Category: My Writing

The God Key – Tentative Chapter Two

They created the League during their second year at university. Mostly it was the villainous equivalent of Anime Soc. A laugh. Everything is a laugh until you actually get superpowers – with great power comes great responsibility and all that.

Isaac slumped in the chair, sickly pale. Probably with the same splitting headache that Archangel had. He could have been in and out of Isaac’s mind already if he could just get a decent night’s sleep, he was sure of it, but he felt like he was trying to pick up needles with thick mittens on. Clumsy blunt force that was never quite where he wanted.

“Fuck.” Isaac closed his eyes. “Are you trying to give me permanent brain damage?”

No, no he wasn’t. But time was short – he couldn’t afford to do nothing, Isaac knew that. Surely, Isaac knew that? The need to sleep fogged Archangel’s thoughts and he rubbed his eyes. Coffee break. Maybe they both needed a coffee break, seeing as he couldn’t have Isaac falling asleep and escaping to her realm that way either.

“As I said,” he bit out. “You’re bringing this entirely on yourself. You could just help us.”

But he didn’t launch another attack. Couldn’t bear to, couldn’t stomach hurting him properly or further, even if it was necessary. Damn it. He watched Isaac for a moment, with his eyes closed, brow pinched with pain.  He’d probably break him if he tried again.

He went to make coffee.

“Archangel!” Spring cornered him the second he stepped out of the basement – a brown skinned, earth eyed woman with the ability to control plant life. “The Dream Weaver knows we have him.” She handed Archangel a couple of photos of Morphina.

(more…)

The God Key – Chapter One tentative draft share because I’m super excited!

 

“Very heroic, having me dragged here.”

“I told them not to hurt you,” Archangel said. Seeing Isaac again, up close, was as dizzying as blood loss. He itched still, damningly, to reach out and touch. To soothe bruised jaw and tension corded shoulders, release chafed wrists and press kisses to every inch of his skin. “We didn’t want to hurt you.” He stepped closer. “You brought this upon yourself.”

His basement was small and padded and grey, equipped only with the chair and shackles that Isaac was bound to. The shackles dwarfed him and his slender wrists. It was ridiculous.

“Why am I here, Gabriel?”

It was strange to hear that name after so many years. Just a little bit wrong feeling. And yet, on those lips, it was achingly easy. Intimate. He released a breath. “I’ve been trying to find you for a long time.”

“I know, I’ve been avoiding you for a long time. That’s not what I asked.”

He fumbled, uselessly, frantically, for the threads of Isaac’s mind. Nothing there. There was only maddening, shuttered, impossible silence like the grave. It seemed to seep into everything. What are you thinking, Isaac? Archangel stroked his powers over the minds of others, instead – Spring on guard just outside the door.

He wished he’d thought to bring in some sort of barrier with him. Coffee, even. The files. Try just talking to him, reasoning with him – what sort of idiotic idea had that been when the very sight of him had Gabriel bent over the ropes with the match bell ringing?

“I need your help,” Archangel said. “We need your help.”

“I need you to stay the hell away from me, but here we are.”

“You didn’t have to let me believe you were dead!” It burst out of him. It was the exact opposite of the patient calm and control he’d wanted to radiate. This time, even when he knew he absolutely shouldn’t, he couldn’t resist touching. Just to check that he was truly there in front of him, warm and alive. Just because he hoped it fucking hurt Isaac even a fraction as much.

Isaac bit down on his lip at the small caress of fingers on his jaw. A choked sound caught in his throat. His head jerked like he wanted to twitch away, though he couldn’t.

Archangel could feel the power buzzing beneath Isaac’s skin, could literally watch Isaac’s fledgling grey eyes turn as white as a fresh sheet of paper. In an instant he could hear every thought in the house, feel the tug of them like strings ready to be woven into a tapestry of his pleasing. I’m so tired, spaghetti carbonara for dinner, just a few minutes of rest, be good, train harder, I should make coffee, I wonder what they’re doing in there…

The thoughts stretched farther, further, a rush of hundreds of voices and souls going about their life. He could hear every thought except the ones he most wanted to hear, but a person’s power never worked on Isaac when they touched him and Isaac’s own gifts kicked in. Everyone else though…

Their gazes locked. Isaac’s breath had gone shallow and his body taut. He gave Gabriel a look of exquisite agony. He didn’t, however, give an explanation. An apology. Nor did he offer up any useful information.

