An Act of Contrition (pt 4)

Sapphire was still on edge. She’d banned a vampire earlier and wasn’t yet sure that was the end of it. Those curse children were like vermin. The moment you let one into your space, more would start to pop up. The one she’d tossed had seemed reasonable, though, so perhaps she’d be lucky. The Calm was just that; her calm. She’d worked hard to earn the money to start this place. She’d worked hard to stay under the various radars that could make her life more work than she wanted it to be, whether it be avoiding hunters, however thin their numbers had become since Butterfly’s war, or the oppressive over-watch of the Choir with their registrations and check-ins. She didn’t want that unduly disrupted.

A light tap on her office door sent a disquiet chill running through her. Soft and rapid, like the person doing it was desperate to be only noticed by the room’s occupant. Sapphire took a deep breath and opened the door.

“Sorry, Ma’am.” It was Shawna, one of her younger employees. Her face was creased with barely hidden fear. “Three people just showed up and started asking us questions about that guy you told us not to serve. Kenny told them he wasn’t allowed in anymore because you said so, and the big one started to ask why in a real quiet voice, but not the normal quiet but the scary quiet-” Sapphire put a finger to the child’s lips to shush her. The poor creature to shaking.

“Wait in my office, okay?” Sapphire said, gently brushing the girl’s face. “It’ll be fine.”

Shawna nodded, darted into the office, and closed the door.

At the bar were three people who looked to be in their mid-twenties. Two looked like they were brother and sister, similar in build and feature, but the third was tall and muscular. They were all dressed like the vampire and She knew they weren’t just acquainted, but most assuredly related. The tall one had a causal finger hooked into the strap of Kenny’s apron and had the young man pulled low over the counter as he spoke softly into his ear. Other patrons were already looking and talking in hushed tones about it. It would be impossible to redirect their attention from something so obvious.

“Is there a problem?” Sapphire said, trying to fill her tone more with authority than anger.

“You the owner?” The Tall Man asked.

“I am, so let that boy go. If there is an issue, I’m happy to entertain you.”

The Woman chuckled. “You look like you would be.”

“Did you toss a man out today for no reason? Dressed like us?” The Tall man asked. His voice was calm, but it still brimmed with threat. She felt something push on her. It was vampiric glamor. The voice of authority. If she’d had any doubts before, they were now long gone.

“I did,” Sapphire said as she calmly freed her employee from the Tall Man’s finger. He’d tensed his finger, but the idea of touching him disgusted her, so she simply slid the fabric free, allowing Kenny to quickly step out of range.

“Maybe you don’t realize who you fucked with.”

“No. I’m well aware of who I fucked with. You don’t seem to be so fortunate.” Sapphire said, her tone one of cool fury. She walked around the counter, dragging her hand as she went. “You’ve upset me greatly. I suspect your father is simply a poor teacher for the same reason you all are the way you are, so I’m going to be nice.” Her tone softened as she came as close as she could without touching him. “Leave. You have scared my employees and my customers. You have disrupted my place of business. You have disrupted my peace. You have disrupted a Mother’s peace. Leave without another word or act to piss me off and maybe, just maybe, I’ll forget this.”

The Tall Man seemed unprepared for Sapphire’s boldness. His friends did the same, their unease at being so directly challenged showing clearly on their faces. The Tall Man recovered quickly, however, and began to look the Succubus up and down. He leaned in, a lascivious grin splitting his face. He reached around her and deliberately grabbed hold of her rear, digging his fingers in roughly. He stared right into her eyes, without blinking.

Everything about his touch was infuriating. She could rip the life out of him for his audacity, but it would be hard to hide. She could strike him, but he was ready for it. If anything, he wanted her to hit him and if she missed or he blocked the ensuing fight would be an even greater issue. She couldn’t even harden her form to stop his grip from hurting. She could do nothing more than stare him down and hope it didn’t escalate any further.

“Bo,” The woman with him said, putting her hand on his arm.

The Tall man named Bo finally relented. He leaned in and gave her a peck on the cheek. “You see me again, you’d best count your toes, or I might just make you,” He said.

The three walked out, the air filled now with nothing more than the jingle of the doorbells and the ambient radio.

“Are you okay, Ma’am?” Kenny asked as he stepped around the counter.

“I’m fine, Dear,” Sapphire said stiffly. “Did that girl call that boy, Bo?”

“I think so.”

Sapphire nodded and shook herself, running her fingers through her hair. “I’ll be in my office. Let me know if you need anything,” She said as she briskly made her way to the back.

“You got it,” Kenny said. “I’m sor-“

“Don’t apologize for things you didn’t do, Ken,” She said cutting him off.

Sapphire gently shooed the still shaken Shawna out of her office and shut the door softly before leaning heavily against it. She knew this would happen. Vampires are problems. They are predisposed to be problems. They were the worst things about humanity evolved. She’d make him pay for this insult. That whole wretched pack would pay.

She walked over to her desk and picked up her phone, dialing a number she hasn’t needed to use in quite some time.

“Hello,” A cheery voice on the other end greeted her.

“This is Sapphire Smith.”

“Hm, you one of Diamond’s?”

“No. Joy’s.”

“Ahh. Okay. You’re out in Illinois, yeah? You sound upset.”

“I need a Child of Contrition sent.”

“I see.” The woman on the phones voice grew hard. “Consider it done. Are you okay?”

“I will be.”

“That you will, Sister.”

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