An Average Day (by Cassandra Maliepaard)
Asinoe impatiently checked her watch and lightly tapped her foot on the white marble tiles of her entrance hall. What was taking her driver so long to bring the car around? She was running late now and he was anything but patient about appointments. She checked her watch again and felt nervous butterflies stampede around her stomach. She sighed and forced the stupid creatures back into their box. She should call him and let him know she was going to be late. She went to reach into her bag when the car crunched on gravel. Finally she thought and hurried out of her house. Her housekeeper would lock up. She slipped into the back of her black Mercedes and frowned at Frank, her driver, in the rearview mirror.
“I’m late, please hurry.”
“Sorry,” Frank nearly moaned and with a scatter of gravel the car took off. She wondered idly if she needed to get a new driver, this one was sometimes very unreliable.
Asinoe looked at her watch again and inwardly went to fetch the butterfly net. Really, it was getting ridiculous to be so nervous about meeting her employer. She had been working for him for more than 6 months and in that time she had changed so much and she had done something stupid. She had fallen in love with the man. Jasper Baelian Black was one of the most fascinating people she had ever met. She had never stood a chance. It didn’t matter that he was married and had one of the most notorious families in the world. Jasper Black was worth it.
Jasper. Baelian. Black.
Her thoughts dwelled thoughtfully on his name, every syllable elicited a different emotion. Jasper made her smile, his endearing childish behaviour and playful nature. She wanted to protect and play with him. Baelian made her shiver with a heady mixture of fear and desire, just the thought of him heated her skin. She had never known anyone as dangerous and exciting, she was addicted to his touch, foul or fair. She played with the buttons on her shirt absentmindedly undoing the top and gently stroked the soft skin at the base of her throat. Black, the family that defied everyone and everything to be who they wanted to be.
She was proud to work for this family, one so unlike her own. The Hardcourts were rich and powerful but they played the games the world expected and surrounded themselves with empty, selfish people. Asinoe couldn’t stand them; disgust curled her lip slightly as she thought about her grandfather’s friends.
She looked up and saw Frank’s eyes hurriedly shift away from hers in the mirror. Yes, she definitely would need a new driver. She redid her button and pulled out her compact to check her makeup. It was still perfect.
Not for long
Tthe traitorous butterflies were back. She let them revel for a moment as she thought with anticipation the most likely course of the evening. She always started the night beautifully dressed and made up, she ended the night in various states of undress. She never wore lipstick any more. It was always stain, guaranteed to never come off, no matter how hard he kissed her, or how often.
She smiled and let her head fall back onto the head rest. Her phoned chimed and with a start she realised she had forgotten to text that she running late. She fished her phone out of her bag and checked the screen. One new voice message. When had it rung?
She pushed the button and pulled it to her ear waiting for his voice to speak.
“Ms. Mirror,” Baelian purred into the phone. “It is now ten minutes past the hour and you are still not here. Clearly there is nothing else to do but teach you how to tell the time. I will come to your house, tie you to your bed and every hour on the hour, the moment the clock chimes I’ll do something… different to you. Pain? Pleasure? Who knows? Maybe I’ll carve a clock face into your wrist to remind you to use your fucking watch!”
Asinoe ended the call to her message bank and laughed. She played with the phone in her hand wondering what would happen if she didn’t call him back. The temptation made her mouth dry. She knew exactly what would happen, he would be angrier and she would be punished. The thought made her thighs tingle. She opened her phone again and looked at his number. She was going to be punished already for being late, what was a little bit more? She bit her lip and stared at the numbers until they danced whilst possible scenes of her arrival played through her head like a carnival of sexually crazed clowns. They were all so attractive, so dangerous, and entirely possible with Baelian. Reason landed with the subtly of cold water and she sighed deeply, banishing the enticing thoughts and allowing her head to fall back against the headrest again. She closed her eyes for a moment and then opening them, clicked her phone on and brought up a new text screen.
Need new driver. Be there soon.
She had made the correct choice but not the one she wanted.
