Chapter 4: Playboy Beasts
Everything was utterly fucked in Avalon. In all my fantasies of a reunion with my beasts, I had dreamed about the same thing night after night, time and time again; an amazing, passionate moment of relief and joy by all parties present. I had never considered anything less after the invasion of the New World’s armies into Frankincense City. That sought of crazy thing brought the defeated city’s ex-residents closer together... closer than ever before.
How naive I had been.
Dale wanted to kill me and Serge had simply pretended to be happy to see me. They had both fooled me when I should have read between the lines. Oh yes, a complete fool I had been, not to see that both had been acting too friendly and completely out of character. Serge had been too talkative and Dale had smiled. I had believed their joy simply because I thought they would truely be relieved to see me after a whole year of being separated. It was a long time - a damn long time. Instead, they manipulated my faith in our past camaraderie so that they could interrogate me for an answer that I didn’t have.
Casey’s location - which I had absolutely no idea about. He could be anywhere.
Now, after all that, I’m ready to face Jessica once more - almost eager to return to Reuben’s side.
After a shower, I dress back into my broken and no longer-ruffled dress. It’s shredded in plenty of places but I don’t care.
I swipe open my door and a guard dressed in - you guessed it - a white suit, meets me in the tiled hall as if he was just waiting for me to exit.
“This way, Alyssa,” the guard is kind as he turns and leads the way. I nod and follow while I leave my high heels behind. He takes me back down to the second level where he leads me to a room which is hidden around some twisted corridors. When he swipes open the glass door, a small office is shown inside.
Jessica sits behind a big desk but leans back and has her heels kicked up on the wood, smiling as I enter. She is now dressed in a different outfit - a black dress. It’s tight and sexy as if she was trying to impress a certain beast.
After Dale’s threat to kill me and Serge’s dismissal... I am now faced with the one woman I long to lash out all of my anger upon.
But I can’t - I wanted to stay in the good books while I could.
I wanted to find out more information first.
“You look well rested and fresh, Alyssa,” Jessica nods to me and I smile tightly back.
“Thanks for saving me from Reuben’s hold. How can I ever repay you?” I force out the polite question despite it taking every ounce of my will power to do so.
Jessica now bites her plump bottom lip sheepishly as she furrows her perfect eyebrows.
“I... I actually have a favour to ask of you...” Jessica clearly has no idea Serge gave me a forewarning.
Why did he forewarn me?
If he hated me?
“I’ll do anything,” I change my tone to sound more sincere as my brain starts thinking over new possibilities.
Was it possible that my beasts were tricking me? Or was I just over thinking everything?
“We’re low on intel in the President’s family,” Jessica admits gently while slowly leaning forward onto the desk with her elbows, her hands clasped under her pert chin, “I need you to spy on them... by returning to Reuben’s side.”
“I understand,” I answer.
"Really? Thank Mother Earth... I... I can’t thank you enough, Alyssa... um... I wish I could comfort you some more but all I can offer in return is my protection -” Jessica is clearly flustered by my eagerness to help.
“Actually, I want something else,” I slowly smile, trying hard not to smirk. Jessica is shocked I’ve cut her off but she raises her eyebrows curiously for an answer, “I don’t want your protection, I want to return to Frankincense City. I want you to help me get back.”
“Of course... anything,” Jessica pauses a little too lengthly for my liking, “If you spy for me, I’ll owe you everything. When I return you to Reuben... which we need to do hastily... I need you to find out where a lab only known as Singular is located.”
“A lab?” I ask.
“Dale wishes to know the possible locations of his two friends, Ace and Jose. It’s the last lab we haven’t searched. You see, we still don’t know their whereabouts and Dale’s happiness is very important to me. Therefore, it’s of top priority that I help in reuniting them, if possible.”
“I’ll do everything I can to find this information - how do I return the info to you when I find out what you need to know?” I ask.
“In two weeks time, Reuben’s birthday will be held publicly. I’ll find you,” she winks and I stand.
“I’m ready to return to his side...” I answer.
“My personal guard who escorted you here will show you to your transport. May I ask, Alyssa... why are you so willing to help me?” Jessica asks curiously and a little suspiciously.
