and overall appearance, especially on stage. Every now and then you can see some dirt on her from her volunteers to help with the animals but she tends to keep herself looking immaculate. She holds a reputation, and not exactly a good one, for her lack of fear in showing off her sultry curves and always tanned skin. She is well defined by her legs and hips. She has a cute round face and often a look of innocence and naivete. At least in the face. She often keeps her hair down in a beautiful mane, adorned with beads and feathers and things that shine. She likes wearing things that jingle and shine. She is often adorned with henna, changing the designs once every other week.

What's on the Inside

{Mysterious, Fiesty, Impish, Kind}
Not much is known about this fresh face. Not even her name. She exudes an air of mystery and mysticism. She's a sly woman who knows exactly how to get what she wants and getting under people's skin, making them question themselves and squirm is as easy as breathing. While many people are put off and almost if not completely disgusted by her lack of modesty and open mindedness, it seems that many more - even those thrown off by her - are inexplicably drawn to her, entranced by her exotic and strange nature; She certainly sticks out in a crowd. She even manages to make her coworkers uncomfortable, giving off the vibe and speaking as though she knows some dirty secrets she ought not know. Not to mention that she's a huge fan of pranking. She generally just intends to have some harmless fun but so far it's mostly lead to trouble. She has no qualms with expressing herself whenever she wants to and she is nobody's doormat. She doesn't often outwardly express anything but calmness and playful mischief but when she does get angry she tends to make it well known, acting as her own karma. Still, despite her impish nature, she is a very kind woman and doesn't mind getting her hands a bit dirty for the sake of helping someone else. Even if she doesn't particularly like someone she is still willing to help them. She doesn't like seeing others struggle. While she does believe that a person cannot learn unless they make mistakes along the way, she also believes that they can learn better with the guidance of another. She is infinitely curious about many things and can often be seen watching the other acts as if trying to learn their talents as well. She is most fascinated with the acrobats and those who work with animals. She does have some pride about her, that much is evident. She doesn't like being made to feel or appear weak to others. It is because of this that she cannot read. Though she receives letters from an American friend, she simply makes it look like she's reading with a fond smile before putting them away. She was most bereft when Robert found her crying in an alley after being attacked by an angry wife. She does her best to appear dangerous, putting her cunning to good use and hiding well her hurt feelings. While she's usually never afraid to stand up for herself in particular situations, mostly when being called out for her open personality and lifestyle, she becomes quite sensitive when her race is involved.
She is frequently singing and dancing, even when she's not onstage. She also likes to draw even though she's not very good at it and her people and animals are completely anatomically impossible with their skinny legs and bulbous bodies. She also enjoys watching others, subtly taking notes on their behavior and relationships. It unnerves others and she's been in more than a few fights about it but she continues anyways.

♪ Can't be still unless she's sleeping ♪ Sings to herself ♪ Acts as though she doesn't understand English to aggravate others ♪

✿ She has diabetes and often needs to eat sweets ✿ She has sleep apnea ✿ She's allergic to daisies and fish ✿

  • Singing/Dancing
  • Animals/Night time
  • Swimming/Children
  • Making people squirm/Being mysterious
  • Moonshine/Lilies
  • Racism/Being teased
  • Cruelty/Injustice
  • Christianity/Being looked down on
  • Being treated as stupid/Seeing others suffer
  • Hatred/Bigotry

What's Done Is Done

Place Of Origin
Benghazi, Libya

Birth Date
June 21st, 1919

Aqila was born to a poor family that lived on the outskirts of Benghazi where she was raised with two sisters and her mother. Her father had ran off with another woman shortly after she was born. Her mother was a woman scorned by many of the other women, a prostitute and dancer. With Islam being the predominant religion, this wasn't always a good thing. Her mother was harassed daily by other women and often found herself in jail. But she managed to keep her children and remain mostly free by being the secret mistress of men in high places. As a child, Aqila had few friends. Parents kept their children away from the Nejem children, condemning them as demon spawns – They were the children of a whore and Allah had forsaken them and their mother. That didn't bother her though. She got a thrill from the way she could make people squirm, flaunting herself when she could. But it got her into trouble more often than not and she, like her mother and sisters, often found herself behind bars. Or she could do some service to get herself off the hook. She was 21 when the Australian 6th Division captured her city. Her mother and sisters were killed during the event and she was forced to flee. She managed to steal away on various ships, soon enough arriving in New York City. It was there that she employed herself in one of the few remaining burlesque shows. She didn't make very much money but the girl could please a crowd. She worked there for many years before Robert Mason found her. Intrigued by her, as most are, it took just one night in the bedroom before she was offered another job. Traveling America as part of a circus. A freak show, to be more specific. After meeting with and performing for the other managers, she was in. They initially wanted to call her “The Lady With No Bones” but the name made her cringe. “The Desert Rose” was decided upon, paying homage to her exotic nature. She's only been with Cirque Regalis for a little short of six months but she's already become a popular act.

Happiest Memory
She has many happy memories, most of which involve her and her mother and sisters at the beach. Others involve making new friends. But her happiest of all was when she had received four dozen roses after her first performance for Cirque Regalis. She also fondly remembers the night Robert somewhat rescued her from a situation in which she would have been deported. (See below)

Saddest Memory
While you'd think that her mother and sisters' deaths or even her father running off would be her saddest memories, they're not. She's glad that her mother and sisters have departed from the world of the living to perhaps a more peaceful place. Her only sad memories come from finding out that she didn't have to sleep with Robert to get the job. That, and the first time she received discrimination for her foreigness. She still remembers the day when a wife found her husband at the theatre. The woman slapped her. “You filthy, heathen desert whore! Go back to that land where you came from, you godless, souless trollop! This country is for the pure! For whites! You are not welcome in America!” She never saw Herbert again but she does get mail from him.

Face Claim

So begins...

Belle's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Vix


“How do you do that?” A small crowd huddled together with various expressions and comments coming from them. There were a few children, one or two women, but most of them were men. In the center was a woman on a soapbox. She had her chest pressed against the wood with her arms placed in front of her, her chin rested against her forearms where intricate henna further drew attention. But what made the people stare - besides her lack of modest apparel - was the fact that her legs were impossibly bent towards her back, her delicate feet resting curved against the top of her head.

“The human body has few limitations. You will never know what you can do until you try. But you must practice,” she said in a thick Arabian accent that caressed the ears and drew more compliments. As her legs moved back so that she was fully horizontal, she moved her arms and head, pushing up until she was supporting herself with just one hand. More applause came and she held the position for a few moments longer, smiling as dollar bills and change floated into the hat lain out for her payment. “Thank you all so much. Come back tomorrow night to see my full act.”
Belle put her hands together as if praying, bowing at the waist.

ImageNot waiting around for conversation she picked up her top hat that she had gotten from one of the clowns and went on her way, putting her hips into her walk for effect. Her mother taught her that you could draw the attention and affection of men and women alike without even speaking a word; Body language spoke volumes. She drew stares wherever she went, some filled with disgust as parents ushered their children away and averted their gaze, others filled with lust and curiosity for the brazen and shameless woman. Red lace clung to her body in intricate designs, strings and ribbons of crimson swinging around her legs. She held her hat close to her knowing well enough that many people attended the circus just to pick pockets.

She headed into her own train car, one which she shared with two others. Neither Sebastian, Svetlana, nor Sugar were there. She assumed that the gypsy family trio were off somewhere conning somebody. She smiled at the thought of privacy and moved to her chest, opening it to pull out another outfit. Cotton and animal skin - It felt like heaven against her flesh. Her attention finally turned to the flowers and cards waiting for her - And the other two, she assumed - clapping her hands quietly. She didn't get too close because there were some daisy bunches and she didn't want to break out like she had last month. She'd let them sit for now, leaving her hat in her chest and exiting her car to sneak off to the still up big top. Standing in the center she imagined an even larger crowd, all chanting for her. Only her. She loved the spotlight. She loved being seen as new, exciting, and exotic. Belle was never without fans and the joy she brought outweighed the hatred.

Her arms went up slowly as she imagined the beating of a drum, humming as she slid her hips from left to right, no other part of her body moving. She was always moving, always practicing and keeping herself in shape. Her body moved fluidly as she sang to herself, closing her eyes. She could still hear the hustle and bustle of people hurrying off to head home, some still lingering to see the animals and abnormal performers. A little more concentration and she tuned them out to continue her dance, experimenting in which ways she could bend and twist her body, how far she could turn, how well she could isolate and move each muscle.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Jack Connolly Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Cloud


Jack's arrival at the bonfire did not go unnoticed. Both Evelyn and Clayton greeted him in return, and one of the circus' youngest members ran by with a shouted 'Hi Jack!'. Jack wasn't one to frequent the social gatherings after performances, he generally preferred sitting quietly with a book or heading down to the pub alone. It's not that he disliked any of the other acts, he merely preferred his own company and the peace that went with it. He wasn't someone who needed to interact with people. He'd honestly be perfectly happy to spend the whole day out riding a horse, or reading in the shade of a tree. Yet here he was, waiting for his roommate to finish up with his two conquests of the night. He hoped Joshua wouldn't be long, but if worst came to worst Jack could bunker down in the stables for the night, it wouldn't be the first time. Even so, the company here wasn't all that bad and the fire was pleasantly warm.

"How are you, Jack?" Clayton's voice pulled Jack out of his thoughts. The horseman glanced up from his book towards the other man. Jack wasn't much of a talker, but his mother had taught him to be polite around decent people. He may not have been best friends with the Human pin-cushion, or Evelyn, but he hardly disliked either of them. Therefore a reply was in order and, as was customary with Jack the reply was short and simple.
"Alright. Yourself?"

Jack took a swig from his bottle before holding it up by the neck towards the other two performers. It was a clear invitation for either to have a sip if they so desired. The whiskey wasn't a particularly decent brand, but it sent a warm shiver down his spine. He didn't plan on getting drunk tonight, but a few sips never hurt anyone.


Evee made her way through the collection of circus folk and visitors, feeling herself lucky to have escaped her mother's questioning. She would have to warn Jack not to tell her mother the card trick he was teaching her, or the fact that he was also teaching her how to cheat in poker. Both of which were not things Ana Howell deemed appropriate for her 16 year old daughter to know. Evee liked to keep her mother happy and lived by the saying 'What she doesn't know, can't hurt her'. Of course, she'd never do anything seriously harmful. The card tricks were just a little fun, no harm ever came out of them.

