Waking up in strange places is nothing new. but will this be more of the same, or does Victor stand a chance against temptation when it walks his way?
Shuttin' the dice with the chip still inside of it an' stuffin' it in my pocket again, I do a bit more of lookin' through the room at everythin'. An' we do have everythin'. Vanity mirrors, full walk in closets, enough skin cremes to bring life an' luster to a mummy, enough perfume to knock over a whole herd of horses, the works. Oh, an' enough frill to make me sick to my stomach. I am not a frill type o' guy. There's a note on the night table, welcomin' me of all things, an' statin' that the meals will begin about an hour after I wake up. Good. At least I'll feed the traitor, I'm thinkin', an' I poke my stomach fer good measure.
I make the mistake o' catchin' a glimpse o' me in one o' the mirrors, and wince. It looks rather bad, even fer my usual habit o' wearin' my victories. My jeans are a lost cause, even if I did do laundry. I've got a rather stylish streak of my own blood through my hair, so I can figger I used my head on the car window. The rest o' me is covered in dried blood, flakin' off around the edges. An' fer a moment, I can see somethin' haunted in my eyes. Or a trick o' the light. So I grin. Yep, it is rather scary lookin'.
Rummagin' through the collection of oils an' cleaners an' more moisturizers than I care to name, I find somethin' not too bad, an' start scrubbin' with a shirt nabbed from one o' the closets. It takes a bit o' work, especially the mess in the air, but I'm finally kinda clean, though now I reek of almonds to my nose. It's better than strawberries I tell myself, an' then start tearin' through the closets, lookin' fer somethin' that won't be too embarassin', Not even botherin' to look at the footwear, the best I can do is some slacks, an' a pullover shirt o' some shiny material I can't even begin to identify. The slacks are more than a bit snug, an' the shirt is long an' baggy enough to make me think it's really someone's really short dress missin' the belt to it, but I don't look to bad in the mirror. I'd look like some rich prep, if I could wipe the killer's eyes outta the picture. With 'em, I just look mean. But I can work with that.
Findin' a chain from the jewelry box that's long enough to just slip on takes a bit o' work. I've got a thick neck, an' there's no way I'm gonna try to fiddle with some clasp. I'd just break the damn thing. Whoever belongs to this stuff has a thing fer chokers, but that's way beyond what I can handle. Stringin' the dice on the chain, I drop it outta sight under the shirt, after another glance in the mirror reminds me that these slacks don't leave much to the imagination, an' a lump o' plastic in my pocket would stand out. Now I've just gotta find someone to let me outta this room. The almond junk is spreadin', an' it's givin' me a stomachache. The door is locked, an' as far as I can tell, barred from the outside. It's an interior room, so no windows. I'm startin' to get that jerked around feelin' again, an' I'm not happy about that. But I fight off the urge to break somethin', since whoever's in charge around here is plannin' to feed me. I'm hopin' they cooked alot, because by the feelin', it's been about a full day since I checked out to the numb patch, an' I was hungry then.
Close enough to that hour from the moment I opened my eyes to not quibble about a few minutes, I hear the bars slide back, an' a sound of an outer door openin. Then the door I've been starin' at swings open, on some o' those damn invisible hinges. No wonder I couldn't figger out how to get out without makin' a mess. The fresh air is a life send, an' the almond that I've been slowly chokin' on starts to clear out. Yer standard butler enters, complete with the mouth wrinkles, an' gestures outta the room. It's as close to an engraved invitation I've ever gotten, so out I go, followin' the guy in the penguin get-up.
The floors outside my room make me glad I didn't worry about tryin' to find foot wear. All marble an' other slicky type stones that my nails click on, an' they line the floor in what I'm sure are nifty patterns, but I'm busy lookin' fer a window that'll let me see outside. No such luck. I don't bother talkin' to the help. I remember that much o' the etiquette Mystique drilled into my thick skull. The butler leads the way into one o' them dinin' rooms you only see in the movies, with the long table an' only two chair at either end. The only upliftin' thing about the whole room is the amount of junk on the table. It's like they were plannen' to feed me an' about six clones more to boot. Looks fine to me, I'm thinkin', 'till I see the figure at the other end o' the table.