“Trust me... babe... I’m helping myself,” I smile and turn, taking two steps to the exit door. I swipe my hand so the door slides open. I turn to a confused Jessica before I leave.
First, I halt and let one full blown glare rest on her - so that she is more thoroughly baffled about what I was doing.
When I continue to evil eye her, she starts to look uncomfortable and that is when I smile very slowly.
Jessica doesn’t know what to think.
And then I leave before she can reply.
Without a word, the guard escorts me to a white car where Holt is waiting.
“Thanks for helping us, Alyssa,” Holt opens the back passenger door for me and I walk past him to open the front passenger door instead.
“This will be fine - and I don’t want to talk,” I snap as Holt turns to me and bites his lip nervously.
“Yes, sir,” he mutters under his breath as he scuttles to the drivers side and hops in.
“Don’t call me sir,” I growl and without another word between us, Holt drives me back to Avalon Tower. He drops me off a couple of blocks away so I can run there in a pretend ‘panicked’ state. I’m glad to get out of the car and run from him and his disastrous musical tastes anyhow.
When I make it to Avalon Tower through the too-clean white streets, I run into the silver styled lobby and fall to my knees.
“Help!” I cry out, resting my head into my hands and crying out, “Oh, help me, please...!” I can hear the guards and receptionist whispering loudly to one another - but no one gets close. I stay where I am, pretending to cry until I hear the familiar arrogant footfalls of all too familiar boots. He walked with a skip in his step - always.
“You stupid bitch,” Reuben whispers to himself as his boots come to a stop a few inches from my knees. I slowly lower my hands and look up to Reuben, trying not to glare.
“I’m sorry -”
Reuben slaps me - correction - he backhands me.
The impact is almost nothing to me, but it still shocks me. I quickly avert my eyes and then I see a drop of blood splatter against the floor in front of me - Reuben’s hand had hit a strand of my hair across my cheek. When I can’t help but glance up, Reuben has a tear in his eye while staring at his cut palm.
The pain is almost too much for him.
“I am so sorry, Reuben... I was taken by the crowd,” I whisper, trying to sound defeated when I was really feeling defiant and ready to kill the bastard after he struck me.
It was the first time he had dared to do something so bold - but I guess he was angry his pet had gotten away.
How badly I wanted to lash out.
But I couldn’t because it was smarter, right now, to submit.
“I always knew you were stupid... you’re just a whore, after all... useless... but still a whore...” Reuben squats in front of me and holds his cut hand clenched shut into a fist, trying to ignore the pain of the sliced skin, “Welcome home, pet.”
I shiver with disgust. I can’t meet his revolting gaze, crooked smile or rectangular hair - shaped like a stupid box.
I can’t believe I had almost believed I was saved... yet here I was again... and this time my friends had put me here.
Two weeks later
Reuben Simeon, after ‘careful’ thought, was impressed by how I willingly returned to his side. After hearing out my story of being stolen in the panicked crowd and being taken advantage of in the streets... Reuben decided to reward my unexpected loyalty by allowing me some more freedoms. Freedoms that he should never allow someone with a killer need for revenge... and who also happens to be me.
The freedoms he allows me are simple. I was now allowed to follow him to family meetings and more parties outside Avalon Tower, even though I still sleep in my cell at night.
After flirting and asking questions I shouldn’t for 14 days straight with his friends and family, I now have a couple of answers for Jessica.
However, I can’t sight her anywhere after attending Reuben Simeon’s yearly birthday celebrations at Avalon Tower ballroom for five whole hours. Instead, I later find out the real location that I will be intercepted by Jessica.
It would be Reuben’s after party with his large group of ‘friends’. They all wanted to head to a side of Avalon City called the Sector. It was a small section, unlike the rest of the pristine city. It was still modern but it was covered in green. The crowd were more liberal here and the place of the public party we were crashing was a circular park between smaller sky scrapers. The weekly Friday Event was on, which meant there were musicians and shows lined up to perform for the more rebellious citizens of Avalon. This cold city needed some fun - otherwise it was one icy hell hole for all the citizens here.