When Evee reached the stables (She had decided to warn Jack then and there), she found them disappointingly empty. Jack had obviously already finished with the horses. Evee stayed long enough to pat some of them on the noses before heading off again. She could have tried his car, but knew from past experiences that his roommate tended to bring home partners most nights. Evee may have been an innocent naive girl in her mother's eyes, but she knew how sex worked. She was 16 after all. So, having no wish to walk in on Joshua and his night's partner, Evee set her feet towards the big tent.

Her path took her through many of the circus' cars, and around groups of other performers relaxing for the night. She passed Conner and Kieran with little Sugar. Evee felt her cheeks flush and, ducking her head, she quickly rushed by. The girl was quite taken with the twins, both for their looks and their constant humour. They were some of the few people that she didn't badger with questions, mainly because she grew uncommonly shy and flustered around them. Making a quick exit Evee ducked under a tent rope and into the big top.

Much to her surprise the large tent was still occupied, not with cleaners but with one of the newer members of the circus, Belle. "How do you do that?" Evee asked, voice hushed in awe. She had seen Belle's act before, but never this close up. Evee could do amazing acrobatic tricks, but this type of movement was beyond her.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Vix

For beginners, her moves could easily become tiring with less than an hour; Especially the more advanced movements and positions. However, Belle had been at her trade all day every day for twenty-six years. She lived and breathed movement, constantly finding new ways to push her limits and awe the people around her. As someone who'd been performing nearly her entire life she knew well enough that it did no good to do the same thing over and over. Joining Dmitri's roaming circus gave her the opportunity to get even more creative. She'd been working with Zenobia and Rozella over the past three months to teach them her movements while they trained their animals to perform with her. They had yet to approach any of the managers to inform them of their secret training, feeling it'd more appropriate to simply surprise them. Wouldn't they be ever so pleased when they brought in more patrons than they've ever had under the tent before? They'd certainly need more seats to accommodate! And a bigger tent, naturally. She would perfect the way the Silver Sisters moved their hips with a bit more...private lessons. Soon they'd be center stage, performing with the cats and snakes in ways not seen before!

She smiled with content, placing the fingertips of her right hand against the center of her chest, the fingertips of her left hand resting lightly against her abdomen just under her navel. Knees bent, she felt her movement as she isolated the muscles in her chest and hips. With little effort she popped her chest out and then back again, repeating to an imaginary beat. She moved to her hips, tracing a figure eight. Hip swaying was easy. Getting just one's hips to move while all other body parts remained still took great skill. She moved into a shimmy, one of the real attractions to her routines. It was no secret that men lusted for a woman who could move her rump. She lowered her body to the ground, her arms out to the side, moving in a wave-like, serpentine way. She rolled her hips to emphasize on her ass only to find herself being watched. She ceased movement and rose up slowly, her brow lifting at the look of awe in Evee's features.

While Belle was intent on learning all she could about her fellow performers, she had to admit that between practicing and playing with the animals, she hadn't had much time to gather too much information on everyone. What she did know was that Evee was the daughter of Anna, they were French, Anna was an acrobat, Evee hadn't performed yet because she was still training, and Evee spent quite some time around Jack and took a shine to Conner and Kieran. The Arabian offered Evee a kindly smile and moved towards her, standing a distance that most people found uncomfortably close, just inches away from brushing against her. “Ah, العزلة العضلات. ثني ركبتيك. التفاني. كل شيء في الوركين، طفل جميل. هل تريد أن تتعلم؟ أنا دائما يمكن استخدام عدد قليل من أكثر السيدات جميلة في الرقص معي.” The Arabic words rolled from her tongue, adding more mystery to her as her brown eyes gazed down at the teenager, her fingers dancing, playing with Evee's chocolate colored curls. Obviously the young girl had no clue what the dancer had said. A light giggle bubbled past her lips as she moved her hands to position the young girl. “Muscle isolation. Bent knees. Dedication. It's all in the hips, beautiful child. Do you want to learn? I could always use a few more lovely ladies to dance with me.”

“Do not frighten the child, silly Bells.” Sebastian emerged, chuckling as he moved to stand a bit behind Belle, placing a hand on her shoulder. The older woman gave another giggle, releasing Evee and placing her hand against Sebastian's. “Do not be silly; I am not frightening to anyone. Am I frightening you, little acrobat?”


“нет. пробути, Звездочка.” She couldn't help but to smile just a little wider, biting down on her lip to keep from appearing too excited as he praised her and kissed her upon her brow. It truly was just a bit funny that she would be so giddy for a simple acceptance of company and a short kiss to her forehead when the man had explored so much more of her. She, for the life of her, could not find just what it was of the man that drew her to him like a moth to a flame. His power and money? She'd been without it her entire life and it never really appealed to her. Perhaps it was his unique charisma. She couldn't say she'd ever met a man quite like him before. He could be violent and unpredictable, sure. But he hadn't directed much anger towards her since she began having relations with him only a month ago. If anything, she liked to think that she cheered him up immensely with her presence and favors. Obviously it probably wasn't as true as she believed it to be, but it settled well in her mind. She was being useful.

Her fingers curled against his hand gently as she allowed him to guide her to his lap, her eyes bright with flagrant infatuation for the older ring master. From the outside looking in they had quite the resemblance of a stern father and his loving daughter. That only made it appear all the more strange and just downright wrong when the young woman with all the youthful appearance of a teen let her head drop, careful to avoid being burnt by his cigar, allowing her lips to brush against his just ever so gently, lingering there for moments before she pulled back enough for them to hover inches apart. There was a certain sort of high she got from being with him. Maybe that's what she loved so much about him. He didn't make her feel like a child as many others did. She had even bothered to acclimate to the thick smoke produced by the cigars he constantly had lit. She had tried to smoke one once but he had reprimanded her and told her that it wasn't attractive for a lady to smoke. She was able to actually be around him when he smoked now without dissolving into a coughing fit.

The wordless woman put down her pencil and notepad, occupying her hands by slipping one to rest against the back of his neck and the other to rest upon his cheek, her thumb brushing gently against his skin as his had done previously. She wasn't the most competent when it came to using her almost nonexistent feminine charms, having gone so far as being coached by Belle in a game of charades and simply taking direction from Dmitri. Unlike many of the other women working for Cirque Regalis, Svetlana didn't have much of her own will. That's not to say that she had no sense of purpose without others to guide her. Lana simply didn't know how to turn others down and would always act in favor of someone else over her own intentions. She was extremely pliable.

A sigh escaped her as she massaged the back of his neck, sitting in silence. There was almost always such a silence between them in these moments but that was bound to happen when there was a mute involved in a conversation. It wasn't so much that she couldn't speak; Her vocal chords worked quite perfectly, that much Dmitri could certainly substantiate. She would even mutter a word or two here or there though the people who managed to hear assumed they had heard the wind. She herself wasn't sure why she never did talk. After seeing her mother gunned down by Nazi soldiers she simply stopped speaking. Maybe she just never knew how to express the gut wrenching sorrow she felt, diving into her music to shut out those feelings. Sometimes she was afraid that she'd burst into tears if she tried to talk. The last time she'd truly spoken was to tell her mother that she loved her. But she shut all of that out for years. Performing for the cirque and spending time with Dmitri helped keep her mind from such depressing things. It provided her with a perpetual smile. That very same kind and timid smile that she wore now as her eyes sung praises for the ring master.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Hazel Middleton Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Felilla

With her typical smile plastered on her face, Hazel made her way over to the bonfire. She had stripped off her flamboyant costume of silk and mesh, trading it for a more conservative dress. There was a slight bounce in her step as she wandered over. Evelyn was as close to Clay as possible. They were all acting like normal people instead of circus freaks. That was something Hazel still found interesting. When the curtains fell, everyone became just like everyone else. Even Hazel became a new person. If she had been walking down the street at that moment, no one would've given her a second glance. With a small content sigh, Hazel continued to the bonfire.
She tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, offering Evelyn and Clay a small smile and scratching behind Argos' ear. Then, she made her way over to the big tent. Inside were Evee and Belle, talking. Hazel walked up to them. "Hello, Belle," she paused here.
Like everyone else at the circus, she knew that it was not her real name. The only thing Hazel could really figure out about her was that she was Arabian. The fire eater couldn't help but be curious about the exotic dancer. She was new, not well acquainted with the acts. It made her interesting and Hazel wasn't really sure what to think of her. So, she decided that tonight she'd drag "Belle" out of the circus grounds to see how she did around other people, whether the Arabian dancer wanted it or not. However, Hazel was not one to push things on people, so she acted as if her greeting was just that. A simple greeting. Hazel turned to Evee, "What have you been up to?"
It was one of Hazel's favorite pastimes to tease the younger girl. She was just so naive. Hazel briefly wondered what her mother was doing. She loved watching Ana's act. She could do simple things on the floor, but nothing like what the Parisian Princess could accomplish. At the last moment, Hazel ruffled Evee's hair. She turned towards where the bonfire was, a distant and thoughtful look on her face. She thought back to when her stepfather had first taught her fire breathing. Who knew she would end up doing it for a living? With a small chuckle, she turned back to Belle, "How about a night on the town? Just us?" she questioned, leaning forward slightly. "I'm dying for some better vodka and I need to get some stuff for my act. I could use the company."
Hazel smiled widely as if to show that she was friendly. Curiosity destroyed the cat's social life, she thought as she waited anxiously for Belle's answer. The Arabian continued to move, her skin glowing in the firelight. With her smile still on her face, Hazel ran a hand through her long blonde hair. This was the make or break it moment.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Jack Connolly Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Vix

{In collaboration with Cloud}

Evee nodded quickly as Belle offered to teach her. Evee was always curious to know everything there was to know. She would love to add belly-dancing and contortion to her growing list of little talents.

"Oui s'il vous plaît" She replied in French, giggling simply because Belle had been too. As Sebastian appeared, calling Evee a child, the girl crossed her arms and jutted out a hip, the spitting image of a obstinate young woman.

"I am 16, Sebastian, I'm not a child. And of course I'm not frightened." She replied. She'd been telling her mother as much for the past three years. In Evee's mind 16 was more than old enough to perform with the other acts, yet in the mind of those older than her she really was little more than a child.

Sebastian did his best to contain himself, keeping his usual amused smile on his face as he looked at Evee. He cleared his throat and moved from the Arabian to the Frenchwoman, taking one of Evee's petite hands into his own and bringing it to his lips to kiss it softly. “Ah, I did not mean to offend. Couldn't you ever forgive me?” He flashed his best smile, the one that won hearts and minds all over. Belle rolled her eyes slightly but smiled all the same. Evee was a very sweet girl and rather headstrong, as most young women tended to be at that age. “Very well. You may practice with myself and the Silver Sisters. But tell no one. It would ruin the surprise, yes?”

