Chapter 3. The Shadow Lair
The taxi turns down a fancy alley way after a five minute drive, then we enter a multi level carpark. We park on the second level and then we exit to meet an inconspicuous staff door. It automatically opens through facial recognition with Jessica standing before the camera built into the door.
I step forward to enter, but Jessica pauses and blocks the way, leaning over to grab the driver’s arm, “Holt, make sure you log in your schedule this time, okay?” Jessica asks Holt sweetly - that was the chauffeur’s name. He nods to her and smiles as they finally both move forward and I can waltz in after them.
“I’ll be on my way to the reception to catch up on my details, boss,” Holt waves us off and parts ways down a majestically wide and tiled hall way.
“It’s time for your introduction,” Jessica turns to me, “Down these black corridors, we house facilities to keep safe. We also have guards. We have rooms - beds, spas and health physicians. So, Alyssa, as you are my newest member I have to inform you that I am the queen bee around here. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those crazy psycho CEOs. I’m compassionate and love talking to all those that live under my roof. I’m sure Dale is excited to see you. He should be in the control room where he was doing some repairs. This way,” Jessica flicks her wrist and smiles widely as we walk down the black tiled corridor, not going far. The walls were all tinted glass and I could see a large rectangular conference room full of computers and people at work. I can’t see Dale, but as Jessica waves her hand to open the glass sliding door, I spot a beast on a step ladder, wearing work pants and a white top, while fiddling with some wires with too-large hands in the corner of the ceiling.
“Nice set up,” I murmur and gulp while my eyes are glued to Dale’s back.
I wasn’t sure it could possibly be him. He never wore anything but a suit. He never worked for anyone but himself and he ruled everyone and everything always.
Yet Jessica had told me she was the boss.
And he seemed to be in a position that was confirming Jessica’s statements.
Jessica has her lips pursed in uncontainable excitement as she puts her hands on her hips proudly and turns to Dale too.
He is on the other side of the room as she calls out, “Babe!”
I stop breathing.
Dale turns and my hands are literally trembling with a rush of extremely mixed emotions after Jessica’s loud endearment. Dale locks eyes with me, his tyrian purple gaze captures mine for a short three seconds before he focuses on Jessica and starts descending the stairs.
“You saved my best buddy, after all,” Dale drawls and his classic smirk and classic tone is not what I expect to hear. He sounds himself... but this situation reeked of strange.
I decide it will be unwise to act with an unnecessary emotional outburst without knowing the full set of details first.
“I told you I would,” Jessica practically bounces over to him and kisses him on the cheek before turning to face me with another beaming smile.
I haven’t moved an inch from the door as I glare at Dale with my eyes, but I keep the rest of my face a neutral expression.
“Don’t be shy,” Jessica waves me closer, “You’re safe now, Alyssa.”
I gulp and try to push down many urges to dominate this situation. To change it.
Instead, I choose my words carefully.
“I’m overhwhelmed. One moment I was enslaved... now I am free. Forgive me if I don’t seem to be acting... normal...” I raise a brow at Dale when I empasize this last word and he just cocks an arrogant eyebrow in return.
“It’s good to see you safe, Alyssa,” Dale speaks, “Jessica can show you to a room. I’ll catch up with you soon.”
“Y-yes... yes... um...” I can’t hold all the confusion out of my tone but Jessica seems to take my stutter as nerves.
“Don’t be shy, Alyssa, please, you can embrace him like you’ve imagined. I am so happy Dale has another friend here for him - I can’t always attend to his needs when I’m running around all the time organising things,” Jessica waves her hands around and smiles while I keep my gaze glued to Dale.
“I’d like to see my room now - how about I catch up with Dale when he isn’t busy... repairing... things... for you,” my suggestion for Jessica has her clasping her hands together in agreement.
“Absolutely, follow me,” Jessica flounces over to my side and I wave at Dale but wipe any remnant of a fake smile off my face.
Dale just keeps a stony expression but his eyes flash.
I don’t know what to make of it.
“What does Serge do here?” I ask a little bit too quickly as we walk out into the corridor once more.
“Serge? Oh, he likes to keep to himself. I don’t like it when someone doesn’t contribute but he is useful if we ever get any power outtages. I run the building on cell batteries. He helps recharge them so we don’t have to replace them... so I guess he is of some use,” Jessica shrugs, “I had a room decorated for you. I asked Dale what you like, he said he wasn’t sure of your taste in bedrooms so I furnished it for you. I’ll get Serge to come visit you, okay?”
I nod and decide to keep any smart ass replies to myself.