That was the thing about the New Worlds - they controlled people through strict routine. You went to work, you provided for your family, you tried desperately to have babies and you were paid 10,000 for every child you managed to reproduce. Pregnancy was rare nowadays - so it was rare to even have one child in most cases. As for fun - there was just dreary news and educational shows on television and the music was so plain, generic and boring - you’d think every song was built around a safe formula. Obviously, in order to make sure no one stepped out of line or even considered going against the New World ideas of a brilliant landscape for Earth. Clean, hygienic humans, their number one priority being to protect the Earth and reproduce naturally without defects.
If you wanted fun, the Sector was the place to go. It wasn’t illegal, just highly criticised. But apparently Avalon Tower couldn’t shut it down because this Sector was actually owned by an Atlantis investor who contributed too much to Avalon. Both New World cities were obsessed with money - I don’t believe I mentioned this before.
It just made me miss Frankincense City so much more. I missed the stench, the pollution and the independent souls. It was a dump but it was a dump where you were free to do whatever you wanted as long as you avoided the authorities; which used to be few and far between.
Unfortunately, every corner of Avalon was sprawling with soldiers and enforcers of the peace.
Now, at least the Sector had a nicer casual feel to it.
Reuben exits a white limo and I am shoved out by two guards who were told to be rough with me. They only ever say one or two words occasionally - like damn robots.
“Come on, come on, Alyssa. It’s time to party,” Reuben spins towards me and winks, “I’ll buy you some champagne.”
“Your kindness knows no bounds,” I mock bow as Reuben nods to his guards, who push me again and I nearly fall flat on my face. However, instead, I grab one of the guard’s ties before I fall and I pull on that tie to heave myself back up. I also shove that guard in the chest - but then he’s instantly whipping out his baton.
Reuben’s preferred weapon of punishment - of course, he never wielded it - only the guards did.
“Now, now, calm down,” Reuben stands back as I slowly turn to face him, and his hands are on his hips, “Remember, Alyssa, your girls are crisped meat if you try anything funny. Don’t upset me... and they won’t be harmed.”
“Yes, sir,” I nod and smile sarcastically as I contain myself.
“I love your dress, by the way...” Reuben licks his lips, “So appropriate for your character.”
“You said so ten times already, sir,” I reply again without emotion, and Reuben grins and then turns to walk away.
“Slut,” both guards mutter under their breaths as they push me forward again, so that I catch up quicker to stand with Reuben.
The deal was that I had to stay close - to make him look desired.
Which is why I’m now wearing a red dress that is tight around my boobs and waist, with ruffles out over my hips and just past my butt.
It was the first dress with ruffles that I didn’t mind. So I was trying not to damage it too quickly with my nails.
But... I still hated ruffles.
And yep, I also had matching red high heels.
I didn’t even know what flat shoes felt like anymore.
I look around the night crowd in this circular park before us. The area is tiled but there are many trees lining the circumference of the event area. It was basically a large oval for dancing with plenty of benches for chilling while the music was loud and the crowd was many. There was a circle at the centre of the circular park, where popular performances with fire were already taking place.
There were also portable bars set up selling alcohol including government officials handing out ‘safe’ party drugs - to stop people trying to deal illegally.
I catch up to Reuben as he heads straight for the main bar - where some of his friends are already waiting. They welcome him with fake smiles and I hang by the edge.
All the New World citizens of Avalon were wearing black tonight. It looked like they were all attending a funeral but at least they were having fun.
No one intercepts me but I do spot FC inhabitants occupying the area. They were few and far between but they must have been the mutants that got lucky with lenient owners. Most were off leashes and actually allowed to roam the area.
I could spot a bon fire down one section, surrounded by FC inhabitants warming their hands and catching up with loved ones.
The more I spot familiar faces that I recognised from the streets of Frankincense City, the more I hope to spot anyone that may be of some use to me.
It is as I’m searching the crowd that a light touch brushes my elbow.
I think it is Reuben and I spin fast with a killer glare - but instead I see a petite little red riding hood. Her cheeks are pink, her plump lips are red and her eyes are as green as ever. The hood she is wearing is integrated with her dress.
It’s safe to say she looks a million dollars.
“Aren’t you pretty?” Jessica asks, blinking a few times... she pretends to be sexually interested in me as a disguise to her casual approach of me.
