Author Topic: Collectors  (Read 205 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Collectors
« on: March 21, 2020, 05:50:32 PM »
For the entirety of the ride, William kept his promise: he sat rigidly, his hands clasped over the lap band of his seat belt, and didn’t say a single word to Mick. He let the human marinate in his worry and concern and disappeared within himself, his expression taking on the same cadaver-like blankness it had when Mick had come home and found him unresponsive on the couch. William hung suspended in the blank space between thoughts, not stirring until the GPS announced that they’d reached their destination and Mick found a spot to pull over.

Replacing the steady whir of tires rolling on asphalt and the hum of the engine was a pulsing bass-filled beat that thrummed through him, setting his teeth on edge. He hated clubs, especially ones designed to keep his kind from entering. Even from their spot across the street, he could feel the protection runes pushing at him, repelling him both body and mind. There was no point in trying to push back. He’d attempted it before. The wards were too strong.

William looked at Mick, but encountered yet another deterrent. Neon lights that flashed in sync with too-loud music were painfully bright to his sensitive eyes and he was forced to look away.

"Go inside and collect someone that won’t be missed," he said, wincing. He spread his fingers on the tops of his thighs and when he spoke next, it was as he stared out his window at a brick wall that was kind enough not to flash at him. "I’ll wait in the van."

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2020, 06:48:06 PM »
Mick wasn't dressed up for clubbing, but his jeans and tee were presentable and his leather jacket and boots gave his outfit a finishing touch that would hopefully get him inside. He wasn't in the right headspace for clubbing or enticing someone to leave with him so it was a surprise that William had instructed him to drive to one.

Why was he here instead of at the vampire club? Why did he have to pick up instead of William? Wouldn't he find some of the groupies more compliant? It made no sense.

He glanced over at William, at the state of his clothing, and figured that must've been why he hadn't gone to the other club and why he wasn't going into this one. He didn't realise that many of Venture's mortal visitors were protected with a tattooed sigil upon their wrist, or the security cameras that would identify which vampire had taken someone out of the club who'd then gone missing over the next few days. Even in his ignorance of these two things, Mick sighed and didn't argue but he shot William a look of resignation before jumping out of the van and shutting the door after himself.

"Will you be waiting in the back?" Mick asked, wondering if the snatch-and-grab needed him to cajole his prize into the back with promises of hot and heavy, or if he could just get them close to the vehicle and then William could do the rest with his fancy mind fuckery.

Once armed with his answer, he swept a hand through his hair and crossed the road towards the club that had an impressive blue neon pulsing effect around its doors and blackened windows. He could feel the beat in every step of his boots as he got closer. Instead of lining up, he flashed his best smile at the bouncers. One of them thumbed in the direction to the back of the queue but the other one questioned Mick on what he rode. After naming the model bike he had and making light conversation about different models of bikes, he was let inside after some innuendo about riding other big things (standard fare) and he disappeared into the dark, following the glow of neon runes into the dance area proper.

It was a typical nightclub, where a beat was felt in the chest as well as in the ears. There were a lot of sweaty, gyrating bodies on the dancefloor and sweaty, pushy bodies at the bar, four deep by the look. With no tables to stand at or chairs to sit on, Mick put his shoulder to a support column to lean and watch, making sure he was a short distance from the entry/exit and checking out the place for loners. A lot of the folks here were in groups so he would need to find someone on their own. More often than not, going to a club on your own meant you didn't want to leave on your own.

Through the haze of the smoke machine he found it really hard to see. He noticed there was a girl at a table checking him out but she was with a quartet of women who were chugging drinks and shrieking laughter. He wouldn't be able to separate her from them. Breaking eye contact, he made eye contact with a burly guy staring at him from near the bar. Mick looked away hurriedly. He didn't want to pick up a guy who, if suspicious, could snap him in two. He scanned the club for more possibilities.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2020, 12:23:48 PM »
It was difficult to stand out in a crowd as big as the one that’d gathered at Tantric, but Felicia did alright for herself. Half of the looks she caught were because of her hair, though. The long, curling strands transitioned from bright red at the roots to a lighter though no less fiery hued orange at the tips. For a fire nymph, it wasn’t an unusual shade, but most her kin dyed their hair more neutral human colors. Her mother had lost her mind when she’d found out Felicia had stopped. But it’d been weeks — months, even — since she’d heard anything about nymph attacks.

