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November Mae

"Take a line, drink a beer and shut up."

0 · 2,083 views · located in Brooklyn, New York

a character in “Dirt & Opulence”, originally authored by Guest, as played by leisurelyatwar

Description

   

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    November Mae
    "Live fast, die young be wild and have fun."

    ╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯

   

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    N A M E
   
      November Mae Allen

    N I C K N A M E ( S )
   
      Novi (Only affectionately among her closest circle)

    R O L E
   
      Bel's right hand

    G E N D E R
   
      Female

    A G E
   
      24

    B I R T H D A Y
   
      November 3rd

    S E X U A L I T Y
   
      Fluid

    M A R I T A L   S T A T U S
   
      Single

   

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    APPEARANCE
    "Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise"
    ╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯

   

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    H A I R
   
      Auburn tresses that fell in bouncy waves to her mid back

    E Y E S
   
      Light brown orbs

    H E I G H T
   
      5’5”

    W E I G H T
   
      13o

    E T H N I C I T Y
   
      Irish

    O T H E R
   
      A tattoo of a snake that winds up her thigh with an agape mouth going over her hip, and a depiction of a naked eve with a vulnerable face holding a rotten apple, her body engulfed in vines and lips bloodied on her inner bicep.

   

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    Personal
    "Been trying hard not to get in trouble, but I got war on my mind."
    ╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯

   

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    P E R S O N A L I T Y
   
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    xxx
✦ Manipulative ✧ Detached ✦ Sensual ✧ Intelligent ✦

   
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      Plump lips, swaying hips. How could you say no?

      Manipulative wouldn’t begin to cover it. Imagine spending your entire life living one lie after another, becoming a different character every day. One day a damsel in distress, the next a seductress you find at your local - it’s all part of the long con. Her looks blossomed at a young age, and her mother taught her how to use herself as bait as soon as she was old enough to fill out a low cut dress. Before it was the old tricks, lure the sucker to the parking lot when her mother would show him her piece and they’d run off with the goods - but November had learned new tricks.

      Once entering the Zaine family business, November learned better ways to use her assets. She oozed with a sensuality, every motion, facial tick and word - it wasn’t something she could turn off. Funny how she could get any man or woman or anything in between that she wanted, but she never really wanted anyone. Call her a cynic, call her damaged, she doesn’t really romanticize anything. November takes lust for what it is, lust, anything else just stems from the human instinct of possessiveness. She isn’t shy about it her nature either, if she likes what she sees she takes. Unfortunately she’s unable to suppress the natural emotion of possessiveness. She’s only human, albeit a messed up one at that. What’s hers is hers, she doesn’t respond kindly to anything different.

      Don’t confuse her human instinct for cattiness however, she plays her cards right. She knows a thing or two about the long con, she’ll smile in your face as she sinks her knife in. Not prone to violent outbursts like her partner, November is more likely to keep her calm and make an intricate diabolical plot to one’s demise. This includes but is not limited to both her business and ‘romantic’ life. While November wants it all, she also wants no one else to have anything outside of her own discretion. If she were to see a lover, past or no, with someone else - she would not hesitate to pursue the demise of one party or both. You don’t want to know what she would have done if someone were to cross her financially or professionally.

      Her inability to romanticize extends into her inability to empathize. Anyone who’s stupid enough to get themselves in a situation without an out deserves what they have coming to them. A bit of a hammer, no one can expect mercy from November, although she is nothing but fair - to her own accords. Of course the end of the day she is part of the Zaine family business and although her opinion counts for something, that’s all it really is - her opinion.
   
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    Details
    "I was an angel"
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  L I K E S
      ✦Drugs -
      ✧The Night -
      ✧Coffee -
      ✦Sex -
      ✦Taboo -
      ✧Secrets -
      ✦The Road -
      ✧Thrills -
      ✦Her Mom -
   

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D I S L I K E S
      ✦Druggies -
      ✧Being Bested -
      ✦Mediocrity -
      ✧Being Interrupted -
      ✦Predictability -
      ✧Prudes -
      ✦Dependency -
      ✧Cockroaches -
      ✦Games -
   

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S T R E N G T H S
      ✦Confident -
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    F L A W S
      ✦Arrogant -
      ✧Holds Grudges -
      ✦Insensitive -
      ✧Instigator -
      ✦Noncommital -

    Q U I R K S
      ✦Keeps a ciggarette tucked behind her ear -
      ✧Plays with other peoples hair -
      ✦ -

   

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    History
    "'Cause I was filled with poison, but blessed with beauty and rage."
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      There’s no great tragedy that made November turn to the life of violence, no trauma that created her love of drugs, guns and thrill. She could have been born in the most conventional home, but November always knew who she was. It started almost 26 years ago, when her mother had a one night drunken encounter with a man she met while on the road. He was a typical bad boy, or so she would tell November. She never knew her father, not that she ever needed one, her mother was enough for any child.

      It was an interesting life, living solely on the road. They lived in shitty motels, never staying longer than a few months - but kids are resilient. November never thought of her lifestyle as a disadvantage because it was all she ever knew. She never asked her mother how it was that they were able to get by, she knew better than to ask questions. Even if she didn’t go to school regularly, it was never an excuse to not expand her mind.

      Her mother was a flat out genius, raised by the absolute filth of America. Like November was destined to live, her mother had lived a life on the road with. Funding their livelihood with petty theft and credit card fraud, the Ayres (November’s technical family name) were criminals by nature. November was taught to lie to live and to cover up her tracks from birth. Her mother never let her watch tv, filling November’s minds with the books her own parent’s never gave her. Essentially homeschooling November herself, she never let her own lifestyle stop her daughters education.

      By the time November was 18 she had over 20 fake ID’s and credit cards on hand, a stolen car with several sets of plates and had mastered life on the road. She and her mother hardly ever connected with their family, but at this point they had parted ways. Life on the road was taxing, even for a professional. Her mother had found a nice place off the grid where she lived with a much younger spicy little thing, while November continued on the lam.

      She found herself in New York in 2014 and fell in love with the night life. Long black veiled nights filled with powdery white lines and tall drinks consumed her, with a sway in her hips and a smirk she could have it all. All November ever had to do was enter a room and she would be at VIP with the richest man in the room within minutes. Every night she was someone new, every night she met someone new. She never even had to touch her own fraudulent credit cards, she could stay in five star hotels with extravagant room service every night without even having to lift a finger.

      When she met Bel, they both new there was some kind of unique spark between them. Initially mistaking it for sexual attraction she went home with him. It was when he came across her bag, where multiple ID’s and credit cards spilled out that he realized she wasn’t just some dumb broad he picked up at the club. Naturally, the Colombian heartthrob assumed the worst, pinning her feminine frame against the frame - threatening her to tell the truth. Despite her innocence, the fiery vixen kept her lips shut. Gypsies never let their mouths fly, for all she knew he was a narc.

      It escalated quickly, with him pressing a gun against her side, the barrel traced her form. Needless to say that ignited other feelings, they were only two fucked up humans anyways. To this day if you were to ask either of the pair, they would not be able to tell you how they solved that conflict. Initially November was taken in as a simple addition, someone to learn the ropes and contribute how she could. Before she was even told November was finding large buyers, proper white collar business men who wanted to buy and move massive amount of any kind of drug they could get their hands on to snort off a hookers ass while their wives sat at home with the kids.

      Bel and November worked flawlessly together, it was no surprise when November rose to be his right hand. She became fiercely loyal to the Zaine family, although she was unable to relate to the rivalry against the Bates. After all she had never experienced the strong bonds that can only come from the betrayal that has affected your own blood. Often playing the calmer half to Bel’s fire, she would lie if she said she hadn’t dabbled in the forbidden fruit but that wasn’t for anyone to know of just yet
   

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F A C E   C L A I M:  Lana Del Rey


   
C O P Y    R I G H T

    Character Sheet By : AmeliaIsGhostly
    Inspired By : The Toxic Cereus
    Filled Out By : Your Username Here

   

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So begins...

November Mae's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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    November Mae
    "Live fast, die young be wild and have fun."

    ╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯

The feeling of cottonmouth was November’s alarm clock, her tongue was leathery and heavy as her lips bit the air for a glass that wasn’t there. Tangled in silken sheets, sandwiched between who she could only assume was Roger and his life mate Patrizio, she was less than delicate as she clambered out of the king size bed - stumbling over the body passed out at the foot of the bed. The night had started as a quality check, Roger was an important client. He and his partner often joked if they ever were to dabble in the opposite sex, November would be just their type. Of course November saw this as a challenge.

November wasn’t usually the type to mix business with pleasure, at least not with clients - but Roger and her had a long good standing professional relationship, and damnit if he and his partner didn’t look like Calvin Klein models. Their penthouse was littered with bodies, mostly naked. Unable to make herself scarce, she struggled to find a glass to pour herself water. With luck she found an unopened bottle of water in the fridge. She drank as if she had been in a desert for days, deprived of food or water. The water dripped down her chin and onto her chest, making cool trails down her soft curves. What she wasn’t able to force down she spilled over her chest, gasping from the shock.

What time was it?

Her whole body ached, the cocaine was leaving her body. She looked at the clock on the stovetop, it was night time already. ”Fuck!” she said to herself. Only accounted for the black lace cheeky panties that she wore, she searched the penthouse for the remainder of her clothes. She found her shoes and purse by the bed, but her bra and dress were unaccounted for. If it was a perfect world, she would just walk out as is, but she preferred that if she ever were to be arrested it would be in a high speed car chase with kilos of coke in the trunk and an automatic in the seat next to her.

A hand sliding across her hip made her smile, she recognized it’s touch. “Patrizio, please - I have work.” He didn’t stop, pulling himself behind her, kissing her ear. Gay men were so delicate with her, like she was a china doll. She shifted her hips back to push him away, then open the door to his wardrobe. “I need to borrow something, I have to go.” His pout offered no protest as he skulked to the dresser, proceeding to cut up two tall lines. Her manicured fingers flickered through the immaculately folded and hanged clothes, their closet was immensely larger than her own, with finely woven fabric. She settled for a pair of straight leg jeans, torn and cuffed, and what she could only assume was a shirt fit for a wave - a black spandex tank top that fit her like a glove. With her heels and her hair put into a top knot, she almost looked fashionable.

“Come on, Nov, just one.” Patrizio encouraged on her way out. Her aching limbs made her yearn for the little line, it was calling her name. Drugs weren’t a taboo to November, but after an all night bender then being so late she felt a sort of guilt - but that didn’t last long.

”Fuck it.”

She took the rolled billed from Patrizio and neatly inhaled the line, like a pro. Patrizio followed suit, eyes wide and nose sniffling. His shit eating grin made November giggle, ”Come on babe, walk me out.” Her phone had died over night, but Patrizio put her in a cab, kissed her good bye and thanked her for the good time.

The cab took her to her home, she knew her phone was probably going to overload with messages as soon as she were to turn it on. As soon as she walked through her door, she plugged it into the charger and immediately began to strip. A disgruntled meow could be heard from her cat who sat on the couch, woken by the heavy fabric of the borrowed jeans falling beside him. She combed her fingers through her hair as she turned on her stereo, a crooning voice sang over her state of the art speakers, knots gathered at the nape of her neck. Beelining for her shower, she put the water at the hottest temperature it could go. The water burned her skin, turning her tawny skin red on impact. She let it wash over her, the drowsiness rinsing from her eyes.

November couldn’t tell if she had been in the shower for twenty minutes or two hours, she didn’t turn it off until her fingers began to prune. The bathroom was thick was steam, it was heavy in her lungs. She didn’t bother with a towel, her hair dripped as she walked, the cold air hit her like a train when she opened the door, making goosebumps rise over every inch of her body. The song made her hips sway as she walked, she neatly grabbed a cigarette, lighting it as she walked stark naked to her balcony. It looked out onto the Brooklyn streets, empty and only illuminated by the moon and sparse street lights.

She leaned over the railing, arching her back and neck to look up to the sky. Her cat hopped onto the mosaic end table beside her, almost knocking over the ashtray. She cooed at him affectionately, scratching under his chin. How had she ended up here? With a place to call home, a cat to take care of, a dresser, a stereo system…her mother would laugh if she saw her now - ”Fecking fancy now, aren’t ya?” She said to herself, mimicking her mother. It felt foreign, like she was living some one else’s life. She put out her cigarette, picking up her cat and closing the balcony door behind her as she re-entered her home.

Wicked, her cat, leaped from her arms as she passed the couch, once again settling himself. Begrudgingly, November checked her phone. Several texts from Bel and Senna, and from what she could see one outgoing call to Dom around 4am that morning. She could only hope she hung up after it went to voice mail. She tried to call Bel, but he didn’t answer, so she opted for a text.
Hey, phone was dead. Whats ur 10-4?
She dropped her phone into the basket, still in the charger, and went to her room - opening her closet. She couldn’t resist another cigarette as she picked her outfit. It only took her an hour to carefully blow-dry her hair and set her make up, she almost looked like a presentable gal by the end of it.

It was time for drinks for the crew, she was sure. It would be unlikely for them to be doing anything else at this hour. Wicked winded through her legs as she walked, purring gently. Checking his food and water before she left, November. Bel had texted her the location, she was to meet them there. She requested an Uber Black, kissed Wicked good bye and went downstairs. Donned in black, the vixen stepped into her uber wordlessly. The driver greeted her, but she pretended to not even hear him, invested in her phone. It was showtime

Her hair bounced as she moved, the tight leather of her pencil dress traced every motion she made from her toned thighs to her curved hips. She intended to open the door and take a seat at the bar, order a drink and carry on the night, but as soon as she saw within the confines of the restaurant she realized it would not be possible. All of the families were within, and obvious tensions had risen in her absence. Bel was being restrained by Hani, Chloe seemed to be hovering nearby and Senna was fumbling apologies to Jona. By the fire arm in Bel’s hand she could guess what had happened, they locked eyes from across the room. A look in her eyes asked the question, All good? and a curt nod gave her the answer she needed, although she could read the tension just by his jaw line. November eyed Hani suspiciously, she didn’t trust any girl who tried to get close to Bel - she had her reasons.

Dom was standing near the back with a whiskey, observing the situation with the demeanor of a statue - still. Everyone else’s attention was on the commotion in the middle of the room, hardly anyone noticed her walk in. She smiled, walking to the back of the bar, leaving a stool between them. Lighting her own cigarette, November used her elbow to prop herself up as she leaned over the bar. “So…what I miss?” She asked, her free hand taking her own liberty at his drink, then passing it back with a mischievous expression - turning her eyes up front as if Dom wasn't even there. She looked over to Senna, Gunner had now taken a spot nearby her. She couldn't help but to think that the conflict had somehow stemmed from that very same sort of proximity, November rolled her eyes and looked back to Dom. "Never mind, I think I can guess."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Nikolai Malkov Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Prudence Wright Character Portrait: November Mae
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For the first time since he'd wandered into the Little Lady, Gunner chuckled when Simon regarded the whip-cream monstrosity Jubes ordered, lips twitching up into a little smile. It might've been the drubbing pangs pulsing against his temples, or the lack of sleep tickling at his humor, but he shrugged his shoulders and tipped an eyebrow up, eying the bearded bartender over his shoulder, “God knows why you sell these things, Jona.” Sugary nonsense, metaphoric implications aside. It represented nothing to him, though someone else might've seen it as claws extended and hackles raised. Snubs read between catty lines, reserved for barbed words, and glowering glares. It wasn't his way of doing things, so he thought nothing of it. Instead, Gunner turned his attention towards the approaching blue-haired lass he'd often seen working here, of all places, though he knew her from the days she dated Simon. Sienna. Nice girl. One of the few friends he actually approved him of having. He offered her a curt nod, and a smile, before his gaze drifted back towards the sea of people, swimming against transparent currents: all too dangerous and surrounded by lurking bears, waiting to snatch them out of the water.

A soft sigh sifted from his lips, as he set down the second shot of whiskey and turned his attentions back towards the only one that snared his attention—decked in white lace, dainty movements, and a goodness that trailed through the black tar of the present individuals like sunlight invading dark spaces. After handing a bill to the small, bundle of grinning little girl, he watched as Senna plopped herself beside Bel and Chloe, leaning into whatever conversation he was intent on, smarmy smirk oozing carnal innuendos, most likely making sly invitations to his sheets, in his arms, as he always did. He recognized the look, anyhow. Seen him work his magic and try to coach him into the same slimy conventions, even though he preferred cold sheets than meaningless romps and awkward mornings, chased by ensuing departure attempts. It was too much, and as brazen and caustic as his temper was, he'd prefer a constant companion rather than infrequent lip-bites, thigh kisses, and crippling thoughts wondering if they were the only ones involved.

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Between hearing the hiss and crackle of glass crunching betwixt a hand and a frigid growl, all too familiar to his ears, Gunner stepped away from the counter and tensed his shoulders, his own hands curling into bruised fists, still ripped and scarred and scabbed over from his last fight. This was a train wreck in the making and they were both hurtling in front of it, heedless of the lights and the rumbling tracks, and maybe just a little antsy to slam themselves against it. A sordid tornado designed to tear apart everything in its path, raging against buildings, people, tables and ten-year grievances that wept like open sores, packed with salt. The drumming in his ears threatened to block them out. Everything besides the stalking individual that had once been his best friend, licking his chops for a scuffle. For a beginning and an end, he wasn't sure. He wasn't sure if he cared. In a matter of seconds, Senna billowing out a protective circle around her much larger brother, small cry above the silence, an ineffectual stopping sign.

Bel rounded on his like a hound waiting to rip out someone's throat and here he was, stepping up to the plate, baring it like a dare, murky eyes staring bullets, staring daggers, promising that this fiasco would end if that was what he wanted. Gunner's blood sang in his veins and pumped a muscle against his jawline, bouncing whenever he mashed his molars together. His breath heaved out in a hiss, and his hands splayed open, sweeping out in a wide arc that might've said go ahead and fucking do it. If he was anything at this point, he was fucking tired of Bel's accusations, weary of his perpetual venom. They fluctuated between two constants: a raging tempest eating up the shoreline, gnawing at the earth until their island became smaller and smaller, and a history that spanned the ages, one that was difficult to ignore. There were buttons there that only they knew how to press, and they did, infrequently, when the silence between them bubbled over the edge, and stained the ground they stood on. It wasn't poetic. It was a fucking shit-show. And he wasn't even sure how it'd happened, only that a bull was pawing at the ground, and his patience was waning thinner.

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It was Dominic who stayed his twitching hands, cutting through the tension with two distinct words: stand down. As if someone had pulled a leash tight against a slavering hound who was ready for blood, Gunner exhaled sharply and licked his lips, stepping out of Bel's line of fire. At least, out of range. So focused on the destructive force in front of him, he hadn't noticed Jona slipping in from behind the counter, landing a crackling blow with his cane, straight across Bel's back. Jolting him back to reality, maybe. He doubted it.

It hadn't occurred to him that he should reach for the glock nestled at his spine, curved into his jeans, even as Bel's hand drifted from behind him, brandishing his own piece, waving it in front of the bearded bartender's nose, unflinchingly. As soon as it swayed in his direction, Gunner's heart lurched and the same restrictive fury threatened to bubble from his parched throat, and culminate into a fist, “You are so fucked, Bel. C'mon pull the trigger.” Because Bel didn't know what the fuck he was talking about and as much as he wanted to correct him... his words jumbled against his tongue, stacking like fallen cards and if he wanted to capsize all the dominoes, he'd have to wait.

And as if nothing stranger could happen in this place, at this time, Hani drifted in like a pixie, flapping her small hands against Bel's elbow and whispering as softly as a mouse that he needed to get out of there. A dainty, delicate spirit whisking in to save the day, as she usually did. He hadn't seen her in awhile. Not since their impromptu break up, contrived by her stern-faced family. He was too much. Too dirty. An ugly compromise of violence and gnashed teeth. Comprised of too many things that did not settle in their palms, and if he was something that couldn't be controlled, he wasn't made for their tiny, virtuous daughter. Strangely enough, Bel complied. Gunner ignored the flare of mossy resentment as they bustled out of the establishment and smoothed his trembling fingers across the front of his pants, though he couldn't exactly pinpoint why he was shaking. His gaze flicked over to Dominic and met his, he nodded and slumped back against the bar, mouth set into a firm line, mulling over Bel's words, grinding them into chewable morsels. Jasper, Chloe, and most others who were looking like deer in the headlights. Suppose he couldn't blame them.

Don't you fucking look at her.

Gunner wasn't an idiot. He knew exactly who he was talking about even as he slunk out the door, led by the cupid-faced fairy. From the growing din of murmurs, and individuals sitting back in their seats, he could hear Senna blubbering out apologies, trying her best to smooth any ruffled feathers. He rolled his gaze towards the ceiling and closed his eyes for a few seconds, attempting to smoother down the growling pull to use anything and everything that could drown out Bel's words, to smother a pillow over the stagnant energy sizzling acidic spirals in his belly: unspent energy threatening to spill over. It was Junko he looked to next, leveling a mildly apologetic stare, though he knew he had little to apologize for. Never a dull moment with the Bates and Zaires circulating in the same room. He wasn't sure what to say to her, though he might've suggested following Hani out. Wasn't sure why, either. Smoothing a hand through his hair, Gunner maneuvered himself away from Jubes, and Simon, and perched himself beside Senna. A few feet away, close enough that he'd be noticed and far enough to... he didn't know, seem less threatening?

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“What the hell was that?” His voice was a low hum. Barely audible, a whisper. Enough that she'd need to lean in to hear what he was saying. So that she'd need to pay attention. He didn't like seeing her like this. Fixing Bel's mistakes, flustered and embarrassed and stricken with a need to set everything back on the right path. A rankled hand stopped her movements, pressed her purse down as his free hand fished his wallet from his back pocket. He didn't look at her right away, though he did retract his fingers from hers, and he turned to regard Jona, “I'll pay for the damages, Jona. Everything's fine. No more trouble.” She wouldn't like him handling her business, so he wouldn't act like that was what he was doing. Business was business, and as much as it was his to knock people down a few pegs, Dominic didn't like burning bridges when they could be mended.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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There was a sort of melody to the way each individual reacted to the scene at hand. Backs drawn straight, shoulders squared up, eyes sharp and watchful; hands lingering either on the cold, deadly steel resting inside their coats, or ready to grab anything else in a second of fight or fight…because there would be no flight in this company. One could take this moment, attach classical music to it, and call it art for those more fortunate to gaze longingly at.

Reactions were quick, swift here and taunt there, a group of those waiting for orders, and a handful of those ready to take action. It was no surprise to Dominic when Jona moved first. Limp or no, a man protecting what he owned was no less threatening than a lion protecting it’s young. The strike that landed across Z’s back wasn’t a winning blow, but instead a warning; one Dom hoped Bel would take in stride. Gunner obviously waiting for a reason, waiting for Dominic to let go of his leash so he could just pounce. Each detail swirled around him while his jaw clenched, teeth ground together.

After the initial violence of first responders, there was a silence through The Little Lady as Kingpin and Chef faced one another, separated only by the dark threat resting in Bel’s outstretched hand. The words from the oldest Zaire’s lips rang through Dom’s head, wrapping around his mind in a vice grip that refused to let go and promised to seep poison all the way down to his heart. Protect your family; said in so many different tongues he wasn’t sure if he even knew who was who anymore. It wasn’t the first time he would hear it, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. The sacred law. The one rule. Necessary, regardless of the evils of the trade. Necessary.

Small, pale, fragile…placing herself in the middle of a fire just waiting for a chance. Brave, or ignorant, depending on where one stood. Willing to be burned by the wildfire that would strike eventually, because Cristobel Zaire was a match that would never be put out. Not by her or any other. Not by those who grew in the dark, or by those who could see the shards of broken light.
Surprising control, eased tension, slowly lowered violent promises. Dominic met Gunner’s gaze first, giving a slow nod before his brother slumped against the bar, still vibrating with tension. Next, Simon’s, eyebrows raised, a question that didn’t have to be asked. Dominic gave another nod, assuring. Senna’s voice, catching his attention, adding her belief that Bel needed to leave, get out, go. A goddess in the sea of a world unholy, baby’s-breath decorating her hair even after all the years, shining too brightly not to be in the nights sky…

“Don’t you fucking look at her” piecing through his heart shaper than any blade that had ever done the same to his skin. Dominic’s gaze never faltered, watched the shudder of small shoulders from the uneasy breath. Until Bel was gone, and distraction came in purr he knew all too well, behind a veil of lightly blown smoke.