This was probably the most conversation she'd had with any of the other performers. She normally saved conversation that wasn't cryptic in nature for business discussions with one of the managers or instruction with the other performers wanting to join her act. While she knew that being a solo act performing in ways others couldn't was what kept her audience wanting more, she also knew that adding others would be a surprise and allow for more possibilities.

Evee's face remained firm for a moment, but finally as Sebastian tickled the back of her hand with his lips a smile illuminated the girl's face and she broke into a giggle. A moment later her face lost the smile as she became mock serious, although the usual playfulness in her eyes remained.
"Fine. You are forgiven." She says to the man.

Then, turning to Belle, the smile returns. "Thank you! I'm sure it will help my acrobatic act too."

In response to Belle's order not to tell anyone, Evee nods eagerly. She can keep a secret when needed, although it's no secret that she can be a bit of a chatterbox too. However, the surprise that she knows she'll see on her mother's face when she reveals her new skill is incentive enough to keep quiet.

Thinking of secrets to keep from her mother Evee remembers that she was going to warn Jack about the card tricks. Evee had had no luck looking for him at the stables, and had been pleasantly distracted by Belle and Sebastian. However, the though occurred to her that one of these two might have seen him, "I don't suppose either of you have seen Jack Connolly around." She asked hopefully. She hoped the horseman hadn't gone down the road to a bar.

Oh, this was turning out just perfectly. Belle flashed Evee another dazzling smile as Sebastian turned, leading the two out of the big tent. Just in time, because the cleaners were on their way in. There was a whistle on his lips as he swung his arms in a carefree manner, waving to those that they passed by. Belle walked on by him, taking the lead and approaching the fire first. She didn't bother speaking a greeting to those present, giving her trademark mysterious smile instead. She watched them all for a few moments before popping her left hip and settling her hand there. “Not interrupting, are we? ...I don't suppose you would mind too much if we joined.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Hazel Middleton Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Jack Connolly
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Her giggle came as a surprise to the Pin Cushion not because he hadn't heard her laugh, but because it was so light and childlike. He'd almost forgotten Evelyn was only seventeen. He looked down at the girl, nuzzling into the fluffy dog. How many times had he also turned to the large dog for comfort? Clayton looked back to the fire and squinted slightly as he tried to discern the faces of the others to no avail. Evelyn's response might have missed him, but he managed to hear the whispered "thank you" as he focused back on the two figures to his side. Clay matched her smile with one of his own, causing the tattoos higher on his cheeks to dance.

"If you say so," he replied, adding a nod of the head and a shrug of his shoulders as he settled back on to the overturned bucket. He was never skilled at reading emotions, but even a man as dense as he could tell that it was more than that bugging the young woman. Clay shifted on the bucket and turned slightly so that he faced her while she looked into the fire. "You can tell me if you want, kid. I won't bite." When Evelyn didn't take the beer bottle, he finished off the rest of it and set it by the bucket.

Looking to Jack now, he crossed his arms on his lap to support himself more, for he was leaning over quite awkwardly. When Jack looked up, he waved again, smile still broad on his lips. It wasn't a mocking wave; it was simply overly-enthusiastic. That was typical for Clayton though. Clay looked at the out-stretched arm of Jack's that held the bottle and took it carefully. After downing a sip of the austere liquor.

"I'm good," Clay said, holding the bottle out to Evelyn for her so take a sip before he passed it to Jack again. "Thanks, by the way...d'you want me to grab you a beer?" Before Jack replied, he heard a high pitched voice call out to the assembled carnies. Pivoting on the bucket, Clay turned and noticed Sugar, to whom he offered a quick child-like wave by opening and closing his hand. He was, perhaps, overwhelmingly cheerful right then, but he could not have cared less, for he enjoyed being cheerful. The cheerfulness was his way of pushing down other emotions or dark thoughts. It was an alcoholic's alcohol to him-- necessary for survival, necessary to keep the darkness away.

He didn't see when Belle first appeared, but he heard her accented voice clear as day and turned to face her. "Nah, you ain't interrupting," he replied, taking charge of the situation. "The more, the merrier, right?"


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Ana Howell Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Evee Howell
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#, as written by Vix
{In partial collaboration with Scarlet Loup}


While quite a few of the performers were grumbling through the entire week about the upcoming changes, Belle had absolutely no problem with switching up her routine. She had promised Robert and Dmitri to deliver performances that would have the audience begging for more even more than they already were. Over the course of the next seven days, The Desert Rose had devoted every ounce of her time when she wasn't sleeping to training and practicing. Sebastian and Svetlana were getting better and Evee was off to a good start. Zenobia and Rozella were also fairing well and their darling creatures were working well with Belle's cues. She enjoyed working with Orion and had even gotten him to prance around while she bent herself into strange positions and balanced upon his back all the while. He truly was a magnificent creature. His mate didn't care too much for her but that was alright. She hadn't had much time to herself but that was alright as well – The better her performance went the more money she was paid.

Rides on the train were never boring. Sugar regaled her with stories of her trouble making days in Lynchburg – But then she'd ask for one of them to escort her to the car where the twins were so she could ask for another balloon animal. When the twins said they'd make her a whole zoo, they certainly seemed to mean it. Svetlana and Belle both thought that it was simply adorable the way she was so infatuated with the two boys. Of course, Sebastian wasn't quite sure what to say on the matter so he'd often chuckle and nod nervously when Sugar got to chatting about them. Svetlana had been pining something awful, Belle had noticed had been going on for at least a month when they hit the road. She knew that Svetlana would sometimes make trips to Dmitri's car and stay for an hour, sometimes three or four, but she never showed signs of knowing anything. The poor girl seemed to be going through withdrawals though it didn't show much to those who weren't so observant. She didn't talk and always looked timid and frightened either way. Besides being away from Dmitri, she hadn't yet had to chance to play her game of blackmail and charades with Robert. She actually hadn't seen him since he made the announcement of changing up the performances. Everyone seemed to swarm him with questions and protests and ideas after - The poor girl couldn't make it through the crowd of folk.

Sebastian, however, was having far more luck in bedding others than his sister – As was Belle. The two were often absent from the train car through the ride as they found their way towards their usual partners. Belle, taking her turn with the Silver Sisters, Sebastian having his fun with a particularly talented Sword Swallower named Marissa. Svetlana had the pleasure of being Sugar's human doll while the small, dark skinned girl practiced putting makeup on her and doing her hair. They were all ever so pleased to get off of the train and get some fresh air though. Sugar was the first to burst forth, barreling out as though she'd been launched from the cannon as she shot off to search for the twins, calling out their names. “Kieran! Connuh!” She felt extra pretty since Belle and Lana had straightened her hair, bearing the fading burn marks on her ears from the bumps and shakes encountered while riding. She had no shoes on, mud squishing under her small feet, her little red dress and ribbons fluttering behind her.

Belle slunk out of the train car next, wearing (as usual) next to nothing. Pittsburgh was so dirty and ugly. The connoisseur of all things beautiful let her nose wrinkle before heaving a sigh and stepping onto the ground, letting her toes curl into the bit of grass that was there. She let her gaze flicker, watching everyone else as they filed out, stretching and basking in the sun. She stretched out as well, arms extending to the sun. That stretch became a bend as her feet came together and her head slowly went behind her back until her hands were against the ground. Oh. That felt great. Smiling and well stretched, she took off at an easy pace, giving her fingers a little waggle as a wave to those in passing. A few winks were thrown her way and returned with a brow lift that implied a “maybe later”. She had no time for any dillying or dallying at the moment. She had set out to find Evee though she could see that the young girl's mother was watching her like a hawk. As much as she'd love to have the teen as part of her act, how was she supposed to do that when she knew for a fact that Ana would outright say no? It was absolutely tragic. She sighed wistfully and headed away from the acrobats to find someone else to bother.


Now there was a decent target.

The man was always so happy and Belle found his talent quite interesting, to say the least. She looked about for him, wondering whether or not he had exited the train yet. ... Oh, there he was. She spotted Clay sitting on a barrel nearby, sliding safety pins into his forearms. With a sway in her walk, Belle didn't take too long to reach his side, standing as close as she usually stood to people, just close enough that the slightest movement might cause them to brush against one another. “I've had a question I've been meaning to ask. You wouldn't mind if I bothered you a moment, hm?” She gave him her best smile, a gleam of mischief in her dark brown eyes as she pushed her blonde locks over her shoulders. Clay studied his arm as he wove a safety pin in and out of the soft skin of his underarm. Argos, curled at his feet, was the first to notice Belle's arrival. Still, he did not look up until she came to a stop and hovered beside him. With a quick movement, Clayton's head turned upward and the pin he currently held ripped through the skin.

"Hey," he greeted, nodding his head toward her. He met her smile with one of his own. It was a familiar smile, one that always appeared in the company of others. He turned on the bench, holding his thumb over the wound. "I don't mind. Whaddya need?" Belle took a moment to appear deep in thought, as though searching her mind for the question she meant to ask. “You do not feel pain. At first I thought it might be certain points of your body that you use to avoid it. Like the acupuncture they do in India. But I watch you and there is no precision...Technique. You simply jam things into your body without a care and without flinching. If you do not feel pain, do you feel other things?” Whether she meant physically or emotionally, she didn't let on. She simply smiled, bending down so that she was at his feet with Argos, petting the large dog's back and looking to Clay for an answer.

Clayton's brow knit, and he leaned forward slightly to wind his fingers in Argos's thick coat. Everyone knew what he did for his act, yet it was different when he tried to explain it. It was as if he were disclosing something personal. Then again, it didn't matter. He wasn't the kind of person to keep secrets. "Well, I can't feel heat..." he started. He knew what she meant, though. He was naive, but he wasn't stupid. He looked up and met her gaze which was almost level with his as he leaned further down. "I can feel things, of course...and I can feel...pleasure." She remained calm as she spoke, but Clayton' face turned a soft, pinkish color as he spoke. The flirting thing really had never been his strong suit. There was a strong possibility that Belle was taking quite a bit of pleasure out of this conversation, feeling rather satisfied as Clay's face began to flush with pink. It was so cute to see a tattooed man blush. She retained her nonchalant position and tone, tilting her head some. “I hadn't meant that, per se.” She gave a light giggle and shook her head, looking down before looking back at him, placing a hand on his thigh.

“But... Thank you. For letting me know that. I'll have to keep it in mind.” There was a playful tone in her voice now as she toyed with him though it was obvious she held no malicious intent.

Well, shit." Don't assume. It makes an ass out of you and me. That saying came back to him just as quickly as the blush spread and darkened. She wasn't angry at him at all, of course, yet he could not ignore the embarrassment. His jaw moved soundlessly as if he meant to speak but couldn't formulate words. The tattoos on his chin danced up and down slowly, pointlessly. "S-sorry," he said finally and opened his mouth to speak again. He cut himself off as she rested a hand on his upper thigh. Oh yes, he could certainly feel that. "'re welcome."

