Author Topic: Old Friends  (Read 380 times)

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Offline Saiketsu

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Old Friends
« on: April 10, 2019, 08:04:41 AM »
They had split a bottle of wine over the course of the evening, a bold but fruity red that Damien - having little knowledge or interest in such things - had forgotten the name of. "To returning to a somewhat normal lifestyle," he toasted Rachel, who glared at him in return and finished her last sip. The daytime bodyguard had been hired after weeks of searching and things were looking up. To celebrate the success, Damien had surprised his human companion and brought her to Echelon, where the food was said to be outstanding and the atmosphere relaxing.

They had ordered their entrees and deserts as well. Damien (not caring too much about what the food was, considering he was just going to have to purge it later) decided upon a piece of duck that wasn't fully cooked - apparently that was the point - and a warm root vegetable salad that tasted vaguely sweet and like dirt to the vampire. It was the most familiar thing on the menu to him, but he wasn't disappointed. Desert, for him, a cheesecake thick and sticking to his throat, making him wash it down with more wine. The evening had consisted of copious amounts of laughter from both himself and his human companion, added on her side by the wine. Every so often she would would purposely make inferences about their life behind closed doors and watch as Damien attempted to hide his face or change the conversation. Devious smiles and promises of exploration and glasses of wine. What a wondrous night!

---

Quinn Patenaude stood at the corner of Broad Way and 11th Street with a backpack full of clothes slung over one shoulder. It was one of the busiest intersections in this part of the city and the only way to get to the White Rabbit from where he lived. Impatient and a bit worried about the time, he looked down at his phone as he could will things to go faster. He had forgotten his headphones at home and it made the twenty minute walk seem much longer than usual, the normal sounds of the city chaotic. As he waited for the signal to walk, he took out a cigarette and lit it, needing something to occupy is brain and calm his nerves. The signal finally turned and the human took off at a brisk walk across the four-lane street, crossing to the same side of the street as those upscale, swanky restaurants that cost more to have a drink at than he made in a week.

Ever since the Pompeii had shut down, Quinn had been trying to figure out something to do with his life. The Pompeii had never been his dream job, of course, but it had its perks. Free liquor and getting paid for the pleasure of viewing his body. It was much easier than working in retail or lower level management, that Nine-to-Five bull. There had been something extremely satisfying about showing men his body, having them toss money at him, slip it in his clothing. He had met some of his closest friends there and he had been devastated when he heard that Hank Garvey, the owner and manager, had to sell the place in order to make good on some bets. Of course that's not what he told anyone; he told everyone that the Sacramentum was shutting them down because Hank refused to pay the extortion bill that they had demanded.

When the news first broke, Harvey had everyone's full sympathy. "We'll get through this", "we'll all go to the White Rabbit as a family", "we'll raise the money and buy a new club somewhere else", on and on. But as the weeks carried on through the last month of Pompeii being open the only clientele were the thugs who pushed Harvey around. They were human, talking about money owed., not undead or supernatural. Harvey made no attempt to remove them from the club. The thugs, big Italian-looking men with square jaws and fists like hams, started harassing the dancers, the wait staff, even the bartenders - tugging on clothing, grabbing them, offering money for sex. The first time someone said something was when Tommy pulled roughly out of the grip of one of the big ones who pulled his toga off and Quinn had, more or less, stepped in. He was able to get two punches to Angelo Macaroni's head in before the Italians plucked him from off of Macaroni and tried to lay Quinn out in his own workplace. That morning, Quinn went home with a split lip, a bruised eye socket, and no job. A sympathy card from Hank had shown up in his mail two weeks later.

