A Field of Candles
Chapter 18 Our Remedies in Ourselves Do Lie
“He’s in the Canaries,” the man said.
“Still?” Amara asked.
“Well, he did leave, went to England as I told you and then Greece for a short bit and then he went back to Gran Canaria.”
“And you think he has a, um, lady friend?”
“No thinking at all there, he definitely had a woman with him. Doukas has his own villa, right, and my source has seen the two out together, driving and walking. Having dinner.”
“Haven’t asked, but I believe she’s a Brit.”
“Hmmmm,” Amara murmured.
“Mom,” Sophie asked, a catch in her voice, “Dad called. What’s goin’ on?”
Geneva calmed herself. She knew this moment would come the second she signed the divorce papers. She was planning to call Sophie but Peter had said he wanted to talk with her. “Well, dear, I think you’re old enough to know what’s happening. Your father and I have decided to, um, split (she hated that word) and, really, it makes sense but I know, especially for you, it is sad.” She knew she had rambled on and waited now for Sophie’s response.
“Does this have anything to do with…Nicole?” Sophie asked in a quiet voice.
Geneva paused for a moment. It concerned Nicole, or at least, Nicole was involved, but truthfully, the relationship had ended for all intents and purposes long before Nicole came into Geneva’s life, and that is what she told her daughter.
“I don’t trust her.” Sophie said, and Geneva felt a strong twinge, thinking of the other paper she had recently signed; the one that made her a slave.
She grimaced at the thought, while also realizing the arousal she felt simply thinking about it.
Nicole sat at the bar; she had downed one glass of wine fairly quickly, wanting to get the taste of the two women out of her mouth. After dressing and getting out of the building as quickly as she could, Nicole had waited impatiently for the taxi she had ordered, standing and shivering in the January cold, deciding then she needed to get somewhere warm and have a drink; or several.
Both Sheffield and Cezair had sported very hairy pussies and once she had been released, Nicole felt like she spent twenty minutes just picking disgusting hairs out of her teeth. Both women were also grinders; they mashed Nicole’s face into their groins and humped her aggressively. Nicole had washed her face in the bar restroom, but believed she still smelled of ‘pussy’.
Nicole had now started her second glass of wine, also needing to wash from her mind the sense of betrayal she felt. The fact she had no options really did not make things easier. Looking up, a woman three stools down caught her eye and smiled. Nicole looked at her, but the woman was older and Nicole felt no interest; likely another hairy pussy.
Looking around, she did notice a young woman in a booth diagonally from the bar, at that moment in an intense conversation with another girl who looked maybe a year or two older. When the second girl tossed a twenty on the table, got up and put on her coat and left without another word, Nicole gazed at the young woman. Half of her blonde head was shaved closely and she had a nose ring, but other than that she looked ‘normal’. The fact she had been served meant she was over twenty-one, but she had one of those young, almost pure, child-like and innocent faces. A little like Tatjana.
When the girl looked over at her, Nicole smiled sympathetically, she hoped, and the girl smiled nervously in return, then quickly looked away. Nicole continued her stare and the girl looked back and smiled again and Nicole rose, taking her wine with her and sliding into the booth opposite the young woman.
“Hi there,” Nicole began pleasantly, “couldn’t help but notice that….” She nodded her head in the direction of the departed friend.
The girl smiled and looked down, and sipped her drink, which Nicole regarded, as it looked like she was having a hot drink. “You’re drinking tea?” Nicole asked.
The girl smiled, showing braces (Nicole feeling a definite rush). “It’s Chai Love You tea, you know, green tea and rum.” She sipped some more.
Nicole glanced under the table and noticed, despite the weather, the girl had on a thin skirt with knee high white socks. Fucking Christ, Nicole thought, white knee highs. Without deliberating too much, and feeling the need to do something, Nicole extended her black boot and ran the toe up the side of the girl’s leg. “I’m Nicole.” She said as she did this, with her most disarming smile.
“Rachel,” the girl said quietly, looking alarmed in spite of the smile, but not moving or closing her legs. Nicole applied pressure and Rachel opened her legs farther.
