Hostile Takeover: The Los Angeles Contingent.
Dark had fallen a mere hour before and the thin lines of sunset could barely be seen on the horizon of St. Louis. Orion leaned on the large black SUV that the twins rented, watching as the rest of his group made their final arrangements. The twins had set this up, and they would take the lead on this. If it were to go wrong, it would go wrong on their heads. It seemed like a good idea, still, somethings were too unknown. He looked up at the sign that declared, "Guilty Pleasures". The twin's information said that vampires ran the strip club. They were rarely wrong, and if they were, not from anything they did. If they were lucky, the evening might contain a smattering of amusement.
Jean-Claude had said that vampires from Los Angeles were coming by to see the club. They were interested in opening up one in their part of town and wanted to see an example for a business model. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently they were insistent. They being a 'Kale and Trever Delvar' on behest of 'Orion'. I hadn't heard of vampires keeping their last names before, but I suppose there's not reason for them not to. Out of my highly sensible running shoes and jeans I somehow managed to fit into a sheer tight red dress that accentuated my lips and, according to Nathaniel, brought out my eyes. The fabric shimmered around me, like sliding blood across my lips. The shoes were an achingly four inches tall and I surprised myself by not falling when I walked in them up to the front being told that our visitors had arrived.
There were six of them all together, four of them red heads. The first two had to be Kale and Trever. Identical down to the freckles on their noses, the two of them wore exactly matching suits, business casual; dark brown jackets with dark blue button down shirts underneath. I couldn't tell what designer they were from, but they were definitely tailored to their trim almost swimmer's like bodies. They kept their hair, red as a burning fire, tied back in short pony tails, barely touching the backs of their shoulders; their eyes were a deep emerald green, like the clovers one would imagine finding in Ireland where they were from. Immediately these four shining jewels took my new spot on what green eyes should look like. They had identical smiles as if laughing at a joke only they two know. Checking them out with my power I could tell that they were old, but I couldn't tell who was Kale and who was Trever, almost as if there were no difference between them, even with the way they walked, I could find no difference.
Behind them just a few paces walked a man who oozed power like a B-movie horror. He didn't project any actual physical power but the way his eyes, the blue of an Arctic glacier, roamed the room taking in everything around him as if it belonged to him when he walked in spoke of someone who didn't frighten easily. A few inches shorter than the twins, the man wore a just as tailored business suit, this one in shades of gray, a white cream colored tie that almost matched his spiky white hair. I wondered who he could be, the twins didn't submit a guest list, just said that they were coming up with some friends to talk business. I wondered if he could be their guard? They didn't appear to have a guard at all, strange again. Most vampires I knew always had one or two were's for a guard.
The rest of the group included a woman with curly red hair and bright summer blue eyes. It looked like she was some sort of doll with the frilly pink dress with lots of blue and green ribbons and the combat boots she wore.I envied the boots, though wondered why the twins would let her dress like that. Perhaps it was a slip in their protocol? That could be useful to know. However her red hair was almost exactly like the twins, I couldn't help but wonder if she was related and that was why they let her dress like that. A boy, he had to be a boy, about sixteen, who walked with a dancer's grace, almost like Nathaniel did came behind the woman. He had a slightly vacant look in his luscious brown eyes and curling black lashes that seemed to drape over his eyes like sheer curtains over a French window. He wore practically painted on black leather pants, a black leather jacket that clung to his sides and black sneakers that helped him glide. Glued nearly to his hip was the final member of the party. A man with the red hair of a rosy sunrise and almost animalistic look in his eyes. Perhaps he was the were? Despite the savage look he walked gracefully like a predator stalking his prey.
I walked over to greet them, managing to put a smile on my face. I wished that Jean-Claude or Micah or Nathaniel or anyone was here with me. But, I was alone, though Nathaniel promised to join me later. "Welcome to Guilty Pleasures, I'm Anita."
The twins smiled identically and the one on the left, with a lilting Irish accent, said, "We're Kale and Trever, behind us is Orion." And he gestured to the blond man. "Maddy, Lan and Kev."
I managed to hide a grimace, they hadn't differentiated themselves, so I had no idea which twin was which. I offered up my hand for the twin I thought, hoped, was Kale for him to kiss, but he merely shook it. "A pleasure to meet you all," I said trying to hide my surprise at this. His hand was cool to the touch and I felt power underneath it and for a moment I thought the ardeur would rise, but it instead retreated. Perhaps he wasn't compatible. The other twin, Trever, also shook my hand. As did Orion and Maddy. Lan just gave me a smile and Kev stared at me like he was going to tear me into little pieces. I almost shivered, but I had dealt with worse in my time.
"And a pleasure to meet you as well," Trever said.
