No black magic can control me and no curse can let you own me
That was the thing with the past.. It was a tricky and sticky little web, deceiving... and innocuous until it devoured you whole and picked out its teeth with whatever sanity you had left. It was never good to wallow in it. Never. She was here for the here and now. Of course, remembering one's former self objectively, learning from past mistakes and all that shit was a necessity, but one done carefully. Was that not the purpose of history? To never repeat it. One would hope. Yet, somehow she was trapped beneath another vampire's thumb and somehow alive enough to do what she had to do to endure. It was a damn pity that Arlo had to be caught in the crosshairs of it all. How he'd appeared on their radar she'd never known. She could deal with a lot of shit.. A lot.. But fucking over good people? That hardly sat well with her. Although, one could argue if there was such thing as a good vampire... But this man right here... certainly wasn't bad, not from what she could tell... She knew bad in its many forms. But there he was talking about buying a bookshelf one day, like it was something to be proud of. Harley sat far too casually within her chair, at ease, arms folded and rested in front of her, nodding her head as if encouraging him to do just that. There wasn't going to be a bookshelf if Darcy and Risque got their hands on him. "Bookshelf huh? Moving up in the world." That teasing iconic sarcasm fell simply from her lips. Hell, she even had one but it wasn't filled with her life's secrets. No those were carefully hidden, holed up in a closet somewhere collecting dust. Hell, she wrote down too much in those things. Not a damn soul besides Ace knew she even wrote like that. She'd even found it cathartic even. She would be sure to burn them before she died.
It wasn't her business to consider what was inside his own books. That was between himself and whoever he decided to share it with.. Unless he died or was kidnapped with a one-way ticket to hell. Then she was certain... more than one person would get their grimy little hands on them. Or maybe his girlfriend would find them first and they would bring her solace if.. It was wrong... in many ways... an artists personal pages were extremely private things. She swiped away the thought and the frown that threatened to pinch at her brow. The conversation shifted to how those songs were sung and Harley nodded her agreement to his words. It was impressive to have someone pay you for the words you wrote.
For a moment, it felt like they shared a true connection. If one could call it that. Especially when it was built on the unsteady ground of deception. He didn't even know her real name. Yet Harley seemed content to run along with it. Biding time, trying to find a way out of this mess. She could have lured him in no time flat already, she knew it. He was like a glorified golden retriever... she was certain she could get him to believe anything that came out of her mouth. It wouldn't have been hard to lure him down the street toward whatever alley Darcy was concealed in. Knowing all too well the only thing she was doing was prolonging the inevitability of it. All she needed was a trusting face, to flash a charming smile... to seem convincing. Believe the words coming out of her lips. Yet she'd found herself being honest, sorta, underneath the guise of Cadence.. Ugh, what kind of name was Cadence anyways? Of course, Darcy had to give her some old-timey name that had sounded southern. Like she should have sported pigtails and frayed jean booty shorts. Yeah, this was wonderful with a cherry on top. It was going as well as it could go. Until the photos of the happy couple painted a picture in her mind that was all too real. It formed a heavy pit in her stomach. Arlo had a life, love, passions and she was the fucking wrecking ball meant to bash it all the smithereens. What made it worse was when the man turned into a ball of warm goo and perma-smile as spoke of his girlfriend, love mirrored within his hopeful eyes. Eyes that saw a future. He had it bad.
