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    AvatarGoodBoy Jchrist
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    Episode 31

    “Challenge accepted”

    Written by Jchrist (African Goodboy)
    _________________________________________

    Victoria POV

    I wasn’t good at being a damsel in distress.
    It took a little more than creepy clowns or real life monsters or being on the brink of death to scare the crap out of me.
    Seeing my dead mother pinned to the ceiling came awfully close though.
    Her eyes were open in what I could only describe as inhuman curiosity. Her skin was translucent, her dark red hair, so like mine, floating in the air like she was underwater.
    She looked just she always had : the intimidatingly intelligent, amazing woman who was the only ray of sunshine I’d had growing up.
    I had tears in my eyes and I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
    Because as much as I was up for a super emotional family reunion, there was just one problem with this situation.
    Nothing could bring back the dead.
    With all their fancy parlour tricks, there was one kind of magic the Immortals could never do.
    She opened her mouth and spoke, only there were no words.
    Just a shriek so high pitched, the windows shattered. I shielded myself, pulling up my tattered blanket, gripping Biscuit’s blade harder.
    “You’re not real.” I whispered, as she reached out. Her expression was so sad, it tugged at my heart.
    You can’t be real.
    I closed my eyes, throwing the blade upward. There was a brilliant flash of light when I opened them again.
    She was gone.
    Biscuit jumped through the window at exactly that moment, giving me my second heart attack for the evening.
    “What happened?” He looked around, alert. “Are you alright?”
    “I was.” I muttered, swallowing. “Have you heard of a door, Biscuit? I totally dig the whole burglar thing you got going, but you should try that next time.”
    He joined me on the bed, looking at me intently. “You sure you’re alright?”
    “Yes.”
    I took a deep breath, but I let him wrap his hand around my waist.
    I wasn’t entirely lying. There was a time when I’d been used to this. My mom had died when I was eight in a car accident.
    Over the next two years, this had been a daily affair.
    Even as a kid, I’d understood that this wasn’t normal. I’d get scared and throw something at her, but she’d always come back the next day.
    Yeah, between the chitchats with my mother’s ghost and my father teaching me to be a professional killer, my childhood was totally average.
    “Will you tell me what happened?” He asked, eyeing his blade on the ceiling. “Because you sure as hell didn’t throw that up there for kicks and giggles.”
    “Eventually.” I said, serious. “I may or may not choose to tell you based on your behaviour.”
    He looked at me incredulously.
    “Are you fücking kidding me?”
    “Nope.” I smiled. “And that’s all I’m going to say about this.”
    Biscuit rolled his eyes, at my spot-on impression of him.
    “You’re just doing this to get back at me, aren’t you?”
    “Absolutely.”
    “That is not what I sound like.” He muttered.
    “You’re right.” I pursed my lips. “I should just add a cheesy pick up line in there for good measure.”
    His smile reached his eyes. In the dark, they had silvers of light dancing in their ocean blue depths.
    “You talk like they didn’t work on you, Shortcake.”
    “They didn’t.” I said, trying my best to keep a neutral face.
    “Then perhaps we should try something else.”
    I noticed how close his body was. And also the fact that we were conveniently sitting on a bed.
    He didn’t do anything for a long time though.
    Why the fück was that making me impatient?
    You should be happy Sir. Biscuit the Pervert wasn’t giving a d--n about you.
    What was the world coming to when I needed to follow his lead?
    He seemed to be lost deep in thought, and eventually his fingers closed around mine. Almost mindlessly, he shifted his ring on my index finger to my ring finger.
    It was such an insignificant gesture, but it made something ache inside me, looking at my hands in his.
    “Well, it doesn’t mean anything.” He hesitated. “It just looks better like that.”
    I looked into his eyes. I’d never seen a man more vulnerable in his life, and I knew then that I had the power to break him with one word.
    Oddly, that made me feel weaker than ever.
    “It does.” I said, softly.
    He looked me in the eyes, hesitantly reaching forward. I held my breath, watching him. A flash of what would happen played in my head : my palms sweaty, my hands around his neck, his kiss so deep I questioned my whole life –
    I panicked and put a finger on his lips.
    Biscuit removed it, exasperated.
    “Well, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.” He said, frustrated.
    I swallowed. Busted.
    “It’s not the right time. Or place.”
    Because forgive me for not wanting the cockroaches seeing me getting it on.
    “So what is the right time and place, Lady Shortcake?” He asked, genuinely curious.
    I thought about it and came up with the farthest place from here.
    “The Great Wall of China, midsummer.”
    Biscuit laughed. “Wow, you’re high maintenance.”
    “Say that more often.” I rolled my eyes. “That’s definitely going to get you in my pants.”
    His eyes were dark. “What I’m planning doesn’t really require pants, baby.”
    I was blushing so much, he gave me a wolfish smile.
    “Aren’t you just a little curious, Shortcake?”
    “You’re not the Discovery channel.” I fired back. “You’re not going to show me anything I haven’t already seen.”
    Biscuit looked at me, intent.
    “Then I’ll make you forget.” He said, simply. “All those stupid little flings, all those ässhats who dared to hurt you, and all those pansies who don’t know how to get a woman screaming the right way.”
    He came closer. My breathing hitched, and I moved back on the bed, some primal instinct kicking in.
    “Every little problem we have right now. Every second thought you’ve ever had about this.”
    My back hit the headrest. Biscuit’s lips were inches from mine. Before I could move, he pinned my arms over my head, his body trapping me. It felt like a hundred degrees in here as he looked at the flimsy torn shirt I was wearing.
    His sapphire eyes screamed pure animal lust.
    “I’ll make you forget your whole world. I’ll make you forget your own name.”
    Hot. Fücking. D--n.
    For a second, I was sure he was going to do one hell of a lot more than kiss me. For one second, I was scared that I wouldn’t want to stop him.
    Biscuit kissed my neck tenderly and let go of my hands.
    “But I’d like to earn that right, cara .” Biscuit said, looking up at me. “So tell me what I have to do for one kiss.”
    I couldn’t help it. I held him tight, laughing partly out of relief, partly out of wonder.
    He wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his head on my chest, listening to my heart beat.
    “One dinner.” I said, ruffling his soft dark gold hair. “If you can act like a non-perverted filthy minded bästard for one date, I’ll kiss you myself.”
    He arched a brow, his expression absolutely serious.
    “Challenge accepted.”
    Well, shît.
    What did you think he was going to say, you idiot?
    “So, um.” I said, trying to be casual. “Ground rules : no fancy ten-thousand-dollar-a-plate bullshît, no flowers and no innuendos. Oh, and I happen to like dessert.”
    I can’t believe this is happening .
    “Got it.” Biscuit said, just as casual. “Oh, and I happen to like cherry flavoured lipstick. For dessert.”
    I rolled my eyes.
    Like he’s going to win, anyway.
    ***