“What was the disagreement about, if you don’t mind me asking? You can tell me to fuck off, I would understand. I’m kinda’ nosey.” Nicole laughed, and Rachel brought her legs together and squeezed Nicole’s foot, before spreading them again.
“Well, she’s my, um, girlfriend, or she was, but she’s pissed ‘cuz I was hangin’ with another chick tonight. It was no big deal but now she’s salty, like, fuck; she’s a real princess you know and, well, you know….” Rachel sipped some more ‘tea’, letting Nicole figure out the ways of princesses. Being one herself, Nicole
“Finish your drink and let’s go check out some other places; this bar’s dead.”
Rachel looked up with big, blue eyes, smiling uncertainly, colored braces showing, before saying quietly, “Okay.”
Hailey took a glass out of the cupboard and then poured some orange juice, taking her time. Her thin night clothes clung to her sleek, round body, the nipples of her lovely breasts clearly visible; Nicole noticed everything, but today she was relaxed enough, and hung over just enough, to ignore her instincts.
“Who was that girl last night?” Hailey asked.
Nicole could have bluffed with ‘what girl’ but what would be the point? “A friend,” she said.
“She, uh, seemed pretty young.” Hailey said, a small smile on her face as she put the juice back in the fridge.
“Yeah?” Nicole also smiled, remembering Rachel’s braces and her lips against her vagina.
Hailey impulsively dropped to her knees beside Nicole’s chair. “Why don’t you just have me, if you like them young?” She implored.
Nicole reached out to stroke the blonde hair, “Hailey, we’ve been through this already….”
“But, I’ve been eighteen for a while now,” Hailey argued.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Nicole looked at the girl, trying to come up with a way to explain her feelings. “I would explain it to you if I could, because it’s not about, um, desire. I was, uh, involved with Sophie, right.”
“Yeah, that was great, hmmmm?” Hailey smirked.
Nicole regarded her; she was too sharp for her own good. “What d’you mean there, nosey-pants?”
Nicole looked down, “Well, Sophie wasn’t into it,” she said quietly.
Part of Nicole wanted to carry this on, but she forced that away; the less said about Sophie, the better.
“Is it ‘cause I’m not pretty enough?” Hailey murmured.
“Oh Christ.” Nicole laughed, “You really don’t get it. You are beautiful. Fuck, I would like, um, oh, forget it.” Nicole pressed a hand against her temple. “Why aren’t you seeing anyone?”
Hailey pondered that as she sat gazing up at Nicole; thinking she liked this perspective. Since the thing with Alexis had ended she had just, drifted. She was doing well at school, which she had thrown herself into and now she really needed to make a decision about college, but everything else just died off; she had zero social life.
“I, um, dunno, nothing’s come up. It’s not like I’m, uh, hiding or anything….”
Nicole looked again at the girl; she was like a flower, budding out into something astonishing; and she would love, the predator part of her, to enjoy every inch of this young body, like she had with Rachel. But, this was different, for some reason.
“Why don’t you ask someone out; take the initiative, bring someone home?” She suggested.
Hailey looked away and then back up. There had been a couple of girls (being at an all-girl school made meeting guys more of a challenge) who Hailey had sort of checked out, but that was as far as it had gone. Maybe she should try harder…”
But in the end, she’d prefer to just be Nicole’s toy.
Peter van der Strom looked down at the document; it seemed so impersonal, so emotionless, these pieces of paper announcing the end of a twenty-five year relationship. He wasn’t regretting anything; it wasn’t that. And it wasn’t like he thought he could have
salvaged his marriage; what was the point, really?
But it still seemed cold and lacking anything, well, human. The marriage had been very human with the ceremony and the friends and the celebration. Then all the years together and their lovely daughter, watching her grow, building a life. Now this? This was just a door closing on an empty room.
As he was brooding so, Ronald came to the door. “Ah, here you are, pondering in silence. Well, we can’t have that, can we? My friend Joel will be here soon and he’s dying to see the outfit I got you, so let’s go, chop chop, as they say, tally ho and all that….”
