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Leonora Adams

Nothing is what it seems

0 · 660 views · located in Manhattan, New York

a character in “In Mafia Vita”, as played by Faith Fanon

Description

Leonora Adams

The Call Girl

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Full Name:| Leonora Adams
Nicknames:| Nora to family and close friends, Lea to clients
Age:| 20.
Gender:| Female
Orientation:| Straight, but happy to go bi for the job. Usually it’s part of a threesome or some sex show, but Lea has one regular female client.
Originally From:| Skowhegan, Maine. Parents from Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada, and Bogota, Colombia
Currently Living:| Broad Street, Stapleton, Staten Island

Occupation 1:|
By day, Leonora is a business and law student at Cornell’s New York campus. She won a scholarship with a project on cross-border co-operation between the fishing fleets of Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Due to her family’s troubled finances, this scholarship was the only way she could attend such a prestigious university, and she’s not going to waste the opportunity. Of course, the scholarship only pays school fees. For rent, food, course books and all other living expenses, there’s…

Occupation 2:|
Call girl. High-class hooker. Escort. Lady of the night. Whore. Call it what you will, Leonora doesn’t care. A girl’s got to make a living, and she’s damned if she’s going to scrape by in some minimum-wage drudgery. Some people call her immoral. Others call her a victim. Underneath all the hype, it’s just another service job. The clients generally observe the rules – that’s the benefit over being a street walker. Really, the job is 33% listening, 33% arm candy, 33% fucking, and 1% shame. Hey, everyone’s mask slips now and then. The Blue Light Agency’s madam is Leonora’s godmother, which is how she got such a lucky break, but like every other illegitimate business in New York, it belongs to the mob.

Physical description:|
Leonora is 5ft 8in, dress size 4/6. Yoga gives her an athletic, rather than thin, build, as she knows her clients prefer a girl with a curve or two. She has brown eyes and medium-length dark brown hair, which she’s never dyed.

On campus, Leonora dresses very casually, usually in jeans, Converse sneakers, a Cornell hoodie and a blood-red leather jacket. She wears her hair pulled back in a pony tail, and minimal make-up. Rather than making her look plain, though, this simple uniform highlights the natural beauty of her features. She sports this look to appear as different as possible from when she's working.

When meeting a new client, Leonora usually wears a simple black, strapless cocktail dress, a thin silver chain with green pendant and silver stud earrings, with her hair up to reveal the tan skin of her slender neck. So not to tower over her date, she'll only wear two- or three-inch heels. She also has a Vera Wang chiffon dress for daytime engagements, and her prize possession, a black Versace origami gown, which she's only worn once, to a high couture event.

Likes:|
Blue collar bars, the sea, yoga and meditation, French-Canadian culture, smoking weed, wine, The Financial Times

Dislikes:|
Pets, privilege, conspiracy theorists, car bores, tattoos, fried food, social network sites

Fears:|
Having to drop out of Cornell. Losing her identity in the big city. Claustrophobia. Parents finding out about her job. Never reconciling with her parents

Secrets:|
Leonora killed a child in a drug-driving hit-and-run, but let a friend take the fall.

Hobbies:|
Between her studies and her job, Leonora doesn’t have much free time. Whenever she can grab a couple of minutes to herself – on the subway, in the library, when a client has fallen asleep – she’ll do a quick meditation. It helps her clear her mind of the clutter of trying to live two or three lives at once, at break-neck pace. In the same vein, she does at least 20 minutes of yoga before leaving in the morning.

Talents:|
Having a French-Canadian mother, Leonora speaks fluent French. She picked up a little Spanish from her father too.
She knows enough about wine to hold her own on the subject in high society, and joined the university’s wine-tasting society, even if she rarely has time to attend.
Sex – She was an early developer in this regard, and quickly learned not only how to enjoy herself but to make sure her partner was enjoying him(her)self, not just physically but emotionally/mentally as well, which combines well with her…
Empathy – Leonora never loses sight of the fact that hers is just one perspective in a world of billions. Everyone has their own motivations, influences, needs and fears – whether it be to blow hard about a business deal or rapping about being the baddest motherfucker in the carriage – which happens a lot round Staten Island. This trait also helps on the job, meaning Lea can play a variety of parts to a variety of customers, flirting consummately and winning people's trust.
However, her life being what it is, perhaps Leonora’s greatest skill is compartmentalizing. This can come off as cold, even ruthless, but she can’t allow one part of her life take time – or headspace – from another part.

Deficits:|
Leonora’s focus on her studies and busy working life means she has little time for anything – or anyone – else. She hasn’t spoken to any member of her family in over a year. She often forgets to eat – she’s just too busy. She regularly breaks social dates because her mind is elsewhere. The only thing she doesn’t forget are client dates and coursework deadlines.
Something that occasionally shows her up on jobs – Leonora’s lack of co-ordination means she’s useless at dancing, especially in a couple. Being led around the floor is about all she can manage.

Weapons:|
Mace spray, killer heels.