Large brown eyes blinked up at him, lush pouty lips curving into a slow smirk as soft fingers glazed over his, dislodging the glass of whiskey he still had a firm grip on. He let it go, tension dropping from his shoulders with the knowledge that it was over.
She had always been good at distracting him from the messes laid at his feet. He’d much rather lose himself in her, fingers tangled through long brown hair, hands pressed to curves he knew all too well. His eyes slid over the tight material of her dress, caught on the deep dip of the neckline that left little to the imagination of the swell of her chest. Tongue swiping across his bottom lip before he placed his cigar between his teeth once more, accepting the press of a glass back into his palm.

He followed her attention across the room, watched with tightness in his muscles as Gunner drew up next to Senna. Gathering a comment on the back of his tongue, he was relieved slightly to see the man go for his wallet instead. Good man, Dominic thought with vague approval. Mend bridges, before they fall to pieces.

"Never mind, I think I can guess." As Dominic’s gaze continued to travel, her words left him with the reminder that he’d never been attracted to innocence. Dark hair, mischievous eyes, and mildly damaged. Didn’t matter the gender, hardly mattered the person; felt like home, felt like something he knew how to handle. Something he refused to think on more…Apt fingers switched smoke for the burn of alcohol, and Dom gave one affirming nod to the woman in front of him.

“Mmhmm.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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"There ain't no way in fucking hell I'm letting you out without a scratch."





In a sense, Jona shouldn’t have been surprised that the snot nosed kid didn’t go down on his knees. He has, most likely, gone through the wringer under much worse circumstances but that did not phase the bartender. If anything, his body itched to connect fist to jaw with any applicable force it could throw at him. Green flickered down at the gun now held by the opposing force. He never liked guns. They were toys given to overgrown children who never knew how to use them correctly, and all these children had short tempers, much like the one that stood before the grisly man.

Staring down hard at the Zaire’s boy, Jona stood his ground. Fingers gripped tight on the cane. Ready at any moment to bring it down on the boys head if the situation called for it. Only a grunt came in reply to the first words Bel spoke. The older man silently agreed with that statement. Everyone had someone to back them up. Never forget it. A barrel of a chest rose softly and lowered quickly, breathing through his nostrils to calm him down. Guns had joined the game of intimidation. It would not be wise to let fury take hold and lash out its vengeance upon the world. Like a boulder that had no chance of being moved, the bearded bartender stood his ground. Never once looking away from the gun pointed at him. It only served to add more kindle to the blaze of spite that raged in those green pools. They bubbled and sparked with the ferocity of bear whose home at had been disturbed.

Papa bear, as the little one so loveling referred to him, did not care to see his Little Lady damaged any further. The boy needed to leave as he has come to learn that none of the big families can ever be in the same place at the same time. Doing so was just beckoning hell to opens its gates, and let loose all its inner demons into the tense fray, yet somehow an angel appeared in turmoil inspired by a hatred seeded some time ago. Corners of a thin mouth dipped down into a frown of something akin to disapprobation. Such a little thing shouldn’t throw herself into the still and silent fight. A fight that seemed to occur in mind and with high emotions. The little thing pulled at him but the boy chose to speak just a little bit more. He remained silent as he delivered his last words and his sister added her two cents. The older man couldn’t imagine all the times she must have stepped in to provide those little words. She could be rich for every time she did he was guessed.

Jonathan wasn’t sure if the Zaire’s kid left because he wanted to, if the angel convinced him with her light touch or his sister's words pushed him away. All he knew was that he was glad he was no longer under his roof. Broad shoulders relaxed now that the source of tension had relieved themselves of his presence. He glared chillingly down at all the Little Lady's patrons. His eyes lingered on the boys who carried the Bates name on their backs. They were trouble makers just like the Zaires kid but since they did not join in on the brewing pot of violence, they were currently lower in his list of people he disliked.

Returning to the back of the bar, Jona squatted in front of his beloved daughter. With a grim face, you'd think that she would be scared. Surprisingly, those noodle thin arms found themselves hanging loosely about his neck. A show of affection that the bartender gladly returned. His hand dwarfed the little ones own hand as he stood up and pushed her towards her mother, who now approached the bar. Her hand reached over to grip his muscled shoulder, thumb moving in rhythmic motions reminiscent of a circle. The other Zaire popped up, blabbing about paying for the costs. She pushed loads of cash and pulled out her checkbook at the ready. At the sight of this, he frowned and Anna took charge.

Almost on cue, the Bates boy, Gunner, saddled up next to her and pulled out his own treasure chest of cash. This only made the bartender they were trying to appease frown even more. "I don't want your fucking money you spoiled brats." His hands, having previously been perched at the edge of the bar, pulled back and he took an old rag and began to wipe down the surface. He was careful to pick at the shot glasses shattered remains, no thanks to Bel's furious grip. Anna frowned as well, not appreciating her husbands harsh words to the two. Turning to face them, with Meg perched on her hip a bit uncomfortably it seemed, a smile flashed across her dark features. Her eyes flickered over to a newcomer but left it alone. She was a pretty thing but Anna did wasn't in the mood to socialize with anyone, unless it was a necessity.

"What my husband means to say is that now that . . . Well he means exactly as he says. Now isn't a good time to try and rebuild damaged bridges so I suggest coming back in the morning if you really mean on paying for the damage your brother caused Senna." Annalise's voice was soft like silk yet had a tint of huskiness in it. Her brown eyes shifted over to Gunner, not once losing that welcoming sparkle. "The same goes for you although since neither you nor your brothers damaged anything you're exempt from having to pay anything." The older women very much meant what she said, leaving no room for arguments.

Jona glanced at them under his furrowed brow. Wondering if they were honest in their intentions. Still wiping down the bar, Jona overheard Simon's comment and he snorted in protest. "Like hell I want this to be a regular thing." His tone still held a bit of an edge to it but as time went on, it faded. The same occurred with the rest of the restaurants current inhabitants. With the tension gone, it began to gradually buzz with activity. Employees began to clean up the mess Bel left for them, others subtlety urged the patrons to leave. It would seem all the commotion was bringing about an ache to the front of Jona's head. His grimace grew worse until finally he spoke up and told everyone to leave.

The loss of his cool easily prompted the regulars to exit, especially those who were not accustomed to his gruff ways. Little by little they began to trickle out of the Little Lady and the grimace on the bartenders face lessened. He welcomed the quiet atmosphere and slowly began to close shop, making sure any and all stragglers were kicked out. The majority of the employees were sent home as well, save for a couple. Eventually they too left and it was just the Moore family and whoever else that refused to leave.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Aedan Rory
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»SENNA«

"Two households, both alike in dignity,


In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,


From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,


Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.


From forth the fatal loins of these two foes


A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;


Whose misadventured piteous overthrows


Do with their death bury their parents' strife."





Where would her bones go to rest if this was all that lie ahead? To sooner be found in a grave than a bed as a means of peace was morbid to contrive all together, but this was a habitual theorem. Where there was war there was masochism. Suicide wasn’t the ultimate form of self annihilation. Being dilatory in the madness was. Fucking flagrant. Avoiding all the exit signs, fingers twisted ‘twix those of the ones you loved the most, who pulled you away from fire escapes swearing that adjusting to the smoke was all you needed to do and the blaring alarm would eventually become just stark background noise.

At sixes and sevens one second, apologies the next. Childhoods composed in such luxury rarely did a bang up job of establishing p’s and q’s [properly at least], but Senna had it down pat. Suppose that’s what came of constantly walking the same tight rope only a few steps behind her brother. Always at the heels of a ticking time bomb and learning one thing from it: discipline. Reserve. The strength of apologies, resolve, recognized mistakes, and reconciliation.

The truth of it is, you gotta’ make your own decisions. Step up. ‘Cause if you don’t take a step, the world will take it for you. And that can get really God damn dangerous.

The amount of times Senna had been in this very same situation was unable to be juggled by hands or feet. She’d accepted a long time ago that she couldn’t harbor any real loathing for it, that this is just how Bel was and how he’d always be. If he wasn’t jumping the gun for a beautiful woman or greenback proprietary, he was either sleeping or in a fist fight. He’d been known to eat his heart out only among few. From the look of Gunner’s face, mussed with splenetic storm astern to her brother’s apparent rhetoric, he’d long forgotten that part of Bel, too. But Senna didn’t. And if Julia had half a heart or brain, she didn’t either. To be known true blue and bare was rare in this world at all. More with these two families. If Bel went six feet under any time soon, the chiselings of philanthropy and kindness might not be found on his headstone. But a monster? That’s something he wasn’t. He still had close-mouthed dreams, fire in the belly about eventually going somewhere better. Being better. The sad thing was his pride and comfortability in malice, in money. He stuck around this long to settle scores, perhaps with a swelled head. But somewhere buried deeper than the secrets behind their father, was heavy love. His chest just never much caved to show it. Guess it couldn’t, not when every side of the world he knew swung baseball bats and blasters in his direction.

However, no excuses were made for the arrogant rush of testosterone ruining somebody else’s day. Senna never even entertained the thought of pardoning it or following her brother out. Hani could handle this one. Everyone knew that girl was fuller than the temple for mercy and moderation, something few lineages in proximity had. And she could stop him. She did stop him. With feather-fine efficiency, swept him right out, hushed the gunshot bedlam coming out of him and coaxed him into the calmer night.

Digits went staggering for amends before Hani had gotten him to the doors. Senna propped her handbag open, shuffling through it, not realizing she’d began to express her regrets in Spanish novels. It wasn’t until eerie quietude took the atmosphere by storm that she paused to look up. She’d gone glassy with remorse and humiliation. The white of her eyes strained to stay chaste, and breakers eating the dust of ocular tensity made her blink like Bambi would at a shotgun. Mercurial nerve loss. A tick brought knuckles to her brow bone, then to a high cheek where an unalloyed beauty mark resided on the right side. She thought hard. Pursed lips sealed temporarily while her scrutiny fell back to ATM-fresh bills. “I would really like to square up in more than just money,” she whiffed in this bitty feline fashion, “I can’t apologize enough. I’ll help clean up and - whatever you need, I would like to compensate you for your... Your losses. My brother has zero sense of reproach and I am so, so sorry.” She’d said this all a hundred times. It brimmed fluently from her but she was no less genuine, sable lofty lashes trying to bat away the cerebral pain. A headache slithered from the notches of her mental, in due time accompanied by a far more physical presence. She’d been a bit meek to meet his survey. Thankfully he was hardly giving it.

Politic Gunner. Wise enough not to gnash his teeth too loudly and streetwise to the point of knowing safe distances at the drop of a hat. Or, almost-bar-fights and family-brewed, brazen ballistics. He’d spoken in such a noiseless tongue that it took her a minute to form the words. Anxiety stabbed itself into her neck as she reclined sideways on the bar for a minute to reply, currency in hand. Secondary to his admission, “Some bullshit,” slipped out of the side of her pout, “Please don’t be so austere, G. This was not your fault, por favor no lo hagas.” To be subliminal was not entirely out the window, so her movements were vague and gentle. Senna grazed his gesture for his wallet with an elbow, careful to only barely touch him. As expected he refused. Wasn’t much for letting her clean up after anyone but herself, something he expressed plainly on more than one occasion. But she could feel the tremble in his posture from being hot under the collar. From labored inhibition. Which in turn made her only want to jam his wallet back into his pocket, pay off Mr. Little Lady with her own money and see herself out. Maybe text Gunner ‘round the witching hour mark asking if she could come fix him some morphine tea and explain. She held all the tickets and manifested as the tax of disturbance dealt by Bel, and it made her tired. Worse. Sober.

Just let Gunner handle it kid.

But God damn. Wasn’t it her mess to handle? Sure was with Bel outside, no doubt in her mind trying to butter Hani up and mew ‘sorry’ tenfold while completely forgetting what a shit show he had put on. Regardless, Gunner meant no ill intent, didn’t want this on Senna’s plate. No one on his side did. Except for Julia, and lookit’ here, she got what she wanted. ‘Cause at the end Senna was taking the heat in all reality, like good old Jubesy knew she would. One fatal flaw put Julia’s game plan off though - Gunner’s integrity. It would only spark up more rage, but for now she’d receded somewhere. Probably to stalk out the situation with Bel and his nightly flavor, not like she was about to offer any explanation for the scene to her brothers.

Senna wasn’t surprised by the raging rejection that Jona fire-breathed. When his wife came in to intervene, Baby just nodded, avowing her appearance in the morning because really, what else could she do, now? She glanced at Gunner, shook her head and backed up.

Temperance made her teeter. Like chinaware on the bad tail of a richter scale. “If you wanted to get snowed in together later,” she sidelined, “I think I might know what happened.” She simpered, gracious, knowing only he heard the flat invitation with her back to him. If he took her up on it there was a 90% chance they wouldn't even discuss the chain of events. They knew each other well enough by now to gauge conversations in time spent together, right? She felt the looming shadow of him, torrid and tickling her spine. Whatever they decided to tell later followed the code of few dull moments either way.

ImageNight’s still young, even if busted in framework. Senna was at the edge of the room then, smoothing fabric that had been scrunched by her grip and released in pastel green rimples that were dampened with cold sweat. From the corner of her eye, a small head quavered back into existence. Out of camouflage, with perplexity finding her at her father’s side, was the same little girl from earlier. Senna now presumed ‘Jona’ as leader of the pack and terribly rustled man. Father. A strikingly whiskered figure who’d hammer the fear of God into anyone with a look or, as fate had it, a cane. Just the thought of absorbing that kind of blow made Senna wince. And made total sense. “Hey,” she lulled to Jona’s cub, “You’re lucky you know? Your papa eats bozos like my brother for breakfast. I wish I had his appetite, then I wouldn't be in so much trouble right now.” Modulation of her words curled around Colombian articulation in an almost maternal song. She spoke the way her mother always did, rarely raising her voice. Always steady. Like the last thing a person desired to hear before falling into REM, not only comfort and safety from nightmares, but promise to protect them the next day and all that followed. And that was enough. For now.

Dialing it back, Senna rounded to be met with a chimerical phantasm in drawn material. White teeth flashing behind steamy prattle, surely something she’d heard before. November. The sweetest of all miasmas, just in the way she shifted rolling hips. A Bel backer but not a lap dog. Senna closed the distance, chin resting on her shoulder with a tilt that let lips tickle the nape of her neck, “Hold me,” she joked, “My brother is a jackass, I’m but frail and weak. And overworked. And underpaid.” She beamed over November’s bone structure at Dominic who held a full glass. Esteemed him with words not found but the velvet of seeing his face again after so long. Nothing had granted her a bed of roses - but the consciousness of guitar strings slid across by fingers, now scarred and tattooed with rugged strife. They still weren’t ordinary. Not even in a place like this. And she felt at ease, pulling a slipped stem from behind her ear and laying it over the top of his glass. Floral restitutions never mislaid. Not even at the fists of someone who weighed in at two hundred pounds and ground his teeth at her family name, never. The love between these two was effective anesthetic in a world of malady and bloodshed. Toasted to with tacit oaths to never come apart or go blind when there were motley gardens waiting for them, some place at the edge of town where their damnation hadn’t yet touched.

Image “I’m gonna’ dip. See you later, maybe, Nov.” She’d brushed between Simon accidentally on her exit, arm snaking away from November and skimming the finer fabric of his pieced ensemble. Nice. Steamed, pressed, perfected. Even up to the shaped eyebrows and hedged facial hair. He’d make a hell of a fashion consultant, if he was his own, that is. A petite nod of approval and a quiet, “Sorry,” and she was moving through the dissipating crowd once again that only once grabbed her attention as she escaped.

Still here? Junko was inhabiting the post-entropy with intimidating polish but had found her attention snarled somewhere else. Senna could guess a few things, knowing that she sat at the second sovereignty of a formidable clan. Whatever was witnessed was small time shit for her. She’d fried way bigger fish just in the time it took most people to get dressed for work, so she may have been less concerned about what had Bel PMS’ing. Buuuuuuuuut taking her mode into consideration, she assuredly saw him as a smirch on the evening. Maybe Hani too. And Baby could not argue that him getting his mucky paws on her was a disaster in the making. Please don’t look my way and think I have anything to do with that.

October could have gone a little easier on its wind chill but the compromise was a low sixties strength that made it possible to wear dresses in a whirlwind of apricot leaves. A breeze whisked through her delicate build as she fared toward a flickering row of street lights, into twilight. She retrieved a cigarette, failing to find a lighter in her bag when the goosebumps from autumn’s wheezing made her raise her focus. Fancy finding you here.

His eyes were pitted apart by a narrow nose and hollower than the history he was known for, not just their own. Striated, he didn’t even smirk to acknowledge her. Only gazed into her without surprise. Like he knew she’d be down this road in particular. She wondered what had him at the same place, if the hands that moved to light her up were in anyone’s entrails lately. But if there was anything she’d learned from Aedan over their seemingly sempiternal scores, it was to not be surprised. Not by the needle nor nerve. Not by the scarlet-soaked slacks that didn’t make it quite into the hamper but instead threatened to bathe tile in DNA. He always cleaned up his own messes and everybody else’s. Made a killing doing it - and yes, that’s a considered conceit. A breath held itself in her sternum, mouth sulking for a moment and splitting into a smile at the turn of events, “Gracias, stranger,” gray coils hissed from a glowing cherry, “Are you just wandering or working?” She also knew with Aedan, she never had to worry. There was no fear associated with him in the way other people cowered. But was he scary? Absolutely. To her? No. Could he be if he wanted to? Yes. “Tuve una mala noche. Bel caused a whooooole mess back there, wanted to kill Gunner for some stupid...” She caught herself, refrained immediately, “Ah, fuck it. Nothing important. You got time to get a drink?” Aedan was different. A man of his word. Cold blooded, sharp, and every bit the dingo that would eat your baby.

It’s just the god damn heroin...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Prudence Wright Character Portrait: November Mae
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    November Mae
    "Live fast, die young be wild and have fun."

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“Mmhmm.”

Dominic’s low monosyllabic response, if it could even be called that, made her grin. He always had a way with words. Leaning back on the bar behind her, she propped herself up with her elbow. Her eyes traced Dom up and down from the corner of her eye, her fingers ran through her dark tresses. Clad in all black, whiskey in hand, he had all the command of a business executive in a tailored suit standing in front of a board meeting. ”Ever so eloquent, eh?” She teased.

Despite his stoic nature, November could see below the surface. She knew the glint in his eye all too well, her figure shifted underneath it. Suggestive language pushed against her lips, but before she could get the words out a gentle hand snaked around her torso. Any other persons touch would have made her jump, but November immediately recognized the silken skin against her shoulder as Senna.

“Hold me, my brother is a jackass, I’m but frail and weak. And overworked. And underpaid.”

This elicited a chuckle, November gently used her fingers to massage Senna’s hair behind her ear. She moved her cheek to press against Senna’s, it was like satin. ”Babe, welcome to the club.” She joked, ”As for Bel, you know he’s just looking out for you.” her eyes slid over to the man down the bar who had undoubtedly been the source of Bel’s rage, although Senna’s attention may have already been shifted to the older Bates boy. November knew better than to wedge herself in the conflict between the Bates and the Zaire’s. The families had known each other for years, their bonds went deeper than any kind of relationship November had experienced, but at the end of the day November always had Bel’s back.

Senna’s motions were pure poetry, November watched with intrigue. Wordlessly, Senna plucked the flower from her hair - delicately placing across Dom’s whiskey, a note of her affections. November would never understand the relations these families had, the complexities were too much for her. The love they had for one another was evident, the children had been raised together in a world of drugs and violence. Each of them was so beautifully destroyed and rebuilt in their own fashion, lined up one after another.

She kissed Senna’s cheek gently before she left, hoping she would in fact see the girl again tonight. November had no issue with casual drug use, but Senna’s fanaticism was anything but casual. It was the product, their livelihood - not their lifestyle. Of course November indulged herself in a few lines, a few pills - but at the end of the day everything was professional to her. Someone had to keep their wits end in this cluster fuck.

While Dom remained his ever stoic self, she could see under again to the pain he felt over Senna’s destructive behavior. Amazing the choice she had in men, both emotionally unavailable and overbearing of a girl with no limit of reckless behavior. November slipped off the barstool, smoothing out the skin tight dress. ”She’s fine you know.” she said casually, resting a hand on his thigh. It crept up slowly, tantalizing the skin on the inner side of his strong, sturdy thighs. ”But you have to realize this Gunner thing will lead to nothing but destruction for both sides.” It wasn’t her place, and she knew that, but if anyone could hear her candid opinion and not blow it out of proportion. Her hand lingered, her eyes suggested they were to cross paths again that night, but who knew with Dom? He always kept her guessing.

Most people had already left The Little Lady, the petite doe eyed Hani passed November on the way out. Her face was written with the remorse she knew only one man could create. She couldn’t resist the grin as she walked out to see Bel, now alone under the moonlight. The people were still pushing through the doors, some stared at Bel as they walked past, fear in their eyes. While it seemed that the majority of those leaving had a sense of direction of where to go next, one blonde haired fresh face seemed a little next to clueless. November could swear she recognized the older woman she was with, had seen her in the neighborhood or something along those lines. When they didn’t seem to beeline for a car, November breezed past. ”Honey, if I were you - I’d cab it home real fast.” She could hear how condescending she sounded, but it was meant as genuine concern.

Leaving the pair behind, her heels clacked her way over to the Colombian boy everyone was too afraid to stare at. ”What happen to mail order? Some head lights scare her off? She asked about Hani, taking out a cigarette.

Bel was well aware of November’s inability to play nice with his little playthings. He had so many, he couldn’t expect her to like them all when she hardly liked many people anyway. There was always a note of possessiveness that undoubtedly got under his skin, she couldn’t resist. No one knew Bel like she did, could take all the twisted things inside and welcome it as if it were her own pain. It wasn’t the fucking around that bothered her, she knew who they both were. It was that she knew no matter how long Julia and he had their tryst, no matter how hard girls like Hani tried to mend him - it would always be November. He could come to her, hands bloodied, mind in a craze, really in any kind of state and she wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Hell, he had literally held a gun against her head and fucked her only seconds later. There was nothing that November could see of Bel that would change things between them. They were messy, and even if it led to the occasional blowout, anything else wouldn’t make sense for them.

She tucked a cigarette behind her ear, then lit another. November couldn’t usually be seen without a cigarette, either between her lips or behind her ear, it was her addiction. She stood in silence with Bel for a moment before noting his hand. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another with this boy. ”Let me look.” she said, they were past delicacies and gentle touching, she grabbed his hand before he could protest. Shifting aside the bandana, the blood smeared onto her fingertips. Wouldn’t be the first time she had Bel’s blood on her hands, wouldn’t be the last either. ”Baby scratches,” she knew he would downplay whatever injuries he sustained anyhow, might as well beat him to it. A vixen like grin struck her features as she glanced up, his jaw still tense.

She dropped his hand and brought her blood stained cigarette to her lips, looking back up at the moon. Things with Bel would never be simple, hell - things with November never could be simple. ”I just have to ask, starting shit like that - how did you expect that to end?” once again, November was speaking out of her place, but with Bel or Dominic, November had earned her right to speak out. She opened her mouth to say more, how Senna would continue to do as she pleases and he knew it, how burning bridges with Jona was not a good idea, how important it was to keep cool around the Bates - but he already knew all these things. Instead she just asked. ”Do you want to go to prison, or worse?” All of those eye witnesses inside, if it had been anywhere else but The Little Lady - who knows what would have happened. The Zaire legacy would crumble in Bel’s absence, and sometimes it seemed like he forgot that, or didn’t care. It wasn’t anyones job to babysit Bel, he had to learn to control himself on his own. Sadly they both knew that self-control wasn’t his strong suit.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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⟝BEL⟞
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-[fluff post until next scene]-


Calming thunder was a practice uncharted. Less than a rain dance. Because no amount of tripping light with the ebb and flow of hips under the sun would bring heaven’s woe when a drought was in place. Like all great things and disasters, it was what it was. Would be what it would be. And ain’t no sun shower gonna’ come between the temper of makers when clouds are shaking like the seven archangels are having a bowling match. Innate fury could only be deterred. Never stopped.