Now he was trying to find a way to call the White Rabbit home. He worked as a shot boy for half the money he had made dancing, doubling as barback when it got too busy - which it often did thanks to some recent political bullshit that Quinn didn't really understand. He missed working openly with vampires and demons. He missed stripping. But mostly he missed the atmosphere of the Pompeii - a gentleman's club for lust, not some balls-out rave. He did appreciate his boss though - Lisa-Joe, a red-head who pulled no punches and settled every argument with her fists. Then there was Jake McCloud who, as the whispers told it, was a District Leader for the City Central and the West. A young-looking thing - he often appeared in the club, though Quinn had never taken the chance to talk to him - who didn't quite seem old enough to be allowed in the bar, let alone own it. He had never been fondled at the White Rabbit he was happy to say, but then again he had only been working there a few months. Tommy, his best friend from the Pompeii - a young punk with a very cute ass - had told Harvey to shove it the same day that Quinn got fired and they both worked together at the new club. But seeing as Quinn was almost 30 and Tommy was just barely old enough to drink, Tommy got the stage job of showing his ass. Quinn tried not to feel bitter, but it only made him want to find something else as soon as he could. Maybe dancing for a living wasn't the way he would make his money.

He walked briskly up the street, the sidewalks thankfully wide and brightly lit here. As he approached Echelon, the swankiest of the swanky restaurants, a straight couple stepped out of the building, giggling and all over each other in the way that straight people did - holding hands, kissing like no one else could possibly be nearby, speaking in high pitched, low voices like lovers. Quinn tried to keep his eyes forward, but something drew his eyes to the couple, something familiar that he couldn't put his finger on. He was a safe distance away - about 30 yards - away from them, so he kept his gaze flickering back to them to try to figure out what exactly was pulling his attention. But he just couldn't place it.

Online The Cedar Witch

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 08:46:54 AM »
When Damien had said that they were going out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate she had no clue it would have been this fucking fancy.  From the moment they entered the restaurant she was essentially overwhelmed and feeling dreadfully lower-class.  That wasn't to say that she was underdressed by any means, though she regretted not having picked out a slightly taller heel than what she was currently wearing.  Damien looked delicious as always whenever he dressed up, and she spent the majority of the evening blushing between sips of wine and eyeing him coyly.  This was probably the most grown-up experience she had ever had, and it was something that made her feel like she was about to get proposed to--which didn't happen (obviously, thankfully) but the thought of it pushed her cheeks into a deeper crimson.

After they had finished their meal, it was decided that they would take a little walk down the street instead of heading straight back to the car.  Rachel was a bit tipsy, face flushed and hot from an evening of expensive wine and low-spoken inuendoes.  With their fingers laced, they made their way out of the restaurant and onto the street. 

"Thank you for dinner, I had a really nice time."  She smiled up at him, an expression of pure bliss. 

Rachel was quite giggly, swaying a bit when he pulled her in for a kiss--but from over his shoulder, she spied someone down the street. 

"Quinn?"  she whispered to herself--no, it couldn't be.  Quinn was from her hometown, there's no way he was here.  That didn't make any sense at all.  As he drew closer, her eyes widened and the blood drained instantly from her face.  Suddenly sobered, she pushed Damien away (who released her out of confusion) and took off running up the street.  Rachel was a blur of navy blue, running at full speed in her short heels--a talent in and of itself, but managing the dizzying fury of emotion building in her chest and face made it a feat.

"QUINN!"  the scream that ripped from her throat was choked with a sob as she careened straight toward him for a hug.
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Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 09:21:15 AM »
Quinn paused, hearing his name and seeing the woman's mouth move, but not truly understanding. Eye contact. Shit, he thought to himself. He was being to obvious. He just wanted to figure out who the hell she was. So familiar.

And then she started running towards him, saying his name.

Panic rose in him faster than he realized it could as he tried to assess the situation. Was she running from her boyfriend? How did she know who Quinn's name? Did Quinn know her? Why was she crying? Without thinking, he stopped in his stride completely, trying to figure out what the woman was going to do.

And then he saw her face, closely, clearly, and his heart jumped into his throat.

