Damsel I Am Not
I turned to see Belle with the one and only Veronica Dale.
Oh my fuck. What was I just saying about the world?
Her legs were in skin tight leather look leggings, a large white jumper hanging off her shoulder as I tried not to stare. If I believed in any kind of God right now, I would stop believing.
Veronica gazed at us, her eyes literally doing mental arithmetic as she took in our laced hands and Clarissas tear stained cheeks.
'Hey Belle, how you doing?' I lent down to her level, her eyes staring widely at Clarissa.
"Is that your girlfriend?' She asked loudly, and I noticed Veronica stiffen beside her. Great. I avoided looking anywhere but Belle as I answered.
'No, she's not.' I shook my head firmly as she nodded, smiling shyly at Clarissa.
'She's real pretty. I want red hair. '
She looked back up at Veronica who was now watching Clarissa with interest.
'Hey. Don't I know you? Aren't you with Roe?'
Clarissas eyes widened as she looked at her in panic, her eyes darting back and forth from me to Veronica.
'Ace, I've got to go. Thankyou for listening. Uh, nice to meet you both. ' she smiled at Belle as she pretended she hadn't heard Veronicas question, before turning on her heel and walking away quickly in the direction she had come. Wonderful. Now I was alone with the she devil and the little angel that was Belle. I glanced back in the direction Clarissa had took off in.
'Can you let me know when you are home at least?' I called as she waved dismissively.
'Roe Marshall?' I stated, to no one in particular.
'Yup. Think he quite likes her too. Wouldn't like to see her holding hands with you I bet.' She smirked. 'Aren't you her ex too? Ouch. Good job I can keep a secret.'
Roe Marshall was the son of a local cop in town, but he was known for partying hard, and in the wrong company too. Whenever I had seen him he always had some bimbo on his arm. Great job, Clarissa.
'Where are you two going? Its a bit late to be walking the streets alone.' I frowned at Veronica as she laughed.
'Well then handsome, its a good job we found you isn't it.'
'I'm serious. Its getting late. Can I walk you anywhere?' I ignored her playful remark, determined not to fall for her tricks a second time. Belle spoke then, her little voice full of excitement.
'I am going to the cinema with Daddy. Do you want to come?' Her eyes widened as she turned to Veronica. 'Please?' She whined as Veronica lifted her eyes to meet mine.
'Ace is busy. Come on, your dad is picking you up from Frankies.'
I pushed my hands in my pockets as I smiled at Belle, her face crestfallen.
'Some other time? I've got plans tonight, otherwise I would love to.'
She nodded as she took Veronicas outstretched hand, walking past me as she called over her shoulder.
'Did you get real good at anything yet Ace?' her tone hopeful.
I smiled as I shook my head.
'Not yet kid. I'm working on it.' I watched them walk away, unable to take my eyes away. Belle's little blonde ponytail swinging as they walked, Veronicas hips swaying- Gah! What was I doing? This was insane.
'Veronica? Let me walk you. Please. If nothing else it will make me feel better.' I jogged up to them, prepared for an argument.
'I thought you had plans?' She murmured as we walked, Belle slipping her little hand into mine.
I ignored her, refusing to rise to the bait. She seemed to get off on arguments, and would create them given any opportunity. After walking for a short while we stopped at a house, and Belle waved at me before running up and knocking on the front door. A well dressed older woman opened the door, pulling Belle into her arms.
'Aunt Frankie!' She squealed as the lady littered kisses all over her. 'Bye Ron! Love you!' She called before disappearing behind the lady and into the house. The womans eyes ran up and down Veronica with distaste before she closed the door without saying a word.
'Fuck you too.' I heard her mutter as I glanced over at her. She immediately lit a cigarette before exhaling slowly, the grey smoke swirling in the air before us as we stood silently. I sensed now was not a time to lecture her about her bad habit.
'Well that was awkward.' I offered, as I turned to gaze at her.
'No one invited you.' She hissed back.
She had a point.
'I'm a gentleman. You ever met one before?' I rolled my eyes sarcastically. She squinted at me as she frowned, her eyes narrowing.
'I would love to stand on the street and talk to you, but I have plans. With total non gentleman types.' It was her turn to roll her eyes as she went to walk away.
Say something Ace.
Nothing came out, and I stood there, watching her walk away, a cloud of smoke creeping over her shoulder and weaving its way back to me, mixed with the cheap perfume I had come to love.
'Where are you going?' I called unexpectedly as she turned over her shoulder, her green eyes noticeable even from the distance between us.
'Work. Some of us have to.'
Plans with non gentleman types.
Where did she work? I decided not to keep her any longer, and she made her way down the street without looking back once. I stood there for a while, then realised we had just dropped a child off at the house I was loitering in front of, so I made a sharp exit.
I walked through my front door shortly after to hear laughter from the lounge. Clearly the horror movie had been shut off. I kicked my trainers off and walked in, the air warm after the brisk walk.
'You got rosy cheeks there boy. Had a nice walk?' Rock grinned as he wiggled his eyebrows. I glared at him as I perched on the edge of the sofa, suddenly deep in thought.
'Bro? Clarissa? What now?' Art asked, tilting his head to the side curiously. I shook my head, my mind full of Veronica FUCKING Dale. She was genuinely driving me insane.
'She's seeing someone, apparently. I saw Veronica Dale though.'
'What, you just stumbled across that hot piece of ass in the street? I might get myself out for some fresh air.'
'Clarissa?! Seeing who exactly?' Demanded Violet, her eyes flashing as I held my hands up.
'First of all, I don't know who she is seeing.' For some reason I didn't want to be spreading her business, that was for her to deal with. 'Veronica was on her way to work, wherever that is.' I frowned as Violet met my eyes.
Of course she would know her. Red.
'Yeah. She goes to our school.'
'Your brother would probably suck the dick of the last guy that fucked her. Man, I probably would.'
We all grimaced at that, and he shrugged.
'She's fit. Just saying.'
Violet shook her head at him in disgust as she looked back at me with concern in her eyes.
'She's with Ryder Luca, you know this, right?'
I nodded quickly, eager to prove I was not becoming obsessed with the raven haired fucking witch.
'Good. She works at Lollis.' She folded her arms and raised her eyebrows as all three of us guys stared at her in shock.
'Come again, she works where?' Said Art carefully.
'Lolli's.' She said it slowly like we were completely stupid.
'You mean, I can pay for that?' Rock uttered in awe, to which Violet shot him a look.
'If you are that desperate, yes. She's a stripper, not a whore though Rock, touch her and you'd probably get a baseball bat to the head.'
Lolli's was a gentlemans club downtown. I had driven past it, and often wondered what it would be like inside. The outside looked seedy as fuck, and now I had images of her sliding up and down poles- sweet jesus- whilst scantily clad. Did men put money in her underwear? My head started to ache and I rubbed my temples.
'But she's seventeen.' I said slowly and Violet gave me a puzzled look.
'Do you think these places care? She gets paid in cash. No books kept, so being legal probably isn't their thing.'
Rock caught my eye and nodded at my phone. I picked it up to see he had texted me.
'Wanna go? I've got money. Don't think they will want ID dude, but I have fakes just incase.'
'A strip joint?'
'DUDE. You wanna see her. I will do it for you.'
He gave me a wide smile as I slid my phone into my pocket. I DID want to see her. But like that?
I didn't take much convincing.