There had been at least six red-hot prospective marks in the bar; all mid-fifties, middle or upper management types, and there had been two who’d been drooling over her from the moment she’d walked in, all tight black leather pants and tasteful red sweater to go with the disheveled braid and glasses. But oh no, Dawn had decided she was feeling confident tonight, probably because of the easy grand she’d made in the past week. Besides, she’d been tired of looking at hairy old man leg and droopy old man penis just to make a c-note or five.
Then her. She had been perfect. Not just perfect, sexy as hell in this chic grey sheath dress and a tell-tale pale band around her ring finger as she stared down into the amber depths of her drink. For a split second, Dawn almost smiled, but that would have given away the game and Dawn was a professional.
Not professional enough to have realized that the perfect-mark lady…a middle-aged downtown big shot lawyer-slash-executive with the improbable name of Lilah Morgan…knew all about Dawn’s confidence game. Or maybe Dawn had been so excited about the sexiness and the enjoyment of getting to kiss something that wasn’t old, scratchy, and male that she’d let herself get a little distracted.
Either way, Dawn was busted. Busted busted busted.
“You’re EVIL!” Dawn shrieked, kicking. “This isn’t fair.”
“And you’re so turned on by that evil that you almost jumped me in the limo,” Lilah pointed out, stretching her legs on the bed frame lazily so that Dawn could watch. Those were flexible legs. Long, sexy, good god DAMN legs that were clearly big with making the boys go crazy. If Dawn weren’t so annoyed that she was busted, they would definitely be turning Dawn on, but Dawn didn’t get that into the marks. “Do you really care if I’m evil if no one finds out?”
Dawn twisted against the nylon rope binding her wrists while her captor tilted her head back and forth, a thin red scar circling her neck all the way around like a choker, smooth and faded. Creepy.
“My sister will kill you,” she threatened. “She’s super…protective.”
“Does your sister know you’re hustling, kiddo?” Lilah asked, stretching her arms behind her, which made Dawn’s eyes immediately go back to the naked except for a pair of thin black lace panties. Nice stomach; flat, but not too muscle-y. A line to the body that was very, very attractive. Womanly. Dawn liked hers womanly when she was thinking girl. “Though I can’t tell if this is a pure con job or if you thought you’d mix business and pleasure.”
Dawn officially hated Lilah. Not because she had her tied to the wrought-iron bed frame, not because she was hotter than a hot thing even with two or three scars that suggested that wetworks were part of her job description, not even because she’d seen through Dawn’s game. Dawn hated her because she knew everything and didn’t seem to care about how wrong it was. Someone should care that Dawn was throwing away her life to grift, ostensibly to pay for university and not be a burden on Buffy what with Buffy being stuck as the one girl in all the world, but since the thrill of learning how to make someone crazy, absolutely crazy, and then take off with a few hundred dollars and a blackmail photo? Dawn had found out that next to the thrill of confidence work, Sumerian, Akkadian, and the dean’s list were trite.
“What’s it matter to you?” Dawn asked. “Maybe this is a cry for help. Maybe I wanted to get caught and you’re not helping me.”
Lilah laughed and sat down on the bed. “Please,” she said, putting one hand on Dawn’s leg and dragging her lacquered nails down it lightly. “Evil, not stupid. You only want to cry for help because you know that when they find out — and they will, sweetheart — you’ll be bad. Naughty little Dawn, falling back into her larcenous ways and disappointing her mother…”
Dawn tried to kick the other woman, who smirked and pressed down harder, trapping both ankles in diamond-hard grips. “I hate you! Let me go!”
“You have the act down, I’ll give you that,” Lilah said, pretending that she hadn’t heard Dawn shriek. “The black sweater, the jeans, that air of innocent sophistication…it works like a charm, doesn’t it? There’s always someone who wants to show you the whole wide world, starting with the restaurant he goes to when he doesn’t want the wife to know…”
Dawn gaped at her. “How did you know?” she asked, suddenly knowing that she knew why Lilah knew. “How long did you…”
Traitorous body, caring less about the part where they were getting screwed by a consummate professional and more about wanting Lilah’s hands off her ankles and on other parts.
“That particular version I gave up just after law school, but I’ve never really stopped playing,” Lilah said, sliding her hand up Dawn’s thigh, which was now much, much more relaxed. Even inviting her to move upwards. “It’s always so exciting when you start the game. All that money, all that prestige…and you can make them go crazy by shifting your cleavage and talking about how much you love Kant and Thomas Aquinas…”
Lilah’s voice was hypnotic; Dawn could almost see one of them, both of them, doing exactly what she said. A dark-haired woman, barely twenty, babbling about majors and minutiae and calculating how long it would take to get jewelry out of this one. The thrill of knowing that you were more powerful than anyone else because of the game, so cool that it was better than sex.