Personality:|
Leonora has had to overcome quite a few obstacles to get to where she is, and fears that effort going to waste. As a result, she is very goal-oriented and determined, and has subsumed a lot of the adventurous, youthful traits she displayed in her home town. Though she's scared to admit it, she's also having difficulty living two separate lives - the determined student and the fun-loving call-girl. One is a life of endless grind, commute and work, the other is glamorous, simple, and (for now) consequence-free. Is she her true self while on the arm or in the bed of a rich man? And if that is the case, is she wasting her life, time and effort in the endless work of Cornell?

On campus, Leonora is slow to make friends. She rationalizes this as a lack of time but the truth is that she is reluctant to get close to people for two reasons: firstly, that they'll find out what she does for a living, and secondly, that an attempted romance will confirm her fear that her job as a call girl has ruined relationships for her. Nonetheless, she is guardedly friendly with a couple of female classmates; their friendship mostly revolves around study groups and exam tips, but she makes a point of going to In Vino Veritas, the campus wine society, at least once a fortnight to unwind and socialize. It was while recalling a drunken game of truth-or-dare at the club that Leonora first caught the eye of Lincoln Genovese.

On the job, Leonora lets go of all the pressure and lets out her fun-loving side. She can be goofy or mischievous. While she tailors her behavior to the client and the occasion, she is invariably upbeat and enthusiastic, and gives her clients the impression that they are the source of this good mood. Indeed, they invariably are; not only are their dates as a chance to forget her 'real' life, but they take place in luxurious settings. Unlike some other girls at the agency, Leonora doesn't dislike or pity her clients; they have made a choice to purchase a service, and they're invariably pleasant, easy-to-please customers. A few have slightly different tastes - one elderly gentleman likes her to urinate on him, for example - and another enjoys humiliating her in public, but Leonora knows it's all fantasy - on both sides' parts.

History:|
Leonara was born to French-Canadian and Colombian parents in the nowheresville of Skowhegan, Maine. Her father had been a fisherman, but an accident shattered his leg and ended his career. After that, the family made ends meet with seasonal work and odd jobs around town. Regular visits to family across the border, and hearing a second and a third language, gave Leonora the idea early on that there was more to life than this backwater town.

This attitude got Leonora into trouble from a young age, manifesting itself in giving cheek to authority figures and occasional outright refusal to do homework, chores, and so on. From the ages of 12 to 15, she fell in with the wrong crowd, cutting school, smoking dope and sleeping around. However, a brush with the law following a joyriding crash made her realize continuing down this path meant being trapped in Skowhegan for ever. Instead, she resolved to do whatever it took to get out, and threw herself into her studies.

Her wildest hopes were exceeded when she won a scholarship to Cornell, but she was soon brought back down to earth when her parents broke the news that they would never be able to afford to send her. A huge row broke out between Leonora and her father, with her timid mother feebly playing peacekeeper, and harsh things were said on both sides. Her dreams seemingly in tatters, Leonora fled the house and hooked up with her old gang of troublemakers. A four-day bender later, a nine-year-old boy was dead, and Leonora and three of her friends were in the lock-up for hit-and-run.

It was at this point that Leonara’s French-Canadian godmother made the first of her vital interventions in Leonora’s life, bailing her out of jail and coaching her to give statements to the police that suggested that it was another of the gang, not Leonora, that had been behind the wheel. Leonora walked free, her friend started a 12-year jail term.

Her godmother’s second intervention was to offer her a job that could put her through college. Leonora had always been sexually confident and adventurous. Nonetheless, her palms were sweaty as she knocked on the hotel room door for her first ever job. Imagine her surprise, then, when a smiling grey-haired man in his 80s, standing a foot shorter than her in her heels, opened the door. From then on, Leonora has grown into the role, exuding the confidence clients expect in public settings and the compliance, empathy and sensitivity they require in bed.

Leonora was able to juggle her two lives with no other complications than exhaustion in her freshman year, and achieved an overall honors grade (there was that scary time her monthly sexual health check came back 'unclear' due to a lab screw-up, but they've all been clear since). However, early in the first semester of her sophmore year, a real complication arose. She was on the arm of Walter Kilpatrick, a wealthy and powerful politician - well, all her clients were wealthy and powerful - at the MET ball when, for the first time in her call-girl career, she saw a familiar face: Lincoln Genovese.

Lincoln's a complication. He was in a few of her classes last year, and a handful more this year. Leonora had a policy of not paying too much attention to men in her classes, for various reasons, but Lincoln wasn't the kind of guy you can easily ignore. Without even seeming to be aware of it, he commanded a room. He had an air of authority, of controlled power. It was attractive, in a way that Leonora hadn't allowed herself to feel in a long time. And then she caught him staring at her as she giggled with a friend. There had been an almost animal glare in his eyes, one that spoke of prowling, of possession. After that, Leonora had done her best not to get too close, and some mild flirting aside, had been successful until that night at the MET ball. Lincoln had been as surprised to see her there as she had been to see him but his eyes had bored into hers. Her one consolation was that they hadn't had the opportunity to talk, because she saw questions in his eyes; an intimidating woman Leonora took to be his mother, Victoria, kept him by her side nearly all night. However, Lincoln's father, Jonathon, had spoken to her date at length, and had charmingly introduced himself to her too. He had the same animal charm as his son, only magnified, and it had the same impact on Leonora, only magnified.