The smile appeared again, for it had wavered at the thought of that blunder. Clay tried to look at her hand as nonchalantly as possible, and he looked down at the dog quickly before meeting her gaze again. What the hell was he supposed to say now, damn it? “For a man so handsome, I assumed that you might be a bit more...smooth,” she teased, giving him a wink and giving his thigh a squeeze. “You act as though you aren't so used to female attention -” She leaned closer so that she was quite directly in his face, the tip of her nose against his. “- or affection.” His breath caught instinctively as she squeezed his leg, and Clay hardly had time to react before she was closer than before, his nose touching hers as he wavered slightly with an exhale. "Well - ah -," he murmured, fighting to make his voice quieter because she was so close. "Driving a skewer through your cheek doesn't really turn people on." He tried to give a soft laugh but stopped as he remembered how close they were. He might have reciprocated the touch, but he still wasn't sure if this was merely Belle being Belle or...something more.

“On the contrary -” The Arabian's features softened as there was a sort of feeling of pity for the man. Clay was indeed handsome and quite friendly. It was a shame that he didn't receive more attention from women. Belle thought that he was quite charming, basing from the relatively few conversations they'd had. Again, not the smoothest pebble in the river, but he was a good man. She would have to remedy his ailment. “I find you quite attractive.” Her hand moved to his cheek, his skin just as warm as it was red. “I think those other women don't know what they're missing out on. Don't you agree, Clayton?” He pushed his cheek into her hand without thinking, savoring the feeling of her palm. "I...guess," he said softly, thoughtfully, as if he hadn't thought so before. Hell, he really hadn't even thought of it before. "I find you attractive, too. You're real gorgeous." Clayton bit his lip softly as his gray eyes met her brown ones again. From closer up, it was probably quite easy to see the numerous puncture wounds on his cheeks, but now he certainly didn't care about them, for she had told him she didn't care. Hesitantly, he reached upward and rested a hand just barely on her cheek. Rather, it hovered just above her cheek as if he were afraid to touch her.

He was so shy and that was something that Belle had yet to encounter in a man. All the men who dared to approach her were very bold and confident in themselves and their ability to woo a woman. Clay seemed so hesitant, almost as though he were frightened he may say something to anger her or make her run away. Such a sweet southern man. Being around him might make one fear that he'd give you a cavity with his personality alone. She let her eyes wander over his features, taking them in. There were a lifetime's worth of scars from various things he put under his flesh but it didn't mar the beauty of him. It only added intrigue and gave an air of danger. Belle thought it was quite a turn on - the scars, not his habit of poking himself with sharp things - and knowing how sweet he was and his poor luck with women only made her feel a bit more pity. But perhaps pity wasn't the right word. Empathy. Ah, there was the word. Her head turned a little more to the side, resting firmly against his rough hand as her own hand moved to brush some hair blown into his face by the wind. “You are quite kind, Clayton. Maybe you should come spend time with me more often.” She leaned in closer than she already was, pressing a soft kiss against his lips before pulling away. “I'm good company to keep. Or so I've been told.”

He looked up at her, dumbfounded, as she pulled away. The blush still colored his cheeks, but the smile had fallen into a look of pure child-like confusion. "T-thank you," he replied, still whispering as if she were close. Clayton cleared his throat to raise his volume as he continued. "I - ah - might have to take you up on that offer." He pushed a hand through the messy, dark hair on his head. "Nice talking to you, Belle." Clayton nodded at her again and forced the smile back across his lips. It wasn't that he was upset, he was merely too overwhelmed. The smile came quite naturally afterwards.

Belle stroked his cheek gently with her thumb before rising up and moving away. An interesting man, indeed.

Svetlana was sore from head to toe but at the same time she had never felt so great in her life. Belle had talked her and the other two into doing yoga with her, assuring them that it was great practice for easing into contortion. And it was true – She found her flexibility and ability to hold poses for extended amounts of time greatly increasing, something she was sure would please Dmitri. She watched Belle stretching for a moment, again wondering (as she had many times) if Belle did such things to show off or she just simply did everything she did because it pleased herself. She wished she was more like Belle. Well, there weren't many women that she'd met so far that she didn't wish she was more like. Ana was so smart and caring, even though Evee often said her mother was overbearing. She could relate – Sebastian was the same way. Frances was a woman who knew what she wanted and how to get it and she knew how to bend people to her will. Evelyn was so pretty and exotic. They were about the same age but Lana never could find much time to approach her and when she did she never really knew what to do but stand there and feel awkward. That tended to happen when you tried to get a shy girl and a mute girl to communicate with one another.

She adjusted the green silk dress that Belle insisted that she wear. They had bought it before leaving New York City and her dear friend insisted that the tailor make sure it hugged what little form that Lana did have. She had a jacket that went with it because she didn't like the idea of the top of her breasts being flashed to every passing Tom, Dick, and Harry. Belle told her that she was being silly and far too self-conscious when she noticed while Lana had been trying it on she was trying to shield her clevage from exposure. There was a moment when Lana wanted to ask Belle if she knew what it meant to be faithful to someone that you loved. But she never did ask. Because Belle didn't speak Ukrainian and Lana didn't speak. Much.

Sebastian walked on by her, sporting his new outfit as well. No doubt he was off to see what Sugar was up to. Lana smiled to herself as her elder brother took long strides, following the sound his daughter's voice. It was cute, to see him unsure of how to deal with Sugar's infatuations. He knew that he wouldn't find her smooching up to any of the boys she gushed about any time soon - she was eight - But he still wasn't quite sure how to quite deal with it. He didn't want to encourage it. She was so young and didn't fully understand such things. But he couldn't tell her that it would never be. It would crush her. He was very much like a lost puppy. Lana shook her head and went on her way, clutching, as always, her violin to her chest. She wanted to find Dmitri. She knew she'd need to communicate with Robert eventually. As far as she could tell, the other man hadn't said anything to anyone about what he saw. Which was a good thing.

Playing softly, she offered a smile to those passing by, pausing every now and then to play a request before both parties moved along with their previous objective. Moonlight Sonata. There was a beautiful piece of music that she could simply never tire of hearing. Chin well placed, her right hand moved fluidly with the bow, the fingers of her left caressing the strings as she brought forth the haunting, yet beautiful and soothing melody. She did so absent of mind, zoning out as she heard other melodies in her head. She could almost see the music notes floating out in front of her. She had yet to take pen to paper for such melodies, unsure of how the audience would react to the new music. Sure, new styles were coming out every other day. But she didn't want to face criticism or rejection.

There was a light sigh that left her as she zoned in and out of her mind, doing her best not to bump into those bustling about to set up and practice and talk with the managers. She hadn't even noticed that Belle, who had left Clayton to silently pursue the mute from afar, was watching her with a curious smile. She did notice Dmitri though. It wasn't just Dmitri she had noticed, but Dmitri offering a blushing and smiling Evelyn a cigar. Her music hit a wrong chord as her arm jerked in light surprise and a bit of frustration. It seemed almost immediately that her stomach clenched into a knot and her breath caught in her throat. Was he flirting with her? Why wouldn't he? She was young and pretty and exotic. She was certainly more gorgeous than the plain violinist. A small pout formed on her lips as the foreign emotion of jealousy confused her. She certainly wouldn't wish harm to Evelyn but she didn't understand what was going on.

It wasn't as though she could march over and ask. Nor would she dare to ask Dmitri later in private. Dmitri told her many times before that he loved her and she had told him that she loved him. There couldn't be anything going on. Besides. Evelyn didn't even like Dmitri. Right? Lana had never seen the two interact amicably before so she wouldn't know. Then again, she and Dmitri didn't act quite like lovers in public either. Her head was starting to hurt as much as her heart the more she thought about it. She eventually concluded that she was being foolish and delusional. She chided herself mentally for doubting Dmitri. How dare she question him after all he had done for her? Still pouting, mostly upset with herself at this point, she made herself scarce and attempted to disappear into the crowd, careful not to drag her feet and dirty her green shoes.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov Character Portrait: Sugar
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#, as written by Vix

“And now, Cirque Regalis presents.... Sugar the Wünderkind! An eight year old with talents hand given by God himself!”

The lights went dim, moving in sporadic patterns as if searching for the next act. Sugar, carrying her little stool, made her way in silence to the center of the ring, ignoring the completely expected symphony of boos, hisses, laughter, and scoffs. A piano was pushed in behind her by one of the circus' equipment handlers quickly attempted to escape the spotlight. Sporting her dress from earlier, the young African-American took her place as the spotlight hit her. Silence befell the crowd as her small fingers began to dance across the keys, producing a beautiful and foreign melody. Her eyes closed as she allowed herself to get lost in the music that Svetlana had given to her for the performance. With her talent it hadn't taken Sugar long to master the song. Actually, it had only taken a few hours, if that. The song went on for five and a half minutes before it died down and she began a new melody.

“Allow your ears to be delighted in ways you've never before imagined. Feast your eyes on these almost fey musicians! The Sensual Melody and The Silent Melody!”

There were gasps of surprise and soft claps when duel violins joined in and the spotlights focused on two faces in the crowd.

Sebastian had taken a seat among the crowd on the north side of the tent, having hidden his violin within the seats prior to the audience's arrival and remaining there. He now stood tall and proud, his face pulled into an expression conveying sensual desires. As the women swooned at his exposed chest, baring his carefully chiseled torso and all the tattoos he possessed, a few that weren't too busy swooning were so bold as to reach out for him. He responded by moving his body in the directions needed, allowing their hands to press firmly against him. His hands moved in precise and delicate motions, movements that seemed to defy his large hands and muscular build.

The man enjoyed this. Every moment of it. Women swooned for him; For his body, his music, his talent. Men too, though they were few and fewer brave enough to say so. People adored him, chanting for an encore and begging to see him after his performances. Sebastian had come so far in life and while the circus life might not have been the dream life for most, it was his life. He had money (though not much) and friends, always traveling to see new people and places, and plenty of fans (many of them who were willing to bed him) so he couldn't find a reason to want any other life. Of course it was preferred that he hadn't lost the majority of his family and friends and he could have gone without killing people. But life was life. Nashti zhas vorta po drom o bango. - You cannot walk straight where the road is bent.

The ruggedly handsome man moved through the audience, speaking loudly through his eyes to the women, biting down on his bottom lip to draw more reaction.