The danger had passed. Why not reap the full benefits of her fae heritage?

No one ignored her when she started through the throng surrounding the bar. She danced with and shimmied her way past them until she hit the counter and leaned over it to wave a tattooed hand filled with a wad of cash at the bartender. Felicia left with two drinks and a grin that stretched across her heavily made-up face. Dark lipstick drew attention to her shapely mouth, thick winged eyeliner and fake lashes to her amber eyes, and it was all tied together by the vivid streaks of blush that highlighted her cheekbones. Her simple red lace cami and tight black jeans had been chosen in much the same way, meant to compliment and draw attention to a petite frame made lithe from long hours spent at a dance studio.

She paused at the edge of the dance floor and sipped at her drink as she searched the surrounding area for the friend she’d left there. In the short amount of time she’d been gone, Lilly had wormed her way onto a prized sofa and was busy sucking some guy’s face off. Felicia giggled into her cup. If there was one way to forget a bad breakup, it was that. Good for her.

And good for her. She had two drinks, now. She could either drink it or share with the hottie in a leather jacket off by himself looking all lost and alone. Felicia made eye contact and lifted the cup his direction, smiling encouragement.

"You want?" she called out, though she wouldn’t be surprised if her words were swallowed by the music before they reached him.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2020, 02:39:06 PM »
Mick scanned the open room until he caught sight of the flame-haired hottie gesturing at him. He didn't hear her, the music was too loud for that, but the lift of the second glass in her hand towards him was obvious enough. Instead of doing what he would ordinarily do in that situation (tip his head for her to come to him), he moved away from his standing spot and went to her.

Don't be so eager, he thought, but the advice he gave himself was lost in the nervousness of his earlier experience that night.

Once he was close enough to take the drink, he looked at the glass in her hand as he accepted it. Then he lifted his gaze to her face, taking in her prettiness and the confidence that came with it. There was a strange sensation roiling in his gut as he stared at her, but he pushed a smile through it and then swallowed the drink in one go. Lowering it, he lifted his other hand to wipe his lips with the back of his wrist.

"Thanks," he said to her, then looked at the group of four girls out to his left. The girl eyeing him before gave him a death glare and turned back to her friends. Lost that one. His stare shifted to the bulky guy in the corner. Nope, haven't lost that one yet.

He looked back at the redhead. "You have pretty hair."

You have pretty hair? The fuck? He inspected the empty glass in his hand, wishing he had more to drink.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2020, 06:38:54 PM »
Felicia flashed a smile and twined a finger around an orangish-red curl. She was tempted to give her usual response of, ‘I made it myself,’ but she wasn’t sure how well the joke would go over with nervous Nellie. Her luck and it’d only make him run. He was too nice to look at to want anywhere except right in front of her.

"You're sweet," she said instead, accepting the compliment with a flutter of her eyelashes.

He hadn’t approached with the most graceful of come-ons, but she’d take sweetly awkward over lewd grabbiness any day. Holding her mostly full cup out to her side so it wouldn’t slosh all over them, she stepped forward and pressed onto her toes to bring herself closer to hearing range. She slid the tips of her fingers to his chest, using the excuse of needing additional stability to make first contact with him.

"I'm Felicia." Her voice was still raised above what it would've been if they'd met somewhere meant for conversation. "What's your name?"

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2020, 07:39:51 PM »
He watched her twirl her hair and accept the compliment. Thank fuck the interest she had in him was high enough to carry his shitty starter. He normally didn't have trouble with picking up, playing it cool often worked for him, but then again he didn't keep track of his rejections because he only counted the nights themselves rather than the amount of strike-outs he got before someone came home with him. Girls were a lot easier than guys and were more of his preference anyway. If he went with a guy they were either very pretty and more than a touch feminine, or intensely brutish and the kind that scared him a little.

