by. Poisoned Scarlett
A little boy, he picked it up and put it in his pocket.
"If you leave me," she says, resting the rim of the teacup on her ruddy lip, "I'll kill you."
Giriko cracks an eye open and gives her a lazy stare, lazily deciding if she's serious or not. When he decides that she is, indeed, serious about her calm threat, he closes the eye again and slumps further down on the couch. "Not if I kill you first."
"You think I'd walk in here unarmed? I'm not that stupid."
"Touche, but the question is who has the better sleight of hand?"
"Huh," Giriko opens both his eyes and a spark of dark glee lights them up. "Who does?" Arachne watches him sit up, resting his elbows on his knees, and when he looks at her a shudder runs down her spine at the hunger she sees in his eyes. But her eyes hold his rapidly darkening stare and when she sees his finger twitch, she's already formulating a plan to knock the weapon out of his hand. No matter what he comes at her with, she will disarm him, because some two-bit street thug was not going to get the better hand of Arachne. She feels bitterness well up in her chest when she thinks of Blair and of how many have fallen for her own web of lies. If Giriko is also being captured by that wench, well, then he will just have to suffer the consequences.
He reaches into his coat but Arachne already has him pinned with a dagger to his throat. Giriko presses the barrel into her gut, a dangerous look in his eye.
"You really think you can beat a gun, babe?" He sneers.
"You'd be surprised," she smirks.
He holds her stare blankly for a second or two before growling, anger creasing his brows, and he removes the gun from her stomach and ignores her when she goes back to her seat; dropping the dagger between her generous bosom.
"What's your deal with Blair, anyway?" Giriko moodily asks. "I know you've got some beef with her but what's it gotta' do with me?"
Arachne blows at her tea softly, looking as if she did not hear him. But she's heard every word and these are the times she prides her perfected mask of indifference. "That is none of your business," she replies with a tone of finality but Giriko will have none of that. He fixes her with a deep scowl, crossing his arms over his chest stubbornly.
"Yeah like I buy that load of shit. Try again, honey,"
A ripple of disgust crosses her face at his prying. But it disappears as quickly as it came and she takes a drink of her tea. "It's just something between she and I that can never be resolved."
"She stole your boyfriend, huh?"
Arachne nearly spits her tea out. She sends him a wide-eyed look of shock and he grins back, revealing a set of razor sharp teeth. She involuntarily grips her neck and feels the swollen flesh from his hungry assaults earlier. "How do you know about that? Who told you!" She demands, sharply. If Blair had been running her mouth again, it meant war.
"No one," Giriko easily says. He crosses his leg over the other cockily. "I don't need to ask anyone why you and Blair are up on each others tits. You're both a couple of beautiful girls so I just assumed..."
"You know what they say about assuming," Arachne hisses, dangerously.
"I was right though!" He points out, smugly.
Arachne grips the cup so hard it nearly shatters in her hand. But she calms herself and she sets the cup down and she leans back in her armchair. She needs to stay calm, becoming emotional like this will only end in someone dying and the last thing she needs is to kill Giriko in her fit. She actually likes him, to an extent. He was better than all the others fools who'd fallen right into her trap, anyway. Arachne shifts her eyes to the television to ignore him properly when he says:
"I like you better, just so you know," Giriko nonchalantly says. Despite herself, Arachne feels relief. "You give some really nice blow jobs. I would pay to have you blow me every ten minutes. Actually, can I?"
Arachne scoffs, pretending to be disinterested. "Two hundred."
"WHAT? That's a fucking rip-off, are you fucking kidding me?" Giriko gawks and he's insane to even be considering it right now but he is so he must be a lunatic. They're not that great, he tells himself desperately, because he seriously doesn't want to blow a thousand in less than two hours... "I'm not paying two hundred fucking dollars for you to suck my dick! Fuck that! I'll just get some whore to do it!"
"Not as good as me," Arachne loftily says.
"WHO THE FUCK CARES! It'll get sucked one way or another!" Giriko barks aggressively, glaring at her like an enraged mutt. Arachne merely chortles, picking up her fan from her lap to emphasize her triumph. He's all talk, he'd just end up glaring at her like a child all evening. "Fine," he suddenly says and she raises a brow at his decidedly calmer tone. "I'll just ask Blair to do it."