“Since when did red riding hood befriend the wolves of the forest?” I ask, glancing at the group behind her. Clearly her people were trying to blend in naturally but they were awkward about it and obvious. The only two managing to blend in were Dale and Serge - both leaning on the bar while pretending to check us out.
Dale was wearing a blonde wig, Serge wearing his brown wig. Both looked stupid - but they were still the wolves I spoke of underneath their disguises.
“That was a good joke,” Jessica breaks out into a grin and starts giggling like the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.
I start to wonder how her eyeballs are still in her head when she still keeps giggling while staring at my dress - I believe that she thinks she looks better.
Ah, yes, jealousy was a very potent emotion within me right now.
“Who’s this beauty?” Reuben pops up behind me and I freeze, my eyes automatically sliding over to Serge and Dale. I can’t help but want to see their reactions.They both stare at Reuben, boldly - as Reuben stares at Jessica. I get annoyed that they are probably being protective... for her. I was no longer their kitten.
She was still giggling.
“I’m new around here,” Jessica puts on a dumb tone, “I moved from Avalon.”
“Really?” Reuben asks.
“Hey, drinks are on you!” someone calls from the bar and then they forcefully pull Reuben back to them. I am thankful - until Jessica quickly closes the distance.
I physcially cringe away from her but keep my head close so that she can ask what she wants.
“Any luck?” Jessica asks seriously, before pulling back only slightly. She also keeps on a wide, random smile.
“Plenty of luck,” I whisper.
At this stage, I am kind enough.
“Lab Singular?” Jessica asks, while nodding towards Dale - who is now focused upon what I have to say next.
“I know where it is,” I speak loudly... and now I slowly smile.
“Great, great, thank you so much, Alyssa, you did great,” Jessica pats my elbow and I pull my arm away from her - my smile dropping from my face completely.
"Babe... yes, I know 100% where Lab Singular is... I also know plenty of other things you’d love to know. Weaknesses in the Avalon Tower... weaknesses in the Simeon family... weaknesses in their branches of government power... who’s hanging by a thread in relationships where they can’t conceive... mysterious disappearances of certain officials. Disappearances that if exposed, could ruin the Simeon family, their armies and their control -” I pause when I see Dale come forward, sliding an arm around Jessica’s waist, he boldly meets my stare.
“Spit it out, Alyssa, what do you know of lab Singular?” Dale asks, his purple tyrian eyes reading into my intentions.
So, he tries to dominate me with his glare and his tone.
“Don’t be so rude,” Jessica turns to look up at Dale and she seems taken aback by the look he is passing me. Weirdly - she seems protective of me and against his arrogant glare. Clearly, she had never heard him talk like this with anyone, ”Dale.”
“She has what I want,” Dale snarls, but then he tries to quickly regain neutrality even as he adds, “And she’s not going to give it to me.”
“You’ll get your lollies when you’re nice to mamma,” I talk down to him by pretending he is a child, “You’ll learn to be patient or I’ll have to teach you a lesson in respect,” the more I provoke the Lord of the Underworld, the more fire I see ignite in Dale’s eyes.
It was a dangerous game - but we’re not in FC anymore.
When I glance at Lightening, I see a spark of blue as Serge comes to stand adjacent to Dale, on Jessica’s other shoulder. His fingers light up with sparks of power.
“Careful, doll,” Serge warns me quietly.
It is now, when I see Dale’s patience about to snap, that I reach up to my dress and slip my hand under the top, carefully retrieving a brochure.
“I’m not telling any of you a damn thing. But... I will give you one thing... a fun fact that I think will help you forget that I exist,” I look at the two sexy animals posed on the front page of the brochure. Torso’s rippling, one covered in tattoos - one with snipers across his heart - they stand back to back for the erotica shoot. I step past a shocked Jessica to rip the brochure in half - right down the middle before glaring at Dale and Serge, “...when you both forget I exist... you’ll remember I do, and you’ll wish I actually didn’t,” just to make it a little bit more difficult for them, I carelessly flick the two halves at Dale and Serge’s faces. Before I leave I add, smoothly, “Maybe you can both get a lap dance... if you ask nicely.”
While both beasts are confused momentarily by the brochure and my choice words - and Jessica is even more shocked by my outburst - I turn to leave.