That was when the topic of relationships reared its gigantic grotesque skull, a topic she wasn't exactly the best at having in the first place. This was one topic she was sure that should have been steered clear of. Her dating history was far from something to brag about. Fall for the man who killed her parents just didn't sit well with anyone, including herself. Oh yeah, did she mention he was also part of a family of blood-sucking psychopaths? She could only imagine what Christmas mealtimes were like. She was quite proud to state she wasn't invited. Even though morbid curiosity at how that would have gone down would have sent her down a pathway to death. What sounded even more ridiculous was... the mention of hooking up with another cat. The only other felines she'd known were within Risque's walls.. And Tetradore's pack. It didn't really speak well for the species in her eyes. She wouldn't touch a damn feline if she was stuck on a desert island and there was no other choice. Vampires had even less odds. "Pretty sure 90% of all cats in Sacrosanct are psychopaths, same can be said about vampires too. No offence, although you seem alright. You already get points for not trying to bite me." Some people... got the love story and others end up on a whole other journey, harder, unpaved, and underpaid.. but it was her own. It still had its moments. "... and as for me and my colourful love life.. I'm like a badass unicorn. And I am going to live.. Really live. Like I am on some grand adventure.. If that includes someone, great... but if not.. At the end of the day.. I'm a fucking unicorn and I can live with that." She maintained her casual and yet confident posture, her eyes narrowed slightly. Did she really just call herself a fucking unicorn? Yes. Yes, she did. She could have probably omitted well... all of that and yet she'd believed every damn word. She leaned in, reached for her stolen glass of Darcy's ice water, took a sip as she teased Arlo for those hardened edges that had softened from love. His grin blazed, how was he so happy? Like he had an endless supply of liquid sunshine to brighten his own day. Oh right, vampire. Sunshine was probably not the best example. But it was like no one could rain on his parade. Except, it was the mention of drugs... that indicated another story. Like all people.. He had some demons in his closet. Many musicians had tumbled down that similar vortex. What were they? She wondered. The raven-haired woman studied him, her piercing violet eyes flash with curiosity that she tamed. "Ah yeah, drugs typically do that. It takes a strong person to come out of the other side of that.. " You medicate to placate the pain and you end up not living at all. You can't trade feeling any pain without a price and the price to avoid it was never worth it as far as she was concerned. At least he'd found his way before it was too late. She would never blame someone for doing what they had to do to survive. No artist created anything of meaning without facing a demon or two or..... An army of them. Or maybe just one of them with back up waiting just down the block. Waiting. Most likely growing pissier by the second.
The conversation flitted from this and that... Food. A safe topic for them both. They really should order something even if the service was abysmal. Maybe they shouldn't have bought a single damn thing. But imaging jaws steeping in his own rage... wasn't advisable. But it was worth it. She doubted many people made him wait. It was good for him. The silent defiance that spoke louder than her words. Wasn't that the advice Matteo had given... maybe he was onto something here. Arlo, however, seemed pretty open about what he was. Interesting. It was like everything clicked all at once. It all made sense. It was a little worrisome that his venom worked on everyone... including her. Although if she did get a good dose, Darcy couldn't blame her for letting their mark go and Arlo was free for at least another night. Ah, but this was Darcy. Someone always paid.
"Well, shit. That venom sounds better than a sleeping aid.." That sarcastic lilt upon her tongue, easily dismissing the clusterfuck of a problem she still had to contend with. Like how to get out of this mess preferably without getting bitten and... Darcy not getting what he wanted. The list of things to stop was getting impossibly long... Arlo, she'd decided didn't deserve this fate. He did not deserve his light snuffed out. Especially with that sheepish look, he gave her like he was embarrassed to tell her the secrets of his species. One look at him and she knew he wouldn't survive one night in Syn. Risque would break him in 10 seconds flat. There were way too many variables to consider. Which only left her with one option only. She was going to do things her usual way. Wing it and hope to fucking whatever greater power existed in this big beautiful world that it worked out. Nothing could possibly go wrong. It always did... but that's when she usually shone. Yay for plans.
Arlo admitted how hard it was to make friends, especially of his own species. He wasn't missing out, she was certain. Plus... friends were easy to find... good ones, now that was harder. She had not known this man for long at all and they already spoke of love, music, and all the important shit in life. Who was this guy? Arlo was an easy man to befriend. She was certain he could befriend a homeless person that didn't speak a word of English. He just had that disposition. How could anyone hate this man? It was like hating a puppy.
The waitress had been found and returned long enough for the pair to order their meal. The man seemed to struggle with the name. He seemed worried that he'd ordered the wrong thing, but pollo meant chicken. That she was certain of. He went on about the french and their frog legs tasting like chicken that caused a snort of amusement as Arlo beamed a grin across the table at her. "The french do that.. They make anything sound damn good with their pretty words. That's when they get you." Fortunately, they were at an Italian restaurant free from frog legs. Arlo mercifully ordered the chicken dish. That word she at least understood. It was a safe bet anywhere... that and cheese.
Arlo then questioned after her own species as the mozza sticks were served before them, hot steam billowing from them. "It's a little more complicated than that. But like anything, you keep focusing on that crack on a wall.. And it's all you see... It can always be worse. At least I will never have to worry about stubbing my toe in the dark, my vision is incredible." Surely Arlo would understand her metaphor that could apply to anything in life really. Now, Harley skipped over a huge downside of being a feline in this city was like wearing a giant target on your back.. Risque absorbed cats like.... She had to catch them all. She plucked a mozza stick and popped it in her mouth, chewing that crispy exterior and delicious centre, satisfied with the taste. Ultimate comfort food.