Svetlana had done the same as her brother, taking to the south side. While her brother drew mostly looks of lust from women, Svetlana drew the attention of most everyone, indeed appearing as fey-like as advertised. Her brown hair was pulled back into an intricate flow of curls, waves, and braids adorned with small flowers here and there. While usually a klutz, she always used every ounce of focus she possessed to amaze the crowd with her grace and talents. Barefooted, she walked through the crowd with partially closed eyes, swaying so that her dress swished around her legs. A few spins here and there, every now and again dipping or bending backwards for extra applause. She got a few extra whistles as she took a seat in the lap of a rather dapper young man, leaning against him while she played. She didn't stay too long before she was gone.

Her moves with her brother were coordinated and they drew closer and closer to the middle until three spotlights became one, all three Kolmykovas standing in the center of the big top. As quickly as their song drew to a close and the applause thundered, they began anew. More foreign melodies filled the air as they started playing a new song. A few moments passed before a spotlight moved east, highlighting a woman sashaying into the ring. She helped herself to stepping on top of the piano. “Behold... The Desert Rose!” Truly no introduction was needed for this sultry vixen dressed in white and black, allowing her curves to be seen to the world.

As the drums began, slow and steady, her arms lifted until they were parallel to the piano. Tracing her hips in a figure "8", her arms moved in a wave motion as though there were no bones within them. Belle could feel the vibrations of the piano being played tickling her feet and making her want to smile wide though she kept her usual sultry expression as the drums began and she began to move her body in ways she knew best. First, her chest. The buxom woman moved her chest side to side before popping it in a forward and then backward motion in a way that forced her bountiful bosom to bounce. Her hips were next, moving in snake-like and rolling motions before she switched it up into a shimmy, her arms still moving as the coins and beads strung onto her outfit jingled and jangled.

Assorted gasps and claps floated through the audience as the drums came to a halt later and Belle paused. There were some shrieks of fear as King Orion rushed through the tent, roaring. There was her big boy! She smirked as she drew attention back to her by unclasping her skirt and letting it fall onto the piano, wearing now only what appeared to be embellished bra and panties. She jumped down from the piano and held her hand up in signal of stop, the white lion skidding to a halt and sitting in front of her. As the crowd held their breaths, the Kolmykova's creating a perfect atmosphere of tension and mystery with their music, Belle knelt before the King of the savannah and touched his nose gently with her hand. She maintained eye contact with him as he opened his maw wide. She placed her hand in while many looked away in terror, fearing that he would eat her alive.

He didn't.

She removed her hand and smiled as he appeared to kiss her forehead. She petted him gently and stood as he stood, moving to his side. In a single swift motion, she placed her hands onto his back and hoisted herself up. Palms firmly against his fur, letting her fingers curl a bit for grip, her legs went straight into the air. She had promised the managers a show that would bring them money and more patrons, and she was going to deliver that. Orion padded about slowly as she switched between positions, letting her chest down against his back and curling her legs to place her feet against her head, using only one hand to support herself, even standing on one foot while holding the other against her shoulder from behind. The crowd cheered, filled with delight as Orion trotted back to the center. Sugar and her piano had been removed, allowing all to see.

While Orion moved to sit on his haunches, Belle carefully and quickly walked up his back, balancing herself until she had made it to his shoulders. She bent down and placed her hands on her feet before moving her feet back and letting her hands grab onto Orion's “shoulders”. Again, everyone held their breath. Her hair tumbled down as she stood upside down, feet straight up, Orion moving to stand completely on his hind legs. There was a standing ovation as Sebastian and Svetlana ended their music and finally left the ring. Rasala, Nevara, Mikala, and Rigel all trotted in, forming a line as they took stances on either side of Orion with Belle standing before them.

A hoop was lowered from above and everyone waited to see what would happen. She was joined in the ring by Joshua Stokes baring many a “gift” for she and her feline companions. The first she took from him was a book of matches. Holding it up for all to see, she struck the match and touched it to the hoop that was soon set ablaze, becoming a ring of fire. Orion and his lovely ladies were quick to jump back and forth through the hoop as it turned while Rigel watched quietly. Belle wanted to get him used to having a loud crowd about rather than training him in silence. She knew Rasala would keep him in check.

Their show carried on, twenty more minutes of the crowd enjoying the sight of Belle wrestling with the felines, the silver cats forming a tower, and even the children and those adults brave enough coming forth to pet the adult cats. She and her fur babies took bows (a few of them giving a roar or two) before Belle mounted Orion like a horse and lead them all out of the tent. Riding by the managers, she gave a light smirk and soon passed off her beloveds to her helpers to be put back into their cages for the night. She was headed for her train car but saw Lionel rushing past with things in his hand, quickly stopping him. “Oh! Heya, Belle! I'd love to talk but Mister Sullivan needs these.” He rose his hands some to show her what he was holding. Smiling, Belle took them from him.

“I'll take care of him, actually. Why don't you go find Sugar and you two can tell the Silvers that I said you can play with Mikala?” The boy seemed quite excited and eagerly rushed off to find the other circus child. It didn't take Belle too long to find Clayton, a smirk working its way to her face. “Why don't you come to my car? It'll be more comfortable there.” She showed him the items she had taken from Lionel, her voice soft and kind as she canted her head in the direction of the train.

She didn't worry about Sebastian, the man having snagged a woman from the crowd and disappeared into the darkness of the nearby woods with her. Svetlana, however, was headed elsewhere. Clutching her violin, she gave a nod and smile to her fellow performers as they smiled and told her “Good job”, something she actually did understand. She was startled, jumping a bit when a hand grabbed her shoulder from behind. She spun around to face the young man from earlier, a smile on his face. “Hey! I don't know if you remember me. You sat in my lap. And I'm kind of a big fan... I saw your show in New York. But you probably don't understand a word I'm saying. Everyone says you're mute and don't speak English, but you don't need to to understand this.”

He produced a bouquet of red roses and handed them to her. She took them, her face as red as the flowers he gave her. The young man took her free hand, as she was holding everything in her left, and placed a gentle kiss against her soft flesh before meandering back off into the big top, flashing his ticket to get by. Flustered, Svetlana quickly and quietly made her way away from everyone else and directly to the place nobody (except one) would search for her: Dmitri's car. She simply sat there, unsure of what quite to do. She had acted on a whim, sitting in that man's lap. Dmitri wouldn't be pleased, though it did garner audience support. Still, she had to smile. All songs played that night for their performance were her compositions. Sebastian had talked her into doing them. Sugar could learn them in a heartbeat, Belle never choreographed anything and could simply "go with it" and Sebastian already knew them. And the crowd loved her music...


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Vix

{A Sexy Collaboration Between Myself & Scarlet Loup}

Clayton held his hand tighter against the stomach wound, trying to stop as much of the bleeding as possible as he waited for the young boy to return. As the show came to an end, he noticed a blonde-haired figure move closer until she stood before him. A smile crossed his face for a moment, glad he'd found someone he might be able to send after Lionel. His expression slowly changed into one of confusion as she held up the items he'd requested from the boy. "You sure 'bout that?" he asked as he slowly stood up. "I don't want to get blood on your things." Still, he followed her like a loyal hound. As he moved, he removed the vest and held it against his abdomen. "I, ah, didn't see much of your act, but it sounded like the audience enjoyed it a lot." His attempts at small talk were usually quite sporadic and even ill-planned, but they were still attempts. He followed her into the car, but he continued to stand, still afraid of bloodying her belongings or the belongings of her car mates.

The Arabian woman lead the way, offering only waves to those who attempted to garner her attention. She was quite determined to get Clayton into her train car before any of her car mates showed up. Clayton was injured so there wouldn't be too much shenanigans going on, but Belle intended on making it quite clear to him just how much she did fancy him. Besides, she wasn't going to let him sit outside and dress his wound alone. Not when she was there to help him. He truly was a rather sweet man and it brought a more affectionate in a less lustful that usual manner in her.

“No need to worry about the blood - I will clean that up as well. And thank you.” She finally answered him, reaching to close the train car door behind them. “No matter where you are in the world, sex sells. People enjoy things that they know they cannot have and that is what I give.” She had moved some things around and placed a new, thick blanket over her cot, guiding him to it and lying him down. “Your act was quite intriguing. But it usually is.” Her smile was a friendly one as she took his hands and vest, moving them out of the way to see his wound. “This will sting.”

Clay let out a soft laugh at her words, taking them as a joke. Of course he wouldn't feel it sting. He'd never feel it sting. In an almost childish manner, he wiggled his toes slightly and looked up at her.

She bothered to not rape him with her eyes, focusing on taking care of him first. Lathering up the soap with water onto the rag, she moved to clean away the blood, some of it already dried against his flesh. The sting had yet to come, though she hadn't figured that considering his lack of ability to feel pain, he wouldn't feel it. Still, she rinsed off his wound and drizzled the whiskey over his wound. She let it sit there and quickly grabbed one of the white shirts she often wore to bed, ripping it into strips. One of them was wadded up and pressed against the cleaned wound while she eased him up in silence to fashion a better bandage, tying it about his waist. “Ta-da.”

Clayton propped up on her elbows almost as soon as he lay down to watch her move the rag along his stomach and the wounds. He had a gleam in his eyes like a mesmerized child. Had he ever been tended to like this? Certainly he hadn't been since he lived in the orphanage, but that was sixteen years ago. Half a lifetime ago. Had he been able to feel the pain, maybe he would have winced or cursed under his breath. Maybe he wouldn't have. Maybe he would have tried to hold it together to appear tough. It was quite difficult, however, to appear tough when you wiggled your toes about impatiently and hugged your dog like a teddy bear at thirty-three. He seemed to give a subtle frown as she tore up a shirt for dressing his wounds.

"You didn't have to do that," he said, scrunching up his face slightly in a sheepish manner. He obeyed as she guided him up to bandage the wound in a better way. "But, ah, I do appreciate it." Clay felt over the bandages slowly, making sure his hands merely glided over the cloth for fear of disrupting them. "Thank you. A lot. Not many people would, y'know, do this. Shit, Lionel only does it 'cause he ain't really got a choice." He smiled though and moved to grab his vest. "You're lucky I didn't break any bones tonight." It had quite honestly been considered by Clayton earlier in the week, but he knew it wasn't a good idea until, or if, the circus had some sort of doctor nearby.

He stood before her and ran a hand through his hair, tousling it slightly. "Well, I don't want to disturb you or anything. Probably got things to do, people to see, eh? 'Course you do, being such a pretty lady and all." He flashed a toothy smile in more of an awkward manner than a flirty one.

