- Meet The Girls
- Meet The Guys
- Chapter One
- Chapter Two
- Chapter Three
- Chapter Four
- Chapter Five
- Chapter Six
- Chapter Seven
- Chapter Eight
- Chapter Nine
- Chapter Ten
- Chapter Eleven
- Chapter Twelve
- Chapter Thirteen
- Chapter Fourteen
- Chapter Fifteen
- Chapter Sixteen
- Chapter Seventeen
- Chapter Eighteen
This story is rated Mature for adult language, sexual content, references to graphic violence, drug, and substance abuse. This means that this is intended for audiences 18 and up.
The door clicked open softly, jarring Eli from her sleep. It was late. A cursory glance at the alarm clock told her that it was closer to morning than evening. But unfortunately, the soft, padded footsteps did not have the desired effect. The heels still clicked too loudly on the marble tile.
Eli let out a soft laugh into her pillow, her spine arching and dipping like a cat. She reached over and tapped the base of her nightstand lamp, filling the apartment with its soft, warm glow.
Yui looked like she had just gotten caught with her hand in the jar. She grimaced, her pained expression shifting too quickly into an apologetic smile. She waggled her fingers, still doing her best to tiptoe to the bed. The image was quite comical, giving her the appeal of a showboating giraffe.
“Just take the fucking shoes off,” Eli laughed, rolling onto her back.
“That… would have been the smart thing to do,” Yui huffed, falling against the bed.
Eli moved behind her, pressing absent, lingering kisses to her shoulders and neck as she fussed with the strap of her heels. “You’re late,” she purred, looping her arms around the Siren’s middle.
“It was a long night,” she exhaled. “A few of the other girls and I were pulled aside for a private party.”
Eli’s hold tightened, her spine stiffening. “Not like…”
“Not that kind of party,” Yui said, shaking her head. “That hasn’t happened in a long, long time.”
A few years before, their employer had put some of the dancers into a position they should never have been in. The club had a high roller who wanted a different kind of entertainment. Interests that had caused the club to lift their “no touching” policy for a night. Fortunately enough, it seemed to have been a one-time thing, but one time was still one too many. Eli couldn’t think about it without feeling her blood boil. Yui was quiet about the subject, never revealing much beyond the fact that she had opened her body in ways she would never have. In ways she hadn’t even been fully compensated for.
The Siren sighed, tracing the inside of her cheek with her tongue. “It was one of those parties where they wanted me to use my gift.”
Eli nodded her understanding, his fingers tracing absently over the circlet around the Siren’s throat. “How much did you get him for?”
“All he had,” she exhaled, leaning back into Eli’s arms.
“You know it’s not stealing, right?” She had consoled her probably hundreds of times, but it never seemed to matter. Yui didn’t understand that she had little to no personal accountability for what happened. She was being used. Exploited. It wasn’t something she would ever do of her own free will. She was just a tool in Nex’s sinister games.
But Yui couldn’t accept that. For what reason, Eli had no idea.
Perhaps, she was just cut from a higher caliber of moral fiber. Perhaps she simply refused to allow someone else to own her life and how she responded to things, unlike Eli, who bent until she proved that her spine was little more than a tighter coiled slinky.
They sat in silence for a long moment, Eli consoling her by trailing her affections over her skin.
The want was there. To tell her that they were getting out. And soon. But she recognized the bone-deep exhaustion in Yui. She knew that if she were to say something, neither would be able to sleep. And sleep was greatly needed, judging by the heavy bags that formed under her eyes.
Yui didn’t make it a habit to come to her bed this late — or at all, really. Not without an invitation. Yui only dared to tempt fate when things were weighing on her.
Eli coiled her arms around her middle, tugging her backward onto the bed. “What’s going on?”
Yui shook her head, letting out a soft sigh. “Lonely,” she said after what felt like an eternity. “You’re my only friend,” she murmured after a long moment’s contemplation. “You’re the only person I trust. Everyone else is… they’re just in it to get something.” She caught her lip between her two front teeth. “I just want someone to want to be with me or be my friend because of who I am. Not what I am.”
Eli made a soft sound in her throat as her fingers raked soothingly through her friend’s hair. It was an unfortunate part of their way of life. That they would be chewed up and spit out. Most wouldn’t have the luxury of having someone on the other side to piece them together. To make them harder than before, galvanizing them against the ruination others would bring to them. It took an exceptional breed of survivor to get over these things. Too many people were shattered by less.
Tangled together, she tugged Yui closer to her chest. “You have me.”
“Yeah,” she agreed, forcing a smile. “That’s more than most people have.”
“I know it doesn’t stop it from hurting when other people are completely shitbags.”
“No,” Yui replied, shaking her head slightly. “It doesn’t. But you do make it feel a lot better.”
“That’s just because I’m really good with my fingers.”
“And your mouth,” Yui grinned. “But you’re also just the best friend I could have ever asked for.”
Eli felt her heart swell twice its intense size. She squeezed her friend closer and dragged them back until they rested against the pillow top. “You’re the best friend I could have ever asked for,” she replied, too aware of how tight her voice sounded.
The Siren wore a devilish smile on her lips as she wiggled closer. “Did I hit you in the feelings?”
“I don’t have those,” she replied tartly.
“You so do,” she giggled, rolling to face her, an arm draped affectionately around her middle. “I know because you share them with me.”
“Yeah. Ya better not tell anyone, or you’ll be sleeping with the fishies.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad. You called them ‘fishies,'” she pulled a too-sweet smile. “That sounds adorable.”
“Adorably exhausted,” she wiggled impossibly closer, hooking her leg between Eli’s. “Can I stay the night?”
“I didn’t know I had a choice,” she said, glancing back at the clock. It was a quarter to five. “Though, you’re really just… spending the morning.”
“Well, then, I’m gonna spend the day,” she huffed. “Just let me sleep all afternoon.”
“All right,” she smirked, pressing a kiss to Yui’s forehead. “I think I can manage that.”
“You better,” Yui said groggily, her petulance somehow even more adorable with the sleep thick in her voice. If Eli didn’t know Yui fell asleep almost as soon as her eyes closed, she would have thought she was joking about how quickly she began snoring.
Eli shifted slightly, slipping her arm beneath her friend’s head. She watched her sleep for a long moment, her fingers combing affectionately through her hair.
She couldn’t wait to tell Yui the good news.
Tomorrow, she reminded herself. Or later today.
Her stomach twisted with the realization that they would be leaving everything behind soon. And hopefully, in this new life, Yui would find someone who treated her the way she deserved to be treated.
Someone far better than her. Eli cuddled her closer, trying not to think of the day she would inevitably realize that she deserved much more than she could give her.
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