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Leonora's block on Broad Street, Stapleton, Staten Island

Day-to-day life:|When she’s at home, Leonora rises at 5.30am, leaves her Staten Island home at 6am and is on campus by 8am. If she doesn’t have a client, she’ll stay on campus until around 8pm, then either go out or go home for more study. If she has a client, however, she’ll use either the campus’s gym changing room or the agency’s office changing room to get ready, depending on which is closer to the date. Her locker always contains two LBDs, killer heels, various lingerie sets, toiletries, hair products, sex toys and so on that she needs for a quick change. Her ‘emergency’ kit of cotton T-shirt dress, g-string, dry shampoo sachet, chewing gum, lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, bullet vibrator, condoms, a tampon and a 50g can of Mace with UV dye fits into a surprisingly small handbag.

Having spent just over a year as a high-class escort, Leonora feels she's beginning to understand the game a bit more, and beginning to realise that's what all of Manhatten is; a giant board game. She's been seen on the arm of several different men in the same restaurants, the same hotels, by the same waiters, the same hotel porters. She imagines there is an unspoken acknowledgement among service staff and hookers, and if they know that this game is afoot, then surely the real power brokers know. As such, Leonora realizes she is a player, albeit a tiny pawn, in a great game. And as any chess player knows, even a pawn can occasionally become the queen...

So begins...

Leonora Adams's Story

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Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Leonora Adams


She liked jazz. Well, no, she appreciated jazz. It was one of the finer things in life but not something to be enjoyed, to revel in, like the explosion of taste from the first sip of a full-bodied red, or the glee of shrieking on a rollercoaster. No, jazz was something to think about, to mull, to nod your head to. There was an act to enjoying jazz. A detachment. Truth be told, it was boring.

They played blues here most nights, despite the name, but Maurice Steijn preferred jazz. He was Dutch, so surprise surprise. He was a soccer coach, in America for scouting or some training conference or other. She knew a bit about soccer, from her father, but Mr Steijn didn't seem to want to talk, and she soon dropped the matter, settling instead into the role of ornament. The soccer coach was only 39, not long out of his playing days, and carried his still-athletic frame with confidence. Having sex with him later would be a physical pleasure, if not necessarily emotionally fulfilling.

She stretched out a lithe arm for her glass of wine; her silver bangles chimed together and Mr Steijn looked round, appearing to notice her for the first time. His eyes grazed along her exposed neck, over the tops of her breasts in her low-cut black dress. He smiled at her hungrily, then turned back to face the stage again. A man who liked to savour his pleasures, she decided.

Still, his disinterest gave her time to ponder a few things that were on her mind.

First, her apartment. She'd been trying to ignore it, but Staten Island was really too far away from campus, and from Manhattan. A two-hour commute each way ate up too much time from an already crammed schedule. It had been all she could afford under the budget she'd made out for her freshman year, and she loved the rough-and-tumble nature of the area, but now she was earning a bit more, and so could afford to live somewhere a bit more convenient to both her lives. Soon, but not yet...

Second, internships. In the second semester, everyone on her course was meant to talk some slimeball corporate HR manager into bestowing the dubious privilege on internship upon them: early starts, late finishes, thankless copying and coffee runs, and unavoidable sexual harassment. She hadn't given it any thought; passing a law firm on the way to the Blue Moon had reminded her. What was it called? Something Kass?

A firm hand crept over her thigh, down to her knee and under her dress. While she'd drifted away on her own thoughts, Mr Steijn had turned to her and found her less than attentive. This was his way of getting her attention. He leaned in, smiling wolfishly, and nipped her neck with sharp, white teeth. She swallowed and shivered, then smiled shyly at him through her long lashes. The visible signs of her arousal were only partly an act; that lupine grin had reminded her of the third thing on her mind: the predatory glare of Lincoln Genovese and, more specifically, the man from whom he had inherited such animal magnetism - his father, Jonathon Genovese.

Her reverie was broken as she was pulled to her feet. 'Come, Lea, we go to hotel now.' She sashayed across the club in Mr Steijn's wake, a familiar warm tingle spreading below her waist.

The setting changes from Upper West Side to Upper East Side

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Leonora Adams


Leonora winced as the subway jolted out of the station. The red welts Walter Kilpatrick had raised on her right buttock last night had calmed down to a dull throb, but between her legs she could feel a sharp stab of pain where Kilpatrick had grazed her with his rough entry, and then rubbed it raw over the course of the night. For a man in his 50s, he had had real stamina. And a vicious streak; the bruise on her cheekbone where he'd shoved her face into the wrought iron headboard had been visible when she rose this morning. Now it was an almost blue mark. She'd noticed a few people glimpse at it as she boarded the subway.