The car pulled up to the Black Mansion and with a butler opening her door for her and ushering her inside her night began.
Black Mirror (by Natalie Ristovski)
She made small whimpering noises while she slept…he wondered if she was aware of it…if any of her former lovers had ever told her about it, complained, teased…found it endearing and tried to comfort her from some unspoken nightmare as she shifted and fidgeted in her sleep.
He supposed, were he capable of such emotions, that he would have fallen into the latter category. There was, truly, nothing like a sleeping woman mewling like a child in the throes of slumber. One would imagine it to feel rather chivalrous, wrapping arms about her and pulling her close, chasing away with kisses and whispered words whatever terrors had assaulted her in the night.
Warm…comfortable…easy to exploit.
~Couldn’t help yourself, could you?~
Well, no. When one’s mind was naturally inclined (or shall we say, regimentally conditioned) to a certain kind of behaviour, it took a rather large dose of reprogramming for any deviance from such. That he was merely sitting here and watching her was deviance enough…that he had done it for more than four weeks now was…perturbing. And not for the reasons one would presume.
~Yes…tell me again why we’re just sitting here…~
It was a fair question. While never one to rush any kind of conquest (be it carnal or criminal in nature), there was a certain…reluctance…on his part to progress that was rather disconcerting. It was acceptable, of course, for the first week or so to merely watch your prey…to study it intensely and note its’ behaviours…to categorise, file, hypothesise…
By three weeks, one should have been planning the attack.
By now he should not have been sitting in the shadows as he was, his cobalt eyes studying her so intensely, with such a look of perplexity that – were anyone to look in on the scene from the outside they would, failing the initial ‘hey who are you and why are you in her room watching her sleep?,’ most likely have laughed at him.
Hell, he almost laughed at himself once or twice.
Except that he didn’t think it was funny.
None of this was funny.
~No. Not funny. Pitiful, but not funny.~
Lips curled, brows furrowing into a scowl as he tilted his head, dark hair falling over his eyes in that thoroughly irritating fashion it had of getting in the fucking way all the time…his body twitching slightly as the memory of his father’s biting voice hissing in his ear…
-Keep that bloody hair out of your face, boy, or I will rip it out a handful at a time…-
Eyes slid closed for the briefest of moments until the tingling sensation in his fingers passed…a tensing of the shoulders tweaking a choice nerve…sending signals throughout the body to brace itself for attack, the tips of long, pale digits becoming suddenly numb in response. Ah, but the human body was a fascinating thing…no? Like it would have helped him to have numb fingers if his hair was being torn out…
He was a creature of habit, clearly. There was no one there to see, but he dutifully brushed his hair back anyway.
-Pretty pretty Bay…lee..annnn…Daddy’s gonna shave your he-ead…-
That was Alina. She was never far behind…mocking, poking, prodding, taunting…asking for it in every way one could ask without mouthing the syllables “Can you beat the fuck out of me please?”
Beautifully tragically horrible Alina…light of his life, bane of his existence…fucking thorn in his side since the moment he clapped eyes on her. Alina…with a face so like her sister’s…but not nearly as peaceful when she slept.
~Yes…and if this had been Alina laying there…~
What? She would have expected it. It had almost become a game to them, their own private gauntlet (cruelly and aptly named ‘Goodnight, Sleep Tight…’) in which the aim was to wake up where you had fallen asleep, limbs intact, clothing on, no bodily fluid of any kind on your person and no bones broken…
If you could do that…it WAS a good night.
~Indeed…and Asinoe has had far too many ‘good night’s’ already, has she not?~
Pondering, he slid off the dresser he was perched on, a few deft strides bringing him to her bedside, his shadow falling over her sleeping form.