But I don’t get very far.
Jessica unexpectedly steps forward, grasping my elbow cruely.
“Wait,” she hisses and I turn to her, to see her no longer smiling, or giggling - thank god. This was her ‘bitch’ side. Finally. I knew it was in there somewhere, “Your information, Alyssa. I need it and I will get it - one way or another,” Jessica lowers her tone as she adds, “You don’t know who I am... I am made of money to the bone. I practically own half this city.”
“What does your Gang of Shadows do again?” I ask, politely.
“Anarchy. I buy buisness out of the buisness,” she answers, so proudly, “Not everyone wants to contribute to Avalon Tower... and I’m brave enough to rebel... so watch yourself.”
“Is that what you call anarchy? Investing into some indepedent capitalism?” Jessica furrows her eyebrows - confused about the term.
“Do you know what an Ultimate is?” I ask, waiting patiently for her answer.
“I assume it has something to do with... c-capitalice...?” she asks.
Yep - she had no idea what capitalism meant.
“Yeah, those two words are totally related,” I nod at her and turn to go again but this time Jessica’s grip on my arm is digging in. She forces me to stop a second time.
When I glance back and up - Dale and Serge are murmuring to each other about Ace and Jose.
They’d meet their two missing friends in an hour when the show started.
But, as Dale and Serge quieten down, feeling my gaze... they both look up to see what I’m up to now.
I hope they see the fury in my eyes.
“Alyssa,” Jessica says my name firmly once again and I glance down into her green green eyes, “Don’t make me an enemy. Please.”
“Whore!” Reuben calls out from the bar, behind us, “Come here and drink with me!”
I ignore the unofficial prince of Avalon while Jessica slowly releases my arm from her grip.
“I’m warning you,” she continues.
“Whore!” Reuben yells out again and I turn to see his guards approach, as does Reuben, who nods to them to back him up.
He’s red in the face and pissed off - probably because his friends turned their backs on him and grew tired of his mocking talk.
Now I was his only target.
“Champagne?” I ask him sweetly, hoping he backs off back to the bar.
“Listen to me,” Reuben starts off quietly as he wipes his arm over his wet, drunken lips. He takes steps closer - without noticing how everyone is watching on. He makes sure he is right up next to me - but he doesn’t touch me. He just hisses in my ear, “You know what I’ll do to your girls. You’re my bitch, Alyssa - you’re mybitch. Act like it. Or their getting charred the moment I find my phone and make a few calls.”
I instantly feel myself wanting to lean towards submission, to protect my friends... but when I glance up to my ex-beasts... they are both shocked and intent on Reuben’s words.
For a moment, I feel like they care.
For a moment, I almost see the fire shared in their eyes.
But, even if that was the case, that didn’t mean I’d forgive them - I might never.
They handed me to Reuben on a silver platter.
“You’re his bitch,” Jessica pipes in on it too, nodding at me, “Aren’t you? Just admit it and he’ll back off.”
I feel numb in this moment because every part of me wanted to attack - but there was no outcome that could possibly benefit from me lashing out.
So, I stay silent, my eyes gazing over the crowd hopelessly.
And then my eyes stop.
On a girl - right in front of me.
She’s appeared next to Jessica and she’s literally stepped from no where.
It just happened to be one of her talents.
She’s wearing white leather pants with a black stripe down the side. She’s also wearing a white leather jacket with the same design. Her blue hair is in a high pony.
While she has tentatively approached us - there are two heads in the crowd not far back which I also spot, watching on.
Blonde... Strawberry blonde, to be exact, next to a tall Raven haired beauty.
The two girls in the crowd were also wearing the same outfit as the blue haired angel before me.
My dreams had been answered.
My Brownie Squad were alive - they were in Avalon - and from the looks of it... they were free. Somehow, someway - they looked like they were okay.
I glance to Reuben - but he’s already sulked off while cursing under his breath.
He hasn’t even noticed the new girl’s appearance.
Blue appears shy and timid - until he turns away.
And all I’m left with is Jessica, Dale and Serge still watching on in shock at what happens next.
“Alyssa,” Jessica hisses at me, oblivious to the threat beside her.
