Worth It?

I completed my latest grift, that was not a grift, with Janice, I was finally free to be me for a while before I headed off into the world to find a new mark and a new game to play. I didn’t make a dime on this venture. It was disappointing but none of Janice’s friends had any good insider knowledge that I could exploit. Turns out she moved in circles where honesty was valued, no under the table deals or anything like that. Boring really,

My phone beeped from an unknown number with a text. Only two people had this number – Poet and The Wicked Truth. And I wasn’t expecting anything from Wicked, he was paid and unless he found something interesting he wouldn’t contact me. So that only left Poet. I had tried so hard to avoid him while I was in the City. But it seemed I had failed.

The message was a place and a time. Time enough to walk there from my real apartment which I was avoiding because I didn’t want Janice to see me coming or going from it. I wore a pair of ripped black jeans – the kind you buy with the holes already in them that my mother would have bitched at me about. ‘Why do you buy holes in them?’

I rolled my eyes as the sound of my mother’s voice echoed in my head treating me like a child. I wore a threadbare heavy metal t-shirt that was one size too small. I wasn’t going for macho. But I so the fuck didn’t need to see another fucking pastel pink shirt and slacks for the remainder of the week.

The coffee shop was small and I didn’t bother making an order with the barista Poet was already sitting down at a long legged table. His scruffy blonde hair brushed back and a pair of jeans and a button down shirt that looked like he had grown up in the 30s. Which could only mean Poet had just come from his chess game in Central Park in the guise of an elderly man. Magic was commonplace in Poet’s world. He saw through my names, and my thoughts and I couldn’t break through his shields. I stopped trying years ago.

I pulled up one of the high legged chairs at the table and sat down in front of a coffee – cream with two sugars, just the way I liked it. Poet was starting off right for a change – he wanted something from me.

Poet gave me a nod while I sipped my coffee. He was getting better at this. It made me worry a little. Poet was serious out of the gate. There were no games this afternoon.

“How was your chess game?” I asked.

Poet gave me a sly grin. “I lost – again. Checkmate, three days.”

“Why don’t you just cheat? You say he doesn’t have a photographic memory and he could care less.”

“I did that once.” Poet said. “He knew I’d change it to win in a move. It’s actually more difficult to set the board up to win in one move than it is to just play the game. He let me win. There was no other options.”

“So why keep playing?” I asked as I sipped my coffee again.

“It’s a challenge.” Poet said as he reached inside his bag hanging on the back of his chair. He set a single flash drive and a manilla folder down on top of the table. “And it lets me see how well the boy is doing.”

“You’ve been watching him a long time then.” I stated and set my cup down. Pleasantries were over with the real work on the table. “What do you want this time?”

“Just information.” Poet said with a smirk. “Nothing untold and nothing difficult. Has to be better than the pastels you’ve been wearing for the past few months.”

If it had been anyone else I would stared in shock, but this was Poet, and Poet had eyes and ears everywhere. He probably had my phone tracked and knew my whereabouts since I got to the city. I hated that about him.

“Tell me about the job. Or is it that hush-hush.”

Poet shook his head, not a hair on his head moved it was so plastered in place to give it that scruffy look he loved. Not the kind of hair you wanted to run your fingers through. “I’ll pay you three times your usual fee.”

I was about to stand up. If he started out that high this was a job he knew I didn’t want to take. “Why the fuck for?”

“It’s potentially dangerous.”

“Uh huh. Tell me, Poet, now, or I walk.”

He smirked. “Three times your usual fee. I’ll pay all expenses you incur, including any food and or gifts needed to secure the information I’m looking for.”

“Why do you keep going higher and not telling me what you want?”

His smirk turned to a grin. “Is it tempting you?” He asked.

I growled. “Maybe.” If Poet thought it was dangerous or even if it was just a game to intrigue me. He knew risks were part of the game. I never shied from risk.

He added, “And I’ll owe you a favor.”

“Any favor? Any time I want? No questions asked?”

Poet nodded. “Are you in?”

“I don’t know, you haven’t told me what I’m doing.”

He pushed the flash drive towards me and opened the folder it had been sitting on. A number of pictures were the only thing in the folder. On top a man who I recognized. The growl of anger started in my throat but I bit it back. Poet was smirking at me. “He’s Venatori.”

I looked up from the picture at Poet and stared in disbelief. He fucking wanted me to read a Venatori? What the fuck!

