It’s a warm spring night. Good. I hate the cold. That’s why it annoys me that I have been assigned to the north, but the work is nice and steady. Tonight on my list I had to take care of some smack dealer. Easy enough. The guy is known for his temper, and a guy like that is a cakewalk. I take one final drag on my cigarette and blow a long steady stream into the night air. I flick the butt into the void of the night and make my way to the front door.
There is a happy little guy standing there checking the guest list. Nothing like the easy assignments when you work for a mob boss.
“Evening Sir, your name?” The doorman asks with a cheerful smile.
“Ah, welcome sir,” he says letting me through. I tip my hat and make my way in.
The house was an old style two-floor plantation house. Fitted with nice white pillars, a grand hall, the big staircase, all the works. The party was one of those fancy joints with bowtie servants running about here and there. Servers tending to the spoiled upper-class and the gangsters alike.
I always enjoyed how the rich would commune with anyone as long as they have money. It was for that reason why I had to leave my homeland with all the royals and nobles running about. It is much better living in the capital, the people are more diverse and a lot more straightforward. In my homeland, you never knew what you are getting with the smiles they brought, but in the city they let you know it’s you or them.
Enough of this lounging, I gotta get to work.
Scanning the room, I am looking for a very special someone, and wouldn’t you know it, she is the main attraction. A knock out if I do say so myself.
A woman with two faces in public. To the majority of the city, she was Lady Tabitha Vrammagon. A Drow councilwoman that fought hard for the underprivileged living in the poorer outer rim of the city.
However, if you know her nightlife, she was the face of the underworld. If you needed information on any of the major players in this town or the next, all you had to do is have the money to talk to the lady.
She was tall for a Drow woman with lovely toffee-colored skin and you could almost feel her power when you approached her. Word has had it that she was an amazingly agile fighter and handy with a spell or two. But talk to anyone around town and they’d tell ya, that her most dangerous power was her smile. Brilliantly stunning and alluring. I was here for a job and still almost got caught up in it. Match that with her fiery red eyes and she was danger in a slim dress.
“Evening ma’am, pretty good show you got going here,” I say getting her attention.
“Isn’t it? And what matter of business do you have with me?” she replies flashing a charming smile.
“I like a woman who’s to the point.”
“And I like a man who can do the same,” she snaps sharply
“No need to get short, I’m here for your company. You’re an important person and it’s a good night for you.”
“Well if you know who I am, you know that I have a very short list of trustworthy people, and I’m not so sure I even know who you are.”
“You don’t yet, but I’m hoping to change that, the name is Erois Na’Garin.”
“You don’t say! The Royal Talon family from the south, Na’Garin?”
“Precisely, one and the same. I got in town a couple of weeks ago and I figured that since I’ve finally set up here, I’d come to pay you a visit.”
“And which of part of my business are you interested in?”
“Would you believe me if I said you?” I give her my best grin.
“Oh my, setting your goals high are you?”
“Well if you’re not aiming for the top then you’re wasting time I like to say.”
“I see, and if you know anything about me you’d know that I currently have someone in that position.”
“Yeah, but I figured you hadn’t met me yet,” I say noticing a small but visible smile from her. “And if you were happy with your arrangement you’d have shooed me off by now.”
“Maybe I’m only entertaining the thought of a replacement.”
“Word has it he’s not good at his job anyway.”
“Ah, so you do have sources. Mighty fast for someone who’s been here for weeks.”
“Did I say that?” I laugh a little and give her a once over to let her know my intent, “Maybe I’ve had a stake here for a little while longer than that.”
“So you’re handsome, resourceful, and a good talker. Why are you on the market?”
“I need someone to match me, and believe me doll, that’s harder than it seems.”
“Oh no, I’m finding that to be true as well. Good help is so hard to find.”
“That’s because you’re looking for help, not a man. Like I said, if you’re not aiming for the top, you’re wasting your time,”. I could tell she was taken a little with my boldness, but for a tough girl like her, that’s the best kind of bait.
“Well I must say you do have my attention now Mr. Na’garin,” she licks her lips, “Most men in this town would never talk to me this way, for fear of their life or other valuable things. Yet you have waltzed into the middle of my home, surrounded by guards of mine and my boyfriend’s, and may as well tell me that you are going to take me from him. As far as I can see, you’re not armed and you came alone. I’m not sure if you’re bold or insane, but either way, You’ve piqued my interest,”
“Well, that’s good to hear and mighty perceptive of you. And I’d have to say you’re right. Here’s the thing. A man with my talents doesn’t need much to get the job done.” I give her my best look of smooth confidence. And as if on cue, two of her boyfriend’s goons made their way to me. “Now listen beautiful, at this moment, your little lover boy is sending his goons over here to show me who’s boss, and I’m going to go quietly. I’ve already said what I had to say and I’ve already made my case. When you’re ready to have a man in your corner, you reach out to me,” I say taking her hand and giving it a kiss.