The angry dog in him barked about his loss while the civic prince told him his time would come. To be patient. In his back pocket were a forgotten log of texts and missed calls, magnum grating bone and denim, not far off, a sister left in the lurch, but none of this mattered. Because in front of him was ambition. Low-pitched and looking fragile. Cleaner than him. She didn’t look his kind of sick or starved, and he prayed she never would. He had to make her understand the things that everyone in aftershocks already knew. The ones that mattered. But how could he? Without scaring her to pieces or being too militant. If she were maimed or upset by anything he pulled then - he had a lot more than just apologizing to do.

“You could have been killed.”

‘Bout as well as any other man in there. There was risk in just crossing the street, and having embodied a bolder fraction in peril and possibility, Bel knew what she said to be true but shook his head. A loose wave of hair fell into his face from its pomade mold as he did so, “Yeah, but that loss is significantly less distressful than yours. If you got hurt, fuck... Killed, I couldn’t live with myself. Hani, don’t feel like you gotta’ keep me from doing dumb shit, okay? It’ll only drag you down with me and much as I don’t want to catch a dozen bodies, I would if something happened to you. Don’t think that I think you can’t handle your own. I know you can. But this...” His hands went wide as an explanation for the holy mess caused inside. “This isn’t your problem. It isn’t Sen’s, either, but she knows how to deal with all this. She’s my sister. She’s got to. I don’t have to chase her down and apologize, ‘cause tomorrow when she’s less pissed off we’ll figure it out like we always do. I just don’t want you turning away and... Shit, I don’t know. Being upset with me.” The confession set him back in the ways of feeling as though he was in control. If she spotted the weakness, he’d feel it like a shot but all she did was linger fleetingly with itty bitty grasp on his bloodied fist, wrapped in a token of her divinity. “You I gotta’ apologize to, here and now. You don’t have any familial obligation to not be pissed off in the morning.”

Only encouragement to settle rancor was given. Though Bel was sure Senna didn’t storm off in a fit like Jubes might, with wildfire welling between her ribs and greed telling her to make the world pay. Baby felt things at a slower pace, but more rooted, which made her a formidable enemy and even better consort. Bel was lost in the leaning when Hani wandered a few steps backward, galvanizing as she departed from him. The honey slicked road to heaven, edging further off with one hymn, refusing to take no as an answer, “Go on.”

He would. Just not where she intended. “Si, si bonita,” he called out to her, “Let me get you dinner tomorrow, alright?” A kittenish smirk was all that was left of her and his proposition, “Okay - the next day?” His baritone followed her into the venue but he hung back. It even allowed him to laugh quietly in the dark. “Shit,” he said to himself, heel milling pebbles underfoot, flexing five semi-mangled stalks too often garnished in an array of burnished rings that had broken too many teeth. Not tonight. That Kim girl was a consecration in a bounding main of sharks and other serpents. She’d saved him, he wasn’t sure that she knew that though. Suddenly apprehensive of the type of man he was for this small moment of privacy, he grunted, “Don’t know what the fuck I did in a past life but I must have gotten something right.” If there were more than two trees on the street, they would have thrashed in October afterglow as a means to reply to his ascetic monologue. Like, “God damn, lucky son of a bitch. Up to your eyeballs in women, bread, success and the amity of good girls who don’t know no better.” None of it came without an albatross around the neck. That’s what he’d tell ‘em if they dared speak in his presence.

But they didn’t sway hard toward him with branches curved to break on the mission to knock some sense into him. November would do that for them. All curves. No brakes [or breaks]. She was a coating of tar, perennial to the bidding of lace and lavender that belonged to Hani or any other woman. More shadowy than Alaskan gloom, all thirty days of it. The bed of roses sitting on top of thin ice. She was something of a nightmare wrapped in a radiant mirage, plain and simple.

Henna plaits overpassed her image in the faint lambency, all too familiar against her rapturous yet taunting expression. Bel rocked on his heels at her unanticipated company among tranquility. Her current came slow, and then all at once. Wasn't that why she felt so much like home? Why he found himself on her doorstep habitually, looking sicker than the starved mongrel without her looped around him. To the fucking hilt. Because in spite of knowing increments, she dug her blade deep, smooth talking it in. But she made damn sure you’d remember how the final inches felt as they punctured an artery. Proof she’d been there and that nothing would be the same after she split. Another gnawing sensation of no longer being in command, strikes that would be counted against him if not for their dividends sowed within the confines of a firearm fellatio. Delusions of November’s nails raking down his stiffened soma almost pulled him from sheer reality until she nabbed his injury, her initial greeting coming to light.

“What happen to mail order?”

If she really wanted to drive her point home, she would have ashed her cigarette in his palm. But she had a feeling Bel was getting it without the amplification, his plasma dying her predilection blush. “There’s the November I know.” He echoed close to her, “Don’t bang on about Hani too long, you might start to sound jealous. You know,” his breath was hot counter to the precinct of her collar, “Threatened.” Unwritten like an omen to the blind eye, a carnal call to the cunning. The clawing need to smear his blood across her mouth and mark her as his dominion. But November? She was free. No holds barred, and nobody’s property. He’d coerced himself into recognition long ago. That her backbone wasn’t the firefly captured in jars, but nature herself. Someone who made the rules when the rest of the world failed to realize their fates had already been decided. Her spirit of inquiry came from honest wondering, but...

ImageBel gathered her hair, retained it in a hook that didn’t tug or yank. “But don’t you worry ‘bout rising to the occasion, ‘cause I know you got your hands full of arrangements with somebody who’s still sittin’ inside. And that’s alright, baby.” He stared into her face, indulgent of her vulnerable position in his grip, “I ain’t stupid. And you ain’t mine. That much is clear.” With her neck arched that way, him respiring more her tobacco than she, he daubed his thumb across her lower lip to emphasize, “But I’m aware of what I’m doing, as you are of your shit.”

Forsaken. Giving her ground. As she deserved, as a partner, as a grown woman. Not with a shove, but a slackened hold. The confidence he had in her allowed her to operate in plain sight behind enemy lines as a playmate. Not a spy. Not a narc. Not anything but genuine November. He drew up his muzzle enough to develop lockjaw where her romps with Dom were concerned, and he could live with it much as it gave his patience its best shot. He’d survived worse things and real betrayal. This was not one of them. After he let her go, he snipped the cigarette from her mouth and threw it aside, “Does this mean I get to ask you what you think is gonna’ come of you dropping neck between me and Dominic Bates? ‘Cause if so, I would love to hear your theory. We all gonna’ be one happy dick sucking family?”

The drag through his nose sounded something of a bull in the lead of a red target. Did he mean to scare her - taunt her? Nah. Just put things into perspective. Remnants of November’s smoke were squashed under one of his soles and he laughed, and laughed. And laughed. Perturbed nail beds by scraping his scalp in the post-lightbulb-interrogation, “Anyway, that there wasn’t about Dominic. ‘Cause ‘least I know he loved Baby enough to never disrespect her in the way that one of them did tonight. You know I know that? If I didn’t, I wouldn’t grapple with this fuckin’ mess of you doing what you do in your free time. You expect me to sit around and smooth my fuckin’ hackles when someone comes for Senna? I know you don’t. So why we discussing this?” The granted window was only about five seconds long, and if that wasn’t enough, the bell was ringing. She didn’t have anything in words. Lord knew she had it in physical assault but, it wasn’t the time. Just the way it was. “You got me, I got you. Loud and clear as always. You know when you go do whatever you wanna’ do, I don’t bark around your tree for answers. Don’t come for mine when your first objective was him.” A stern index pointed to the doors of the Little Lady.

“Not me. We can play games all night long, baby, and I wouldn’t rather play with nobody but you. You wanna’ crack a joke about somebody less tainted and vicious than you? Alright. You go ahead and bear your teeth. Nobody’s gonna’ handle it like you do. That’s a fact. But you question ‘why’ when you know why? You come out here after you got your hands on Dominic Bates and run a smear campaign on Hani? That girl ain’t done shit to you and never will. Priorities usually fall in line with tangible threats, November. You’re definitely smart enough to know that. Difference ‘tween me and you is I’m not gonna’ slight the shit out of someone who isn’t here to defend themselves. Certainly not Dom. Like I’m fuckin’ dumb enough to start a war on your body.”

He moved beyond her, pausing with a foot or so separating them, “You look beautiful tonight. You wear it and you know it. Talking about these other girls. That’s just a war that can’t be won.” His fingerprints went flush to his temple at every syllable in motion to his diction, “Come on. Common fuckin’ sense, who needs cheap shots when you look like that and have the best of both worlds? I’ll see you around, kid. You got a hangover tomorrow, I’ll have the coffee. Sorry I wasn’t in the mood to play reindeer games tonight. Just remember it was you who told me 'no' when I said I loved you next time you get some itch to play ‘piss on the fire hydrant’.”

A wave through the glass to his token redhead and he was wrapping up business in this part of town. Better things awaited back at the condo, less eyes. Less noise. More business. More pleasure.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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Simon wanted to tear his eyes away from Jasper, he fucking knew he should. He was taller and larger then the drugged out fiend, broader of shoulders and hell of a lot more charming. But fuck, the way Jasper let his eyes shamelessly crawl all over him, how he slipped off the booth and didn't break eye contact as he prowled his way through to The Little Lady towards the bar made Simon's grip on his drink turn knuckle white.

He wanted to answer Sienna- ahe was inches away from him, asking him a fucking question, but he was stuck, completely riveted as he watched Jasper basically shove someone out of his path. There was a point that Simon tried take a hard look at why he was addicted to Jasper, but he never really figured it out. Some fucked up part of himself, the part that was titled Bates and was born from the demons of the city. The part of him that ragged when he couldn't keep on, the part that hated hi father and was jealous of his brothers. He needed a reason beyond sex, because while Jasper was as fucked up in the bed as he was in real life, Simon needed there to be another reason beyond physical. He could get great sex anywhere he wanted- he didn't need to be throwing out the family stash to this self-entitled nobody. Simon refused to say he was addicted to anything he couldn't control- weed, alcohol, cigarettes were his choice, they were as permanent in his life as his family. But the demon that was making his way towards him was something that he wanted in a shaky junky sort of way- they kind of shakiness that fucked with your head and left you wanting more.

Jasper slipped up next to them- up close, Simon could see the red bloods-shot eyes, dark bags, transparent skin, greased hair....all things that should not attract his attention, but did anyway. He took another long sip of the old-fashion, eyes drinking in Jasper like he was the last glass of whiskey in the bar.

“Maybe it was something along the lines of how open you’d be to holding a camera while the two of us fuck,” He choked, eyes wide and immediately going to Sienna. Fucking hell, he loved this girl, he had yet to share this specific detail of his fucked-up sex life with her.

Sienna smirked, humor evident in her eyes and Simon knew he was going to get an ear full later, []"I didn't know Sime made little sex tapes now! As long as I get a little pay I'll do it." Sienna said throwing a wink their way.

Simon rolled his eyes and tilted his head back, finishing off his drink in record time, "Trust me, you don't want to know what this guy is into" He leaned back against the counter just as Sienna tucked in closer to him, standing on her tip-toes so she could whisper in his ear, "Didn't peg this to be your type, becoming a bit of a slut are you, Sime? And to think I started this." Simon rolled his eyes, giving her a look of 'not-fucking-now' as she pulled away with a cheshire grin in place.

"Well, that being said, have fun with my sloppy seconds Jasper, sure you'll enjoy them and you kids shouldn't get too rowdy." With those last few words she shot a wink at the two and left The Little Lady, respecting Jona's wishes.

“Speaking of which,”

Simons attention was immediately pulled back to Jasper, who had leaned up against the bar next to him and was now only a few inches away. The closeness made the ache worse- he had to remind himself they were in public, his brothers were here, and Jona was probably keeping his ever watchful eye on the entire bar.

"I hope that look had some intention behind it. Not that all this bad blood between families isn't doing it for me,"

"You're fucking sick, you know that?"

That smirk, like a cat that cornered its prey. "Ready when you are."

It was pathetic, the way Simon removed himself from the bar and followed after Jasper like a dog in heat. He should have stayed, should have ordered another drink, fucked with Jona as he closed up, and gone home with Gunner. He had more dignity then this- or he thought he did. But instead he hastily followed Jasper's route through the crowd and towards the exit, buttoning his jacket back up and slicking his hair in place.

Outside, he grabbed Jaspers marked up arm and tugged him back, his hand coming up to grip Jaspers jaw and glare down at him, "Don't fucking talk to her like that" He barked, face twisted into a scowl as he loomed over the smaller man, "And don't fuck with me like that in public. You know what this is" His eyes stayed a steely glare as he tilted Jaspers head to the side, letting his gaze roam down. Jasper's clothes were always ratty and uncared for- the opposite of Simon's constant perfect and trimmed image. He wanted to tear that stupid oversized black shirt off shit body- he much more enjoyed what was underneath.

"Your place or mine"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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Written in Collaboration
Polarisbear12 & CharlotteV





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There were times when he wondered about the world, and the things that made it spin like it would fly off it's axis any minute, or slow down and drag through weeks and months and years. Times when he would lay his head back, watch dark smoke climb to the ceiling, like maybe if he stared hard enough...he would eventually find the answers he was looking for. A reason for why things were they way they were, and who was supposed to answer for it.

Despite Bel's departure, the evening was forever scarred; a damp, heavy blanket settling over the atmosphere of The Little Lady. Quieter now, broken only by the muddled conversation and the scrapes of a mess being righted. Except for the woman in front of him. November Allen, as always, was fairly unbothered by the world. Thin fingers pushed through the dark curtain of hair that he himself was fond of, a gaze he could feel more than see moving over his body. “Ever so eloquent, eh?”

The slight curl at the edges of his mouth would hardly be deemed a smile by many, save those who knew him. Mild amusement lit up blue eyes, even as they twisted off, distracted by the warm weight of her hand on his thigh. He pulled his cigar from his mouth once more, but the invitation he was about to offer died unspoken when he turned his gaze back, his eyes catching on Senna Z.

She'd wrapped herself around Novi like she belonged there, bronze eyes bright and oh so familiar, even if sometimes the face wasn't the same anymore. Too many years, too far apart; she'd changed. They both had. But one thing she had never been, and he dared say never would be, was frail or weak. There was a strength in Baby, something otherworldly but nonetheless true. Something that had always been there, even when her hands were small and her smiles unguarded.

Something about her was settling, even in a place like this, even after all this time. Something that felt comfortable and easy, something that reminded him of the tired and the lonely that he couldn't think about, couldn't focus on. Something that had to be folded up, placed in a box, and ignored. Because that was the way it had to be, and he couldn't change that. No matter how much he wished he could.

His eyes followed pale fingers that were no longer stained with pinks and blues and yellows as they went to her hair, gracefully pulling a single flower from the dark waves. He watched as it sat across the top of his glass, stark innocent white back dropped by dark, meaningful liquid. That was how it had always been, was it not. Purity standing out against grit. He knew she said something, heard her words caress passed his ears, but his focus was stolen. On a single leaf of baby's-breath. On a meaning that refused to be ignored.

She was gone in a whisper, and if it wasn't for the proof he had in his hand, he perhaps would have thought she hadn't been there at all. November was gone next, sliding off the bar stool easily. "She’s fine you know.” The hand on his thigh served as a reminder of where he had been before bright eyes distracted him, and he hummed noncommittally as he listened to her speak about things he'd rather not be brought to his attention. Senna was.. Gunner was...a combination of battles he had to pick and choose. And this was not one of them he was willing to fight.

He watched her go, he always loved watching her go, for reasons that were currently wrapped up in skin tight material. The door shut after after her, but not for long, before Simon was approaching it, Jasper Callaghan by his side. Another one of the many things on a list better left forgotten. Not his place,, didn't have the time, couldn't spare the trouble.

He heard Jona call for the bar to clear out, but standing seemed like an awfully hard thing to do. Instead, Dom gently plucked the white flower from its resting place and tucked it carefully into the pocket over his heart. Praying for its safety, he rested his head against the wall once more, and brought his drink to his mouth to finish it off.

Jonathan was more than happy to see the majority of the patrons leave. Some left as they came, alone, others traded old partners for new ones or maybe they left with a piece of candy that they just could not resist. The green had finally settled down into a calm abyss of clarity. Edges of fury faded into nonexistence now that that irksome ache had left with the patrons. The Little Lady was quiet, save for the few audible sounds of glasses dancing in the wash bin and under the steamy water, or that occasional swish that originated from a broom that insisted on moving its hips back and forth to clear away the dirt that people had tracked in, dirtying up the beauty of the Little Lady

A soft grunt filled the void while a pair of green peered out into over their domain. Another pair, but brown, flickered in and out of sight among the furniture accompanied by a giggle or two. The man behind the bar held the last glass in large calloused hands that had kissed one to many jaws but only caressed one singular body that moved gracefully in the back. Jona watched his wife with a lust hidden under thick brows. Just waiting for the moment his body could do what his eyes could not. The barest of smiles settled in a thick grove of hair that eventually became inverted upon noticing the lone figure in the back.

It would seem he was not the only one to notice. That playful brown pair of eyes flashed with curiosity and widened as they drew nearer to the solitary body. Eyes previously shrouded in lust, watched as his sole heir approached the man with the cigarette. The little doe eyed girl giggled at the eldest Bates brother, completely unaware of the weight his name had. She was far too secluded in innocence to have known not to poke a bear at rest but her predecessors did. Husband and wife exited the bar with Jon drawing closer to the door with a set of keys that jingled. Anna on the other hand stepped up behind her daughter with an apologetic smile on her face.

"Are you going home with us Mr?" The little one peered up at the large man through long lashes. Her voice was light and there was no ulterior motive in her question. How could there be considering she was only six. Jona shrugged his shoulders and frowned. "He ain't comin with Meg but he better get his butt over here so I can close up." Something of annoyance flashed across the bearded mans face. It was probably due to his carefully selected words while in the presence of his daughter. His lovely wife shot him a warning look just for saying the alternative to the cruder term of someones behind with which he responded with another shrug.

Dominic chuckled lightly at the question, his eyes opening slowly to peer down at the little girl. She was probably somewhere around five or six, big brown eyes, dark hair. Familiar, in a way. All bright innocence, despite most likely overhearing things she shouldn't, especially on nights like these. His gaze darted up to the woman standing behind her, and he gave a slight nod before answering with a simple, “Nah sweetie.”

Dom leaned over near the ash tray to put out what was left of his cigar, a soft sigh leaving his barely parted lips. He knew he'd have to leave eventually...he just hoped he'd given the others enough of a head start. Knowing Jona wasn't joking in the lightest, he finished his drink off with one swing, then looked down at the child in front of him again. “Help me up?”

She giggled up at him when he offered his hand, little fingers wrapping around his before she pulled. Dominic smiled, ever so slightly, as he let himself fall to his feet. He gave her a nod, sat his empty glass aside, and shoved his hands in his pockets on the way out. He hummed his thanks to Jona with a nod when he passed, and finally stepped out into the Brooklyn air.

He breathed in deep. The smells of the city. The death and love and all things broken. Home. Twisted as it was. The night had been a mess...but not wasted. Settled, ready to go home, Dom took the first step in that direction as he listened to The Little Lady being locked up behind him...only to come to a stop when he saw her.

November was, perhaps, even more beautiful against the sky. A little shaken, a little off kilter. She'd gone after Bel, no doubt. He sighed to himself, shook his head a little, but eventually caught her gaze. After a moment of silence, he finally spoke.

“You ready?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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November always had the habit of running her mouth before thinking her words out thoroughly, becoming too comfortable with the people she had grown familiar with and stepping over her bounds from time to time. She had never witnessed such an intricate, incestuous lot of people - most of them having grown up in the lap of luxury. November spent her life on the road with only her mother, friends she made were fleeting. As soon as she say Bel’s face at her words, she knew she had pushed him too far.

“Don’t bang on about Hani too long, you might start to sound jealous. You know…..threatened.”
She couldn’t help but to laugh at the idea of her feeling threatened. Threatened how? About Hani taking Bel, sure she would make him feel a little less damaged for a period of time - but the poor thing had no idea what she was getting herself into. Jealous, maybe - although November probably preferred the term possessive, because although Bel was free to do as he pleased and she could do the same they both knew no matter what they would own a piece of another. November knew she would never be able to tie Bel to her, nor did she want to. If you wanted to tie something down, you needed it to be tethered to something stable enough for it to stay, which November was not.

His dark eyes were glazed over from adrenaline, she could feel in his touch he was still itching for a fight. As his roughened digits crawled up the back of her neck, gripping her hair, she took a sharp breath. Her lips parted as he pulled her head back, her cigarette hanging by a thread at the corner of her lip. His words pointed out her hypocrisy, here she was taking shots at the only person in the Little Lady who had the opportunity to give Bel the slightest sort of escape, when her only escape from Bel was a source of the Colombians angst. She averted her eyes, they never spoke about her affairs with Dominic, at least not directly. His name would rarely be mentioned between them, he was more of some mythical other man who shared mutual pleasure with November when the time called for it.

“I ain’t stupid. And you ain’t mine. That much is clear.” She would have smiled if she wasn’t in such a position, his thumb tracing her bottom lip to halt any kind of reaction. It took everything in her not to close her eyes and lean into his hand, disguising a moan within a heavy intake of air. “But I’m aware of what I’m doing, as you are of your shit.”

Granted he had a fair point, but the two situations were nothing to compare. November could see the way Bel and Hani looked at each other, there was a sweet affection that her and Dominic would never share - not that they’d want to. Honestly neither of them would be capable of such emotion, and that’s exactly what November wanted to explain to Bel. People like her, Bel, Dominic , and half the people that remained in The Little Lady, they were all cut from the same cloth. November knew exactly what she had with Dominic, pure carnal desire. They knew what they were, and she never expected anything outside of what they did in the bedroom…or in his truck, or against it.

Bel didn’t know what he was getting himself into with Hani. Yes, November had her own selfish reasons for wanting Hani to stay at the distance - but outside of that their relationship would end in nothing but pain or blood, or both. Someone had to be the one to say it, but Bel would hear none of it. Her eyes watched his features carefully as he plucked the cigarette that had been dangling precariously from her mouth. “Does this mean I get to ask you what you think is gonna’ come of you dropping neck between me and Dominic Bates? ‘Cause if so, I would love to hear your theory. We all gonna’ be one happy dick sucking family?” His words were harsh, as he intended. He pretended his actions were all an act of valor to defend his sister, as she would expect Bel to. November knew it was nothing but bullshit, Bel loved a good fight, he got off on it. November knew too well to believe his bull shit. She searched his eyes, which had hardened to match his expression. Anyone one else should have been scared, but November didn’t show anything but amusement.

“You got me, I got you. Loud and clear as always. You know when you go do whatever you wanna’ do, I don’t bark around your tree for answers. Don’t come for mine when your first objective was him.”

She couldn’t help but to smile at that as he pointed at the doors of the restaurant, where Dom could still be seen through the windows. There Bel went again, being the usual conceited fuck that he was. Did he honestly think that’s the approach she would take if she wanted to take him home that night? November knew what cards to play with that was her intention, and he knew that. He was just so high up on his horse he had to put November down as just another one of his whores that came to lick up whatever he was putting out. This wasn’t a game like he wanted to think, this was November doing her job. But she kept her mouth shut, better to let him think that he was better than her for whatever reason than to open that wound.