Kilpatrick had been a first-time client of Lea's. He had a regular girl, Yvette, but she was 'off-menu' for a week. Leonora's contraceptive injection meant this wasn't something she had to worry about, and she'd offered to take the job, happy to earn a little extra cash to help fund her move out of Staten Island, and to cover any earning losses she might experience through interning. If she ever got a placement. Besides, a chance to move in the glamorous circles of the MET gala ball at the extravagant Genovese Mansion wasn't something to be passed up lightly. Leonora had heard about it when she'd made discreet inquiries with her girlfriends about Lincoln Genovese.

She'd heard about Kilpatrick before as well, and on accepting the job, she'd looked him up. Kilpatrick was the head of the New York City Department of City Planning, and was rumoured to be a shoo-in for his party's nomination for the next mayoral nomination. He had a family, had served in the first Iraq war, and appeared the living embodiment of the American Dream. And he liked rough sex with prostitutes. It didn't bother Leonora; each to their own was her motto. And her meditation techniques had allowed her to blot out most of the pain and discomfort during her night with him. All the escorts had the option of reporting a client to the agency's mistress for this kind of thing, but Leonora didn't want to lose Yvette a regular client.

Leonora made her way from the subway at 68th and Lex onto campus. She hurried into the back of class - she was always about five minutes late for this one, given its early start - and slid into a seat next to a friend, who smiled at Leonora as she arranged her notes, then frowned in concern and gestured to her cheek. Leonora put her hand to the bruise and whispered: 'Fell on the subway' and turned back to the lecture. The shrug of her shoulders caused a lock of her hair to fall down and obscure the bruise. She couldn't concentrate, though. Her physical aches kept bringing pictures of last night back into her head - first of the occasionally enjoyable ordeal she'd suffered in Kilpatrick's bed, and then to earlier in the night, to the glamour of the charity ball, the opulence of the surroundings, the food, the champagne, the beautiful ballgowns, and also to not one, but two Genovese men; Lincoln and his father, Jonathon.

She'd first noticed Lincoln last year, but had been too caught up in her double life to even consider acting on it. During the summer break, she'd also resolved not to get involved in relationships; being the sexual plaything of many rich, invariably older, men was bound to complicate matters. Many men her age would be repulsed, she was sure, and though she'd hate to admit it, Leonora had a nagging fear that they'd be right. However, Lincoln's brooding presence had begun to worm its way into her consciousness; the smoky, spiced scent he wore, his broad, handsome features and muscled forearms, the possessive way he'd looked at her when she'd occasionally glanced his way. And then she'd caught glimpses of his father, overheard snatches of his casual conversation, and she'd fallen hard. She'd thought she was hardened to men's physical attractions, but he was a matured version of his son, as if tempered in the fires of life into something made of steel. And he had power. From on Kilpatrick's arm, Leonora had on several occasions seen imposing-looking men nod and hurry about an errand as Jonathon Genovese spoke to them; an aura of command rippled out around him wherever he went...

Leonora jumped as her friend nudged her elbow. The class was finished and she'd hardly taken any of it in. As they shuffled through the crowd leaving the lecture room, Leonora attempted to reassure her friend both about her bruised face and her daydreaming in the class, which was most unlike her. All the while, she scanned the hall for Lincoln. She hadn't seen him in class, but it was possible she'd overlooked him in a far corner. As she craned her neck, a girl about her own age stationed herself right in front of her. Leonora took a small step backwards in surprise, and found herself staring into big bright blue eyes.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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KATHERINE DIXON



Katherine slid onto campus smoothly, dressed to the nines. She glanced around her curiously, still not used to the campus. Cornell University was definitely a beauty and Kat almost felt bad that she hadn't accepted them when she applied for graduate studies. It would probably help with how lost she felt at this point. She was late for the first class for the day and most importantly, she had no idea where Lincoln was.

As she walked around campus, she was stopped by a few people asking her if she was new.

"Yeah, I kinda transferred," she replied with a sweet smile, tucking some hair behind her ear. "I was at Brown...but you know how they are. Boring as hell." The group around her laughed and agreed wholeheartedly. Grinning to herself for having her social skills intact, Katherine continued to converse with the people, laughing when someone told jokes and giving them a small background.

Was she a cheerleader? Formerly so. What organizations was she a part of? She was interning at Stephen B. Kass and she was a part of the National Honor Society in high school. Earned her some impressed nods. What did she like to do? Write. What was she studying for? Law. She answered everything the way she was supposed to and without even trying, Katherine was the girl on everyone's list. She looked good in her little outfit and she had some gorgeous blue eyes that would be talked about all over campus. She was adorable.

Just as Katherine was about to agree with the kids and hit up this pizza place - because she was starving and breakfast had only been a bagel - she noted Leonora Adams walking with some girl. She was fairly beautiful, Kat noted. Katherine raised an eyebrow as she smiled at the people she was with. For some odd reason, she was curious about her. She asked around the group for who knew her before nodding pensively. Excusing herself from her group for a moment, she walked over to Leonora casually, smiling all the while. When she reached the girl, naturally Leonora gave her a look, one that resembled something like mistrust. Naturally, though. Kat knew the girl didn't know her.