"Rachel?" No. It wasn't Rachel - it couldn't be Rachel. Rachel lived in Massachusetts. Rachel was missing. Rachel was probably dead. He had filed the Missing Persons report himself. He had called up her mother and told her the news himself. He had tried to hunt her down through the city. He had spent sleepless nights alone in their apartment, sick to death about what could have happened to her. He had tried to move on past her, to leave her in the past when he left for the city. He had moved forward from the point of her disappearance. This was not Rachel. There was no way.

But there she was, running, beautiful, and perfectly ok. Was he dreaming? Was she a ghost? She must have been.

Somewhere along the road he had dropped his bag and his cigarette - not that he noticed. He walked at first, the stiff feeling in his legs telling him wrongly that it wasn't safe, that this was a trick and he was going to get hurt because of this. Denial of her clear existence. She moved like Rachel had moved. She looked like Rachel. She sounded like Rachel.

He caught the running human in the deepest embrace he had ever given in his life. Quinn hadn't noticed that he was crying and swearing until his voice was muffled by her hair and her clothing. She smelled like Rachel, different now, but still similar to how he remembered her. He couldn't let her go, even as he struggled to breathe, her hair filling his mouth and his nose.

"Rachel? Rachel? Is it really you? Rachel? What the fuck, Rache?" He blubbered, kissing her face the way he had never done before. Quinn held onto her and they both sank to the concrete on their knees and then done farther on their sides, all the while never letting go. "Rachel where did you go? What happened? I looked for you everywhere. I looked for you everywhere!" He was kissing her again, pressing his lips against her wet, crying face and squeezing her for dear life. He would never let anyone take her away from him again.

---

Damien's chest swelled with fear as Rachel pushed away from him. Confusion first, then deep-seated fear that something had happened. His skin prickled and he felt unprepared for the moment. Was it Laurent, finally showing his face? The vampire whipped around to see what could have possibly chased her off. Every shadow became alive to him, more than suspicious, but dangerous with the possibility that the shadow demon was near. Yet Rachel had run off, away from him. Nothing made sense but Damien chased after her as fast as he could, not reaching the human in time before she flung herself into another human's arms.

Another human. Yes, he was sure of that by the smell and look of him. Damien slowed himself to a human's pace as he came up alongside them, only to see the two of them fall to the ground, crying, holding each other.

"Rachel?" He said softly, not understanding and needing answers. He leaned down to pull her gently off the other human, but his arms wouldn't let go.

"BACK THE FUCK OFF, PAL!" The human yelled at him, his voice choked with tears and his grip on Rachel, like a vice, tightened. It surprised Damien more than anything else.

"What the hell is going on?" Damien didn't like this at all. Not this human, not the two of them on the ground together, not his grip on  his human lover. His voice was stern and he searched the other human for answers, picking into his brain rudely and without consent.

Online The Cedar Witch

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 09:56:59 AM »
Everything felt like it was moving in slow motion, even though she was moving as fast as she could.  There was no way this was Quinn--this was actually Quinn!  Not a dream, but Quinn--the closest thing she had to family.  Who she never thought she would see again, who she was half convinced probably had either forgotten about her or hated her for disappearing without a trace.  This was her best friend, kissing her face, saying her name--fuck!

Her chest felt like it was going to explode, her head floating off into the sky.  For several long seconds Rachel could do nothing but openly sob in his arms, forgetting everything around her as they dropped to the ground.  Her dress was probably hiking a bit far up her thigh but she didn't give a shit about that right now.

God, it had been so fucking long.

"Queh-- Uai-- muissdyouzomuhand--"  Fucking pointless trying to talk at the moment, but she frantically tried to push out words between the sobbing.  With no thanks to the wine and rich food, Rachel was beginning to feel nauseous, her headache turning into a migraine.  She buried her face into his shoulder, the familiarity of crying on him came flooding back to her all at once.  With fists desperately gripping his shirt she shook, tears wetting the fabric.

How was she even going to explain everything to him?  She never thought that she would have the opportunity to.  Anything she would say to him would've just sounded like a crazy story, some crazy excuse she made up for abandoning him.