    Victoria : “LIKE IN THE NAME OF DESSERT.”XD

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    AvatarGoodBoy Jchrist
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    📍 Episode 32

    🎬 “Hurricanes”

    ✍️ written by Jchrist (African Goodboy)

    ___________________________________________
    🎤 Daniel POV

    Adriana was freakishly smart.
    “Metaphysics is probably my favourite subject of all.” Her eyes were bright and excited. “Are you familiar with the Butterfly Effect?”
    “Sure.” I said, conversationally. “That’s when you think you have insects in your abdomen after talking to someone you want to bang. I hear it’s quite romantic.”
    She laughed. I couldn’t help smiling, watching her.
    The shy, quiet girl I’d proposed to had agreed to have dinner with me.
    Two glasses of wine later, she’d gone MIA.
    In her place was a gorgeous mind who spoke of the universe, its mysteries and life beyond with so much passion, I couldn’t help but share her curiosity.
    “Enlighten me, my dear.” I said, using my fork. “For the only wisdom I have is that I know nothing.”
    Watching her face light up, I was finally grateful for all those philosophy classes I suffered through in college.
    “Socrates.” Adriana said. “He was a great man.”
    “Totally.” I agreed. “We used to play golf together. Real deep guy.”
    There was something addicting about making this woman laugh.
    “Yeah, Shakespeare used to join us on the weekends.” I straightened my tie. “It was a bloodbath.”
    Yeah, something about the way she’s humouring you even though you have a PhD at being an idiot.
    “So,” I said, trying to be casual. “Tell me about your butterflies.”
    Adriana blushed.
    “The, um, effect.” I corrected, internally smacking myself. “The metaphysics thing.”
    She smiled.
    “It’s quite simple, Your Highness.” Adriana absently played with her spoon. “The wind from a butterfly’s wings has the possibility to create a hurricane.”
    I thought about that.
    “Little things can create greatness.”
    She nodded, sipping her wine. I was a little distracted by the way her hands moved, the way her hair flowed in the light breeze and the way her lips touched the glass.
    Also by the way the other men in the restaurant were looking at the V in her dress.
    “Come with me to Vetresca.” I blurted.
    I groaned on the inside.
    Yeah, because asking a woman to move to another country on the second date doesn’t seem desperate at all.
    Darius had finally been okay with me leaving. I hadn’t told him about the
    slight change in my wedding plans yet because that staff of his hadn’t seemed real friendly about that idea.
    Adriana, however, seemed amused at my misery.
    “Are you asking me to run away, Your Grace?””More like fly away.” No, that’s not right . “With me. Well, not with me, but on a plane because I can’t carry you.”
    So much nope. “Well, I can but I don’t think we’d get very far. I don’t work out much. In the winter, I mean. Would you like to see my muscles?”
    Please. Shut. Up.
    Adriana laughed.
    “Of course.” She pursed her lips, blushing. “Fly away with you, that is. Not that I wouldn’t like to, um, see your muscles, Your Grace.”
    I laughed, running a hand through my hair. “Love the way you talk dirty, Princess.”
    More blushing . “Well, I’m kind of new at this.”
    “Well, so am I.”
    Filthy. Liar.
    You’ve slept with more women than the guest list at the Ritz.
    “So when shall we leave, Your Highness?” She asked, curiously.
    I shrugged. “Well, we can leave right now if you have your bags packed.”
    “I always do.”
    “So do I.” I chimed in.
    Yeah, now make like middle schoolers and go “OMG, we’re legit awesome for doing the same things. We’re totally soulmates.”
    You desperate, desperate son of a bîtch.
    “Skip dessert?” I suggested, taking out my wallet. She nodded eagerly. I paid the bill and we were in my car in a few minutes.