~Oooo how bloody poetic…look, moonlight through the curtains and everything. Shall we start the pipe organ music now or when you bite her?~
Another scowl, followed by a self-amused smirk. What did he care, really? Predators had been preying on sleeping victims since the dawn of time (and since BEFORE certain fairy-spawned vampires, he might add)…the parallels could be drawn with anyone or anything. Hell, his FATHER had played the same game for years…
Blue eyes fell to the syringe and bottle on her nightstand…insurance of sorts against her waking oh so suddenly and raising the roof with her screams. It was impractical, to have her kicking up a fuss…and entirely unhelpful to his plans. When she was unconscious she couldn’t yell, couldn’t scream, couldn’t fight…and if she didn’t do any of those things then he didn’t need to go and hurt her, did he?
It was really for her own good, drugging her like that. Besides…he’d been more than considerate about it, not using too much lest she wake feeling groggy and useless the next morning (and WHO would follow him about with a notepad and doe eyes then?), checking her medical records and blood tests to make sure there were no allergies that could turn the evening into a ugly rush to the hospital…
He was, a rather all round considerate kind of guy, truly.
~Yes…and you’ve been ‘considering’ her for far too long…have at it already…~
Again his head tilted, he so loved to look at the world from that angle…slightly skewed, left of centre. You saw a lot more when you shifted your perspective that way…so much more than the world wanted to show you. Sometimes you saw too much…
A brow perked as his name slipped from her lips in a sigh – well, let’s be honest it wasn’t HIS name…but…potato, potahto…
~Let’s call the whole thing off…~
Okay…now he was being a cunt. She couldn’t hear him…and talking to her while she was like this was just lecherous, though it did fill him with a smug sense of satisfaction. One could have virtually any conversation with another when that other was drugged and unconscious…and there was none of that ridiculous ‘exchange’ of words, no need to acknowledge the other person’s point of view or opinion…no real need to care about their feelings.
~Best way to have a discussion, really.~
“…you know,” he went on, moving to sit on the bed beside her, his arm swinging over to cradle her back, fingers curling against her flesh as he pulled her into him and just that little bit closer, “You could really hurt a guy’s feelings, calling out another man’s name in your sleep like that…” lips curled into an irrepressible smile, “But I think under the circumstances I can forgive you…just.”
Her forehead creased, lips parting as if she would respond and for a moment he held his breath…half of him hoping that she HAD somehow become immune to the sedative in her system…and at any second the game would be on.
~Go on…wake up…do it…give me a reason, all I need is one…~
Okay. Now he was getting annoyed. She was being quite rude, considering he had gone out of his way to make sure that she was comfortable and relatively safe during this whole process. He’d even considered birth control…what kind of sexual predator thought about these things? What kind of rapist actually bothered to think about the future?
~I’m sorry, what are we calling ourselves now? You seem to be missing a fundamental piece of this puzzle…like the fucking rape…~
“Oh fuck off…” he muttered, rolling his eyes. Yes, yes he talked to himself sometimes too. He wasn’t likely to get an equally intellectual conversation anywhere else. At least not right now…
Lips once again curved into that incorrigibly charming and predatory smirk as his gaze travelled the length of her beneath the covers. Fingers moved up her back and over her shoulder, closing around the blanket and pulling it down ever so slowly, peeling it from her skin and letting the moonlight illuminate her body.
“Oh…look at you…you knew I was coming, didn’t you?”
The pale pink nightgown was new…he’d never seen it before (and he’d been through all her drawers and closets in the four weeks they had been conducting these little clandestine rendezvous’), which meant she’d bought it especially for this weekend. Especially for him.
Dropping the blanket at her waist, he traced a finger up over her ribs, his hand curling at the underside of her breast…the fabric was sheer…not completely see-through…but in the right light at the right angle…
-I’ve been watching you sleep for weeks, actually…-
He’d told it to her straight. He’d tried to warn her that this was coming. And what had she done? She’d given him that tight smile, those girlish lips pursing as a glimmer of fear dashed with that tiny spark of excitement he so often saw when she spoke to him flickered in her eyes. She’d laughed it off and joked about stepping up her security.
He’d told her not to bother. He would always find a way in. Besides, he owned all the best security in town.
The look in her eyes told him she believed him. Yet her security had stayed the same.
