I don't own anything you recognize. Only Nandi is mine as well as the storyline.
Kenzi stood outside of the imposing doors she'd walked out of only hours before nervously playing with the hem of the short black skirt she was wearing. Nandi had told her to dress comfortably and just be herself. She'd already told her girls and boys that there would be a new girl so they were expecting Kenzi to arrive. Running her hands over her skirt one last time she went to the door and pressed the doorbell. After a few moments the door opened and Kenzi felt herself deflate. It wasn't Nandi at the door. Instead it was a too skinny, too beautiful woman with unnaturally large breasts and long red hair who greeted her. She looked Kenzi over and curled her lip in distaste.
"You're the new girl? Mistress must be trollin' the goth clubs now." The woman said in a lazy southern drawl. "Come in, Mistress said ta bring ya in and make sure ya got to your room. Where's your stuff?"
"Ummm." Kenzi said and was saved by the driver carrying her bag and standing behind her. "Here."
She said it brightly and the woman rolled her eyes before she motioned for Kenzi to follow her. Kenzi silently thanked the driver who tipped his hat at her before he walked out of the house. She knew she had a look of awe on her face as she took in the opulent surroundings, the marble floor, the mahogany fixtures and veins of what appeared to be gold were threaded in the tapestries on the wall and throughout the floor. Kenzi kept close to the woman who decided to remained silent as they made their way out of the entryway and into a large sitting room filled with beautiful women and men lounging around.
"Is this the new girl, Gracie?" A gorgeous woman with mocha colored skin and a thick unidentifiable accent asked as she sat up on a fainting couch.
"Yeah this is her. Mistress musta been huffin' some spray paint when she chose her." The woman, Gracie, sulked and the other woman stood and looked closely at Kenzi. Her eyes flashed black and Kenzi knew she was another Fae.
"Oh Gracie...you don't know a gift when you see one. This girl is special and our Mistress' eye is as good as always. What is your name darling?" The woman asked and Kenzi found herself liking the woman.
"I'm Coral." She said, remembering the name she and Nandi had agreed on. She extended her hand and the other woman took it.
"I'm N'Bushe, but everyone calls me Cocoa, because of my skin and the fact that I can sweet or savory depending on how you treat me. The hag that brought you to us is Gracie. She's just worried you'll take her place as the Mistress's favorite." N'Bushe, Cocoa, said with a vicious grin toward Gracie while Kenzi smiled and Gracie snorted.
"Please, that little girl? Mistress has more refined taste than that. She is kinda cute though. A lotta guys go for the freak thing." She said snidely and Cocoa just shook her head.
"She's not normally this unpleasant. It's just that last night our Mistress brought a new playmate home and Gracie's worried she likes the new one better." She said conspiratorially and Kenzi felt her smile drop somewhat. Nandi had others that she "played with" women and men more beautiful than Kenzi could ever dream. Why had she chosen Kenzi to give her attention to when she had Gracie, Cocoa and others to take care of her. She didn't have time to respond when there was a clack of heels entering the room and Cocoa grabbed her shoulders and spun her around while Gracie stiffened beside her.
"Hello my lovelies." Nandi greeted from the doorway and Kenzi's eyes were drawn to her. She was wearing a long black gown with a slit up to her thigh and a tight purple bodice. Wrapped around her shoulders she had a sable stole and crystals decorating her long, wavy brown hair. She was stunning and Kenzi suddenly felt like a street urchin brought in from the cold. She looked down at her feet and prayed that attention wouldn't be drawn to her, her prayers weren't answered.
"Mistress the new girl is here." Gracie told her in a snarky voice and Kenzi looked up in time to see Nandi's radiant smile as she walked to her.
"Coral, my beautiful girl. I'm so happy you arrived safely." She leaned forward and kissed each of Kenzi's cheeks before she kissed her lips lightly. Kenzi blushed for a second before an irrational jealousy claimed her. Did Nandi kiss everyone like this? She didn't have time to dwell on it before Nandi threaded her arm with hers and turned her so she was facing the room. "Ladies and gentlemen I want you to meet Coral. She's come to me from the house of a friend. She's here to join our family and learn the ropes. I expect you all to be kind to your new sister and provide her with any help she needs. Do not be rude, do not be callous and if she has any questions answer them or direct them to me. I'm vouching for her and I will not have any of you question my judgement. What say you to Coral joining our family?"
