Excerpt from The Waif’s Tale
Jeff, Kenny and Greg were kind enough to buy me several drinks as we chatted at the bar. One look from the bouncer outside and the velvet rope might as well have floated away on its own. He’d hesitated at the trio one step behind me, but when I nodded to him and cast him a little sideways grin and a wink, he allowed them to follow me in. I was beginning to enjoy my newfound power of femininity, which had never worked so well at the Citadel – except with Thorne, of course. The memory of Thorne caused a slight feeling of nausea and I pushed the thoughts aside. Now was not the time to let past loves ruin a decent night out.
“So, Paris, where are you from? Not Paris, I guess,” Jeff said. “Not with that accent.”
I hid my smirk. And here I thought I’d dropped it completely. Obviously, I was mistaken. “Bristol,” I said, leaning in so he could hear me over the thumping music that issued from the dozen speakers around the club. “In the UK”
“Cool,” Greg remarked, raising his glass for a toast. “God save the Queen!”
We all laughed and clinked our glasses.
“How about you guys?” I asked. I knew already, having searched their minds prior to entering the building. In that moment, my target had been set. Nonetheless, small talk was important for getting on their good side so they wouldn’t suspect me of what was to come.
“Jacksonville,” they stated, almost in unison. Again, we laughed.
“What brings you to Orlando then?” Jeff turned away from me as Kenny piped up.
“Our boy here’s about to get hitched!”
“Really,” I said, intentionally making it sound more like a statement than a question. “So, you’re celebrating.”
“Absolutely!” Greg threw his arm around Jeff, causing some of his friend’s drink to splash onto the floor. “Little Jeffy’s last days as a free man!”
“So, why not party there, in Jacksonville?”
“You never shit where you eat,” Greg said. He winked and laughed out loud, pulling our own laughter with his. He’d made it sound like a joke but his phrasing and my current knowledge turned its meaning back onto itself. All of my initial suspicions were proven correct.
“What about you two?” I said, my eyes bouncing from Greg to Kenny. “You guys married? Or, are either of you tying the knot soon?”
They fidgeted at my question and Jeff just smiled.
“They’re single,” Jeff said. “But it’s not for any lack of trying.”
“Hey!” the two responded together.
“Maybe you should hit a casino,” I said. I paused at their blank stares.
“Oh,” Kenny smiled. “I get it. Unlucky in love, huh? Sure. Might not be a bad idea though. Greg here…he’d make a fucking fortune, I bet.”
“Very funny, asshole,” Greg replied. He turned to glare out at the dance floor. I could sense it building in him.
“It’s all about timing,” I said. “You never know when lightning will strike. Comes out of nowhere, ya know? You can’t tell what the future holds. Trust me.”
Greg stared at me for a moment, then turned his attention back to the people out on the floor.
“You wanna dance?” Kenny asked.
I nodded and we slipped through the tables that encircled the area and merged into the undulating masses. It had been years since I’d danced. The music was sort of poppy but it also carried a deep urban beat that allowed us to flow and grind and bounce in wonderful rhythm. It seeped into my muscle and bones—releasing me somehow, as if a piece of myself held in check was ready to burst free at any moment. I recognized the feeling and reined it in. At least for the time being.
I danced several dances with each of them in turn. They got drunker and drunker, but I observed them with a calm, sober eye. Alcohol did not affect me as it did humans. I let the night wax on, until the opportunity presented itself for me to disappear into the shadows of the club. If I planned this appropriately and if the timing was just right…
When the opportune moment arrived, I followed Greg into the men’s room. I’d already ensured that no one else was in there. I locked the door and faced him. He stared at me for several seconds, the gears turning behind those bright blue eyes of his. He wasn’t the most handsome guy I’d ever seen but he wasn’t unattractive either. In any case, I was far less concerned with his exterior than I was with what he harbored on the inside. He hid it well, but I’d had my suspicions when I’d first spotted the three of them ambling across the parking lot. Once I got a peek into his mind, I was certain.
Greg was a rapist.
“Tell me, Greg, how many women have thrown themselves at you?” I asked.
“Huh? What the hell are you talking about? And, why are you in the men’s restroom?”
“How many? I can’t really get a read. Seven? Ten? A dozen? Oh, for God’s sake, more than that?”
“I think you should leave.”
He began walking toward me, but I quickly moved to block his path. I was curious how it was all going to play out. We had a few minutes and we were entirely alone, so I gave in to my desire to toy with him a bit. “I could smell the violence on you a mile away, big guy. You wanna add another notch to your belt?” I lifted an eyebrow seductively and took a step toward him. “Come on, now. Don’t puss out on me.”
“You crazy little bitch. You have no idea what you’re doing.” He paused, hesitant to make a scene, trying to find the right words. “I—I’m not interested. Sorry.”
He made his move to get by me again but I would not allow him passage. I stood there peering at him, with my arms crossed and shaking my head.
“Move! Get out of my way or I’ll—”
“Or you’ll what, big guy?” I said mockingly. I placed a hand on his chest and shoved him backward, perhaps a bit too hard; clearly, I’d let my emotions get the better of me.
He slipped on a wet spot by one of the three sinks and fell. His head ricocheted off the porcelain and he hit the floor. “You bitch!” he spat, holding his hand to his head. It must have hurt like hell but it hadn’t broken the skin. I was glad for that, because I didn’t want to leave any unnecessary markings – at least not until I’d had my way with him.
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