“And now you’re playing dress ups for me…”
~That’s called consent, right?~
His lawyers would certainly be able to paint it that way…they could always paint anything to the best convenience of the Black Family. They always had…even when they worked for his father, Jerald.
-Go ahead, boy…go to the police. Tell someone. Do you think they don’t already know? Do you think they can do anything to save any of you? We’ve bought their silence already, little imp…we bought their silence with YOU…-
Not that it mattered, really…she wouldn’t remember any of it so there was little to no chance of lawyers even having to be involved. But that was his way…contingency upon contingency. Plan upon plan upon plan…from Z through to A. All angles considered…all bases covered…all the time.
~Mental note -make sure her driver is late tomorrow…it will distract her, just in case…~
She shifted in her sleep again, murmuring something, rolling onto her belly and curling her arms under herself as if to shield her body from a perceived threat, her face nuzzling into the pillow. Never one to miss an opportunity, he used her change in position to pull the blankets further down, stopping only when they reached the backs of her knees. Her nightgown had ridden up her thighs, the exposed creamy flesh peeking out from beneath so enticing he almost took a bite.
~Go on…just like Alina…bet she loves it~
Alina. There she was again, like a demon in his thoughts over and over. He’d have cut her out if he could…stabbed himself in the eye just so with that letter opener of his, lobotomised himself if he thought it would have helped.
He wasn’t stupid enough to think that she could be banished so easily.
The memories always came unbidden – he could block so much out when he wanted to…he’d developed a knack for filing it all away in his mind until such a time as it was needed. He didn’t have nor need the luxury of oblivion like Cookie or Belladonna…he was the memory bank, the gatherer of the information…the one who kept everyone’s dirty secrets. You had to figure out a way to lock them up or you’d go mad and he’d unlocked out the key very early on in the game.
Except for Alina. She never went away, no matter how hard he tried.
He could see her now, laying just like this in the moonlight, a slip of a skinny thing of 12 years old in a nightgown not too much unlike this one. She, too, was unconscious…the victim of Bellamantis’ latest little games with the Russians. He’d lucked out and missed them…having had a previously arranged date with one Colonel Kensington, not the greatest of lovers if truth be told, but still a better option than the fucking Katorga’s. So he bit his lip and behaved himself like a good little boy was wont to do, all the while listening to Alina’s screams across the way…
And then, after a few hours, it was dark and quiet, the adults had retired or passed out for the night. They’d left Alina there in the silvered light, on the floor with her little gown riding up, her skin already stained with rainbows of bodily fluids…painted like a canvas. He’d crawled over in the shadows, sliding up her body like a serpent, knees parting her thighs, fingers tangling in her hair, teeth biting down on her ear hard. He was inside her before she even awoke…he was ready for her, he was always ready for her…she was like a toxin in his blood, a forever aphrodisiac that heightened arousal with a glance, a sigh, a whisper. By the time she had the presence of mind to shout or hurl abuse, he’d clamped a hand over her mouth, her teeth tearing into his fingers in ways that made him moan…and bleed…and bite back harder.
She struggled…she always struggled…it was their way, their dance, their decayed romantic fairytale. What he wanted and what she wanted never mattered…what mattered was the game, always. But there was acceptance too, because she ground back against him even as she tried to get away, she suckled the blood from his fingers before tearing them open anew. She bucked and squirmed and screamed into his hand all the things she couldn’t have said to the Russians. And he snarled and moaned and took what he wanted and gave her everything she wanted in return, hissing and chanting her name in her ear, over and over…
Blinking, he jolted back to reality with start, wide cobalt hues snapping to Asinoe’s prone form. He half expected her to be sitting up with “What exactly do you think you’re doing?” playing like a mantra on her lips. He prepared for some kind of rebuke, some tantrum, some physical attack or at the least some fearful crying…maybe some begging? His hands had curled into fists, instinctually ready to beat the living fuck out of whatever tried to hurt him.