"She's getting married, you twit."
"So? She's a nympho, she'll do anyone with the right encouragement," Giriko taunts, smirking when Arachne snaps her fan closed suddenly.
She regards him coolly. "Get on your knees and I'll think about it," and she relishes the sight of him willingly getting down on his knees with that crooked grin of his as her dress rides up her thighs. Her eyes dart to the clock that hangs overhead and she figures they can cram in a session or two if they're quick. Blair's wedding is not too far from beginning and Arachne doesn't want to miss the sight of her rival walking down the aisle in a white dress that really should be black.
"Maka, relax," Soul yawns and watches the petite blonde pace the backroom of the church in a tizzy. She's wearing a pretty strapless dress that reaches her knees in a flourish, tight around her midsection, the blinding color of white. Her hair is let down for the occasion, a sight Soul fully appreciates, and it's curled in soft ringlets that fall down her bare shoulders. She wrings her hands a few times and gives him a look full of panic.
"I can't do it, Soul, I barely know half of it and did you see that thing? I don't know how to use it!"
"Idiot, you use it like any other piano," Soul scoffs. He admits he full-out laughed when she saw it (the look on her face was pure gold) but the good feelings had been rudely interrupted when she smacked him upside the head. "Just ignore the other levels. And I'll be there to help you, you just have to introduce it, alright? You got the intro down?"
"That's it," Maka faintly says.
"Good," Soul smiles lazily.
"How can you be so calm about this? I can't play it, Soul, I can't, I will screw up!" Maka hisses, starting to convert her anxiety into anger. She lifts her lip in a snarl when he only shrugs and glances at the clock as if it's nothing of interest that she's about to play at her mother-figures wedding and she does not even know half of the bridal march. "CAN'T YOU BE A LITTLE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS?"
"Shh, lower your voice, Maka," Soul presses a finger over his lips, gazing at the door for a moment. "You don't want Blair to hear you and come running in..." The first time he met her, his eyes had been drawn to her huge tits. He couldn't help it: they were just there, extremely huge, just there. And then he'd tried to high-tail it right out of there when the woman squealed and tried to squish him to her. He was not getting anywhere near that woman and provoking Maka's wrath somehow. She looked ticked off at it was when she caught him staring.
"Ugh, you're so useless!" Maka groans to herself. She sits down in a chair finally and twists the hem of her dress around a finger. She bounces her leg over the other as she waits for the time to come. Because it will come and when it comes, she'll have to face that accursed instrument and hopefully (here she's praying) hopefully not totally forget everything she tried to cram in at the last second. She's always been good with cramming and although she can probably write the bridal march if someone asked her to... her fingers don't have that dexterity that Soul's do. They trip and stumble and second-guess themselves too much. She still doesn't trust herself to let herself go in the music, to dive in like Soul is always eager to.
She feels his hands grip her shoulders, starting to massage away the tension that keeps her back rigid. "Relax, you'll be fine," Soul soothes.
"No, I won't."
"Trust me, it will."
"It won't. I barely know it."
"Pretend this is another test."
"Uh, wrong comparison! Pretend this is a mock exam!"
Maka glares up at him.
Soul blew out a flat breath. "Just trust me when I say everything will be fine!"
"Maka! Soul!" A particularly busty woman with auburn hair and bright blue eyes chirps, peeking her head into the room they're in. Maka thinks her name is Arisa or Marisa; she wasn't paying attention at the time. She was too busy admiring the cathedral then staring in horror at the thing that she was supposed to use to play the bridal march. Soul had laughed when he caught her expression. Maka has reason to believe he was expecting this. "It's time! Aren't you excited? I am! Ooh I can't wait!" She beams, practically sparkling.
Maka looks sick to her stomach.
Soul just takes her hand and leads her to where the instrument of her imminent mortification lay.