Bel released her, putting distance between them. She just smiled, laughing under his breath as he continued to insult her, he was right - she didn’t need to wage a war. She wasn’t the one who had twisted a joke into a massive argument, but what else would she have expected from the hot headed compliment. ”You got a hangover tomorrow, I’ll have the coffee……..Just remember it was you who told me 'no' when I said I loved you next time you get some itch to play ‘piss on the fire hydrant’.”

She had to give credit where credit was due, the kid knew how to make an exit. Again he felt better making her out to be the bad guy when November was doing her job. He didn’t bring her in to be his trophy girl, that wasn’t where she belonged. What would have happened if they allowed that to happen? Neither of them would have been happy, it would be months of them fighting, lying, cheating on each other until eventually November packed up and left town. The feelings November had for Bel was as close to love as she had even known, but underneath Bel’s play boy persona he was a hopeless romantic, wether he wanted to admit it or no. He wanted to believe he could have a sweet, loving, caring relationship - November knew differently. Their type didn’t allow that, as much as they may have wanted it. Bel would always fill a void in November that no one else could, complete fantasies no one else could. He could show up, covered in blood of someone else, and November would suck the red off every finger and invite him into her white sheets. Hell, she could find him in the act and fuck him right there, writhing in a pool of blood while his victim sat lifeless feet away.

These were things that she knew no other woman could give him, things that he knew he needed. He needed to know it wasn’t just him, wether he knew it or not. In a life of nothing but darkness, there was a yearning they both had to know that there was someone else in the world who could take as their own without batting an eye lash. November knew she was made for this life before she had even experienced it. Perhaps she had spent her whole life looking for it, maybe it just happened to fall in her lap - but she walked into it like she owned it, and she did. She wouldn’t let that all far apart because of petty things like love, or whatever people wanted to call it. She knew better than that.

But she kept these things to herself, watching him walk away with a brief wave inside. November couldn’t look away, staring until he turned the corner. His words rang again and again in her ears, making her laugh and laugh in disbelief. She easily could seem crazy to the strange passerby, but she wouldn’t correct them. She had to be fucking crazy to put up with these people, right? November looked through the window at the lot of them, most of them getting their last drinks at the bar. Hani sat alone at the bar, staring off in a sad, soulful kind of way. This is how Bel would always leave her, she didn’t have it in her to laugh at the pain he caused. Hani was too sweet, and Bel would have to learn the hard way what November saw so clearly, how he would hurt her no matter what he did because he simply wasn’t made of what it was that she needed.

Dominic remained at the bar, dashing and commanding. He was everything Bel wasn’t and then some. Meg approached him innocently, and his face lit up in a way only a child could elicit. The entire interaction was beyond endearing, making November shake her head. Dominic continued to surprise her every day, where as Bel she had down to a fine science. She looked back down to where he had disappeared, but she knew he wouldn’t come back. Anything he wanted he would have waiting for him at his home, she knew that much.

The door opened behind her, November nonchalantly looked over her shoulder. The tall, menacing figure looked her up and down, she recognized that look. Everything was simpler with Dom, perhaps because he rarely said more than five words per conversation. She smoothed down her hair from Bel’s aggression, her body moving under his gaze. Hell, she wished Bel was here now so she could have Dom slam her against the window of The Little Lady and take her for all to see.

“You ready?”

Two words, at least this time it was actual words. November let a few beats pass, just long enough before Dom would straighten himself and leave without her without another word. She looked back to where Bel left, his words echoing in her head. Fuck him she said in her mind, poison dripping. Turning on her heel, she walked to Dom. “Yeah, lets go.”

She let him walk ahead to lead her to his truck, they went wordlessly. He unlocked the truck and she let herself in, rolling down the window as soon as he turned the car on, the radio softly playing the Stones. He offered her a cigarette when he grabbed one for himself, she obliged. The ride was brief and wordless, she appreciated these moments. With Dominic there was never a need for explanations or pointless chatter, never any drama that had to hashed out or any sort of obligation. He pulled into his house, and November walked close behind him, pushing herself against him as he opened the door to the Bates home. Her fingers spread across the nape of his neck, gripping what hair she could. Once the door opened, her hand traced along his back, tantalizing the soft fabric.

She couldn’t wait any longer, barely giving him enough time to lock the door behind him. Gripping his hand, she led Dominic to his own room, it was time to forget about what Bel needed and focus on her own needs. She shut the door to his room behind them, slamming herself against it and pulling Dominic into her. Dominic was indisputably an alpha male, but right now November needed to take a little bit of control. Their lips crashed into each other with the same fire of passionate lovers, never skipping a beat. November tugged at his belt, taking his hand to wrap around her thigh as she wrapped her leg around him, the tight leather of her skirt riding up until it was more of a shirt than her actual shirt was. “Treat me…like I’m worthless.” She breathed into his ear, grinding into him, nibbling on his lobe.

Bel, who?


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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont
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»SENNA«
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Show me that your veins aren’t collapsed and I’ll show you that the love I have is still very much the same.

Baby’s entire life had been a spec. A turn of fifty two cards that somehow all had the same suit. One could say she had spades in spades, that the darkness emblematic of the ensemble preceded her royally fucked up origin. Was it true that only the good died young? And was that why she glided past twelve through eighteen with little trouble other than the loss of a father? Why had everything since nineteen been a blur in his absence? Was he dead, for further corroboration on philosophy of hearts gone black? Was she too old to die young now? For all of the painful third degree she pointed exclusively into her own conscience, there had to be answers. She stared death in the face from under an avenue torch. And he was, perhaps, the best testimony to Senna’s stipulations.

“Okay,” she gave a thoughtful draw of tobacco that carved out her pint-sized resonance like she was setting the price for her own murder, “I was thinking we could go to something more shabby. I don’t have all night but, since we both don’t have anything better to do right this very moment.” If the good did indeed die young, she wouldn’t have survived her relationship with Mr. Rory here. Nicotine flicks clicked from her cuticle, relics taken by the gale. A tilt of her head in Aedan’s general direction colored her tactful. If she’d known less about her own mutilated weakness for the opiated aesthetic of a salaried serial killer, she might have stopped him a block off and circled herself in salt. Instead she offered him what was left of her cigarette. For a spell she even settled into his forearm, for all one knows, just a shock of nostalgia. It felt alright.

Pining, unquestionably. For gutter glitter quick, up a nasal chamber and into the nerves like a shiver. His tastes were more on the injection side, otherwise she would have offered him the ivory grit. She greatly doubted her bag of tricks would give him the mind-splintering high he was accustomed to. For now he was a shield and just the ticket she needed. Clearing her throat, she gestured for him to stop walking, pressing one side of her nose, “Let me just...” The blow had a direct hit to her frontal lobe. Her train of thought called it quits while she and Aedan vacillated in the street. First bump always had a tendency to blackball faculties for a very short interval, supremely when she hadn’t touched the shit all day. With her center of gravity temporarily fluctuating, she pushed off of him to find it for herself. “Damn, Aed,” she gulped, “I know this is late but, it just came to me. No.” A giggle got lost in some purring subsequence of brainwork. “I don’t want to go the Little Lady, and I don’t want to go home. I don’t even really want to go to a bar, now that I think about it. You don’t talk a lot to begin with, cariño, I wouldn’t be able to hear you at a dive, it would be like... Just too much.” She hemmed in the area below her feet and wrapped an arm around herself, only noting the chill because her body temperature had elevated to the pinnacle and turned sweat into ice before it could tallow her alabaster skin. “I want to hear you, not fucking sit on a barstool, having to practically crawl into your lap to have a conversation. In some hell hole where you can’t stop thinking about how you’d rather be shooting up in the bathroom. Because the guy next to you is yelling to his friends across the room and drinking green tea shots or some shit, and you’re probably like, I don’t know, wishing he was a business expense. That’s our luck. We know each other better than that, right?”

Yes, they knew each other too well. It made it all the more ironic for her to even be near him. But that's how his life seemed to work, nonsensical as it seemed. He was a serial killer goading the lambs to slaughter, and she was - damn, she was the only thing he could think about some days. The baby drugged by the Dingo.--W

A presentation of hilarity made her oddly incorrupt subito. Too bad her thesis was on point. It’s not like either of them ever enjoyed being in compressed settings. Him, the claustrophobic critter too taciturn to necessarily blend in, charming for ulterior impulsion, expectant of his freedom and the sedation that made his hands clammy. Her, perhaps too sick of drunken larking bullshit and better off with proximate demerit. And still there was of course, choppy waters where their intimacy ended. “What I mean is,” she established eye contact with her pupils distended to what appeared to be total ocular blackness, “Ugh. You probably know at least the gist of where I was going with that.”

Aedan hummed, affirmation on the tip of his tongue. Staring into those wide eyes, urges tickling in his gut. A singular thought in his mind screaming want. For more than just the drugs. But knowing, so well that it would have to be her choice to come to him, and not the other way around. --W

Her deliberation coasted over to a suffused corner store sign, bulbs going in and out of commission. “Hold on, the Brooklyn Bridge is right up the road. We can flip a coin on who walks the railing, I’ll get a six pack. C’mon, you can hold my hand if you get scared, how about it?” She paced backward toward the shop, presumptively blithe just to see him there however poker-faced, yet waiting for her, who waggled a finger and disappeared behind the tinkering of a five-and-dime door. When she returned she only brandished a handle of Jim Beam, calling out, “I was thinking while I was scaling the aisle. That if I slipped on a railing, you could cover it up and never look too sus. But if you slipped, I probably wouldn’t even be able to keep my story straight. Then Ireland’s on my ass. The cops? I just can’t risk jail time right now, I have some seriously big plans for the empire.” What a joke. He had to know it, too. As if any empire had anything to do with her. She never wanted for those things, not the way Bel did.

A rare laugh bubbled to the surface. "I could teach you," He answers, far too seriously. "Cover ups are the easy part." He settles into a small, pinched smile that doesn't quite register right on his face. "Just gotta keep it nice and clean, spread a tarp, keep the bleach on hand -"

"Actually," His attention shifts suddenly, pondering the idea of what it would feel like to sleep off the bridge. How it would feel to hit icy cold water. Would he die on impact? Or would he slip to the bottom, to drown. The very idea would be appalling to other people. But to Aedan the very thought of that icy, constricting paralysis was enthralling. He never finishes. Drifting into thought, slipping away from the bridge scenario. Head drifting into the fog.--W


Snickering, she screwed the cap off the bottle and took a small sip, “To you. For, keeping me company, right now, whatever this is. Listening, because that’s mostly what you always do. And you know - smiling for once. Even if it’s just because you’re thinking about me rolling someone up in tarp or a carpet. I like your face,” it’s teasing and tantalizing, but she meant it, “Thank you Aedan.” Handing it off to him, she fixed her gaze to his chest, simmered, “I can’t feel my fucking face.” Numb. His was a simile for damnation and dusk. Handsome, the way he undertook oblivion in the evening.

He knew the feeling all to well, enjoyed it even. Feeling displaced from his own body, a ghost in a shell. Too fucked to even notice the world slipping by him. He drinks, and feels the energy in him renew.--W

Did Ireland miss him?

Strung along the waterfront, she dragged him just to the concrete curb that overlooked the urban horizon. Radiance reflected off the inlet in deceiving chromatic wonder. She hoisted herself onto a balustrade and took his wrists for a moment, “We should do the Brooklyn Bridge thing next time, yeah?” Lugging some oxygen into her lungs, Senna got comfortable bearing on the banister, parallel to Aedan. “Yeah.” Answering herself, she nabbed the pole beneath her tightly and puffed out her chest. This didn’t last, as she deflated into the small thing she really was she said, “Hit me. Seriously. I can’t feel anything from my head to my throat.” Currents of air came off the river and took her dark mane by means of sable waves to veil her in the interim. Whatever area not monopolized by her pupils was glassy, like Cabernet poured over porcelain. She was resolute. The trench behind her chirred quietly as if to say, “Don’t fall in, now...” Would Brooklyn miss her?

“Make it count.”

Hit her? Aedan stalled, tongue too thick all of a sudden to speak. Something in him, animalistic screams to accept without a word. Tells him not to fight it, begs him to do it even though he knows that he's strong, he could break her so easy. Shrieks at him about all those scenarios in his sick head. The many times he's imagined her bloody, sprawled beneath him - but those were fantasies and this, this was a strange reality. It makes it hard to deny, when she's inviting so openly. Tempting him with an offer that he just can't pass up.

So he does it.

There's almost no hesitation when he winds back, hits her good. Feeling a deep, satisfying hum in his gut yet no regret what so ever. Its fucked up, but he can't tear his eyes away from her face. Wanting to see that moment when rough knuckles connect with soft skin. He holds her face after, softly trailing fingers down the mark left over. Utterly fascinated by the way she just took it.--W


ImageIt wasn’t pain that vibrated her frame but the sheer vigor of his hook which would have sent her sailing into arctic waters had he not cradled each side of her jaw to admire his handiwork. The offshoot bloomed white noise in her ears, no agony at all, but the welling of tears on another end of olfactory nerves. An unrestrained reaction that came less from thought and more from a potential breakage of septal cartilage. She moaned almost inaudibly, sounding akin to disappointment and gratification synonymously, waiting for a throb to burgeon beneath her skin and become red hot. Dizziness buzzed in one ear, out the other, the dingo doubling before her eyes. She rolled her shoulders and just laid her cheek to Aedan’s palm. Nothingness. Warm gore pooled at her cupid’s bow before dripping over and onto her lips. And still, no feeling. Just the dewy impression of tears and blood cooling in nocturnal rawness. Glancing up at him, lower half of her pouted mug hemorrhaged, she sighed, “Is this the part where I admit I have a problem?” While she slipped from the handrail, digits dipped into damage and undulated before him. Like cherry syrup samples. Her heartbeat was unbroken, lightning in her sternum. He could probably hear it as her form scraped his. There weren’t enough centimeters left to provide self control from their obsessions, his sweet tooth for havoc and how it looked painted on someone else. Senna waded in his shadow, “Wanna’ taste?”


It would have been easier to kiss him. But she didn’t. Kissing him would have paraphrased all their impurities in a way that could never calibrate their furious echelon of fucked-up-ness. Where she might have worn a pretty diamond, she instead wore ruby stock and tenuously applied for his tongue with it, his mouth still open in esteem of the desecration he caused. Deviant dingo. Marveling at how quickly veins wept as if he didn’t know from personal experience. Half intoxicated in an aberrant tentativeness, she was smitten with how her own vital fluid would look seeping from his canines. This was a filthy sport. His silhouette loomed over her, unblinking and stoic. But cold blues spoke of unmitigated fascination. What pumped through her vessels must have been more than half tempting. Senna still knew him just as well if not better, than the last time they were this close to one another. Her wrist aided her nose, she drew back and gave him some space, phone in hand for a time check, “It’s coming up on that point in the night where you have something better to do.” It wasn’t a guilt trip - no. A declaration. A ploy for her to retell one of his earlier statements and prowl off into her next agenda. Because they knew they’d meet again. And too much time together here, could only get messier than it already had. They favored their messes. Didn’t they?

Somewhat. She hadn’t forgotten about the exhaustion that slithered from his abuse of heroin, how it kept her awake when he was glaring hard into a mirror as though waiting for it to crack and refusing to come to bed. Senna wasn’t necessarily a tricky girl, but she and Aedan had long played dirty. There was a lot of fight involved with staying together. Maybe not in tropes. Definitely in their amour, if that’s what one could even call it. Morbid fuckery was probably more appropriate. Whether he licked his chops next, merely quirked a brow or choked the living shit out of her, they both had things to do that put a fork in the path. He’d walk away with a memento on his palate, her with a bruise in the morning. “I’m holding you to the Brooklyn Bridge arrangement,” she asserted as she brushed past him and back to the avenue, “If someone’s going to kill me it might as well be you. This city wouldn’t miss me.” Senna laughed it off. But it was true.

ImageHow much longer could she afford the sloppy shots, though? Senna cracked her neck in a series of pops that came like a string of explosives. Only then did she start to feel something. Was she lucking out or were the drugs subsiding? Again she checked the time, only to find an unexpected text, about a date she had apparently forgotten. “Shit,” she hissed, fingers crossed and heavenward, “Thank you Jesus.” Fate was on her side if only for tonight. Aedan was an unforeseen perk of her slackening, Caroline the candied coating of a prospective relationship, however not able to hold to their plans following her clock out. So she could glow in the low light against some hundred thread count sheets, smiling all amiable and tangling her legs with Baby's. She wasn’t used to it, Senna. But she was learning how to operate in extended sobriety if it meant close and cozy compromise with Caroline. But things were twisted as if destiny were insisting, “Not right now,” so that time for Gunner remained unbolted. If she was being completely honest, she was biding time until she could crawl home to him, the one person who didn’t need a double take when questions went unanswered. And she felt like she owed him tonight. Especially with that disgraceful scene back at the Little Lady. But not only did she owe it, she wanted the serenity that came from being in his company. One thing was certain, just the same: time was running out.

Make this count.

Sneaking in felt so high school. But there was this flare about it, some appeal not lost on her. The best part was the garden, which was her preferred entry route nine times out of ten. A lion’s share of colorless bloom made the cold frame look that of a bridal parlor, which was her favorite, if she was made to admit. White Dahlia’s framed in Kisses of Mint. Classic Calla lilies formed a barrier along the aged stone walkway. All her favorites, still with him. She wondered if he hired a gardener or did all of this himself. Dom on his knees in a mess of tulips and Narcissus seemed extremely unfeasible, and whenever she came through that way, rarely were there traces of him. Just the flowers themselves. An ashtray on a rusted bench paired with a bucket of fertilizer. And there Baby roamed among all of it, a dahlia colored blur still on her profile, hovering through a nursery shining silver by the moon. Isn’t it ironic?

She trailed behind the turnstile, spotting G from her picket perspective. With whatever poise she could convene [surprisingly a lot for someone who had gotten slugged in the nose and done enough drugs to paralyze an orca], she foisted the Bates backyard and trilled, “I hope you were at least kind of expecting me, I don’t want it to get awkward when your Bronx escort meets you out back then realizes this is not what she signed up for.” He’d heard her long before she decided to say anything at all. Probably the lack of composure in the argument with the fence latch. Said her name which always made her the puppy at his heels, but hopefully he didn’t know that. Her titter was fleshy and stilled as she cataracted to scoop a handful of water, “But don’t worry. You totally look the part of a young and slightly more muscular Hugh Heff. If she knows what’s good for her, she’ll stick around for the party.” Bouquets for Gunner always came with a panegyric, however half-serious and unhealthily-humored. He was gorgeous not only as self, but on the outside, with the shift of macabre muscle mass, hushful medium, sift of bloodshot eyes. He was something she knew and felt in her bones. The only thing to cut through the drugs, most of the time. Her friend. Seemingly the only one. The one who deserved a partial explanation, but how the fuck was she going to give it without selling out Bel and his extremely toxic ongoing affair with Julia? Give it a minute. It’ll come easier than you think. Keep it short. Half-knelt, skirt sweeping cement, Senna sized him up with a chirpy demeanor before dousing hemic nares with chlorine, “I think I might have deviated my septum finally.”

“I’m totally kidding, I actually - this is my fault. Neither here nor there, so don’t worry about it.” Inside, doors clicked and gave way to secrets from open windows. Shadows moved by the bedrooms she took to memory. Dom’s, especially, the darker curtains making glass look like a black hole portal. She knew who danced behind the tapestries. Where desire and desolation went to die. Could spot the vulpine cut of November’s curves from a mile away, ‘cause she stimulated like the seven plagues and enchanted a world that wouldn’t stand a chance in her presence. How could you blame anyone for wanting one night with her?

ImageLaughing to no one in particular, Baby lowered herself to all fours and crawled toward her confidant. She leveled off as soon as she bumped him with an elbow and let her opposite arm fall around him, slack. His sweat was cold, skin warm. She stuck to him for a minute, laying on her side. Stiff concrete didn’t feel so bad. Not with him there. The hysteria of their big games drowned in these moments, and that’s why she was lingering. Hoping all of it would swill her and gentle zeros would cloy the madness they’d grown inside of. “Even fancier seeing you here. Imagine, of all the places?” Sarcasm. The tiny transmission escaped no farther than the brawn of his chest. Senna’s hand, still marinating in a redolence of pool aftershock, fluttered fingers and settled on his forearm. The ply had rewritten his evening ethics, she didn’t bother to pry and respectfully drew digits into her own palm as she cracked to him, “Your sister hates my god damn guts, G. That little show tonight was mostly my fault for even entertaining her hard feelings from across the bar. I should uh, make a conscious effort not to express anything around Bel. Or look your way when he’s nearby. I’m just a creature of habit! That and I slept like shit.” Lightly she slapped him, radiating against the Brooklyn gloom. She’d forgotten all about getting high.

A lull of nightfall was all she needed to, too. His percipience. Drugged or sober. Clearly not the latter, she uttered, “You seem dreamier than me tonight,” and settled her forehead to his shoulder, “Y te amo. That is all.” Whereas her brother would have to beg others for forgiveness just to be close to them after a massive fuck up, Senna did not. The middle Bates son somehow had no issue providing her with that merit. And really, it’s not like she needed it with anyone else. All in all - inaudible, laying there... It was nice. Always. Until Senna realized her microscopic matinee with Aedan left a welling stain on her dress and she had nothing else with her. That she didn’t want to go home tonight to wake up the way she had this morning, nor repeat anything aside from t h i s very juncture.

There were things boiling inside of her that she had to say. That if she didn't say, tonight...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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November Allen had the kind of body that made good men sink to their knees and promise Satan their souls just for one. little. taste. And Dominic was the bastard who never had to ask, because she would plaster herself against his door like she fucking belonged there. Her hands were on him, pulling him to her, and Dom let her, just for a moment. Sought out the need in deep dark eyes, heavy hands falling onto the curves of her hips. He knew what she felt like. Knew what she tasted like. He'd complimented every piece of her with a blood lust no less than that of someone raised by wolves. And he intended to do it again tonight.


Her lips crashed into his and he gave her exactly what she'd been asking for, leaning his weight into her, mouths moving harshly against each other. All consuming. Passionate. Her hand was on his, moving it to her thigh as her leg went around his waist. He bit down on her bottom lip hard, demanding it to swell, to bleed, to remind her who she was, and who he was.

“Treat me…like I’m worthless.”

ImageHe breathed a chuckle against the side of her neck, a low sound that wasn't humor, wasn't for fun. His free hand moved to her hair, brunette silk he loved so much, because it was long enough for him to twist around his wrist, to grip in his fingers and force her head back.

He leaned away from her only far enough to drag his eyes over the long, perfect line of her throat. She was something too pretty a picture when the residuals of his fucked up fables came out to play. But she wore his ghosts real well, with more aptitude than he could try her on for size.

“You are worthless, November,” he whispered, grazing his teeth from the dip of her shoulder up the taunt muscle in her neck. His fingers dug into the soft flesh of her thigh before his mouth claimed hers once more. And he refused to let her have him again. Refused to give her any kind of control. A kiss that was barely the brush of his lips against hers. The slow roll of his hips, because he knew she fucking needed it. He was going to move slow, up 'til the point that she went extracting raw ruthlessness with the conjuring of his neglected needs. A part of him that had to manhandle delicacy to state the devil that sat on not one shoulder, but two. “This is all you're good for.”

His favorite thing about her had always been that she could take it. They both had devils and demons to entomb; and her body was the canvas and the coffin in one. He could paint her in shades of purple and blue, draw red from her skin with the sharpness of his teeth, and she would look up at him and beg for more.Image Yes. Please. She was his and he was hers. Silk to sickness. Loams untouched by love but devoured for indulgence.

Dom stepped away from her, pushing her leg back to the floor, watched with mild amusement as slight disappointment flickered in her eyes. He pressed a finger into her lips before she could voice her arguments, and once she'd submitted to the silence, his hand slid around her throat instead, thumb and pointer settling just under her jaw. He watched the flow of oxygen cut off, the light gasp that fell from her mouth when it did. It never failed to stir something low in his gut. Pure arousal. Desire. The want to choke the absolute shit out of her.

“Keep your pretty little whore mouth shut, Novi, and I'll give you what you need.” It was a promise, and they both knew he'd deliver. She'd pushed him, after everything that had happened that night. He was already wound up from a fight that had never happened...even one that he'd hoped would fizzle out before it lit. He grinned at her slowly, his thumb pressing between soft lips, rubbing them red from the skin he'd broken earlier. “You wanna' see the way a tide turns when a storm is up behind it?” he asked softly, blue eyes locked in on the mess he was making. “Pushing the flex of its axis 'till it fuckin' snaps and submits...” He put his hand back on her throat where it belonged, leaned in for a taste of sweet coppery salt. “I'll show you that kind of helplessness.”

ImageHe knew that look, the way her eyes darkened, the way she pressed into his hand like she wanted it as much as he did. She was poisoned paradise, heaven and hell at the same time, and he was more than ready to be lost in her.

Dom pulled her by the throat where he wanted her, knees slamming into carpeted floor, because she wasn't good enough for the bed. Not right now. And she would fight him, because that's what she did. Arch and yell and spit in his face. Make him pin her to the floor until her skin was rubbed raw, or throw her up against something with her nails in his back, a scream swallowed down his throat. They would fight and fuck until they finally dug everything they needed out of each other. Until skin was raw and exposed.

Until the room was washed in shades of their merged malestorm...

and sleep came like anesthetic to the damage...


*If you bitches liked this post, make sure to thank Sacri, who talks dirty to me when I fucking ask her nicely. Without her, this post would not be a thing. Love her. All of you.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont
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Image“Here’s tomorrow’s release, fact check all of it and send it to the print.”

Caroline’s editor said nonchalantly, ending any plans she had for the night. What was the immediate end to Caroline’s premeditation to any sort of life outside the paper was her boss’s apathetic command. He left a stack about the height of a newborn child on her joke of a desk and left without so much as another word. Caroline could only sigh, as she did most nights. She hadn’t bothered to make plans since Ellie’s funeral, but the one night she had promised Senna a visit, albeit a late one at that, her boss decided to leave a weeks worth of material for her to check without so much as a warning.

Caroline had grown to be one of the best junior writers of the paper, that much had been established. She had a skill to sniff out false leads, so in essence she had become the editor in which articles would cut to the final print according to validity. Her parents connections were what got her foot in the door, but Caroline’s sheer intuition was what gave her the recognition as an asset to whatever paper she claimed loyalties to. While she had already made plans with Senna, she knew the dark haired vixen could easily occupy herself otherwise - if she hadn’t already. Reluctantly she sent a text postponing their plans, Senna’s prompt and empathetic response affirmed Caroline’s suspicions.

It was known to Caroline that Senna was wanted by many, hell just look at her. The woman was bathed in the blessings of Aphrodite, a walking talking demigod who hadn’t realized her own superiority to mankind itself. She imagined the girl stumbling amongst the filth of Brooklyn, she was well beyond their quality. What had started as a lead had developed into infatuation, Caroline has thoroughly addicted to Senna. When she imagined her own special place, Caroline envisioned her own bed with Senna sprawled across, dark hair spread across her own linens like a river and alabaster skin tempting, calling her name. She was pure heroin, the most addictive drug in the street, she knew if Senna were introduce Caroline to her own inner circle they would glow with jealousy at the special attention she had garnered from Senna.

Yet, Caroline knew this wasn’t why Senna hadn’t invited her anywhere. Whenever the two had met it was always at Caroline’s discretion, wherever she decided. Some people could interpret this as free spirited behavior, but Caroline knew better. Senna wanted to keep Caroline as far away from the families of Brooklyn and their associates as long as possible, but if Caroline played her hand correctly maybe she could change that.

The office was empty except for the cleaner who was emptying trash cans, the light from the halls was the illumination besides the lamp on Caroline’s desk. She sighed with exasperation, time after time she found herself in this position, alone in the dimly lit room pouring herself over the works of others to do some petty fact checking. Caroline leaned back in her chair, stretching her arms above her head and looking around at the vacant room. She had a deadline to meet, but Caroline’s mind was scattered, she wouldn’t get any work finished in this state.

Using her key, Caroline unlocked the bottom drawer to her desk, withdrawing the wrinkled manila folder. It had obviously been handled often, the sides had began to tear. Scrawled in the corner in heavy black ink were the words, For Ellie, Caroline’s fingers ran over the script as she bit her bottom lip with remorse. She rifled through the pages within, placing them onto her desk one by one.

The first page gave a brief summary of the Bates family, the larger operation of the two - well at least the larger family. Each member had their own page, a photo paper clipped to their profile. Simone and Julia, the youngest of the family, didn’t have quite a rap sheet as Gunner or Dominic. The eldest two obviously had a very active role in the family business, Dominic had even served time. There was enough word on the street about Dominic and Gunner solely to write a book, save the entire family.

Then there was the Zaires, once in tight alliance with the Bates. The grand patriarch went missing, shortly followed by the Bates patriarch, most rumors support a rift between the two which led to the Colombian kings death and the Bates leader taking to life on the run. Cristobel was supposedly the big man in charge now, with some lackies at his disposal. Rumor had it that he let someone outside of the family come in as his right hand, a woman named November Allen. Caroline had attempted to build a profile on the femme, but turned up nothing on any kind of history, it was like she appeared one day in Brooklyn and was running with the Zaire’s within a week.

Finally, Senna. Caroline could write books upon books of poetry about Senna Zaire. Caroline had photos of each person in the drug operation, but she had countless of Senna, she should have known she was infatuated before she even ever met the girl. Caroline’s notes went from borderline obsessive to sporadic, hardly any new data since she began her tryst with Senna. She had read her notes at least a hundred times, but it was never enough. All her words would do would piss some people off, she needed enough to cause some action. She bit her bottom lip, if she didn’t put away the papers now she’d obsess over them all night.

Reluctantly, Caroline sealed her documents back in her drawer and returned to her work. Hours later, she sent the bulk of articles to the printer after begging for an hour extensions. Some articles she didn’t deem credible or worth the effort she put on the shelf for a different edition. Finally, strained and tired, Caroline packed up to go home. Not a soul in sight except the security guard who sat at the front desk, Caroline waved a farewell on her way out, an uber waited for her in the front.

“Late night?” Her taxi driver asked.

“Always.”

The ride was brief, the city lights passing by in a blur. Caroline looked at her phone, something within her praying for another text from Senna - some sort of assurance that Senna wasn’t drowning in the debauchery she surrounded herself in. Her street was a quiet, charming part of Buschwick, her apartment building was an old factory with an elevator that opened directly onto her unit. She hadn’t left on any lights, and didn’t bother turning any on. Changing her clothes and brushing her teeth in the dark, Caroline crawled into bed with the exhaustion a full day of work brings, but her mind still racing with the pressure of day to day responsibilities. Tomorrow, she told herself, tomorrow you’ll get your foot in the door - you have to. and her last thought was of coffee with Senna tomorrow before she finally fell into a slumber.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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⟝BEL⟞
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Sore.

That was Bel’s night. More crooked than roadwork, with apertures and ample admonition to qualify. Had him roughing up someone else’s feathers. Someone not necessarily intended, as fate would have it by the furious eyes of Jonathan Moore. His stern expression environed by furrowed brow and beard. Then there was Hani, orderly and affectionate at all the right places with nothing but integrity in her heart as though the man Bel had become deserved any of hers. But that’s not what Bel thought about. It was Gunner, his bygone. Trophy friend gone rogue yet never off the radar. The eldest Zaire had to smother out any real gut reaction to it, the things forfeited. A friendship lost to the grind and mind of revenge. It formed like a blister on the surface of expectation. And that was just the beginning.

Everybody in that place thought the worst of Cristobel. Dollars to doughnuts, ‘cause the way he strutted his shit on the whim of what looked like a tantrum was not at all becoming. He knew it. They knew it. Best thing to do was move on from it and not trip up. There was Chloe, there was Sen, there was Hani. Few finer-wisdomed heads.

What about the rest? The leftovers? November. Resplendent, sucking on tobacco in his flak. Welcomed the sequel with more polish than what was red on her ten taking branches. When he left her there like that, he knew a likely score was contempt and cold shouldering for God only knows how many days but, Bel was Bel. His hunches always sat on the tip of the wagging muscle between teeth. Never in the belly, never the gullet. He was impulsive, compulsive and indelicate. Divulging a lapse to her had its consequences. Fidelity didn’t really have a reserved spot in the psychopathy of their perseverance, and he knew it all along. Why he even bothered was beyond him. Because it’s not like he was surprised to see her head tilt, mahogany gun dipping with non-caricatured partiality. Giving him his answer before she let it escape her lips, heavy. She’d been upfront with him. So he was with her, even if especially insensitive when it came to his own bruised ego.

Whoops.

The panacea was in place by witching hours, reckoning his violence with safe words that wouldn’t get used. Animalistic excursions labeling him the beast he needed to make himself into to get rid of the pain of being a man. He buried it in the Merlot-flavored gluttony that was Chloe, and she countered with ire she’d forgotten but needed to purge. Oaths taken for November by intrinsic infatuation were minced and let slip. He’d no doubts she was doing the same, which made it that much easier to feel the slope of another woman’s jaw and leave his mark all over it. Like a knife through butter. Chloe really knew how to make temporal concerns wither. Blotted out. All lackluster next to the image of epicene authority, she blew the brains out of Bel’s bothers in blow-by-blows. Leather straps flush to her flesh. Russet streetlight creeping through the venetian secrecy begging for a peep show, her versus and never obedient. His desirous invasion was omnipresent, leaving none of her untouched. The spiked heel of her stiletto left impressions on his chest and he permitted her malediction hungrily. Would have tasted the sole if she told him to. Waiting for her critical hair-pulling, laced and lit as hell from the opioids in her arteries. Compliments of BZ.

Be easy now, heh.

Capital ‘f-u-c-k-m-e’s didn’t echo in this place without some slaughter. Only sound he wanted to hear was struggling breaths, his and hers, the split between ecstasy and affliction when her body tensed. His razing flashes when she pulled on the belt. When her choke-chaining dominion edged them both off into necrosis nirvana. Climax? Make that plural. We’re gonna’ lose count after an hour. Shit, Chloe totaled him and then some. She looked better than most things painted with respect to war and glory, straddling him, sadistic. Who would have guessed under all that business casual shit there was a dominatrix who couldn’t wait to get her hands around somebody’s neck?

Image“Be a good boy.” The reminder came like the devil’s serenade, much too persuasive to disobey. He’d bring down the house with that body mantled against a set of bow lancets for the city to see, an arm under her leg and Chloe entirely aslope. Rush, bucks and thrusts threatening to shatter glass with each impact. Flat tongue lilt, the perpetual neck tattoo. Bel wanted to feast on every last fucked up part of her, but only if she gave her blessing. Cardinal rules... They were her thread and needle. Embroidered Bel into her bodily vending whether she was riding him or she was twined down below; he used her. She used him. Pharmaceuticals, poison, poetry. She was a finished fusion en masse, ribs etched to the surface of her hide, gasping, palming his vertebrae with one appeal, “Comply.” Catch Bel in the street and he wasn’t one to take orders. But with Chloe? Here? He’d play Abaddon’s second fiddle, like he was on the last ark to his final destination. You’re gonna’ drip all around me, I’m gonna’ toe the line but not until you’re thinking better of yourself as a god. ‘Cause I got mine, but you got yours too. And I’m not just talking about the drugs. When it was all said and done he’d slip into state less up to snuff than being inside of her. But scrimmages weren’t meant to last three, four, five hours. Theirs just always happened this way. And the break of day meant their time was up for the night.

They’d found sleep somewhere along brush strokes of five or six in the morning, botched and broken down. Buxom form lost beneath a sea of raven sheets, Chloe didn’t so much as twitch in her comatose proviso. Meridian went wounded across the lid with flushed sunlight. Chloe didn’t budge, not even when Bel went from facepalm to full on self assault. Spit swaps and slipped swigs between them both must have left some Oxycontin soup in his head, ‘cause now it was swimming like a twenty gallon tank that needed to be cleaned r e al b a d. A hangover never hurt like this; this - this was a comedown. He decided to recalibrate in water hot enough to make hellions he slept with feel more at home, get his shit together. Because he sure as hell hadn’t forgotten what went down and how Senna would be needing that cup of coffee for atonement, as well as aftereffects of her own.

Condensation scrubbed from a reflective panel supplied the battered state of his thew down the front. Purple dyed stalwarts, abdominal muscles aching not from the art on the topside but the travails executed in collisions and stomach knots only conceived by orgasm aristocrats. She made a mess of him, perchance reciprocated. That girl knew what she was doing. He chomped on a toothbrush, vain grin plastered all over him. He was in the next world. From women, windfall and wisdom. Kismet had been considerably kind. He was unexpressed about it but damn, ever grateful. Especially to the women. Arrogance couldn’t negate that. A chuckle locked off in his passage so that he wouldn’t gag on toothpaste, his own principle being that he kept so many of them around because he was trying to express gratitude in a fucked up way. Yeah, right.

Maybe though.

ImageFool’s paradise, definitely. Bel wasn’t amnesic to the country created by cheeky initiative, and he had to set it correct eventually. That day wasn’t today. It wouldn’t be tomorrow, either. But eventually, it really had to be done. Before someone fucked it up or got killed. Well, before someone important got killed or fucked it up more than usual. Another chuckle choked off. He tried to keep his banter to a minimum as he buttoned a thin denim shirt around his frame, staring down at the lorelei still somnolent in his bed. Cuffed apparel right before the boot, he was looking half decent. Half. Didn’t have the fashion sense of someone like Simon, and didn’t quite catch anything helpful from Senna being that her specialty was Victorian lace and Louboutins. He did alright though, he guessed. Thank God for the mug, sensibility in hair styling and ebonized rings. He rounded the bed and wondered what was next. Playfulness was mostly out of the question, but since Chloe showed him a hell of a time, he tickled her foot as a wake-up call rather than snatching blankets. But nothing! Apoplectic. Her toes didn’t squirm and she didn’t mumble. Running the cool metal of his hand down her sole, Bel dualized, yawning and lulling her name. He expected foot-to-jaw action so stepped back immediately, scrolled through his phone, replied half-assed to few, then tickled Chloe’s foot again. That was the key. Increments.

When she fussed he left her alone and got sucked into a text thread full of Novi-esque passive aggression, à la mode. He could picture her sitting in a Bates breakfast nook, phone in hand, cigarette swinging every time she tapped the keyboard or speculated too hard. Hatefucked hair still unkempt but looking chichi as hell on her. Si, que la conocía bien? C r i s t o b e l. And imagine that? None of her messages were that of her taking him up on propositions of cafe beverages, just business as per usual. November being November, cold and consummate. Nobody’s. Everything and nothing, but a divine being even so.

All he did was click some shit back to her about the strip club banger. Weakly promised that he wouldn’t pull anything tonight, that he was aware of who else would be there and that he owed it to her. To Senna. And to Hani, which he didn’t mention. November countered his ambiguous apology with docile disbelief. Much expected, for sure. This is how they worked. “Chloe, ya es tarde.” His voice was louder than the last time, “It’s only getting later. You’ll probably wanna’ go home and get ready for that blowout at the titty bar, yeah? I’ll be there but I can’t guarantee I can repeat last night. I never thought I’d see the day where my dick was broken.” Linens retired and she sleepily stemmed, the declivity of her hips gluing his focus to the merit like he was ready to call her Magdalene. “Scratch that, it’s still working.” He snorted and jammed his phone in his pocket, “I’d offer you a ride but I know how you handle your business transactions. So I left a bag in your purse, complimentary for the... Uh.” His palm grazed the crotch of tailored jeans as he smirked, “Yeahhhhh. I think whatever your tongue absorbed like... My tongue absorbed too because my head was fucking spinning when I got up, I gotta’ pop a few ibuprofen and get some caffeine. Don’t know how you do it. This shit...” His dark eyes widened then went half-lidded, “Eh. Not my thing.”
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»SENNA«

The breathlessness from a post-oracle salute told her all she needed to know. Combustion in her palate whimpered about leaving a beau behind, something chosen. Someone. The right one. Much to the displeasure of prose, that’s not what this would be. Whether edict was dramatic or not Gunner would never be just some small figment. A story for grandchildren or something mentioned opposite to, “A blast from the past.” He was very much human, addled in inclination and ire, everything she perhaps wanted but didn’t know she needed.

That’s the thing about soulmates, isn’t it?

They don’t rule out unlikelihoods. Or the least practical of ideas, apparently. Pint-sized paws held his visage, the pinch of her impulsive consequences not enough to churn dreams just yet. She’d have apologized for kissing him if it would have felt right to. But it didn’t. Crossing the bridge of a prodigally anticipated and fully meant gesture like that was a long time coming, and she had to savor him. They were both still here, and he hadn’t looked too abashed or injured. He wore the same pain she did - it just looked better on his funereal components. His words were a requiem she’d tack on to the corners of worse days to come, as always. When he offered his hand, she took it and followed him to the tighter tetrad ridges of his bedroom where she didn’t have to hang tough for suavities. They were gone and so was the possibility of spectators. Besides, she wasn’t going to lay in his bed looking like Hannibal Lecter’s latest entree.

Fortunately she was well-coordinated. When the dress dropped in a puddle at her feet, she was arrayed from silk the exact hue of Abraham Darby’s in spring, one-pieced and clasped. It almost looked like something worn for sleep anyway. Senna glanced over her shoulder at Gunner, then dragged herself along his mattress and mumbled, “I’m going to miss sleeping here, your bed is so much better than mine - hey. Stop. Stop looking at me like that. I’m not disappearing from your life forever, we just... Can’t... You know. You know?” Bearing on the edge, she grabbed him and tugged him down with her, smoldering her writ into his hair, “We need to sleep. We do sleep really well, you and me.” Pacific, she stretched a blanket over him and circled a familiar feline in one arm to perch on his chest. “I’m never leaving you in spite of how bad shit looks right now. Never, nope.” Senna hummed to herself, nose nuzzling that of the little lynx, “Porque te amo.” Torpid vagaries would take them, but not before she’d bestrewn soft pecks along Gunner's shoulder. Like making the bed for the most sublime siesta. Things might not be the same, but they’d still be her favorite.

ImageIn the morning she’d maintain symmetry by luck more than anything and try not to disturb Gunner - which, really wasn’t the hardest part. It was avoiding holding onto the walls for guidance down the hall and slipping from the house unnoticed. Apparently gravity was heavier than her conscience, proved by the desperate grasp of the kitchen table when the front door was in sight and Senna got a little too eager.

“Oh, shit...” She whispered, immediately finding the pedicured feet [far too pretty for Dom or November] below her. Steadying herself she followed the legs to satin slipped between virile thighs, also too hairy to be November’s, and up to a groomed beard. Simon. Undeterred by being ‘caught’, Senna shamelessly gaffed the fabric with a dress slung over the crook of her elbow, “Is that fucking Tom Ford?" Theoretically she was in lingerie. And looked slightly the part of a roughed up hooker. Tiny fingers skimmed the material, her eyes full of admiration, "Is this Tom Ford?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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Reservations were a foreign concept to November, akin to functional relationships or children. November had asked, and Dom delivered, degrading her to the smut at the bottom of his shoe - a tool for his pleasure. They had given each other the allusion of wholeness, if only for a night. He had dragged her across the floor, left her porcelain skin painted in black, red and blue. That was the thing with Dom, what made it so difficult to stay away - they were endlessly in sync. Leading parallel lives from two different sides with empty hearts and bright minds and finding themselves pouring their day to day circumvention into one another. There was no superfluous tenderness between the two, no loving kisses or stolen moments of bliss. There was vexation, there was salacious glances and rough animalistic sex.

She had woken up with her body in delicious agony, cracks of light shifting through the drapes the billowed in the gentle breeze. Stark naked, sprawled on her back with only a corner of the sheets across her midsection, Dominic beside her with one arm folded between his pillow and his muscled neck. November rolled over on her stomach, his eyes were closed but she knew he was awake - she doubted he ever experienced a truly deep sleep. Wether it was a symptom of his years behind bars or his own bred quirks, he was constantly in a state of awareness. Her teeth grazed across the fleshy part of his bicep, still tasting the sweat that had built from their night of extracurricular activities, peeking open one eye. “I’m getting some water,” She said, “want some?”

He responded by resuming his facade of sleep, enticing a grin from November. Gliding to his wardrobe, her fingers grazing across the shirts she had long memorized hanging in immaculate order. Everything was always exactly the same in the eldest Bate’s room, a practice that extended to all facets of his life. She had her favorite pieces, of course, but one button down stood out in particular. The roughened fabric against her skin made her feel so delicate, frail - something she only experienced with Dominic. He would take her to the brink where he could break her with one subtle motion, then send her into a whirlwind of euphoria.

Then there was Bel.

She sighed under her breath, slipping into Dominic’s button-down, which skimmed the tops of her thighs. She looked back to the mountain of a man in the bed, tempting her to crawl back into his sheets for another round. November grabbed her phone and cigarettes as she went for the kitchen, the cuffs of Dominic’s shirt hanging past her fingertips like a child wearing their fathers work shirt. The Bates home was still quiet, the morning young. November was all too familiar with it’s makings, she prepared her water with the comfort of one in their own home, sitting herself against the window. She lit her cigarette, opened the window to let her smoke billow out into the crisp Brooklyn morning air.

Bel.
Another sigh, that had been all she had been able to do at the thought of him as of recently. That was what knowing someone too well did. She sent him the usual morning text of their tasks for the day, unable to resist the sassy remark on his behavior the night before. November couldn’t understand why she had expected any different, as of late it was all that had been between them. Bel had never been hers, although a piece of her couldn’t help but to think so. He made her scream, made her angrier than any other person every could - yet life without him at this point seemed impossible. Bel was her other half, a piece of her she never knew had been lost. She thought back to the last time they had been happy with whatever the mess of a relationship they had - it seemed so long ago.

He made empty promises of behaving himself tonight, she couldn’t even pretend that she believed him anymore. To be honest, he wouldn’t be Bel if he didn’t let his temper get the best of him - and that was one of the reasons she couldn’t get enough of him. That fire, that passion - it was something she could never experience with Dominic, as much as he never failed to disappoint. With Bel they could spit insults in one another face, hold one another at gun point, and the next day be laughing like no such thing had passed. Yeah, okay. was all she could say in response to his claims, throwing her cigarette out the window and downing the last of her water.

Voices down the hall were a cue for her to return to Dominic’s corner of the house, the voices chasing her down the hall, followed by a furry feline who swatted at her heels. It was too early for confrontation, she had already had a large enough dose with Bel. Dominic was in the same place she left him, poised on the bed like something out of a cologne advert. She found her humor again, her face lifting in amusement. Her fingers combed through her long tresses, the very same she knew Dominic loved so much - well at least loved to pull. With a kittenish demeanor, she crawled across the bed - her lips finding the flesh between his hip and naval. He remained ever stoic, only emboldening her advances. Her tongue dragged from his side to his pectorals until she could tuck her chin under, perching herself onto his chest.

Dancing his fingers across his chest, November rested her cheek against his skin, looking up at his chiseled features. Her hair splayed across his torso, tickling the tops of his thighs. He still offered no reaction, she imagined how any of his other women would think of him. How they might spend hours trying to interpret his silence as some sort of inner struggle he had to suppress some emotional storm, just the thought made November smile. “Hey,” she spoke softly, reaching for his hair - tugging at it gently until his eyes opened, looking down at her. His fingers reached to push away the hair from her face, tracing along her jawline. “quite a conversationist last night, eh?” she teased.

Dominic rolled his eyes, grumbling under his breath - which she understood as a mention of breakfast. He tossed back the sheet and moved from under her, taut skin across tight muscles twitching as he walked. November watched as a predator eying it’s prey, laying out onto her back. Moving begrudgingly, still heavy with sleep, Dominic found a dark pair of soft linen pants November would see him wear around the house. He went through the motions robotically, tidying up from their fun the night before. His clothes went in the hamper, hers he folded neatly and set on the chair next to the dresser, her shoes set neatly on top. November knew better than to try to help, everything had its place and if she tried he would just trail behind her correcting her mistakes.

