Chapter 5 of an urban fantasy novel in progress, still rough draft phase.
|I got into my apartment sometime after four, with nothing more than sleep on my mind. Sweet, blissful, uneventful sleep. I slipped my jacket off and threw it over one of the chairs, plopping into the other and resting my head back, eyes closed.
When I woke up, it was almost noon. Sunlight filtered in through my curtains, reflected off the extra four inches of snow that had fallen while I slept. We were up to over a foot now, over two days. The streets were going to be a brutal disaster until the plows managed to get up and running at full steam.
I blinked and wiped the haze from my eyes. In my jacket pocket, my phone chirped incessantly every ten seconds announcing a voicemail. I stood, retrieving it and set it on the mini fridge to play while I dressed.
“You have two messages. Message one.” The generic woman who announced my messages said through the tiny speaker of my phone.
“Mr. Draughn.” A childish voice I instantly recognized as Adam's said to the open apartment, taking the place of madam generic. I winced.
“This is Adam. I have discovered some...” I could hear the smug little shit's grin, before he continued, “Information in regards to your little pet project. I would like to discuss the price for said information when you're available. You know where to find me.”
The woman's voice once again came, announcing my options before jumping to the next message.
I froze, butterflies dropping into my stomach in a flood of excitement and trepidation. Melissa.
“I was wondering if I could talk to you. It's well...I'd rather talk to you about it in person. I need you. I'll be at the club for most of the day, if you can call or swing by. I'll talk to you soon.”
I closed my eyes, and took a slow, long breath trying to steady the rapid beating of my heart. There was a slight tremble in my hands as I grabbed a cigarette, lighting it and taking a long drag. I hung up the phone, tossing it back onto the chair and sat back down.
I hadn't talked to Melissa in years, but I made sure that she always had my cell number, left on her voicemail every time I changed phones. I had a promise to keep to her, a promise I had made a long time ago. If she ever needed me, all she had to do was call. She had called me on it.
Over the next hour, I called Eddie and Adam both, receiving each's voicemail. It was a safe bet that Adam was cuddled up in some dark hole somewhere hiding from the sunlight. Eddie, was well, Eddie. I left both a short, terse message, letting Eddie know the situation with Adam, and the vampire a meeting time.
I didn't bother driving to Melissa's. Trying to steer the cadillac through this much snow would be about as fruitful as finding a hollywood starlet's morality. Instead, I took the subrway, or the T as the locals called it.
Melissa ran a fetish club housed in a building that had once been a church. A small sign, less than a foot in wide hung over double wooden doors, and read “Club Jinx” in scrawling cursive. It was before hours and the redlights and thrumming music were still hours away, leaving the building with a forlorn, almost depressing facade.
I banged twice on the door, hunching my coat up on my shoulders in an effort to combat the icy wind. There was a loud clack sound as the bolt disengaged electronically. I pushed it open, stepping inside.
The club's interior was a splash of red lights and shadows. Racks holding whips and floggers, cages of all sizes, leather straps, and various other sexual implements that probably hadn't even been named yet were littered through the building in a garden of perversion. A large bar lined one wall, the rest of the floorspace given to a dance floor and veritable garden of S and M gear. The stained glass, was blacked off on the outside, and lit with more red lights to cast monsterous shadows across the floor.
I made my way towards the back of the building, towards where I knew Melissa's office to be and knocked on the door before pushing it open and stepping in.
Melissa Solovyov sat behind a massive mahogany desk, it's top a graveyard of receipts and invoices. Her hair, a rich chestnut brown, hung past her shoulders in thick, silken waves. Her skin, flawlessly smooth and the color of milk touched only by the slightest bit of make up, seemed to glow in the thankfully normal lighting of her office. She looked up towards me, eyes the color of chocolate tinged with anxiety. She was dressed rather simply, a plain black blouse and jeans coupled with black boots.
I had to fight from running to her, wrapping her in my arms and burying my face in her hair. I could smell her perfume, something flowery, but musked and my stomach flipped backwards with nervous, school boy jitters. I almost shook with the urge to put my lips against her cheek, to taste her skin in a simple, innocent kiss.
“Melly.” I said quietly, my voice hardly above a whisper.
She offered me a weak smile and stood. She had an almost feline grace, the sort of movement one would expect from a dancer, every motion purposeful, drawing the eyes to her curves. She paced to the front of the desk, leaned back against and ran a hand through her hair.
“You look good Jack.” She said, her voice one part breathy seduction and two parts nervous music.
“I...um...” She looked off in the distance for a moment, taking a long steadying breath before looking back towards me.
“You have a cigarette?” She finished.
I withdrew my pack and handed it to her, taking a place next to her against the desk. This close to her, I could almost feel her presence, and had to fight back memories of the way she felt, the way she tasted. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, looking at her only after I heard the metallic snap of her lighter closing.
“I need your help Jack.” She said finally and took a drag from the cigarette. Her finger nails, painted a rich green color, drummed slowly on the desktop.
“It's Adam.” She said.
“What about him?”
“He wants the club.”
I quirked a brow, arms crossing over my chest.
“He's given me an ultimatum Jack...”
I turned to face her, pushing off the desk. I reached out, taking her free hand and held it gently. Her skin was warm, porcelain smooth. Again, I had to fight against a tide of memories. My attention drifted to the floor for a brief second, before meeting her eyes.
“What kind of ultimatum.”
“Either I sell it..” She trailed off.
She turned her eyes towards me, large, haunted and beginning to glisten with the first touch of tears. I fought the urge to close my eyes, to disregard her tears, forget I had seen her in pain. I gave her hand another gentle squeeze.
“Go on Melly.” I said quietly.
“This is all I have. The one thing that I've made mine. Six years of my life is in this place Jack.”
“He'll...he said...he said he has proof Jack. He has proof and he'll get it to the police if I don't sell it to him.”
“And you believe him?”
She nodded, taking another long pull from the cigarette, her shaking fingers causing the embers to dance just the slightest.
Years ago, Melissa's father had died from rather...unusual circumstances. The long and short of the story is that Melissa fought back, had killed him after years of abuse. She still bore the scars, but the fact was, she had committed murder. She had been sixteen at the time. The police hadn't found anything linking the crime to Melissa, but if Adam said he had proof it wasn't outside the realm of possibility. There was a good chance he was telling the truth.
I reached out, taking her chin gently in my hand, tilting it up so I could see into her eyes. Tears had streamed down her cheek, marring the barely there make up around her eyes. I brushed a tear away with my thumb, and smiled, weakly.
“I'll take care of it.”