    It was a long drive to her apartment and then to where I was staying. We spoke about everything from first pets to her least favourite song.
    And in an odd turn of events, my shy quiet new fiancé liked rock music.
    So much to my satisfaction, we spent a good deal of time lip syncing Highway to Hell like we were on American Idol.
    Looking at this woman as she shattered every perception I had about her, I knew I was definitely headed for a very personal meeting with the devil.
    Once we were at the apartment, Charles made quick work of arranging the flight back to Vetresca. He also intuitively left both of us alone in the room after a while.
    Six digit salary well earned, lad.
    “I can’t wait.” Adriana smiled. “I’ve always wanted to see the Grigorian Library.”
    I ran a hand through my hair.
    Thank you, Xavier, for fücking with my life in ways you couldn’t even possibly imagine.
    “Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen.” I muttered. “This trip is just like a vacation, of course. You’d need to come back here after a while-”
    “I don’t want to.”
    Adriana looked into my eyes, her own reflecting every misery she’d felt here.
    Suddenly the doorknob turned.
    I should’ve been more elegant with my response.
    I pointed to the curtains, much to Adriana’s confusion.
    “Hide.”
    I’d never felt more like an ässhole than I did right then, as she quickly covered herself in the drapes.
    There was only one bästard who was brave enough to still not knock on my door.
    Right on cue, Darius Azaria came inside, for once looking happy.
    Naturally I was sweating bullets.
    “So the rings for the wedding just came in today.”
    I looked at the curtain. It stayed perfectly still but I could imagine her face.
    “She’s really excited about it. You might want to come down and meet her -” Darius paused, finally noticing the lack of my personal things in the room. “Are you leaving?”
    “Urgent matters in Vetresca.” I said, leading him out the door. “This has been nice, Darius. We should totally do this again. Give me a call sometime and we can get drunk. Have a great day, Your Grace.”
    “Um, thanks?”
    I closed the door on a very confused Darius, and locked it behind me, swearing softly.
    “You didn’t tell him.”
    Adriana’s voice wasn’t even accusing. She was still giving me the benefit of the doubt.
    I went to her and held her hands.
    “I will.” I looked into her eyes. “Very soon. I promise.”
    “But the ring-”
    “Will only go on your finger.” I said, kissing them. “You’re the one I want.”
    She didn’t seem to believe me.
    There wasn’t much I could I do though. After a while, we left the room and got inside the car.
    “You know, I’ve been thinking about what you said.” I said, once we were alone again. “About the butterflies, right?”
    “Yes, Your highness?”
    She looked at me curiously.
    “So if I say you’re the most beautiful soul I’ve met in a long time,” I said, watching her lips twitch. “If I moved a little closer and held your hand.”
    She let me do that, watching me with her beautiful mismatched eyes.
    “So if I kissed you right now, Princess,” I loved the way her breath hitched. “I wonder what could happen?”
    She closed her eyes, as my lips met hers.
    Adriana’s fingers tangled in my hair, and I held her by the waist. Her lips were soft against mine and she tasted like red wine. It was a slow, passionate kiss that consumed me whole, that rocked me to my very core.
    This was a kiss that would be burnt into my memories forever.
    Eventually I let go, and we were both breathless. We just looked at each other for a while, and I felt like I’d finally found something I’d been looking for all my life.
    Adriana finally answered my question.
    “Greatness.” She said, her eyes sparkling. “Little things create greatness.”
    ***