Poet said again. “Three times your usual fee, a favor and all expenses paid. I’ll even pay your rent for the extent of the job.”

“What’s his name?” I demanded.

“His name is Nox Sétanta. As I said he’s Venatori, specifically MNC5.” Whatever the fuck that was, but I knew it was a ranking of their magical ability. “I want to know if he will present me a danger in the future, if he can be controlled if he is, or does he need to be eliminated entirely.”

“That’s not vague. So what you want me to tell you everything?” I asked.

“Whatever you think is important. I don’t care what his favorite food is, but I care who he cares about, what are his weaknesses. I have reason to believe this man is key to the future of our very existence and I need to know if he’s on the right side.” Poet closed the folder. “The flash drive has all the surveillance we could get on him. Street cams, schedule, his friends on the outside. But anything on the inside is impossible to get. Reaper fails at every turn to get me the information I desire. So I turn to my favorite path and ask him to do me this great big favor and I’ll owe him one.”

“I’ll think about it.” I said. I grabbed the flash drive and stuffed it in my pocket then grabbed the folder and what remained of my coffee. I gave Poet a nod and headed out the door just as my phone rang.

Olivers Orgie House (Alex)

The Wicked Truth had been fast. Within an hour I had a meeting with Jaxen Oliver of Oliver’s Orgie House, or more politely know as Ooh. I googled them, and found their website. It was a classy black web page with purple lettering that looked like Neon glow. There was a contact form, and a ‘secure’ registration page. No other information.

I clicked the registration page just to see what would happen and it took me to a single text box with a purple glowing button. The box read: ‘Referral’

I bet it wasn’t even a name, I bet it was a bunch of random characters that only had one use. I’d seen gambling sites and even porography sites like that. You pay for a code and it sends you a code.

I dressed in a little differently when I want to meet with Jaxen. I opted for a green pastel polo with a pair of black slacks and a pair of comfortable boots. I grabbed a hooded sweatshirt to make it look like I was slightly embarrassed to be about that type of place.

The place wasn’t too far from either of my homes – well with in walking distance, but I grabbed a taxi instead. I was playing the lost rich boy I might as well spend the money, though this job wasn’t going to have the payout I had been expecting. I was going to have to make this trip worthwhile with a few new investments from someone in Janice’s crowd or maybe even at Ooh.

The address I was given however was not Ooh. It was a discrete coffee shop across the street from the glowing purple neon sign that blinked in the daylight. A blond man with blue eyes stood when I walked in and offered me a seat at his table. “Mr. Smith. A pleasure to meet you. A mutual friend said you needed a favor?”

A mutual friend. I wouldn’t call the Wicked Truth a friend but I nodded anyway. “You could say that.”

Mr. Oliver’s order arrived as did a coffee with cream and two sugars. I looked across at him and shook my head. “Our mutual friend.”

He nodded. “He is thorough.”

“He is.” I nodded then took a sip of my hot coffee. It was amazing. I set the cup down with a smile. “And he knows how to pick the place.”

“He didn’t pick it.”

“You did?”

Mr. Oliver shook his head. “Ah, no. Our mutual friend used a mutual friend to get in touch, this is his preferred coffee joint.”

I didn’t like other people knowing my business. “How many people know about our meeting?”

“Just me and our mutual friend. It’s an exchange of favors. I owe his friend a favor. And his friend owes him a favor. Access to the club I can manage without our third party interference, but our friend doesn’t know me personally, he couldn’t exactly set up a meeting I’d actually attend even if it was on my agenda.” He spoke in a roundabout way but the connection to both of them was clear. The images in his head while he thought about their mutual acquaintance almost made me blush.

“So he knew nothing?”

“Only that a meeting face to face needed to go down.” He smiled, “And the fact that a hacker had set up the meeting meant discrete. This was discrete. I wouldn’t have had a problem with you coming into Ooh for this face to face. No one is there right now but me and the staff anyway. What is it you are looking for Mr. Smith.”

I informed Jaxen Oliver of Janice’s desires and his face lit up with a bright smile. “We can manage a few training sessions for the three of you, and introduce her to a few of our free agents see how they hit it off. If she’s looking for romance, then I’m not sure we have any that fit her needs. Most of our men are single bachelors for life type men. They want to live the lifestyle never really tying themselves down to anyone submissive. But I could be wrong and she’ll fall totally in love with one of them and he her.