Smiling a self-conscious smile, Peter stood and went off to get dressed, his erection already growing at the thought. This was, after all, his new life, a life he had fantasized about forever; he needed to let the past go. Sometimes doors needed closing, even on empty rooms.
Hailey had been thinking about Nicole’s comments. She asked herself why she hadn’t tried to hook up with anyone since Alexis. She couldn’t come up with a reason. It wasn’t like she was distraught or hiding away; she had missed Alexis, or more correctly, what she and Alexis did; but that sense of loss had passed after a few days and she hardly ever thought of her old ‘girlfriend’. So, what was the problem? Being at an all-girl school, she pondered, it should not be difficult to meet chicks.
But Hailey had always been reserved and self-conscious. She did not take notice of the eyes that followed her; she unconsciously brushed off the attention. What she did think about was the possible shame of rejection.
What if she came on to a girl and the girl ran away in horror? Hailey fussed over that scenario every time she noticed a girl. With the final year of her school life coming soon to an end, she really (really) didn’t want to mess things up.
But she did miss companionship and the intimacy she had shared with Alexis. Today, she was determined she would try harder to meet someone; and she actually already had someone in mind.
The house was sold, the papers signed and delivered and now today Geneva was at the next step in her new life. Christina had come for her and taken her to this little tattoo parlor. The owner / artist was a friend of Christina’s and familiar with the slave tattoo system.
It had been a little unpleasant but now it was over and Geneva had a small black line of letters and digits on the side of her left breast. You needed to look closely to see what it said; from the distance it looked like a mole or something. They were now on their way back to Nicole’s; Geneva’s breast would be allowed to heal completely and then she would be going to a woman who lived not far from Nicole, in the very same upscale community in fact; a wealthy divorced woman who now wanted to explore her fantasy of owning a female slave.
The woman had seen the photos of Geneva and was very happy with the possibilities. Eighty-five hundred dollars might seem steep to some, but to this woman, it was a bargain for a human ‘toy’. It would happen in two weeks and she couldn’t wait.
In a couple of days, Geneva would move to Christina’s house for training.
“Very good, sir.” Olivia Sheffield said and turned off her phone. It occurred to her she had not actually seen Mr. Doukas in person for weeks; they communicated lately entirely by phone or email. Things were different.
It wasn’t like she was sitting around on her hands waiting for directions, as it were; but she just felt ‘out of the loop’. She knew Doukas was involved with someone; it hadn’t taken Sheffield long, with her legion of operatives, to get all the details on Mr. Doukas’s new ‘friend’. She did so of course with the utmost discretion; there was no way she would knowingly upset her boss.
Thinking of that, she took out the folder labelled ‘AM’. It had been ten days now since her interrogation of Martin and she knew action was needed; but she would not be rushed; this too required discretion.
As well, Amara Manos had been dispatched by Doukas to a series of visits along the European/Russian border, involving both arms and girls. She had only returned to Belgrade yesterday. The two men Sheffield had in place in Belgrade had been sent off on other business while Manos was away but they would be back in place tonight.
Sheffield was ready to take the next step; her only hesitation was thinking of Doukas’s reaction. She mulled over at length about conferring with him, but had reached the decision that action and an apology was better than permission. She would put the wheels in motion soon.
Rosalind Kane was certain this time. She had been so extra careful, and as she left for lunch she nodded cheerfully to Madelaine at the front desk; no hint that she would never return.
Her last contact with Alastair’s associate ended with Kane just giving the man all the remaining money with his promise to ‘get the job done’; and that was that; great if it worked. If the money was just gone Kane really didn’t care.
For now, ‘Plan B’ was starting. And it would end with Kane in a little rural cottage outside Dunoon. She had carefully and quietly over the last six weeks (through Alastair’s guy, so that wasn’t a total loss) had a new passport and other official papers created in the name of Mary-Anne Jeffries; it had cost another thirty thousand pounds, but to Kane it was a small price.
