“And leave the audio on,” Niklas says with the unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. “I got nothing to hide. Like some of us.” The bright light blinks out and bathes us in the glow from the screens again when the door closes behind him.
Izabel’s eyes skirt mine, stung by the meaning behind my brother’s words, and then she nervously turns back to the screen.
My cigarette is lit by the time I go into the room with Nora, whoever the fuck she is—right now she’s just a pretty piece of ass with a death wish.
The sound of my boots tapping across the tile is the only sound as I make my way toward her, but that self-possessed smile she wears is louder. Silky blonde hair rests about her shoulders, tumbling down the little crevices between her arms and her breasts, which are nice to look at, I admit. She wears a see-through black silk blouse, long-sleeved, with a black bra on display underneath, busting with…I don’t know, large C’s surely. I don’t give a shit what Izabel said about men and what they like about a woman and what it says about them—I don’t have a preference; I like everything, so I can only imagine what that must say about me.
Smoke streams from my lips as I sit down in the empty chair across from her. I hunch over forward with my legs apart, propping my elbows on the tops of my thighs just above my knees. Cigarette ashes tumble onto the floor as I realize there’s no ashtray in the room.
Nora smiles, and although her deep red lipstick has been wiped away, her plump lips are still red and I can picture them wrapped around my cock quite nicely.
I smile back with that thought and raise the filter to my lips once more.
“I thought for sure Dorian Flynn would be next,” she says as she quietly looks me over. “Since I have his ex-wife and all.”
“That surprises me,” she says.
I take another drag and then lean back in the chair, slouching against it. I cross my arms over my chest, the cigarette still burning between my fingers situated over my left bicep.
“And why’s that?” I ask, but really I don’t care.
Nora gets up on tall, leather-covered legs and black-heeled shoes and begins to walk back and forth slowly behind her chair. Her ass is round and perfect in those tight pants, and it takes me a second to shake off the distraction and realize that her ankles are no longer bound.
“The better question would be what’d you use to get the cuffs unlocked? Got a key hidden away inside of you somewhere?”—I take another quick puff—“I could do a cavity search. Right here right now with everybody watching.”
She smiles faintly and looks off at the wall for a moment.
“And you’d probably enjoy it,” she says, “wouldn’t you?” Her eyes fall on mine, laced with implication.
“Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I’d like the hell out of it.” I take one last pull and hold the smoke deep in my lungs, and add with a strained voice, “but don’t mistake that for some dewy-eyed fucker easily falling for your shit. I could fuck you all day long and still chain you back up in this room and let you rot.” I put the cigarette out on the sole of my boot and toss the butt on the floor. “Now sit your little ass down before I put you down.” My gun, pulled from the back of my pants, is trained on her.
The smile in her eyes fades just a little bit, enough for me to know that I pissed her off. But she sits down anyway, crossing one long leg over the other, stretching the black leather even tighter over her thighs. She crosses her arms and rests her back against the chair, tilting her head gently to one side. The skin underneath her left eye is puffy and discolored. There’s a small cut across her neck just above her shoulder-blade. She has a couple of scars I didn’t notice before—one on her chin, one across her throat—but the missing tip of her pinky finger is what I can’t help but look at. It’s probably always the one thing about her that anybody looks at when they’re not looking at her ass or her legs or her tits.
“Don’t start in on the finger,” she says, noticing. “Izabel beat you to the punch on that one and it’s an old subject.”
I grin and say, “Or, it’s a touchy subject.”
Nora folds her hands together on top of the table and leans forward. “Time is running out, Niklas,” she says, dropping the suggestive smiles and the playful attitude and getting down to business. “So how about we get to your confession?”
I smile lightly, shaking my head. “Well sure, that’s what I came here for,” I answer, my voice tinged with sarcasm. “But mostly I’m eager to see how you plan to make me confess something that doesn’t exist. You see, I’m not like Woodard, who blows his load the second the panties drop. Or Izabel, who still has a lot to learn—”
“Is that what you think of her?” Nora says with a hint of accusation. “That she’s just a little girl, trying to make a name for herself in this deadly underground world that she just”—her eyes harden with emphasis—“Doesn’t. Quite. Belong in.”
She smiles and holds up a slender finger.
“Or, is there something more going on?”
I laugh. “Let me stop you right there,” I say, pointing at her. “If you’re getting around to accusing me of being in love with my brother’s woman or some dumb shit like that, then you’re gonna be very disappointed.” I shake my head at the absurdness of it.
Nora just sits there, smiling at me, and it makes me uncomfortable as much as it irritates the shit out of me.
“No, of course not,” she finally says, also with sarcasm. “I’m not implying that at all. You shot her once. You despise her, right?” There’s challenge in her question. “And for what?”
“I don’t know,” I say, growing more irritated the more she talks. “You’re supposed to be the one who knows everything; why don’t you fucking tell me?”
“Jealousy,” she says, “or perhaps the more suitable word would be heartbreak.”
I feel my eyebrows crumpling in my forehead. I reach up absently and scratch the stubble of my face.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Truly, I have no fucking idea.
Nora’s eyes soften on me for a moment, causing further confusion.
“You’re jealous of your brother because he has something that you don’t”—I grit my teeth behind closed lips—“because he has something you once had. And it still kills you to think about her to this day.”