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    Katya Dee
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

The First Lock - 11. Chapter 11

- XI -

 

So that night, nine months ago, while she was sipping her drink in that tavern, she gloomily thought that if she pulled another stunt in her usual manner, Claudia was not going to ignore it as she normally would. Katrena had no desire to have a face-off with a very pissed off blonde, so she decided to stay low for a while, until Claudia calmed down. The blonde could hold a grudge for a while, she knew that, but she also knew that it wouldn't last forever. She sighed and finished her drink, trying to figure out whether she wanted another one. No, she decided finally. Alcohol made her common sense to fall apart, and if she had another drink, she might end up doing something she’d regret later.

“Katrena!” someone’s soft voice purred above her ear, and she looked up. “Haven’t seen you in a while... You look stunning!”

She smiled; she couldn’t help it.

“Julian,” she said in the same purring voice.

He sat down next to her, his lilac eyes locked on her blue ones. She liked him. She was perfectly aware of the fact that Julian Salamander was one sadistic, coldblooded son of a bitch, but she liked him nevertheless. She remembered the first time she met him.

It was four or maybe five years ago. She was in some small bookstore, browsing through magazines, when some kid ran into her full speed. She dropped the magazine because of that, and it irritated her immensely. She was about to teach that brat a lesson, when she saw the kid’s expression, and frowned with puzzlement instead. The kid looked downright terrified.

“Please...” he muttered, his eyes dark with horror. “Oh, God... Don’t let him take me! Please...!”

Katrena frowned even deeper.

“What the hell are you talking about?” she asked, and the kid looked around with wild desperation.

“Oh, God...” he whimpered and dashed behind the bookshelves, trying to make himself invisible.

Katrena was about to say something else when she heard:

“I know you are here...”

The voice sounded slightly irritated and mildly amused at the same time, as if the owner of the voice couldn’t believe he was playing such a silly game. Katrena turned around and saw a tall blond man whose eyes scanned over her rather with boredom, and then he looked around.

“I know you are here,” he repeated with hint of annoyance this time. “Come out, because if you will make me look for you, you will be sorry.”

Finally, he sighed and shifted his gaze to Katrena, who was rather amused by that point.

“Where is he?” the man asked shortly, as if merely talking to some random girl was bothering him.

“Where is who?” Katrena asked seriously. She didn’t really care about the kid and about the reason why he was so terrified of this man; in fact, if the man were nicer, she’d just point out the kid’s location to him. But the man’s manner annoyed her, therefore, she decided to teach him a lesson. Katrena was not the one to tolerate such tone from anybody.

“The boy,” he said as shortly as before. “I know he is here. Where is he?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Katrena said calmly. “You are standing in front of the magazine I need. Would you please, move aside?”

The blond blinked several times, as if not believing his own ears, which was probably the case. Katrena thought that he looked like someone who would expect everybody around him to whimper in fear the minute he got anywhere close. He cocked his head slightly to the left, his eyes never leaving Katrena’s face.

“For the last time,” he said mildly. “Where is he?”

Katrena shrugged and slightly shoved him aside, getting to the magazine she didn’t really need. She knew an upcoming attack when she saw one. Well, felt rather. She also knew that the man was not going to assault her physically, which meant that he was about to hit her with some particularly nasty spell. Therefore, she immediately pulled up a Reflector. She was just in time because several seconds after she did so, she felt the spell bounce off and latch onto the caster. The man hadn’t made a single sound, and she frowned and looked at him. What she saw, made her smile. The blond stood there frozen, his eyes wide and disbelieving. It seemed like he couldn’t move or speak. Katrena immediately knew what spell he was about to use on her. She was right -- it was nasty. You couldn’t move or speak, and you were in the world of pain. The best thing was that only the caster could take the spell off after it was cast. Well, it wasn’t a problem for Katrena – taking care of someone else’s spell was a child’s game to her, but the blond didn’t know that.

She watched him with amusement for several minutes, thinking whether she should kick the level of pain up a notch or two. Just for the hell of it, she cranked it up just a little, and the blond’s eyes became so dark, they seemed almost black. Finally, she sighed and released him. He took a very deep, shaky breath and let out a moan. She blinked. Was it her imagination or did it sound like he just had a hell of a pleasant experience? He closed his eyes and stood there for a minute or two, composing his breath. Finally, he opened his eyes, which were back to their lilac color, and looked at Katrena with a mix of surprise, confusion, and gratitude.