"Umm...hi. You're Lenora, right?. I'm Rebecca," Kat introduced herself kindly, biting her lower lip nervously. "I kinda just missed class and the people I was with - they said that you went. They skipped. I know this is kinda awkward, but do you think I could borrow your notes. I swear I'll get them back to you."

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Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Leonora Adams
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Leonora Adams


'Umm...hi. You're Lenora, right?. I'm Rebecca,' the girl said. 'Hi, Rebecca,' Leonora replied, beginning to relax again as the girl bit her lower lip nervously. She must be new or something. 'Hey, Leo, I'll see you after lunch, okay? said her friend before rushing off to catch up with the tutor.

'I kinda just missed class and the people I was with - they said that you went. They skipped,' Rebecca went on. 'Kinda just missed it, huh?' Leonora smiled at her, trying to put her at ease again. 'Don't worry, happens to us all. I barely made it on time either.'

The new girl returned Rebecca's smile. 'I know this is kinda awkward, but do you think I could borrow your notes?' Leonora hesitated. She had been so lost in her reverie about Kilpatrick, Lincoln and Jonathon that she hadn't taken a single note. 'I swear I'll get them back to you,' the new girl rushed out.

'No, no, it's not that at all,' replied Leonora. 'It's just that, well this is kinda embarrassing. I pretty much dozed off in there. I didn't write a single thing. But look, I've got half an hour or so. Do you want to get a coffee or something before next class? And I'll see if I can chase up some notes for both of us.'

'Come on,' Leonora beamed at the new girl, offering her arm to link. 'Let's get us some breakfast caffeine.'

Setting

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Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Leonora Adams
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KATHERINE DIXON


Before long, Katherine found herself at the nearest Starbucks sitting across from Leonora. She had ordered her favorite - a caramel machiatto with extra caramel - and a strawberry scone just because. Taking a sip of her caffeine, Kat started to feel one-hundred percent better.

"I had so much stuff to do this morning," Kat admitted and set her cup down. "I had to run by my internship office and get whatever paperwork I needed to give to the school, I had to check on my aunt, and then attempt to run across town just to miss the class I was trying to get to."

Kat sighed, feet already aching. She literally did have to run; that was definitely not a lie. Still not used to New York, she missed her train twice and then had to walk/run to get over to the campus. Pennsylvania was never this difficult for her. Damn metro system, she thought. Hell, even DC wasn't this tricky to navigate. Luckily for her, no one had noticed her being out of breath.

"How long have you lived in New York?" Kat asked and took a small bite of her scone. Since they were both in the same boat, they might as well get to know each other. Besides, every connection counts and the reporter inside her knew that all too well.

The setting changes from Upper East Side to Manhattan, New York

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Leonora Adams


Leonora raised an eyebrow as she heard the new student's order. 'Rebecca, come on, that's a dessert, not a coffee,' she mocked gently. The pair settled down at a small table. It had obviously been a busy morning in the coffee shop - it was still more than half-full, and it was nearly 11am - and the staff hadn't had time to clear the table, but it was the only one available. Leonora shoved two leftover cups, a couple of cellophane wrappers and a scattering of crumbs to the edge of the table, and nestled her venti americano.

'I had so much stuff to do this morning,' Rebecca said, relaxing as she sipped her coffee.

'I know, New York's a nightmare, isn't it,' Leonora replied. 'I'm from near Bangor in Maine. When I came here first, I made the mistake of picking a place way out in Staten Island.'

She nodded as Rebecca rattled off a list of reasons why she'd missed the class. She was enjoying the new girl's company. Her tastefully assembled outfit and meticulously dressed hair suggested to Leonora that Rebecca wasn't usually this out of sorts - the pressure of the first day could derail the most organised student. Her ears pricked up at Rebecca's mention of her internship, but Leonora held back from asking about it - she'd get to know the girl better first before asking for her help, and besides, she intended to ask Linc about it if he was in the next class.

'Tell me about it, Rebecca,' she smiled. 'I've got to find somewhere closer to campus, you know? So you... what, live with your aunt?'

Rebecca wagged her head non-committally and asked 'How long have you lived in New York?' through a mouthful of scone. Leonora briefly regretted not getting something for breakfast herself.

'This is my second year at Cornell, so... about 18 months? I love it, but it's exhausting, you know? It's so hard to switch off, there's always something going on. Speaking of which...' Leonora glanced around, scannign the room. Damn Starbucks, never had any clocks in their stores! She dragged her phone out of her pocket.

'Damn it, I've got to run. Sorry Rebecca, I'm going to be late for another class. Looks like you're rubbing off on me already!'

With that, Leonora hurried from the coffee shop and across campus. By the time she arrived, her heart was thumping, though not from the physical excertion. As she'd crossed campus, her thoughts had turned from the pleasant distraction of Rebecca's company and back to the change in her attitude to Linc since she'd seen him at the gala ball last night.