Archangel let his arm drop and forced himself to focus. “You’re too powerful for me to leave you alone, you know that.” His voice was only a little hoarse. “I couldn’t let you fall into the wrong hands; I’m not the only person who’s been looking for you these last few years. Would you rather it was one of them who found you, instead of me?”

“Better the devil you know, Archangel?”

“I’m not the devil.”

“No. You’re a regular hero, right? Let’s just call this detaining a threat instead of fucking kidnapping your ex like the other freaks get.”

Perhaps spitefully, Archangel reached out a hand again, carding his fingers through Isaac’s hair. There. A quiver of breath, a slight surrender, a skin-hunger. How long had it been since someone touched Isaac like this? Or touched him at all? Had the last time been Gabriel too? The power rushed beneath his hand, all the possibilities that he once thought died bleeding out on their bedroom floor.

Focus.

“Indifference is a form of evil, Isaac. Doing nothing means letting evil win.” Letting me mourn you was evil. Isaac’s hair was overgrown, tangled, greasy with hiding out and matted with cold sweat. He’d have to get it cut. “Don’t you dare pretend I’m the bad guy here.”

“Gabriel.” Isaac’s gloved fingers flexed again on the arms of the chair. His power pulsed wildly, magnifying Archangel’s telepathy in one moment, shrinking it the next until his head had gone quiet with only the whisper of foreign thoughts. But it always went back to the magnifying. Isaac had told him once that everything in his whole body lit up with their mere proximity to each other. He couldn’t get enough of it, kept the point of contact up for a beat longer, two.

Gabriel.” Pleading. Point to him. Archangel let go, offering reprieve again as Isaac squeezed his eyes shut for a few seconds and cleared his throat. “So, you found me. You caught me. What happens to me now? You can’t keep me tied to a chair forever – that would be cruel. No one here wants to hurt me, remember? Least of all you.” His cheeks were flushed.

“The chair is a temporary arrangement until I can be sure you don’t do something stupid.”

“Until you can get inside my head and make me behave like a good boy for you?”

“Is that really what you think of me now?” Archangel’s voice stayed steady with effort, practice. His face faltered for only a split second. It was, unfortunately, a split second that Isaac caught.

“I think you think what you’re doing is the ultimate right. I think you think you’re protecting me. I think you’re an arrogant delusional prick who thinks anyone who doesn’t share his particular view on the world is immoral and needs to be saved.”

It was true, but not like that. Isaac twisted everything.

Archangel circled the chair, placing himself behind him. Giving himself a brief reprieve too, perhaps, from the look on Isaac’s face.

Gabriel had always loved broken things, he loved to put them back together. Isaac had been a stained glass window of a boy when they first met. Startling colours, beauty, torment, and absolutely shattered into a million pieces. He’d loved him instantly. With his eyes blazing white and his body shuddering like a magnet trying to connect he looked devastatingly in need of Gabriel to save him again. Whether he was too stubborn to admit it or not.

“I know she was in your head, it’s how we finally found you.”

“You think I’m a Trojan horse gifted to bring your kingdom crashing down?” Isaac laughed, without amusement. It was a horribly scratchy noise like he’d grown unused to making any. “Feel free to let me go whenever you like. I’d hate to be an inconvenience.”

Archangel didn’t laugh. He studied the back of Isaac’s head, as if it would magically open up for him and make sense again. “I think she’s clever and slippery and cruel, and I know what having her in your dreams is like. I think you’re terrified to have anyone in your head ever again, especially me, which is why I’m asking. Nicely. What did you talk about with her?”

Isaac’s mind remained closed to him. So did his mouth.

Archangel’s lips pressed thin. “For fuck’s sake.” He did his best to clamp down on his frustration. He clung instead to the quivers of Isaac’s breath, to the fact that even when Isaac tried to close his eyes and ignore him he was inevitably drawn back. Unable to keep from focusing on Gabriel, from looking at him, any more than Gabriel could resist reaching out to touch all reassurances and strategy aside. Isaac had refused to even speak to anyone else, let alone co-operate with them. Surely the fact he kept responding, however reluctantly or defiantly, meant something?

Or maybe Isaac just knew how to play him.

He moved to stand in front of him again, expression composed and shoulders drawn back. Radiating patience, calm, rationality as much as he could when he hadn’t slept in over seventy two hours. “You know I can’t leave your head unchecked,” he said. “I can’t let you go to her – we wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“Nobody here wants to hurt me, but you’re more than willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good if you have to.” Isaac raised his brows, lips curling into some mocking imitation of a smile. “That’s it, right? Probably suits you just fine considering how quickly you gave up asking nicely. It means you get to play jigsaws with my head after. You like doing that.”