“Thank you,” he said quietly, and she let out low laughter.

“I see,” she said. “You are one of those...”

The blond didn’t say or ask anything. He simply gave her a very small smile and shrugged lightly.

“Let me buy you a cup of coffee,” he said, his voice purring dark velvet. “Believe me, I owe you more than just that...”

She considered that for a second. Then she put the magazine back on the shelf and smiled.

“There is a wonderful coffee place four blocks from here,” she said. “Their espresso is legendary. Would you mind a little walk?”

“I have my car,” he said and offered her his hand. “I am Julian.”

“I am Katrena,” she nodded and took his hand.

He didn’t mention the kid even once while they were enjoying that legendary espresso, which lasted rather long – almost four hours.

 

...The memory made her smile.

“How are you?” he asked with genuine interest.

“I’ve been better and I’ve been worse,” she nodded, and he smiled again. “How about you?”

“I am rather well,” he said quietly. “I am celebrating.”

“Oh?” she raised her eyebrows. “What is it?”

“Would you like another drink?”

“No, thank you... Well...” she hesitated. “A cup of coffee would be nice.”

“Do you want to stay here or would you rather go elsewhere?” his eyes never left her face.

“Let’s stay here,” she nodded. “So what is it you are celebrating?” she asked after he ordered a cup of coffee for her and a dry martini for himself.

“An anniversary,” he said, and his eyes flashed strangely at that. “See, on this exact date, three years ago, I finally got my closure. Do you remember Specter?”

She nodded without saying anything. She had never met Specter face to face, but she knew about him, all right. The man couldn’t do a simplest thing when it came to magic, he couldn’t use any of the elements to save his life, but he was one of the most dangerous men in the entire world in spite of those facts.

“Yes,” Julian nodded again. “Three years ago, on this exact day, I watched Specter burn... Well,” he shrugged and took a sip of his newly arrived martini. “From afar, of course.”

Katrena smiled at that. She herself never believed in Specter’s death. Somehow, it always seemed to her that everything went too smooth and easy after Julian told her the story a year or so ago. She suspected that Specter managed to disappear into thin air as he usually did, and that he was quite alive and well somewhere in the world right now. She never told about her suspicions to Julian, however. He seemed to be satisfied and pleased. There was no need to stir up any doubts in his heart.

“Would you like to keep me company?” he asked softly, his fingers lingering on hers.

She smiled and finished her coffee.

“I’d rather not,” she said, and he let out a small sigh. “I don’t enjoy pain, Julian,” she said seriously. “Well... Not my own pain, anyway,” she shrugged.

“I would never hurt you,” he said seriously, and she nodded.

“I know,” she said. “But you would have to hold back... Now, where is fun in that?” she smiled.

He hemmed and smiled back at her.

“You are probably right,” he agreed. “But I can’t help thinking that we would be quite good together.”

“We would be,” she agreed. “Who knows, maybe it’ll happen one of those days... Thanks for coffee, Julian. I am going to go home. I am tired.”

She wasn’t lying; she really was tired. Try shoving the leader of Everything-That’s-Good out of your front door and see how refreshed you would be.

“Would you like a ride?” he asked without letting go of her fingers.

“No,” she shook her head. “Thank you. The weather is mild and I don’t mind walking.”

Now she was partially lying. The weather was good, and she never minded walking, but those were not the only reasons she didn’t want to be alone with him. Every time they met, it seemed like sexual tension between them kept growing at alarming rate. She knew that if she got into his car right now, she would probably end up completely ignoring her common sense and succumbing to that damn velvety voice and those lilac eyes of his. She knew that if she did so, it would be a very bad mistake.

He smiled with the corners of his mouth and got up.

“Have a safe night,” he purred and placed a very light kiss on her mouth.

She returned the kiss and pulled away, smiling.

“Good night, Julian,” she said softly and walked away.

“Night,” he called after her.

©Katya Dee; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Katrina might be totally self centered and amoral, but she knows herself and can read others flawlessly. Julian is still a strange bird.

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