When she told him her name and asked for his, Mick's eyes flicked to the thug in the corner again and this time he thought he caught a smirk. Damnit. He had to stop looking that way. Mick readjusted his focus and gave... Fuschia(?)... a smouldering smile he knew usually went over well when picking up.

"Mick," he said. He stared at her for way too long as he struggled for something to say. His brain began barking orders at him to 'ask her a question any question damnit' but then it refused to come up with a single thing. So he just stared at her without any of his previous smoulder and the roiling in his gut strengthened, making him wish he'd had a water instead of alcohol.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2020, 11:52:32 AM »
The look he gave her was filled with sort of heat that would melt glaciers. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth. Good God, he was stupidly sexy. If she walked out of the club and his face was plastered to some advertisement for watches or cologne or whatever models peddled, she wouldn’t be the tiniest bit surprised. Maybe it was why he could look at her that way but when it came to talking, he looked as nervous as Robbie Gibson when he’d asked her to a middle school dance — seconds before he’d puked all over her.

That was not an experience she wanted to repeat.

Felicia’s eyebrows, only a shade darker than her vivid red hair, dipped and transformed her bitten lip from an expression of interest to one of apprehension. She settled onto her heels, retracting her fingers from Mick’s chest to wrap both her hands around her sweaty cup as she took a step back.

Normally, this would be when she disengaged and found someone easier, but Mr. Model’s cheekbones and jaw and perfect nose had earned him a second chance.

"It’s okay. We don’t have to talk." She grinned and reached for his hand. "Come dance with me instead. You do dance, don’t you?"

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2020, 02:57:46 PM »
Mick, who had a model for a brother, didn't have the temperament for standing around or sitting still, making small adjustments and shifts for perfectionist photographers. But he did have similar looks, and he was more filled out than the delicate frame Ben possessed because he'd both aged beyond his teen years and tended towards jobs that required heavy lifting.

It was enough that he didn't have to work too hard to glean interest from someone, but now with the order ringing in his ears that he had to bring someone out to his new boss, it upped the stakes. He read her shift in expression correctly and it only served to make him more frustrated and desperate to keep her on hook. So as soon as she mentioned dancing, he was nodding his response.

"Yeah, let's do that." He held her hand firmly in his own and turned to the dance floor. Now that he had a task to fulfill, he pulled her along with confidence. His empty glass was dumped onto a table they passed, and he ignored the glares he got from the group sitting there.

They reached the edge of the dance floor but he continued farther in, pushing his way into the throng and pulling Fifi(?) after himself. Once they were somewhere near the middle he turned and faced her and began moving fluidly to the beat, staring at her intensely, willing her to be enchanted enough with him that they could leave together.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2020, 03:41:20 PM »
When Mick dragged Felicia across the floor at warp speed, it tore a surprised laugh from her throat and had her increasing her pace to a jog to keep up with his long stride. Some of her drink sloshed onto her hand and dripped down her forearm. She was quick to prevent more accidents by slurping at the fruity concoction between steps, draining at least half before they hit the dance floor. 

If she’d known he’d take off like a spaceship on a mission to Mars, she would’ve gotten rid of it first, but there wasn’t much she could about it now. Leaving would mean any one of the many girls eying him could insert themselves in her place, so she incorporated the drink into her dance, matching Mick’s rhythm while ensuring she didn’t dump the rest on either of them.

All her doubts about him disappeared as she discovered he was much better at dancing than he had been at talking.

They started out separately, but as they continued dancing, they’d draw near and pull away, exchanging a brush here, a touch there, and then he captured her hips in his hands and she didn’t dance away again. Felicia smiled and hung her arms loosely over his broad shoulders, bringing herself close enough she could feel his breath hot on her cheek and heat radiating between them. Lost in the moment, she forgot the drink in her hand until it slipped from her fingers. Her eyes grew wide. Even with the music beating fast and loud, the sound of glass shattering was unmistakable.