    Daniel : “LIKE BECAUSE OF THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT”

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    📍 Episode 33

    🎬 “White roses”

    ✍️ Written by Jchrist (African Goodboy)

    ________________________________________
    🎤 Xavier POV

    “Pro tip : try to act like a Lady, Shortcake.”
    “Pro tip : I am a lady, Sir Ässhole.”
    I didn’t even bother with a comeback. My mind went blank as I saw the wrought iron gates.
    They were gilded to look like a Phoenix’s wings, cast in the Royal Family’s crest. It would’ve looked nice –
    But then two huge marble statues of ‘artistically’ robed half naked women stood to either side of the arch.
    The guy who designed this probably went, “Dude, I just saw a Roman style threesome when I was high on LSD.
    Let’s just put that on a huge äss iron gate with a bunch of feathers.
    Because that’s tasteful as fück.”
    When Kiera invited me to stay at our aunt’s house, I’d refused because a) the house matched the monstrosity that was the gate.
    And b?
    Victoria was already making weird faces at the CCTV mirror outside.
    But as resolute as I’d been to not come here, our little motel got shut down last night because there was a murder downstairs.
    And while we didn’t have anything to do with it, the guardians weren’t exactly going to give us a gold sticker and a pat on the back.
    I was down to my last pound. I was used to being on the streets, but I sure as hell wasn’t letting Victoria follow me there.
    Rolling down the window, I let the cameras see me.
    The penniless Prince and his starving tiger cub.
    Power couple right here, folks.
    “So,” Victoria propped her arms behind her head, as we headed down the dark driveway. ” You haven’t actually asked me out yet.”
    I looked at her.
    “Eager much? Because we could skip that whole deal and do it in the car right here, Shortcake.”
    She smacked me. “What part of being a gentleman do you not get?”
    “Oh, I’ll be gentle.” I shrugged. “But that’s not what you really want now, is it, baby?”
    I didn’t even have to look to know that she was blushing.
    “I want you to shut up.”
    “I want you in black lace.” I said, looking up in mock prayer. “But alas, we live in a cruel universe where you’re wearing jeans.”
    “What’s wrong with my jeans?” She fumed.
    “They’re not on the floor.”
    She hit me with a rolled up newspaper. I probably deserved that one.
    “I don’t even care anymore.” She muttered. “Ask me, don’t ask me, you can go fück yourself, you riled up h---y son of a bîtch.”