Blair peeks out of her dressing room for the fifth time, gripping the lace and silk skirts of her blindingly white dress. She gnaws on her lightly painted lips, turning back inside after seeing no one in the hall. She is vainly waiting for Maka to come as she hadn't properly greeted her yet ( it was all a rush of squeals and hugs and Blair chasing after that cute boy who trailed after Maka like some adorable puppy). But Blair knows that she is probably rehearsing the bridal march and stressing over it as she always did. But Blair needs a little advice, perhaps some reassurance, because she's getting cold feet.
Then again, she's had these uncomfortable feelings since she accepted that ridiculously expensive wedding ring.
She got caught up with the wedding planning process of the entire thing. Blair defends herself, relieves the feelings of guilt, by saying that she was too busy making everything as perfect as possible to think about what she was committing herself to. Perhaps she was a little too enamored by the amount of money he was flinging in her face. She's always had a taste for the finer things; can anyone blame her when this rich bastard decides to share his surname with her and she accepts, kissing him fully on the mouth but caressing the pocket that holds his wallet?
It wasn't like he truly loved her. Blair doesn't feel loved so much as she feels objectified. She feels as if he's showing her off to his friends and family, like he's saying 'haha look at what I have and you don't!'. It's not a feeling of appreciation for who she is but for how she looks; for what she's become, an escort with all the right skills. These doubts don't include her own selfish wishes: can she really stay faithful to this man? She's cheated on so many men, she's treated so many of them like trash, she's loved some of them truly but received bad treatment in return. She doesn't think she can suddenly leave that lifestyle for one of boring domesticity. She doesn't think, Blair realizes with widening eyes, she can leave this hedonistic lifestyle just yet.
She's not ready. She's not ready to get married off, to be branded as a one-mans woman.
She doesn't even love him; she doesn't feel anything for him unless you count the glee she feels whenever he buys her something new or lets her have free reign of his credit cards. All four of them.
"Risa! Risaaa!" Blair hisses when she peeks out of the room again and conveniently spots Risa skipping by. The girl blinks at being addressed but quickly scurries up to her, beaming at the woman. "Where's Maka?"
"She's down with the choir, why?"
"Can you get her? I need to speak to her!" Blair insists.
"Oh, but she looks so focused!" Risa pouts and Blair growls in her throat like an annoyed cat.
"Oh, alright, alright! I'll go get her!" Risa giggles, swatting her arm playfully. She bounces away and Blair retreats back into her room. She twists her hands and looks at herself in the vanity mirror. Such a beautiful woman stares back; with eyes that burn like gold and a body that most, if not all, desire with a raging passion. She's been called perfect, gorgeous, a succubus, sexy - everything. She's been called everything, even the worst of names, and she's grown used to the compliments and she's grown used to the different types of affections and she's grown used to that steady pile of money that flows in from her job. Most would be disgusted with her profession but Blair can't help it. She chose it, she chose this. It's her body, her lifestyle. It's her decision, what she does with her life, and as Blair removes the veil with a resigned look, she can't ruin this man, who might actually come to love her in time, because she knows damn well she will not keep her hands to herself if some sexy man decides to make moves on her.
"Blair?" Maka whispers, peeking inside. "You wanted to talk to me?"
"Maka!" Blair squeals and drags her into a crushing embrace. As Maka struggles to breathe, Blair woefully and dramatically cries: "I can't do this, Maka! I can't!"
"What?" Maka chokes. "What do you mean, you can't do it?"
"I mean, I can't," Blair simply says. "Blair can't just... stop being who she is for this man. Blair has only known him for three months and, really, Blair only knows the pin to his account and the code to the gate of his estate! She doesn't know anything about him and...even though this may be my chance to finally live a stable life... I don't think I can live that way," she finally says, softly. Maka rubs her arm, listening grimly. "I know you hate it, Maka, but I actually enjoy this. I like my job at the cabaret club. I like what I do. And I know that if I actually go through with this, this man might actually come to love me, and if I can't?"
"What if you do? Something can happen, things change!"
Blair just shakes her head, sadly. "I know I won't."
Maka stays silent for a moment, digesting this, realizing that she's basically going to jilt the man, and she says, "So you're just going to leave him at the alter? Just like that? Why don't you talk to him about this?"