Hey, I know it's been forever but I was abducted.
Yeah--crazy, I was held captive in a fucking brothel against my will by a literal demon.
I got out though--I'm okay now.
Sorry I didn't call to let you know, but I think you changed your number?


Yeah right--he would never believe any of that.  She felt like such an asshole, but being in his arms again made that shit a hell of a lot less important. 

She hadn't even remembered Damien until he was trying to pull her off of Quinn.  That familiar protective tone that she hadn't heard in so fucking long, accompanied with the death grip, pulled her out of the emotional blubber enough for her to signal a thumbs-up at Damien.  That was all she could manage and she hoped to fuck it was enough to keep him from ripping Quinn away.

Eventually, the sobs transitioned into gasps for air, which no doubt terrified her lover.  She held a steady hand on Quinn's shoulder as she pulled away, calming herself and trying to slow her breathing.  Eyes red, face glistening, she turned to Quinn and held either side of his face in her hands.

"You are coming the fuck home with us right now." A bit dramatic, and she gasped between some words, but it was the best that she could manage.  She didn't want to be causing any more of a scene out in the streets.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 10:57:13 AM »
It was a surreal feeling to have her back in his embrace. How long had it been? Four years? Five? Six? It didn't matter. Quinn nodded furiously at her as she held his face. His face was soggy with tears, his nose watering. The White Rabbit would have to wait.

He released her only enough so that he could stand and pull her to her feet, then threw his arms around her again. He had not been prepared for this and his body suddenly felt achey, his knees painful. Something drew his gaze to the guy that Rachel had been with and he instantly distrusted him. There was something odd about this guy, the way he eyed Quinn as if he were going to steal Rachel from him. Straight men were the worst. This was Rachel, the sister he never had, his best friend and roommate back before he had moved. She was the one woman he had ever loved and he was fiercely protective of her. Having Rachel brought all that pain, sadness, and nostalgia back up in swells. No one would ever take that away from him, boyfriend, husband, or not. Quinn eyed at him from over Rachel's shoulder and the guy stayed an appreciative distance away.

Quinn pulled himself away from her and grabbed her hands. "What the hell are you doing here, you little shit? I thought you were dead, for Christ sakes! How the hell did you end up here!"

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 11:21:53 AM »
Rachel's ankles buckled a bit with the effort of standing, knees wobbly like a baby deer.  When Quinn's arms went around her again she lost herself in the feeling, holding him as tightly as she could manage without suffocating him (not that her arms had the strength).  Her breathing returned to a somewhat-normal pace and the crying slowed enough for her to be able to see clearer.

She laughed a bit at being called a little shit--that was her Quinn.  Rachel squeezed his hands and coughed a bit before answering.

"God--it's a real fuckin' long ass story and I'm not telling you in the streets."  She looked at him seriously for a minute, and burst earnestly into tears.  Her arms went around his neck so she could sob a bit more efficiently all over him--whimpering out a garbled "I'm sorry" over and over.  After a minute or so, she pulled away, still keeping a hold of one of Quinn's hands, crying in hiccuping intervals as she pulled him over to Damien.

"Quinn--this is my boyfriend, and no--he's not the reason I disappeared."  She laughed a little, then turned to Damien.

"Can we take him home with us for tonight," she sniffled, looking awfully pathetic at Damien.  "I'm sorry if I'm freaking you out- I just- I haven't-"  she dissolved into a few sobs again, taking some deep gulps of air in between.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 09:19:22 AM »
The waves of heart-wrenching emotions that rippled out from both humans was almost too much for him. The repeated apologies that she was making to her once-best friend - Quinn, apparently - hurt Damien somewhere selfishly, giving him a reason to take a step back from them mentally and ward himself. The humans pulled themselves together and fell apart over and over again, suffering through their grief, recovery, and missing time.

Behind his own walls, fingers of guilt rested on him, threatening to take hold. He spun the same arguments over and over again - he should have let her go and return to a human life somewhere, should have found the Shadow Demon and killed him, should have brought her back to her hometown and replanted her back in her life. And despite knowing logically that none of these thoughts made sense practically, that this was the best option to keep Rachel both safe and alive, his chest felt hollowed with the pain that Rachel was expressing. A useless feeling, but one that lingered nonetheless.