It took a moment of staring at her in the moonlight to realise that she was not going to attack him…that she wasn’t going to make a scene…that she wasn’t even awake at all. While he’d been mentally masturbating over her sister, she’d rolled over onto her back, her hair falling across her face in soft wisps that left half her features in shadow. Her breath had quickened, her chest rising and falling in small gasps…but that was about it. Her eyes remained closed, her lips parting ever so slightly as a soft sigh escaped them…and then his name, again.
But Asinoe Mirror slept on, completely oblivious to the gaping fool sitting inches from her scantily clad body, staring at her in bewildered silence, hands clenching and unclenching over and again.
~What fucking game are you playing now?~
Eyes narrowed as he watched her, waiting for some hint…some sign…something to indicate that she was toying with him, that she knew he was there and was trying to screw with his head or manipulate her way out of the inevitable. A hand rose to clamp about her throat a moment later, almost as an afterthought, his fingers pressing into her larynx just enough to make her gag…even in her sleep.
But her eyes stayed closed…her forehead creasing in perplexion, lips forming a small pout as she moaned softly. Her body arched slightly on the bed, thighs parting then pressing shut again, teeth moving to graze her lower lip. He blinked again, frowning.
“…stop playing games…” he murmured, “…don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing…”
If she heard him, she was a damn good actress. Her breath slowed after a moment, her body settling back into undisturbed repose, her lips curving into the tiniest smile as she dreamed a little dream.
He sat watching her in silence, fingers still pressed about her neck – though far more lightly than before- head tilted as he matched the pace of her breaths with his own. Slowly, after a small eternity, his fingers slid from her throat and to her face, pale digits carefully brushing aside haphazard locks, smoothing them back over her ear, curling against her cheek.
And then his hand was snatched away suddenly, as if burned by her skin, those iridescent eyes fixed on her…daring her to move, to give the game away. Again his hands clenched, the irrepressible urge to punch her in the gut and put an end to her charade almost overwhelming him, so much so that all at once he was rising from the bed, crossing to the dresser and leaning on it with both hands, gasping.
~What the fuck is wrong with you? Get it together~
Closing his eyes, he flinched, a strange and sickening pain in his chest doubling him over for a long moment.
Well this was no bloody good…how in the hell was he going to be any kind of sexual predator like this? Biting his lip, he pressed his palm flat over his thorsis, taking a handful of ragged, shallow breaths, his free hand rising to rake through his dark hair as he glanced back at her.
~Easy…it’s so easy…go over there and take what you want…~
His head had started pounding all at once, he felt ill…suffocated, like he couldn’t breathe and he was going to vomit and possibly even cry. It was a cocktail of horrid feeling, one he’d not experienced since he was a child…and one he had no desire to revisit now.
His father would have been SO disappointed.
Whimpering like a 5 year old, he staggered back to the bed, throwing himself down onto it and curling into a ball at Asinoe’s feet, arms wrapped about his knees as he tried to focus on breathing. The brief thought that he really shouldn’t pass out here…that if he fell asleep she may well awaken before him danced through his mind…but his eyes were already closing, the world slipping into blackness.
The last sound he made before falling into unconsciousness was to whisper her name…
* * * *
The morning sun was warm and bright as Asinoe Mirror went about her daily routine – albeit more sluggishly than usual – she really did need to make an appointment with her nutritionist to see about a diet that didn’t leave her groggy and lethargic after breakfast.
She’d awoken earlier from the midst of a beautiful dream…she could hear his voice crooning her name into her ear…his warm lips on her forehead, her eyelids, her cheeks…her lips. She’d smiled in her sleep and reached out for him, eyes fluttering open as the first rays of sunlight began to peek through the window.
There was no one there, of course…there never was…just her lonesome little self tucked tightly and warmly into her bed. And then there was always that slightly heartbreaking moment of utter aloneness and that silly little wish made to whomever saw fit to pluck it from her heart.
One day, she whispered to herself…one day I’ll wake up and you’ll really be here with me.
One day, it won’t be just a dream.
Written by Chastity De Vice and Natalie Ristovski.
All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015. Natalie Ristovski.