"Mouuu, he's scary when he's angry! He can be so mean, Maka-nya, you have no idea!" Blair whimpers, squishing her to her chest again. "Blair will just leave quietly through the back!"
"Juan. He'll be here in twenty minutes!"
"...Who the heck is Juan?"
Blair grins sheepishly and Maka gawks, wanting to run a hand down her face at Blair's predictable nature. She should have expected this! She appreciated men too much, Maka thinks with a resigned sigh, far too much. "But, Blair, you have to be out there in twenty minutes! You have to leave now if you expect to... be able to make it out without any trouble!"
"I know!" Blair giggles.
"I am!" Blair pouts. Blair hurries back to the vanity and grabs her purse, which holds everything she needs. "And I'm sorry for flying you all the way here for nothing, Maka-nya, but here! Blair will make it up to you!"
"Wh - what is this? Money? No, Blair, it's okay! I just came to see you! I really don't mind!" Maka flusters, pushing away the bills Blair was handing her. Blair pouts and insists, forcing her fingers over the bills but Maka only pushes the money back; never having been one to take such things so flippantly and Maka's sure this money belongs strictly to the soon-to-be jilted groom. If she takes it, Maka will feel extremely guilty since she's basically helping the bride escape. Taking his money is just adding insult to injury. "It's okay, Blair..."
"Blair's sorry she has to leave you again so soon," Blair smiles regretfully at Maka. She twirls a strand of her hair between her fingers and smiles down at her warmly. "But Soul will take care of you. He's been taking good care of you, I'm glad. You look happy, Maka, that's all I want you to be."
Maka smiles back wanly and reaches around her to hug her one last time. "He does make me happy."
"Good," Blair smiles kindly, her golden eyes warming. "Keep him. But keep him on a tight leash, okay, don't let him go. Don't let someone like that go, like Blair did once." She doesn't let Maka look up as she says that. She keeps her cheek pressed against her shoulder as Blair pets her lovingly. "Don't make the same mistake, Maka."
"Now, go! Juan should be out by the back by now," Blair says with a ready smile. She holds Maka out at arms length, just taking her in one last time. Maka does the same and she's able to keep her tears in this time. It doesn't hurt as bad because Maka knows that when she goes back out, Soul will be there and he can ease away the aches with simple whispers and caresses. "Take care, okay, Maka? I'll call you when I get to Aguascalientes!"
"Oh, I didn't tell you? Juan is - !"
"I know, Blair, the name is obvious! But, Mexico...?"
"I've always wanted to goooo!" Blair whines, giggling when Maka rubs her eyes out but huffs out a laugh.
"Just make sure to call."
"Of course!" Blair beams.
"Hey, what she want you for?" Soul asks when he spots Maka approaching him, looking more than a little haggard. She smiles tightly and, after taking a quick look around to make sure there were no eavesdroppers, she tells Soul exactly what happened in the dressing room. His expression goes from a gawking shock to nothing; just a blank mask, nodding ever so often to tell her that he's listening. And when she finishes, taking a breath and waiting for his input on this turn of events, all he has to say about it is:
"...Don't ever do that if you get married," Soul flatly replies. "Seriously, leaving the groom at the alter is not cool."
Maka sits on the bench, facing the ivory keys. She smiles secretly as she says, "I'm never getting married so that would never happen!"
"Never?" Soul says, skeptically.
"Nope. It'll take a special man to make me say yes," Maka placidly tells him and he hums but takes the challenge. She feels his arms trap her against the instrument, his lips feathering the side of her cheek. She leans against him, closing her eyes, letting him wrap his arms around her. No one can see them unless they peer over the side of the instrument. Not that anyone will be doing it any time soon - or not, Maka thinks with a dragging sigh. Everyone will be crowding around her and the groom when the bride doesn't walk down the aisle. By this time, she should be quite the ways away from the church with that new lover of hers. Maka wonders if this Juan guy is worth all this trouble (because from what Blair said, her fiancee, now ex, was not one to be trifled with).
"So, she's with another guy right now?"
"Mm. She said his name was Juan."
