Author Topic: Not Just A Pretty Face  (Read 484 times)

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Offline Satyr

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2019, 01:26:23 PM »
Ben's gaze dropped down to the magazine. For a short moment he didn't react as the question was asked of him but when Dana asked how he responded, Ben reached out and took the magazine from her hands and rolled it up before handing it to one of the people hovering nearby. He recognised her from seeing her in the corridors at the Luminary - she was one of the staff members Kerr had hired. He didn't tell her what to do with it. She just took it and scurried away. Hopefully, Dana hadn't wanted to keep it.

"Not quite the same, but since he's started calling names, if I'm a Luminary then he's a Despot." Ben smirked. Nothing made him happier than a dig at Jake.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2019, 02:32:21 PM »
Dana made a muted sound of protest as she held her hand out in an attempt to stop the woman who had her magazine, but she kept walking. The woman disappeared and so did the five dollars it'd cost to buy the latest edition of the Dark Times. That'd teach her not to hand Ben anything she planned on using in the future. Now she'd have to find another one in order to cite it. Damn him. She wasn't a CEO for some fangbanger app, nor did she have millions of dollars to toss around willy nilly. Replacing that magazine was going to cost her gas in her tank.

But Ben was talking. She needed to give him her attention. Polite attention. Dana replaced her frown with a smile and made sure her recorder was in the vicinity of Ben's mouth.

"In the article," she continued once the vampire had finished with his retort, "he also mentions that he believes Chinatown should be independent and that Lan Bao should represent it as District Leader. That's not something we've heard from you. What's your opinion on Chinatown? Should it remain a part of the Central District?"

Offline Satyr

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2019, 02:44:20 PM »
Ben had known for a while that Jake was after assigning Chinatown as its own District. He'd never promised that to Lan Bao when he'd spoken with her and she'd struck him as a proud person. He thought he might offer her a different way to perceive Jake's offer to her. A more insulting way.

"Of course Chinatown should remain a part of Central District. I believe in representation, not segregation. I have spoken with a representative of the Kuei Jin within Chinatown and committed myself to a seat at the Table of Advisors for their people. My offer was accepted."

He had a feeling Jake's offer was accepted too. Lan Bao was canny.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2019, 05:23:31 PM »
Despite all her hours of research, Dana had never been able to find out much about Chinatown, the Kuei Jin that inhabited it, or Lan Bao herself. All she'd discovered was that the vampires living there were different in a way that made other vampires nervous. Something to do with being able to turn into dragons? Or breathe fire? Fly? Regardless, she had never been keen on spending any more time there than she had to. Especially after dark.

Talk of Chinatown sovereignty had forced her to contact some of the residents for their opinions, but she never went in person. Even though many insisted she’d be welcome there, she’d conducted all their interviews over email or on the phone. So far, she hadn't gotten much out of them. Would that change once they heard Ben's less-than-flattering take on the situation? That Jake wanted to keep them isolated from everyone?

She tapped her thumb on the power button of her recorder, considering what question she’d follow up with, when something whipped painfully against the backs of her legs.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there... still giving your interview,” said an orange-winged imp with a spade-tipped tail coiled behind him. His sing-songy tone, the mischievous glint in his eyes, and the press badge hanging from his neck said otherwise.

“I’m almost finished,” she said, fighting the urge to lean down and rub her stinging calves.

“How wonderful. I worried there wouldn’t be any questions left for me to ask.”

Dana rolled her eyes. The imp smirked.

“Right,” she said to Ben. “Looks like I need to wrap things up. Do you have anything to add before I go?”

Offline Satyr

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2019, 06:02:00 PM »
Ben reached into his pocket and pulled out a thin metal box. He flicked it open and took out a business card. When he handed it to her, she would see it had a lovely linen finish with just his name typed on it in small caps and his mobile and email underneath.

"Thanks so much for your questions, it was a pleasure. That's my direct number if you want to chase me up for a lengthier or follow-up interview. I'd also love to know when the issue is out."