“Mr. Na’garin…,” one of the guards started
“Ah, hold your speech, I know why you’re here. The big man can’t make a scene but has to make a point. Am I right? Of course, I’m right. Let’s go boys.”
“Well it is nice to not mince words,” the other said as he gestured towards the door. We walk towards the door and I’m sure that some of the guests know what was going on, but none of them wanted to make eye contact for fear of getting involved.
We made it out to past the front porch and the valet with a clear enough view that the boss could see.
“Well, which of you are going first?” I say reaching into my pocket for my cigarettes. I get one free of its pouch, look up and see their confused looks. I light one for me and offer them one. Even more confused now they wave no thanks and the bigger of the two opens up saying.
“ I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never had someone as relaxed as you. You do know the boss ordered us to rough you up a bit, right?”
“You got a job to do, right?” I say before a quick drag.
“Well if that’s the case,” the smaller one starts at me but is held back by the bigger one.
“Something’s not right with this one. What’s your angle?” the bigger one says.
“You see here boys, I had a message to get across to the lady. Now I’ve done my part for the night. You can try to rough me up for the boss if you’d like, but I assure you it won’t end well for you if you try.”
“And there’s this thing about you that makes me believe you, but if we don’t try, the boss will have our heads.”
“And I get that, but if you wait about five seconds, he’s going to be too busy to notice.”
“Why do you say that,” the smaller one says starting to relax a bit. I take a long drag on my cigarette and blow a long stream of smoke into the warm night air. I just point my finger at the balcony and as if I was commanding the whole gig.
“ because of that.” Glass from the balcony door shatters from a vase being thrown out of the window following the angered words of lady Tabitha. When they turn around to check out the noise, I disappeared into the shadow realm and watch the confused looks when they turn back to where they thought I was. This was one of the many reasons why I love my job.
“What’s the big idea ya broad!” I shout at that crazy Drow dame.
“You tell me, Anthony! You send your men to scare away my guest. Who do you think you are? Do you think of me as a child, that you can just control who I talk to? I assure you, Anthony Longobardi, I will show you the true might of my power if you ever disrespect me like that again,”
“So you want me to just let the woman who is supposed to be my girl make eyes with some loser who walks right in the middle of my little shindig with the partners? What do you take me for? Some chump? I own the whole south side of town, and I’ll be damned if I let some punk run in here and screw with me.”
“Did you forget that it’s my name on the invitation? Your lowly name is not what has this house filled with patrons ready to fill your pockets, those are my guest out there. The servants that are tending to the scum that you call the ‘partners’ are my servants. The coin that goes into the coffers of the officials that look the other way while you distribute your product, is mine. Remember Anthony, you are nothing without me. You are nothing more than a pet to me, one that is quickly losing its charm. Know your place!” she says and lands a hard right to my jaw. I turn and face her gritting my teeth. For all I want to do to her, I keep my cool. Now was not the time to act. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t take her in a fight. Not like this. Wiping the blood from my lip, here comes the harder hit. One to my pride.
“You’re right Tabby. You know how I get when other guys give you the eye. I can’t help myself,” I lean in for a kiss, but she turns her face away.
“You have to earn that right again.”
she cut me short, “If you weren’t as entertaining to me as you were, you’d be dead by now. Don’t make me change my mind.”
“Yes dear,” I bow my head to her. I am going to make her pay for this night once I have control of the city.
“Now, I’m going for a walk and you best pray to whoever you pray to that I’m calm when I come back,” She tells me with a cold tone and proceeds to walk out of the room.
The door closes behind her and I am left in the room. I spit out a low curse. I make my way over to the wet bar, I need a drink to calm my nerves after that.
Yeah sure she has more dough and power than me, but I ain’t no one’s pet. Just wait till I’m set. I’ll show that little broad. I’ll show the whole damn town.
I slam my drink down and pour another. After the second glass of bourbon, I grab a cigarette from my pouch and look for my lighter. Now where in the abyss did I put that thing?