So she waited until he was done, stretching her limbs through the pain, unsure how she would be able to even make it through the day still standing - let alone in heels. He looked over at her, eyes asking the question ’Are you coming?’, opening his door. “Yup.” She answered aloud, hopping onto her feet and scooting behind him. Pressing her hips into his, she pushed him into the hall, her hands pressed into his back. “Breakfast, breakfast.” she chanted with the enthusiasm of a child. Dominic groaned in what he intended to display annoyance, but November was well aware that there was a hint of amusement despite his protests. They walked to the kitchen, and as they turned the corner, a flying ball of fur leapt past them.

They both flinched, but their subsequent reactions were different. Where Dominic looked at November to say ’Don’t you fucking dare.’, a massive smile cracked across her face. Big ole’ Dominic Bates, jumping at something as small as a cat. November couldn’t resist to tease him, “Afraid of a wee little pussy, Dom?” She poked his chest, her lips turned up in a mischievous manner, turning on her heel - practically skipping down the remainder of the hall, sensing his eyes rolling from behind her back.

She started a pot of coffee, Dom following behind her and delivering a swift swat to her rear as she reached above for the coffee grounds, she looked over to him impishly. Sleep was still scrawled across his face, during the day he had the conversational skills of someone who had just woken up, in the morning it was even worse. Luckily, November spoke Dominic fluently. He grunted, which meant what do you want for breakfast?

“Pancakes!” November said, with more pep than Dominic would ever be able to muster in his whole existence, taking a seat at the kitchens island, folding her legs to balance herself on the stool. She propped her head up between both palms, elbows poised on the cool granite top. He looked over his shoulder as he gathered the ingredients, eyebrow raised in question of fruit or nah? “Blueberries.” He nodded curtly, and continued as November looked down to her phone, half expecting another text from Bel. The offer of coffee from the night before echoed in her mind, instead she had decided to spend it with the opposition. Webbed between the two king pins of the largest drug families of New York, November couldn’t figure how much longer the two would keep her around - there was only so much room for leeway. Bel and Dom would always be two different stories, but when you were balancing yourself between such unstable pillars, there would come a time that it would all crash down and November knew this.

But right now she had the baron of the Bates family making her blueberry pancakes as she pranced around his house in his own threads, and the heir of the Zaire legacy at the top of her text threads, sending her apologies and invites. For now, she couldn’t allow herself to overanalyze. For now, things were good. “Coffee?” November asked, sliding off her stool. She heard a guttural sound under his breath, signifying yes. She prepared two mugs, one black as her soul - that one was for Dom. Hers topped off with a splash of milk, setting Dom’s beside him and once again sitting herself beside the window to smoke a cigarette as she enjoyed her own cup.

For now, things were good.



Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley
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•F•L•I•P•
.{x}. I'm not scared of your stolen power .{x}.


They'd played and fucked harder than the rest in the game. Deni felt like royalty when she was wrapped up in Clementine, blood soaked or bloodless. Her lover's state of lunacy came and went with the wind; there were never dry spells really but if there were quiet nights, Clementine was antsy and eager with nylon, latex and vinyl. She would exhaust all the resources in every twitching spasm of Deni's muscles. And she loved her, she loved her, she loved her. Deni adored the lack of stillness in Clementine's fervent heart and how it beat for her, survival and bloodshed. This was perfect disease. This was infatuation. It was utter, delicious sickness of the mind.

"I'm in love with you," Deni mewed under the background chaos of NYC with windows wide open to sweep out the dashes of sex in the air, "I need you."


Born into a Yakuza influenced existence had its perks, number one was that Deni wasn't new to violence or the savagery of punishment. Sometimes she pondered the enigma that was her parents. One had to question what an Ichi reincarnate saw in a sweet souled Colombian city girl. It was a hell of a riddle, but they always seemed content. There weren't arguments that most people would expect, like clashing of values or suspicion. Deni's parents were fire and ice but they had a relationship worth envying. And they raised a book and streetwise kid, unfortunately she just didn't want to sit at either hand of her father's in a Japanese carnage syndicate.

Deni Miyu Pogsley found herself more comfortable at the edge of someone else's sanity, or insanity. Not Yuichi Pogsley's, her father's. But Miss Tremaine, the maverick. A wolf in a metropolis but never one to move in fear or deficit of reason. Deni wanted to learn to be the same, which turned out being paradoxical. Because she avoided morning coffee and proposition discussions with her father, she ended up in the hands of a killer named Clementine.

She didn't mind when the morning came and it erased the night before. Deni got used to the idea of mortal frailty. 'Ain't no rest for the wicked and money don't grow on trees'. It was probably a good thing, because it helped her keep herself in check. It was hard to believe she used to cry herself to sleep when the chips were down. Now she simply plastered a crooked sick smile on her face and lit up a cigarette. Sometimes Clementine would serve orgasms on the house, because she knew just as well that Deni may not have participated in the killings but they'd both burn if one of them got caught. Tokens of appreciation. But they'd never get caught. It was give and take, it was partnership's loyalty and a little tiny bit of business and a whole lot of pleasure and street smarts. The mornings were clear and Clementine's unclothed silhouette made everything worth it.

Deni eyed her with a fascination fit for Wuthering Heights. She traced her way down Clementine's brow and nape with barely detected kisses and snuck out of bed to text Gunner and Senna. The group chat came up bare, no replies, which was sort of weird. They probably both just did too much blow and wound up conked in bed with the cat like usual. She settled on texting them individually, asking who would be at the gentleman's club later and which side she should sit on most of the night (she knew Gunner and Senna could never be together like that out in the open, somehow as a trio of mutual friends they made it work in get together settings though). Her inbox came up dry still even two hours later, so she decided to say, "To hell with it." and stop in at the Bates residence during her jog.

Her hair was a mess. Dark and unruly and plopped sideways in a ponytail. She was clad in a sports gray getup, sweat dripping down every chiseled channel of her abdomen by the time her hands rested on her knees and she popped an earbud out. Fluid rasped around her breath like it was swelling in her lungs and she made a mental note to quit smoking. Well, truth be told, she made that note daily.

As she peered up into the windows of the Bates home she wondered what everyone had been up to. Lately Deni was a tangled misconception, intent for Clementine's pleasure and appreciation more than most things. She hoped her friends weren't too ticked at her about it. Sweaty and breathless, she edged her way to the side door and stole past Dom and his beautiful playmate, November. Also known as November Allen, THE Brooklyn heartbreaker. "I'm sweaty and gross, sorry, sorry. Morning Dom. November," Deni said as she swung around a corner and tried not to fix her focus on either one too long, cheeks red from blood rush.

Deni had to mind her own gray cerulean eyes as she lightly jogged past them and let herself into Gunner's room where she expected to see Senna, too. But it was just Gunner, laid up and lonely with his cat. Still lidded and maybe even sleeping. He looked a little washed out even with every inch of his brawn taut. Ah poor guy, he really needs a break. Deni really felt for him, and his demons. Gunner was a trooper and he really had to be if he continued loving his worst enemy's sister.

With mischief in her grin Deni removed one of her Nikes, raised her foot to the bed and hovered it above Gunner's face, "What doesn't kill you wakes you up..." She started with a whisper and then abruptly called out, "Gunner! Get up!"

She withdrew her foot before he could grab it or yell about how awful her socks smelt after a run, and quickly spun around to plop herself on his bed and retie her shoe. The room was dark and he probably liked it that way. Loved sleeping in, hated being out. He enjoyed his solitude more than most people. Wiping sweat from her brow she asked, "Where's Senna? I passed by her place, doesn't look like she's home. Thought for sure she would be here." Deni reached over to give a light chin scratch to Gunner's cat, not caring if her friend's eyes were open or not. Sure her rude awakening had jolted his senses by now, "Has like everyone in the world taken up sleeping until noon? How do you guys do it?" She felt him move a little and glanced toward him, "You look like shit G, did you have a rough night or something?" Her humor evaporated. She leaned over and grabbed his face for a split second, pursing her lips, "Some shit went down. Oh boy."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley Character Portrait: Clementine Tremaine
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ImageCaroline Beaumont

Sleep hardly provided rest. This was life for Caroline Beaumont. When she didn’t spend her days, spilling into nights, devoted to her career, she had a handful of hours to herself that she rarely was able to cherish. Lately all the extra hours she hadn’t kept herself, devoted to a certain heiress of a drug lord family, possibly one of the very same to had led to the demise of Caroline’s very own flesh and blood.

There wasn’t a day, nay a moment, that Caroline went without thinking of Ellie. Of her ability to hide the pain, of how everyone loved her, of how she laughed and made everyone glow from within. There was a photo that sat beside Caroline’s bed that she woke up to every morning, this one being none the different. Ellie was but a child, still grinning wide as simple of a notion as being outside with her family, enjoying the simple nature of being beside a river nearby their cabin. It was one of the rare time their parents spent time with them outside of the public eye, on of the rare times that Caroline knew that Ellie felt loved.

She didn’t blame Ellie for the decisions she made, hell - Caroline was within their parents favor and she still felt the incessant urge to blow her own head in just to shut them up about their precious Caroline. But possible, maybe - if it her demise, her vice, hadn’t been so readily available, Caroline would have had more time. More time to mend the bridge between Ellie and her parents, more time to have helped Ellie. Although Ellie would have probably just have pinned it as yet another attempt from Caroline to be the golden girll.

The same series of thoughts ran through Caroline’s head every morning.

It’s what kept her focused when other distractions arose, one a particular dark haired Colombian with ties to the very same source that was associated with the origin of Ellie’s absence. Senna. All Caroline could do was sigh, just the mere thought of her soft skin made every ill feeling melt away. How could something so damaged be so beautiful? It was amazing how quickly Caroline had grown to devour every morsel she could of the Zaire heiress. She was quick-witted, calm - innocent in her own sense. It killed Caroline to know that such a pure spirit had ended up suffocated by such grime, not given the light, warmth - chance to bloom.

A twinge of disappointed made Caroline’s chest cave when she checked her phone and saw no text. It was Saturday, her only allusion to a day off. Sunday was filled with emails to prep for Monday, everything else was just leading to Friday’s midnight deadline to get their additions into fact checking and formatting before it want to the printer at 3am the next morning. To Caroline, better time could be spent delving into her own personal notes, writing endlessly about the families she had learned to be behind the drug cartel with New York. Sure, there were plenty international players within the city, but these families had legacy associated within the city, generations upon generations feeding carnage to the grand apple itself.

Yet, Caroline could think of several different ways to spend her time, at least several different positions with a certain dark haired temptress.

Caroline shook, her head, she wouldn’t allow herself to succumb to Senna’s charm. She knew the woman was wanted by many, just the way people would look at her whenever she entered the room. Senna was in command of any room she entered, who wouldn’t bend over backwards to make her happy? But this wasn’t about Senna, Caroline looked back at Ellie, centering herself. It was all for Ellie, it always would be - it had to be.

Yet, Caroline had hit a while, all she could do was stare at her notes, evaluating each sector and character in themselves. Her finger would touch her keyboard and stall. Had she let herself fade? What had started as an obsession had become an infatuation.No more. There was one goal, and one goal only. To expose the underbelly of the drug market that led the desperate and damaged part of New York, one of the most illustrious of the first world, and let them bleed from the inside out. Still, reminding herself of this, of all her photos and notes - Caroline returned to those of Senna. Caroline had identified all of the players of this inner circle, knew who was conspiring with whom, which people went home with including the date and time. Each of them connected to one another in their seedy incestuous ways.

Beside the point of mere association by birth, Senna’s connections had the most intrigue. Daughter to one of the largest players in the criminal community of New York City - hell the entire Eastern seaboard, and total diplomacy among all sides, she was outright fascinating. Of course Cristobel Zaire, the current front runner for the Columbian imports, was her brother. Still her ties went deeper, rooting into each branch of the entire roster of main players, Caroline would like to say that was the main reason she began to pursue Caroline but that would be lying.

As difficult as it was, Caroline did her best to focus on the other pieces of the puzzle. There were so many to catalog from within the lions den, all too intelligent to really have any criminal charges proved against them. Dominic and Gunner Bates, along with Cristobel Zaire were the main players, of course there were others dedicated to the cause of corruption. November Allen was a phantom that appeared in Brooklyn from thin air, attaching to the Zaire business and extending the Zaire’s reach into a direct pipeline to the downtown wealth. There was a history of crime and notorious disregard for the law for every person attached to either or both families. Clementine Tremaine, known in the streets of New York City and the colt, and her pet Deni Pogsley - Aeden Rory, a man with a troublesome past...plus the fact that The Little Lady owned by a Jonathon and Annalise Moore was a regular hang out for both families didn't make it seem exactly like a family establishment as it was marketed to be.


The list could go on and one, when you offered a hot meal or some coffee, people felt like talking as long as you kept them fed and happy. Still, Caroline had learned as much as she could from the streets, she needed an in. Senna, She told herself, you have to.

But how could she take advantage of something had grown to be so pure?

Finally, Caroline couldn’t tempt herself any longer. So what if Senna was busy, they had planned for coffee - damnit Caroline would make it happen. She sent a swift text to Senna. Still on for coffee? She asked simply, Senna would respond when she had the chance, she was sure. She sat at her breakfast table with her morning tea and cup of granola and yogurt, checking her work emails. After a while her phone pinged, Senna.

Wouldn’t miss it for the world, babe. x

Caroline smiled, allowing herself to enjoy the moment before reality sat in. She had to make progress today, no more fooling around. Today she wouldn’t let her views of Senna cloud her journalistic objective. No more.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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He’d have let him do it. That was probably the scariest thing about Jasper- Simon would let him do whatever he wanted. Despite all his confidence in a well-cut suit and a glass of whiskey, in the face of true control Simon was not much more then a puppet.

Simon has never truly controlled his life, though he has never complained about the fact either. He coasts on his families fortune and his brothers savvieness- seldom does Simon want for anything that money can provide. Other then making sure to graduate high school and avoiding too much public attention, Simon has never had many obligations. As a teen he hated it- he went out of his way to throw fits for attention and power- but now that he has relaxed into his skin a little Simon is fine letting someone else drive. He has a hard time being alone, a hard time in his own thoughts, mostly because Simon lacks the ability to choose for himself.

So when Jasper dangled the needle in front of him, their bodies pressed together in a way that made him want to dig deep into already abused pale thighs, Simon just stared with a mixture of resigned dependency and lust.

“You know”
...

“I can get you high if you really wanna climb.”
...

“It wouldn’t even hurt,”
...


Each statement had Simon’s eyes flicking between the needle and that lecherous mouth, unsure which he was suddenly craving more. In his mind, Jasper and that needle melded into one- both an a drug that was better left untouched. Both an intoxication that Simon had a hard time dispelling from his already muddled mind.

When Jasper touched his neck, he could feel the intensity of his pulse beating below thin fingers. Thrumming with need, itching to grip that wrist and force that needle to pulsing vein. He swallowed involuntarily- the look in Jasper’s eyes was that of a satisfied predator, one that knew that their catch had willingly given in.

Because he wasn’t pulling away, he wasn’t frowning, he was practically tilting his neck in animalistic submission.

“It’d be so easy.”


Yes, it would be. I want it, I want to climb, I want to get rid of this weight and fucking let it all go, I want to feel less, care less, forget more. Words that stilled at his tounge, the appendage heavy in his mouth both in part by Jasper’s sudden dominance and his own fear.

But before he could speak, Jasper was off him and succumbing to his own demons, leeching away the craving high that Simon had almost had mentally begged for. He turned his head away, his eyes wide and unseeing and fucking terrified by the shame of what he had willingly wanted.

What he still wanted.

With shaky hands he grabbed another joint, lit up, dragging heavy inhales and eating his way through the weed hungrily. Not enough, but enough to quell the racing pulse that was beating through his head.

By now Jasper was out, fallen to the floor in a tangle of euphoric limbs and melted brain cells. Small and frail, looking more like the broken person he was in his unconscious state then someone that could sit atop him with so much predatorial control. Without that penetrating stare and salacious mouth, Jasper was a pathetic mess of grease and grey skin, baring kept alive through his addiction. Simon stared at him, debating whether to leave his demon crumbled on the ground, but instead he pulled the thin body back on the bed. Simon didn’t put him on the pillow and adjust the practically dead body into a comfortable position, but he did pull the sheet over both of them as he turned to blackness as well.



ImageSimon awoke earlier then he normally did. Maybe it was the haunting presence of the still body next to him coupled with the fresh memories of the night before, or maybe it was because he had drank less then he had in a while. His body was sore, muscles tense, but that was not abnormal after a night of biting, tearing, and fucking.

Especially with Jasper.

He removed himself from the bed and slipped his usual silk robe on, forgoing under garments because it was dawn and he really didn’t care if his brothers preferred him to wear boxers. He was sure they’d all seen him buck-ass naked plenty of times, so he it was kind of him to even adorn a robe.

The house was dark and quiet, large windows the only source of light in the empty kitchen. He worked quietly on the expensive espresso machine to make himself a strong shot of the warm liquid, shuffling through the familiar space like a pro. Perched on a bar stool, legs crossed and shoulders back as he sipped on the strong caffeine, Simon did not expect to be bothered till much later in the morning. Possibly Gunner would stumble out after 11, or Jasper would slip out like a satisfied cat, or the looming presence of the older Bates would join him for coffee...

But when Senna Zaire practically tripped over his crossed legs, her wild appearance both transidently beautiful and tragically rough at the same time, Simon couldn't help but be speechless. She was damaged, her porcelain face married by a blooming bruise, her clothes uncharacteristically messy. Though she still had the look of a disaster themed runway model, Simon knew that Senna had not expected to be caught like this. He stared at her, brows intense as he sipped his espresso with a look that was very reminiscent of his eldest brother, the Dominic guarded expression and intensity a look that he had often mimicked growing up. Eyes flicked away from her, down the long dark corridor, his mind wrapping around which room she was stumbling out of. Not Dom, surely, but Gunner...

Frankly, it explained a hell out a lot.

“Oh, shit...”

"Oh shit indeed" He replied, setting down the cup just as thin fingers reached for his silken sleeve.

“Is that fucking Tom Ford?"

What? He looked at her fingers, stroking the expensive designer fabric with a deftness that showed she knew her shit. Simon only dressed in the most expensive of clothes, even for lounging around his brothers den.

"Is this Tom Ford?”

He smirked, nodding his head with a tilt of amusement. Frankly, he didn't care who Gunner was fucking. He was surprised by this flavor of woman, the Zaires being a family that was to intermingled in their own they were almost just estranged cousins. But Gunner was never one that played by the rules, and Senna was unquestionably beautiful.

And she knew clothes, which made all malicious prejudice towards their irritating family squabble die before he could think uttered them. Let Bel and Gunner squabble, if Gun was fucking Senna then Simon would make use of this particular relationship as well.

"Of course its Tom fucking Ford, I've spent enough money on him to own stock in his designs. You, on the other hand-" He stroked the pink softness that was falling from the females lithe frame, though beautiful and intricate and fine, Simon knew her to be a woman of the same class of person as him. The scrap of fabric that currently covered her made her seem like some common trash that slinked out of the Bates house in the cover of the early morning darkness and Senna was far to perfectly sculpted to be giving off that appearance,"-deserve something more Carine Gilson then this scrap of fabric."

He nodded towards the dress cast over her arm, "That one though was impeccable, you wore it to the Little Lady?" A slow grin spread over his face after he finished off his espresso, his mind conjuring up a plan that he knew would benefit his own needs of distraction and clothes and maybe a little intel on this new relationship with his brother, "Have you ever been in Missoni showroom? I think they have a new season out and I know the seller" They'd fucked on a few occasions, enough that Simon has access to the latest designs when he wanted them.

Simon uncrossed his legs, eyebrows raised casually and smirk both amused and deadly, "I'd love to steal you away from whatever shit you have going on with the Bates down the hall, I think I might be a hell of a lot more fun that Gun"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae
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There was something weird about waking up in a Bates house. As Jasper shoved the covers to the side and pushed his hair away from his face, the smell of cooked food and being enclosed in a liveable, respectable space left an obverse feeling in his stomach. In spite of the glass roof that had shattered behind his temples and the taste of something acrid and deceased behind his teeth, he could pick this feeling apart from a simple heroin hangover. The heroin was welcoming. Perhaps it was just the thought that if the heavy silence around him had been that of shoes at the foot of the bed not going anywhere, he’d be reminded of a visage long before last night’s. A broken life restored to it’s former glory. It was moments like this when time liked to conquer you with memories of a past that no longer resembled you until your mind was nothing but a revine of yesterdays. And yet Jasper, life’s own antithesis, couldn’t bring himself to really embrace the feeling. Times of loneliness only made his astonished heart realize it felt no love, save for the choking longing of addiction’s hand ascending his spine. The triple six on his scalp was unperturbed by these periods of weakness. Every night he used his body like a prayer to bring the empty masses to their knees, baptizing them in the renewing waters of his embrace. The numerical water mark of his true maker pays no attention; in the morning he would spit out the teeth that didn’t belong to him and wipe the red from his mouth.

Jasper slipped out of the bed and back into his boxers and pants, a challenge considering the soreness in his muscles and the pressure in his skull. The site of a ruffled through closet caught his attention just as he pulled his shirt back on, bringing Jasper’s eyebrows together, followed by a roll of his eyes. Simon acquired clothes the way conquistadors acquire countries. Hung them on wood fucking hangers like flags. Though this aspect of Simon’s life was nothing new to Jasper, it never ceased to amuse him. Brand names whose syllables Jasper’s mouth had never formed; fabrics worth more than his life. He slid his way over to rifle through the exhibit, if only to acquiesce his own curiosity. Did Simon’s shoulders lament their absence? shiiit, probably. Though, for the sake of his own needs, Jasper liked to think his counterpart had a place for him hung up in the back of his head somewhere. Needed it, honestly. He was getting used to this exchange (as much as he hated to think about it) the way Simon was used to the finer things in life, and Lord knows should his sheep ever stray Jasper would rather put in work bringing a distant Bates back into the basement of their doubt and wait out the explosions in the blind dark than advertise some world class blowies on the subway.

Then again, he was a creature of desire. He’d tell himself what he needed to hear and power through that shit.

The thought made him snort, then it was back to business. Naloxone HCL to wake the fuck up, or Methadone to calm the fuck down? Slow release Palladone so he can build up to becoming comatose like a good orgasm or Alfentanil? He could dissolve that mess in water and inject it straight up; it would give his hands something to do, at least. Neither really compared to the real thing. Taking pain medication was pretty much the equivalent of trying to spit your teeth out before a dashboard roared into your throat. You were fucked either way. But it did give him just enough of a hit to feel like an addict should without the whole going unconscious for hours or feverishly shaking somewhere. (As if he didn’t live for that shit anyway). Still, on a more serious note, he did have actual responsibilities like rent and his fish was probably dead and fuck it, being high on heroin was the best excuse for being lazy - something he didn’t need to be at this very moment. It helped that Jasper had a guy for all that high-but-not-really opioid shit, too. The ordeal usually went with his man complaining about how bad he felt robbing from his cancerous aunt (“she’s literally dying, man”) to which Jasper always shrugged and scoffed (“and I’m not?”). If he came off as cruel it’s because he was.

But first breakfast. Jasper splashed some water on his face in the bathroom before drying off and making his way downstairs, letting the smell of coffee and food lead him. The sound of other people didn’t put him off. It emboldened him, if anything. Jasper liked to ruin other people’s sunny moments with his overcast presence, light and darkness brewing underneath his skin like an emerging storm. You didn’t always see the lightning coming, but you damn sure heard the echoes. Of course, even if he didn’t have any preconceived ideas of who would be down here, he didn’t expect to see chef Dominic in the kitchen. Jasper strolled in, slightly turned on by the thought of the more fearsome Bates knowing his way around a kitchen. The tsunami to Jasper’s tornado. They both destroyed people in different ways, so God must have known what he was doing allowing such a meeting to happen, right? Praise Jesus, hallelujah, amen.

