Content Warning: Sexual Situations
I can’t stop shivering as I walk out of NOPD. I wave at the booking officers, but only the new rookie waves back. She doesn’t know how often I’m here. I’ve been arrested many times for various crimes. Everything from public urination to stealing a police car. I didn’t really steal it. I just borrowed it and may have collided with a Mardi Gras float.
I have to admit it is pretty hard to argue with a YouTube video with over one million hits. Still going strong! It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t also been topless at the time. Well, mostly topless, I was wearing pasties.
Still. Innocent until proven guilty!
I make it half the block before the first man steps into my path. He’s a hulking brute, the broken street light reflecting off his bald ebony skull.
“Cassandra Nadia Silvano,” he growls, his meaty arms crossing over his chest.
I wince. Only one person calls me by my full name. Letting out a loud groan, I look up at him, holding my hand out.
The brute slaps a burner phone into my palm before walking around me and continuing down the street. I take a long breath before lifting the phone to my ear.
“Nadia,” my father growls into my ear in his Romanian accent.
I wince and brace myself, adopting the sweetest tone I can, slipping into the same language. “Hi, Dad. How is Întuneric? Drafty? Well, I don’t want to keep you. I know how busy you are. Talk later?”
“Nadia,” he snaps, making me swallow my next protest, “you know we have an agreement.”
I sigh into the speaker as I walk aimlessly down the street, heading back into the Quarter. “Daddy, it wasn’t that bad…just, you know, a little drowning.”
Frigid silence greets me from the other end of the phone.
“I’ll be more careful,” I promise, hoping to end this conversation as I jump over a small crack in the sidewalk. I dart down the French Quarter, heading for Tchoupitoulas and my penthouse.
“Nadia, you are supposed to be staying out of trouble. That was the agreement. If I have to hear again about an attempted drowning from some mortal police officer, you will be returning home. Is that understood?”
I wince, waving at the doorman of my building, then stepping into the elevator. “Yes, Dad.”
“Good. I’ll talk to you on Friday. 12 PM, do not be late.”
“Yes, talk to you then.” He doesn’t say more before hanging up, giving me nothing but a dial tone.
I pout down at the device. On the top floor, I send the burner down the trash chute. My clothes follow the phone. There was nothing left of them after spending the night in lockup. Though I’m pretty sure I got some amazing makeup tips from the girls in holding with me.
I head for my shower to wash away the Mississippi grime. The water is scalding, but it bounces off my skin harmlessly. A lava rock helps rid my body of the lingering river stench as the extra black dye in my hair falls down my chest.
The blackness calls,
the world turns,
the fool falls.
In the next blink, I’m in front of my mirror, applying mascara to my eyelashes. Did I just black out again?
I blink at myself in the mirror. My eyes are a deep blue, the bags under them are covered in makeup, and I have applied an elaborate amount. I’ve decorated my face with a silver glitter eye shadow to my hairline, providing an almost mask effect.
For having done the makeup without being present, I have to say it looks amazing.
My hair is platinum again, loose curls brushing against my shoulders.
Damn, I did my hair too? I’m fucking productive when blacked out.
Now, why was I getting ready? Lifting my free hand, I look down at the business card I am holding. Where did that come from? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in the shower with me, but I can’t be 100% on that.
Nibbling my lower lip between my teeth, I look over the card again. It is solid black and thick like metal. The only thing on it is an address deep in the Quarter. Twirling the card in my hand, over and over again, I flip it end-over-end, noticing the way it absorbs the light in my bathroom.
As it flips, I see something else. The card transforms to a man in a field, a table at his right hip, covered with his tools, and one arm raised high in the air. But just as quickly as I perceive the change, the card is normal again.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I inspect my makeup. I look like I’m going to war.
Most arm themselves when going to battle, but I do the opposite. At a diminutive 5’2, I use my looks to disarm instead.
Strolling to my closet, I trail my hands idly over the expensive materials before snagging on a micro mini dress. Pulling it off the hanger, I smirk at myself while slipping on the silk.
Maybe that was the plan I had in mind tonight? Sex?
My hand tightens for a minute on the edge of the red silk, barely touching the top of my thighs. One wrong move, and I’ll be recreating the iconic scene from Basic Instinct. Not that anyone will notice. This is New Orleans, after all. Pulling on a pair of black suede boots with a small chunky heel, I’m ready.
Stopping in front of the mirror, I lean forward, kissing the corner. I leave a perfect red lip mark, writing the address I am heading to in sharpie beneath it.
A note to myself if I forget.
A note to my father in case the worse should happen. Every time I leave, there’s a chance I won’t come back. Oracles are hard to kill. Fire tickles us. Iron is great for kink. Wolfsbane makes me sneeze. Silver is great for jewelry. I pause for another second at the elevator, my hand trailing along the silver chain around my neck, the end vanishing between my breasts.
Since when did I wear a necklace?
The elevator dings. I step inside, releasing my hold on the chain. Chewing my lip again, I frown at the black business card, wondering where it came from. I don’t recognize the handwriting, which isn’t really saying much. I don’t recognize my own writing sometimes.
“Your cab has arrived, Miss,” my doorman announces, snapping me from my daze. I realize I’m standing in the elevator, doors open, as he waits for me to step off.
I blink at him. “My cab?”
He frowns, his dark brows furrowing. “Yes, Miss. You called down for a cab to be ordered for you.”
