Though you were one of the first to be recruited as a Rook by the infamous Jacob Frye, you were certainly not the only female. Despite that fact, the boys still treated the other women differently, like sisters if not lovers - that's not to say you didn't have any lovers of your own, but non of them were ever Rooks.
You had always been one of the boys. It wasn't something you strove to be. It was more like a natural occurrence, like rain or snow. Boys accepted you as if you were one of them. It wasn't entirely all that bad. In fact, you didn't mind it at all. There was a certain empowerment to it. The boys were relaxed around you. They told lewd jokes, talked about women, sex and other things taboo to discuss with a woman around. And, of course there was the burping and the farting, the nose picking and the ass scratching, but that only enforced the fact that they were showing who they really were, without censor and in all honesty.
After the fall of Starrick, you and the remaining original Clinkers - the very first Rooks and the ones closest and most loyal to the twins- were the first to be inducted as initiates into the Brotherhood.
Life was a bit more peaceful after Starrick, with only the Blighters and a few straggling Templars to contend with. Real missions were few and far between for a time, so when the opportunity for one popped up, you signed up for it even before Evie could explain what it was.
You and the two others initiates selected were gathered in Jacob's car on the train to discuss the mission.
"As you know," Evie started, "there have been rumors of a new Templar leader on the rise, and in line with this, the royal intelligence officers have received word that they might try to disrupt the Queen's ball coming up next month."
The queen! You were excited to be doing work for the queen. You doubted very much, though, that this mission would allow you to actually set foot inside Buckingham palace, but you kept your fingers crossed.
"As requested by her majesty," Evie continued, "we will aid their security around the perimeter of the palace."
Evie took a map of the palace grounds and handed it to Jonathan, one of your companions. He wasn't much by way of brawn but you didn't want to be in his sights when he had a gun in hand. He was a wicked good shot.
"You're in charge of the perimeter. Gather yourself a team of snipers and report to me."
"Aye, Miss Evie."
"You lucky two," Evie turned to you and Thomas, "have the pleasure of joining Jacob and me at the ball."
Your face lit up. You got to go inside the palace after all! Exciting!
"The Templars will recognize Jacob and myself, so the two of us will be there as additional security for the queen more that anything else. That means we can't do much else but stay by her majesty the entire night. I will need both of you to mingle with the crowd. Gather any information you can...is something the matter?"
Evie was looking at you. Her eyebrow raised in question.
The smile had left your face, your brow furrowed.
"You said blend in with the crowd," you said slowly.
"Yes, I did."
"During the ball?"
Evie laughed. "Yes, of course!"
Your eyes widened. "But that would mean…"
Thomas and Jonathan started to snigger.
Evie was confused, looking from the them to you, and back again. "What's so funny?"
By this time, even Jacob was laughing. "I think, dear sister," he said with a sly smile, "she's horrified about the prospect of wearing a dress!"
You did used to wear dresses - when you were little. It was easier to be make a living as a grifter when you were a poor helpless little girl. When the state threatened to put you in a factory, your father decided you would be better off working for him and his gang of thieves. It was then you learned to wear trousers. It was easier to crawl in and out of tight spaces with them.
Ever since then, it had been your dress of choice. There was also no one around to buy you pretty dresses, especially after your father finally got caught and was sent to prison.
This would literally be the first time in a very, very long time that you would put on a dress.
And a ball gown at that!
Right after the meeting on the train, Evie dragged you to the seamstress to have a fitting for both of you. You didn't know there was so much work to picking a dress. You had initially assumed all you had to do was say you needed a dress and they would give you one. Seeing all the fabric choices alone was enough to make you shut down. Then you had to endure the measuring, the seamstress getting too close, the whole ordeal just so uncomfortable.
Thankfully, Evie was there to help you through it. She even did all the picking for you, from the fabric to the cut of the dress, the embellishments, and finally the frilly underthings.