“Stop,” Blue speaks up, her voice changed.
She doesn’t sound naive and young like she did after I rescued her and the others from a lab where they had been taught nothing but sex since the moment they could walk. Blue sounds like she’s grown into her self. Intelligent and bright - with an impatience almost similar to Serge.
“Excuse me?” Jessica steps back as Blue swings around on one foot casually and faces Jessica, nose to nose, “Who are -”
“Your worst nightmare, Red,” Blue speaks casually, “Turn around. Go back to your people and talk about money. It’s all your good for.”
“I’m sorry but -” Jessica can’t get a flustered word in.
“There is a reason the business people stay out of the Sector. They go missing... never to be seen again,” after Blue has made her speech, Jessica almost retreats, but she is too stubborn.
“I refuse to move until I find out who you are,” Jessica proclaims, completely oblivious, “And Alyssa has information I need. So, please, get out of my -”
“Don’t speak to my sweet little blue rose that way, you ugly whore,” Strawberry wisps out of no where, snatching down Jessica’s hood and wrapping her hand through her red hair, ”You move,” without even trying, Strawberry pulls Jessica back by the hair and pushes her into Dale and Serge. Jessica cries out with the pain while Raven appears next, standing in front of Strawberry and Blue. She cracks her knuckles while her hair is also tied up high.
“You’re annoying Alyssa. So scat,” Raven snaps, ”Now.”
“Let’s go,” Jessica can’t meet me in the eye as she grabs Dale’s hand and pulls him aside.
Serge remains a second longer to look oddly between each girl before meeting my gaze and lowering his eye lids.
He looks arrogant and cocky but he doesn’t glare.
Again - confusing my heart.
Was it a double trick?
Did they hate me?
Were they pretending to hate me?
Or were they just reluctant to hate me?
“Leave,” it’s the only word of sense I can tell my Brownie Squad as I try and think straight, “Before Reuben sees you.”
“Boss,” Strawberry speaks up, slowly raising a brow, “We’re not leaving you in his hands.”
“Then fetch me later - you can’t be seen with me now, he barely missed you just before because he’s already pissing pure alcohol,” I nod at them, acting tough in telling them to leave... but if they didn’t soon, the tears of relief couldn’t be held back forever.
“Come on,” Blue nods to Strawberry and Raven before glancing at me one last time, “We love you, Alyssa... even if your beasts do not,” Blue is very sweet with her choice of words and I gulp down some tears and turn from them, before they are discovered.
I wasn’t worried about the guards seeing them because they didn’t know who the girls were.
They wouldn’t recognise them.
Only Reuben had a vague idea... and he was pretty blind right now.
I slowly walk to the bar, where Reuben is waiting.
I slip onto the bar seat next to him and without having to ask, he orders me a drink - thinking he looks so good with me on his arm.
“Champagne,” Reuben drawls, “Lots... many... make it half a glass,” he then laughs to himself hysterically, nearly falling off his chair on his own birthday.
The guards catch him while I roll my eyes and meet the bar tender’s gaze.
“Whiskey, please,” I smile and he nods, “Over ice, thanks.”
As that happens, I can hear drums playing.
A welcome distraction.
When I turn my head, there is a wagon with bars, like a circus cage for the tigers or the horses.
Except on top of the hay straws... behind the bars of the red wagon... my eyes widen as I see two half naked beasts.
Clean, well kept... but they are also adorned with collars.
To keep them well behaved.
The wagon has huge fancy letters on the front which describe the show coming our way.
The crowd is already hooting, whistling and swooning with desire.
My two other beasts - no longer beasts.
They were genetically engineered warriors. Jose was designed to break any and all bones with specific accuracy through his X-ray vision... Ace was the master of precision, able to shoot accurately with any weapon from any distance... his favourite gun obviously being his sniper.
The two last members of STRIKE were here to join the party.
Except, everything had changed.
Once super solider gangsters that ran the underworld with Dale and Serge... now they are pets for the New World city of Avalon.
Playboy Beasts... as it so stated on the wagon’s front.
...they didn’t look too happy about being paraded in here, while everyone watched on.
They only seem happy to have each other’s company.
I can’t help but smile... I just had a feeling I was about to see a show I’d never forget.