"She's going to Mexico for a bit," Maka admits. "Maybe until all of this blows off?"
"For a whore, she isn't stupid," Soul mutters and grunts when Maka pinches his arm warningly.
"MAKA! It's almost time - oh, my, am I interrupting something?" Arisa giggles perversely. Soul's arms drop away from Maka and said girl busies herself with stacking the music sheets again, ignoring the flush that's crawled up her neck.
"No," Soul glares. "What do you want?"
Arisa pouts. "Well, I just came to tell you that it's almost time! Two minutes and counting!" She cheers, oblivious to their uneasy looks, and she bounces away and leaves them to their own devices. But they're not alone for long. Arisa returns soon after, gesturing for Maka to start. Despite knowing that Blair was no longer in the church (or anywhere near this side of town by now) she still felt anxiety cloud her thoughts. Her hands tremble and taking in air was becoming more of a chore as she prepared. But she starts the dreaded bridal march strongly - at least until she reaches the second page, then it all goes downhill from there. She stumbles twice and her hands suddenly, involuntarily, stall over the keys. There's only a two second awkward pause before other hands, more experienced than her, take over in her stead.
Maka watches with some amazement as Soul continues where she left off at; the march coming stronger, more fluent, than when she had done it. Maka is slightly envious of his facility with this instrument of doom but the feeling is brushed off when he nudges her to the side and she scoots over so he can sit down. Maka watches with admiration as he plays the song without taking a glance at the sheet. It's as if he knows it by memory and Maka wonders if, as she nearly killed herself trying to memorize it all in time for the wedding, Soul, too, did his own fair share of studying.
"Get ready," Soul murmurs, distracting her from her thoughts.
"I'm almost done," Soul explains and Maka cringes. She dares to stand and peek around to the altar and the pews, seeing all the guests begin to murmur to each other worriedly. She can see Arachne and Giriko towards the back. It's hard not to be able to spot them as Arachne's dress is black and borders on indecent with how low her neckline is. She has an elaborate Chinese fan covering her mouth but just by the way Giriko smirks, Maka knows she's laughing behind that fan. Maka looks towards the groom up on the alter, whom is nervously tugging on his collar, and feels a sudden wave of sympathy for him. She really does feel bad and she really does regret these times when Blair makes such rash decisions. Maka can only hope this won't be as bad as she thinks it'll be.
Soul presses the final key and silence ensues.
"...This is going to be bad..." Maka whispers into Soul's ear. He regards her silently and Arisa breaks the tense silence with an airy yet nervous laugh. Maka tugs on Soul's sleeve when Arisa scurries out to 'go get Blair' from the back and points towards the cathedrals back doors. "C'mon, we can leave through there!"
"Maka, if we leave now, everyone'll know we're in on this!" Soul hisses but follows her.
"We technically are," Maka winces. "And I'm not a good liar..."
"Don't I know," he snorts and grunts when she smacks his shoulder. They manage to sneak out of the cathedral just as the whispers and murmurs become full-blown shouts and gasps. The heavy doors shut behind them and Maka takes Soul's hand, leading him out to the sidewalk. He doesn't know where she's taking him but he follows her without question, taking a glance over his shoulder once. But the cathedral looks normal from the outside. He briefly wonders when everyone will be forced to accept that the groom has been jilted and they have to leave empty-handed when Maka calls his attention again:
"What do you want to do?" Maka asks, once they're a safe distance from the drama that's soon to ensue.
"Dunno'," Soul frowns. He knows that nearby there's a shopping mall and he's sure there's a theater there. If not, Soul decides, it's not like they're needed anywhere. They have the next two days off to do what they wanted. "Wanna' go catch a movie?"
"...Soul, you're in a tux."
"And you're in a dress and I see no problem with this."
Maka gives him a five second stare before a smile brightens her eyes and she grabs his hand again. "Okay! I want to watch that new movie - the one with - !"
"You didn't even let me finish!"
"I already know which one you're talking about! It's that chick flick, isn't it? The one you were raving about last week?"
"It's a good movie if you give it a chance! I read the reviews! It's worth it!"
"Nope. We're watching - !"
"Whaaat, you didn't even let me finish!"