The door closes behind me, echoing through the rediculously tall room. The figure stands up, an' glides this way. It's female, all dressed up in silk an' such, in rather thin layers. She's got a veil o' some sort over her face, but I smell some o' the skin creme from the room I left. That, an' a tinge o' excitement. She ain't scared, an'; that throws me off fer a bit. She pulls out the closer chair fer me, an' who am I not to take an offered seat? She then walks down the length o' the table, just enough sway in her step to keep my attention, an' settles in her chair. We've both got these high-backed monstrocities, that always remind me o' some documentary o' the English Crown or such. But I have to admit, they are kinda comfy. She takes a sip fo her wine (a pergnion '65 by the smell, good choice), so I dig in.
Now what kind o' brute do you take me for now. Yes, I know how to use the silverware and plates, all proper like. I just go through massive quantities o' the spread on the table. After about twenty minutes o' just droppin' stuff down into the black hole, I slow down an' start to actually taste siome o' this. Rather good, I'll admit. The cook deserves an award, an' someone had enough foresight to leave the veggies in the garden fer the most part. I'm not used to this kinda treatment, so I'm gettin' just a little unsettled. If they wanted to drug me, it would take a loe more than this, though I'm gonna pretend to forget about that numb patch thing. Just about the time I'm just gonna start screamin', just to break the forbiddin' silence o' this damn room, she starts to speak.
"Is it satisfactory?" I nod, using my napkin as I'm supposed to an' swallowin' the mouthful I'm workin' on. "Good. I'm glad you approve. I was worried that the rather rude method I used to bring you here would ruin your appetite. But considering your history, I am guessing that the exact opposite occurred." Oh, this gal knows me good. Guessin' how I work is hard on a good day. Hell, sometimes I don't know what I'm gonna do. But she did set out a good spread, an' she ain't pullin' a gun or such on me, so I'll let the hostory comment slide.
I try to match her tone, all royal an' such. It's a bit o' a stretch, but it kinda sounds good comin' from me. "an' where, exactly, am I right now? Other than in the dinin' room." Now I sound like some damn rich boy, all spoiled an' such. I could get very used to this.
"You are in my house, outside New York by quite a few miles." Well, it's a better answer than I figgered on gettin', considerin' my score on the other qusetions I've asked since this whole thing started. "I hope yoiu can forgive the method I used to finally have you arrive here. I have been wanting to meet you for quite some time, and the situations never seemed to look right." She's got one o' them voices that just glide like satin on water. Ok, I'm slightly distracted, but I ain't off in la la land yet. But if she looks half as good as she sounds an' smells, this just might get interestin'.
I shrug, an' return to the feat to pick a few tidbits just cryin' fer a sample. "I've lived through worse introductions, darlin'. Rather strange way to set up a date though. Most people just call an' leave a message on the machine." Munchin' a bit, I continue. "I'm just hopin' that you had nothin' to do with the attack. If you did, I'm afriad I gotta kill you on principle."
An' she don't even flinch. Now that takes somethin' that most frails don't come with. Instead o' cringin' or any o' the usual reactions I get to a casual death threat, she just laughs. "Oh no. That was not my doing, though I will admit I used it to my advantage." She polishes off her glass, an' walks down the table to one o' the bottles, an' refills it. Damn, she's got a walk that'll turn heads. The dress helps alot too. So quit lookin', Victor. "One should use the situation to their advantage, as it is presented to them." She walks back to her seat, an' I'm smartin' up enough not to watch this time. "Is that not the way you live? In the moment, not worrying about the next day?" It takes me a bit to hear her, what with her laugh an' all.
Someone's been fiddlin' with the lights behind the scenes, an' now all we're goin' off of is the colleciton o' candles on the table an' around the room. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this frail was tryin' to seduce me. Gotta be a death wish. Only way I can explain it, an' it sets me on edge again. Who would be crazy enough to want to catch me, especially if she knows my history a bit as she claims. There's a reason I don't have many kids. She notices the shift, an' fer the first time I catch that sweet tinge o' fear in the air. "So, what's the catch? Nothin's this good without a catch in it somewhere."
That laugh again. That will drive me up the nearest wall realy quick, so I'm hopin' she'll stop it. She gestures with her glass, a moment of indecision I guess. "A catch... ah, yes. You're unquenchable desire to see traitors and back stabbers in every person you ever meet. Not your most charming trait, but it makes sense, considering what I know of your history." My history? Hell, I can't figger half o' it myself, an' now she's gonna tell me my life story? This is interestin', so I'll roll with it.
"Well, history's been provin' me right fer years darlin'." I lean back, tryin' to figger out if I've totally lost control o' this situation. I'm gettin' that wall closin' in feelin' I hate, an; the resd haze is threatenin' me again. I can't seem to keep the edge lately, an' I'm not happy about this. Now I know what a puppet on strings fels like, an' I'm feelin' sorry for that guy. I grab one o' the like eight glasses at my spot, an' fling it against a wall, the shatterin' glass soothin' on my nerves.