Though the pressure of having another body moving closer to hers was reminding Dawn that sex might not be amiss, either. She wasn’t going to make any money tonight and Lilah was being very, very sexy. And amiable to naughty-wrong-bad suggestions.
Speaking of sexy, Lilah’s lips ghosted across Dawn’s cheek and despite the levels of pissed-off Dawn was, she shivered.
“I’m much better at this when I have my hands,” Dawn suggested, licking her lips.
“Most people are,” Lilah replied, caressing Dawn’s neck and collarbone gently before sliding her hand between Dawn’s breasts. “I bet you’re amazing when you actually put out for a mark. You have a certain confidence — pardon the pun — that makes you irresistible.”
Lilah then started kissing her way across Dawn’s jaw before moving down Dawn’s throat with hard kisses that turned into bites at the juncture of shoulder and neck, her surprisingly cold hands moving with predatory expertise beneath Dawn’s one-size-too-small sweater, which got Dawn twisting and pulling again.
“Do you do this with all the girls?” Dawn gasped, trying to regain control of the situation. Or make sense of why she was giving up so much simply to have another woman’s hands on her breasts, another woman kissing her shoulder while she tried to get some sort of leverage so that Lilah knew how very badly she wanted to be petted.
“Just the ones who really want me,” Lilah growled, yanking the sweater up as far as it could go and attacking Dawn’s stomach. Dawn wailed. “What’s that, pretty?”
Dawn didn’t have words, not when manicured fingernails were slowly undoing her leather jeans and revealing more of Dawn’s own bared skin, pulling down further and further until Dawn found herself completely naked below the waist and whimpering, rolling her hips back and forth, wet and slick and moaning like a two-dollar hooker. Even the bondage part was good now, the absolute lack of knowing what would happen.
Well, besides knowing that she was going to get fucked like she’d never been fucked before in her life, but all that was doing was making Dawn whimper, moan, and howl at every touch or possibility of a touch.
“Now,” Dawn finally said. “God, now…”
Then there was much thrashing, and even more screaming, and the unexpected untying that led to being guided around all the scars, tonguing them respectfully before the delirium really set in and Dawn was arching her back, trying not to let herself feel too much like a sex toy for someone who was totally in control of the game between them. Of course, given the number of times “fuck me” was uttered, Dawn realized it didn’t matter about the fourth time she came. There was no control here, and it felt so good that she just let go.
And kept screaming.
“It’s a bad life, you know,” Lilah whispered into Dawn’s ear afterwards, hot breath against her skin, the slight smell of lavender and lemongrass, dried and stale and slightly dead. “Fun, though. Why do you rob yours? I always thought it was risky and you have to move around a lot.”
“I don’t like it when they look at me like I’m meat,” Dawn said, her arms wrapped around her naked body as she looked at the wall. There were photographs just out of focus, black and white and classier than the fucking that had just happened. “Also, there’s kind of this thrill with getting away with it. It’s kind of like sex.”
“It’s exactly like sex,” Lilah said, kissing her on the shoulder. “Keep in mind that I’ve done your life, Dawn. It’s fucking sexy, having power like that, being in charge just by the shimmy of your hips and a smile. But the thing that you forget when you’re expecting the unexpected is that the unexpected is impossible to predict. For example…”
The blade slid across Dawn’s trachea so easily that it might as well have been untrue, something imaginary, a fairy’s wings brushing across the skin. She didn’t feel it exactly…it was suddenly that she was slick with something that wasn’t sweat. And cold. And the room was getting so dark…
“Nothing personal,” Lilah said, gently slicing open both of Dawn’s wrists. “I found myself in the universe next door thanks to a little mistake, the one where you hadn’t been bled and turned out to be a little bit less wholesome. I want to go home. You understand.”
It was starting to hurt now. All that blood that wasn’t supposed to bleed because Dawn was a key and Lilah was the best con artist ever and she wanted to go home. And at the edges of her vision, the world was starting to turn green and cold. It was so cold, and maybe this was all a dream. Because she wasn’t the girl who’d defraud others. She wasn’t this girl bleeding like a victim on a sleazy bed. She couldn’t be.
This was all a dream. Had to be. And the last slash of the blade as the green light got brighter was just the end of a nightmare.
If only it wasn’t so cold. And real.
She should have stuck to hustling guys.