Still, hunger won out over the multitude of things he could’ve said (what’s it gonna take for you to cook for me, huh, daddy?) and November’s presence was not lost on Jasper. He weaved his way between them and through the kitchen, managing to pull a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and snag a pancake off the stove before sending them one last amused smirk and leaving the house altogether.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley Character Portrait: Clementine Tremaine
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•F•L•I•P•
.{x}. I see right through you any hour .{x}.


Deni moved back and forth on mattress edges with a rocking annoyance so that her friend had no other choice than to rise to the occasion of her presence, unwanted or not. Gunner was placid. Maybe a little overdue for demons riding on his back but! Usually at least sort of pleased that Deni dropped in, because he was one of the few she had and vice-a-versa. He could get his breakfast drugs after she left and he probably would because G usually did most of his dirty deeds in private.

A slight arch went into the dominant straight line of her right eyebrow as she decided to release Gunner’s face which looked skeletal as hell, she suspected it wasn’t the drugs but the desolation that reeked more than her gym socks. “Yikes,” she snapped in a flat pitch, glancing at space in the bed where Senna probably cuddled earlier, “Slipped away while you were sleeping. What a hoe bag.”

She slapped her knee and let out a cackle. They both knew Senna was anything but the derogatory title and anything Deni said was mostly out of love and good humor.

Deni’s hand thrashed in a flood of black hair as she fought with a hair tie, trying to imagine why Senna would just up and disappear. That wasn’t really her style at least to Deni’s knowledge and if Deni knew ANYTHING it was that on the DL, Senna was in looveeeee with Gunner. It was joint between them both honestly, and she only knew this from noting closely how they looked at each other and the way their chests puffed at each other’s gabbing. Among just friends, nobody got that excited. They all loved each other but come on. There were butterflies fluttering and shit, Deni just shot them out of the air and reminded Senna and G that she was still in the room usually.

PEW PEW!

Ah heck. They were the best friends she could hope for aside from the pale-haired show horse back at home. And so what if they were in love? That was probably an awesome thing! But judging by the emptiness beside G, it wasn’t in motion. It was ehhhh, stopped short. Deni ignored his question about how she managed to wake up on the right side of the bed with pep in her step and eagerness to get a jog done. Well! Clocking overtime in autopsy reports just to snip the wrong vessel and get sprayed with umentionables had to be countered by some kind of therapeutic activity. Hers was getting up and taking a jog at the asscrack of dawn.

“So, are we going to cut the shit? The niceties! They’re killing me. G, I know. She loves ya, something fierce, she does, I know. You love her too. But I need the details if I you want me to offer you any consolation.” Deni twisted her spine and reached over to ruffle the mess of unruly shag on Gunner’s head, shrugged softly. She returned to her post where she respected his personal space and messed with the shoelaces that were going to make her feet sore if she didn't loosen them evenly.

Senna's got a girl.
Don't think I had a chance.
Glad you missed it.


Instinctively Deni hissed and reeled in a soap opera way, "Bullshit!" Her mane whipped as she jumped to her feet, clearly displeased with the news. "I did not spend the last year of my residency in Brooklyn liiiiistening over and over to her freaking subtle hints about being in love with you for her to run off with some girl. A girl? Hell no. I mean don't get me wrong G, I love me some pussy and I have a hell of a woman but she is the only one in this world who could show you up. And she belongs to me! They won't last. I'm not saying this to make you feel better, but they won't. No one knows Senna like you do. What the hell did she even say about it? Errr, I'm sorry G. I don't think this will stand. I really don't." Her hands and arms went wide as she paced back and forth in front of him, "Oh just wait till I see her at the club tonight. I'll strangle her pretty little soft neck! Well, not all the way, but mostly! Baka! Baka! Kono ama!"

She went a little eccentric. Her cheeks puffed up and turned rosy, eyes slits as she realized. "Heh, sorry, G, got carried away. Hey, hey, it'll all be good. Nothing gets in the way of true love, not even good head." Guiltily she grinned and tied her hair high. She punched his shoulder harder than most girls were capable of, "Hey, you're good, man. I'll hang with you tonight, we'll scope the sitch. Worse comes to worst I just have Clem waste the bitch right? Heh!!!! Okay, too soon, sorry."

Silence grew between them, Deni breathed it in deeply. She shook her head and straightened her sports bra, "It hurts like a bitch. But this thing with her and the other girl won't last. By the way, Bel is a pussy, kuso-tare yarou. I'll smack him in his teeth." It wouldn't be the first time she threatened it, and if she followed through, that wouldn't be a first either. He might have been king shit in the streets but Deni was not afraid of him and she showed it frequently. All he was really was a royal pain in the ass and Senna was his only redeeming quality, shame he didn't treat her better as a brother.

Waving, she added, "Tonight. Don't be late, I wanna' get druuuunk!" And then she disappeared. By the time she was skidding to a stop in the kitchen, she smelt pancakes and after-sex-glory mixed with Kona. How she wished she was experiencing it firsthand. She dwelled a little, swaying and peering between Dominic and November, "I would love to stay..." Neither of them budged, but a pale ghost flew into the small space to grab something from the fridge. Junkie Candy Jasper! "Heeeey!" She called out to him as he breezed past and used him as her ticket to leave without awkwardly lingering longer.

She whizzed out behind Jasper and caught up to his side even if only for a few minutes, breathed with relief, "Wow place is full of sexual tension huh?" Snorting, she slapped his back softly as if they were long time pals but really they had maybe encountered each other a few times. He was prettier than the gritty boys but thin and haggard. It reminded her of the homelessness scattered throughout the city, just how scary this side of life could get. With a small stretch she said, "I guess I'll bump into ya again soon."

She had to get back. Clementine never slept long and there were demons to play with in the bed, across the counter, against the wall...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley
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Morning's with her were a constant constellation that he could depend on. She knew him well, knew who he was and how he worked. She'd seen the parts of him that weren't as controlled as the world he created around himself was; but more importantly, she understood. She didn't push him, and he didn't push her. They simply existed.

There always came a playfulness in the early sunlight, and he always found himself wondering if she was like that with the others whose beds she shared. Did they know her the way he did? Or did they end up confused, unable to compare those bright smiles to the girl who begged to be hurt and used the night before. He had no delusions in his mind that she was anything like him, in that no one else had ever seen her wake, the way she saw him.

Like everything Dominic did, there was a routine when it came to November; one she allowed and learned and slipped into seamlessly. If their nights were all about pain and need, clawing the hurt out of one another until they finally felt better, then their mornings were about care and atonement. Soothing touches to heal the aches of needed bruises. And there was still no doubt what exactly they were to each other, still no illusions of love or something important. But there was a friendship there, a kinship, that deserved the time to promise that they were okay. That they weren't broken and lost. That at the end of the day, they still had someone to turn to.

The house was characteristically quiet when they rose, padded their way to the kitchen, uninterrupted except by a furry interloper and an unwanted joke from a wicked mouth. There was no stopping Novi though, and Dom had no energy to do so anyway.

Breakfast was tradition, coffee habit, and Dom set about his work only stopping on occasion to draw his fingers down November's bare legs, or press soft kisses to her temple. It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was just the way he liked it. So, of course, the front door swung open. Deni was through his house in a flurry of quick steps and dark hair, Asian beauty flushed from a run and glistening with sweat. She rattled off apologies, maybe said good morning, but she was gone before his sleep muddled mind could even fully understand her presence.

Bright blue eyes blinked at Novi, as if asking for conformation that the girl had been there at all, but all he got was a large smile and a comforting hand patting at his upper arm. He rolled his eyes slightly, but went back to his task. Providing for the girl who let him treat her like a whore, who loved it as much as he did and allowed him something to pour his desires into. Work his frustrations out on. The least he could do was treat her like a princess afterwords, even if it wasn't really his style. She'd earned it, with everything she gave him.

But alas, peace never lasted. As the last of the pancakes made their way to plates, another person who shouldn't have been in his house appeared, and somehow Dom had a feeling he wasn't the only one. While he had yet to see his youngest brother, somehow fate would have it that his dangerous little playmate would cross Dom's path.

Jasper Callaghan was attractive in a way that must make people know what Eve had felt when she reached for that apple, regardless of who told her not to. Even God. He was sharp edges as dark mischief and a promise that hell doesn't hurt that bad, baby. And Dominic understood, more than he wanted, why Simon couldn't seem to leave him alone.

The fatal little shit weaved his way through Dominic and November's forms, stole water out of his fridge, a pancake from his stove. And Deni, once again, was not far behind him. Pep and sunshine and everything he couldn't stand, especially this early in the morning. Dom caved. He found November, placed himself between her lazily parted legs hanging over his counter, and pushed his face into silky brown waves. Maybe if he stayed hidden there long enough, everyone would leave. They had to eventually, right?

Soft laughter reached his ears, long nails running through his thick hair. She was used to this as well, if nothing else. Dom wasn't sociable at the best of times, but specifically in the morning. Especially in a household where he could expect no on to rise early, or demand his attention. He stayed there for as long as she would let him, the rough skin of his palm sliding under her stolen shirt to rest against the soft, smooth skin of her lower back. She murmured poetry to him, feather light kisses playing along his ear, teeth sinking gently to the lobe.

It was only when her stomach growled that he pulled away, handed her a fork and dug out the syrup. They'd eat right there on the counter, never cared much for being proper. And she'd smile at him, wink, and he'd wonder what had pushed her so hard last night. What had made her come to him, tasting of bitterness and a thread tugged at too hard. But he never asked, because it wasn't his place. Wasn't his job or his concern, and he learned a long time ago that sometimes the consequences of his stated curiosity weren't worth the trails.

As always, as their time together came to a close, Dom drew her close and stole one last kiss. Softer, aware of the cut across her lip that would bleed again with a little more pressure. And he knew he would see her again, soon as fate would always have it, but he never quite knew when. He didn't worry, though.

November Mae was a ghost in the wind, but she always found her way to him.
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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Lazarus Degrays
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⟝BEL⟞
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Blood’s got a stamp stickier than drying wax, labeled me C a m b i o n. I’m quenching the demons of fate while they flick through Benjamins and beg to attack saints. One thing I’m sure’a’s been the same, pleasure ain’t ever free.

The question has come a thousand times, written on the wall then imbued by the back splash of a blown brain. It used to look like, “Have you always been like this?” One persuaded glance at Chloe and he knows for god damn sure he hasn’t. In spite of it, eternal damnation is calling and he’s always eager when the doorbell rings. Bone to chin, the knuckle-pop pressure left his neck corrugating in repercussions. He’d stirred her up. But she was likely reigning supreme, he’d have to admit it. Transposed his entire universe and they knew, both of them, that this would not be the last time. Sex was becoming just as much a dependency as the capsules lingering in her clammy palms, at least on that concept she was frank. She was innately all the hues of fire and brimstone, tresses fierce but silken wrapped around his wrist. Contingencies were messy but true blue all the’ same. Hell was a state of mind and fleeting venue placed between her thighs: cozy.

Bel held habits and contradictions like accolades complimenting an outfit more fitting than his Rolex. Jonathan Moore had a point on his smear campaign, the kid sure was an impertinent little fuck, all things considered. And like all other things, Bel wore this too, unabashed and rolling tight shoulders with his head high. He might not have grasped full landslide. On the way up, he was still making power moves. The common denominator was degeneracy. Fractions prepared for the fall when gutter virginity manifested, but that was few and far between. Morality Chloe was anything but. Her tongue was the snake of sin, crooning a pet name as she shamelessly left as though not much had occurred to have her there in a morning after sort of fashion. Adios bonita. Until next time. ‘Cause being real? There would be at least a dozen next times.

Simplicity mixed with the uncontaminated good intentions of hope came around less than full moons. Where was she after that mess of a night? He half worried about the place Hani skittered off to like astral flickers in wake of an explosion, but somehow knew she was fine regardless. Felt bad for leaving. And on the same note, she wasn’t sticking around after ensuring he’d been alright from the upheaval at the Little Lady anyway. Bel swiped through his contacts and shot her a message on the loose spectrum of reminders, gratitude. You gonna' let me take you out for treating me so damn good? He’d chased a symbolic lunar constellation, underway, and pondered why she’d ever look twice at a man like him. Daily reflections had him humbled. Might have been monumentally manipulative, mean-minded, shambolic and commitment-fearing but he never forgot anybody. Never dreamed of overlooking genuine warmth that tingled long after somebody was physically gone. He’d promised her dinner, and she did that thing she was prone to do, pitched smirk, like she wanted to say yes, but knew a hell of a lot better. Tireless, that’s how he’d keep it up until she at least caved for a drink. Sporadic meetings, ten minute coffee sit-ins. Porque tengo miedo. No estoy entero. Tengo miedo de mí mismo. Y tu no. Because he was never going to pass over her. Because he couldn’t and had no desire to, inclinations slanted aggressively toward keeping her around. For something whole to keep him at anchor.

And still the son of a bitch wondered where the descent began. Where it would end. If by some terrible twist he’d be another dope fiend in the grand scheme, if there was a chance for a total loss or if losing his father was enough. He couldn’t survive another slip with Senna. Bebita didn’t know it but she kept him alive most days, and had she decided to be iron-willed again one day, run off shaking no dreams, love or daisies from her hair, he’d be a ruined man. All of this was hers, for her, at the end of the day. Nobody knew it.

Exceptions to the rule oscillated between Dominic Bates and sweet November Allen. And providence would have it so cruel as to intertwine the two on a tangental plane not completely intangible to Cristobel. He fuckin' wished he couldn't feel it. By hook or crook he coped, knowing how often the stars put his back to the wall. Tough love was still love at any rate. He’d never own Novi, she’d always cognize the pieces of him she sank her nails into and Dominic would be a glorified soul without regard to strife or time. Dice rolls were hard-hearted, that’s something even Dom told him. Perhaps he instilled it more aggressively in Senna, to a point of undying affection and admiration. ‘Cause she’d go running to him when she was bleeding, on the last skirt of balance. And Bel could never be upset. Couldn’t figure this was the flattened toe step of boundary-crossing, when all Dom had ever done was love Baby like she was his own.

He coulda’ sat on the bow of a bender, cursing the man who stole any woman he’d needed to keep, but Bel was not that deluded.





There were times to reflect on. Where things were put plainer. When Brooklyn nights were mid-July and hotter than the home Senna knew away from home, quiet. Too fucking quiet. Funny how taking something so mild out of a room changes the entire atmosphere. How thinking it ain't gonna' cause a huge difference, just like a framed portrait shifting two inches to the left. But when she decided to go every picture fell askew. She was just a child. What could have been done to stop a stubborn child who thought she was in love?

ImageDom always let her go wherever she wanted 'long as she was confident enough in herself to get through grated shins, which would extend into afflictions of the mind in due time. He took the edge off of everything in a way Bel nor his father could. Promises, and dandelions or some shit that Bel's lacking in lyrics could never stand up to. But even Bel couldn't wrap his head around why a person composed in such coarse loyalty coulda' stood the sight of Baby going away. 'Cause if it was hard on everyone, it was harder on the man who held her fragile pinkened hands and helped her walk rickets out of knocking knees. The man that bebita went like lightning to if ever anything was out of place, or she simply needed a crutch or a word of advice. She never ran home to Bel. He supposed this was all his fault. At least, he did the night that he was a shot off from being alcohol-influenced into drunk driving.

The doors of a dive were propped wide open and the sound going in and out melted around traffic, jive and sexual tension not participated in by himself. Which is strange. And anyone could say that if they saw him. Luckily for him, only person who saw him that night was an iron treasure chest for secrets. Guard mutt not trained to bite unless in protective measure. Bel remembered how he knew without looking 'cause of the way Dom's hand closed around his shoulder and shook in one sturdy gesture. Behind it trundled, "Y'alright, now, that's enough." How he had to suffocate the malice mandated by someone Dom's very own age, sweeping Bel's kid sister off her naive feet. Sapping her wouldn't do any good, either, though. Baby was aware enough at the very least, to know what kinda' royal fucking mess she dove head first into. Isn't that why she did it? Thinking messes were immunity, that she knew it well enough by residing in perdition for the living - to fix it? Did she wanna' fix that trainwreck of a human named Lazarus or was it authentic ardor? Either thought made him sick, or, maybe that was the bourbon and lack of food in his stomach.

"Hardly out of high school, Dom. Fuckin' kid." Yukked, choked, swiveled an empty glass in hand. "God damn kid."
"Smart kid." Dom countered.
"Yeah, right."
"Now look Bel, can't say I'm happy either, but Senna is gonna' come home one day, and she's gonna' be the one to leave; she's smart."
"Changed her number," Bel interrupted, slurring a blurred intent for his own perspective, "Hasn't said shit to me."
"Well, what can y'do, turn your fuckin' liver inside out and hope she calls you up and you get to play hero?"
"Huh, you know saying some shit like --"
"Spare me, Bel," Dom paid off the eldest Zaire's tab, "This ain't about you, not Lazarus, it's about her."
"But she just --"

The indicative inhalation of frustrations mustered into words of wisdom. Timber creaked under the sitting weight of Dom, who smelt of foreign tobacco and an aged musk that Bel, at twenty four, couldn't yet fully appreciate. Under different circumstances Bel would have yapped something more slick. Threatening. But where they were and the turn of events reviewed, they both knew it wasn't right. And it would never be like that. Besides, Bel was way too sloshed to throw a punch let alone pave the path of years lost to rage and secrecy. He needed Dom's guidance and he'd accepted that even in the face of bitter wrath boiling against his gums to expose pointed teeth. And Dominic was a tree trunk of a gent who was by no means above breaking fingers backwards to make a point, so it was what it was and Bel agreed to what was coming.

He needed it.

"She just fell in love, and some motherfucker spotted her miles off and knew she was gold so he wanted her, and she was taken with him. She came up in the filth even though she had nice things. All she knows is this life. The people that get stuck inside of it. So he mighta' sparkled lil' bit, 'cause he's not just a junkie, he's smart and knows what he's doing. Said a few things and she dropped her Sylvia Plath book to listen to his story instead, what do we get to do... Kill him? Drag her kicking and screaming back on to Brooklyn? That little girl is becoming a woman and we see her as a child and that’s why we’re fucked up right now. She’ll come home, Bel. Just think ‘bout that. She will. She’s our Baby but she’s not just that, she’s a lot more. Can’t keep taking credit from her when she’s off in some other part of the world doing things her own way. She’ll learn from this somehow and there ain’t no telling what it will be right now but she will. She loves you, she’d never stay away too long without explanation. Right now she’s got her hands full of decisions and she’s living her life.”





When did they stop thinking of Senna as a child? Was it when she slipped into heels instead of ballet flats or was it when she started romanticizing narcotics and the spirits they possessed? Could have been anything amid all the bittersweet developments. Was she smarter now, free of a shackled relationship and just drifting among wreckage she thought was pretty? Was she the wreckage? Who knows. Who really knows. All he could say at present was that she really was shrewd. Even if from an external standpoint she looked foolish, Baby was quick on the uptake.

ImageAnd apparently ignoring his texts or passed out at her apartment. Bel figured he’d see her at the club which was sending for him by the point of NYC’s sunset modeling like an abscess glowing Abutilon on a blanket of reds and blues. The jaws of a chill settled into him but ten minutes into a VIP booth, leather was clung to olive skin and intolerable. He tossed it over a vacant chair, tried not to think too hard about every event that led him to this very location. Brooding would become a deterrent, high stakes pinning him in crosshairs couldn’t be snubbed if he wasn’t vigilant. He eased his phone into his pocket and hung his head back against a vinyl slip [guess this shit was easier to clean body oils off of] for a few slow blinks leading up to visual attendance.

Women moved without reticence. In lieu of inhibitions and wool sweaters they wore glitter grease, rubbed the toned thighs of hustle hanging by poles. They'd serve as a good distraction when Gunner inevitably palmed through the drapes and sat his ass down in the same subdivision. There’d be enough of a production without enmity, Bel reminded himself to dial his shit back as he twisted soft bolts of dark hair between tattooed extremities and focused on the cadence of hips nailing bass beats. Exposed brick turned black in the discotheque, asses clapped and baby dolls hung off of his neck, plump lips whispering.

Who was gonna’ walk through those curtains?
The last person most people wanted to see, he was sure of it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley Character Portrait: Declan Hayes
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ImageImage


She couldn’t get enough of the pain, a form of penance. Every night spent being thrown, dragged, slapped - she’d wake up feeling redeemed in some sick and twisted way. November had never been religious, but she believed in some way that being treated like nothing more than a whore, to be demeaned and torn down to nothing more than a means to an end let her wake up feeling like she had paid for all the shit she caused during the day. When she was with Dominic he didn’t try to be gentle with her, or worship her. He needed to hurt her as much as she needed to feel pain, each feeling control in their actions. She admired her handiwork as he cooked, the red marks her nails left behind painting his back.

There was a tenderness to Dominic in the morning that she was aware only she was privy to. Between flipping the pancakes or pouring the batter he’d return to her, course fingers tracing shapes across her skin and stealing kisses. Everything was so simple with him, nothing more than what it was. They never needed explanations from each other, or to share feelings or excuses. He never asked questions, she never did in return, yet November knew Dominic Bates knew all without having to ask. She knew Dominic used her for his own carnal desires, and while November did the same, his presence was therapeutic. With Dominic there was no games, no passive aggression - and he would wake up, albeit reluctant, make her pancakes in the morning.

Deni came through the kitchen, and when Dominic blinked at her in confusion she laughed, the delectable bite of murderous potential was of such ethereal beauty she hardly believed she was real herself. Deni had a tendency to make November’s heart flutter, a walking dream. Stunning eyes, full lips and hypnotizing hips, November licked her lips at her presence. She patted Dominic’s arm assuringly, and he carried on with her pancakes, as he should.


Playful as a kitten, November was filled with cheeky expressions and smirks any time Dominic looked over to her, they didn’t need words to enjoy their morning. Dom finished her pancakes, but before he could serve her Jasper breezed between them, stealing a pancake and water - followed by Deni. She watched as Dominic crumbled, he was tolerant of people at his best of , in the mornings November was lucky enough he didn’t throw her out on her ass, having his house flooded with random faces was more than too much for the eldest Bates.

He buried himself into her hair, she laughed. Dominic was a creature of habit, of order - and finding comfort in November’s mane was one of those habits. Her fingers ran through his hair, her body pressed against him. She pushed herself closer into him, breathing into his ear. She could stay there all day, not having to say a word with Dominic Bates treating her like the fucking Queen of England.

Her stomach rumbled, Dominic responded with no hesitation, serving her pancakes along with syrup. November’s face lit up with glee, pure satisfaction scrawled across her face with the first bite.

He treated her like a queen of a kingdom of one, showering her with affection. November was all to aware to treasure each moment she was able to share with Dominic, what he gave was a rare indulgence. What had began as a fling had become an addiction, a need for one another’s submission or domination - depending on the events of the day that had preceded them. When he kissed good bye, it always felt like the last time. Maybe it was easier to tell herself that, unable to grasp why a man of his caliber would ever treat her so well.

She returned home to a hungry cat, yet again, meowing for her affection. “Sorry, Wicked.” She said, carrying the cat to the couch where she made herself comfortable, turning on the television to melt away the hours. Occasionally checking her phone for texts, admittedly from Bel, she laid there with Wicked curled across her lap and exasperation manipulating her features.

How much longer could she keep this life up?

How much longer could she stay in one place, day after day becoming more and more tangled in the messy web of crime and hedonism? Once she was nothing but a whisper, hardly more than a character in a story written by someone else. How had she evolved from an enigma to being so transparent to an entire network of people? One cigarette burned after another, followed by one glass of wine after another. Solitude usually led to doubt, wondering how did she ever let herself become like these people?

The answer was simple, Bel.

She had found someone who saw her for the monster she was, and loved her all the more for it. It was the most euphoric drug of all time. But as their relationship became strained, as did their business. November knew what she had to do, she had leave - she always knew this. How could she stay? She was nothing but an outsider, as she always would be. November could never be respected like Dominic, or adored like Senna - or even despised on a level that can only stem from a lifetime friendship like Gunner or Bel. She was only a rotating figure, someone to fuck or use, she wasn’t part of this life.

