No black magic can control me and no curse can let you own me
Harley listened to the dark-haired vampire spoke, happily spoke about literally any direction that conversation took. He even spoke of the British dude who ran his coven and how chicks seemed to dig them. Harley rose a brow. Was that actually a thing? Someone better send help to her gender. "You know what, I never understood why either.. But you know what? Same thing can be said about musicians too, I am sure you know all about that." It could be as intricate as the rough looking rocker scoring a super model.. or as simple as...The waitress chick noticing who you were and forgot basic hand and eye coordination within this rock god's presence, oh and groupies. They were never in short supply. "I used to think guys were simple, they either want to bang you or they don't... Nope, every last one... male, female.. whatever you identify as.. has a thing." Although, she once knew a guy who had a foot fetish, he'd wanted the perfect foot tattooed on his thigh. How she managed to keep the man from storming from her chair, she never knew. Everyone had their thing, accents, musicians, athletes, sometimes it was a little more complicated than that. Harley shook her head back and forth unsettling her long raven locks, huffing out a single syllable of a laugh at a thought she didn't voice.
The conversation shifted again.. Arlo was unaware of all the thoughts that raced through her head like microburst. Yeah, love wasn't a great topic for her. It was far easier poking fun at the shallow nature of being human. There was cursed and then there was... something else. The kind of shit they make tv shows about just because people loved to watch the train wreck. That accurately described her love life. Perhaps it was better to wave it off entirely. It was better than the alternative. Was that not her? Didn't she always seem to manage to take route that was off the beaten path?
For a moment, she allowed the facade of Cadence slip, uttering some nonsense... comparison to unicorns or some shit. She was quite sure that her speech was Oscar worthy. She hadn't expected Arlo to have come to his own opinion of her in that short time. She hadn't meant unicorn in the looks sense. But... its essence. How dreadfully close she was.... to her rant about people. It included some equally interesting nonsense of, sheep, wolves, dogs and unicorns. She could classify people in those basic categories.
But Arlo's description... Oh, now that was good. It was a first. She even laughed. Although, even though it died, it still lingered within her voice. "I will take it. Exactly like that. Perfectly esoteric." Arlo then spoke about his maker, speaking positively about the quirky cactus collecting man. Maybe Arlo could just get along with anyone? She would believe it. He had that way. "Good makers are in short supply.. I can't say the same about mine, we mix as well as oil and water." She said little else about it, offering a shrug.
Arlo was an easy man to get to talk. He freely spoke about himself, there certainly weren't that many unguarded people in the world and yet how willingly he spoke of his venom or what he was. She didn't even need to press. Honestly... for a work dinner it felt a lot more like friends shooting the shit about whatever the hell came to mind. How long had it been since she simply had that? It was all too easy to forget all about Darcy and his nefarious plans for later. She was all too interested in Italian food... good conversation and.. maybe a realization that, while a small percentage, not all vampires had to be raging asshats. Her mind was still having quite the time digesting that one. However, she thought of that venom curiously. "That is actually... useful, you don't have to deal with a very pissy vampire after the fact." Hmm, convenient.
It was easy to get lost in using Cadence as a veneer to be herself, while picking at the food they ordered. That was when he brought up her feline side again. It was odd talking about her other half, it wasn't like she had anyone to talk about it with. Tetradore didn't talk.. and they could barely stand being in the same room with one another. She had avoided that pack at all costs and the... cats at Syn... were too broken to even get a little chummy.. Which was honestly for the better. Less ties, meant less complications. "Not quite like a human... It's like you can see better but.." her words were silenced by the blaring, invasive sound of her phone's ring tone, oh, she knew exactly who was calling. There was no mistaking that handpicked angry sound that suited Darcy. For whom she could have used so many different colourful songs for. Not that he called much. It was a tough choice between the Funeral March and the Imperial March.
If only that ringtone didn't drop an anvil on that conversation... Harley could hardly help the familiar needling dread even though she acted as though it was a minor irritation. He could wait. The woman felt almost smug muting him... even despite the consequences that surely awaited her.
At least the mozza sticks were a surprising success, it was unfortunate that pasta dish, did not pan out as much. How odd that a vampire would be ok with cheese, but not chicken. With all Darcy's persistent irritation lingering on her mind and the impending dread of what she had to do hanging over her like a dark storm cloud.... It really put a damper on the meal. Even from afar, Darcy managed to be a killjoy. At least by the time they decided it best to pack that dinner and take it with them... Her mind shifted back to her plan that consisted a whole bunch of maybes.
That idle comment about calling him in 50 years.. Well that brought forth an unnecessary conflicting feeling to the surface. 50 years? Could she even make it through the year? Fuck. They needed to make it through tonight first. "You should be warned.. Fifty years of honing all this... I'm not sure if you'd be prepared." Ah, the wonders of immortality. He would look the same, maybe a different haircut. 50 years or a hundred it was all going to be the same for him. How she could not help but feel a burn of envy. The woman was certain not even a thousand years would feel like enough to her. There was far too much to experience. In 50 years she would be 80. It was a lifetime away.