“Clayton...” Belle stood before him with an almost confused expression, blocking his way out. She didn't quite understand it. He was such a sweet man but made it seem as though he had no friends within the circus. She couldn't imagine it to be true, though she had to remember that it was six months before she had begun speaking to him. She wondered why she'd overlooked him before but didn't put much thought into it as she shifted and let herself smile, taking his hand. “Actually, I don't have any plans with anyone. Maybe you could stay and keep me company? A pretty lady like me tends to get lonely..” She took a step closer so that she was lightly pressed against him, aware that she was still practically in her undergarments. Her fingers intertwined with his as she searched his gray eyes for an answer.

He swallowed in what was obviously a nervous manner, Adam's apple bobbing as his gray eyes widened slightly. Clayton might have begun to sweat if it hadn't been for his condition. He's had sex before, of course, so he wasn't terrified. He was merely...surprised, perhaps, that she gave him the time of day. "Y-yeah," he managed to sputter out. "Yeah, I think I could do that...for a pretty lady." A nervous smile broke out, twisting the tattoos on his chin slightly before he swallowed again causing them to pulsate. Clay bit the corner of his lip for a moment as he looked down at her. Hell, he was over a foot taller than her, wasn't he? Hesitantly, he raised a shaky hand and brushed a strand of hair away from her face, marvelling at the assortment of feathers and beads woven into the mane of golden hair.

“Don't be nervous,” she whispered softly as she released his hand to clasp her hands on the back of his neck. He reminded her quite a bit of a shy child and she really wanted to break him out of that shell. Did she? She really liked how sweet he was and she couldn't quite imagine him any other way though she didn't know him well enough. Despite not knowing him so well she had no problems being so open and forward. In an instant she had pulled herself up to the tips of her toes and pulled him down some so that she could kiss him. It was a gentle kiss, sweet like him. “Tell me what you need...” She broke the kiss to move and lock the train car door, turning to look at him.

Though the kiss intially took him by surprise, Clayton found himself subconsciously moving back toward her to continue kissing even as she broke it. Again, he looked at her like a confused child. He even might have shuffled his feet subtly. He fought with the thoughts inside him, and this showed through his furrowed brow. What did he need, damn it? It wasn't a question he'd bothered to ask himself ever. He'd worked himself into a state of content bliss, remaining ignorant to the fact that he was deprived. Thinking now, there were quite a few things he needed, first and foremost being...

He coughed, clearing his throat as he rubbed at the back of his neck awkwardly. "Well, ah..." he began, using the sounds as fillers as he fought to look at her again. "L-love." He gave a brief sort of laugh, but it sounded more like an odd "chuff", and the smile that came with it fell quickly. Again, he bit his lip and knit his brow slightly, watching her.

Now, that was an answer she wasn't expecting. Usually when she asked that question in such a situation it ended with her going down on someone. There was a light tug at her heart as she moved back towards him and gently guided him to the bed where she straddled him. There was silence as she thought of how to approach the situation. She wouldn't promise him her heart because she wouldn't lead him on. She enjoyed sleeping around and everyone knew that. But she didn't want to break his heart or create an awkwardness between them. She liked him and she wasn't sure if this was his way of saying he might love her.

“Everyone needs love. I can give you the love of friendship but I cannot promise my heart because I don't know you that well... I like to keep my heart guarded because I don't like being hurt. But maybe we can start from scratch?” There. She didn't reject or accept. Maybe she would one day come to give him her heart. For now she hoped that her friendship and her body was enough, moving her face closer to his.

He moved extremely willingly after her and perched on the bed as she sat in his lap. Blood rushed to his face as she replied, and Clay nodded, subconsciously running the backs of his fingers on his right hand against her arm. "Nah...I understand," he replied. "I don't expect you to, y'know...we haven't known each other long enough, right." He backtracked tacticlessly, trying to get out of the hole he dug himself into. "Long day, y'know." With her face so close to his, Clayton managed to shakily take initiative and close the last inch or so of space between them to kiss her. He seemed to forget his blunder as he placed his arms loosely around her back as if still afraid of scaring her off.

Belle was caught by surprise when he was the one to initiate the kiss this time, thinking him to be far too shy to do so. Still, it was a pleasant surprise and she moved her lips along with his, letting her fingers grab at the hairs on the back of his head with a gentle moan. How long had it been since Clay had been intimate with a woman? He handled her so delicately as though he were afraid his slightest caress might hurt or frighten her. She pushed her body against his so that he was on his back before lifting up, breathless from the kiss. “I'm not going anywhere, Clay. And I'm a lot tougher than I look.” She gave a devious grin as she lowered her head to place gentle kisses against his neck.

Clayton hardly noticed she was pressing him back against the bed until their lips parted and she spoke to him. He gave a quick nod in reply, unable to fornmulate a coherent response before she began to pepper his neck with kisses. Beneath her, his chest rose and fell heavily, and he let out a slow, breathy laugh while wrapping his arms just a bit more tightly around her figure. While she explored his neck, Clay moved his hands slowly along her back and sides, taking her buxom body in physically instead of visually, for he looked up at the ceiling to extend his neck for her to kiss. He suddenly sat up again, but not because he was afraid or worried. Instead, he tried to reciprocate the kisses she'd left on his neck by leaning her back as his lips glided along her neck, stopping occasionally to place a kiss.

Belle was taken aback by him sitting up but was soon happy enough to receive his kisses, leaning her head back and letting her hair tumble down against his pants with a soft, airy laugh. “أوه، أنت حبيبي الحلو. وسوف تتمتع صنع الحب لكم عدة مرات من الوقت تكون الشمس عالية في السماء حتى القمر يبارك لنا الليل. ” Belle looked back at him, her bright eyes examining his gray ones with a thoughtful gleam as her hands moved, her thumb tracing over his bottom lip. “I hope to make you happy, Clayton Sullivan. Because you deserve this,” she purred as she moved from his lap to behind him, lying down. She used a single finger to motion him to come to her. Belle was a woman who believed that most everyone (excluding murderers and such) deserved peace, love, happiness, and sex. It was something of a mission to her to make sure those deserving got it.

Her laugh was beautiful. It rang through the car like bells chiming, and he absolutely loved it. The Arabic she spoke made no sense to him, of course, but it too sounded beautifully exotic, and it rolled off of her tongue so well that he hardly cared about the fact that he couldn't understand it. His bottom lip had ceased to bleed now, thankfully, and Clay looked back at her with wide eyes as she spoke in a sultry purr. As if transfixed, he watched her lie down. How could he resist her beckoning to him? He tried to draw out the movement as he turned around, afraid of appearing too eager. In a shaky but clean movement, he knelt over her and leaned to kiss her again. Clay placed most of the weight of his body on his hands and the rest on his knees, putting him in a position that looked much like some sort of push up. For a moment, his body pressed against hers, but he pulled back, afraid again of hurting her.

Ah, so sweet. Still afraid that he might hurt her. He didn't need to speak his thoughts nor could she read them. She didn't need to be able to read his – or anyone else's – thoughts to know what was there. She was adept at reading body language and his spoke loud and clear to her. As he pulled away after putting his weight on her, she pulled him back against her and rolled so that they were both on their sides and facing each other. “You don't have to be afraid of hurting me.” She leaned towards him and pressed a kiss against his nose with a playful smile before unhooking her top with ease and discarding it, pulling the blankets over them. Again, she moved closer to him, her nails gently raking down his chest as she kissed him, nibbling at his bottom lip in an attempt to urge him to let himself go and take the initiative.

He nodded in response and started to move his lips as if to speak, but he decided against it after realizing it would probably ruin the moment between them. Clay's nose wrinkled instinctively as she pressed her lips against it. A sigh escaped his lips as her nails trailed down his front. Her urging along seemed to work, for now he pulled her up against him again with one arm as he used his other hand to fumble with his jeans to start easing them down. Clayton allowed himself to kiss her a bit more passionately as their bodies moved together.

There it was! Belle gave a smile of satisfaction as Clay grew more comfortable, using her feet to help push his jeans down before removing the bottom half of her costume. Fully naked now, she allowed him to pull her closer, her hands taking his and pressing them against her breasts, encouraging him to explore her smooth flesh. She took pride in her toned body and always enjoyed when others appreciated it as well. She was surprised at the passion behind his kiss but put forth fervent passion as well, letting her hands move from his to the rest of his body. Her fingertips traced gently over his flesh, pressing gently against his muscles as she paused to trace over his scars. She hadn't realized her eyes were closed, opening them to look at him now, breaking the kiss to gaze upon his scarred visage with a delighted smile.

Clayton let out a soft breath in a mixture of surprise and contentment as his hands pressed against her chest. She was absolutely, amazingly flawless. His face, previously red just from embarrassment, now flushed with a mixture of both that and arousal. For a few heartbeats, Clay felt her breasts before he let his hands wander along her voluptuous curves. Her body was a wonderful mix of toned muscle and curvature beneath his hands, and he emitted a soft moan against her lips before she pulled away. His eyes had been closed for a while now. He knew not when they had closed, but that wasn't even a concern to him. They fluttered open as she broke the kiss, however, but he met her smile with one of his own, tattoos dancing as his lips pulled back. "You're so fuckin' gorgeous," he breathed, scarred chest still rising and falling rapidly. He moved his hands from her body only to remove his boxers so that they both lay naked against each other. "You, ah, you wanna do this, right?"

Belle couldn't help but to toss her head back and issue a laugh at his compliment, grinning at his choice of words. Well, he sure seemed to be enjoying himself and that's all that mattered. With a single graceful movement, she rolled over so that she was on top of him, lying down on him. The way their bodies fit together was a lovely surprise that brought her to purr a bit. “Oh, indeed I do... But of you'd rather not, that's fine.” She feigned disappointment and moved slowly as if to dismount him, a sly gleam in her eyes.

Clay looked back at her, a mixture of lust and adoration shining in his eyes as she moved atop him. If he'd been thinking clearly, he might have just let her get off, afraid to appear to eager. Clayton wasn't thinking clearly though. He placed his hands on her hips suddenly and sat her back on his lap. He was oblivious to the fact that she was trying to convince him to take the initiative, yet her efforts were quite successful it seemed. "No...I really want to." The mixture of the stress on his words and the look of hunger in his eyes confirmed his words.

Belle released a sound that was a mixture caught between a moan and a gasp as Clayton pulled her back, placing her hands on his chest. She threw her head back, giving another laugh, again delighted. “Then let us fuck, my lover.” Whether in the sheets or walking along the streets, Belle had a special talent when it came to people. She had a way about her in the way she talked and treated people. She made them feel like exceptional and special human beings. She made them feel loved, appreciated, wanted, and needed. Provided that they could get past her initial...openness.