    I pulled the brake so suddenly, Victoria gasped. We were under the cover of trees in a stolen car, a long winding road ahead, alone for all intents and purposes.
    “What are you doing?” Victoria asked, quietly.
    If memory served me right, there was a garden here a short distance away. I needed a little time, so I played with my blade absently.
    “You want to kill me now?” Victoria said, putting her hands up in annoyance. “After blowing up monuments, stealing for you, running to another country, you want to kill me because I encouraged fapping?”
    I couldn’t help it. I laughed, putting the knife away.
    “Why in God’s name would I kill you?”
    “For starters, I almost killed your friend, I insult you at every given opportunity, I give you a constant headache, you’ll get bored with me -”
    I looked her in the eyes, rolling down my window. She fell silent looking at my expression.
    “There’s a good chance I may never get bored with you, Victoria.” I said. “And honestly? That frightens the crap out of me.”
    “Well, there’s another reason why you’d want to kill me.” She suggested. “I’m far too interesting for the world.”
    I ruffled her hair, smiling. Right on cue, a single fresh cut white rose floated through the window. Victoria looked at me, then at the rose wide eyed when it rested on her lap.
    Magic was a big pain in the äss, but it had its moments.
    “I said no flowers.” She held it carefully, avoiding the thorns. The rose had gold veins, a rare variety that I’d only ever seen here.
    Victoria watched it glow in the moonlight with wonder. “Well, thanks for not listening to me.”
    I smiled.
    “So Lady Victoria,” I watched her carefully. “Will you have dinner with me tomorrow evening?”
    She smiled. “Unfortunately yes, Sir Biscuit.”
    We drove down the road to the front door. Somewhere along the way, Victoria’s hand covered mine over the gear shift.
    It was a small thing, but I’d always noticed how her hands weren’t all too soft. Probably because she’d handled rough metal most of her life.
    It was all I could do to take her hand and kiss her fingertips.
    She looked at me. “What was that for?”
    I shrugged. “You have nice hands.”
    She didn’t say anything, but she let me hold her hand again as we walked to the door.
    Which I came to understand was Victoria’s way of saying thank you.
    A frail old lady opened the massive oak door, her small body covered in a russet gown that looked way too heavy for her fragile body –
    Grand Dutchess Terencia Riccardi twisted my ear, after recovering from the initial shock.
    “I’ve waited for you for ages, dear boy.” She said, tears in her eyes. “Kiera told me, but I didn’t believe her. Oh, we didn’t know if you were dead all these years. And your clothes! Madre Mia, you look like you haven’t showered in years -”
    There was a soft laugh beside me.
    “And who is this, young lady?” The Dutchess turned her attention to Victoria. “Where did you find this one? I really hope you’ll marry one of these days, son. Yes, this one should do nicely – she has wide childbearing hips.”
    Leave it my aunt to bring up bridal prospects in less than ten sentences.
    No wonder Kiera got along with her so well.
    Victoria shifted uncomfortably. It was my turn to laugh, as I put my arm around her.
    “That’s a compliment.” I whispered to her, as the Dutchess ushered us inside.
    “I don’t think they teach your kind the right definition.” She muttered, shocked by the sheer grandness of the mansion. “How do you know her, anyway?”
    Yeah, meet my mom’s sister. She’s a stickler for punctuality, loves cats and also happens to be second-in-line for the Throne after Danny.
    No big deal.
    “My maids will show you to your rooms.” She said briskly. “We need to talk, boy. Twelve long years it has been.”
    “Yes, we should, madre .” I kissed her on the cheek. She looked at me affectionately. “I hope I’ll get to taste your cooking soon.”
    “I hope you changed your mind coming back here.” Her eyes were sad. “Your father is not well.”
    I pursed my lips. I knew this was coming.
    “We’ll talk about this over dinner.” I said, diplomatically. “Victoria needs to rest.”
    She gave me a cryptic look, which was gone a moment later.
    “Yes, of course. Be on your way.” She smiled. “We have all the time in the world after all.”
    A butler showed us to our rooms. Much to my relief, they weren’t too over the top.
    Well, if you didn’t count the twin chandeliers, the TV the size of a wall, the mini golf course and the marble and glass on everything else.
    Lady Gaga would’ve fit right in.
    I left Victoria in her room, letting her settle. I was walking down the hallway to my room, when I almost bumped into a woman in a black silk gown.
    “I’m terribly sorry.” Her voice was so perfectly beautiful, all I wanted to do was listen to her.
    I smiled, getting on one knee.
    “I’m to apologise, High Priestess.” I said, not looking at her face until she gave me the permission to rise.
    A high priestess was the chosen vessel of an Archangel when they came to this planet. They were usually women, revered beyond the king himself, and almost worshipped by some.
    This girl was probably the most powerful being on this side of the planet.
    Just a coincidence that my sister happened to be banging her.
    “You must be Xavier.” Anna said, smiling. “Kiera has told me a lot about you.”
    “I’m sure she has.” I muttered.
    She laughed. “Only good things, Your Highness.”
    “Please don’t call me that.” I said, looking at Victoria’s door.
    Anna looked at me curiously.
    “You didn’t tell her.”
    I shrugged. “She doesn’t need to know.”
    “Will you take a walk with me?” Anna asked. “There’s something I’d like to show you.”
    I nodded, so she led me down the hallway, past my room.
    “So how are things going with my sister?” I asked, trying to be conversational.
    “Oh, they’re well. Kiera is a beautiful person with a kind soul. I tell her but she rarely believes me.” Anna smiled, meeting my eyes. “I do believe I should be honest with the woman I love.”
    And I knew she wasn’t just talking about Kiera anymore.
    “Here we are.”
    Anna showed me a glass cabinet. Inside was a life size replica of the Royal crown, gold inlaid with diamonds, the family crest engraved at the very centre.
    I swallowed. “Jewellery is not really my thing, Priestess.”
    Anna touched the glass. “Then do it for your people. We need a good King, Xavier.”
    “Daniel is -”
    “A lost child.” She said, her amethyst eyes serious. “Please don’t let him pay for your mistakes.”
    I took a deep breath.
    “I’ll think about it.”
    “At least, do it for her .” Anna said softly. “Be brave enough to show her your demons.”
    In that moment, my reflection in the glass lined up with the crown, so it was over my head.
    In that moment, all I could see was the torn clothing I wore, the sweat and dirt on my skin and how much that offended the beauty of the gold beyond the glass.
    I turned away.
    “I shouldn’t.” I said, firmly. “She hasn’t done anything wrong to deserve that.”
    Anna put a hand on my shoulder, her eyes otherworldly as they looked into my very soul.
    “She’s shown you the stars in your darkness, Xevi. That’s the gravest sin of all. To steal another’s heart.”
    ****
    Happy holidays! XD

    Xavier : “Like for a white rose.” :

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    AvatarGoodBoy Jchrist
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    📍 Episode 34