"If you would follow me?" I led them up to the office of the club. Cast in dark purples and reds, like fine grapes and wine, the room had plush velvet curtains that could be parted to look down at the main floor, soft lounging chairs and couches and a swirling patterned rug. Orion took one of the chairs and sitting in it made it look like he was an ancient king, looking at his subjects. The twins sprawled on one of the couches, one laying on the other like lovers. The image shook me and I couldn't get it out of my mind for a moment. Sure, it was fine for two men to be together, but siblings? That was just wrong. Maddy leaned against the couch that the twins had claimed while Lan sat in Kev's lap.
I seated myself so that I could see the entire room and all my guests. It was strange. The twins and Orion were clearly very powerful Master vampires, but Kale and Trever had clearly submitted themselves to Orion's rule. And from what I heard, they willingly melded their kiss with his. It wasn't something that I had heard about before. But Los Angeles was like a different country I supposed.
Kale or maybe Trever, sat up from his slouch, bending over to rest his arms on his knees as he looked at me with those brilliant emerald eyes. I swear if I could put them in a necklace I'd make a fortune. "So, here's the thing," he said, apparently wanting to get right down to business. "We are men of business. We're always looking for opportunities to expand our operations. We see a significant market for both vampires and humans in a strip club."
"It has been very beneficial for Jean Claude," I said. "That and the Circus."
The talking twin waved that away. "The circus is for another time, perhaps."
Nodding, I said, "Of course. One thing at a time."
The other one sat up and leaned against his twin, one hand resting in the other's lap. Again I got that feeling that the two of them were more connected than normal. I glanced at the others but no one seemed to notice or mind this at all. Lan and Kev appeared to be more interested in themselves than the conversation, while Maddy merely looked on. Orion seemed to be perfectly content to sit and be a king in his throne. "We brought Lan here," the second one said gesturing to the young vampire. Lan perked up at the mention of his name and gave a bright smile, though I don't think he knew what we were talking about. "To learn some of the dances that you have. And perhaps share some of the ones that he knows. A trade of sorts. We'd be willing to loan him for..." He looked over at his brother.
"Three months," the other finished. "Him and Kev. They're a package deal."
"I'm a very good dancer," Lan said, with that same smile on his face.
"I'm not in charge of that sort of thing, but I'll get Nathaniel. He's one of the strippers here and he could maybe show you around?"
I sent out a call for Nathaniel and he said that he would come right up. As I did so, I felt the aruder rising up in me again and almost leeching out to test the vampires here and see if they were strong enough to feed it. It skimmed quickly over Kev and Lan before tugging lightly on the twins. Neither of them reacted. There wasn't a change in their posture or their presence or their power. It started to go for Maddy, but I forced it away. I just didn't feel comfortable sharing my bed with another woman. Perhaps that was my homophobia, but it was true. When it finally got to Orion it got slammed back into me. Looking at him, I saw that he wasn't even paying attention to me, he was looking out at the dance floor.
A knocking at the door distracted me from this as Nathaniel and Jean Claude walked in. I barely held in a sigh of relief to see them. Kev seemed to be mesmerized by Nathaniel. I couldn't blame him. He walked like he floated just above the ground with a sliding glide. He wore his short shorts, apparently not having changed into costume for his show, and his long braid of hair danced around his ankles like a tail. Seeing him sent an almost flutter of need deep down in me.
Kev reached out to grab the braid.
"Kev," Lan said warningly. He pouted and retracted his hand as Lan wrapped around him more completely.
Quickly I introduced Nathaniel to the others, brushing over the twins. Kev kept on giving him this look like he wanted to well... tear him into little pieces. I couldn't figure out why he had such sudden hostility to Nathaniel. Perhaps he just didn't like were-leopards? "Lan is going to be maybe staying with us for a while."
"Lan and Kev," one of the twins said.
"They're a package deal," The other one said.
"Right. Lan and Kev."
"I don't go anywhere without him," Lan said with a giggle. I kind of felt sorry for him, wondering if something had gone wrong when he got turned or if he was always like that. Some vampires, I knew, turned just for looks. It seemed like Lan was a victim of one of those. Nathaniel smiled.
"I'd be happy to show you around, if you'd like."
"Ooooh, I would! What about you Kev?"
He gave a feral smile. "You don't know what I'd like to do."
I almost laughed. "What would you like to do?"
"You don't want to know," Kev said.
"I appreciate honesty."
With that as an invitation Kev launched into a graphic description of what he'd like to do. It involved dismembering and destroying me in ways I didn't think were even possible. Nathaniel started to growl low and I could feel his beast start to rise up in him. I put a hand on him and glared at Kev.
"Kev. Shut up," Lan said lazily. Kev stopped talking immediately. He glowered at Lan but then gave me a sweet smile, flashing a bit of fang. No one acted as if this was out of the ordinary either though it looked like the twins had been sniggering some. I started to wonder what sort of kiss this was.