Now, with Clayton, she did just that. Her hands explored him as their bodies moved together in perfect synchronization, their noises of pleasure harmonizing into a beautiful symphony of lust. She spoke his name in loud cries, giving him praise in foreign tongue. Even more than that, she gave him a more personal experience of her belly dancing, biting her lip as she danced on top of him. He was far better than she had expected, fully expecting him to be a virgin. He had assured her that he wasn't and proved so by flipping her over, bending her over, and taking the reigns.

Hours went by, Belle refusing to give up. But they both had enough stamina. All good things come to an end, and so did their session. She lay in a sweaty heap on him, her arms, legs, and hair sprawled over his body. Her tan flesh was red and possibly on the verge of bruising in a few spots. What could she say - She liked it rough. Her heart was racing as she closed her eyes and nestled against his chest, holding his hand. “That was... So... Beyond amazing,” she breathed, pressing closer.

With another airy giggle, she rose from the bed and began to get dressed, craning her neck to peer over her shoulder. “Stay here and rest. I will bring you something to eat... But you might want to slip on some pants.” She turned her whole body only to give him one more kiss, sashaying her way out of the train car in a less revealing outfit than usual though it was still just as flattering. She adjusted her hair a bit, squinting at the blinding sun as she looked around some.


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Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Just one drink, she told herself. Well, another couldn't hurt. Dmitri was so much sweeter than usual now, maybe one more drink. Her vision was bleary as she rested in Dmitri's arms, giving weak moans of acknowledgement to the words he murmured despite the fact that she wasn't listening even when he spoke in english. In the back of her mind she knew there was something she had promised herself to do today, but right now was all that really mattered. Evelyn turned to Dmitri as she felt a slightly forceful tug and she watched him start to undress her through half-lidded eyes.

Her lack of experience with alcohol made it easier to get Evelyn to do what he wanted. She was certainly as pliable as Svetlana. In fact, she was far more pliable especially under the influence. His hands moved along her body hungrily, and his lips grazed along her jaw and neck slowly. His breath, thick with the smell of cigar smoke and wine, came heavily now as his excitement got the best of him. Dmitri murmured words of love and praise, in various languages, between kisses. A low, yet loud, moan escaped from his parted lips as he pulled her a bit closer and toyed with the first button on her dress.

And then the door clicked open, and he opened his eyes slowly, as if caught in a dreamy trance.

It was for just a moment, yet it tore apart the moment for him almost as much as it did for Lana. However, he was not the one having his heart torn from his chest in a metaphorical sense. Her body shook with some toxic mixture of emotion that even Dmitri could not pinpoint. His lips slowly parted from Evelyn's, and his mouth merely hung open, face void of emotion and eyes speaking hundreds of thoughts. Most of them were dread.

”Lana…” he began, unsure if he was merely speaking her name or attempting to explain himself. Even his silver tongue would be unable to weasel him out of such a situation. Dmitri had ruined it. He had soiled the façade he had worked so hard to create. Oh no, he certainly was not a god. He was a horrible being, a disgusting being. He was a parasitic creature with little worth once he was stripped of his money and his power. That was all he was.

Papers fluttered like fallen birds, and they fell to the mahogany floor slowly, lingering in the air for what seemed like millennia. Dmitri’s lips moved rapidly, fighting to produce some excuse. He only managed to utter her name once more as she turned and left in a cloud of papers like a magician disappearing behind smoke. He held Evelyn in his arms as he watched Lana leave, heart thumping in his chest so loudly that he wondered for half a moment if the organ was failing on him now. Dmitri didn’t have regrets, but he knew when he had messed up. He had royally screwed up, for he knew that there were many who loved the young woman, who cared for her like a little sister. Dmitri also knew that there were many who wouldn’t mind seeing the Russian himself beaten to death much like the previous owner. The best choice, it seemed, was to follow her, convince her he was sorry.

And so he moved and set Evelyn down on the bed like a child might set a doll down. He added a soft “don’t move” and moved after Svetlana, once polished boots crushing the papers as he half-walked half-slipped across the sea of sheet music. She was already locked in her car when he made his way down the steps. Cheerful circus music still echoed across the grounds, but there was nothing cheerful about this moment. There was a gaggle of them outside of her car, standing solemnly as if waiting for her to come out again. Dmitri moved toward them, taking note of who was there. The twins. The Desert Rose. Robert. He wondered who the young Cajun would side with if it came down to that.

Then there was a cry. It was a horrible, gut-wrenching cry that caused even Dmitri to flinch. It mingled with the sound of flesh meeting flesh, but sharply, harshly. Suddenly, the group rushed at the door, and the Russian merely stood and watched, unable to process what he was witnessing. He heard Sebastian’s voice, and he heard Svetlana’s cries, and suddenly he knew what was going on…somewhat. He had no idea what was being fought about, for their voices were too muffled to make out the Ukrainian they spoke. He understood some of what Sebastian said in English, including the mention of a child, but he obviously assumed he was referring to Sugar. The sound of a second slap brought him back into reality, and he moved once more, pushing past to the door. His fist came down sharply on the door. ”Open the fucking door!” he bellowed, his voice coming out harsher than most had ever heard it. He repeated himself in Russian and then in Ukrainian.

Evelyn, meanwhile, remained in a daze. She heard something that seemed like it was miles away, but she couldn't bother to acknowledge it as she simply slumped forward in Dmitri's arms. Suddenly the girl was lifted and her eyes snapped open at the sudden movement, giving a small yelp of surprise. She blinked, and the ringleader was gone the next second. Did he say something before he left? Her head turned towards the door and she sobered instantly.

She still felt Dmitri's hands on her body, and lips on her neck, but now she felt like she could vomit. Everyone she cared for was standing there and watching her. The albino moved a hand to her neck and felt traces of the kisses left, trembling as she locked eyes with Conner.

She was a whore. And now everyone knew it. Tears welled up in her eyes as she balled her hands into fists and gripped her dress tight to her body. What fraction she had left of her life was gone now, she was sure of it. Against her own will her legs moved and shoved her out of the room, a strangled, watery apology escaping her lips. Evelyn pushed herself as far as she could, her legs burning as she attempted to reach her car before anyone got to her. She would have to leave. There was nothing left here for her now. Her heart felt like it had been torn in two. It was foolish to think that things would ever get better when she told Conner of her feelings, especially after he had seen her giving her body up like that. Nobody would believe that the alcohol had rendered her mind useless. Speaking of the alcohol, it was starting to disagree with her body after the sudden exercise. Evelyn stumbled to the door of her car, gripping the handle tightly as she tried to stop herself from emptying her stomach and failing to do so, leaving a mess outside her dwelling and hurrying inside. She lifted her head weakly at the familiar calling of her raven, the only friend she assumed she had left now. Carelessly forgetting to lock the door, she shut it and wiped her mouth with her dress before slumping against her dresser in defeat.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Sebastian left his sister cowering in Belle’s bed where she had managed to scramble after he had hit her again, her back against the corner of the wall and plush pillows barricaded in front of her as though they would save her. She watched her brother fly about in a rage, packing hers and Sugar’s things. Outside, the others watched Dmitri bang on the door, demanding that it be opened. Robert reacted first, grabbing the Russian and prying him away from the door with help from the twins. Dmitri fought against them, jerking back toward the door as he tried to free his arms, but he certainly wasn't as strong as Robert and the twins combined. They had been ready for this moment – Though it wasn’t Svetlana that they were expecting to get hit. Nor were they expecting her to be locked in a train car with the most violent man Dmitri employed. Belle spoke in rapid Arabic to Orion who growled while she banged on the door. “Sebastian! We’re holding Dmitri for you! Come get him!” Dmitri looked about in bewilderment, eyes and mouth agape, face twisted into an expression of absolute confusion. Had this been the plan the entire time? To draw him in so they could take him down? She quickly cleared way of the door as the gypsy man yanked it open and set eyes on the Russian. He had murder in his thoughts and immediately set to charge. Again, Belle spoke in rapid Arabic. Before Bastian could make it to Dmitri he was charged by the lion. Orion let out a roar as he sat on top of him, growling deeply.

Sebastian’s hatred parted for fear to give way as Orion’s maw opened to reveal a massive set of sharp teeth, daring him to move. He cursed at the lion under his breath before glaring at the others gathered around. “So you will defend the monster that impregnated my baby sister? After everything he’s done to her, you stand by him?!” His voice rose as he struggled against the lion with no luck. Robert released Dmitri, giving him a look of disgust before going to kneel next to Sebastian, drawing his fist back and driving it into his nose, satisfied with the subtle crunching sound followed by the man’s howl. Dmitri had ceased to struggle once the news of the pregnancy had come out. Instead, he merely met Robert's look of disgust with one of feigned disgust. Perhaps he was disgusted at this betrayal, for Rob had always been one of the only ones in the circus that he trusted and had cared for. Who did he have to trust now? “I understand your desire to protect your sister, trust me. But she is not a child. Naïve, yes. But not a child. Had you not sheltered her so much and let her make her own mistakes in life then perhaps we wouldn’t be in this situation. But we are. She adores you. She loves you. She never wanted to hurt you but her life is her own to live and not yours to dictate. Dmitri has wronged her many times but nothing he has done to her so far comes even close to what you’ve done. You have humiliated her in front of everyone who cares about her, called her a whore, and you put hands on her. What kind of man puts his hands on a woman? His pregnant sister, at that? … You’re through here, Sebastian. You want to leave, then go. But Svetlana and Sugar will stay here. If you try to take either, you will be going to jail. You have no place here anymore.”

Robert spoke with firm authority while gripping Sebastian by his jaw. The two men tested each other with gazes, seeing whose would waver first. Sebastian finally looked away with a snarl and the Cajun released him before standing up. He regarded Dmitri with a look of disdain and disgust before motioning for the twins to let him go. Dmitri returned the look, but it was truthful this time. At least he had never harmed Lana. The boys nodded and released him with a bit of a shove to take off with their adoptive father. Kieran split to find Sugar and keep her occupied while Robert and Conner made haste towards Evelyn’s train car.

Belle was busying herself with consoling Lana. Or, trying at least. The young gypsy mother-to-be didn’t want to be touched, cringing at every bit of contact as she burrowed deep beneath Belle’s blankets. It took some coaxing but she finally got her to sit down. The Arabian stripped her down to her bra and panties and began to examine her. Busted lip, bruised, cut, and swollen left cheek, bruised left arm. Her side was a bit bruised too but it seemed he avoided her stomach. Belle’s hands slid across the swollen belly as she rested her head against it with her eyes closed. The baby would be fine, she knew. Sighing, she fetched her little medical kit and a rag she then soaked in whiskey before she began to clean up her friend, shushing her as the gypsy kept muttering under her breath.