She picked at her food, eating a bit of it even though she hardly felt that same hunger as before when that aggressive ringtone blared again that she silenced yet again for a second time. What would that earn her then? A second slight, or maybe more, she could have lost count. She could practically see the man seething in a dark corner somewhere. Oh, Darcy was going to be pissed, no mistaking that and yet.... Oh, he called back far more immediately that time, before she even took her hand off the device from the last time. This time she sat a little straighter. Persistent, wasn't he? She could only imagine how it made him feel to be on the receiving end of having to be at her mercy.
The conversation shifted to business once more. How she could have forgotten what this whole dinner was about if Darcy hadn't reminded her. The raven haired woman replied easily.. Exactly as she should as if she was Cadence. Yet being entirely vague about it all the same. How content he was to agree with that answer. Every artist desired freedom to express themselves. She knew he would be eager for it and wouldn't question it when it was given. It was far too easy it was disturbing to add in that she had left that contract for him in her car. Sure it made Cadence seem forgetful.. but a busy woman like her was sure to have a lot on her mind. It was far too easy to lure him... from well-lit safety. He had been cautious before this. He was right to be.
Arlo then inquired where she parked. "Oh, just the street over there." She shifted within her seat to gesture vaguely behind her, toward where the city seemed to transition to a more... seedy kind of area. Part of her uninclined to truly look too hard, as if she anticipated seeing the thunderous image of Darcy glaring at her from down the seemingly endless sidewalk to doomsville. She wondered if his deadly stare travelled at greater distances, not really desiring to be that guinea pig to attempt such a thing.
Arlo summoned the suddenly attentive waitress easily, this time with a mere wave of his hand. Harley caught sight of her sudden appearance and startled... apparently too distracted within her own mind to notice the young woman who rushed to package their food to go. Harley paid, using the remainder of bills within her wallet. It was just enough to cover the cost of that meal and a decent tip in spite of the questionable service. It was better than if he caught a glimpse of her actual name on that card.
Her phone was lit up like the fourth of July. Exploding with a never-ending tirade of notifications that rapidly pinged across the screen. Damn the man could type. A displeased look shot toward the phone as if that would somehow cease the impatient man at the other end of the phone. Patience was not Darcy's strong suit. The man seemed content enough to take his displeasure on his phone instead... but for how long? How long until that phone broke? How long until he needed to set his rage to something else.
Ponytail returned with those leftovers, same bounce to her step, neatly packed with a bag for each of them. Arlo, sweet to the bitter end had asked her for a pen so he could sign the crisp, unused napkin. How that woman seemed to light up more than Harley's phone did at that moment. The pair rose and began to leave with her purse, phone, shooting a text without reading the rest, no, she would save that joy for later... 'OTW'. Everyone knew what that meant, right?
"That was pretty nice of you to do that for ponytail. You know she is probably going to frame that napkin when she gets home." Harley added, a luminous purple eye peered over to him while still trained on her surroundings of any movement that might indicate an ambush. The pair walked along, the concrete sidewalk that quickly became less populated the further they walked, the alleyways seemed darker, the buildings far larger and ominous.
What did the vampires under Risque's well-manicured thumb do? Harley still didn't quite understand her own role in their sadistic workings. Or why. Was she simply doomed to be just another pawn in their schemes? The thought riled her right up, as every muscle and fiber in her being resented the thought of being someone's errand cat for the rest of her life. That's exactly what she was.. The fucking bait... and the only damn person putting her safety on the line. For what? Some errand? Like Tuesday's fucking shopping list.. Food... Crusinik, office supplies... She wondered if Risque kept that very list on the corner of her goddamn desk at any given time. Some honey-do list to send Darcy out on. How two impossible vampires to stand could stand each other when the rest of the world couldn't made little sense to her. She had to stop herself from rolling her eyes at the thought.
The petite woman continued to lead the poor oblivious Arlo down the nearly abandoned streets toward that vague direction Darcy said he'd be in. It was then Arlo seemed to confirm this, mentioning the scent of vampires and even then, he seemed far more concerned about 'Cadence' and her safety than the danger that lurked nearby. Every step she took she felt like she was an executioner's assistant to a wrongly accused man. "Maybe that means you get to eat after all? Let's be quick.." That teasing sarcasm easily flowed beyond her lips, to deter that creeping tensions. Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea after all. Just sick Arlo on the bad guys. But she had some serious doubts if he had what it took to handle the kind of men Risque employed. The kind that played dirty.
Harley briefly felt the urge to look around and stopped herself, knowing all too well how suspicious that looked. She fought the potent urge as if she metaphorically gripped herself by the shoulders and shook. She needed to believe this was going to work for it to work. Either choice she made, she had to pick one and live with it.