Jaxen opened up his phone and flicked around and then looked up at me with a smile. “I have an introductory opening tomorrow at noon. After the session and medical clearance we can do at the same time, she’ll be free to attend the mixer we have that night. It won’t just be D/s players, maybe she’ll find a new kink.” Jaxen smiled brightly.

“I’ll talk it over with her, can I get back to you.”

“No need Mr. Smith. If she says yes, come on in. If not, well I will have missed your blue eyes in the audience.” He was flirting with me as he stood up. His fingers brushed across my knuckles and then his hand drifted to my shoulder. “I have another meeting to get to and if I’m late…” He didn’t go on but there was a wink and he walked out of the coffee shop like he owned the place. The images I got back from his thoughts were highly sexual and it surprised me to know without a shadow of a doubt that the man who’d just left was a fucking submissive and his plans were with his Dom who he loved. There were a lot of whispered thoughts as he left. ‘He’s hot, the other guy isn’t bad either. He’s still sitting there.’ And that was when I got up and headed for the door dropping some additional cash on the table despite the fact Jaxen had left money before I even sat down.

The Wicked Truth (Alex)

Janice dropped me off at the Lincoln Center apartment and I asked her if she wanted to come up and we could talk more, but she had other obligations. I was knew those obligations were not made up, there were people counting on her to take care of the accounting of funds for the Children’s hospital.

When I got up stairs to my apartment I placed the egg on the mantle in the center. I had photos of me doing daring things on there. Actual photos of me doing things – rock climbing, skydiving. I had a feeling she’d like them and the more I actually got to know her I was correct in my assessment. Though, I wouldn’t be playing the romance angel, gay best friend was going to work much better.

I knew from her own thoughts she’d always wanted a gay best friend. So now I had to rework that angle.

My connections weren’t exactly a lie, but they were faked. I had one connection that truly mattered – his handle was ‘The Wicked Truth’. He was a hacker of unique ability. Though there was Reaper – who unlike The Wicked Truth liked to work against me. He would always undercut me on intel jobs if we were competing. Seriously annoying. He was likely a kid. The Wicked Truth wasn’t like that and he was well worth the price I had to pay to get what I wanted done.

It wasn’t hard to contact him. Once long ago I had made the mistake of letting him access my phone. And he implanted a little program that tracked me. I’d switched phones, but he always seemed to be able to track me down. Bank accounts or something he said. There was always a way. I didn’t doubt him. It was well beyond my acquired wisdom.

I shot him a text over the encrypted program he kept installing.

BS: Have a job for you

It wasn’t long before I got a reply back

tWT: What do you need?

BS: Need to gain access to a high end D/s club

tWT: Personal connections cost more

BS: I know, can you hook me up or not?

tWT: Of course I can. 30K For another 30K I can get you in with the owner.

That was an interesting thought. I ran my fingers through my hair trying to make the decision. I paced the living room of my posh apartment. It was a lot of money for one thing, but it was worth it.

BS: OK. Will be wired as usual.

tWT: Information will follow.

While I waited for the information from the Wicked Truth. I had to make a few wardrobe changes and rethink some of the choices in my apartment. I didn’t look like I was a closet gay. Not that I knew what one looked like, since I wasn’t one. There had been plenty of men in my life. The first man to… I didn’t want to think about it. The experience itself wasn’t bad, but the memories that came with it were something I really wanted nothing to do with – specially now that I was back in New York.

The Limo Ride Home (Alex)

I ended up paying too much for a trinket. It was a jeweled egg, there were plenty of other jeweled eggs, apparently Kate had collected them, but this one reminded me of Kate. Janice told me this one was the last one she had purchased before she passed, and that it had represented her love of life.

Janice leaned in and whispered, “My mother was having an affair with a younger man when she bought this. You can see the blues, Mother said they reminded her of his eyes. I never met the man, she kept him secreted away god knows where. But she was happy. Not that I was around to see any of it. Lyle was envenomed at her for leaving half the estate to the Foundation. I’m selling the rest off for the foundation to stuff it it in his face.”

Janice was so proud of herself for standing up to her ex. And she was auctioning off Kate’s remaining estate to benefit the foundation Kate started. My entire plan was shot. But now more than ever I wanted to help to do something. So when Janice offered me a ride home I gladly took it. I was pretending to drink too much, but I hadn’t really had a sip, I only made her think that. She on the other hand had the entire bottle of champagne except for the one glass I had, and several cocktails at the auction.