“She’s poisoned you against me – I’m trying to protect you.”

“Sure, if you say so. That’s it.”

A fresh stab of irritation needled him at the fact Isaac had the audacity to eye-roll at him with that comment. Why did Isaac have to make everything so bloody difficult? Why did he always insist on forcing Gabriel’s hand? As if making Archangel run around the country chasing after him like a fool hadn’t been bad enough.

“I’m not your enemy, don’t make me into one.”

“You don’t change, Gabe.”

You do. You have. What has she done to you?

Archangel slammed his powers against Isaac’s mental barriers.

(more…)

A Compilation of Descriptions

You would see me turn myself into a stone-hearted woman – like the statue on a trophy, a commemorative prize of what you made me into. It is easy to look at statues and not feel bad. Breaking a stone heart is an accomplishment. A sculpture is a work of art and only an object after all.

I will be soft. I will be kind.


Loving you was like the glut at the end of a carnival day. Sick with sweetness, the sugary high that turned to strung nerves and pounding skull – a pleasure gorged on in fear of making the most of it before it was gone, that in dizzy excess was no longer pleasure at all. Only the memory of it. The chasing of it. The flashing strobe lights of it at once beautiful and alarming. And yet beyond you, the world was colourless.


She was always both drawn and repulsed by stories of shapeshifters, werewolves, possession, changeling children – she devoured anything about stolen or changed bodies. Probably because she always felt like such a stranger to her own.


I make the person that I used to be out of the broken bits of me, scraps of skin and stitched up smiles, the dust in my bones from where the world has worn me down. I have forgotten how I used to love you, I am so different now, but I love you still.

You look at me like I am Frankenstein’s monster zapped to life and set down at your kitchen table in an old sweater, with distant eyes, a crumbling disguise. I think I love you now like a haunting thing.


I once met a girl who said she wanted to die at sixteen so she would be beautiful at her funeral. Beautiful forever. Young forever. The two best things in life they say, young and beautiful. Youngandbeautiful. Synonymous. I laughed then, with everyone else – I had to – otherwise I’d choke on the fact that the world makes fifteen year old girls believe that it is better to be dead than to be ugly.


The garden curled around the fences of the manor like fingers wrapped around prison bars. Like every inch of ferocious wildness was straining against the edges of its cage in an effort to creep down to the sleepy civility of the village below and devour it.


I did not fall in love with you. I fell in love with the people we could be, the conversations we could have had, the nostalgic desire of everything that could happen between us. I fell in love with the idea that someone like me would fall in love with someone like you.

But I did not fall in love with you.


Old ghosts rise in my bones every time we kiss, there is a summoning on your lips of all the people you used to love and how you compare them to me.

You have made my body into a haunted house.


You built fences and fortresses around your feelings, and I had heard the stories of princesses locked in towers a hundred times. I forgot that sometimes defences aren’t built to keep the knights out – but to keep the monsters in.


There are many different kinds of secrets in the world – some shackle people together, some shatter them apart. Some secrets are as quiet as a lipstick smudge on a blown away scrap of tissue, some as loud as the silence after loved one’s death. But most secrets grow. Secrets are hungry, lonely things. They want to be told.

X Marks The Spot opening scene

Diana exhaled a shaky breath, before ringing the doorbell. Despite herself, she smoothed down her dress, fiddled with the zipper on her leather jacket, tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and then untucked it again to curl loose and coppery over her forehead. Fussing over her appearance. The self-loathing swelled beneath her tongue, even if she knew looking pretty would help.

In the last twenty four hours she had stripped the black dye from her hair, removed three ear piercings and found a more adult version of the white dress Lucille always used to like her wearing. Soft. Soft and pretty and innocent.

Her hands dropped as if scalded when the door opened.

It wasn’t Lucille.

The man in front of her was handsome, buttoned up in a three piece suit, and entirely too sharp to be Lucille’s normal brand of toy. She recognized him from the Instagram photos as Tristan de Silva – the newly beloved husband. Dark curls, rich, playboy. Absolutely not Lucille’s type at all. He raised a brow without his hands faltering over the tie he was knotting.
“Is Lucille around?” she asked.

His steel-blue eyes gleamed at the question, his head tilting as he looked her up and down. Making no attempt to hide it whatsoever. “You’re Diana Michaels.”