She asked them, her beautiful face turning stoney. Kenzi held her breath as the men and women walked forward but let it out when the first held out his hand to her.
"My name's Crispin and I'm honored to meet you sister." The man said as he shook Kenzi's hand. After that they all took turns greeting her. Some shook her hand, some kissed her cheek, others hugged her but they all welcomed her. In fact the only one less than welcoming was Gracie, but even she was kind when Nandi told her it was only right for her favorite to take the new girl under her wing. That was enough to placate her.
"Now, I want those of you with dates to please get ready and those of you with the night off are free to leave for the evening or do whatever you wish. The Maple Leaves' game is on in the game room if you wish to watch it and Fred has wings for you in the kitchen. I must speak with Coral for a few minutes to give her the lay of the land." Nandi spoke and Cocoa walked up to her.
"I don't have any dates tonight Mistress. I can take Coral on a tour and share the secrets of the house with her." She offered and Nandi smiled before she placed her hand on Cocoa's cheek.
"Thank you my dear. I'll send her to you after she's settled in. I just need to speak with her about matters pertaining to her employment with us. Does that sound good darling?" Nandi asked Cocoa who nodded.
"Of course." She answered before she took Kenzi's hands in hers. "I look forward to seeing you again little sister."
She gave Kenzi's hands a light squeeze before she left the room and Gracie walked up to them giving Nandi a hopeful look.
"I need to talk to you about somethin' Mistress. In private." She gave Kenzi a look that said "scram", but Nandi gave her a hard stare that caused Gracie to drop her eyes and act penitent. "Please?"
"After I spend some time initiating Coral to life around here. You can come to my office at eight. Does that work?" She asked and Gracie nodded.
"Yes Mistress, I'll see you at eight." She spoke clearly then quickly left the room.
"Let's go poppet. It's time to show you around a bit." She grinned at Kenzi before she took her hand and walked with her out of the room, down the hallway and they stopped at a heavy set of mahogany doors with ornate pewter metal work. Nandi opened the doors and ushered Kenzi inside before she closed them behind her and locked them. Kenzi sat in the large chair facing the desk but Nandi shook her head and took Kenzi's hand in hers. "Join me on the couch Kenzi, we have a lot to talk about."
Kenzi nodded and followed Nandi to the overstuffed leather couch on the side of the room. It was the most comfortable couch that she'd ever sat on. Nandi smiled at her before she brought Kenzi's hand to her lips.
"If you like this couch I can have it's mated chair brought to your room." She offered and Kenzi smiled.
"Seriously? That would be great." She smiled wider and Nandi smiled before her smile wavered a bit and she got a serious expression on her face.
"Something's bothering you. I noticed your body language in the sitting room, was Gracie cruel to you? If she was I apologize, I think I've spoiled her a bit. She's the house's highest earner and...well...let's just say that she earned her position as my favorite. She's afraid of losing her place and...I'm sad to say, she's within her rights to be afraid. My interests have definitely changed." She explained and Kenzi looked in her eyes before she spoke.
"Do you sleep with all of them?" Kenzi asked, wanting to know just how it was going to be. She couldn't stand the thought of being anyone's toy, especially a Dark Fae's, no matter how beautiful and alluring she was.
"At first I must to gain the connection and see if they're a good fit. Once the house feels right I usually relegate myself to one or two of my lovelies if the need strikes me. Before you ask, I don't need multiple partners to survive, in fact, I am capable of monogamy. I'm not unfaithful when I have a partner. At one point I was married for fifteen years, believe me when I say I know how to be faithful." Nandi explained and Kenzi's eyes widened but before she could ask Nandi put up a hand. "We have plenty of time for me to tell you all of the sordid details of my past and give you reassurances for the future. For now let's discuss the case."
"Umm, yeah...the case. So of my new brothers and sisters, who are the ones you're worried about?" Kenzi asked, happy to have something to distract her from her irrational jealousy.
"I'm most worried about Danielle and Frieda. They look so desperate, like they're waiting for a fix. Nothing has been found and I'm frightened for them. I don't want them to die in fear and pain like their sisters." A tear escaped Nandi's eye and Kenzi reached up to wipe it away. "Thank you poppet."
"Don't call me poppet." Kenzi said with a smile to soften the command. She didn't like the nickname, she was a woman not a Disney character.
