The air in the bar was thick with smoke. The floors were scarred with age and use, but gleamed from a good polish.
The barstools that lined up to the live-edge oak bar creaked at the hinges, the metal caps at the end scraped across the scarred floor- the blue walls were covered in posters, art,
and concert advertisements for unknown bands. The bar held a haunting beauty to it, as if the spirit of love and care caressed the walls and floors.
The frosted glass door that served as the entrance of the bar swung open. A bell jingled cheerfully, welcoming the newcomer. And the newcomer was gorgeous.
Her hair tumbled about her face in thick, red waves. Her caramel skin almost glowed with health. Her hazel eyes were sharp and lined in winged black, her lashes heavy and thick.
Her cheekbones looked like a razor blade, as sharp as they were and her lips were painted red as blood and had a full, supple look to them, begging to be kissed and bitten. Her hips were graceful and large enough to cup, her breasts a perfect handhold for a man or woman.
She could drop jaws and stop hearts with a single look. But that night, Nikita Simone simply wanted a drink.
She walked up to the barstools and slid into the one deepest into a corner. Quiet, dark- that's how she liked it.
She tapped on the bar to signal she wanted a drink and the young, blonde bartender walked over, smiling cheerfully.
"What can I get you?"
"Whiskey. A quarter of your strongest."
"Absolutely, ma'am," The bartender turned and filled a small glass with ice, then poured whiskey on top, "Here you are."
Nikita took the drink with a gentle nod of gratitude and lifted it to her lips. She sipped, softly at first, then guzzled the glass and requested another.
Men gave her strange looks; women gave her looks full of daggers, wanting to be that beautiful.
Her black jeans were worn, fraying at the knees from wear.
Her blank tank-top covered down to her belly-button while a black leather jacket covered the top,
shielding the gun halter under her arm and her belt-loops hid another gun at her hip as if it were a belt.
She wore black combat boots no longer shiny, but caked with dirt and grass on the soles. Nikita sipped at her second drink, slowly spun in her barstool, and faced the lookers of the bar.
She scanned each one, assessing threats. Be they potential threats or not, it was deeply ingrained in Nikita to check each person.
She turned around again, facing the mirrored drink wall, and stared at her reflection.
What she saw looking back at her both scared and soothed the woman.
She saw someone capable of killing within a moment's notice, someone with hands scarred from battle and an expression of "fuck off, or die". That was reassuring.
It was the look she wanted on her face.
Nikita Simone dug her hand into her front pocket and pulled out her phone. Encased in a wallet, she flipped it open and scanned her screen. Three new texts. All from her...
Employer, to put it nicely. She heaved out a sigh and texted back.
'What do you want, Charolette?'
Three little periods popped up, hovering as the person on the other end of the conversation typed back, 'I want you to come back to the mansion and do your damn job.'
'I told you. I'm out for a drink. You'll survive.'
'Perhaps I will,' Charolette wrote back, 'But my son may not.'
Damn that woman, Nikita muttered under her breath, damn her to hell. Charolette knew the boy was her weakness.
A sweet little thing, barely five feet tall at the age of seven, with the round cheeks of a cherub and the pale skin of a porcelain doll.
Nikita finished her drink, ordered a third, shot it back like vodka and slammed the glass on the bar. She palmed out a few twenties and spoke to the bartender in a voice sharp as glass.
"Pay for whoever needs a drink as badly as I did."
"Yes ma'am," The bartender put the cash into the register and nodded faintly, looking a bit afraid of Nikita. Good, people needed to be afraid of her that night.
She was in a mood, a hell of a mood. She could sweat it off, or fuck it off, or fight it off. None of the three were a viable option.
She slid out of her barstool and strode toward the door, ignoring the low whistles and murmured appreciation of her body from the onlookers.
She shoved open the door, annoyed by the jingle of the bells, and let it shut hard behind her.
She approached the Kawasaki 500 waiting on the curb for her,
swinging her leg over the seat of the motorcycle and bracing one foot on the pedal as she got her helmet on and secured under her chin.
She settled on the seat more comfortably and zipped her jacket closed before starting the bike, heading towards the city backroads that would get her home more quickly.
Home was an exaggeration. In no way was the mansion Nikita's home. It was her place of residence for the foreseeable future, but it was no home.
She pulled onto a gravel drive labeled "private drive" and sighed as the bike sputtered, not liking the gravel.
She shut it off and walked it the rest of the drive, unzipping her jacket after parking.
She looked up. And up. The mansion never seemed to end- the spokes of the roof cast up into the sky like fingers clawing at the heavens.
She walked towards the four-car garage and opened up the side door, walking in past the expensive, luxurious vehicles that begged her to drive them, and opened up the garage door.
It led into a small mudroom and she took off her jacket, hanging it up. In her shoulder halter was a Browning High Power classic gun, tucked in and clipped safely.
In her thigh halter was a Firestar 9mm as a backup weapon, each with extra clips secured with small straps. The Firestar ammo she just kept in her back pocket for easy draw.
She walked past the mudroom into the grand dining, down the small three-step lead into the living-room, and into the kitchen with a soft smirk playing on those bloodred lips.
"Charolette," She greeted the woman sitting quietly at the kitchen island. She looked like she was about mid-thirties in age, with a glass of wine beside her. She seemed to be doing paperwork, but Nikita had no interest in that.
"Nikita," Charolette replied, tone short, "What's made you pissy?"
"My night of choice got interrupted," Nikita muttered, "Not that it matters to you. Is the boy in bed?"
"No, he's reading in his room. He won't be in bed for a while yet," Charolette shook her head and looked up as Nikita slid into a chair opposite her own, "Why do you care for him?"
"Because you don't."
"Of course not," Charolette snorted, tossing back her shimmering black mane of hair, eyeing Nikita critically, "He's just a means to an end. Sasha serves me no good, you know this."
"So why bother hiring me?" Nikita's brows raised, "If he's so useless for living as a child, why hire someone such as me to protect him? He needs to be brought up properly to serve your means.
I'm not doing that."
"No, but you're preparing him for the real world in a way I cannot, in a way his father can't because his father is dead,
" Charolette spoke of her late husband's death as if he never mattered to her, "But you? You're doing so splendidly, darling. After all, you're not as bad as they say you are."
"No," Nikita murmured, cocking her head, "I'm much worse."