Felicia thunked her head against Mick’s chest, hiding her face and the color she could feel rising in her cheeks.

"Oh God," she groaned laughingly. "I dropped my drink. Careful where you step."

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 11:01:07 AM »
Mick relaxed by degrees, almost forgetting why he was here, dancing with her. He began to enjoy himself while focussing on her. She was pretty and obviously into him and smiles seeped out onto his lips as he familiarised himself with her motions.

When the glass broke it shattered the facade he'd built around himself. He pulled away to look down on it, his boots stepping on it. A few other dancers looked down as well. More glass than drink it became an island on the dance floor, reflecting the lights. Someone nearby called out for an employee and Mick thought it would be a good time to leave.

He moved to his prize's ear. "Let's get out of here," he said, clamping a hand on hers and zooming them out just as fast as they'd gone in. Once off the dance floor he was disoriented, unsure which way the exit was. How much time had they spent dancing? He had no idea but there had been a lot of songs. Would William be pissed? Nah, he'd have sent a message to hurry up. He looked at her, at his prize. Would anyone miss her? His gut clenched again.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 02:57:28 PM »
Felicia blinked up at him, confusion etched across her flushed face. With the single-minded way he’d marched her off the dance floor, she thought he was on the hunt for a secluded place to make out, or an even more secluded place for a quick hookup, but he hesitated and stopped and she wasn’t so sure anymore. And why was he looking at her the same way he had when she’d tried — without success — to get him to talk to her? They didn't need to talk. Hadn't he realized that yet? He'd gotten her all hot and bothered without saying a word. Dancing didn't require words. Neither would spending the night together.

She just needed to get the ball rolling that direction.

Biting her lip, she twisted her hand in his and moved around to face him and press herself close. Her other hand was caught between them, splayed against his chest.

"How about," she drawled, tilting her head back to smile at him as she tapped her fingers in mock-thought, "we go back to my place? I live downtown. We can take an Uber."

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2020, 11:04:03 PM »
When she turned gracefully and faced him, the sensation of her fingers upon his chest, he received an electric charge from it akin to a sexual impulse. It didn't follow through, even when she offered herself to him on a platter. Fuck, fuck! If this was any other night he would've been ecstatic to have pulled such a prize. But Farrah-whatever-the-fuck-her-old-fashioned-name-was had decided to throw herself at the Bad News Guy. Weren't girls supposed to have good instincts? Nah, obviously not. This was why they were always getting themselves raped and murdered and stuff.

He had a fixed smile on his face until she said 'Uber' and then he twitched, blinking and shaking his head. "No. I have a car. I... I don't want to leave it here."

Lies. He was normally really good at lying but right now the words felt weird coming out of his mouth. Did she think they were weird? He covered them up with more chatter.

"I'll probably get a ticket. I have to move it. I'll drive it to your place. With you, I mean. I'm not going to

(what the fuck was he saying right now?)

follow you

(argh for fuck's sake stop talking!)

in the Uber or nothing."

He gave an odd laugh that didn't sound like himself as though he was saying a joke. He stopped laughing and his cheeks went as pink as they had when he'd been asked if he was propositioning William with his blood.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2020, 11:32:58 AM »
If her suspicions about Mick’s career were right, posing in front of the camera instead of talking to people had done more damage than she’d first thought. He was trying, though, bless him.

"I definitely wouldn’t want you to get a ticket," she said, tapping her fingers two final times on his chest. "I’ll let you drive me."

The slow, suggestive smile that followed infused her statement with innuendo, as did the way she dragged her hand down Mick’s front, deliberately grazing the zipper of his jeans before she smirked and turned on her heel to lead him to the exit.

When they made it outside and past the queue that still snaked around the club, she relinquished her lead but not Mick’s hand. She clung to him as they walked, wrapping herself around his arm to steal some of his warmth. Her thin-strapped cami had been ideal while she danced, but the vast expanse of her skin was coated in a fine sheen of sweat that made the wind far too effective at cooling her off.