When she'd started the job with the Blue Light agency, her godmother and madam had warned her against romantic attachments - with clients, obviously, but also outside work. It would confuse her, make her less able to work, to make clients feel they were the centre of her universe. Leonora knew it would restrict her open-minded empathy for the rich and powerful men who paid for her company and her body, and there were some clients, she knew, for whom the former was at least as important as the latter. A boyfriend, or even a brief romantic liaison, would be bound to reveal her secret life when the relationship ended, making Leonora's life on campus much more difficult, her godmother warned. 'There'll be a time for love, Nora,' she'd said, 'but now it's time for work.'

Leonora had obeyed her godmother for several months as she found her feet in her new job. She needed as few distractions as possible while she learned to balance her double life. But then she'd had a brief fling last March with a med student. Though she didn't reveal her job to him, they spent a couple of days in bed together, and Leonora had discovered another side-effect of working as an escort; it had ruined sex for her.

Well, not ruined. She still enjoyed the physical sensations, both with clients and with an occasional lover from campus. But, with clients, she had never had an orgasm, though they would never know that. Leonora prided herself in her ability to observe her clients rhythms, and changes in those rhythms and other little signs of their approaching climax, and tailor her own physical reactions appropriately, so it appeared they both came together. It was a greatly appreciated effect, making her clients feel like good lovers, but it did distract Leonora from her own pleasure. However, to her surprise and faint horror, Leonora found while making love to her med student fling, she was unable to shut off the reflex to observe and respond, and so couldn't give in to her own pleasure with the abandon required for orgasm.

She found this to be the case with one lover after another, and then gave up on them, becoming almost asexual on campus. Except for Linc. Occasional glimpses of him in class gave her twinges of deep physical attraction. Even so, she resisted, heeding the second part of her godmother's warning. Linc - or any man - would reject her if he knew of her secret life, so if she wanted him, she would have to wait. 'There'll be a time for love, Nora, but now it's time for work,' she whispered to herself as she slunk into the back of class.

Late again, Leonora kept her head down to avoid her professor's sarcastic glare, and slid into the first available seat at the back. Right next to the very man she knew she should avoid, but knew she couldn't: Lincoln Genovese.

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Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Lincoln Genovese

Linc was barely absorbing the lecture. His mind wandered to what happened to Charlee. His baby sister had gone through a lot, if only he was there to protect her from that bastard. Maybe he can drop by the jewelry shop later and buy her a trinket or two? Girls always squeal with delight at the sight of jewelry. Besides Charlee is a Genovese. They're made with stronger stuff. He chuckled at that. Just then, someone slid next to him occupying the empty seat. Lincoln lifted his eyes and saw Leonora. He gave her a once over, appreciating her beauty and elegance. Lincoln was distracted these past few days that he put Leonora in the back burner of his mind.

He'd make his move now. He'd damn well use this opportunity to make a connection. He shifted in his seat and turned to Leonora.

"Ever noticed that Mr. Blofis' dentures are so white, its blinding?" He whispered.

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Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Leonora Adams


Leonora was so thrown out of her usual comfort zone at finding herself sitting at the back of a darkened room with the man about whom she was having so many conflicting emotions that, when Linc turned and gave her a full-bodied, admiring stare, she dropped her textbook on the floor between them. She was grateful the dark hid her blushes, and Linc shifted in his seat as she scrabbled for the book. So when he leant over and whispered his joke, his softly expelled breath brushing the back of her neck, Leonora lost all composure and a loud snort of laughter and nervousness burst from her nose.

The lecturer stopped in mid-sentence and stared in their direction. After five seconds of his silence, the rest of the class began turning their heads in Leonora and Linc's direction. Leonora gave up her search for her book, covered her face in both hands and lowered her head until it rested on the table in front. 'Ohhhhh, nooooo,' she groaned quietly.

'Miss Adams, isn't it?' Mr Blofis droned, voice dripping with sarcasm. 'Yes, Miss Adams? A good gag, is it?'

Leonora peeked through her fingers. 'Miss Adams,' Mr Blofis went on, 'would you mind letting us in on the joke?' He grinned widely at her. His dentures looked like they were glowing in the dark. Leonora had to hide her face again as her shoulders shook with repressed giggles. Eventually Mr Blofis lost interest in tormenting her and he resumed his lecture. Leonora jabbed a sharp elbow at Linc, and waved a warning finger in his face. Even so, she couldn't help glimpsing at him and smiling as the class continued.

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Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Sienna Rose Character Portrait: Leonora Adams
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KATHERINE DIXON


"So you, what...live with your aunt?" Leonora asked after teasing Katherine in her choice for drink. She loved caramel machiattos; they were probably the best drinks Katherine ever had.

Katherine shook her head quickly at Leonora's question, especially after the girl said she needed to move closer to campus. Her old apartment was on the market and no one had asked for it last Katherine had checked. She'd look more in to that later for Leonora.