"Neither did you!" Maka sticks her tongue out at him as they approach a mall. They ignore the strange looks they receive as they walk into it, searching for the theater. When Maka spots it on the second floor, they then begin to search for the nearest escalator. "Can we watch both?" Maka asks as they approach the ticket booth.
"Theater hop? Sure."
"No, I meant buy two separate tickets. For each movie."
"What?" Soul gives her a weird look. "Why would you do that when you can buy one and watch all?"
"Because it's illegal?"
"We don't even live here!"
"But that doesn't mean we can't get in trouble!" Maka gives him a stern look and he finally reigns to her demands, glaring at his shoes while Maka asks for two tickets to the first movie; he thinks he's the rom-com one but he's mildly surprised it's the one he wanted to watch. At her tentative smile when she hands him the ticket, he figures she just feels guilty and decides he'll coax her into theater hopping with him after this movie.
"You think Blair will be fine?" Soul asks as they both settle back in their seats. He tugs his tie loose and shrugs off his blazer, tossing it to Maka. She folds it and places it on her lap. Maka places the bag of popcorn between them and rests her shoulder against Soul's snugly.
"Yeah, she'll be just fine," Maka assures him happily. "She did this before but I didn't find out about it until she showed me the ring a week later, after she ditched him. I was so mad. What if she actually got married and I wasn't there? Blair said the next time it happened, she'd invite me. At least she kept her promise even though she left...again."
"She can't go back with you, though" Soul states. "Not yet, right?"
"Giriko doesn't seem to have any grudge against her anymore," Maka points out. "Not since Arachne..."
Soul shrugs. "Doubtful he'll drop it completely."
Maka breathes out, deciding that thinking about that will depress her, and tries to focus on the movie.
"Y'know," Soul casually begins. "I don't think marriage is half-bad."
Maka tenses. "You don't?"
"Nah. I think it just makes it more official. It's the same thing just you get a fancy new last name, a ring, and probably all of my assets," he chuckles. Maka doesn't miss the sudden change in tenses: from general to personal. She nervously plays with a button on his dress shirt before allowing a smile to grace her face.
"And don't forget the motorcycle."
The smile is wiped from his face. "Oh hell no. No one gets my motorcycle, that's mine!"
"That'll be the only thing I leave you with," Maka laughs and buries her face in his chest when his arm comes around her shoulders. He squeezes her arm and she can hear a waver in his words as he says:
"Like you'd leave someone as cool as me..."
"I wouldn't," she promises and tightens her arms around him to reinforce it.
"Neither would I," he says after a moment. His muscles begin to relax when she only nods and he leans against her comfortably. They don't speak about this anymore; they don't speak about it for a long time. They go about their daily motions without even letting the thought of marriage cross their minds. The thought of becoming engaged comes up many years later, when Soul is waiting for Maka to come out of the grocery store, his fingers tapping an idle beat against her car, and she comes out pushing a cart with a tiny smile on her face that grows when she spots him.
It just hits him, in that instant, a split-second of imagining a ring glistening on her finger and of thinking she'll be Maka Evans not Maka Albarn if she accepted, and the idea grows on him; grows and grows until the next thing he knows, he's standing before an engagement ring store, having already accepted he will waste a good fortune on that perfect ring for a perfect girl, anxiety eating at him from the inside out.
And that conversation inside the theater comes up, reassuring him a little, and there are so many other things that assure him she will never reject him, not after all they've been through together, that when he does walk into that engagement ring store, he knows that he was right when he said nothing will change if they ever decided to marry. It will stay the same, all the same: they'll still live together, eat together, sleep together, shower together (when she felt giving), do everything together as they always have.
She'll just have a ring on her finger and his last name.
He decides that's the best life can give him and buys that engagement ring with no regrets.
A/N: THE END!
So you know what that means? You guessed right! New stories! Because everyone likes new stuff, neh? I've been meaning to publish this one story I wrote awhile back since I haven't read one of its kind on this site. So, anticipate that one sometime between...1 hour and Friday. I can't publish anything after Friday because I'm going to Chicago to check out my university's campus! :D