I follow Jessica to a lift, where we ascend to the third level of the building. Her neck looks so soft and vulnerable. One slice of a nail over the carotid artery and she’d bleed to death in minutes.
“If you don’t mind,” I murmur as we step out into another wide black tiled corridor, this one with many apartments lining the long hall, “I’ll need some time to wash and rest before I interact anymore with my saviour.”
“Absolutely, I understand,” Jessica quickly replies and I decide I hate her saying her favourite word, ‘absolutely’.
“So, Jess, how long have you and Dale...?” I wonder aloud, trying very hard to sound innocent while asking.
“Oh, only since I met him,” Jessica quietens her tone, “We couldn’t resist each other. The chemistry was off the charts. He’s just that type of guy, you know?”
“He’s usually a one night stand kind of guy,” I murmur back, I can’t help it.
“Oh, well, I’m the first to tie him down then,” Jessica still manages to smile at me as we reach a door at the end of the corridor, “This room is small and it doesn’t have any good views but it’s the best I could do. I hope you don’t mind. I’ll make sure Dale comes up to say hello when he’s done. You can talk privately and catch up. I know you won’t want to tell me what you went through, you hardly know me. Just know you can trust me and I’ll protect you. And you can confide in me with anything. Get some rest for now, I’ll call Serge up,” Jessica waves her hand and the door slides open.
I walk through swiftly and I turn and wave my own hand so the door shuts just as quickly as it opened.
Now I am alone and I can breathe.
I slam on a light and turn to see a single wall with a kitchen and a bed at the end of the room where it opens up to have a window facing a steel wall of a fellow neighbouring building. The room is like a hotel, it’s clean - nothing is out of order or too fancy. I walk to the bed and I kick off my high heels. One of them flies into the wall as I kick it hard, and it gets lodged there with the pointy bit sticking into the plaster, but I don’t care.
I look down at my cocktail dress and I hum with rage. I rip off the ruffles on the dress, one by one. Eventually, I have all the ruffles removed and a stitched plain blue dress hanging loosely down over my body to my thighs. I sit on the edge of the bed and I face the wall full of draws opposite me. I clench my hands on top of my knees and I wait.
I didn’t know what the fuck to think, I just felt completely overwhelmed.
Would Reuben kill my Brownie Squad now that I was gone? Did he think I escaped on purpose? Did he think I was kidnapped?
Were Ace and Jose dead...? Or were they being kept somewhere else, maybe in Atlantis?
Then, there was the one topic that completely turned my brain into an incomprehensible mush.
Who the fuck was -
My door slides up and I jump straight to my feet, my eyes gluing onto the familiar blue hair, scared handsome face and the smirk of usual aggressive reason.
“Lightening!” I exclaim and grin, holding my fists clenched, “Please tell me you’re still you.”
Serge slowly blinks and steps forward as the door slides back shut.
“I’m still me, doll,” Serge pauses only breifly before he quickly walks forward, “I can see in your eyes you found out what happened.”
“Who is this Jess -?” I can’t finish as Serge suddenly closes the remaining distance to grab my chin, holding me still.
"Don’t doubt for a second that if Dale had a final choice of who to fuck on this Earth, he’d shove a gun in Jessica’s mouth and blow her brains out of her skull in an instant - just to have you one last time,” Serge snarls exactly as I remember, “Plus, doll... Dale can’t stand her. She saved his life. We’re simply having... patience... for the opportune moment to take over.”
I nod, suddenly relieved that I know Dale’s relationship is just an act to survive.
However, that doesn’t mean it helps me to dislike Jessica any less.
“I’m scared to ask...” I reach up my hand and claps it around Serge’s wrist, holding his gaze while he looks down at me with an intensity I longed for every night, “Where’s Ace? Where’s Jose? Are they... are they... gone? Missing? Where are they?”
“I have no clue, princess,” Serge lets my chin go but he doesn’t back up. Instead, he looks me up and down, “You should know... you won’t be here long,” Serge catches my gaze, “Jessica is planning to send you back to Reuben. We need your eyes and ears, doll. We need the intel to make our next moves.”
“Hold up... you need to start from the beginning. What does the Avalon ‘Gang of Shadows’ aim to do? And what is their final goal? Why are you both here in some weird rebellion group led by a girl who clearly has too much money and property to spare... I smell a rat, a red haired rat,” I snarl this last part and Serge slowly smirks.