Alone now except for Lana and Belle, Dmitri stood still. The only movement he made was the rise and fall of his breath, which was heavy from the sudden rush of adrenaline. And then something hit him. Perhaps it was the excess of drama or the intense confusion. Or, perhaps, he was merely overwhelmed by everything. Regardless, he was completely and utterly overcome by the moment, and he did something he hadn't done in ages. He laughed.

It wasn't a happy laugh or a relieved laugh. It was a crazed laugh, some sort of coping mechanism that hardly helped. The Russian chose a place to sit at random and took it whilst pulling out a cigar. Shaky hands lit the cigar, and he took his time puffing on it to calm himself. He looked, to put it simply, unnerved. "So..." he began, fighting to formulate words as he stared first at the ground and then at the girl. "The's mine?" Again, he laughed and shook his head. "The world is so full of irony. It's amazing...should I change my name to Vladimir? Buy the child a crowbar?" He laughed at his own, sick joke that neither woman would understand.

The smoke curled around him each time he released a cloud of it from his mouth. "When the fuck were you going to tell me? After your psychotic brother killed me?" He slowly stood again, having finally regained his senses, and walked toward her, one hand in his pocket. "How long has she...? How old is it?" He addressed Belle this time, assuming Lana wouldn't speak to him.

Belle shot Dmitri a glare as the scent of the cigar smoke wafted under her nostrils. “No - That is very bad for the child.” She indicated for him to put it out or step outside, one hand still rubbing Lana's stomach as the young woman lifted her head up to give Dmitri a teary eyed and confused gaze. Dmitri merely continued to smoke the cigar as if he hadn't heard Belle speak. Belle sighed, reluctant to leave them alone though she knew Lana wanted to speak to him privately. She had cleaned most of the blood and smeared makeup up and smoothed down her hair so she didn't look like she'd just been hit by an automobile. Now Lana's skin was just bruised and blotchy from the hits and her excessive crying. Belle kissed her on the forehead before standing and heading towards the other end of the car, quickly taking the cigar from Dmitri as she did and putting it out in a glass of water on Lana's table. She wasn't leaving.

“Of course it's yours...whose else would it be? You were my first and only, Dmitri...”
Her voice was timid as she replied back in her own language, looking back down. She couldn't meet his gaze because all she could see was him with Evelyn. This prompted her to move further back onto the bed, clutching at her stomach gently.

“Did you ever even love me... Or was Sebastian right? I'm just another pretty girl to play with until you get bored. What does it matter now when I was going to tell you? I was coming to tell you earlier but you seemed a little busy. Thought I'd come back later.” She was whispering now but there was pain, betrayal, and accusation in her tone as she wrapped her arms around herself as if to hide her body from him. “I loved you. Even though everyone thought I was a fool for it. I still do even though I should hate the very air you breathe. Every time we fight I always blame myself... I have done everything you've ever asked of me and then some. I gave you everything and now I've lost Sebastian. And I wonder now if it was even worth it... I'm keeping my child and you don't need to be in the picture. Women don't tend to take to men with baggage.”

Her words and attitude grew bolder at the drop of a hat as she turned the glare of a lover scorned at him. She tried to look as angry as possible but she just looked hurt, confused, and tired. Her jaw clenched as her knees drew closer to her chest with his every approaching step. She didn't want to look weak in front of him. She couldn't. Belle watched carefully, letting Svetlana get out as much as she could. She knew the girl had been holding a lot back. She didn't like complaining to other people or confiding her feelings. Clearing her throat, she made her presence known again as she answered the older man. “She is nearly four months. Almost to her second trimester. If she makes it to next month then there should be little fear of miscarriage.”

He shot a glare at Belle, still visibly annoyed that she had taken the cigar from him. "Well, that's great, isn't it?" he replied, repeating himself in Ukrainian. His voice was laced with sarcasm both times. Without asking her first, he perched on the edge of her bed with a sigh. He ought to tell the truth, really. Then again, he certainly wasn't known for doing what he should. Dmitri did not glare back at her, but his gaze was not loving either. "Baggage? Is that what you call it? Adorable. No, I can not simply abandon you and a child. People will talk." He moved to fish the cigar out of the water before settling back on the bed again. He didn't bother to light it again, but he placed the end in his mouth and gnawed on it slowly.

"I do not want a child, but I certainly will not let your brute of a brother raise my child either." Dmitri looked over at her, expressionless. "I assume...there is nothing between us anymore." He wondered if his own father had said these same words to his mother years ago. The similarity was striking and, honestly, quite unnerving. He chewed on the cigar again and bounced his foot, sighing softly. Evelyn was gone by now, he was sure of it. Hell, this had been one of the longest relationships he'd carried on in. Perhaps he felt remorseful, but he wasn't entirety sure.

“Answer my question. Did you ever actually love me? Do you...feel anything for me?” She was persistent for an answer, uncoiling her arms from her body and moving just a little bit closer to him. "I don't know how you feel about me, if you ever felt anything at all, but I'm always going to love you. Even when I hate you.” The usual gentle quality of her voice had returned as she shakily reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder. You could say many things about her but you could never say that she wasn't loyal.

She wanted to slap him. To kiss him. To yell at him again. To hold him. Dmitri had a tight hold on her even when he didn't try and she knew that it would take a hell of a lot to fully separate her from him. She moved her hand to place under his chin, tilting his head so that their eyes locked. There was still love in her eyes as she gave the smallest of smiles. She no longer saw some godly man before her. She saw the Dmitri that intrigued her. She saw the Dmitri that she fell in love with. He was organized, funny, affectionate, caring, and to the point. But she also saw him as lonely and distant. She didn't want him to be. She wanted to be there for him.

Her fingers moved to stroke his cheek while her other hand took his and brought it across his body, pulling him towards her. Rather than leaning in for affection, she lay on her back and placed his hands on her belly while retracting her own hands. She wasn't far along enough for kicks but there was still something so special and magical about holding her taut and distended belly. She wanted him to feel the life he created within her, hoping that she might seem some change in him. But she had learned not to get her hopes too high. He didn't want a child - their child. It hurt, yes. But she had five months to change his mind.

He couldn't blatantly lie to her now. Dmitri was not a man with morals, but he knew it would be wrong to lie now. She was so genuine now, so strong. She was not the woman he had taken advantage of for months. He knew that she saw right through him now, and it made him feel vaguely vulnerable. "I do not know." He spoke softly partially because of his unfamiliarity with the language and partially because he was still thinking as he spoke. "I have never loved another, but perhaps it is different with you. Love is tricky, you know." Was that love that made his throat tighten when she ended up placing a hand beneath his chin, or was that guilt? Both were foreign emotions.

Dmitri let her guide his hand along as if he had no will of his own, yet he still fanned his palm out when his hand rested upon her stomach. He hadn't thought he would be as receptive to the unwanted child. Perhaps it was an unshakable instinct. This certainly wasn't the first life he had created, but this one was different. This child that developed inside of Lana marked the beginning of something that Dmitri couldn't name in any language he spoke. He remained expressionless, but he could not help but marvel at it for a moment until reality set in. His life had come full circle, it seemed, for now he was most certainly in the position Vladimir Petrov had been in forty six years ago. There was a child developing within this girl, and he had the choice to accept it or reject it. A smile flashed across his features, but it was his smile, and it was hard to tell what it meant or why it was there. Dmitri shifted himself and leaned across to kiss Lana on the cheek, carefully, gently. Perhaps it was even in a loving manner.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Sugar
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#, as written by Vix
Svetlana listened as the two men talked, completely ignorant to their words. She heard Belle's name crop up at the end and her interest was garnered. She looked to Dmitri for an explanation, her already alabaster complexion going even more pale than imaginable as he spoke to her. They could no longer perform in America? He mentioned only that they could not perform in the next few cities, but if it were only just a few cities presenting a block he wouldn't be this angry. America was filled with cities and seven or eight of them were no dent in his potential fortune. What did this mean? She feared that he would shut down the circus and send everyone away. Would he send her away? She frowned at the thought and let her hand slide into his as he neared her, giving a light squeeze.

Beyond the pair, Robert watched carefully before giving a nod. “I'll see if I can find Belle and send her over dis way.” He gave a nod of his head and was soon off, leaving the two to their business. He wondered when Dmitri would decide to break the news to everyone and he wondered even more how they would take it. It wasn't the first time that they'd been run out of a town but it certainly was the first time that virtually an entire country had run them out. It wasn't as though they couldn't perform in a single place in America, of course. There were certainly a number of places where they'd be welcome. However, with televisions providing cheaper entertainment at home and a general dislike for Russians since the war... They wouldn't be able to make such profits as they had before.

Robert shoved his hands into his pockets and made his way towards the train car that Belle now shared with Sugar and sometimes the twins, as the boys had taken to keeping the young maven company since the abrupt departure of her adoptive father. He glanced off to see that the boys were with Sugar and Jack, listening to the girl play some Chopin. He gave a smile before approaching the door of the blue train car, knocking a few times. He could hear some moaning from within and couldn't help but to give a light smirk. That woman always seemed to busy with something or someone, almost as bad as he was.

Inside, Belle could hear the knocking but she ignored it as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. The knocking came a few more times and she whined, half out of pleasure and half out of irritation. She could still hear Sugar's music so she knew that it wasn't her. When the mystery person finally let out a soft laugh at the sound of her whine, she identified it as Robert and shook her head. Grunting, she shoved the man she was with out of her bed and threw his pants at him while she was getting up. “What the fuck?!” He glared at her angrily while putting on his pants. She offered him a roll of her eyes as she grabbed a blue silk robe and tossed it on loosely, barely tying it around her waist. She opened the door to reveal the smirking Cajun, her brow lifting.

Her male visitor stormed off while buttoning up his shirt, not even having his pants zipped or belt buckled. “Darling, you owe me a climax.” Belle gave a soft giggle and lifted her chin, wordlessly asking why he would disturb her. As a man who appreciated the fine art of sex, she knew he wouldn't interrupt her unless it was important. “We goin' to shift countries soon and Dmitri wants to talk to ya. I reckon it's got somethin' to do wit Lana.” He took her hand gently and gave a wink as he kissed her knuckles with soft lips. “And don' worry; You jus' tell me when an' where.” She giggled and gave a nod before closing the door as he left, moving to the mirror to work on getting ready to head out to see their illustrious ring master. However, she had something else to do first. She moved towards the door and opened it, poking her head out. “Clay, could you come here?” She spotted him sitting near Jack, Sugar, and the twins. She hadn't spoken to him in... Well, what seemed to be far too long for her liking. Days, perhaps. Between shows, Lana, and drama... She just hadn't had the time.