He flicked the card case shut and repocketed it, feeling slick. He was immensely pleased the interview with Dana had gone so well, considering how nervous he'd felt at the start of it because of the tape recorder. She hadn't put him off with his answers by visibly reacting and he liked that about her. While he had no idea what kind of spin or angle she was going to give this interview, at the moment he felt positive about it.

Offline Seragil

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2019, 12:44:12 PM »
He slid the phone back into the pocket of his black skinny jeans and looked around, people were starting to gawk but whether it was his wings stretching above and around him, or his three companions, two of which were a male and female with snake eyes and serpents for hair or the leather clad woman with raven feathers woven into her long tresses, that drew their attention was uncertain.

He wasn’t interested in the gawkers and so totally ignored them, instead he focused on the large tent before him, its sides opened wide in invitation. He had dressed for fun tonight and so was clad in black skinny jeans (Saint Laurent) and a rare vintage 1994 Pink Floyd-The Wall, T-shirt and a pair of comfortable black designer shoes. His hair as always fell in glossy waves around his shoulders.

He could see Ben in the tent talking to a woman as he approached, a crowd forming around them both, listening to their conversation. Butterflies took flight in his stomach and his heartbeat picked up speed at the sight of him, the reaction causing him to silently curse at himself. This was foolish, stupid even. What the fuck was he doing here? He closed his eyes for a moment as he tried to get himself under control.
“So are we saying hello or are we just going to stand here all night and be stared at?” The question had him opening his eyes in an instant and turning his face towards his copper skinned, snake haired companion with a raised eyebrow.

“You said we were here to network and to meet people. Let’s meet people already.” Her words were brusque, but a smile played across her lips and one of her snakes stretched out and rubbed his cheek, caressing him but there was a touch of impatience in her serpent kissed eyes as well. The gorgons had stayed out of site since their arrival, Phedre had kept herself busy running Club Zero and her brother Phoenix had stayed by her side, mingling and getting to know their business partners, the wolf pack of the north, but they were sick of hiding in the shadows and so he had promised them a fun night out and a chance to meet some interesting people.

“Patience is a virtue you know” he said in response as he entwined his arm with hers and Shae NicFahgaen's, the clan leader of the Morrigu bird shifters.

“Yeah well I’m hungry and bored. Can we hurry up the chit chat? I really want to kick your ass at Bumper cars” Shae said as she tugged and smoothed down her clothing with her other hand. She was dressed in leather pants, t- shirt and a open black leather jacket, reminiscent of the Sandy gone Bad look from Grease.

They all looked like trouble making riff raffs from the wrong side of the tracks. It hadn’t been planned, they had simply gone for casual comfort. Tonight was about fun and pleasure, not politics, well, not much politics anyway.

Saraekiel rolled his eyes and smiled as he led his entourage towards Ben and the crowd of people that were falling silent around him and turning their attention to them.

Offline Satyr

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2019, 05:02:18 PM »
After she took his card he watched her shift away, melting into the crowd with a beady eye for something-or-other. He wondered what she was looking for.

Ben shook a few more hands but there was a lull as people moved out of the tent, as though the 'show' of his interview was over. As people moved away Ben looked at and threw a smile at Kerr, who was fishing out the magazine Ben had taken from the werewolf reporter and was giving it back to her. His partner didn't notice the grin, invested in giving Dana back her magazine, so Ben turned towards the entrance of the tent and saw him.

Him.

He'd thought he was angry at Saraekiel for leaving the mark on him. His temper flared every time he looked at it. He resented how it made Kerr avoid that area of his chest. He'd thought he was over the dark angel, that the lust would be muted by the fact he'd consummated his attraction, thereby removing the mystery of it. He'd thought that Saraekiel would no longer hold his attention the way he once had.

He couldn't have been more wrong.

Immediately his mind threw the memory of their intimacy his way, making his skin tingle and his groin throb. Ben stood up straighter and shifted his weight, hiding that immediate sexual plunge from his brain to his dick. Still thinking with that part of him, if his physical reaction was anything to go by. His light smile grew wider immediately and he felt happier and bouyant at the sight of him because he'd come to the carnival... and he'd come to Ben's tent.