She shivered and clamped her teeth tight to keep them from chattering against each other.

On nights the ocean hung damp and cold in the air and the sun was nowhere to be seen, she craved the dry heat of the desert most. It wouldn't be long, though. Another few months and she’d have enough money saved to go back home and heat up properly, with only cacti and sagebrush and the occasional lizard to keep her company.

In the moments she could untangle herself from her family, at least.

"You didn’t park far away, did you?" she asked Mick, another shiver running through her. 

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11351
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2020, 10:34:57 PM »
At first Mick was tense, then relieved - his muscles relaxing when she wasn't disturbed by his idiot conversation. He would wonder what was wrong with him except he knew guilt was messing with him. Normally he didn't feel guilty about anything. Normally he'd dismiss her as a stupid thirsty bitch with no common sense. But he wasn't feeling very normal. He didn't know why he was feeling this way but he did know he didn't like it and he wanted it to stop.

"Cool," he said when she made willing noises and intimate touches. He moved with her through the club and then outside, wrapped his arm around her shoulders like she wanted, moved close to her and held her a little more tightly and awkwardly than perhaps he should've because he didn't want her to run away. She felt warm against him so he was surprised about her behaviour. She wasn't wearing a lot but she was hotter than him against his skin.

"I parked just there," he said, looking at the empty parking space where he'd pulled into. With a frown he looked farther up the street and spied the van in a different spot on the same side of the road, as if William had driven around the block or something. Fuck knew why. He'd parked under a broken street light though, and when they approached, they were approaching from the back. Mick kept his gaze on the side mirror, but he couldn't see his boss' face. "Not long now," he said quietly.
INFUSCO : Ben : Charon : Digital : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Vincent : Win : Wren :
HALFLIGHT : Samuel Britton : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Ehcorn

  • Wordsmith
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
    • View Profile
Re: Collectors
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2020, 03:47:19 PM »
With as focused as she was on tucking herself into Mick’s side to maximize his usefulness as a shield against the cold, Felicia didn’t notice the van at first. Only when he said that they were close did she look up, but even then, her brain refused to make a connection between the vehicle they neared and the man holding her. Mick seemed like a classic muscle car kind of guy. As soon as they passed the van, it’d be there in all its shiny chrome glory and it’d purr and rumble all the way to her studio apartment.

She would've kept walking, except Mick’s already firm grip on her shoulders became vice-like and she was forced to a halt. She hissed a breath through her teeth and tried to wrench herself free from his hold, but he didn’t let up.

What the hell?

"You’re hurting me!" she exclaimed, thinking that he sucked at picking up on body language the same way he sucked at talking, but telling him didn’t work either. Why wasn’t he listening? If the van was his, why hadn’t he taken her to the passenger side? Or let her go so she could walk there herself?

Why wasn’t he saying anything?

The van's engine started and the back door popped open as if by magic. Mick hadn't released her to do it, and the other man couldn't have, either, because he was all the way up in the driver's seat. Oh, God. There was someone else. He turned and his eyes locked on hers. Fear clawed its way up her throat, demanding to be released in the form of a scream, but a single command reverberated in her mind.

Silence.

And her voice withered and died. No matter how big of a breath she took or how hard she tried to force words out, she couldn't speak. She couldn't even get her mouth open.

She planted her feet on the asphalt, pushed and pulled in a series of desperate attempts to free herself. She needed to run. To get away. Back to the club. Anywhere. To someone — anyone — who could help her.

Another command.

Be still.

And the rest of her body stopped obeying her. She couldn’t say anything, couldn’t escape. All she could do was stand stock-still, eyes widened like a cornered animal's.

"Get her in. Hurry, before anyone sees," said the man. His voice was the same as the one that'd appeared in her head. She looked at Mick as well as she could without turning her head, pleading silently for him to do anything except what the man had told him to do.