"No, I...uh, she's sickly. Her children live far away and I'm the closest to her," Katherine decided to say, not exactly lying. Her aunt was sick. She was sick of New York; of the bustling streets, the annoying honking of cars as they all tried to get to their destinations, and of the many tourists that filled the sidewalks, making it impossible to get anywhere important. The woman had moved here years ago and Katherine was still at a loss on why she was still even here if she hated New York so damn much. Katherine took the last gulp of her machiatto as Leonora checked her phone and swore underneath her breath.

"Damn it, I've got to run. Sorry Rebecca, I'm going to be late for another class. Looks like you're rubbing off on me already!" Leonora was talking quickly, hurrying to get back to campus and Katherine was left waving to the girl. A few minutes after Leo was gone, Katherine sighed, grabbed her big purse, and walked out, throwing away the napkin her scone was in. She had half the mind to stay and order something else. Her next class was not for another three hours and all she was going to do next was walk around campus, explore. She was even hoping to possibly spot Lincoln. But that could wait. Snow was still outside and Katherine hadn't had time to simply relax and explore.

As she walked, Katherine found herself shivering at the coolness that was New York and pulled out her tan coat from her purse. She pulled the warm clothing onto her body, buttoned it up and tied the buckle around her waist tightly while sliding on some black gloves afterwards. Finally clothed better because now that Katherine thought about it, she was an idiot for wearing a skirt, Katherine walked slowly, smiling at a few people as they walked by her. This is definitely the life, she thought. How could her aunt want to leave New York? There was a serenity in the air that Katherine could not place and the different smells that lingered in the air - which seriously were making her hungry because that scone didn't do anythingfor her - reminded her of home.

After a while of wandering meaninglessly, Katherine pulled out her phone to check the time once more and was surprised to see a voicemail...from Sienna? That perked her up instantly and Katherine tapped the screen, positioning the phone at her ear so that she could hear.

“Hi Katherine. It's Sienna. Listen, I'm really sorry but I completely forgot about our meeting. Things . . . things have just been a little crazy of a late. Anyway . . .” There was a slight pause and the faraway tone in Sienna's voice worried Katherine. She used to do that a lot, even when they were younger. “It's 1.20pm on Tuesday and I'm sat outside Europa. If you feel like indulging in a very, very late brunch with rich coffee and sinfully delightful red velvet cup cakes then feel free to join me. If you can't make it, just let me know when is good for you. Can't wait to see you! And again I'm so sorry. Bye.” With a click, the message was over and Katherine was left pondering the time she had left. She still had two hours left; seeing Sienna would only kill time. With a killer whistle that had taken time to master, Katherine hailed the nearest taxi. She sat in the back and gave him the address.

"Hey, Sienna," Katherine said into her phone after the dialing the older woman's number. "I just recieved your message. It's fine...you missing the other day. Um...I actually have a lot that I need to discuss with you anyway. So, I am on my way and I cannot wait to see you." After exchanging a few pleasantries over the phone, Katherine hung up and waited for the rest of the ride, smiling to herself.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

After fifteen minutes, Katherine found herself outside of Europe and smiled at the taxi driver. Waving him off, she pulled her purse's straps over her shoulder more securely and turned to face the cafe. Immediately, she saw the back of some pretty dark-haired woman in a tasteful coat and a dog that looked a little too familiar. But what really caught her attention was the table full of red velvet cupcakes and coffee. Katherine found herself laughing as she approached the table.

"Still indulging my sweeth tooth, I see," Katherine teased lightly and dark hair hair whipped around as Sienna finally saw her. Just like before, Sienna was probably one of the THE most gorgeous women that Katherine had ever seen. Katherine had aspired to be like her one day and now, she aspired to be like her even more. Sienna barely looked like she aged and the warmth and kindess that shined in her eyes brought back so many memories. "Isn't that why I got in trouble before? Because someone gave me too much sugar?" Katherine's grin widened as Sienna stood.

In only a few moments, Katherine was pulled into the older woman's arms and Katherine could only hug her back, recalling all the times when she was younger and how Sienna used to hold her after she had a nightmare. The woman had been comforting then and that feeling was still the same. And she still smelled the same: sweet, comforting and pure. When they finally pulled away, Katherine's eyes were shining with emotion and complete honesty.

"I missed you."

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Character Portrait: Katherine Pamela Dixon Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Leonora Adams


After another warning glare from Mr Blofis, Leonora attempted to block out Linc's razor smile and concentrate on the matter on hand. But just as she got the handsome young man off her mind, she heard the vague buzz of her cellphone vibrating in her bag. She kept it on silent for classes, and then it would only vibrate for one number, so even before she fished it out of the bag and read the message, she knew who it was from.

'Dinner and opera with Francis Vaughan. 7pm at Xander's bistro. Request to wear dark green. No overnight.'

She sighed, then replied: 'Accept. But can't get green dress. Short notice, he'll have to live with it.'