Hyperaware of Kerr at his back, Ben stepped forward to meet Saraekiel, extending a hand to shake. If it was going to be lifted to lips, he would pull it away because they were in public. He was mildly disturbed at his own reaction to Saraekiel. There was none of the indignation he'd expected to feel upon seeing him again, because of the mark. It was their secret. Almost.

"District Leader Saraekiel," Ben said smoothly, his unwavering gaze fixed on Saraekiel's eyes. "So glad you could make it."

Ben was barely aware there were others standing at Saraekiel's side.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2019, 05:32:07 PM »
Kerr noticed Saraekiel's arrival because of Ben's reaction to him. Too late, he shut himself off from his fledge and stiffened, turning away from Dana to stare at the spectacle the dark angel and his entourage presented. Gorgons?

He watched them with an impassive expression on his face, any conversation he'd been having with the werewolf reporter fading into silence. He knew his countenance was blank because he'd practised it in a mirror, determined to give nothing of his true feelings away and ruin Ben's night.

Fear and hatred gnawed at him like termites at wood. He wondered if he should sit down.

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2019, 07:01:40 AM »
The moment Saraekiel and his groupies walked into the tent, there was a change in the atmosphere — a tingling electric charge that settled heavily in the air like it would’ve just before a storm. Goose-pimples rose on her arms and she shuddered before she could stop herself, causing her to tighten her mouth into a thin line and clench her jaws. Her expression remained much the same as she watched Ben approach the dark angel, all grins and ready to clasp their hands together.

Did he have any fucking clue who he was dealing with? Forget the optics of living in the Luminary with his partner alongside the Ward. What about the optics of being chummy with a man that subjugated an entire species under the guise of freedom? Ben had to know better. He had to know he’d be damned by association.

She sighed out hard through her nose when she realized she’d lost her composure and replaced her expression with a more neutral one. At least, she tried. It was next to impossible to chase the hardness from her gaze as she scanned the room, finally looking once more upon the man who’d flagged her down before she left with the magazine she’d thought she’d lost. Kerr had been animated and friendly with her before the dark angel had arrived. Now he was frozen, his façade even more carefully controlled than hers was.

Interesting.

She sidled up next to him and shifted the strap of her messenger satchel, redistributing its weight to relieve the pain in her shoulder and back from carrying too much shit around.

“He seems happy to see him,” she observed quietly, voice barely above a whisper; it didn’t need to be any louder for a vampire standing two feet away to hear.

Offline Seragil

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2019, 02:39:50 PM »
He hadn’t been aware of how tense and nervous he was until Ben smiled at him, nor had he realized how much he had been yearning to see it, and him, until he looked into those mercurial blue eyes once more.

He had thought, no, hoped, his fascination for the vampire had ended the morning Ben had left his office. The rapid beating of his heart and the quickening of his body said that it was well and truly otherwise. What was that feeling anyway? Joy? Happiness? Ridiculous. Such things came with the sight of one’s enemies laying broken and defeated at your feet or when your ultimate plans and true goals come to fruition. It was not found in a smile or the light in another’s eyes. That shit was for fairy tales and horny human teenagers.

He squished what he was feeling into a tight ball as he approached Ben, his outward demeanor showing nothing but strength and confidence. His answering smile and smoldering eyes told a different tale however as he shook Ben’s offered hand, his clasp lingering, and slightly longer then social norms dictated it needed it to be before he released it.

“It’s just Saraekiel tonight Mr Samson, I left the District Leader at home.” He indicated his companions behind him with a slight nod of his head before leaning in towards Ben’s ear in a conspiratory manner, amusement alight in his eyes. “Apparently he’s boring”

He took a slight step back and flicked his gaze around the tent, assessing everything before refocusing his eyes on Ben. “You’re running an amazing campaign by the way.”