The window to the drivers door was down and Janice was lounging against me. She looked up and I saw her mother. But this was a different woman. I kissed her and it felt wrong. Janice was her daughter. I looked away and out the window. Janice sat up and put her hand on my leg. “What’s wrong darling, I thought we were having fun.”

I took a deep breathe. And turned to look at her. I smiled and I knew I didn’t feel it. “I… I have a confession to make.” I felt sheepish, and small, all part of the act. I had a new angle, and it hadn’t taken long to come up with it. “I’m gay.” I sighed in relief. Like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. “You’re the first person I’ve told.”

Her hand went to her mouth and she giggled. “I have a confession to make too.” She looked over at the drivers window and grinned at the man up front. He knew whatever it was she was going to confess. “I have a kink.”

“Don’t we all.” I said. It was heavy on her mind exactly what that kink was and how much her ex-husband judged her for it, but I let her tell me herself. Most of the time what they thought and what they said didn’t match. I couldn’t wait to hear it.

“My husband didn’t understand it. That’s why he’s my ex. She reached under one of the seats and pulled out a box. It was ominous whatever this secret was. She opened the lid and inside was a set of leather clothes. Though I wasn’t sure how much of it would be thought of as clothing, there was a collar, though it looked too manly for something a woman like Janice would wear. But the rest, the panties, the bra that was just a strip across each nipple binding her body tightly. She probably looked amazing in it, but the whips and handcuffs and the other implements of her kink were not my thing.

I could only do so much before I’d have to bail. I asked, “Are you the top or the bottom?”

I hadn’t judged her. Her smile brightened. “A top. I haven’t found the right man yet.”

“You are looking for ano… what do they call them? subs?” I smiled hoping she hadn’t noticed the slip, “I might be able to help you?”

She shook her head, “No I have a sub, don’t I Jimmy?” She said looking to the driver.

“Yes ma’am. I’m sure Jared would love for you to find someone else to play with him too.”

“Jared?” I asked.

“My sub. He’s my pool boy. He lives in the building, tends to the gym areas, but we all call him the pool boy. He’s very well behaved, but he likes men too. He’s happy to have me as his Mistress, but I sense he’s not happy.”

“So you’re looking for another top to top him with, or top you?” I asked. Genuinely questioning the intent here. I’d heard of threesomes, and a chain of tops and bottoms, but I’d never actually seen the chain happen before.

Janice giggled and picked up the cat of nine tails and smacked it against her own leg. “I don’t think I’d like to be a bottom at all. A little spanking from a lover is alright, but I think I’ll stay on top.”

I grinned, “I might be able to help you. Give me a day or two and I’ll arrange something.”

Janice smiled at me, “How are you going to help me?”

I smiled. “Along with money, I have some connections.”

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The Mercenary Bitch (Alex)

I followed Kate’s daughter around for two weeks listening to her thoughts, watching her habits. I had my hacker bug her phone and gather whatever social media presence she had. Then with all that intel I knew what she wanted and needed to get my biggest reward. I rented an apartment above the Lincoln Center, something that fit her budget and her prestige. It was a three bedroom with a great view of Central park. It was already furnished and I was more than happy with the decorations. The next step was to put myself in her path. Which wasn’t hard. She frequented a high end club that her ex-husband used to own. But he sold out to some other high end company. I was beginning to not like her ex. He had taken advantage of a great many things.

Janice also had the auction where she was selling her mother’s estate off. I was going to that of course, but I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. Seeing Kate’s possessions was bound to have a negative effect on my mood. Or a good one depending on what it was. New York City was a rough place to be.

The auction was to take place in an hour at Kate’s estate. I’d never been there. We stayed at high end hotels at first, then the place I have now. It was a gift from her late husband when they were dating. But I wouldn’t be going back there for a while now that I had to play the role of Brent Smith. Ironically the name I was supposed to use with her mother, but when asked by those plump red lips I said Alex. I never used my real name.

I dressed in a high end tailored suit and shoes that cost more than the monthly rent on the apartment. I felt good. I looked even better. This woman was going to be eating out of my hands.