Francis Vaughan was a New York socialite and arts patron in his early 30s who, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, seemed to have nothing better to do than wage a spiteful war against various arts institutions. His current preferred method of attack was to bring escorts to high-profile productions and declare to all and sundry at the interview that his date that night was nothing but a common whore. His latest feud was with the New York opera, seemingly because they received a better review than he thought they deserved in the New York Times. He would be awful company, even aside from the baleful stares and tut-tutting she would have to endure after his announcement; dinner conversation would be limited to a litany of the wrongs done to him, and his ingenious methods of revenge. His mood would only be disimproved when she wore a black instead of green dress.

A thought flickered in the back of her mind. I should have got Rebecca's phone number.

Still, Leonora thought to herself, not having an overnighter tonight would be a bonus. She was still sore from her previous engagement, and she would also be able to get home and tidy her apartment, maybe organise her notes and put some thought into the internship situation, or lack of internship situation. She turned her attention back to the class to find Mr Blofis glaring at her again. He hated people using cellphones in his classes, she knew, and had only withheld his outburst so not to be seen to be picking on her. All the cheer of her joking with Linc dropped out of her when the class came to an end and she saw Mr Blofis signal her to the front.

'Miss Adams,' he sneered as she stood in front of him, head down and books held up as a shield. She'd never grown out of the shame of being scolded at school as a child. 'An uncharactaristic performance today, Miss Adams?'

'Yes, Mr Blofis, sorry,' she muttered. 'Lateness, whispering and using a cellphone,' Mr Blofis listed his pet hates. 'Going for the full set today, I see.' Leonora muttered another apology. 'Yes, well, usually you are an exemplary student, so we'll leave it at this, shall we?'

'Yes, Mr Blofis. Thank you, sir.' With his dismissal, she turned to trudge through the now empty classroom. 'One more thing, Miss Adams?' 'Yes, Mr Blofis?' 'That Lincoln Genovese. Are you sure he's the kind of character with whom you wish to associate?' She raised a querying eyebrow. 'His... ah... connections. Italians...' Leonora turned on her heel and hurried from the room

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Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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LINCOLN GENOVESE
Lincoln felt so alive with bantering with the pretty Miss Adams. In the back row of a darkened classroom he felt like he was a regular guy. Without the responsibility of being a Genovese. He was about to make another funny comment when Leonora 's phone vibrated, as she fished out the gadget and began to read the message her demeanor changed. Its as if she forgotten that she was a student. Her facial expression became businesslike. He looked up and saw Mr. Blofis glaring in their direction. He kept a straight face and tries to make sense of the jumbled words on the blackboard. Unfortunately, they all looked like spaghetti noodles splattered on the board thanks to his dyslexia. Between the gala and Charlee's illness, he had little time to study. Ye vowed ti read a few chapters ahead and come to Cornell prepared. The classed progressed smoothly however, Leonora stayed silent.

At last the bell rang. He'd ask Leonora to help him pick up a fancy trinket for Charlee. That should cheer her up. Lincoln headed towards the exit, he turned around half expecting Leonora was bwhind him. It would seem that Mr. Blofis has other plans as he called Leonora 's attention and called her in front of the room. Lincoln decided ti wait for her. While waiting, he pulled out his iPhone and called Charlee. When his call was routed to her voicemail, he disconnected the call and began texting his sister.

"Hey poppet how ru? Wil b back later. Got sumthin 4 u. Dnt go anywhere "

He hit send.

He then saw Leonora coming out of the room. He slipped his phone inside his jeans pocket and caught up with Leonora.

"Hey I hope I didn't get you into trouble back there. I'm Lincoln Genovese we're in a few classes together. " Lincoln unleashed his mega watt smile and extended his right hand.

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Character Portrait: Leonora Adams Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese
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Leonora Adams


'Ugh, that bitter old -' Leonora abruptly halted her angry muttering about Mr Blofis when Linc came up alongside her outside class. She hadn't expected that. 'Hey I hope I didn't get you into trouble back there,' he said, rollingout the same smile he'd given her in class. Leonora had to hand it to him, he knew what worked for him and he stuck to it. Still, she was most certainly not complaining. He took her hand in a firm handshake. 'I'm Lincoln Genovese we're in a few classes together.'

'I know who you are,' Leonora smiled back, then released his hand. 'Most everybody does, I think. Not... not in a bad way, I mean. Just from... around, you know?' She threw back her head and laughed at herself. 'I'm making no sense, am I?' She shifted her bag onto her other shoulder and took a couple of steps up the corridor, then stopped. 'Where are my manners? I'm Leonora.'

She held out her hand to him again for another handshake, and not just out of politeness. She enjoyed his firm grasp, and watching the muscular construction of his arm slide together. The young man's self-assuredness - powerful but not arrogant - was in stark contrast to the sneer of Mr Blofis and the snideness she would endure with Francis Vaughan later that night. 'Listen, I've been having a really weird morning,' she said, tilting her head on one side and looking up at Linc from under long lashes. 'Do you want to get some lunch and do something fun for the rest of the day?'