Offline Satyr

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2019, 03:02:39 PM »
Ben watched Saraekiel with eyes far hungrier than he realised, a smile much more seductive than he wanted. When Saraekiel looked around, Ben remembered himself and looked downward at his shoes before lifting his gaze, not quite alighting on the dark angel whose wings begged to be admired and touched. Ben's hand was still tingling where he'd been held by Saraekiel's within the shake and his fingers wanted to run through those dark feathers again, to remember their strange texture.

Instead he looked out at the plastic chairs and the few people sitting on them for a rest and chatting with one another. He looked at the half dozen people gathered around who'd turned to stare at him and Saraekiel with obvious interest.

"Thank you, Saraekiel. I look forward to working together once I'm elected," he said. His words inspired a couple of people to say 'oooh' at his arrogant phrasing. Yes, it came off as cocky, but Ben couldn't think of how to humblebrag such a thing and he would want a confident leader over one that was meek and couldn't hold their own.

He was trying not to look at Saraekiel, keeping him only in the corner of his eye, but he could feel the dark angel's gaze on him and so, in spite of himself, he looked back and something took flight in his stomach again.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2019, 06:15:40 PM »
Kerr turned to look at Dana warily, his head swivelling with such excruciating care he could imagine it creaking. He scanned her face, his heart plummeting and the fear cramping his gut. She'd noticed Ben and Saraekiel's attraction for each other. Kerr's gaze lifted from her and scanned the tent. All eyes were on Ben and Saraekiel and it was clear that Dana wasn't the only one with suspicions.

Oh, Ben. What the fuck have you done?

A wave of sadness washed through him, the pain that followed sharp and deadly. The general public wasn't privy to their relationship decisions, which was fine - preferable, even. Except for now. Now, they could all see Ben drooling over a filthy motherfucking district leader like a bitch in heat with Kerr standing idly nearby. Ben looked like a fickle

slut

player. Saraekiel looked like an arrogant rock star. Kerr looked like a pathetic, cuck-olded fool. None of them looked like they could keep their fucking house in order. If Dana published anything about this, she'd turn the public against him, could turn the tide of public approval and completely undermine any momentum they'd gained with the carnival.

Jesus motherfucking fuck. Ben was on the way to being his own downfall. Kerr's mind raced and panic shifted behind his eyes as he tried to figure out what to say to her. What could he say? WHAT COULD HE SAY? SHITFUCKSHITSHITFUCK!

"Potential colleagues," he murmured, forcing a smile as he shrugged stiffly. His gaze was fixed on her, flicking between her eyes and mouth, watching for any sort of facial tic that would give away her feelings about what he'd said. He couldn't bring himself to claim they were friends. What they were was horrifying enough. The mark flashed through his mind's eye but it stabbed him much lower.

Offline Seragil

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2019, 01:39:21 AM »
He had to admire the arrogance and bravado of Ben’s statement and going by Ben’s continuously growing popularity with the people, he had every right to be so. Jake certainly didn’t seem to be making many friends amongst the people at any rate.

“It is something we can all look forward to, I think. I mean, everyone working together in unity is not a goal to be sneered at,”

That was as much neutral political fluff as he could manage, especially when Ben was looking at him like he was. He so wanted to reach out and caress that delicately sculptured face, to feel his skin beneath his fingertips. To stop himself giving into his desire he placed his hands by his side and hooked his thumbs into his jeans pockets to keep them there, his wings ruffling slightly behind him with the movement.

The strength of his fascination and attraction to Ben was unnerving, this…pull towards another soul was beyond his current experience. In all the time since he had performed the ritual to become what he was today, he had never felt such a thing for another person or creature, not even for Shae who was the only living person who knew him before he gained his black wings.

A part of him was telling him to turn around and leave and to never look back. Benjamen Samson was a threat and a danger but that notion was quickly smothered by something larger and was fueled by those unearthly blue eyes looking at him

It was Shae’s soft cough and impatient shuffling of her booted feet that reminded him that he was here for other reasons. He rolled his eyes slight as he smiled at Ben and turned his body slightly, his wings fading from view as he presented his companions.

