Chapter 12: Megalomaniac
Naked, in the lift, I eventually turn to look at the lift keys more carefully. The levels are encrypted, as most lifts were. I was familiar with the Red Headquarter’s lift to the five floors. I knew which letters meant what.
This lift is slow as it slides up, lighting up the floors along the way. When I glance all the numbers I’m shocked to find at least twenty underground floors. The numbers are lighting up slowly as they pass.
My eyes rest on a letter ‘S’ and I see it getting closer and closer.
A secure level contained items in lock down.
I find my finger rising, but just like that, the number lights up and passes.
I’ve missed my chance… but I hesitated.
I lower my hand, a tremble in my arm as I clench my fists to distract my thoughts from how vulnerable I felt right now. My interaction with Dale was impacting my mental stability. I had the ultimate choice.
I could join his Gang of Shadows but that would involve –
The lift abruptly stops and I take a step back as the doors slide open.
Before me, in a dark familiar hall of the Black Lair Clubhouse, are three men. Ace, leaning against the opposite wall and Serge and Jose standing either side of the lift doors.
“Hi,” I squeak out, taking a step forward as I feel three pairs of male eyes devouring my naked body, “D-Dale said you’d find me clothes,” I direct this to Ace, who smiles adoringly as he comes forward to put an arm around my waist.
“Absolutely, kitten,” Ace drawls the word, copying Dale.
Serge and Jose come forward, walking either side of Ace as I’m led down the wide hall.
I don’t know what to say so I stay silent, awkwardly.
But as expected, my silence doesn’t contain their imminent banter.
“Sometimes I wonder of his intentions,” Serge growls under his breath.
“You think too much, darling –” Ace yelps as Serge shocks him with a hand to the back of his neck. The shock passes into me and I also jerk, leaning into Ace more heavily with a hiss.
Serge steps back and growls under his breath.
“In his arms, expect to get charged, doll,” I thought he was going to apologise, but instead, of course, he threatens.
“What did he say to you?” Jose asks me quietly and I glance around Ace’s shoulder to catch his gaze.
“Loyalty comes at a price,” I answer, “You will clothe me and return to me to the Five Reds, where I can find something worthy of Dale’s price.”
“The thing between your legs is the only part Dale requires of his kittens… Alyssa,” Jose points out, “What other deal did you make with the devil?”
“To join you,” I admit, which does not pause them in their walking down the long dimly lit hallway, “You. The squad.”
Now they all halt.
Ace’s arm loosens around me and I slip out to turn and face them, crossing my arms over my naked chest to hide my tits from their wandering eyes.
“What?” I ask, glaring down all three of them.
“Us?” Serge asks, tilting his head, “What does Dale want with –”
“My nails and my hair are stronger than diamonds,” I snap at him, “My nails can cut through anything. Anything,” I glare at Serge, my own warning in my gaze, “So you’ll have to be careful… when I’m ‘pleasing’ you all. Dale said I can join as long as I please everyone,” I put up a quick hand when Ace smirks and reaches out a hand for me, “Something I have no experience at. Don’t rush me. I don’t want to get raped.”
“Rape?” all three ask at once, shocked.
“Yes,” I nod, confirming my choice of word.
“Darling whore,” Serge starts, eager to explain, “We’ve never raped anyone. Women come crawling to us.”
“Then I assume I am free to learn slowly,” I snap, “I… I do not understand Dale’s concept of sharing but I ask you all to have patience with me.”
There is a pause, where they all assess me and I focus on the impatience in Serge’s sparking eyes.
“Turn around and shut up so we can get some clothes on you,” Serge narrows his gaze, “Your begging is vexing.”
“He has a short patience,” Ace whispers while winking at me too.
“So do I,” Jose adds in, cracking his knuckles.
Fear sliding down my spine, I quickly turn and keep walking.
“Ah, ah, stop right there Alyssa, to your right,” Ace warns me not to go much further and I quickly stop and reach for the door. I bite my tongue, now annoyed at Ace’s condescending tone. I open the door, not knowing what to expect, but still surprised to find a room full of costumes.
“What the…?” I mutter under my breath. Racks upon racks meet my eyes.
“We have shows on at the Black Lair every Saturday night, sweety,” Ace explains for me as they come in after me. I choose to keep my distance from the merciless men. I see all sorts of dresses, two piece outfits, one pieces, and much more.
My eyes have already laid upon what I want.
I head straight for a pair of black jeans and a white tube sports bra. Strapless.
I grab the jeans and slice my nails through the fabric, ripping it. I feel the men’s gazes on me as they watch me do my handy work. I ruin the jeans and then make bigger holes near the top, so the waist line is easier to pull up like handles, without my nails making contact with the fabric.
I pull on the jeans, panty-less. I then grab the white top, and step into it instead of trying to manoeuver it over my head and hair.
“Red hair, white tube top and black ripped jeans… it suits you, sweety,” Ace tries hard to say something over the top nice and Serge hits him over the back of the head for the compliment.
“Don’t be so rude,” I snap at Serge for trying to discourage Ace from being sweet.
There is a moment’s silence before Serge asks, “What did you say… doll?”
I go quiet, biting my lip as he directs a glare my way.
“I… never mind,” I mutter, choosing not to pick a fight over this.
“Never speak out of line again. You’re at the bottom of this gang, doll, don’t get cocky or your nerves are getting a warning. I give them generously, sweetheart.”
“Gotcha,” I shrug my shoulders, trying not to appear affected by Serge’s words. I watch Ace, who eyes me sympathetically and Jose… who seems intrigued why I was still alive, “Take me to the GB district, please.”