“Jessica is genuinely on our side, unfortunately,” Serge explains helpfully, “This place has certain beliefs. They know we’re soldiers and that we led our Gang of Shadows in FC. They have no idea... who we are... what we’re really like... how foul mouthed, how immoral, how corrupt...” Serge can’t keep his eyes from lowering, so I reach up a deadly nail and hold it under his chin, raising his head gently.
“Don’t make me hate fuck you, Lightening, you could’t handle it,” I whisper before removing my nail, lowering my hand and taking two steps back before I sit on the bed with an exhausted sigh, “I hate this place... I hate the people... I hate everything about it. I wish we were back in the bunker... back in FC. Do you know what happened to Casey and Viola?” Casey was Dale’s adoptive son and Viola was a deaf girl that I liked to consider as my sister and a close friend.
“Again, no clue, doll,” Serge takes a step back and leans on a small dining table that had one chair, “Don’t worry, Alyssa, you’re not alone in your disgust... I want to throw up my breakfast, every morning I see Jessica glued to Dale’s side.”
“He seems to like her,” I whisper, glancing up. My eyes betray my clear jealousy.
“Don’t be stupid, Alyssa... and don’t forget the note I gave you. The wording was chosen for a reason. You matter. You matter when you don’t matter at all... catch my drift? Or do you need some time to calm down before you see our logic?” Serge chooses to insult me but I raise my hand quickly.
“I’m fine... I catch your drift, Lightening,” I knew exactly what he meant.
No one needed to know I was an Ultimate.
It was better that way.
“So, doll...” Serge looks at the fridge and he looks a little awkward, “You need someone to... uh, warm your bed or...?”
I pause and narrow my eyes at an awkward looking Serge, who is both scowling and blinking too much at the same time.
He was a little nervous.
“How long has it been since you stuck your cock in something?” I ask, pretending to sound clinical like a doctor in an attempt to be humorous.
“Too long,” Serge growls, meeting my mocking gaze to simply glare at me in return.
But I can’t reply because the door suddenly slides open and another guest appears.
One I wasn’t so happy to see.
But at least it wasn’t Jessica, and at least he was alone.
“Boss,” Serge nods to Dale in respect and then turns back to me to witness my reaction. I wipe all emotion off my face and simply stare at Dale as he waltzes into the room to stand by Serge as he looks down at me, assessing my state.
“So offended,” Dale drawls, “And brooding... like a very pitiful, confused whore... stop looking so glum... kitten... kitten?” Dale raises a brow and after smiling at me and managing to sound legitimately super relieved to see me - I can’t keep it in.
My patience is over as I jump up and close the gap. I grab his cheeks in my hands, my emotion getting the better of me. I lean up on my tip toes to press my lips against Dale’s. I bite his bottom lip as I pull away, nipping it and tearing the skin so he bleeds a bit before I let him go and reach for Serge’s suit. I can’t make contact, however, because Serge grabs my wrists instead. He lowers them with force and leans down to press his forehead into mine while avoiding my sharp hair.
“I don’t like to rush what’s mine forever,” Serge growls before letting me go, “You happy now? You’ve had some romance and you managed to get the Lord of the Underworld to smile... you should be pissing joy.”
“I feel a bit better. Does Jessica know I’m the Princess of the Shadows?” I ask Dale as he wraps an arm around my waist and pulls me back into him. Before he replies he nips the bottom of my ear lobe and then kisses my cheek.
“Kitten,” Dale whispers in my ear, while catching Serge’s eyes, “I said to be patient, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” I answer, almost breathlessly.
“Good... never forget I give the orders and you follow without hesitation,” Dale growls this low before grabbing my wrists behind my back and shoving me back into Serge’s front.
While I’m man handled roughly between them, Dale pushes in his front to my back, so that I’m dwarfed between the two super solider beasts.
“It doesn’t feel the same without Ace and Jose,” I complain, looking between the both of them as they enjoy me squished between both their torsos and legs.
“We’ll be finding them next,” Dale explains, “When I have my gang back, we will run this joint. You won’t have to spy for Rueben for too much longer.”
I go silent at the mention of Reuben, as I was still unclear about the rest of the plan.
Eventually, when no one else speaks, I look past Serge to glance over my shoulder, to see Dale resting his chin near the top of my head - simply enjoying my warmth. He was the only beast that could resist my sharp hair and nails.
"Dale,” I snap, “You better explain everything to me -”
"Soon, kitten,” Dale reaches up a hand and slips it through my hair to grasp my throat, pulling my head further back, “For now have full faith in me. After we organise your position... you might not see us for awhile... but you need to trust me that no matter what... you are ours. You’re our whore... you belong to no one but us,” Dale smirks, “Last time I checked you were still a prisoner and needed to prove your loyalty after breaking your vows multiple times. A naughty kitten looking for some punishing... always the same case... it’s just sad we haven’t been here to attend to your lessons in obedience.”