She had all her money, and it was still substantial,
deposited in various places and she would have access to it from any major city, like Edinburgh.
Hopefully the man would be successful in taking Doukas out and none of this would matter. Whatever; her new life would be starting this afternoon.
The two Serbs were now back at it, watching; waiting. Amara did not go out often, so it was tedious; but the money they made balanced that, and only one guy had to keep watch for the most part, so the second could do other things.
The taller of the two was at present reading the most recent message from Sheffield, and he passed it along to his partner. They were to enter the little bungalow the next time the woman left and make sure it was easy to do and that there were no obstacles.
Amara did not have a heavily guarded home; she did not want to attract attention with a lot of security. She personally felt no threats; she kept a low profile and was essentially a gun for hire, even if it was exclusively for Doukas. It was not her business. There was more actual danger to Amara when out on assignments.
Nils Woodford sat on a hard park bench, trying to look ‘normal’, but having a hard time with that. He was a man much suited to country estates, board rooms and cocktail parties, not clandestine meetings in lonely, out of the way places.
But when one is meeting an assassin, what is one to do?
Olivia Sheffield stood waiting for the door to open; when it did, Marie Prescott greeted her cordially. Sheffield was now in New York and looked to be here for a while, at least that was the impression she had gotten from Doukas. For now she was just checking in on Tatjana, the ‘project’ as Sheffield thought of her.
They still had no plans for her, and had not used her in any manner; yet Doukas seemed fine with just keeping her, like a ward of sorts.
Prescott invited Sheffield into the apartment and took her coat, Sheffield placing her ever-present briefcase by the door. Tatjana came in and stood smiling up at the women.
“Hey Tat, you remember Mrs. Sheffield?”
Tatjana extended a hand and smiled, “Yes.” She said simply.
“Come this way, Ms. Sheffield. We can talk in my office.” The two women continued down the hall and turned into the first room on the right. Tatjana stood watching them with interest. When they had disappeared into the room, she moved silently to the open door and stood for a moment listening. She smiled and returned to the living room and then eyed Sheffield’s expensive briefcase.
Then she did a curious thing. She brought her ever-present I-pad up and looked through it, like one would a camera. She was focused on Sheffield’s briefcase. She pressed the side button and then smiled.
One would have thought she had just taken a picture of the briefcase, if one had been present. An odd thing, surely.
Tatjana then went back to her room and sat on the floor, the ever-present smile on her face.
Gilad sat with the man known only as ’Z’; he had been brought here with a hood over his head, which had just been removed.
“Welcome, my friend, sorry about the secrecy.” Z murmured, albeit in Hebrew.
Gilad said he understood; was there anything new?
“Yes, there is, at least regarding our…friend, Louis Doukas.”
Gilad nodded his understanding.
“We have agreed that the best place for a hit on him is when he is in America.” Gilad’s eyebrows rose. “We have targeted some men in New York and Philadelphia that fit the profile; they are either Saudis or from Tunisia, and will be decoys or scapegoats.”
“America, that is intriguing.” Gilad said. “I would have thought Eastern Europe.”
“That’s the back-up plan.”
At that moment an assistant entered with two cups of espresso, and the conversation was paused.
The tall Serb inserted the second metal tool into the lock, and the click told him it was open. Carefully, soundlessly, he entered, quickly placing two soft sacks over his shoes. He took the small kitchen space in three strides, noted the hallway, the front door and then left, retracing his steps out and locking the door with his two metal probes.
He moved quickly down the laneway and then across the narrow street and around, coming back to the surveillance house by the back door.
When he entered he found his shorter companion in the front room; they had been joined by a woman in her fifties: medium height, olive complexion, dark hair just greying. She had a mild look about her, and anyone who passed her on the street would take her for just another woman, possibly someone’s grandmother. No one would guess she was a trained killer; that was one reason she was so successful.