Diana squared her shoulders, jutting her chin up. “You’ve heard of me?”

“Lucille’s Diana – my wife talks about you all the time.”

Another stab of rage, of panic, shot through her at that. Her knees turned weak and her heart pounded in her chest, but she simply flashed him a smile. “And you’re Tristan De Silva. Congratulations to both of you, I’m sure you’ll be very happy together. Is she in?”

He stepped aside to let her past him, making a vague hand gesture of welcome. “She’s in the bedroom getting ready, if you want to wait.” He shut the door behind them and held out a hand to accept her jacket next, flashing a positively charming smile right back. His eyes didn’t warm up even a fraction.
“Is she going to be long? It’s kind of urgent.” She didn’t want to shrug her jacket off – it felt rather like facing Lucille without battle armour, and she felt outnumbered and exposed enough already.

“She’ll be down in a minute.” He continued to study her with a hungry sort of curiosity, a clinical amusement perhaps even, arm still out for her jacket.

She dumped it into his hand, unable to feel sorry that she was probably intruding on their night. He looked ready to be out the door at any moment, a tornado of tailoring and Hugo Boss. Why had Lucille married him? They’d looked genuinely smitten in the photographs, but that could have been the Lucille Wolverton ™ filter on top of whatever else she decided to edit with. Surely they weren’t actually in love?

He’d called her Lucille’s Diana.

“You said she talks about me a lot,” Diana tried to fish, nauseously. “…what does she say exactly?”

“The type of thing that makes me wonder what you’re doing on our doorstep, out of the blue, when the two of you haven’t spoken for…five years, is it? Champagne?”

Champagne. This was definitely Lucille’s house. Everything about Lucille Wolverton, appearance-wise, was like champagne and it was the only alcohol she drank. Pale gold hair, hazel eyes that seemed gold in the right light, golden skin. Light and floaty to an acquaintance, intoxicating and potentially lethal if you had a bit too much of her.

Diana studied him back, carefully, trying to figure out how much he knew about his wife. About everything. Lucille’s type was soft – attractive, yes – but soft. Enamoured. Or so she’d thought, or so it had been five years ago.

“Well,” he said when she didn’t speak. “I’m having champagne. Come on.”
Somehow, as he swept prowling away into their kitchen, she followed. “Sit.” A bottle of champagne was fished out of the fridge, popped, and frothed into three flutes. He held hers out to her.

“I don’t drink,” she said. She accepted the glass automatically into her hands.
She could hear moving upstairs, the strains of quiet singing, music. She looked around the kitchen as she took a sip, scanning her gaze over glossy cookery books and paintings. It was pristine. Of course it was. A catalogue of a house, white as anything.

“Why do you want to see Lucille?” he asked.

“It’s a personal matter.” She willed herself to exhale another breath, to calm down. She wished she could have a glass of water to soothe the dryness of her mouth.

Quick as flash, he caught hold of the lock of hair curling around her face and gave it a gentle tug. She recoiled, and he smiled, before simply tucking it behind her ear in a caress of warm fingers. “The colour suits you,” he said.

She swallowed hard, stomach flipping out. What the hell was that supposed to mean? She set her champagne glass down on the table to free her hands, back pressed against the kitchen counter.

The next second, footsteps sounded on the stairs. The next second, Lucille fluttered into the kitchen in a white dress, bare-foot and fey, with shorter hair than Diana remembered. “Do you know-”

She stopped dead. Her gaze flicked between them, without a smile.

“Diana’s here,” Tristan said. “Drink?” He held out the champagne flute. Lucille took it, knocked it back, and advanced forward with her stare fixed intent on Diana’s face.

Tristan stepped out of the way.
“What’s happened?” Lucille demanded. “Are you alright?”
Concerned, despite everything.

Diana swallowed. She glanced at Tristan, watching them both with the same continuous and open curiosity, and Lucille seized hold of her jaw.

“Diana.”
Dangerous.

“Lucille!” she hissed. The panic swelled – Tristan was standing right there! How could she possibly talk about it? Ask? Do anything?

Lucille stared at her, and raised a delicate brow.

“I’ll do anything, please,” Diana said.

Those had always been the magic words.

(more…)

– i bring my monsters to bed –

I bring my monsters to bed and kiss the most wounded parts of them. And maybe that doesn’t make it better (because nothing can make it better) but a moment of feeling like it might is all I need. A moment, and then another moment, and a thousand moments for a lifetime.

I bring my monsters to bed and seduce them. Maybe if I do it well enough I can trick myself into loving me too.