Fuck this was exhausting, but the confidence was easy to find.
She led him to that dark spot with the broken street light, it the electricity still hummed brokenly in the background, feeling watched. She probably was. "There were no free spots back there..." A sheepish grin that she shot his way found her features. She wasn't an idiot. She passed her car intentionally... The more he truly knew about her, the worse it was for all parties involved.
She eyed a small red two-door sporty sedan that was parked a little way further than her own car. What the fuck was this doing parked out in his neighbourhood? It was like asking to get broken into. This seemed good enough for Cadence. She walked up to it like she owned it, before pivoting on the balls of her feet to face Arlo. "Do me a favour and hold this a sec." Without waiting for an answer, she handed him the plastic bag holding her own leftovers before that same hand dipped into her black leather well-worn purse to wrap her fingers brush against that cold syringe Darcy gave her. It was more than a needle she possessed then. What was soon to be within her fingertips was so much more than that. It was a choice. A choice to become what she hated to save her own skin, further wandering down a questionable path that could have destroyed any semblance of good left. Or to choose what she knew within her gut, the path that still believed in a semblance of good in the world. Even if it were few and far between.
She made that choice, before she even got here.. the arguably more difficult choice that could have easily exploded within her face with what was bound to be like a face full of shrapnel. She fished out her keys pulling them out before she allowed them to fall from her fingers. It was the oldest trick in the book. It was even painful to pretend to be so clumsy. The keys fell hopelessly to the concrete with a chiming clamour upon impact, the very sound of metal hitting concrete echoing within her ears.
Without hesitation, Harley reached for the needle as Arlo's attention shifted to the floor, her finger flicked off the cap in a singular movement. Was it her duty to attempt to keep a virtual stranger safe? No matter how nice he appeared. How many times had she been that very being at the end of that figurative barrel with not a damn soul to even give her so much as a hand to stand? How many times had she been the one forgotten, treated like she was nothing more than a pet to be kept inside a cage? She owed Arlo nothing and yet here she was... contemplating risking her life for a man she'd known had a someone.. waiting for him. Had people that cared if he suddenly didn't show up. Someone she... could have thought maybe in another world could have been friends.
Didn't someone like that deserve a chance?
It was a ballsy move. A real fucking reckless move, she knew it. It had every chance to go wrong and she could have been bitten and knocked out cold. Or dead. She wasn't ready for death. That spitfire of a woman had far too much life in her to simply be contained to just one.. let alone, not even half of one. Her skinny-jean clad ass might have been doomed but not everyone had to be.
Now or never. She moved, quickly, knowing she had only the element of surprise upon her side. Resolutely, she grabbed Arlo by the front of his shirt, her hand knotted in the fabric before she pulled him in close with a single hand, the other clutching to that needle. Who the hell knew what it looked like to those who witnessed it to the outside world? She only needed him close enough to whisper those words into his ear while taking her chance.
She plunged the needle into his arm, making it look convincing.... well because she actually might have done it. The raven-haired woman only pressed the plunger a little even if it was unintentional. The rest wasted within the contents of his jacket as she pulled it out of his arm. Shit. How strong was that shit? Not only did she actually stab him but... she really opened her neck to being bit, it was the smartest place to linger with a man with fangs even if he was no ordinary vampire. Already this plan was going sideways. Shit.
She uttered quickly and quietly as she did, hoping it was enough to distract him from what he intended to do. "If you want to go home to your panda... you better listen to me really carefully... and play fucking dead unless that's what you want to be.. . We are both royally fucked if you don't." There wasn't enough fucks in the word that could convey the near desperation laced within those words. "Just push me away and then drop to the floor. Whatever you do.. don't look anyone in the eye." It would be a miracle if her throat wasn't ripped out right now. Hell.. for all she knew he could rip out her throat and flee. Or just flee. In any case there she was.. practically skydiving without a parachute, which everyone could agree upon was no damn good.
If Darcy even caught wind of her betrayal, she could only imagine what that sentence that would earn her. Well, sometimes in life you needed to just fucking run and leap right off that cliff and hoped there was water below to catch you because she sure as hell didn't have wings to fly.
"Don't be stupid." Even Harley was unsure if it was more of a warning or a plea before the emptied syringe fell haphazardly to the floor. Knowing damn well if Darcy was watching, he would see she had completed the job. "You'll know what to do when you get an opportunity." Would he? He ate vampires, right? He could use that venom and eat his little heart out then flee. All he had to do was act like the drugs were working and maybe there was a chance...they could both get out alive and even that was a bit questionable. Of course, Arlo could have simply fled, leaving Harley to deal with her fate on her own. Regardless, she somehow put her fate in the hands of a stranger with absolutely no idea what was happening.. besides the fact that she had lied ...and stabbed him.. and it all depended on him.