Harley's vibrant violet eyes watched the man grab one of those cheese sticks. Harley sat back watching the man bring it to his lips with a curious gleam. He was hesitant at first. But he didn't seem to hate it. That was when the phone rang in a blaring obnoxious ringtone she felt befitting of the vampire. Harley froze, so much for forgetting him... She'd forgotten to put the stupid thing on silent.. Or vibrate or whatever. Harley fished it out of her purse before she placed the phone on the table. So Darcy's patience threshold had met his limit. She placed the phone facing up on the table, curious if the vampire would resort to texting and angry emojis as she eased back into her seat, carefree. Perhaps it should have made her far more unsettled and yet...Darcy didn't have a say now did he? It felt good letting it go to voicemail. Perhaps she was more like a cat than she thought.. She sure as hell wouldn't come when called unless she wanted to. She wondered what kind of treat she would get to hear if the man left her a voicemail. Something to undoubtedly enjoy with a drink or three when this was all over. Arlo broke Harley out of her reverie as he admitted that appetizer was pretty damn good. "See, I know what I am talking about."
The food finally came, the waitress doing her job for once. The main meal. It smelled damn good. After daring Arlo,he agreed as he eyed that dish before him. Immediately upon it entering his mouth his face contorted. She could hardly help that sound of amusement that she bit back. He barely chewed it as if he loathed the taste.. Forcing it down in a hard swallow... Maybe he wasn't ready for the sauces... He definitely looked like he bit off a bit more than he could chew. He admitted that he wasn't ready for pasta. "Maybe... in another fifty years then?" She offered.
Immortality, how envious of a thing that was.. it was always something she'd never turn down in a million years. There was simply too much life to live and now that her glory years.. Were being squandered... she had a lot of making up to do. After of course, she gave her vampire masters the slip after she'd toppled their empire. If she could manage it. She would settle making their lives difficult. A little devious smirk tugged at her lips as she took her own bite. Ah.. this would have been better without the weight of what she had to do resting on her shoulders.
At least this gave her... an out on eating that food. She would just need to take it to go.. But goodboy Arlo was willing to wait on her. Like he had nothing better to do with his time when he had a perfectly good looking babe to get home to. He was rudely cut off.. By her phone again. She pressed the button to cut off the ring tone with a look of irritated defiance. She bet not many people missed Darcy's calls and thinking on it. It was probably a very bad decision on her part. But she had what he wanted... and he wasn't going start throwing tables around with such a dangerous... threat that could easily take him out with but a prick of his fangs. But then she had a pretty damn good recollection of that bar... Darcy had no damn problem in causing a hurricane of mayhem and destruction in public. If that happened, it would be on her... those lives around her so easily snuffed out.
"Sorry, don't mind that. Someone needs to learn how to leave a voicemail." She grumbled out loud. It was rude of him to interrupt a dinner he'd forced her on. She was doing what he'd asked. He wanted her to play the part. That's exactly what she was doing, while taking her sweet ass time. Creating a believable character took work. Who was she fooling? He insisted she could get the phone. "As you were say-..." That song blared from her phone again. It was loud enough that she got some looks from the table over. Harley had half a mind of drowning her phone in that cup of water.
"Nah... Mr. Fire-in-his-pants can learn to meditate for a little while longer. It will do the man some good. That and.. Anger management classes." She added with a sigh. Yeah, his version of anger management was probably taking out his anger on the class.
Darcy was being distracting, ruining her flow she'd found. She could hardly focus on Arlo's previous question. Songs right.. Details.. Of this nonexistent show. She was hoping to avoid the details. To dance carefully around them.
"You know how it is. You'll know your audience, feel the crowd. If they are excited and rowdy.. Amp it up.. If they look like they are tiring.. Play a ballad you can dedicate to your girl." She considered something... shoving a little bit more food into her mouth.. For the sake of not looking suspicious.
"Oh that reminds me... Uh i left some papers at my car for you to look at and you can get back to me.... Mind if you keep a girl some company? Its a dangerous city and while i can handle it.. I don't feel like dealing with it tonight. Then you are free to go home. I am sure your lady is missing you. Now.. if we can just find someone to put these into takeout boxes...." She looked around half expecting to see Darcy glaring at her with his disapproving stare. While she was pretending to look for a waitress who actually appeared suddenly when she was looking off in the direction of where she thought Darcy was looming. She nearly jumped at the waitresses voice... "Fucking hell...you are stealthy." She exclaimed. "Yeah... we will take these to go please."