You didn't see the finished dress till a few days before the ball. It was a magnificent piece of clothing. The dress was pink and made of fine silk, with flowers embroidered on the hem of each tier of the three tiered skirt. The cut of the neck was low and fetching, but still modest enough not to be vulgar.
Evie's dress was less elaborate, but no less sophisticated looking. She opted for a beautiful blue silk that accentuated her eyes, and a gathered top skirt embellished with ribbons and pearls.
On the night of the ball, you and Evie got dressed. It was one thing to admire the dress while it was draped on a form. It was quite another thing to actually put it on. It was a comfort to know Evie wasn't enthusiastic about wearing hers either. Even with the help of Anne and Emma, two young recruits, it took nearly an hour for the both of you to get ready. After assisting both of you with the layers of clothing, Anne and Emma did up your hair and applied just the right amount of cosmetics on you and Evie. In the end, they were both admiring their work, and rather green with envy.
"I wish I could go too," Anne said. "You both look so lovely."
You looked at her from the settee you were perched on, your breathing shallow on account of the painfully tight corset. "I'd rather be ugly and live than be lovely and die. I can hardly breathe in this thing! Does it have to be this tight?"
"Of course. The smaller the waist, the more comely." Emma said, smiling. She knew about those things, having spent time working the brothels before she was recruited. "Now, on your feet. You'll wrinkle the dress."
She helped you up and looked you over one last time, smoothing out the wrinkles. "Remember," she said, "sophisticated ladies don't laugh like men, they don't talk like men, and they don't drink like men." Apparently hanging out with the boys had rubbed off on you in a very unladylike fashion and Emma made it a point to remind you that you were, indeed, not a man.
There was a witty remark somewhere in you, but it was probably the lack of blood to your brain that was making it a tad difficult to function. All you could do was frown at her.
"Oh, for gods sake! Smile!"
Just then there was an impatient Jacob banging at the door. "Are you both quite done yet? The carriages have arrived."
Anne opened the door and you were the first to step out, just in time to hear Jacob saying to Thomas and Jonathan, "…well if you can't make her look like a proper woman…"
His back was to you, and he paused when he saw the two men's eyes widen, and the smile on their lips falter.
"She's behind me, isn't she?" Jacob asked.
Thomas and Jonathan nodded.
"Does she look presentable enough?"
You gave Jacob a whack behind the head.
Jacob turned to face you. "Oi! I was only-"
His words stopped as he took in the sight of you. His eyes widened, and he started to nod appreciatively.
"Anne, you did a bloody good job with the cosmetics. I barely recognize her!"
It was Evie's turn to whack him on the head.
"For once be a bloody human being and escort her to the carriage." At least you weren't the only one in a foul on account of dressing up.
Jacob made a face at his sister, but did as he was told. He offered his arm to you, and you gladly took it. The tight corset was making it difficult for you to move, walk, and breathe, so his arm was welcome support. You wondered how you were going to get through the night in this state.
The ball was intimidating and magnificent at the same time. Jacob and Evie stationed themselves close to the Queen, as she requested. Although they weren't dressed as extravagantly as the rest of the queen's entourage, they were still sight to behold. Evie, elegant in her blue gown, caught quite a lot of admiring looks. As did Jacob, of course, so debonair in his new suit. It was hard to imagine this was the same Jacob who flicked boogers at his sister just to irritate her. You had to admit he cleaned up really well.
You and Thomas didn't look too bad yourselves. You had passed some mirrors on the way to the ballroom and were surprised to see yourself. Despite your mounting hatred for the dress and everything underneath, you had to admit you looked marvelous. You looked every bit the businessman' wife you were pretending to be. Evie did a wonderful up job picking the color and the cut. Thomas looked very refined in his suit as well. The pair of you made a handsome couple.
You mingled with the other guests as planned, Thomas pretending to be a wealthy businessman and you his doting wife. You were thankful your partner took the lead, steering you this way and that, and doing all the talking. Thomas was the son of a banker, and had more social graces than you. You hung on his arm, the tightness of your corset at least contributing to your playing the part of the meek good wife, smiling politely and greeting the men and women who introduced themselves to you. You didn't even have to fake your fainting spells.
There was nothing to be gathered from the crowd. It seemed that the Templars didn't push through with their plans. Even Jonathan stationed at the perimeter of the castle didn't see any action the whole night.
The ball drew to a close and you and your companions made your way back to the Whitechapel stronghold. You couldn't wait to get out of your clothes.
When you arrived, the boys all jeered at the sight of you in a gown. you were too tired to do anything but grunt at them.
You asked for Anne or Emma to help you with the dress, but they were out working. The boys offered to help, but you knew better than to accept. You were in no mood for their banter tonight.
There were no other females in the stronghold that night except for you and Evie. You made your way up to the room where the twins set up their office to find her. You knocked, and without waiting for a response, entered the room, only to find Jacob inside, with no sign of his twin.
"Where's Evie?" you say, breathless from climbing the flight of steps in that confounded corset.
"She took the other carriage to Henry's." You cursed yourself for not having noticed that.
The discomfort must have really shown on your face because Jacob rushed to your side and helped you in.
"What's the matter?" he asked, concerned.
"Damn corset." You staggered in and held on to the back of the nearest chair for support. "Frye, I need your help."
"Get these damn clothes off me!"
Without missing a beat, Jacob gave a sly smile. "Well, well, I love it when you're so demanding-"
"Dammit, Frye, I'm not joking! I can't breathe. I've been lightheaded since we got to the ball. I don't have the energy to do this by myself even if I could. There are no girls around to assist me, so for the love of god please help."
"Alright, don't get your knickers in a twist. What do you want me to do first?"
"Buttons, please." You indicated to the general direction of your back.
Jacob undid the buttons of your dress. You slipped the sleeves down your arms, confused for a moment why the dress wouldn't go past your waist. Then you remembered the confounded crinoline. Whoever thought up this cage-like contraption should be hung, you thought as you started to gather up your skirts up.
Suddenly you heard the door creak open.
You looked to the door and saw Jacob on his way out.
"Where are you going?"
He looked at you, bit confused. "Out. To give you some privacy?"
"We're not done yet, in case you haven't noticed," you said indicating to all the other layers beneath your skirt.
"Yes, well, right, okay." He seemed nervous as he shut the door again. You noticed the way he tried not to look at the neckline of your chemise, where the top of your breasts were spilling out.
You cursed the corset again for the millionth time that night.
"What do I do now?" Jacob had positioned himself behind you.
"First, we need to get this dress off." You gathered your skirt once more and he helped pull the gown over your head.
"This is heavy," he grunted. "Why do women put up with this?"
"Now you know how I feel."
As Jacob laid the dress on the desk, you took care of your over petticoat, the one that went over your crinoline to protect the gown from it. It was made of light material so you had no problem handling that yourself.
"Now I guess it's off with this bird cage next," Jacob said, tugging at the crinoline. He unfastened it for you and it collapsed neatly on the floor. You stepped out of it and gave it a kick. It went sliding under the table.
Jacob tutted. "Those things are expensive," he pretended to scold.
"You have to try it to understand the contempt I feel for it," you said as you worked to rid yourself of your under petticoat and corset cover.
Jacob gave a little laugh from behind you. "Not as much contempt as for this I suppose?" He pulled playfully at the laces of the corset.
"Fuck no. And please don't do that. It hurts enough as it is."
You grunted as you fumbled with the busk at the front of the corset but it was so tight you couldn't even undo them.
"You have to loosen it first," Jacob said, once again tugging at the laces of your corset, this time to unlace them. Anne did a fantastic job tight lacing it and it took a good many painful pulls and tugs to loosen. Once there was just enough slack, you popped the busk.
The sudden rush of blood sent a warm wave through your upper body. You had the sensation of falling, and everything faded to black.
When you came to, you found yourself on the bed in the adjoining room, with Jacob sitting beside you and patting your cheek in an attempt to rouse you.
"Welcome back. I was getting worried about how to explain to Evie your death by corset," he said, smiling.
You barked out a laugh but it ended up as a hiss of pain. "It still hurts," you said with a grimace.
Your corset was finally off but you felt bruised, like you had been in a particularly rough fight. You lifted up your chemise and examined your ribs. Sure enough there were welts and the beginnings of bruises where the whale bone had dug in.
"Bloody hell," Jacob breathed. He saw the welts too, and ran a finger over one. "I didn't know it could do this."
"Neither did I. I'm not used to wearing them that tight."
Jacob continued to trace the welt up, until his finger abruptly stopped. You suddenly realized his finger was just at the swell of your breast.
Up until this point you were not self-conscious of your appearance. You were well aware that you were clothed in your last remaining underthings. It wasn't as if he hasn't seen you in this state of undress before, or you him, those times when either of you needed patching up in a pinch. It just suddenly dawned on you that you didn't need to be patched up and you were exposing way too much skin to be decent. And you were lying down on a bed with him hovering above you. Add to the fact that you had just exposed your drawers. All that had apparently dawned on Jacob as well.
He pulled his hand away from you slowly.
You smiled and tried to be nonchalant about it, pulling your chemise back down. "Is my immodesty embarrassing you, Frye?"
He cleared his throat. "Embarrassing? No." There was a thoughtful pause before he said, "More like enticing."
Your eyes flew to his. He was looking you, gauging your reaction.
This was definitely new.
"I didn't think I would be the type you would find enticing."
"A dress can do wonders, apparently."
"Oh, so just the dress," you scoffed. "Shame, after this night I don’t think I'd want to wear one again."
"You should. It makes you rather - um what was the word that Anne used? Ah, yes, fetching."
You rolled your eyes. "Stop teasing." Sure he was just teasing you. Because, really? Jacob Frye going after a Rook like you? You knew his type well enough. Nevertheless, you found your heart was racing and a warm blush began to spread across your cheeks.
"Didn't you notice the rest of the boys?" Jacob asked, toying with the hem of your chemise. "They were riveted by the sight of you in a dress. Thought you were just the jammiest bit of jam tonight."
"Riveted? They were mocking me!" you laughed. Yes, he was definitely just teasing.
"Only because you would punch their lights out if they said you looked gorgeous." His hand had moved from the hem to cover your hand. The feel of his hand on yours made you draw in your breath sharply.
As with all the other boys, physical contact with them was something that was given without malice. They would hug you, put their arm around you, sometimes even kiss you, but it was always in the spirit of camaraderie than anything else.
This, however simple it was, felt entirely different. It felt wonderful and frightening at the same time. You weren't entirely sure how to respond to this.
"Frye, what are you doing?"
"Holding your hand," he said matter-of-factly.
"I know that. Why are you holding my hand?"
"I- why not? It's-" he was a bit flustered, not having to explain his intentions before. He always assumed that when he made a move people on the receiving end would get it. "I'm trying to be romantic."
"Why are you being romantic?"
"Christ Almighty, woman!"
You laughed at his apparent agitation. "I'm sorry, Frye. I just…not one of you boys has ever been romantic with me before."
"I could have sworn Thomas tried."
You shrugged. "He never told me about it."
Jacob laughed. "You're impossible! Men don't really tell women when they're trying to make a move on them. They just do it."
"Well, I'm glad I asked you then. But you never answered my question."
"Why am I being romantic?"
His demeanor changes, and he's being charming Jacob, fixing you with the look he uses to lure his lovers in. You've seen that look before. Women practically swooned into his arms with that look. Unfortunately it wasn't working on you. He wiggled his eyebrows at you and that did it.
"Oh God, Frye!" you say, laughing. "I'm flattered, but if you just want a quick lay, there's a pub down the street."
Despite that, Jacob shakes his head, smiles and takes your hand in both of his. "You are inconceivable, you know that?"
You snorted. "Yes, well, I know your moves all too well. Did you think-"
Without warning, he bent forward and planted a kiss on your lips.
You were taken by surprise, not so much because it was so sudden, but because his lips were softer than you ever dared imagine (and you had imagined them from time to time, though you would never admit it). The feel of them against your own sent an shock down your spine
He braced himself on his elbows and gave you a few more kisses on your lips and cheeks before pulling away slightly to search you face for a reaction.
For once you were at a loss for words. He was sweet and tender. Not at all what you imagined kissing Jacob Frye would be like. You could feel the blood rushing to your face and, against your will, to other parts of your body.
"No banter?" he asks, smiling. "No witty remark as to how poorly executed my kiss was? Nothing?"
Jacob laughed. "For once you're actually speechless! Well, now I know how to keep you-"
It was your turn to silence him with a kiss as you grabbed his face in both your hands and brought his mouth to yours. The sudden contact made Jacob moan, and oh, it was the sweetest sound you had heard all night. It made you bolder than you felt and you dared to give his lower lip a nip, and darted your tongue out to have a taste.
He hummed as he pulled away slightly just to smirk at you. "And here I thought you weren't interested."
"Shut up, Frye," you breathed, pulling him closer once more.
Your lips found his again and he made a noise in his throat and his hand clutched at your hair. It made you lose all sense of modesty. You opened yourself up to him despite your better judgement, because, damn, it had been a while since you'd been with a man this intimately and there was a rising need within you that you didn't even know was there.
His kisses were sweet and slow, but his free hand was restless and it left your hair to wander down your body. He cupped your breast and gave it a squeeze that coaxed moan from you.
You felt him smile against your lips and let out a throaty chuckle. He took his hand away only to have him snake it under your chemise and rake it up your torso.
You hissed as it ran over your welts and bruises. He was quick to stay his hand.
"I'm sorry, love. I forgot about these," he said, stroking your bruises and welts tenderly.
"That's okay," you said, making a grab for his hand and guiding it up to your breast. "This makes me feel so much better."
He gave you another throaty laugh as he ended upon you, this time going for your neck.
"If I had known you loved this I would have done it sooner," he murmured against your neck.
You wanted to tell him he should have grown the balls to do it sooner, but his hand and his kisses on your neck was turning you into one hot mess. All the more so when his hungry mouth left your neck and found the breast he had exposed. All your words turned to "Oh, Jacob" when they left your lips and made you clutch at his hair, his shirt, and anything else you could grab fistfuls of.
Encouraged by your moans, Jacob let his hand leave your breasts to travel to other parts of your body. Over your drawers they went, and rested on your mound.
You unconsciously nudged your hips, wanting him to move his hand lower, but he didn't move. You nudged again, and this time he stopped everything he was doing.
One of his hands was tangled in your hair, the other still resting on your pubis. There was a look on his face, like he was having second thoughts about this.
"Frye?" you asked timidly.
His attention fell back to you. Looking you in the eyes he whispered, "I've always liked you. I've Always wanted to do this with you, to you."
"So what's stopping you?"
"If I go on I'm not going to be able to stop myself."
You smiled. "I give you full consent, Frye."
Jacob sighed, smiling. "It's not that. It's…" he hesitated, trying to find the right words. "I mean, after this, I won't be able to stop myself from loving you."
You didn't think you could blush any more. But the heat you felt on your face was evidence enough. "Frye, are you confessing?"
"Dammit, woman, do you have to make everything so hard?" he said smiling and shaking his head. "I just want you to promise that…Promise me things won’t be awkward after this, and that maybe you'll not be mean and give me a chance?"
Seeing the infamous Master Assassin so vulnerable and unsure of himself just made him more human in your eyes, and more real. You found that you liked this side of Jacob and wanted to see more of it.
But first things first.
"I'll give you a chance, Frye, on one condition."
"What's that, love?"
"You make tonight worth my while."
His eyes widened, as did his smile, then the sensitive side of him was gone and replaced by the sly and devious Jacob Frye. With a glint in his eye his deft fingers finally made their way in between your knickers and to your clit, and you moaned with delight.
"I can manage that."