It must have been during my blackout.
I send him a winning smile before I walk out of the building and slide into the United cab.
He already knew where I was heading, dropping me off in front of one of the shadier bars.
Stepping out of the cab, I smile at the driver vacantly, handing him a candy necklace in payment. He blinks, opening his mouth to say something, but I’m already making my way into the bar.
With the bass pounding through the walls, I smile for a moment, letting the music drown out the prophecies and voices in my head.
Now, why did I come here?
I had a reason. I’m sure of it.
Rolling my hips as I stroll to the bar, I lean over the side of the scarred counter, swiping a bottle of absinthe.
“You!” someone yells. My gaze snaps up to the furious, very large, and very tattooed bartender.
I look over my shoulder for who she could be so upset with. It takes a moment before I realize it’s me.
“Me?” I ask, surprised, even as I uncork the absinthe and try to chug it.
She snatches it out of my hand so fast I’m pretty sure she’s part shifter.
“You destroyed over three thousand dollars worth of alcohol and a perfectly good stripper pole.” She sneers, recorking the absinthe bottle, and putting it on the shelf.
I blink in surprise. “Are you sure? That doesn’t sound like me.”
She snorts, pulling out a phone. She shows a video of me using a stripper pole as a javelin and hitting the entire rack of glass shelves behind the bar.
I wince. “Black and white are not good for the complexion. Do you have that in color?”
She huffs. “You have a lot of balls showing your face in this bar.”
“Or you could say I’m insane,” I whisper to her behind my hand. “It’s the common theory.”
She hisses at me, “No drinks until you pay for the damage.”
I pout at her, patting myself down for any money. “I knew I should have invested in those cooch wallets in the 80s!”
She shoots me another look. The one I’m so accustomed to. The this bitch is a bowl of lucky charms with all the marshmallows gone look.
Well. I guess I won’t be getting drunk here. Maybe I can try the bar next door. Turning my back to the bar, I head for the exit, pausing when I see a man from the corner of my eye.
He’s leaning over the table, lighting a cigarette for a woman. His dark eyes shine in the flash of the fire.
His hair is longer than I usually like but dark. His skin is dusky, and I lick my lips. It’s not his looks, necessarily, that draw me in. It’s more that he’s lighting the cigarette without a lighter, flaunting his powers in the open.
That’s a no-no.
And wouldn’t you just know it?
I love a bad boy.
I’m across the bar before I even register moving. I look down at the woman, my voice softening. “If you make it home before midnight, you’ll be able to say goodbye to your grandmother.”
She blinks up at me, her green eyes wide with shock. “How did you…”
“This is New Orleans, dear,” I add, pulling her out of her chair and taking it as I look at the man across from me.
It takes a moment for him to adjust to the sudden interruption, but his smile is smooth and seductive. “If you wanted to join us, you could have just asked.”
My eyes lock on him, licking my lips again. “Warlock.”
He blinks in surprise, though his sensual smile only slightly wavers. “Have we met?”
I sip from the girl’s abandoned drink, smiling. “Cassie.”
“Ash,” he purrs, looking me up and down. “Is there something you need? I’m for hire.”
I scrunch my nose, laughing. “No, not like that. Well, kind of like that. But no, I mean.” I pause, looking up at him, licking my lips slowly. “I need a distraction, and you’re available.”
He lets out a stuttering laugh. “I’m flattered?”
Hopping off the stool, I circle the small table. Going to my tiptoes, I whisper in his ear, “I need my distraction to fuck me to within an inch of my life, in the men’s bathroom stall, in the next ten minutes. Is that going to be you, or am I wasting my time?”
I can feel his body heat, his hand dropping to my hip. His hand yanks my head back as he kisses me hard. His tongue demands entry, leaving me with the taste of smoke. In the next moment, he’s locking the men’s bathroom door, throwing me onto the sink counter, my back hitting the mirror hard enough to break it. I don’t feel it. I wrap my arms around him, my legs locking at his waist. So long as desire courses through me, I’m present and lucid. I’m not lost.
Sex is an escape. A distraction. A way to dull the voices.
Ash’s hands are hotter than mortals, but it helps me stay here in this bathroom with him. At least for now.
He licks his fingers before putting his hand between my legs, cutting off a groan when he finds me ready for him.
“No strings, no foreplay, just fuck me,” I pant. My hands drop to his pants, wrenching them open, shoving his pants past his hips, and grabbing him hard.
He doesn’t need more permission than that.
His first thrust breaks the rest of the mirror. The second breaks the counter. Ash barely catches me before I fall with it. I seal my lips on his, rocking myself up and down on him, moaning loudly into his mouth, needing more.
He stumbles back with me into the bathroom stall, our bodies hitting the flimsy dividers, two forces colliding, needing the distraction. The touch of another, of something, to make us forget.
He slams me into the wall of the bathroom, his mouth hot against my neck, burning me. My hand reaches up, trying to steady myself on the wall. I scream under the onslaught of his need, of my need, of the frantic way he’s taking me. I can hear disgruntled patrons of the bar pounding on the locked door.
“Harder,” I demand.
He obliges until I come apart, screaming my release, and he follows.
For a moment, we both breathe heavily, the only sound in the destroyed bathroom.
After I come down from the high, I look down at him, sweating, smiling softly. “Your place for round two?”