Kate’s estate wasn’t a grand lush mansion. Those didn’t exist in New York City. Maybe out in the Hamptons but in New York they were penthouse estates. I wasn’t the only one dressed to the nines on our way up to the auction site. I had to keep thinking like that, this was about the acquisitions, the antiques, the paintings, the jewellery. I needed to forget these were Kate’s things. Janice was the mark, and I needed to

But the moment I walked into the penthouse apartment I could smell Kate. And when I laid eyes on Janice Pritchard I could have swore I saw Kate. I stopped in mid step and the man behind me ran into me. I adjusted my coat and stepped aside with a mumbled apology. I stared for too long, the woman approached me with a bright smile – the same smile as her mother when I first met her.

The smile made it easier and harder as she came up to me with it. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. Mister…” she fished for my name.

“Smith, but you can call me Brent.” One minor victory, I didn’t tell her my name.

“Brent. What are you here for today?”

I glanced around and looked at the sign for the auction and was taken aback by the generous donation of Janice Pritchard to the very same children’s hospital her mother had founded and given half of her estate to. I looked back at the woman who looked terribly like her mother, and had the same large heart for their fallen kin. “I’m here for the children.”

“Oh, how lovely.” Janice clapped her hands. “Come sit by me. I can give you all sorts of juicy tidbits about each of the pieces.”

Charity Case (Alex)

New York City’s skyline came into view over the horizon but disappeared as the Lincoln tunnel entryway dipped below the ground. I’d been staring at the city wishing the weather was warmer so I could have the top down. Driving Serenity in the winter was not my favorite thing to do, but I had a woman to see and this the fastest way in and out of the City I so despised.

I had bad memories here, but it was more than that. The crowds, all the people, but more so, all the supernatural people made a home in the City that Never Sleeps. New York was home to vampires, and werewolves and worst of all the Venatori – the killers of men like me.

Last week one of those bad memories came back to haunt me. I was reading the headlines on my phone while lounging poolside with Veronica – my last mark. A wealthy woman who was embezzling from a Children’s Hospital – of all things. She was their accountant – well sorta. She worked for the company that did their accounting and she didn’t actually know she was stealing from the kids. Veronica just saw an influx of cash.

I only really cared because Kate had cared about this charity. She’d lost her son to a childhood cancer. Only to lose herself to a different strain of the disease years later. Normally I’d have taken Veronica for all she was worth, but this time I did it for the kids. I did the honorable thing and sent the information to the FBI before I left with little more than a kiss goodbye. She thought I was just going to get ice.

But that was when I saw the headline, “Daughter of Kate Blanchard to Auction off the entire Blanchard Estate.” I had more than enough information on Veronica so I bailed and now me and Serenity were heading back into the city that held the worst of my memories – almost as horrible as seeing the mangled body of my mother lying on a slab in the morgue. I’d been seventeen then, and Kate had saved me. Only to fucking die a year later.

A car blared its horn behind me pulling me from the despicable memory. I pulled up all of a cars length and flipped the guy the bird in the mirror. We were getting nowhere fast.

After I got through the Lincoln tunnel it would be a short ride, though probably still take me well over an hour to get to the apartment Kate left me when she passed. I’d stayed there a few times but I hadn’t been back in years – 5 years to be exact. I didn’t want to think about the reason. It was enough that I had a job to do. I couldn’t believe the little conniving bitch was selling everything her mother owned. I could just purchase it all but what was the fun in that? No, there were better ways to get the sort of revenge she deserved. I had heard all about the family squabbles and the ill-intent for her mother in the year we’d been together. All I could think then was spoiled little brat. Now I was thinking mercenary bitch!

What I wouldn’t have given for one more day with my mother. Just to say goodbye. But Janice Pritchard didn’t have the same kindness towards her mother. If it hadn’t had been for me Kate would have died alone. I didn’t like seeing her die. It had reminded me too much of my own mother, despite the fact the relationship hadn’t been similar. Losing someone was always hard.

I could still hear the rattle in of Kate’s breathing as she took her last breath. It was the stuff of my nightmares.

The first thing I would do when I opened the apartment door was take a shower, then I’d call the cleaning lady to schedule a full cleaning. The place had to be full of dust even though I had it cleaned once a month. I couldn’t wait to lay down in the bed. It was my bed. I’d bought it, picked it out and it was heaven. I needed a good night’s rest before I started my assessment of Janice Pritchard.