An' she sighs. The crazy gal sighs, like I've just spouted the best come-on line in the book. Oh yeah, she is one sick little girl. I'm tryin' to think o' one gal I've ever known that liked it when someone broke their pretty little things, an' I'm pullin' a blank. I won't do that again. I'll just leave the glass an' other breakables in their places on the table like a gentleman or such, an' behave myself. This is far beyond spooky. This has entered the realm of downright disturbin'. Scary thing is, that's the way I like things. She's good.
She picks up her glass, an' heads fer the door which swings open, then turns an' waits fer me. Forget the glass, I grab the whole bottle, an' set my pace to hers. I know my limits, an' there ain't enough kick in the bottle to give me more than a pleasant buzz fer half an hour or so. I follow her though a whole bunch o' halls, confusin' me rahter badly. I never really thought about how much i relied on the sun an' moon fer my directions, but I do now.
"My family built this house many years ago, when they arrived in this country. It was out home, retreat, and fortress all in one." An' I can believe it, from the number o' historic weapons an' such mounted on the walls, all with neat little plaques that give history on them. "We came here, and we died here. This country has not been kind to us. I am the last of the true family. After me, a mere cousin will have this to care for." The house is like a maze, I can never tell where the halls meet each other. All I'm pickin' up is her scent, an' that butler's. There's not a single window I can find, an' the artificial lights are neutral. Not feelin' good dirt under my feet is unnervin', an' the air, other than fer her an' the house service, is too clean. Artificial. Not the environment I excel at.
So I'm gettin' a history lesson too. Do I look line one o' those people that gets a kick outta readin' them dusty books? "History kills us all darlin'. I'm no exception to that. i get my mind off the damn lessons, by watchin' her walk an' imaginin' all the damage I could do with nothin' more than a letter opener. then I remember the damage that walk was doin' to me earlier, an' turn back to the junk on the walls. I'm runnin' outta things I can look at around here. "So get over it. We're all gonna die. It's just a thing of when, where and how. The why ain't important in the end." That touch o' fear comes over her again, along with anticipation. She's sweatin' alright, but not o' terror. An' I'm beyond angry. I'm all the way to curious.
The tour finally ends, with us standin' in front o' the double doors that lead back into the room that reeks of almond. She turns an' glances at me, and i guess understands the look on my face, an' heads me to yet another double doored room. How many guests has this gal had here? She gestures me in, an' then follows, closin' the inner door behind her. Lo an' behold, it's a twin fer my first room, minus the almond stench. I turn at the click o' the door. I've seen the doors not, and I know I can get out any time I choose, so I don't worry. It's not like she'd be abot to out-muscle me or anyhtin'. She faces me, an' slowly pulls off the veil thing. Guess I shouldn't have wondered if her face matched her sound an' scent.
Ouch. That's nice lookin'. I'm talkin' better than Jean Grey on a good day, better than Mystique on a better one, an' even better than the look on someone's face who's about to buy it cause o' me. I have one o' them nerveless moments, I'll admit. At least I keep my jaw off the floor, thank you very much. But you'd probably be able to take a picture of my mug an' paste it in a dictionary right next to dazed an' confused. She takes the bottle from me, an' i don't even realize this until I hear it smash against a wall. The scent of good red wine hits me, knockin' everythin' outta reach. Then she does the most stupid thing she could do, if she values her life. I'm talkin more stupid than some o' the stuff I've been up to the last little bit. I'm talkin' more stupid than wearin' a swastika to a Jewish cookout, dancin' in the middle of a field in a thunderstorm with ten feet o' copper tubing kinda stupid. She kisses me.
An that particular animal's leash goes right through my fingers. Game over, please check yer brain at the door, fasten your safety belt while the ride is in motion, no deposit an' no return. Oh, an' now yer interested in my story. Like I would tell you, you pervert. This was the lady's night, not yers. By the way, I did finally get her name. Stacie. An' she sure as hell knew my name. Howled it to the four winds loud enough to rattle my teeth at times. She might have left marks, but they didn't last long. I know i left a few, but not a word o' complaint from her. A hint or two? I'll agree to that. After all, it's my damn life, not her's. It was good, sweet, rough, it lasted quite a while, an' there were two people breathin' when I finally fell into dreams of blood. Only one was breathin' when I woke back up, wrapped in the sweetness o' cinnamon an' smoke.