    🎬 “Picky cat lady”

    ✍️ Written by Jchrist(African Goodboy)

    _________________________________________
    🎤 Victoria POV

    “So my brother wants to fück you. Congratulations.”
    I took a long hard look at Kiera.
    The woman was munching on potato chips, sitting cross legged in front of my TV watching reruns of Project Runway.
    Because clearly there weren’t any other flatscreens in this huge äss house that would’ve put the Playboy mansion to shame.
    “Gee.” I rolled my eyes, trying to pick a dress to wear tonight. “I should be
    so lucky.”
    “Oh yeah.” She held up a chip in narration. “He’s very, um, picky.”
    “Biscuit wouldn’t know ‘picky’ if it hit him over the head multiple times.”
    Picky was me going through a hundred and six dresses in the last hour and still not have something to wear on a stupid little dinner date.
    Perks of being a neurotic adult female.
    I sighed in annoyance at the glaring lack of clothes here that didn’t have frills or satin or anything else I’d want to be buried in. Everything looked like it belonged to Jane Eyre’s great grandmother.
    I gave up and joined Kiera on the sofa, watching a woman in a lime green patchwork dress walk down the runway.
    I almost sobbed.
    Unfortunately, even that monstrosity would’ve been acceptable.
    Hell , a plastic bag would’ve been an upgrade to what I was working with.
    “Why do I smell reeking desperation in the air?” Kiera asked, her eyes still glued to the screen.
    “I don’t have anything to wear.”
    Kiera looked at me.
    “So what are we going for?” Her eyes lit up with excitement. Honestly, that terrified me. “Romantic, classy, modest, decent?”
    “Raunchy.” I said, without hesitation. “See, your brother and I have a little bet going.”
    I explained my terms to her. She kept her face strictly professional.
    “I see.” She gave me a once over, pulling her dark hair into a bun. “You want to give him something to talk dirty about.”
    “I want to give Mr. Picky a very hard time being holy tonight.”
    Kiera got up, her eyes mischievous.
    “I have just the thing.”
    An hour later, I was in her room all ready, standing in front of the mirror. Kiera had exceeded all my expectations, going above and beyond the call of duty.
    “One last thing.”
    She put an oversized black coat over me, that covered every inch of my skin, except my fingers and my face.
    I looked at the potato sack that I’d turned into. I almost groaned.
    “This isn’t helping.”
    “Trust me, it is.” Kiera’s tone was educational. “Don’t take off your coat until you get there, keep things light and don’t talk about sex.”
    Wait, what?
    “Didn’t you hear me -”
    “I did.” She said, all knowingly. “Honey, trust me when I say you can bring a man to his knees without saying one word.”
    I nodded slowly, taking in her words of wisdom.
    This was the almighty Biscuit’s sister after all.
    “Thank you. If there’s nothing else, I’ll leave now.”
    “Well, there is.” Kiera said, holding her door open. “He’s a piece of work but it’s only because he’s been through a lot.”
    I put a hand on her shoulder.
    “Biscuit and I are on the same boat : the SS fücked up. You know I won’t hurt him.”
    Kiera smiled.
    She walked me to the foyer, where Biscuit was waiting in a black Aston Martin that looked more expensive than all my life’s earnings.
    As I left, she was thinking about Biscuit in mock pity because I swear I heard her say this to herself.
    “Oh, my poor, poor brother.”