Feeling that nagging need to understand the situation the best he could, as well as to provide a comfort to Rachel - who seemed unable to be broken from Quinn's grasp - Damien reached out to her mentally, a gentle, soothing hand reaching and tethering himself to her. She responded by allowing her love for the human in front of her to flow into him, acknowledging his ignorance and and presence with a loud thought of affection. He began to relax cautiously, trusting the humans to find their ways.

Just breathe, Rachel. Everything is okay now. Invite him to come over. He can come with us if he likes. Does he know...? Damien trailed off in words and passed to her the idea of his vampirism. He had no idea how much she was willing to tell him, but Damien surmised that it would be a considerate amount. He had never met anyone from Rachel's life before and had, quite honestly, not anticipated ever doing so. She had mentioned Quinn in passing, but never lingered on any of the details and Damien was not one to pry without prompting.

---

Quinn held her and felt a new barrage of tears come to him as she started apologizing. He hurt; he had forgotten how much he was hurt by her going missing. He had worked hard at forcing the wound to heal with alcohol, lovers, and fun times that Rachel would have been proud of, and nights spent contemplating things she would have hated him doing. Some new wound was now raw and open in him and he wasn't sure what to do with it. He had mourned the death of his best friend and picked himself out of the gutter without her. And now she was back and he couldn't think straight.

When she pulled away from him, he accepted it without anxiety or fear, her hand in his as she introduced her boyfriend. "Hi," Quinn said wiping his eyes with a pathetic attempt at a polite smile. The kid was young, younger than he first seemed to Quinn, but there was something about him that seemed... strange. He couldn't shake the feeling and Quinn wondered if he was some kind of immortal. It made Quinn feel like some kind of outsider, a feeling he tried to crush quickly before it ruined his reattachment to his best friend. "I'm Quinn," he reached out his hand to the other who still looked a bit apprehensive.

"I'm Damien," the other said with an easy smile, something Quinn hadn't been expecting. It took the tension out of the moment and for some reason his distrust melted from him. He was nice looking at least, a handsome face with sharp features and shining, intense eyes. Quinn realized that he was smirking, like he had been put under some kind of spell from Damien. "I've heard a lot about you." His tone was so smooth and unexpected, brushed with an accent he hadn't noticed and couldn't quite place yet.

Quinn smiled back with a weary, unguarded laugh. He brushed the tears from his face, knowing he probably looked a mess and feeling self-conscious about it. "Oh God, I can only imagine!"

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Re: Old Friends
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2019, 10:04:25 AM »
The mental soothing was more than welcome, and she found it much easier to breathe.  It reminded her of all the nights she would wake up from horrific nightmares, reaching for Damien frantically for some kind of stability.  Those moments forced a quick kind of intimacy that marked the earlier parts of their friendship.  She used to feel like shit about that time but looking back now--that support was vital to her recovery.  Did he know that?  Rachel would have to bring that up sometime later, they never really talked about it before.

No, she didn't know how much Quinn knew about...that stuff.  But she was sure-as-hell going to tell him because she always told him everything.  Well, she used to anyway.  Rachel took a few measured shakey breaths while the two introduced themselves to each other.  When Damien said he heard a lot about Quinn, she blushed because it was technically a lie.  She hadn't talked about Quinn much at all.  What a major fucking asshole move that was.  It got compartmentalized with all the other shit she left behind--it was the only way she knew how to move on and gather some semblance of a normal life. 

"Okay, let's go to the car."  Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand and linked her other arm through Damien's. 

"I hope I'm not ruining some serious plans of yours,"  she laughed sheepishly, looking at Quinn's backpack as they walked back to the valet at Echelon to get the car.  She didn't even want to know what the valet must've made of the group.  Whatever eyeliner she was wearing had melted around her eyes.  This was going to be a long fucking night.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente