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Darling

Chapter Text

The 1920s were roaring all around Alyssa Greene, full of sex, sin and alcohol. Not that Alyssa would ever participate in the constant relverly happening outside the safe confines of her home. Her mother was protective of her only daughter, trying to keep the young woman away from the bad decisions her father had made that took him away from Alyssa and Veronica Greene forever.

Still, Alyssa would spend nights sitting by her window watching Boston come alive as the sun went down. Students hollering as they rode streetcars down the cobblestone streets towards the docks, whooping and hollering the entire time. Alyssa longed to see the places they were going and meet the people they were going to meet, but every time she plucked up the courage to ask her mother for just one night of freedom, she was denied. 

“Alyssa, darling, why would you want to go where those people go? They are just going to commit sin and ruin their lives. You aren’t like them honey.” Her mother always answered before sending Alyssa back to her room to read over Leviticus for the third time that month. 

Not that she minded being alone, it was easier to be able to watch the comings and goings of the people from her window when she was alone in her room. There was one person that always managed to catch Alyssa’s attention, not because they were doing anything particularly interesting, but because they were magnetic. 

They were a girl with dirty blonde curls tucked under a brown cap that matched a few patches on her tattered woollen overcoat. In the Summer months, she would roll the sleeves of her white button down and stand on the corner under the streetlamp right across from Alyssa’s window with her hands tucked into the pockets of her pants. She stood there every night while Alyssa curiously watched the girl over her Bible. 

One night in April she looked up into the window for the first time and made eye contact with Alyssa. Her bright eyes always hidden behind glasses sparkled in the lamp light, nearly stopping Alyssa’s heart and making her stomach swoop with excitement. The girl threw a wink at Alyssa with an enticing smirk and pushed off the lamppost and walked down the street towards the docks. Alyssa wanted to see where she was going more than anything, she wanted to go with her and learn everything she could about this girl, but she was trapped in her room, kept “safe” in four walls of yellow wallpaper and comfort. 

But Alyssa Greene didn’t want to be safe anymore. She wanted adventure. She wanted whatever this girl had. She wanted more.

Chapter Text

“Alyssa, darling, hurry along to the next shop, I am going to finish up in here.” 

“Yes, Mother!” Alyssa nearly skipped out of the store into the bright afternoon. 

The street was still littered with puddles from the storm this morning, much to Alyssa’s joy. She was focused on splashing through a puddle, something she was never allowed to do when her mother was around, when she was nearly knocked to the ground by somebody. They caught her around the waist before she hit the street. 

“Are you okay?” Alyssa’s eyes adjusted to look at the person who caught her. Her eyes got wide as they met a pair of hazel eyes that she could get lost in. 

“It’s you.” Alyssa said in awe looking at the mess of blonde hair and glasses above her, back lit by the afternoon sun. She looked like an angel or something from another world — the kind of world that Alyssa longed to be a part of. 

“Hi Princess,” the girl said, bringing her up fully on solid ground. Their faces were mere inches from each other, and Alyssa’s head was spinning. 

“You’re the girl always standing outside my window.” 

“You’re the girl in the window.” 

“I’m Alyssa, Alyssa Greene.” She stuck her hand out for the girl to shake. 

“I know.” The girl let Alyssa’s hand hang in the air between them, a smirk gracing her perfect lips. 

“What’s your name?” Alyssa’s head quirked to the side as she took the girl in. Her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows and her shirt was tucked into brown slacks with blue suspenders. Her hat was missing today, letting Alyssa take in the full head of blonde curls.

“Which one do you want?” The girl’s smirk got bigger. 

“What do you mean?” 

“I got plenty of names: bastard, bitch, trash, bruno, freak, street-rat, piece of shit. But I go by Nolan, Emma to my friends and pretty girls like you.” Her eyes sparkled behind her glasses as she reached out to kiss Alyssa’s hand. “What are you doing out of your ivory tower Princess?”

“It’s my eighteenth birthday and Mother wanted to take me shopping for new dresses.” Alyssa smiled, cheeks blushing pink as she watched Emma kiss her knuckles. Her lips were chapped, but still immensely soft, and all Alyssa could think of was what those lips would feel like pressed up against her own. 

“Well, Miss Greene, I believe a gift on one’s birthday is customary.” Emma said, taking Alyssa’s hand and tucking her arm under her own, escorting her down the street. “So,” she leaned in towards Alyssa’s ear, her breath tickling Alyssa. “What is it you want Alyssa?” 

Alyssa screwed her eyes closed for a second to try and calm her racing heart before breathing out one word. “Freedom.” 

Emma stopped in her tracks and turned to fully face Alyssa. “Are you sure?” 

“More than anything.” Alyssa nodded, confusion flashed through her brain at the way Emma was looking at her. 

“I can do that, but you’d have to give up everything.” Emma said softly, so soft that Alyssa found herself leaning in closer to the blonde. “If this is something you truly want, I can make it happen. You’d have a life like mine where you will never have to grow up, or answer to anyone. Just pursue what makes you happy.” 

“What makes you happy, Emma?” Alyssa breathed, eyes flickering down to Emma’s lips, almost entranced. 

“I’m still trying to figure that out, but I think I’m close.” She said, her words snapping Alyssa back into the real world.  “But you didn’t answer my question Alyssa, are you willing to give up everything to live like me? To be free?” 

“Yes.” Alyssa was more sure of herself than she had ever been in her life. “Yes, I am. Emma, please.” 

Emma stood there studying every inch of Alyssa’s face, she nodded to herself when she was done. “I have a friend, Shelby, she can come get you tonight, if this is something you really want.” 

“I want this.” Alyssa said. “But why can’t you come and get me?” 

“Shelby is more… more slippery than I am. She knows every backstreet better than she knows herself. Plus she’s a little less known than I am. She’ll come tonight at midnight, she’ll tap three times at your window. If this is something you want, you can go with her. If not, just ignore her, she’ll know not to stay long.” 

“Thank you for this Emma.” 

“I hope I’ll see you tonight, Alyssa Greene.” Emma brought Alyssa’s hand up to her lips one more time. 

“You will.” She said as Emma walked away, throwing one last look over her shoulder in Alyssa’s direction. 

— — 

Alyssa paced her bedroom in her lilac nightgown waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Waiting for this mysterious Shelby girl to whisk her away to a new life of adventure. She talked herself out of packing a bag hours ago, truly taking Emma’s “you have to give everything up” to heart. Now all she had was her nightgown, her coat, a few dollars, and the boots on her feet.  

The clocked began chiming midnight. By the third gong of the bell there were three, gentle knocks on her window pane. Alyssa ran to the window and there, in the bough of the elm tree outside the house, was Shelby. She was the same age of Alyssa, but her eyes looked old, like they had seen more than Alyssa could even imagine. 

“Alyssa?” She whispered through the open window. “I’m Shelby, I’m friends with Emma. Are you coming?” 

“Yes. Let me get my coat.” Alyssa replied, grabbing the coat sitting on the armchair in the corner of the room and slipping it on. “Take me on an adventure Shelby.” She reached her hand out for help onto the tree. 

The girls shimmied down the tree and took off in a sprint down the street. 

“Past the docks, down the left alley, second slum to the right.” Shelby said as they turned down alleys and into the warehouse district. People were milling around, many drunk, a few acting in a way that Alyssa had never seen anyone behave before. No one looked at Shelby or Alyssa like they were anything out of the ordinary, and for the first time since meeting Emma that afternoon, Alyssa took a breath. 

“Are we going to see Emma?” Alyssa asked as she followed closely behind Shelby, the two weaving in and out of groups of drunk students leering at them. 

“No, not yet. Emma arranged to get you to work with me and Lily at The Tribe. It’s a warm place to stay and great pay.” Shelby said as they neared a dilapidated building. “Alyssa, this isn’t an easy life, I need you to know that. Say the word and I can take you home right now, but the second you get into this world, there’s no getting out until you’re six feet under.” 

“I understand.” Alyssa nodded her surety unwavering under Shelby’s look of concern. “Take me to Lily.” 

“Okay, ‘cause we’re here.” Shelby gave a rhythmic knock to the seemingly boarded up door in the back of the building. The door opened a sliver, letting a tiny bit of light escape into the dark alley. Shelby got up close to the crack and whispered, “Tiger.” 

Alyssa was pulled into a softly lit room filled with girls her age. 

“Who’s the new meat?” A short brunette said as she tied a silk robe. 

“Emma’s new girl.” Shelby said matter of factly, pressing a kiss to the cheek of the girl who spoke. 

“Huh— Welcome to The Tribe, bitch.”

Chapter Text

Alyssa sat in the corner of the dressing room of The Tribe, and despite being in nothing more than a flimsy nightgown, she felt overdressed. All the girls around her were draped in little more than beads and lace, each limb gloved and gartered. Even Shelby, who had shown up outside of Alyssa’s window in pants and a shirt, stripped down to a black lace number that left very little to the imagination.

Alyssa watched the girls around her touch up make-up, help each other lace up corsets and check that they looked perfect before all rushing out the curtained door towards what Alyssa could only guess was a stage. Alyssa was left alone in the room, only hearing the sultry crooning of a saxophone and the occasional trill of piano keys along with what sounded like dozens of men yelling out confessions of love.

Thunderous applause broke out and the girls rushed back into the dressing room, all clutching bills to their now bare chests. Behind them was a tall woman, more leg than body throwing the curtains shut.

“Well done ladies, I think we’ve bled them dry enough for tonight.” She said, looking at the girls counting their money on their make-up stations. “Baby, you have to make sure you hit the four count, you just barely made it and it made us look off as a group.”

“Yes ma’am, sorry Lily.” The girl — Jess — said, handing over a small stack of her money to Lily.

“And who is this sweet little face?” Lily turned to Alyssa, eyeing her like a snack.

“Emma’s new girl,” Shelby didn’t look up from her mountain of dollar bills. “Emma said she talked to you about her this afternoon—”

“Yes of course! The Princess in her ivory tower.” Lily’s eyes lit up as she took Alyssa’s hands and brought her to her feet. “Emma made some arrangements for you to join The Tribe. What’s your name dear?”

“Alyssa Greene, ma’am, thank you for helping me.”

“Oh, no, not your real name love, your stage name.” Lily laughed at the confusion on Alyssa’s face.

“I’m not sure what— I don’t — I — don’t have one of those.” She hung her head, ready for some sort of punishment or ridicule.

“That’s alright pet,” Lily said as she lead Alyssa to an empty station in front of a mirror. “The boys never seem to care long enough to learn our real names, so we make it easy for them. All the girls go by a different pet name. Shelby over there is Doll, Kaylee is Kitten, Carrie goes by Honey, and Jess, the youngest, she goes by Baby. I’m Angie, but I go by Lily. So, who are you, Alyssa Greene?”

Alyssa was quiet for a moment, trying to think of a name, but the only thing that came to her was her mother’s voice saying: “Darling.” She nodded. “I want to go by Darling.”

“Alright Darling, welcome to The Tribe.” Angie said, pulling Alyssa’s long curls out of her face and up into an elegant bun. “If you’re going to stay here, you’ll need to work, I take 30% of your earnings and that covers a bed and three meals a day.”

“What kind of work?”

“Dancing of course!” Angie’s eyes sparkled in the lights surrounding the mirror. “You’re going to have to dance to stay here. Do you think you can do that?”

Alyssa looked at herself in the mirror, hundreds of Bible verses about dance and sin swirling in her head. This is how to be free. You want to be free. “Yes.”
— —
Alyssa had never worn less except for when she was alone, but here she was, walking around tables of drunk men with a tray in her hands piled high with various illegal cocktails. Students grabbed at Alyssa, leering and jeering. One managed to trip her so she fell into the lap of one of his buddies.

“Darling, you’re warmer than I even imagined. I bet you’re just as wet as I’ve imagined too, ain’t that right dollface?” His breath smelled like smoke and cheap gin.

“Get your hands off of her now.” Alyssa heard a voice say as she was pulled up out of the boy’s lap and into Emma’s arms. “If I see any of you bastards touch her again, you won’t have hands. Gottit?”

One of the boys stood up, swaying a little. “And how the fuck do you think you’re going to do that, little girl?”

“I mean, I could call up the Lost Boys, or talk to the Fairy. How about talking to the Crocodile? He and I go way back.” Emma smirked as the boy slowly sat down. “Darling, you okay?”

“I am now,” Alyssa smiled as she got slightly lost in hazel eyes. “Thank you.”

“Of course. Welcome to the Second Slum. I have somewhere I wanna take you, come with me.” Emma whispered in Alyssa’s ear starting to walk towards the door to the street.

“Emma, I can’t. I’m working and Angi—Lily has been so nice and I don’t want to just leave when she needs me.” Her words stopped the blonde in her tracks. Emma turned around and smiled, “my bad, let me talk to Lily. And, as much as I love seeing you like this, maybe we should get some real clothes on you.”

Alyssa blushed as she looked down, just now realizing she was in little more than lingerie. She still wasn’t comfortable being in such little clothing, but it was becoming something of a new normal for Alyssa. She ran into the back towards the dressing room where Shelby threw her a dress with a wink. Alyssa pulled it on and ran back out to Emma in record time, getting a small nod of approval from Angie along the way.

The girls slipped into the street, Alyssa staying close to Emma’s side, both girls smiling as their knuckles brushed. They came across a pool hall, a soft light emitting from the windows illuminating a crudely painted sign that said “Hangman’s Tree”.

Emma grabbed Alyssa’s hand and pulled her along into the building. Pool tables were scattered around the large room. Ancient wallpaper was peeling off the walls to reveal weathered wooden panels. Emma nodded to a man sitting in the back corner of the room on a stool who knocked on the wall three times. The girls kept walking to the back of the hall where the bathrooms were, Emma did a quick check behind them before knocking on the wall. A piece of wood slid out of the way and a pair of eyes stared Alyssa and Emma down.

Emma leaned in close to the eyes. “Crow.”

The entire wall shifted to the side and Emma pulled Alyssa into a bar. Jazz cut through the smoke in the air and the smell of cheap booze burned Alyssa’s nose, but something about this place felt right. If that was because of the woman holding her hand or the environment itself was still something she was trying to work out — but it didn’t matter right now. What mattered was the feeling Alyssa had never felt before in her life. Freedom.

Chapter Text

Alyssa’s head was spinning. Whether it was from her fourth glass of champagne or her sheer proximity to Emma Nolan, she wasn’t quite sure yet, but she didn’t seem to mind the feeling of Emma pressed up to her side in a back booth of the busy bar. Emma’s pant legs brushed up against Alyssa’s leg, sending shivers down her spine every single time.

“How’s your first night of freedom feeling Darling?” Emma asked, gently tucking brunette burls behind Alyssa’s ear.

“It’s like a symphony!” Alyssa gushed, smiling at Emma’s brows furrowed in confusion. “It’s loud and overwhelming, but it just makes me want to listen even more.”

“You’re something special,” Emma said softly, looking at Alyssa with something unfamiliar sparkling behind her glasses.

“Am I?”

Before Emma could respond, a man slid in the chair across the table from the girls. He flashed them a toothy grin as he leaned back in his chair and put his leather shoes on the table.

“Emma, sweetie, aren’t you going to introduce me to your little friend?” His smile only got larger as he looked back and forth between the two girls.

“Barry, this is Darling. Darling, this is Barry. We call him the crocodile.” Emma said nonchalantly, throwing an arm around Alyssa’s shoulders. “This place is Barry’s, he lets me drink for free and I help out with some security and other stuff.”

“What kind of other stuff?”

“I’ll tell you later.” Emma softly said in Alyssa’s ear. “Barry, Darling is the newest member of The Tribe.”

“Huh, I didn’t take you for a dancer, Darling.” He looked genuinely surprised, something that Alyssa could tell didn’t happen often. “Usually the girls don’t look as prim and proper as you do. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I always thought that Angie could use a little more class in her joints.”

“You’re one to talk Barry,” Emma laughed, pointing her chin in the direction of a small group of young men. “The boys sure know how to class up a place.”

“Oh please Nolan, they bring in good money and you know it. Plus, I like having something pretty to look at while I work.” Barry smiled at the boys who waved in his direction. “Speaking of, Darling, if you’d like a little extra work on your days off, I could definitely make room for a beautiful girl like you. Hell, the customers have been getting on me about bringing in a few girls. I’ve been trying to get Angie to let me borrow some of her girls on their off nights, but she is so protective of them.”

“What kind of work is—” Alyssa started to ask before Emma interrupted her and tightened her grip on Alyssa’s shoulder.

“No. Not this one okay?” Emma almost growled. “If you want girls, I can see what I can do. But not this one.”

Barry’s smile got bigger as he put his hands up in surrender. “Okay, don’t get your panties in a twist Nolan.”

Emma relaxed her grip on Alyssa and leaned back in the booth. Her fingers gently drew nonsensical patterns into Alyssa’s skin. “Is she coming in tonight?”

“I think so. She had some sort of gala or something, but she said she needs to meet with you. You haven’t done anything stupid, have you?” His smile wavered for the first time since he sat down.

“No stupider than usual,” Emma smirked. “Do you know when she said—”

The room got uncharacteristically silent, and all the men hopped to their feet, pulling their hats off as a woman sauntered into the bar.

She wore a floor length dress that sparkled emerald in the hazy light of the room. Dark hair cropped into the same style that Alyssa saw on all of those flapper girls, and these bright red lips that look like they had been lined in blood.

Emma stood up and smoothed out the creases in her shirt before offering her hand to Alyssa, walking them towards this woman.

“Darling, I would like you to meet—”

“Miss Allen? What are you doing here?” Alyssa asked taking the woman’s hand.

“I could ask you the same thing Miss Greene.” She raised an eyebrow at Alyssa and Emma’s conjoined hands. “And with this one, on top of that.”

“It’s Alyssa’s birthday Dee Dee, she asked for an adventure, so I provided one.” Emma said softly, like a child who was preparing to be punished.

“Well why didn’t you lead with that Emma!” Dee Dee’s face lit up into the dazzling smile and glint of mischievousness that Alyssa was used to seeing. She looked around at the silent room of people staring at the three women. “It’s a fucking party, let’s raise some hell, shall we?”

The room erupted in shouts and the music kicked back to life. The pop of champagne bottles followed by yet another glass of champagne being handed to Alyssa, Emma and Dee Dee. Emam pulled Dee Dee to the side and whispered something, handing over a thick wad of bills that Dee Dee stuffed into the front of her dress. She gave Emma a nod and gestured towards a man.

One of the boys from the corner came up to Alyssa and offered his hand. Alyssa looked at Emma who nodded as Alyssa was lead to the dance floor. The music medled into a slow, smooth trumpet solo as the boy held her close to him, leading them around the floor.

“You’re good at this,” he said in her ear. “I’m Nick, but my friends call me Boomer.”

“Darling.”

“Darling? You one of Lily’s girls?” Nick leaned back a little to get a better look at Alyssa.

“I guess. It’s my first night out, but Lily took me in.” Alyssa said softly, trying to keep an eye on Emma who was talking to a gruff man who handed her something that she quickly stuffed into the inner pocket of her suit jacket.

“First night in Second Slum? Or first night out in general?”

“First night out ever, I guess. My mother didn’t let me leave our home after dark unless I was accompanying her to an event.”

“Event? What are you, some rich girl?” Nick dipped her and quickly brought her back up as the music began to change. Their movements becoming more erratic to match the beat of the drum.

“We weren’t as rich as people like Miss Allen, but we were well off.”

“Shit, and you know the Fairy? Fuck Darling, you’re something special,” Nick laughed. “No wonder Emma’s taken a shining to you.”

“Speaking of, I should get back to her.” Alyssa tried to spot her in the crowd of people by the bar, but couldn’t.

“Nah Darling, she’s busy dealing with the Dust issue here. Come hang out with me and my boys, we are much more fun, trust me.” He smirked at the look of confusion on Alyssa’s face.

“Why would she be dusting? She's not a maid here, is she?”

“Ahhhh shit, you really know nothing about her, do you?” His eyes went wide. “Fuck, you’re in deep for someone with no information.”

“What do you mean?” Alyssa was the one pulling him to a quieter corner of the bar.

“Nah, I can’t tell you. Emma should be the one to.” His hands were up in front of him now, “but if you ever want to have a good time, just ask for one of the Lost Boys. Me and my buddies would love to take care of you for a night.”

“Uh— thanks?” Alyssa didn’t know how to respond, but something about the lecherous look in his eyes made her uneasy. “I think I’m going to go find Emma or Miss Allen.”

The room was spinning in a way that was no longer pleasant like it was earlier in the night. Alyssa braced herself against the backs of chairs as she walked towards where she last saw Emma. As she pushed through throngs of people, Alyssa felt hands all over her. People rubbing against her shoulders, the occasional smack against her backside, men grabbing at her hand to try and draw her into them. She brushed them off the best she could until she saw Emma, now sporting a freshly blackened eye walking towards her.

“Darling, how was your dance with Boomer?”

“What happened to you? Who did this?” Alyssa said frantically looking around and taking Emma’s face in her hands, pulling her close so she could get a better look at the brusie blooming on pale skin.

“Don’t worry about it Alyssa, it’s the price of business sometimes.” Emma said softly, Alyssa was suddenly very aware of the proximity of Emma’s face to hers.

“The dusting business?” Alyssa asked, letting go over Emma’s face and clearing her throat.

“The what?” Emma’s eyebrows shot up her forehead.

“The dusting? I don’t know, Boomer said something about it. What is it?”

Emma gave out a breathy laugh. “It’s called Dust. I sell it for Dee Dee.”

“That doesn’t explain anything,” Alyssa pulled Emma into a booth in the corner.

“Fine.” Emma sighed, rubbing the back of her neck. “It’s a kind of drug. Take a little and it makes you only think happy thoughts. A little more and you feel like you’re flying. Take too much and you never grow a day older. Make sense?”
“I think so. Can I try some?”

“No Lys, not yet. Maybe when the booze stops affecting you, but you’re not there yet.” Emma said softly.

“But I want some happy thoughts.” Alyssa whined as she leaned closer into Emma.

“I can do that just fine without Dust, Darling.” Emma murmured, eyes flickering down to Alyssa’s lips.

Alyssa opened her mouth to respond when Emma leaned in even more and kissed her.

Chapter Text

It was like the entire world stopped. The spinning in Alyssa’s head stilled at the touch of Emma’s lips. The kiss was soft and far too short for Alyssa’s liking, so much so that she whimpered when Emma’s lips left hers.

Emma’s eyes got dark at the noise, but leaned back in the booth with a smirk. “See, Darling? No Dust required.”

“Do it again.” Alyssa asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

Emma leaned in, having not heard her. “What was that?”

“Do it again, please.”

Emma smiled and leaned back in, this time holding Alyssa’s face. This kiss was just as gentle, but something new was behind it. Alyssa didn’t notice it at first, not until Emma’s hand went from her cheek to lace into her hair, pulling Alyssa in closer.

It still wasn't enough for Alyssa, she needed to feel Emma everywhere, and the kiss wasn't going to cut it. As if some other force was controlling her, her body pushed up, coming to be flush against Emma's. Her hands came up to Emma's shoulders, balled fists grabbing the fabric of her shirt. Emma’s hand dropped from her cheek to Alyssa’s waist, fingers digging into the beaded fabric.

Alyssa pulled back out of the kiss, out of breath and heart hammering. However, what she was most aware of wasn’t the feeling of Emma’s hands on her body or pulling on her hair, or the way she felt like fire was coursing through her veins — it was the heat pooling low in her belly and her insides feeling like they were tied up in knots after doing too many somersaults.

Alyssa had only felt this a few times before in her life, but this was by far the worst. She couldn’t help squirming a little in her seat, something that Emma noticed and smiled at.

“You doing okay there Darling?” She breathed in Alyssa’s ear before pressing a kiss to the spot just below her ear, sending shivers down Alyssa’s spine. “You know, I can help you out with that Lyssa. That dull little ache? I can make it feel so much better. You just gotta say the word.”

Alyssa tried to think as Emma went back to kissing Alyssa’s neck. A small gasp escaped her as Emma gently bit down on the skin and soothed it with her tongue. Emma’s hand traveled from Alyssa’s waist to her thigh, slowly pushing it up until it was under Alyssa’s dress. She looked up from her neck to make eye contact with Alyssa, hand not stopping its steady pilgrimage up Alyssa’s leg, but something in Emma’s eyes made it clear she was asking for permission.

But, before Alyssa could open her mouth to respond, the music died out as all the lights in the room flickered. Emma’s eyes darted up to the ceiling and she jumped to action. Fixing her jacket and pulling Alyssa through a small door hidden to the side of the bar.

A dark, thin set of stairs laid before them and Alyssa found herself being pulled up them. It wasn’t until they hit a door that spit them out in the back alley that they ran down at a breakneck pace that Emma gave any sort of explanation.

“Sorry about that. It’s the signal for when the Captain’s pigs are doing raids. The bastard has a vendetta against me for some reason, so I can’t afford to get caught. Plus, with this much Dust? I’d be rotting in prison for the rest of my fucking life.” Emma huffed, doubling over to catch her breath. “I’m sorry they ruined our moment, Darling. I think it was probably for the best though, I should be getting you home before Angie thinks I stole you away.”

“I wouldn’t mind,” Alyssa smiled, moving closer and kissing Emma once again. “Or I could stay with you tonight?”

“Goddamn, as much as I’d like that — and believe me, I want nothing more than to take you home — Angie is going to want to give you the lay of the land.” Emma said before kissing Alyssa. “But, I mean, I guess we could still be a little late.”

Alyssa looked at her in confusion, but before she could ask what she meant, Emma pushed her up against the hard brick wall and kissed her hard.
— —
Emma helped Alyssa climb in through the window to the room where the rest of the girls were sleeping. Kaylee was tucked in Shelby’s arms, their twin beds pushed together to make one large one. Carrie sat up in her bed and looked at Alyssa and Emma through half-open eyes before laying back down and covering her head with her pillow.

Alyssa sat down on the only empty bed in the room, pulling off her shoes and slowly rolling her stockings down. Emma stood there silently for a second, watching in awe as Alyssa unbuttoned her dress and then pulled on her nightgown.

“Thank you for tonight,” Alyssa whispered. “I can’t believe that I am actually here, and you’re here and not just the girl outside my window.”

“Of course, I hated seeing how unhappy you were up there. I hope you can find some happiness here. It’s not an easy life, but you have the chance at being happy, and that’s what matters.” Emma pulled Alyssa in for a hug, her palms pressing along Alyssa’s spine. “I may have to go run some errands for Dee Dee, so I don’t know when I’ll see you next. But goodnight Darling, happy birthday.”

Emma climbed out the window and threw a wink at Alyssa before silently dropping down to the ground. Alyssa laid down in her new bed, in her new home, in her new life, and for the first time ever, she smiled falling asleep. 

 

Chapter Text

Alyssa didn’t see Emma Nolan for a month after that night. She missed the blonde, but in a way, it was good that she didn’t have any distractions as she got used to life in the Second Slum. Angie had her waiting tables in a small purple negligee while they figured out what exactly Alyssa’s dance would be.

Each girl in the tribe had a different dance or act that they performed every night. Shelby cracked dirty jokes as she lost various pieces of her costume. Kaylee, once a trained ballerina, does a reimagining of Swan Lake where she loses her entire feathered bodice to thunderous applause. Carrie, by far the gruffest of the five girls, danced with swords. And Jess, the baby of the group, performed a scene of Little Bo Peep looking for her missing sheep.

Lily never danced unless it was in the opening group number. She had done years on Broadway, dancing for various burlesque promoters and shows, and she was known across the country for her high kicks.

But where dancing and stripping came like a second nature to the girls, everything Alyssa tried didn’t work. She was in the middle of fumbling with unlacing her corset when Kaylee stopped her.

“Darling, no. This isn’t working. Marie Antoinette isn’t working, scenes didn’t work, just talking doesn’t work, how the hell are we supposed to help you here? You’re too tense!” She threw a crust of a piece of bread from that morning’s breakfast. “Come on, Alyssa. What helps you relax?”

Alyssa lifted off the ginormus wig from atop her head and set it on the end table before collapsing on the couch. “I don’t know, Kitten. This is hard, I honestly don’t know how you and the girls do it.”

“Well,” Kaylee said, looking up at the ceiling in thought. “Shelbs is a smartass, so it makes sense that she talks, because she’d be doing it anyways. Carrie doesn’t want anyone to fuck with her, plus she grew up in a butcher’s shop, knives and swords aren’t far from each other.”

“I know that,” Alyssa huffed, rubbing her temples where the wig had left impressions.

“Well let’s think about this, and we can boil you down to what makes you, you. Ya know?” Kaylee leaned forward in the worn armchair. “So Miss Greene, what is it?”

“Uh, I don’t know. My mother always taught me the importance of the Bible. I read it to sleep every night.”

“Hmmm, no. I think the word of God would remind the boys just why they like to watch us and then make them feel guilty.” Kaylee laughed until she saw the confused look on Alyssa’s face. “Because it’s taboo? It’s sinful?”

“Right… Um, I don’t know Kaylee.”

“What was your favorite thing to do when you were a kid?” Kaylee was clearly just throwing things out to try and see what would stick.

“Read, I learned French, uh — I used to dress up in my mother’s pearls and furs and pretend I was a queen.” Alyssa smiled at the memory.

“Wait, that’s it. Shit. Where’s Jess?” Kaylee jumped up to her feet and began raiding the rack of various costumes. She pulled the largest fur coat she could find, it was long, white, and the definition of luxury. “Jess!!! Get in here! I need your help! Darling, go through the costume jewelry, grab all the pearls you can find. Or anything that we can paint white to look like pearls.”

“What’s happening?” Alyssa asked while she dug through the large jewelry box.

“I think we found your act. Jess is the best seamstress we have here, it would take the two of us months to make this.” Kaylee explained before peeking her head out the door and into the hall. “JESS. GET YOUR ASS UP HERE.”

Jess slammed into the room, her hair wild and glasses astray. “What the fuck do you want Kaylee? I was busy.”

“Yeah yeah yeah, fucking Carrie can wait. We need your help.” Kaylee handed Jess the pile of necklaces. “I’m thinking a top and a little skirt for Alyssa. Can you do it?”

“Of course I can fucking do it, Alyssa, strip down, I gotta figure out how much we’re gunna need.” Jess turned her attention towards Alyssa, face unamused as the brunette lost the remainder of her clothes, leaving her only in underwear.

The strings were placed and pinned, using Alyssa as the dress form. With all three girls working together, with Kaylee and Alyssa occasionally taking breaks to run through choreography, the costume and the act were done in a day.
— —
“We have a very special new addition to The Tribe, gentlemen,” Angie said over the microphone while Alyssa waited in the wings, just out of sight. “She came to us a proper lady, an innocent dove, the kind of girl who read her Bible to sleep every night. But now? Oh my friends you’re in for a real treat. Straight from the heart of high society, please give it up for (because maybe she’ll give it up for you) Darling!”
A thunderous applause and hollering of students filled the room as Alyssa walked on stage. She was wrapped entirely in the coat, only letting a stocking clad leg with a white lace garter peek out from beneath the fur. Trent, the piano player, started to play a jazzy rendition of Mozart that was joined by the rest of the band.

Alyssa flashed peeks of her shoulder, her legs, and her back before completely dropping the coat and kicking it in the face of one of the boys in the front row. The second her coat was gone, the audience erupted into a frenzy. Alyssa’s costume was entirely made of pearls strung together to make triangles to cover her breasts, and a small skirt that would flash the curve of her ass when she moved her hips. Dollar bills were thrown onto the stage like a tidal wave of green. The music came to a close with a final beat of the drums and Alyssa scooped up her money and grabbed her coat back from the starstruck boy with his jaw on the floor.

She walked back into the dressing room where the girls cheered and Kaylee popped a bottle of champagne. They all took turns taking swigs from the bottle until Angie came into the room with a stern look on her face. The girls got quiet and looked at the woman as she slowly walked up to Alyssa.

“Darling, you’re a hit! I’ve had men coming up to me with marriage proposals for you. Plus a few kept sliding me twenties to try and buy you for the night.” The look of pride was clear and shining in Angie’s eyes.

“Oh. Do we do that? I thought the crocodile and the Lost Boys were the only ones who do that?” Alyssa’s palms got sweaty, the most she had ever done was kiss Emma, she had never kissed a man, let alone seen one naked. "I’ve never— Lily, I don’t think I could do—”

“Calm down,” Angie laughed at Alyssa’s growing discomfort. “What happens between your legs is your business. I’m a dancer, not a madame.”

“Oh thank God,” Alyssa beathed, wiping her hands on her robe. Angie handed her a $20 bill with a wink and sauntered back out onto the stage.

“It’s not Lily’s business, but it sure as hell is ours,” Shelby said, breaking the silence in the room. “You’ve never? But what about Emma?”

“Oh, um. Well no, Emma and I have really only been together that one night, but it never went to that. She just kissed me.” Alyssa tried to busy herself with organizing her station as a way to end this conversation.

“She just kissed you?” Carrie asked as she moved her chair in closer to Alyssa. “Emma Nolan just kissed you? Nothing more? I find that hard to believe.”

“There was a moment at the Hangman’s Tree that she… I mean, I felt something, and she said she could make it feel better, but there was a raid and we had to run and then we kissed some more and she took me home.”

“Holy fucking shit,” Jess mumbled. “Emma’s got it bad. I don’t know any girl who has lasted a night with her that didn’t put out.”

“What do you mean by that?” Alyssa asked, her heart dropping into her stomach.

“I mean, Emma usually finds a pretty girl, then fucks her, and then loses her. She’s not really the most patient girl,” Jess shrugged.

“Shit, Darling, maybe your act should be a lion tamer instead,” Shelby joked, cracking a pretend whip. “If you can slow down Nolan, you can do anything.”

Chapter Text

A few weeks after her first performance as an official member of The Tribe, Alyssa and the girls were setting up before the show. Angie sat on a stool on the stage, arranging a vase of lilies on the piano. Everything was normal. Shelby was latched onto Kaylee’s waist as she bent over to clean tables off with a rag. Jess and Carrie were laughing as they dried off freshly washed pint glasses. Alyssa swept the floor and tried to keep thoughts of a certain blonde out of her head.

There was a quick knock on the door followed by what sounded like a bird call and the room jumped to action. Carrie pulled down the false wall to hide the shelves of booze as Jess ran up to Alyssa and pushed her towards the center of the room. Shelby was already there, prying up a few loose floorboards before pushing Jess and Alyssa down the stairs that were now made visible.

By now Alyssa knew to keep quiet during any sort of raid, but the fact that she and Jess were the only ones hidden under the floorboards was strange. Still, she kept quiet when the front door slammed open and heavy footsteps echoed above her and Jess’s heads.

“Miss Lily, you look well. Is now a good time?” The voice was deep and warm, but something about it made it clear he was only asking out of manners.

“It’s not, but you’re here, so what can I do for you Captain?” Angie’s voice was cool and collected.

“You see, there have been a few missing girls from some high ranking families.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Angie said, maintaining her calm. “But I don’t see what that has to do with me or my girls.”

“I have a feeling that this is where those girls are brought. Jessica Monae and Alyssa Greene were stolen out of their bedrooms in the middle of the night, and Nolan was seen standing outside of their homes for weeks before.” The Captain was getting more and more worked up, every word was over-annunciated and said with venom. “And I know Nolan has brought you girls before.”

“Well I don’t know what to tell you, Captain. We don’t have anyone here that share those names.”

“Perhaps not those names, but I will bet my right hand that they share their faces.”

“You’d bet your hand? Should I call in the crocodile?”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Try me.”

“Well, I may just decide to come in for the show tonight. I heard you have a new act, I would love to see the kind of girl you manage to bring into this den of sin.”

“I don’t imagine Miss Allen would be happy to hear that you’re spending your time watching my girls.”

This was the final straw for the Captain, Alyssa heard a scuffle and Angie gasp. “Keep her name out of your mouth.”

“Keep your nose out of my business,” Angie rasped back. There was a tense moment before Angie gave a slight cough. “I give my girls work, decent pay, a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. They are here on their own accord. I didn’t bring them in, they came to me.”

“They need to be with their families, get an education, and live long, happy lives. These girls shouldn’t be revealing themselves for a dry place to rest their heads. I know you think you’re doing what is best for them, but you’re not.”

“They’re adults, they made their choices and they could be doing far worse for much less.”

There was a long pause.

“I will be coming in to check in, Miss Lily.” The Captain said, the sound of his footsteps were headed towards the door. “I hope you have a good day.”

The door slammed shut and both Jess and Alyssa let out a breath, looking up and waiting for Carrie to move the floorboards. Shelby helped them out of their little hideaway and Jess ran straight into Carrie’s arms. Alyssa looked at Angie who was sitting and drinking a gin martini, there was a bruise beginning to form on her neck.

“I’ll wear a boa until it fades,” Angie shrugged, motioning for Alyssa to sit down. “Darling, you’re going to have to really watch yourself when you’re out. One wrong person seeing your face and you’ll be carted back to your mother’s house.”

“I understand Lily,” Alyssa said softly. “I appreciate you covering for me.”

“Of course, you’re one of my girls.” She tucked a piece of hair behind Alyssa’s ear. “You’re family, and I take care of my family.”
— —
“Hey Jess,” Alyssa said, laying in bed one night. Carrie, Shelby and Kaylee were out at the Hangman’s Tree for a night of bad decisions, leaving the two girls alone in the room.

“Yeah Lys?” Jess sat up in bed to look at Alyssa.

“You know what the Captain said, about Emma being found outside your house before you left—”

“You want to know if anything happened between us.” Jess said matter of factly.

“I just — I want to understand.” Alyssa sat up, leaning back on her elbows to watch Jess. Jess slipped off of her bed and climbed onto the foot of Alyssa’s.

“I get it.” She put her hand on Alyssa’s leg reassuringly. “My parents weren’t the nicest people. Emma saw my father’s temper one night and offered to help me when she saw me in the market the next day. Nothing happened between us, she just helped me get out of that situation. She brought me to Angie and then I met Carrie and that’s that.”

“But you were saying that she just finds girls and uses them and leaves them.” Alyssa’s voice was small, scared of what Jess was going to say.

“I’ve known her for a couple months, and yeah — that’s what I’ve seen her do. But Lys, I think she thinks you’re different. I haven’t seen her be this soft and this patient with anyone before.” Jess gave Alyssa’s leg a reassuring squeeze. “You’re different, Darling. Don’t doubt yourself or her.”

“Thank you, Jess”

“Of course.” Jess stood up and started walking back to her bed. “I’m going to go to bed now so I’m deep asleep, or else the other girls are going to come in and wake me up. Night Darling.”

“Night Baby.” Alyssa laid back down into her pillow and let sleep wash over her.
— —
Alyssa first thought it was Shelby and the other girls throwing pebbles at the window. But the girls all had keys, and It wouldn’t make sense that they would try to climb up into Alyssa’s window when the window over Shelby and Kaylee’s bed was unlocked. By the sixth pebble, Alyssa had it. She sat up in her bed and threw open the window, expecting to see three drunk girls giggling on the street, but this wasn’t the case.

Instead, there was a girl with dirty blonde hair tucked under a brown cap that matched a few patches on her tattered woollen overcoat. She smiled and took her hand out from under her coat to wave at Alyssa — but something was off. Instead of the pale skin of her palm, her hand was covered shining red. Where there was once a white shirt was now completely soaked in blood.

Chapter Text

“Emma?” Alyssa whispered with her head out of the window. The blonde was still standing in the street looking up at Alyssa with a big smile on her face, she swayed in her stance, getting more and more pale as the seconds passed. “Come to the door.”

Emma nodded and stumbled towards the back door as Alyssa slipped on a robe and ran down to the dressing room to let the girl in. She swung open the door to Emma’s dopey smile who managed to get out a small, “hey Darling” before fainting into Alyssa’s arms.

Alyssa dragged Emma to the chaise lounge, pushing up the blood soaked shirt to try and find the source of the bleeding. Sure enough, there was what looked like a stab wound in Emma’s side. Emma was incoherently mumbling something as she came to conscious.

“Emma, what happened?” Alyssa’s eyes were wide as she took in the size of the cut.

“Running errands for Dee Dee,” Emma murmured. “Things went south and this happened, coulda been worse.”

“You were stabbed! How could this have been worse?” Alyssa hissed through her teeth, trying to figure out how to help Emma in this situation.

“Could be dead.” She said, matter of factly before she looked at Alyssa softly, taking her hand. “Darling, you don’t have to help me, I can get this all stitched up, I’ve done it before.”

“Just because you’ve done it before, doesn’t mean you’re doing it now.” Alyssa pressed a kiss to Emma’s bruised knuckles. “I’m glad you’re not dead.”

“Yeah, me too.” Emma’s hand left Alyssa’s and went to her cheek, thumb tracing her jawline.

“Okay, stay here, I’m going to get some water and the sewing kit.” Alyssa stood up and began moving about the room.

“Do you guys have brandy?”

“You lost a lot of blood, I don’t think drinking is going to be good for you right now.”

“It’s not to drink, I gotta clean out this thing somehow.” Emma gave a small smile that turned into a grimace when she tried to readjust herself on the chair.

“I’ll see what Carrie has in her drawer, I’ll just pay her back for it tomorrow.” Alyssa began rummaging through Carrie’s designated liquor drawer to try and find the fullest bottle. “Will bourbon work?”

“Yeah, I just need something.” Emma took a sharp breath as she reached for the bottle. Alyssa handed it to her with a look of concern, but busied herself with wrangling up enough wash cloths and filling the pitcher with water.

She turned around to face Emma and the breath was knocked out of her chest. Emma’s bloody shirt and undershirt were sitting on the arm of the chaise, leaving Emma in a white cotton bra. Alyssa couldn’t stop her eyes from traveling the expanse of skin that was made visible to her.

Alyssa cleared her throat and gave her head a small shake. “This is going to hurt, and everyone’s asleep, do you think you can stay quiet?”

Emma gave a breathy laugh. “I think I can do that. You ready?”

Alyssa nodded and moved to her side, sitting on her heels with a wet washcloth ready in her hand. Emma took a shaky breath and unstoppered the bottle of bourbon and took a swig before pouring the remnants into the open wound. Alyssa started to gently dab at the cut, not taking her eyes off of Emma’s face scrunched up in pain, small whimpers of pain escaping her pursed lips.

It took a few minutes of gently washing away both fresh and dried blood from Emma’s torso until Alyssa felt ready to stitch her up. She made eye contact with Emma, asking permission with the needle and thread in her hand. Emma took another swig and nodded.
— —
Emma fell asleep while Alyssa finished bangadging up the wound, she ended up falling asleep with her head in Emma’s lap as the sun rose. Angie was the one to walk in on the girls, her loud gasp ripping them out of their sleep.

“Emma, I didn’t know you would be joining us for breakfast,” her eyes sparkled looking at the pair.

“Uh, yeah she came in last night banged up and I helped her out. I hope that’s okay.” Alyssa yawned and rubbed her eyes, looking at Emma who gave her a small smile.

“Of course it is. Emma, if you need me to set up your bed, let me know.” Angie said before walking out of the room to give Alyssa and Emma some space.

Emma managed to pull her undershirt back on without too much pain, and Alyssa helped her up to her feet.

“Thank you, for last night,” Emma said, her face mere centimeters away from Alyssa’s. “It wasn’t fair for me to just come and bleed out on you, but thank you for helping me.”

“Of course, you’d do the same for me.” Alyssa murmured, leaning in ever so slightly with the hope that Emma would close the rest of the distance.

Emma gently placed her hand on Alyssa’s cheek, “I would, you know? Take care of you.”

She leaned in and kissed Alyssa. It was soft and sweet, nothing heated like it was all those weeks ago. She pulled away and pressed a kiss to Alyssa’s forehead.

“We should get breakfast, you’re going to need your strength to heal.” Alyssa said, clearing her throat and trying to shake out the pleasant haze in her brain that happened whenever Emma was near her. Emma nodded and offered her hand before leading Alyssa out of the dressing room and into the main room of the bar to join the rest of The Tribe.
— —
“Alyssa, tell me a story.” Emma whined, laying in Alyssa’s lap as the brunette read a mystery novel to herself.

“What do you wanna hear?” Alyssa asked, only half paying attention. Her free hand playing with the blonde curls in her lap.

“About you,” Emma’s eyes were big and bright looking up at Alyssa, making it impossible for her to say no.

“Fine, but just because you have a boo-boo.” The tone in her voice was soft with the undercurrent of teasing as she bent down to kiss Emma’s nose. “What do you want to know?”

“You just lived with your mom, right?” Alyssa nodded. “Why? Where’d your dad go?”

“He liked playing cards and he liked drinking. He ended up gambling away most of our money, Mother only had left what my grandfather put in a trust for her. It was more than enough for us to be comfortable and make it until I get married off to some rich man.” The last few words got caught in Alyssa’s throat.

She hadn’t really thought about her mother in weeks, and this was just a reminder that her flight from her controlled life was more than a bid for her freedom. It was also a monetary death sentence for her mother. They always used to talk about which young rich boy Alyssa would marry after every society party, but now there was no going back and her mother was alone with no one to take care of or to take care of her.

Emma managed to sit up without pulling on her stitches too much until she was sitting face to face in front of Alyssa. She brought her hand to her cheek and wiped a tear that Alyssa didn’t even realize was making its way down her face. “I’m sorry Alyssa.”

“It’s fine, I made my choice. No going back now. I’m happy and that’s what matters.” She pressed a kiss into the palm on her face. “What about you? You never really talk about your family.”

“I don’t like talking about them.” Emma’s voice got cold.

“Please? I feel like you know everything about me, and I know next to nothing about you.”

Emma looked at her for a minute, studying every feature of Alyssa’s face, taking a deep breath and letting it out before giving into the big brown eyes.

“My parents wanted a son. They told me that every day when I was a kid, so I thought if I acted like the boy they wanted, they’d want me too. While other girls were quiet, I was running around with scabby knees like all the boys in my neighborhood.”

She had a distant look in her eyes, almost as if she was watching her childhood flickering in front of her on a movie screen. Alyssa took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

“But, I remember when I was seven, we were at church and I was restless and bored and ended up ripping out the entire book of Job out of the Bible. The preacher saw and hit me across the face. But you know — fair is fair, so I hit him back. I wasn’t allowed to go back to church from then on. Then when I was 13 we had this neighbor girl who was just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and that’s kinda when I knew I liked women. My parents caught me kissing her out in the field one day and that was when Father sent me away. They said I was going to be at my Grandmother’s but I was at a sanatorium. They told me that the way I was living was going to send me to Hell, so I played the part they wanted me to play, I was 15 when they let me out, clean and free of any deviances.”

Her voice was quivering and she was shaking along with it. It was as if she was that little kid again, and it broke Alyssa’s heart.

“But when I came home, there was this kid sitting in my window. My Father was holding him tight, looking at him with so much love and adoration. He never held me before.” Tears flowed freely behind Emma’s glasses.

“And I just couldn’t stay, so I ran away and I never looked back. I found Barry who took me in, then Dee Dee saw how I could just sneak around and not be noticed, so she gave me work. Angie let me crash in this room when I got a little too roughed up. I started selling Dust for Dee Dee, I brought in Nick, Kevin and Greg to be Barry’s Lost Boys. Then I met Shelby. She needed to get out of her family so I brought her to Angie. Then Carrie, Kaylee, Jess and then… you.”

“Emma, I— I — I’m so sorry.” Alyssa said, bringing Emma into her arms.

“It’s fine. My parents wished they never had me. Your parents? A fucking mess. Why anybody loves theirs is anybody’s guess.

Chapter Text

Emma grew stronger as the weeks went on, and Alyssa hardly left her side unless she had to work.

Alyssa had just walked off stage with arms full of cash when she heard a bang come from upstairs. Coming from Emma. She threw the money and her coat on her dressing table and ran upstairs. She threw open the door to find Emma sitting on the bed with a mischievous smile and a pile of books scattered on the floor.

Emma’s jaw dropped when she saw Alyssa in her costume. Pearls swaying with every breath Alyssa took. Alyssa gave a smirk at the girl’s reaction, slowly walking towards the bed, swaying her hips with every step.

“Emma,” her smirk grew the closer she got to the blonde. “Did you throw these books because you knew I would come up to check on you?”

Emma’s cheeks were becoming more and more flushed as Alyssa got closer. “Maybe…”

Alyssa smiled and bent at the waist so she was nose to nose with Emma. Emma’s breath caught in her throat as Alyssa slowly bent down to pick up the books, giving Emma a view of her bare back. She bent back up, holding the books to her chest before putting them lovingly on the side table.

Emma reached out to grab Alyssa around the waist, the brunette stepped just out of reach causing Emma to almost fall out of the bed. Alyssa swooped in and caught her before she hit the floor, putting her safely on the bed and sitting next to her.

“You have to be more careful Emma, I’d hate for you to get any more hurt than you already are.” Alyssa said in her most innocent voice, looking up at Emma through her eyelashes.

“Maybe you could kiss it better though.” Emma said, leaning in.

Alyssa smiled and leaned in, only to put a finger on Emma’s lips to stop her. “Will you promise to not make a ruckus unless something was actually wrong if I do?”

“I promise,” Emma nodded quickly. Her eyes were dark and sparkling in the rays of moonlight that were streaming through the window. Alyssa leaned in and closed the distance between them.

This was their first kiss since Emma was bleeding out on The Tribe’s doorstep and it was no longer sweet and soft like it was that night . No, this was pure desire, no sort of softness or waiting to see if she was sure — this was lust. Alyssa gasped as Emma bit her bottom lip, gently sucking it between her own. However, Alyssa needed more. She pushed Emma down onto the bed and straddled her. Brown eyes met the darkest hazel Alyssa had ever seen as Emma pushed up to capture Alyssa in yet another kiss.

Emma was quick to get her hands on as much bare skin that she could, pulling Alyssa in flush against her body. She began pressing kisses across Alyssa’s cheeks and down her neck, giving a small bite to Alyssa’s pulse point who arched her back and somehow managed to get even closer to Emma, a whine escaping her lips.

Alyssa’s hands traveled down from Emma’s hair to her sternum, enjoying the feeling of the fabric of Emma’s shirt underneath her fingers. Emma gave a small whimper as Alyssa’s hand slipped underneath the shirt and was finally feeling soft skin. Emma took her hands off of Alyssa, which made the brunette huff in frustration, and focused on undoing the buttons of her white shirt. Alyssa’s jaw dropped as scarred pale skin was made visible to her, snapping out of her trance only to decide to help Emma get rid of the shirt.

Looking down at the expanse of skin laid out in front of her, everything started to make sense to Alyssa. Why men would fight wars for women like this. Why they would write hundreds of thousands of poems, books, and songs about the beauty of a woman. Looking down at Emma, eyes dark, lips parted, a blush coloring her cheeks — it all made sense now.

Her eyes were wide as she slowly traced her fingers down Emma’s collarbones, smiling as Emma took in a shaky breath. Alyssa reached behind herself and found the clasp that held her pearl costume to her, unclipping it and letting it fall away.

“Darling, I—”

“Emma, just shut up and kiss me.” Alyssa whispered, pressing herself against the blonde.
— —
Alyssa woke up to an empty bed and a note on the pillow next to her.

“Darling, Had to go see the Fairy. See you tonight. Emma.”

She shook her head and rolled over in bed, trying to drift back to sleep until Shelby burst into the room.

“Darling, put your clothes on and get your ass downstairs.” She huffed as she tried to catch her breath.

“Why?” Alyssa pulled on the slip and dress near the foot of her bed.

Shelby had a look of fear in her eyes as she watched Alyssa dress. “Because the Fairy is here and she wants to meet with you.”
Alyssa’s eyes got wide as she took in the news. “Why me?”

“Fuck if I know, but she’s downstairs grinning like a fuckng cheshire cat. So, she either is going to adopt you or kill you. Either way, it was fun getting to know you.”

Alyssa shot Shelby a look for talking so grimly, but the look melted away at the genuine worry on Shelby’s face.

Alyssa pulled on her shoes and scampered down the stairs to find Dee Dee, Angie and Emma sitting at a table watching her. Dee Dee smiled into her martini as Emma straightened up in her seat as Alyssa approached the table.

“How nice of you to join us, Darling.” Dee Dee said as Alyssa sat down across the table from her.

“Well, when the Fairy calls, you answer.” Alyssa smiled, trying to hide the nervousness bubbling in the pit of her stomach.

“That’s what I like to hear.” Dee Dee took another sip of her drink. She held the entire table’s attention as she finished the martini and set it down, dabbing at her lips with a cocktail napkin. “Miss Greene I would like you to become the new Fairy.”

Three jaws dropped at the words. Angie and Emma shared a look before focusing completely on Alyssa.

“I— I don’— Why?” Alyssa managed to get the words out.

“Because out of everyone here in my little underworld, you’re the most equipped to do it.” Dee Dee said nonchalantly. “You come from high society, you can mix well within both worlds, and you know how to play men to get what you want. My profits off of this place have skyrocketed since you’ve joined The Tribe, which tells me you know what you’re doing when it comes to men with deep pockets.”

“You profit off of The Tribe?” Alyssa asked, looking at Angie who gave a small nod.

“I profit off of almost every establishment here. The Fairy owns all, and everyone owes me something.” Dee Dee looked at Emma who was nervously chewing on the inside of her cheek. “But that’s not important. This would mean that you would have to return to your mother while I train you. You may still come and go and see your friends, but you will answer to me and not ask questions. Does that sound good to you?”

“What do I get out of it?” Alyssa leaned forward in her seat. There was one thing that was clear in this room, she had the power. She could still say no and Dee Dee would be without someone to take over.

Dee Dee smiled and mirrored Alyssa’s body language. “I make around five hundred thousand a year. And that’s not including the profits off of places like The Tribe or The Hangman’s Tree.”

“And my friends?”

“Safe, under your protection.”

“My Mother?”

“You can give her however much money you would like. Track down your father for her. You can do whatever, she won’t know anything unless you choose to tell her.”

“And Emma?”

Dee Dee’s brows furrowed and she looked at the blonde. “What about Emma?”

“I don’t want to have to give her up. I know you have Hawkins around your finger, I don’t want to have to lose Emma to do the same.”

“That all depends on how good you are at sneaking around.” Dee Dee said, her smile growing. “Do we have a deal?”

Alyssa took a second to think, looking at Dee Dee’s hand hovering in front of her. “Yes.”

They shook.

“Good girl. I will send for you tomorrow morning.” Dee Dee said as she stood up and straightened her dress, heading towards the door. “Oh, and next time, don’t put all your cards on the table like that. You won’t get too far as the Fairy if you have any weaknesses for the people around you.”