    __________________________________________
    🎤 Xavier POV

    Dear Virgin in Haven, please kill me if this woman ever shows up in a humongous black coat again.
    It was the stuff of nightmares as I watched Victoria climb into the car looking like a redhead hybrid Death Eater.
    The only part of her body that showed past that horrid black rectangle was her nails and I instantly knew I was screwed.
    They were long, glossy and deep crimson.
    Oh, she’ll feed on your soul alright.
    “How are you this fine evening, milady?” I mustered up.
    “Splendid.” Shortcake replied, all charming. “Nice suit, James Bond.”
    On Kiera’s suggestion, I’d invested a lot of money into a black-on-black suit.
    Also, on Kiera’s suggestion, I was to talk about kittens anytime things got a little too feisty.
    I’d liked to believe my sister had my best interests at heart, but I was just a little suspicious seeing her at the door.
    I waved at her. Kiera smiled back.
    Come on, man. What could she possibly do?
    “Well, I’ve got the car.” I answered Victoria, civil.
    All I need now is the girl.
    “Shall we begin?”
    Victoria’s smile mirrored Kiera’s and I suddenly had a very bad feeling about this.
    “Let’s.”
    It was a short, comfortable drive to the restaurant. Victoria, oddly, didn’t bring up anything to tease me and we talked about silly things like politics and sports.
    The only close call was when I noticed her shoes when I opened the door for her.
    They were four inch white stilettos with inlaid diamonds that shone with every little turn.
    “God dämn.” I whispered, as they disappeared under her coat again.
    “Excuse me?” Victoria asked, confused.
    “Kittens.” I said, swallowing.
    She looked at me oddly.
    “What?”
    “Kitten. Tiny cat child.” I pursed my lips. “Planning on getting one. They’re kind, gentle creatures, wouldn’t you agree?”
    “Sure.” Victoria said. “They have claws and teeth entirely for kind and gentle purposes.”
    I was still thinking about her shoes.
    “I can live with that.” I managed to say. “Did you know that they lick themselves entirely clean?”
    “Good luck with your self-cleaning animal.” Victoria said, as we headed for the restaurant. “Decided on a name yet?”
    “Um, Diamond?” I said, lamely.
    “Are you getting a kitten or a stripper, Biscuit?”
    If I don’t get any action tonight, probably both.
    “If I got one hypothetically, you can name it.” I said, solemnly. “My gift to you.”
    She rolled her eyes.
    “How hypothetically thoughtful.”
    The restaurant was small and cosy, run by a local family who made the best pasta I’d ever had. I’d been here with my mother and Kiera once when I was younger. Nobody had recognised us here then but they’d treated us like we were part of their family.
    “It’s not fancy.” I warned Victoria.
    “No.” She said, as an old woman greeted us inside with a warm smile. “It’s perfect.”
    We found a secluded booth in the back, and Victoria finally shrugged out of her coat.
    I should note here that I’d never been into religion.
    Victoria’s dress was ice white, sleek and tight, fitting her perfectly. There were no sleeves or even a back, just multiple pearl strings holding the whole thing together. The white lace straps that barely showed underneath screwed with any sense of sanity I had left.
    Funny. Why then was it that all I wanted to do was worship this woman?
    “Why are you doing this to me?” I muttered, mostly to the universe.
    “Because I like winning.” Victoria answered instead, taking her time to walk around me, showing off her heels and taking my coat off too.
    I caught her hand, taking a deep breath, going against my only instinct to pin her on that dinning table, and bite those straps off.
    “Do you really, Victoria?”
    “Careful there.” She looked at my hand around her wrist, her eyes dangerously dark. “Do I really what, Biscuit?”
    I closed my eyes and counted to ten. When I opened them, unfortunately the dress was still there, the girl was still there and I was still very much fücked.
    Get. Your. Head. In. The. Game.
    “Do you really want a kitten, Shortcake?” I said, lamely.
    Victoria laughed, knowing she had me wrapped around her little finger.
    “Oh, don’t be silly, Biscuit. You’re the crazy cat lady.”
    I realised there was a good chance my head would explode if I had to watch the way that dress danced around her body, not even bothering to conceal what waited underneath, for ten more minutes.
    And we haven’t even ordered our food yet.
    ***

    Victoria : “CRAZY CAT LADY NEEDS YOUR VOTE.” XD

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    📍 Episode 35

    🎬 “Gentleman’s playbook”

    ✍️ Written by Jchrist (African Goodboy )

    _________________________________________

    🎤 Victoria POV

    “Welcome to Casa Nostra. I will be your server tonight. Shall I list the specials, sir?”
    Sir Biscuit was doing an exceptional job of reading the menu. I swear he studied the thing like he was prepping for the SATs.
    “Sure.”
    He barely looked up as the man rattled out something very Italian. After a minute, Biscuit fluently held a conversation with the guy for a minute straight, still hiding behind the menu.
    For all I knew he could have ordered me a McSpicy, French fries and a coke.
    And honestly, I’d have cheered him on because stuffing my face with five billion calories sounded downright amazing.
    “So what did you order?” I asked, as the waiter left.
    He mumbled something that sounded like pasta carbonara, still looking at the menu.
    I rolled my eyes.
    “Are you going to read the menu all night, Biscuit?”
    “Yep.”
    “And why is that?” I asked, knowing d--n well I had Kiera to thank for that. “Is it because you can’t handle a little heat?”
    “Pffft.” I could tell just from that, that I’d nailed it. “I’m trying to learn fancy ways to say stale bread. See, I’d like to try my hand at Masterchef.”
    “Right.” I muttered. “Because all the cool kids are doing it.”
    “D--n straight.”
    I reached over and grabbed the card from him. I’d like to think we looked like exceptionally mature adults right then, playing tug of war with a menu.
    Naturally, I won and stuck my tongue out at him.
    He pursed his lips, caught between trying not to laugh and trying not to say something inappropriate.
    “How about this?” I said, helping him out. “You say something stupid, I’ll giggle like I have only one brain cell and we’ll pretend it’s okay to share each other’s food. You get five free passes to look at my boobs and I’ll even let you hold my hand because that’s how dates work, right?”
    Biscuit smiled.
    “Pretty much.”
    “So will you play fair?” I held out my hand.
    He shook it in all seriousness, but then he turned it over and kissed my ring. I arched an eyebrow.
    “Piece of advice?” He said, his expression sultry. “You should never make a deal with the devil, Shortcake.”
    “That’s cute.” I smiled, despite the sudden wave of heat I felt. “And delusional. You’re an angel.”
    He adjusted his tie, his piercing eyes holding back stormy skies.
    “Well, so was the devil.”
    I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry.