“I haven’t forgotten that you’re all obsessed with BDSM - it’s the majority of my memories with you, after all,” I can’t continue as Serge can’t resist. He leans into take my lips into a deep hard kiss while Dale holds me still.
After Serge steals my breath, Dale smirks down from above when Serge releases me. Then, Dale abruptly holds me tighter back against him.
“There’s just one issue... kitten... I have one question I need you to answer for me...” Dale drawls as he takes in my confusion as an opportunity to reach up a hand... that is now holding a weapon.
Okay, what the- ?
Dale’s brought forth a screw driver from his back pocket. He aims it at the corner of my eye as Serge leans off me, satisfied that I’ve been distracted enough to be led into a vulnerable position.
“Aw... she’s shocked,” Serge slowly smirks and I slowly frown.
What the hell was going on?
“I... I’m confused,” I whisper as the screw driver gets closer to the corner of my eye ball, until it just brushes against it and I jerk back in fright and pain, “Why the hell are you doing this?” I yell at both of them but I stay still. A tear springs forth from the metal brushing my vulnerable eye... but I’m not ashamed of my need to cry. I was genuinely rattled, “What is your question?” I look at Serge as I ask Dale, and I gulp as the hand around my throat tightens, just in case I try to jerk away.
“One year ago, someone sold us out to the New World cities right before we were raided by soldiers and the city was terrorised by New World enforcement... freely... arrogantly... and without consequence... because they stole our only weapons. My bombs - that I just happened to show you... before the first time in history, that their secret locations were disclosed to the Presidents of Avalon and Atlantis,” Dale hisses this with intense rage - and I watch Serge show the same intense emotion.
They believed I betrayed them again.
I had run from them once when I was uncertain of their company... this situation, however, was entirely different. Because I never sold them out to anyone.
Hacksaw had set our slavery into motion, it wasn’t my direct doing... even if I obliviously started it by angering Hacksaw without knowing what the resulting consequences would be.
“I can’t believe you both think I sold you out,” I whisper, “But, I’m still curious... what is your question now that you’ve accused me of enslaving all of FC inhabitants into the New World cities?”
“Your tears won’t affect me, kitten,” Dale chuckles, “Neither do they affect Serge. So don’t even try to get our sympathy by starting the water works. My question is simple and you will tell me the truth or else... understand?... now... where’s Casey?"
"What?" I snap but the screw driver is plunged into the skin of the corner of my eye, so it is painful but not damaging.
“Tell me the truth, where is my son? Where did you tell them to take him? Oh... not to mention, doll... how long were you co-operating with Hacksaw? I saw you with him,” Dale snarls both questions, “I’m curious for how long you were fucking us all over while working on his side.”
I couldn’t believe this was happening.
I was considered their enemy.
I had imagined day and night about us all being reunited, not knowing that this whole time they hated my guts.
They didn’t trust me.
We were back to square 0.
“The truth...?” I murmur while gulping down tears, “Is this. I truely don’t know where Casey is, Dale... and I guess you could say I was ‘co-operating’ with Hacksaw since the moment he was created,” I say what I know of his past with a woman that harboured my identical physique and facial features. I pretend to be half-guilty as I couldn’t risk out right denial in this moment because I was convinced I’d lose an eye. However, I was also sick of explaining myself and I just wanted to keep both my eyes in my head. Yet, with all this in mind, they didn’t deserve me begging for their approval, “I wish for you both to leave me now... but perhaps you’ll dispose of me instead?”
I can’t help but feel numb and full of despair in this moment as Dale lets me go and shoves me away from him towards the bed.
I stumble but I quickly spin to watch them both stand to their full heights while glaring down at me like I’m just a bug in their way.
“You’re too valuable,” Dale smirks, truely evil, “You’re going to be our spy with Reuben... so you’ll stay here until we send you off... and you will do exactly as I say without a fuss, or I will find a way to make you comply,” in this moment, Dale sounds just like Reuben.
Serge scoffs at my neutral expression and lack of reply as he turns to leave.
Dale stays one last moment to add one more threat.
“If I find Casey and I find out that you were aware of his location... I will kill you with my own bare hands,” Dale slowly loses his smirk, now without any emotion as he adds, leaving me completely bereft, “...and I want you to know, Alyssa, I will enjoy... every... second of it.”