“My friends are getting impatient and I been promising to introduce them to other people of note outside of the North. Naturally I thought of yourself and Mr Galvin. This is Shae NicFahgaen, Clan Leader of the Morrigu bird shifters.” He said indicating the leather clad woman with raven feathers woven into her hair. “And Phaedra and Phoenix Nicolaides, recently arrived from Greece, youngest children of Cassandra, Queen of the Cyclades Gorgons”

Offline Ehcorn

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2019, 08:04:58 AM »
Dana had interviewed countless vampires — fledglings to ancients — but she still struggled sometimes to determine if they were being vampire weird or regular weird. When a person didn’t have to breathe, blink, or otherwise behave as a human would, the usual tells were hard to find. But Kerr? Something about him, particularly around the eyes, was still very much human.

He watched her just as carefully as she watched him. It felt similar to a standoff she’d had in her camper van with one of those little jumping spiders that had more eyes than it had any right to. It’d stared at her, she’d stared at it, and they’d waited for someone to make the first move.

“Hm,” she said, a single eyebrow lifting marginally. She would’ve waited longer and given Kerr a chance to crack and say more, but the display at the center of the tent warranted her attention.

All the smiles and looks that passed between Ben and Saraekiel hinted at a more complicated story. Their meeting and proclamations about working together and unity had to be for the public’s benefit and to Dana, that reeked of backroom conversations and agreements. Colleagues were one thing. Alliances were another. Which was it?

Without looking down, she dug into her satchel and felt for her spiral notebook and pencil. A supposed first meeting was taking place, and she wanted their names. It was too bad she had no idea how to spell most of them. With her lips pooched out in concentration, she scrawled out her best guesses and a few keywords to search for later. Shae, bird shifters, Phaedra, Phoenix, Cassandra, and Queen Gorgon she underlined, then slowly lowered her pencil to stare at the two beings with writhing hair like… snakes. Oh God, those were real. Those were really real. They had snakes on their heads and Saraekiel had said they were a gorgon queen's children.

Wait.

Medusa was a gorgon, wasn’t she? Hadn't she turned a bunch of poor fuckers into stone just because she looked at them?

Dana’s gaze snapped to Kerr. “Are they potential colleagues, too?” she hissed, jerking her head their direction so she didn’t have to look at them again.

Offline Satyr

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Re: Not Just A Pretty Face
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2019, 09:48:45 AM »
Before Ben made his introductions, he glanced back at Kerr and extended an arm, holding out his hand for Kerr to join him. There was a terrible moment when he thought Kerr wouldn't come over, where the few people in the tent noticed Ben's outstretched hand and went quiet within the delay of Kerr moving to take it.

"This is Kerr Galvin, my partner in life, blood and everything," Ben said, linking fingers with Kerr. He pointedly didn't make eye contact again with Saraekiel, though his hyperawareness had now shifted to the dark angel and he felt like he might wither under that gaze. He concentrated on the people he'd only just been introduced to.

"Pleased to meet you, Ms NicFahgaen," he said politely, his mind turning over the words 'Morrigu bird shifters' because he'd never heard of them before.

When his gaze shifted to the pair, at the back of his mind Ben knew most people would be alarmed at the whole 'gorgon' thing but he smiled pleasantly and his gaze travelled upward to the nest of snakes writhing in their hair. For a second he watched them move with unapologetic interest before he made eye contact with the gorgons next (feeling safe because turning people into stone was either a myth like vampires not seeing their reflections in mirrors or at the very least they would have to 'switch on' that power) and offered his hand for the shaking with each of them. He was the poster-boy of acceptance and tolerance after all. The researcher in him wanted to ply them with questions, to satisfy his fascination, but the most he could do was say hello and hint that he would like to know more.

"Welcome to the States, Ms Nicolaides and Mr Nicolaides," he said, repeating the order Saraekiel had used and thinking maybe that meant Phaedra was first-born. "It's an honour to meet you. I have to admit I've not met gorgons before. Are there more appropriate titles I should be calling you all by?" He looked from each of the women to the Gorgon man, unable to hide his amazement. His words were spoken formally, diplomatically, but the look he gave them was guileless.