“Fuck off.” She told herself, she always did this. Why couldn’t she just enjoy the ride, the ups and downs of life as any other person would? Where else in the world would she ever find herself surrounded by people who had demons that could be on par with her own? Aware that happiness was a myth, but nonetheless jealous of the happiness others were able to find in each other.

She would never be that girl.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




ImagePerhaps November had been too impatient to arrive at the strip club, the girls knew her too well. She shook a promise of snow and they took her into the private rooms, all too eager to party with the femme fatale. She danced with the girls, glittered skin caressing her own. A few lines off a few asses, a few kisses, a couple of bottles and November had forgotten all about her previous doubts. Why would she ever want to leave?

Legs across a caramel colored lap with creamy colored arms wrapped over her shoulders, November couldn’t stop watching the scene unfold around her. Four lovely ladies, all there for a private show all for her. Something within her snapped, she was unable to give a fuck anymore. The lights flashed, the music pounded and November’s eyes were wide. A girl brought her a drink and a smile, leaning in to whisper in her ear. “Mr. Zaire is in the VIP section, just so that you are aware.”

“Psh, fuck that.” The girls laughed and held her closer, she kissed them each in turn.

More dancing, more perfect bodies, a line or two more - November was unaware how much time had passed but she was sure she had the word W A R N I N G : reckless
stamped across her forehead. When she emerged from the private room, the club was packed. She danced in a line with the girls as they went back to their prospective place, unable to stop herself to pull the delectable caramel treat into herself before the girl ran off. “You come back to me.” She said with a wink.

**The essence of her wept from the walls like secrets, only kept between them, were breathing upon her entry. Cartilage darted in contortions of instinct. He didn’t look her way, but knew damn well she was there. Text messages riddled them both blank, blasé, lukewarm and too pent up for either of their own good. Love and loathing. En noviembre más dulce. But he knew better than to shoot her a look - any look. Grievances plaited from her tabs to his, the romps and lines all assumed in good fun were becoming anything but. They stayed. They kept the shit up, playing their sport in spite of its proneness to push blood between tight teeth. Gashes in mouth. DNA swapped and lost and burned on the flicking tongues, the pain of belonging to no one and everyone, this moral slivered, that one immortal. Modern romance really wasn’t shit like letters worn scarlet. Shakespeares or Margaret Mitchells. It was more like infernos adapted to, never escaped. Dante could tell you about that.

Then again, so could Bel. - sacri xx


She knew where Bel was, it was as if she could sense him. He didn’t have to look to give her a glare, it penetrated her. It was hot, like he knew where her mind was. If she showed any acknowledgement, it wasn’t intentional. What she did notice was that the Bates had arrived, conveniently located next to the bar. Dominic sat idly, unamused, with his signature whiskey and dominating demeanor. November couldn’t pretend not to intentionally cross their path as she went to the bar once again, but before she could order a drink an arm wrapped around her waist pulling her down into a lap. She fit so well against him, his arm pulling her in tight.

“Oo!” she giggled, framing Dominic’s face between her hands. “Rather fresh tonight, aren’t you?”

He looked off as if she hadn’t even spoken, sipping his whiskey. Amidst the strobe lights and dancing ladies he still managed to look like a sculpted statue, still and unflinching. She reached for his drink, he pulled it away and gave her a look to say You’ve had enough. She pouted, but he was right, he always was. He looked back out, not even a grunt. He didn’t have to, he knew she was aware that he was right.

Instead of putting up a battle, November enjoyed her view, slipping bills wherever she could. She even managed to get a lap dance whilst on Dominic’s lap, although she was obviously much more excited than Dom. When she made eye contact with Bel, he was joined by Senna who was snuggled up to a nice blonde piece.

They finally had themselves at a lock of curiosity, gazes trafficked and congested with the high tension of ‘I could fuck you right now’ or ‘I could kill you right now’. She had the mosaic facet of those snarling woods that kept Snow White scared out of her wits for years. Eyes smoldering like mahogany coal, recoil on a snapped blink as her brain fired up breakdowns of situations said square gone rounded for the sake of cutting corners. Dominic’s arms were about her hourglass waist and Bel twitched with acknowledgment, again. Tu no eres mio. Oh yeah, we’re liars and cheats baby. Our tug-o-wars been instated by lack of degree and copious predisposition to paroxysm and how damn good it hurts. - sacri xx

She couldn’t continue to ignore him now, November shifted her weight to stand but Dominic held her down, grunting in protest.
“Dom, I have to go.”
Grunt. Bullshit, stay.
“You know I can’t.”
Grunt. Stay.

He closed it by kissing her shoulder.
She sighed, resisting a grin. “Five minutes, that’s all.”

Although Dominic wasn’t one to smile, she knew there was inward grin with a sense of victory. She felt him shift to say something to Gunner, motioning presumably to the blonde wrapped around Senna. November gave him a look to say Be nice. that he ignored, still staring off intently into empty space. Five minutes passed, November leaned to whisper in Dominic’s ear, unable to resist the urge to nibble, “Five minutes are up or else I’m going to have to start charging.” He almost chortled.


Aware Dominic would be watching her walk away, fixated on her dark tresses, November didn’t bother to shift down the hem of her dress. Without Dominic to stop her, she grabbed a drink and looked back to the Bates to see them all staring intently at Senna and her friend. November rolled her eyes, approaching the Zaires. The blonde was unable to ignore the intent stares of the group of intimidating men from the other end, November could feel the heat of their gaze.

“Don’t worry about my boys over there, they just like to stare.” November joked, greeting Senna and her girl with a kiss on the cheek. “November.” She said, motioning to herself.

”Caro.”

November smiled, clinking her glass against Caro’s. “Cheers.”

Bel was seated up in reluctance next to a blond that buzzed in a still waters run too deep sorta’ way, he didn’t give her alotta’ visual regard. That was his sister’s piece now. And she stunk of something suspect. More over, wore her hair in those sublime girl-next-door waves, mane chopped cuts above her shoulder like she just discovered herself but really still had no fucking clue who she was. Played minor league queer eye shit and looked at Senna one day and thought, “Oh! Shiny!” So the story goes. It would end with a poor post college experiment in sexuality, maybe worse if Bel had anything to say about it. The bliss settled into the smirk on Senna’s face with her porcelain laced in Caroline’s tawny fingers couldn’t be argued, unfortunately, and he wanted nothing to do with it. He’d take Laz over this shit any day {that was biased though, wasn’t it?}. Felt like he snagged bone remnant in his throat as he grunted low, “Three cheers, why don't we. Insult the holy trinity and pay homage to our fair lady while we bathe in the overall atmosphere of sus games.”

A crooked cocky grin cracked his lips and boasted white teeth. He pulled Sen aside and his inked arm enveloped her as he growled against her tresses, noted her bruise, how it spelt Aedan, how her swinging fixation that landed on Caroline was becoming a cause for concern. The words sizzled. Gums pale and slicked with whiskey. The tattooed surface of palms too big to rest on shot glasses rippled, circulation vermilion, irked when he felt November approach. His focus swiveled and never faltered along the curve of her silhouette, her confrontation boiling too close to the brim of the pot. Burners hissing. Roaches all scattering, rats running fast. - sacri xx


“Give me a moment.” November said, leaving Caro alone at the table to deal with the discomforting stare of the Bates boys. “Everything okay?”

Bel’s look told her it was anything but, mostly at her mere presence. She ignored him as Senna returned to Caro’s side, taking advantage of the chance to leave.

Here it comes.

“Bel, she’s a grown ass girl - “
”Novi stay out of this.”
“Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”
”You are in no position to give input about dating life of my sister, or anyone for that matter.”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

Soles on those feet must have ached with the ire of a thousand skirmishes never launched ‘cause she was all sorts of rigid, swelter coming off of her like she was about to open a vein to acquit fire. His November. Never his. The contagious fever that sweated him into insomnia. And yet. Never his. He breathed slow, stood to loom over her but maintain distance amid every point lost. All the communication out the window. Nothing but animosity, past lover bullshit and grudges like they hadn’t somehow did a real bang up job of running a notorious partnership. Long time coming, he guessed with something more bitter than salt bound to gurgle up and out. “First, it isn’t your god damn place. Second, don’t march your ass up to me like you’re entitled to conversations with my family. You forfeit that privilege nightly. Right, yeah. Third, Senna doesn't have shit to do with ourbusiness. You come with this Busch-league-ass attitude like I didn’t try to apologize, then bounce that pretty little ass of yours over here to bark. Not tonight Novi.” - sacri xx

Image“What do you want from me, Bel? You go around fucking whoever you want, waving that shit in my face and what am I supposed to do? Sit there and take it? F U C K that. You know what? Fuck you! I’m done, fucking done.” She had been squeezing her glass tighter and tighter as she spoke, but as she cursed the man before her it broke from underneath her grip, slicing her palm. Senna, who had returned to Caro’s side went to tend to November’s wound. November pulled away, stepping back, still looking at Bel. “Don’t call me, don’t text me - nothing. And don’t come fucking ringing my bell when you realize you fucked up because I’ll be gone.”

She didn’t bark. She bit, chewed, and spit him right the fuck back out. This was the seething image of a woman scorned. "Remember who you dance 'tween, usted es un santa, mi amor." He knew it well. Would have copped a plea had she not laid her exit bare and unapologetic. Knew it was over, that she was under oath privy and unkind. That it was cutting her up more than the glass prickling little mitts and manicured fingers. So what did he do? Clenched her bleeding digits, borderline crushing, glass shared in bilateral assault, clots that would mix and dry like sour reminders of their memoir’s end. “Make sure you mean that, kid.” He rolled. And she slipped out of his grasp, disgusted by his touch. Shattered the rest of the ware below him so his boots could grind 'em. So they didn't stay - she was done keeping the shit up. - sacri xx

She threw the remainder of her glass at his feet, blood stained crystals shattering into thousands of pieces. It was then she realized she meant it, she was gone. Maybe the epiphany was written in her expression, because when she looked at Bel there was almost a calm in them that they both know she spoke the truth. She couldn’t say any more, she wasn’t even angry anymore. Blood dripping from her fingers, she walked off without another word, headed to the back entrance. She was sure Dominic had just witnessed everything, but she couldn’t speak to him while she was in this state. Dominic was many things to her, but she had yet to see him do much comforting that didn’t involve body slamming her against a wall.

In her wake, five dripping thorns, a sloppy shrug and look of disdain. Cleft between index and thumb. He sucked on the wound and shook plasma onto the carpet, “Have a beautiful night girls.” He headed for a back room. - sacri xx

No one was at the back door, she lit a cigarette, hands shaking and painting her lips with fresh blood as she brought her cigarette to her lips. The drugs had began to wear off, she was nearly sober at this point, but to exhausted to note her surroundings. The cocaine had her trembling, and her palm was still bleeding, and the adrenaline had her mind in all directions. Maybe in another state she would have noticed she wasn’t alone. There was the sound of gravel shifting under the weight of a shoe then a sharp pain followed by b l a c k n e s s.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Declan Hayes
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It was always the same every morning. The same deal with the same demon the night before and as soon as he awoke the next day, he always remembered the demon’s price. What it always wanted in return for making Declan feel numb enough to get to sleep. Fuck, he groaned aloud in a prolonged tone of discomfort, slowly turning on his back and reaching for the bottle of whisky he left sitting by his bed. No, not exactly the best answer to a hangover, but a damn effective one.

Image

As he curled his fingers around the neck of the bottle, he kicked the covers off of his bare, slender frame, revealing lithe, sinewy muscle beneath smooth skin branded by memories both wanted and inflicted. After the thick blanket was out of the way, he took a firm grip of the bottle of whisky and pressed down on it for leverage to lift himself up. As he did, he onerously slid his legs off the side of the bed, his feet clapping as they met with the hard floor. Once up, seated at the edge of the bed, he pulled the bottle to his lips and cocked his head back, taking a few big gulps.

“So. Are you just gonna wait here all day?”
“No. I just need like twenty minutes.”
“Is that it?”
“What do you want from me?”
“The same thing you want. Remember?”
“Yeah, and I’m gonna find her. But I can’t... I can’t do that right now. I just need...”
“You just need what? To waste more time? To let me rot in a hole while you try and drink me away?”
“No! I’m not a God damn machine! I need to…”
“What? You need to what? To make our family look even worse than you already do?”

Suddenly the sound of glass shattering, scattering across the wooden table at his bed side, and the light ‘tings’ of it tapping and sliding across the floor filled the room as Declan, in a fit of rage, brought the whisky bottle to the table with all of his strength, breaking it and sending a few of the shards into his hand. “I said I’ll find her! What else do you want from me, DAD?” he yelled out, blood dripped from his hand as he turned around to confront his father.

Suddenly, a terrifying realization struck him. His head felt like it was going to explode as tremors began to ravage his body. He slowly turned back around to look out the window of his apartment into the city outside as the sounds of sirens and people going about their daily lives come from below. However, those sounds, as loud and permeating as they usually were, barely captured any of his attention as he gradually became more and more lost in panic and dread of what just happened and the possible implications it presented. But before he could get too lost, before all of the world outside his head became too distant from his awareness, a bussing sound filled the room as his phone began to slide over the table.

Declan was quickly pulled back to reality, fighting back his shaken state enough to glance over at his phone. The screen lit up with each buzz revealing the name Killian, his brother, each time it did. It took a moment for Declan to remember he should answer it and for a few seconds, he just sat there staring at it, as if his phone was some strange, alien object making an equally unusual and unrecognizable noise. However, that feeling eventually passed and with its passing, all of his aches and pains began to return as he returned to the real world. Pressing his still, whole hand to the bridge of his nose and closing his eyes to try and stave off the throbbing within his skull, he used his bloodied hand to reach over and grab his phone. But his blood made it slippery and in his shaken state, he nearly dropped it twice just trying to answer the call and put it to his ear.

Finally feeling the warmth of his own blood which covered the earpiece against his ear, he finally spoke, “Hey man, what’s up?”

“Well," Declan's brother began, his voice deep and gruff from smoking cigarettes for most of his life, "I have good news and bad news. What do you wanna hear first.” Killian had taken over most of their father’s estate after his passing, as well as most of their father’s responsibilities within the “family business,” making him a valuable asset when Declan needed it. Lately, wanting the sons of bitched who'd killed their father to pay as much as Declan, Killian had offered some help in the way of resources, especially gathering information for Declan's hunt.

“I don’t care,” Declan replied with little inflection in his voice, as if void of emotion or perhaps just struggling to hold them all in. “You alright, man? You sound funny. You in trouble?” the concerned older brother asked. “No. I’m fine. Just a little hungover. I’ll live. What’d you find?” Declan asked, definitely not wanting to talk about what was really bothering him. “Alright. Well, turns out your girl helped the IRA out with something. I wasn’t able to figure out what or why she helped them, though. But I can text you a list of places she hangs out at,” said Killian, his tone still enlaced with concern but knowing full well when he had to just drop it. Without wasting any more time, Declan immediately followed with, “And what’s the bad news?” A sigh came from the other end of the phone as Killian added, “She hangs out with the two big brats in Brooklyn. Both of them.” That made things complicated. “In what way?” Declan asked. “She’s sleeping with the new Bates patriarch since their dad went AWOL and some kind of fuck buddy thing with the head Zaire. But I think the Zaire thing is mostly over with. They aren’t seen together too often, anymore. The bitch apparently knows what she’s doing,” Killian laughed.

Declan sat on the edge of the bed, finally moving his phone from his bloodied hand to his good one and gave the phone a quick wipe on his bed before putting it back to his ear. After his bloody hand was free he simply lowered it to his lap, the palm facing up as the blood finally began to slow. Declan thought for a minute longer, pushing through the headache, the confusion of what had happened just before the call and the sunlight that seemed intent on worsening his headache as it crept in through the shades of the window. “Thanks, Kil. Just send me the addresses,” Declan finally answered. “No problem. You know, if you need help or just need to talk, just let me know. It's what I'm here for,” Killian replied before a short pause and added, "Oh, and don't do anything stupid. Cause I don't wanna tell mom you got yourself killed." Declan gave a light chuckle and said, “I’ll try. But no promises.” The two then chuckled and said bye. Then Declan hung up the phone.

After another minute to collect himself, he got up off the bed and began his morning routine, preparing for what was to come.


THE CLUB
ImageWalking along the sidewalk illuminated by the street lamps and filled with the sounds of people either making their way to their next stop for the night or going home to enjoy their companion for the night, Declan was focused and just in demeanor seemed out of place. He wasn’t here for the usual debauchery or hedonism that most of this part of town's patrons came here for. He was here for one thing, revenge. Whether he was going to have to take it through this girl or with her help was still unknown. Either way, this wasn’t going to be a pleasant night for November.

After a few blocks of searching, Declan found one of the places that his brother had told him about. A strip club which, for the moment, seemed teeming with life. Music filled the streets just outside the building and the lights from inside poured out onto the sidewalk like the lure of an anglerfish hypnotizing unsuspecting victims and drawing them towards the flashing lights within the darkness. Declan paid the cover charge and walked in past the bouncers and the drunk patrons and glanced around the large room at all the women, some on poles, some in laps. For a moment, he wished he was straight just so he could enjoy that, but that wasn’t why he was here and it was probably a good thing this wasn’t a distraction for him.

It didn’t take long to find November, mainly because the Bates always stood out. The moment he picked out Dominic from the crowd at the bar, it wasn’t long before she joined him. Declan made sure to keep his distance but never lost sight of the pair as they played out what must be a regular courtship dance. The flighty woman feigning more important things to do and trying to leave and the lost puppy of a man asking her to stay. It was cute. Declan found himself hoping he didn’t have to take that from them. Or from Dominic, more specifically.

Then, Declan began to watch a little closer as November left Dominic and quickly became ensnared in an argument with the head Zaire. Without even thinking about it, Declan began to look the man up and down and even let the word “damn” escape his lips before catching himself. Focus, Declan, he thought to himself, Men later, for once you’re here for the girl. Then it happened, a fight, a brief explosion and November walked away. Declan’s eyes followed her as she finally made her way out to the smoking area. That was Declan’s opportunity. He got up from his table and walked over to smoking area too.

Once at the door, he peered outside to see if anyone was going to be a problem. But as soon as he saw she was alone, he walked out, took a quick inventory of the area to see if there were witnesses and a second later, the butt of his gun met with the back of her head. She was out.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley Character Portrait: Declan Hayes
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Honestly, between the pancake in his right hand and the cold water in the other, Jasper wasn’t the least bit curious about who was following after him. That is, until he felt a hand on his back in a familiar gesture and realized the voice belonged to none other than the effervescent homicide sweetheart herself; Deni. "Wow, place is full of sexual tension huh?" Jasper snorted in response, a grin hidden somewhere between biting the lid off of his water bottle and testing out Dominic’s pancake. Ten out of ten, if you were wondering. Hat’s off to the chef. (and shirts, and pants, and…). “I’m just amazed you waltzed through a house full of Bates’ penis and didn’t even touch one,” Jasper teased, watching with amusement as she proposed possibly seeing him again later and went on her way. There was a vague idea in the back of his head of Deni having a girlfriend (or was it more of a handler?), but Jasper never paid much attention to significant others, especially those belonging to people who caught his interest. Deni was cute, sure, but there’s something about having murderous hands and a careless demeanor. Like a simple graze of the hand could easily break the skin; a caress could absentmindedly become a choke hold. It got Jasper thinking, to say the least.

And he did love to be choked.

Still, Jasper couldn’t help but think about his heroin. It wouldn’t be long before he was flickering through the streets, between alleys, along highways as diaphanous and lost as mist. That liminal feeling, something like the lull between nightfalls when you’re only an invention of darkness meant to vanish in the morning light. Sickness wasn’t here yet; merely lurking in the post. Junky limbo. But apprehension wouldn’t let him rest and there was no reason to sugar coat it - smack was a vicious cycle. And here, after all this time, Jasper thought himself a wolf. I mean, that’s what it takes to make it through all the misery and desperation and death. Most people saw Jasper as a dangerous sin wrapped in both angelic eyes and a devil’s smirk; it made their hearts pound with distrust, clouded their better judgement with bewilderment, and even though they saw it coming, they couldn’t look away, because once you’re tied to the tracks there’s no moving for a train. And yet, it was smack that held it’s teeth against his throat. Growling. Waiting for him in the dark. Howling against his hair. To his own shadow, "you’re just overreacting." Against his wrist, “you are fine." A lie, ”everything is alright." And yet a cold and contemporary hand of power has outstripped his intelligence and replaced it with it’s own instinct for survival.

Should’ve stuck to methylone.

Or maybe no drugs at all? The thought brought a knowing smirk to Jasper’s face as he started on his way. Through all the bullshit, there was some pleasure to be found in slowly killing yourself. One could argue that that was just the demon’s trick. Take you to your lowest point and convince you to top yourself. Get you thinking a room in hell with your name on it wasn’t so bad. As if the worst part of you was simply all of you. Post-heroin thoughts were heavy; the olive branch that life extended to Jasper every morning splintered and fractured under their weight, threatening to break altogether. Yet Jasper wouldn’t give up this life. Even if it was reaching its s e l l - b y date. Probably passed. It made him sweat. Didn’t sit right. Though people had tried to convince him it was okay to just throw it out, he swore - he swore - it was still good.

The thought of a high led him to Mel. Decent neighbor -- crazy bitch, but when you’re a junky (and don’t bother not to actually look like a junky) you relinquish the right to have normal friends. He’d learned this. Jasper also knew that when she saw him, the last thing she saw was a temptation, save for the knowledge of an easy sell. And he kinda liked that. Mostly because it kept him accountable. He’d run off on a few plugs - you may even say he’s run off on the plug twice - and had to lay low as a result. But Mel wasn’t the type to let anything slide. She didn’t lurk, she hunted, and was more the type to show up to your place with a semi and hoodie, minus the mask because she wanted you to see her coming, the soles of her sneakers dripping red; the only Red Bottoms she had an interest in. (of course, Jasper wouldn’t know anything about that; he was out of town if somebody asks).

“Babe, how are-”

“Was wollen sie?”

“There you go with that german shit, nobody can understand you. Nobody knows that you’re saying!”

"Damn it, Jasper, what the hell do you want?”

Usually went a little something like that. Her j’s sounding like y’s, narrow eyes scrutinizing the sight before her but never quite able to deny a friend the usual discount, $20/oz codeine, something to hold him over until the next time he really used. His greatest need would always be smack, but for now, he didn’t have to spend much on that, just his body.

Jasper returned home to shower and get high. One of his favorite combinations, and probably the only thing he ever really did in the empty box of an apartment. Nothing but the bare essentials. A mattress on the floor. Toothbrush on the sink. The few homey things he had had long since been sold, and Jasper couldn’t be bothered to buy a new bed frame or a soap dish, or anything else, really, that would make the place seem friendly and livable. Not that it mattered. He wrangled himself out of his clothes and hopped into the shower, the combination of hot water and washing off grime making the euphoria of his high a little better.






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It didn’t surprise Jasper to see the same familiar faces at the strip club. Bates and Zaires. A never ending saga of malice and betrayal, a testament to the body’s capacity to endure life. An unfamiliar face slinked through the crowd. Jasper normally wouldn't think anything of it, except for the fact that said character could go toe-to-toe with Jasper if matching the pale, post-hardcore-punk, fiend aesthetic were a competition. He threw back a shot, meaning to keep the face in the back of his mind but knowing good and well that he wouldn’t. The girls were nice. Powerful men even better. But hooking was up usually the second goal; an afterthought. He normally targeted joints like these for the easy drugs. The only reason Jasper could get in was because he’d forged some sex-for-drugs alliances - his fare was always covered. But more importantly, if the big dogs were here, his pet couldn’t be too far behind. Jasper found a spot, secured a couple shots from interested onlookers (who says women were the only one’s who could show up with no money, get in free, and still leave drunk?) and watched the show unfold, a canvas of lithe, athletic bodies on beat with the music.