“Good little girl,” Serge still doesn’t smile, even with the compliment, “A lady with ears and half a brain in her head is always welcome.”
“I thought you were content calling me a whore,” I point out as I walk forward, towards Ace, where I felt safest.
“You’re not a whore just yet,” Serge growls.
The three of them go silent on me as they lead me out of the hall, into the club and then out onto the sidewalk, where STRIKE is parked. It’s day time; which means I’ve been knocked out for the rest of the night and the morning.
Serge heads to the driver’s side this time while Jose goes for shot gun and Ace chooses to sit in the back with me.
“I wonder what Dale wants with you, little spy,” Ace catches on the ‘little’ train of insults, and I just narrow my eyes as I shuffle along the seat. He almost chooses to sit on the opposite window side. However, last minute he chooses to sit in the middle, right next to me.
“I don’t know, you tell me,” I speak quietly, not wanting to piss off Serge as he takes off out of the driveway, onto the road.
“I think he has an interest in you, kitten,” Ace smirks at the term, “I suppose you’ll fit in well.”
“Tell me why Dale calls me kitten?” I ask, “And why do you choose to follow him?”
“He’s a mastermind, doll,” Serge growls from the front seat, “And if you don’t shut your mouth and stop asking questions, I’ll teach you the meaning of bottom of the food chain.”
“Relax, lightening,” Jose jokes quietly from the front, chuckling under his breath, “She didn’t ask anything out of the ordinary.”
“Simple questions turn into more complicated questions… and before you know it, the doll in the back, becomes an annoying bitch in your ear, never knowing when to keep quiet,” Serge is furious at Jose for stepping out of line and Ace rolls his eyes.
“Lady, you’re frightened of other ladies now, are you?” Ace asks Serge, “I wish to explain to her why she is called kitten.”
“A kitten, a pet, a whore, a liability, how many more words are there that mean the same thing?” Serge speaks from the front seat, “You’re entertainment, doll, nothing else.”
“I suppose my nail slicing into your carotid artery in your neck will be thoroughly entertaining, too, huh?” I crack it at Serge, for being so damn rude this whole time. The car is instantly shocked into a sudden silence.
Unbelievably, through the rear-view mirror, I witness a smirk form on Serge’s lips.
“I was only testing you, sweetheart…” Serge lightens his tone out of the blue, “But that doesn’t mean I won’t fry you if you piss me off.”
“And if I slice that artery first?” I repeat.
“I like her already,” Jose growls from the front, grinning, “No one is brave enough to confront you, lightening.”
Serge shrugs and Ace chuckles.
“Now I see why Dale likes you so much,” Ace pinches my side, making me squirm, “Cute and feisty… and it’s refreshing to have a pretty face on board.”
“Thank you, Ace,” I nod at him and bite my lip as a quiet descends on the car again and I can see out the window that we are getting closer to my familiarised local part of the city, “So… speaking of Dale… what’s up with him?” I ask, curious to get some answers, “What did you mean when you said he’s a mastermind?”
“Has he not introduced himself as a megalomaniac to you just yet?” Ace asks me, “He diagnosed himself, proudly too… he embraces how he is, completely. It’s quite poetic, really.”
“Haha, very funny. I suppose romance isn’t in his vocabulary,” I mutter under my breath and this time the silence that ensues is far more tense.
“You like him, Alyssa?” Ace asks, hesitantly.
I do not answer.
“Romance and Dale? No,” Serge adds, “Never. He wouldn’t understand the term. Love? Neither. Dale is not interested in relationships, sweetheart. Best get use to that early on.”
“Why would you say that?” I snap, “In that tone?”
“It’s clear you like him and it’s best you don’t,” Serge snaps.
“Why?” I ask far too quickly, in defence.
I do not like his answer.
“At least twenty girls before you have fallen for our boss… and all twenty have left with broken hearts. A pathetic sight to say the least, all those tears rub me up the wrong way,” Serge growls, quickly becoming impatient again.
“Just ’cause this lady here wants all of Dale’s attention,” Ace whispers, teasing Serge and referring to him, not me.
“Ace. You’re dead once I drop her off,” Serge speaks with a menacing monotone as we get closer to the location, “I have the decency not to beat you to a pulp in front of her.”
“And I have the decency not to blow a load as you do, in front of her,” Ace tries to keep a straight face but bursts out laughing. Jose even snorts. Serge does not look impressed as he rounds the last corner, accelerating fast and then braking hard, coming to a quick stop. We all fly forward, even with the seat belts on, before our backs slam back into the seats once more.
“Get going, doll,” Serge snaps at me, “We’ll be here in thirty minutes. If you’re not back by then… we’ll find you and then your body will never be found. Sound like a deal?”
“Yep,” I snap back, opening the door and slamming it shut.
They had dropped me off at my GB unit, a safe distance from the Red Headquarters.
I was grumpy.
But not because of the short distance I had to walk or the threat from Serge.
I was grumpy about what they said about Dale and the trail of broken hearts that lay behind him in his past. I don’t know why it bothers me so much. But my stomach feels turned upside down and a flood of anxiety rushes through me as I think of him constantly seducing new women.
Perhaps he was with another woman right now.
And I shouldn’t care.
But for some stupid, fucking reason – I did. Maybe because he made me feel comfortable in my own skin… for the first time in my life. No –
I had to find a way to focus.
I had made my decision; after the car ride and despite the risks. I was joining the Gang of Shadows. And it has nothing to do with their boss.
At least that’s what I tell myself.