“Pesky little things aren’t they. Never where you remember them,” I hear a voice from the corner of the room. As I look that way, the guy from downstairs is walking out of the shadows holding a lighter towards me,” here, use mine,”. I charged him, but he was quick. Before I could take a swing, he chops me in the throat and slams me to the ground. The pain of my back crashing to the floor kicks in at the same time I feel a pinch in my neck. He injects something into my neck and I feel my whole body go numb.
“What kind of host are you? I came for a talk and you rush me? Here, this will calm you down a bit. Oh, what’s this? Just a little of your product mixed with a little something I had a friend whip up. It will speed up the OD process and seal the wound so all I have to do is replace the needle in your arm and everyone will think you died of the junk.” There has to be something to what he says, as hard as I try to fight, my body will not respond.
“This will be the last time I come to a party hosted by you. Well, you’ll be dead in a few minutes so you won’t be able to host anymore, but that’s neither here nor there. Here, let me help you to the bed.” for this kid to be so small he had to be strong. He lifts me with ease and places me on the bed sprawled out. I watched him position me, stick that needle in my arm, and lay the tie off tubing near my arm.
“There, that’s perfect, now you can’t scream so don’t try, and with the little fight between you and the doll, no one will be coming for a minute. So don’t you worry about dear old Tabby, I’ll take good care of her. And just remember sport, it’s just business no hard feelings,” he said as he walked over to the floor where his hat fell off taking me to the ground. Waving me off and leaving through the same dark corner in which he came.
What kind of power is that? That he can use the shadows as a passage. It didn’t matter. The chump marches into my party and takes my girl, then kills me. Worst of all, he has the nerve to be polite about it.
This isn’t fair. I’m supposed to run this town and now thanks to this guy I will die with nothing. Not even my dignity. The only thing good about this poison is at least I can’t cry.
I storm out into the great hall and I could feel the fear of the men around me. My rage is infamous and at this moment, I am so happy with that. The nerve of that man, thinking he can control anything. I must really be more mindful of the ambitions of my minions. Give them too much and suddenly they think they are in charge.
They seem to forget my wrath or mistake my tending to them as a weakness. I guess they don’t remember I was next in line as the matriarch of house Vrammagon before I left for the surface.
Making my way to the grand hall, I just can’t hold my composure. I see all the smiling faces of my guest and I just don’t feel like dealing with them. I grab a glass of wine as the tray passes by and although the sweet taste of liquid fills my tongue it isn’t what I want right now. The rich smell did nothing but stir my desire for what usually comes with my indulgence of the drink. My usual fix is not an option, as I would rather kill him than anything else. What I need is a fair-skinned, silver-eyed, smooth talker right about now.
“Are you alright my lady?” Vincent, my number one, asks.
“I’m going to ignore your question, as I’m sure you know the answer. I’m going to believe that you only asked as you are willing to fix this.” He nods. “Good, at least I can always count on you. I need to blow off some steam. I’m going to take my phone, and as long as no one is dead, you don’t know where I am, and you can’t find me. Understand?”
“Yes, my lady.” With that done, I head for my car. I pull out my phone and sent a quick message to my driver to let him know to get the car ready. I send another to one of my contacts to see what I could dig up on Erois. A man with a name like that had to be easy to track.
The aromatic smell of the night air mixed with my garden annoys me at this moment. Luckily, I know that I am not in a good state of mind, or else I would torch it. I don’t do angry well. I must mind myself that I don’t do anything to ruin my daytime reputation. Council Woman sets estate on fire is not a good headline. Where in all the realms was that car?
“Would you like a cigarette?” a voice comes through the darkness. I snap to see who it is and who would be …. oh. It was Erois. Just who I was looking for. I can’t stop my lips from forming a hungry smile. Listen here body, don’t you start with me. At least let him talk first.
“Not yet, that usually comes after what I have in mind,” He chuckles
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” he says and takes my hand. To my surprise, I let him. He leads me to his car and opens the door for me.
“You’re not going to be a gentleman, are you?” Please, that is not what I need right now.
“You’re here with me because you like what I have to offer. Now you can come with me or you can stand there asking questions. But I must say, if you come with me, we do it my way,”
The man could do so much to my mind and body with just a few words. I wonder what else he could do?
For possibly the first time in my life I let a male take dominance over me. I allow him to hold my door while I get in the passenger seat. I allow him to close the door for me. I allow him to drive me to his house.
Who knows what else I will allow him to do? But one thing I know in this night of uncertainty. I know that I have never known a feeling like this.