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The devil's going to set me free


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Gray Taylor

This client requires something more than his usual approach, and that alone annoys Gray Taylor. The man is more than happy to sit in his office, go over contract details and sweep fine print under the rug, and get the required signatures and initials. But this woman... no. She is a tough sell, and he is nothing but stubborn. She needs to be truly sold, and he is prepared to do whatever must be done to get this done.

She's beautiful. There is no denying that. Her dark hair, sleek and straight, brushes atop the slender shoulders than frame her equally slender body. Lined almond eyes, a demure nose, and perfectly proportioned lips painted a deep shade of red greet him after a short wait outside her upscale apartment building. She gracefully slides into the posh towncar and into the seat beside the dapper young man, and he asks the million dollar question.

"Ladies choice."

He would regret this, for her choice is a the last place he wants to be.

The Monarch, also known as the beginning of the most turbulent time in recent years.

The drive is silent, his own steel eyes cast out the window as darker thoughts swarm his mind. No longer does Gray get to pick and choose his clients. Things have changed, and the man is truly a servant.

He would allow her to take his arm when they arrived, escorting her into the underclassed establishment. The two are overdressed, something he assumes she is just as used to as he is. As usual, his cagey gaze would briefly sweep the interior before taking her to a table near the fireplace so that it's warmth may remedy the winter chill that has surely reached their bones.

"Two Manhattens," he would order before the woman even has a chance to speak up. She might control the venue, and some of the terms, but she would not control his wallet. She purses her lips at his order. The tone has been set between the two, and it is clear that Gray would not relinquish his modicum of control over the situation.

This place sets him on edge, his shoulders square and tense beneath the jacket of his suit.

"I'm perfectly capable of ordering for myself," she proclaims.

"Maybe you should put that in your contract, then." He can't stop himself, nor does he want to. She is testing his patience. He pulls the file from his black, leather case, placing it upon the table and placing a pen atop it. A single push would bring it that much closer to her.


This is clearly not his strong suit.
February 23, 2018 11:42 am

Autumn Summers

Habits. Patterns.

Everyone has them, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. Even being unpredictable becomes expected, predictable. When one’s current way of life turns sideways, one tends to fall back on former habits. It’s familiar. It offers a piece of normal currently lacking.

For this reason, Autumn Summers is on her way to a familiar haunt, The Monarch.

The name far overreaches the grandeur of the place. It hasn’t quite reached dive status, but is well on the way. Or perhaps that is a clever illusion. The neighborhood might have been decent at one point. Unfortunately, the years or the economy, or both, weren’t kind. Through the trials and tribulations, however, The Monarch still stands.

Despite the outwardly downtrodden appearance, the upper middle class and above aren’t unheard of here. It is a good place for clandestine meetings and less than scrupulous business in general. Those who run it mind their own business and keep their mouths shut.

But that’s another story entirely.

Autumn goes because she knows the people, and knows she will be left alone, which is exactly what she wants.

Dressed against the cold, Autumn is just another female patron in search of warmth and a drink. Some folks stumble upon the place, some are regulars. She is the latter. Fine or upscale clothing isn’t too unusual in this almost-dive, given several of its clientele. But the hair? That flaming red hair draws attention, and is a dead giveaway of her identity.

She gives a cursory glance around the area when she walks in and, if not for her superior vision, she wouldn’t have recognized the man sitting with a woman at a table near the fireplace.

Gray. F*cking. Taylor.

Hard to mistake that man.

Her back goes ramrod straight. Why, of all the hundreds of establishments to choose from, did he have to be here? Just her luck.

Autumn bites back and curse considers leaving, but no. Hell no. Why should she allow his presence to keep her from enjoying herself? Especially since their last encounter, during which he denied being him at all. So, if he’s “not-Gray” to begin with, there isn’t much of a problem. Not to mention, he has a woman with him. She isn’t likely to be bothered. Good.

“Haven’t seen you here in a while, Mrs. Dalca, ” Tony the Bartender says when Autumn approaches the bar.

“Miss Summers again,” she replies with a sharp smile.

Tony gives her one of those long blinks, taking in this new information, and finally nods. “I take it you’ll be wanting your usual.” A thoughtful pause. “I’ll make it a double.”

“You know me too well,” Autumn chuckles and claims a seat at the bar.

“It’s my job to know.” Tony flashes her a toothy grin, pouring the Johnnie Walker Blue into a tumbler. “First one’s on the house.”

“True,” she accepts the glass and lifts it slightly, “Thank you, kind sir.”

Tony leaves her to tend to other orders, both at the bar and other tables. He’s a good judge at when she wants to chat and when she doesn’t.

Left to her own devices, Autumn focuses on the drink in her hand, and does her best to ignore “not-Gray” at the table, conveniently visible from her peripheral vision. It’s a good thing whoever designed this place is long dead. This way she can only think about killing them instead of going out and doing it.

February 26, 2018 12:29 pm

Gray Taylor


There is no composing himself. Slate eyes roll as he sits back in his chair with a rough shove at the edge of the table, repelling himself away from the woman. Impossible. He is losing his patience at a first rate, and it shows.

While another woman may be aware of his unruly, oppressive presence - he is not. Back to the rest of the bar, he is blissfully ignorant of others. This is by design. Gray is a private man, excessively so, and out in the public he chooses to save face before body. It is better this way. Seeing the reactions of other patrons would only serve to annoy him further. Even when up against his self-inflicted lack of awareness, there are two names that he would never fail to miss.

Dalca, which irritates him. Summers, which grates him.

It throws off his game. It makes him harsher, and far more unfiltered.

"Miss Simmons," he is trying. Really. "If you don't sign this f-cking document, the deal is off the table."

She smiles, "You need me."


There is a moment of silence as time stands still, and a terrible temper festers and simmers beneath the surface. Strong hands reach into his pocket, procuring a silver case and matching lighter. A single cigarette is thus lit, drawn to thin lips to draw in an excessively smokey breath. All the while, his gaze bores into the woman, dulled and unimpressed.


There would be several long moments of silence before he finally spoke again. This time, his voice would demand his company to listen. "You are nothing. You have always been nothing. Everything you have is mine, and unless you want to return to your roach infested studio apartment... you will sign. This is your last chance."

Her jaw locks, telling of her mind.


He exhales, blowing the smoke carelessly in her direction. "You want everything for nothing. You aspire to nothing. You desire nothing. You have no will. Go home, Miss Simmons. You'll be dead within the month."

Gray Taylor shrugs.
March 02, 2018 11:03 am
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