    Biscuit did his best to stick with the plan despite that. I found out his favourite colour was blue, he’d seen Ocean’s Eleven fifty six times and he hadn’t been home in twelve years.
    “Why did you leave?”
    I thought it was an innocent enough question. By the way his shoulders tensed, I was clearly wrong. I let it go, remembering what Kiera said.
    “You don’t have to tell me.” I said. “Let’s talk about New York.”
    “My father murdered my mother and made me watch.” Biscuit said, simply. He didn’t meet my eyes. “He burnt her alive with wildfire. I couldn’t even get close to her to save her.”
    I couldn’t find my voice.
    “Yeah, I don’t really remember it that well.” He ran a hand through his hair and I knew he was lying. “I haven’t told a soul. My own sister thinks she left us. I honestly don’t know why I’m telling you and now. But there you have it.”
    It took me a full minute to process that. I didn’t even think about it, I went to his side and sat next to him, putting my hand around his shoulder.
    “I’m sorry.”
    It was the only thing I could say.
    His smile didn’t reach his eyes.
    “So am I.”
    We didn’t say anything for a while.
    “Well, I’ve been incredibly stupid.” Biscuit finally said, playing with my hair. “It’s your turn to giggle now.”
    “I s--k at being girly.” I muttered.
    “You’re in luck.” Biscuit said, seriously. “I happen to be very good at tickling.”
    I looked at him in mock horror.
    “You wouldn’t dare.”
    “Try me.”
    I was hoping to be saved by the waiter who’d come back to the dining area. That didn’t stop Biscuit from running a finger down my neck. It wasn’t so much a tickle as a tease and it took every last bit of my will not to lean into his hand.
    “You’re walking on very thin ice here.” I warned.
    “There’s nothing against innocent neck touching in the gentleman playbook.” He countered. “For all you know, I could’ve saved you from a dangerous insect.”
    “Does this look like the fücking Amazon to you, Biscuit?” I asked him, honestly. “Name one insect could have found its way to my neck.”
    “Oh, I don’t know.” His hand grazed my thigh, right over that godforsaken tattoo. “A pretty little butterfly, perhaps?”
    I was blushing so bad, I cursed my poor little blood vessels to the seventh circle of Hades.
    “My legs are strictly off limits.” I fumed. “Check your playbook.”
    “Well, it says I can touch you anywhere I d--n well please.” He whispered in my ear. “Because all a gentleman should do is treat you like a lady. Tell me when you stop feeling like one.”
    His hand went higher over my dress. I caught it before he went any further, turning into a hot, wet, thoughtless mess in all of two seconds.
    “Touché.” I managed to say, when I could breathe again.
    Biscuit smiled, his eyes dark and devious.
    Fück the devil, this bästard could beat him at his own game.
    The waiter eventually came to our table, setting down our food. The man seemed familiar but for the love of God, I couldn’t recognise him.
    He poured us both a glass of wine and left with a bow.
    “So what works better here?” Biscuit asked me. “Should I feed you like you’re a preschooler, or should I steal food from you like I’m homeless?”
    I laughed. “I’d like to eat like a normal person, thank you very much.”
    “Gee.” He muttered. “Where’s the romance in that?”
    Biscuit’s cutlery skills were like poetry and I realised he could be plenty civilised when he wanted to. The pasta was beyond amazing and for dessert he’d ordered chocolate cake.
    “Man after my own heart.” I muttered as I saw the thing almost melting on my plate.
    Biscuit was the poster child of innocence.
    “Have I given you the impression that I’m after anything else, Shortcake?”
    “At. Every. Single. Chance.” I rolled my eyes. “Your intentions are about as pure as my dress.”
    “Then let me take it off.” He returned, almost by habit. “For the holy purpose of ridding the world of temptations.”
    I smiled in triumph.
    It slowly dawned on Biscuit, and as he slammed his fist on the table, it took every last bit of my self control not to laugh like an evil scientist.
    “I win.”
    ***

    Victoria : “Like because double update. XD”

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