In Geneva, Louis Doukas was enjoying life as he always did; more so now that he had Daphne in his. They were at her home; in a few days, at the end of the month, he would continue on to England; she would join him there for a while, as the plan was for him to be in London for a few weeks. Tonight however they were doing what they enjoyed; sharing a lovely meal, having good wine, then sitting with coffee and discussion, Doukas blithely unaware of the angry forces stirring around him.
Unaware of how he had been targeted; how, even as he sat sipping the dark, rich coffee he favored, plans were being shared in several places, all with the same goal; his death.
Hailey watched Brooke head down the hallway to the computer lab. The girl was an odd choice for the tall and blonde Hailey; Brooke being short and dark, but Hailey had not rushed this decision, she had been very systematic and observant for the last while, and Brooke was her choice.
The girl was a popular and intimidating person. She was on all the main clubs, including council, and she was known as a girl one didn’t cross. But Hailey believed she had seen Brooke casting glances her way several times; the girl hung out with a group but Hailey had discretely checked, and no one knew of any male ‘complications’.
Hailey followed the girl into the lab, sitting one computer over from her. This was not random; Hailey was one of the more advanced computer ‘nerds’ in the school, but because she was also a gifted athlete, no one considered her a true ‘nerd’. On the other hand, computer science was the subject that gave Brooke the most trouble.
The hour together unfolded as Hailey had hoped; she had been able to assist Brooke and Brooke had been happy to get to know a student many people admired, even if the girl herself did not appreciate that. Hailey was astounded when Brooke accepted her offer to hang together after school, and when they ended up back at her house she felt like pinching herself; was this actually happening?
They were now sitting side by side and regarding
Hailey’s laptop, checking out some social media. Hailey decided now was the time to try something.
“You check out porn much, Brooke?” Hailey offered in her most innocent voice.
Brooke laughed, “Yeah, when I can. Shit, who doesn’t. You?”
“Every day,” Hailey replied, finding a ‘gang bang’ site. The two girls then watched a couple of videos of a lone girl being fucked by several men in turn, before Hailey found an all-girl gang-bang site.
The only issue that Hailey had with these sites was that the girls all looked like ‘porn stars’, over-stuffed breasts, heavy make-up. Even on the lesbian-friendly sites it was like the women were all part of a male fantasy. And was this what men fantasized about? Women like this? Hailey wanted to see some girls that looked ‘normal’, the kind you would see at the gym or in a mall. Or at her school.
Hailey and Brooke were watching an ‘ambush’ video, a group of women grabbing someone and abusing and raping her for retaliation or whatever. “What do you think of these women, Brooke?” Hailey asked. She had noticed Brooke’s hand rubbing her own thigh in a nonchalant manner, inching closer to her crotch.
“Um, whaddya’ mean?”
“Well, I think they sorta look like sluts.”
“Yeah, well they are in a porn video, Hails.” Brooke snorted.
“Yeah, but wouldn’t you wanna see, like, some regular girls doing this?”
“Would you?” Brooke asked.
Hailey turned to look right into Brooke’s eyes, “Yes. I would. A lot.” She said.
It was Monday, with February just about done. Hailey and Brooke were meeting for the first time since their ‘porn discussion’ day. Brooke had a family function on the weekend so that was that, but now they sat in a coffee shop, corner booth, both with grins on their faces.
“Fuck, Hails, I couldn’t get our talk outta my head all weekend. I’d be sittin’ there with cousins and shit and they’d go ‘Brooke, you listenin’?’ and I’d be like. ‘Whaaa?’, she laughed.
“Yeah, I get it, B. So give me your, um, ideas.”
“Well, this is hard ‘cuz, you know, nobody likes to talk about shit, right?”
“Right. But you an’ me gotta talk some shit,“ they laughed.
Brooke then smiled a little smile, “So, I’m guessing you’ve gone down on a chick?”
Brooke chuckled, nodding her dark head. “Yep. Soooo, I was thinkin’, we make a video of ourselves, like, for ourselves. An’ since it’s just the two of us in there, welllll, there’s no danger or anything, check?”
Hailey smiled. “Check.”
They raised their lattes to each other.
(End of Chapter 18)