I bring my monsters to bed and give them warm blankets and foreheads kisses, sweet things and soft words to be devoured, in the hope of lulling them into rest.

I bring my monsters to bed and let them tell me pretty things, and maybe they’re not true (I know that they’re not true) but if you paint something pretty enough you can convince yourself and sometimes that’s the same thing.

I bring my monsters to bed and kiss the most wounded parts of them. We are all hurting, catching on the edges of our teeth, and if I kiss them hard enough then maybe I’ll be a monster too. We will fear nothing.

I bring my monsters to bed because there is no point pretending they’re not there.

Peter Pan’s Shadow

Repost of an older short story.

________________________________

The screams sounded like they were being flayed off of her little brother’s lungs.

Nausea clawed its way up Lucille’s throat, her heart quickening.

It was the type of scream that provoked worried neighbours to call the police. The type of scream that had wrenched her from her sleep every night for the last two months, as if things weren’t bad enough already.  The type of scream that meant they would take her brother away — take them both away — if they found out that their mum hadn’t been home in a month.

Lucille lurched to her feet, tripping over her chemistry textbooks, swearing as pain throbbed through her toe. She sprinted down the hallway and slammed open Alexander’s bedroom door.

The stench of urine assaulted her.

The battery on the nightlight must have broken again. It always broke, no matter how often she changed it.

She surged forwards after a split second of hesitation.

Alex trembled in his favourite fire-engine pyjamas in the gloom. Twisted, howling in the soiled sheets, eyes bulging white pinpricks of terror. Each breath ripped ragged on a cry.

Too loud. It probably echoed all the way to Mrs Cordon’s house two doors down.

“Hey – hey – shh – shhh.” She dragged him away from the sodden bed, carding her fingers through his sweat-drenched hair. “Stop crying. You’re okay, we’re okay. It’s just a bad dream.”

“It’s not!” He hiccupped around his sobs. “It’s not. I saw it this time!”

His gaze darted around the room, feverish with fear, lingering on every shadowy corner and the wardrobe door.

Lucille clamped a hand over his mouth to muffle his cries, feeling like her intestines had begun to rot.

He screamed even harder against her palm, writhing and kicking in her hold. Face bloodless in the moonlight.

“Sorry.” Tears stung her eyes as she tightened her grip, burying her face into the cornstarch-colour of his hair so she didn’t have to look at him thrashing. His nails clawed at her arms, joining countless scratches and bruises from last night and the night before that. She wore long-sleeves all the time at school now. Nobody asked.

“Shh. I’ve got you. It’s okay,” she said. “Shh. Just be quiet.”

It did nothing to calm him. Of course, it didn’t. Nothing she did seemed to work, and she’d tried everything! She put on the nightlight that their mum had got him. She made him ‘Monster Spray’ out of water, salt and lemon juice, and disinfected his bedroom every evening just like mum used to. She checked under the bed for him. She checked the closet.

He didn’t want her.

“It’s me – it’s Lucille. I’m not going to hurt you. Just breathe…just…stop crying. Please.
It felt like forever had passed before he slackened in her grip, exhausted. Alex’s cheeks were wet with tears as she peeled her hand away.

“It has teeth!”

“It’s just a dream!” she said.

“Why won’t you believe me? Don’t you feel it?”

The back of her neck prickled, and she shoved the chill away furiously.  For a second, she imagined breath looming behind her, cold raising goose-bumps on her skin.  “Shut up Alex.”

“I want mum,” he said.

“Shut up.” Lucille’s chest ached.

Alex crumpled to the floor and Lucille wished that she had the same luxury. She swallowed, concentrating on breathing in and out deeply for him to copy.

A light flickered at Mr Boyd’s house across the street, but he could have just been going to the bathroom again.

Her fists clenched.

“Is she coming back?” Alex asked.

The switch from ‘when’ to ‘is’ felt like a punch in the throat. Lucille wanted to slap him for it, hard. Give him something worse than a six year old’s bad dreams to scream about.

“Of course she is, she wouldn’t just leave us.” She gritted her teeth. “I said shut up. Haven’t you done enough?” Maybe if he’d cried less, screamed less in the night, their mother wouldn’t have left.

His lip wobbled and Lucille’s eyes widened.
“No — no don’t. Alex, please,” she said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

Alex sniffled, wiping another tear from his face. He nearly choked as he swallowed back another sob for her.