Fortunately Jean Claude came in at that moment, dressed in almost all his finery: a silken white blouse with finely ruffled lace cuffs and sheer almost see through sleeves. More lacy ruffles adorned his chest mixing with the dark and tight curls of his hair like some sort of black and white abstractionists painting. Tight black jeans curved over his long legs ending in soft knee high black leather boots. He looked almost like a figure from one of Tim Burton's creations, but much more real and much more better looking. The way he walked to me made me tingle down below and I ached for him. But now, I knew, was not the time for this. He stopped right next to him, putting a hand lightly on my waist. "My apologies for being late," he said. "Things had to be attended to."
All attention turned to him at once, and finally I felt like things were going right.
"That," Orion finally spoke, "Is why I have minions." He said it in a slightly disapproving and rebuking manner, as if Jean Claude was a child who had done something silly.
At that, I took a better look at the room, at the visiting vampires, and finally realized something. They had made court here. Orion was their king sitting in his throne. The twins and Maddy his lords and ladies and Lan and Kev, the entertainment and its protection. They had not come to see us. We had come to see them, at their grace -at Orion's grace- and we should be grateful for it. All of this hit me with in moments of Orion's statement and I wondered if Jean-Claude had noticed it too.
The ice king and his fiery vassals.
"Of course," Jean-Claude said, "But sometimes things require a Master's touch."
Orion nodded as if this was an acceptable excuse. He seemed to have taken control of the court once Jean Claude walked in, the twins relinquishing control without a word. They worked amazingly well together, I had to admit. "I thank you for your hospitality. Anita has been most." He paused there as if searching for the appropriate word to use. "Gracious."
"I have trained mah pettite well," he said teasingly. The court gave him a blank look, which, through the vampire marks, I could see unsettled Jean Claude.
"Human servants should always be trained well," one of the twins said."Or else they're useless."
I wanted to say something to that. I was not some dog to be trained to follow its master. But once Jean Claude had entered, their attention had completely left me. Except for Kev's. He kept on leering at me, as if he couldn't wait to take me apart. I existed to them as much as the furniture.
After giving the twin who spoke a look, which consisted of a slight turn of the head, Orion turned his attention back to us. "As we were telling your servant, as a gesture of good faith we have brought two of our own to learn from you. As a temporary trade." He gestured to Lan and Kev. "Lan is an excellent dancer and should make a wonderful addition and Kev is... formidable."
"I welcome them, though I'm afraid I have nothing in trade."
"They are gifts. We wish for them to learn." One of the twins said. "And be of use."
Lan giggled. "As long as I don't have to deal with girls."
"Why not?" I asked, curiously. Their eyes turned to me as if I had spoken out of turn and I suddenly felt like a mouse in a room full of cats. Lan didn't seem to notice his elders' stares.
"Because they have cooties."
Maddy, for the first time, spoke. "Lan, honey, we've been over this before. Girls don't have cooties." Lan gave her the most innocent looks, like a five year old would give to his mother. I couldn't believe that someone would have turned him.
"But Trever said they do."
"Trever is just messing with you honey. You shouldn't listen to him." And she gave the twins a glower. They smiled back at her as if this was the funniest thing in the world.
Jean-Claude cleared his throat, as if trying to get the conversation to turn back to him. Everyone turned back to him as if they had completely forgotten he existed and were surprised to see him there. "Lan will not have to work with girls, if he doesn't wish to." Lan beamed at this, giving Maddy a triumphant look before looking at him starry eyed.. Maddy gave a long suffering sigh and shook her head. I felt sorry for her. I wonder if he had been placed under her care. It was kind of them to keep him protected. Though I wondered about the wisdom of leaving him here. Someone might take advantage of him. Then again, Kev would probably keep him safe. He looked like a pit-bull in vampire form. A very pretty pit-bull, but a pit-bull nonetheless.
"That's very kind of you," Orion said, as if his giving of the praise was a kind of treat for Jean-Claude. He took a breath and tilted his head.
"Have you found suitable accommodations?"
"Oh yes, we're staying at the Renaissance Grand Hotel." One of the twins said lazily. "Took over the penthouse."
And that was suitable accommodations indeed. One of the nicer hotels in the city. They certainly were interested in staying in high class. Though, I imagine being from Los Angeles that's what they were used to. "Excellent, then perhaps you would care to enjoy the amenities of our humble club for the night and we shall go into more serious negotiations after the ballet? Because I'm sure you wish to mingle with the other Masters."
Orion appeared to think about it for a moment, glancing at the others in his party, before saying, "Of course." I too looked around at the others, but besides Kev, no one seemed to react to this one way or the other. Kev just looked more vicious. It sent a worrisome shiver down my spine, like I had completely missed something. I wish I could read these people, but they were as informative as a blank wall. Even Kev, despite his savageness.
Jean-Claude smiled and gestured that they should follow him. Orion stood up first with the others taking places like vassals with their king as he took the lead and left the room before Jean-Claude and I could. We could merely follow in his magnificent wake.
|The Los Angeles Contingent ~ Fan Fiction ~ Lobsters|