The guilt squirmed in the pit of her belly. Maybe it had been her, maybe if she’d been a better daughter, argued back less, helped more around the house…

Lucille shoved herself onto her feet, hauling Alex up by the back of his shirt. Her nose wrinkled.  His urine had smeared all over her pyjamas. The tears burned behind her eyes again. She sucked in another deep breath, and exhaled.

“Let’s get you clean,” she muttered.

(more…)

A Game of Love

“Redfearn, Lothwell, De Ventress, Smith. You have quite the resume Mrs Margaux,” Johanna said. “Does my brother know that you’re married already?” She stretched back against the plush leather sofa, watching the older woman come to a stop at the comment.

Margaux Doe was quite the mystery, not in the least because she actually thought herself clever for coming with a surname like that. Still, people seemed to buy it. It always amazed her what people were willing to buy when a woman was pretty and oh, Margaux was beautiful. She could see why Nicholas was so smitten. She waited for the flicker of panic in dark eyes, but it never came. Instead –

“Jacobs, Carver, Middleton, Bower,” Margaux replied.

Johanna’s insides clenched.
“Oh honey.” A smile crossed Margaux’s lips at odds with her disappointed tone of voice. “Blackmail, heartbreak, coercion. You have quite the rap sheet of sins for such a nice young woman.”

“I haven’t killed anyone.”

“Which means they’re still alive to spill your dirty little secrets.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“I was curious to meet you,” Margaux said. She wandered over to Johanna’s drinks cabinet, plucking out a bottle from the ice and twisting the cork expertly in her hand. “I heard a pretty, rich thing had been asking a lot of questions about me. We seem to keep stumbling over each other’s conquests.” The cork popped, and Johanna’s trademark champagne frothed into two flutes.

She had to be exactly Margaux’s type, superficially. A champagne flute of a woman; lit gold from her wealth to the blonde shine of her hair, and equally full of air. A ditzy, pretty, rich thing with no children to inherit either. Warning: liable to cause intoxication.

Johanna’s head tilted, eyes hardening, and she wet her lips.

Normally, she liked her own toys to be softer, more impressionable – sweethearts who she could sweep off their feet until they the hit the ground hard. Margaux had nothing of that. She had four dead lovers who left her everything and nothing that Johanna could actually prove. Only rumours.

She had the fucking audacity to treat Johanna’s home like her own.

“Is that why you’re with him?” she asked.

“He’s a darling,” Margaux said. “He thinks he knows how to play the game of love.”
She set the champagne back in the ice bucket and sauntered over, hips swaying with a casual seduction that Johanna couldn’t help but admire. She recognized that walk. It was her own walk, right down to the cock of her head.

“I take it you disagree.” Johanna tilted her head back against the sofa to expose the line of her throat, getting a vicious of stab of satisfaction at least as Margaux’s gaze immediately followed its path.

“The boy is enamoured. You know that, or you wouldn’t have invited me here to have this conversation. Were you hoping to threaten me?” She pressed the champagne flute cold into Johanna’s hand, their fingers brushing warm.

“If anything happens to him, I’ll prove you were behind it.”

“If you’re that worried, maybe you should marry me instead.”

The world stopped. For a second time, in too short a succession in one person’s company, she was caught off guard. Johanna raised a brow a second too late.

“Careful, I’m a lot better at the game than Nicholas is.”

“We could make a bet on it,” Margaux said. She adjusted her glass to her other hand, and tucked Johanna’s hair behind her ear, leaning in. “One year. If you can make me fall in love with you, you win. If you can’t…you give me all of the lovely Needham fortune.”

Johanna’s spine stiffened at the challenge, eyes sparking.
“And what do I get when I win?”

“Whatever your adorably twisted little heart desires.”

Margaux wasn’t her normal kind of toy. Johanna liked them soft and impressionable, starry-eyed, so that when they met their forever-love they could agonize over the bruised foundations that she gave them. She collected first loves the way Marlene Halligan collected Pokemon Cards – gotta catch ‘em all!

Margaux Doe was a Black Widow of the most poisonous kind. There was nothing soft about her except her lips. Johanna couldn’t leave her weak at the knees with a well-placed smile, or chasing with a coy look, when they both knew all of the moves on the board backward.

But love was a game that Johanna won every single time, and one gold digging murderer wasn’t going to change that. Her fingers tightened on the champagne glass and she took a sip.

“Deal.”

Challenge accepted.


A new drabble/story idea of mine. The one who loves playing games with people, meets the Black Widow. I think I like my femme fatales a bit too much.