"Of course, sorry, I'm just so used to using nicknames and terms of endearment. In case you didn't notice my lovelies are rather needy." She explained and Kenzi chuckled, she definitely noticed. "Anyway, I have them under observation by Simon, our bloodmage, and he hasn't seen anything. Every moment of their day and night are accounted for and I know what they eat, what they drink and who they meet. I haven't even scheduled dates for them over the last week because I worried about exhaustion."
"Do you have your bloodmage guy keep tabs on everyone?" Kenzi asked, suddenly worried that this place was more like a prison than the loveshack it presented itself as.
"Yes, ever since Lorelai died. It scared me, before she got her sickness I felt like we were untouchable. Usually I'd have a boy or girl for two to three years then a customer would become smitten and take them as a wife or husband. I've even had my girls become Madams of their own houses. I've never had anyone under my protection die. Not only are their lives lost but so is some of my honor, my respect. If I can't protect my girls, who can I protect?" She looked pleadingly at Kenzi before she continued. "That's why I need your help Kenzi."
"Tell me what you need me to do." Kenzi said and Nandi smiled but before she could say anything Kenzi put up a hand. "Except for the sex, I'll pretend to be a pro but I won't play the game."
"Trust me Kenzi, you will not "play the game". I'm far too invested in you to share you with anyone." She smiled wider and Kenzi smiled with her. "Besides, the new boys and girls are given an initiation period where they learn the culture of the house and...form a bond with me. You'll have access to everything you need, just go with it and remember that you're supposed to be new, learning everything. Inquisitiveness is good, no one will think it's odd that you're asking questions, or that you're alone with me."
"What about the fact that you're a succubus, how am I supposed to deal with that? I mean, it's awesome and everything but how am I supposed to act?" She asked and Nandi put a hand on your knee.
"I've told them that you came from the house of another Fae and wanted to expand your horizons. You're just supposed to treat this as old hat. Don't worry Kenzi, I have faith in you. I knew when I met you last night that you were special, a gift. I trust your judgement and I know you'll give this your everything. Thank you Kenzi, I know the risk you're taking." Nandi leaned close and kissed Kenzi gently and was surprised when it was Kenzi who moved her hand to the back of her neck and pulled Nandi closer and controlled the kissed. Soon their mouths were opened and they were engaged in a battle for dominance with Nandi making small, helpless noises of pleasure. Right as Kenzi moved to straddle Nandi there was a cough and the women broke apart.
"Sorry ta interrupt Mistress. It's eight o'clock and I need ta talk ta ya for a few minutes It's also almost time ta greet the clients." Gracie said coldly and Kenzi ran her fingers through her hair while Nandi sat up straight and gave Gracie a stern look.
"You could've knocked Gracie darling." Her voice was scathing and Gracie just set her mouth in a line.
"I did Mistress, but you were obviously busy." She continued to pout and Nandi took a deep breath before she turned to Kenzi and smiled.
"Coral, sweetheart, would you excuse us? I definitely need to speak with Gracie and you need to find Cocoa. No one would be a better mentor to you." She said, looking at Gracie out of the corners of her eyes and Gracie flinched.
"Thank you...ummm..." She floundered, wanting to call her Nandi but knowing that the others called her Mistress.
"You may call me Nandi, I'm not your mistress. Yet." She said and Kenzi had a feeling that was for Gracie's benefit, she also had a feeling she'd never call Nandi "Mistress".
"I guess I'll just go." Kenzi said as she got up, smoothed out her skirt and picked up her bag. As she passed Gracie she felt the cold hatred radiating off her in waves. Yay, she'd only been there an hour and she had a nemesis...classic Kenzi right there.
"You're bullshitting me!" Kenzi exclaimed happily as she sat at a table in the game room with Cocoa eating wings and french fries. She also had a big greasy cheeseburger waiting for her when she finished. Courtesy of Fred, Nandi's faithful chef and boy Friday. Kenzi liked Fred a lot. He gave her food and didn't ask questions.
"I swear, I'm not bullshitting you. At one time Nandi reduced a troll sent to hurt us into a quivering, sobbing mess just by glaring at him. She didn't say a word. It was beautiful." Cocoa grinned at her and took a sip of her ginger ale before she grabbed a wing from the plate in the center of the table and wolfed it down, bone and all.
"Can I ask you a couple of questions Cocoa?" Kenzi asked and Cocoa gave her a kind smile.
"Of course little sister, we're here to teach you everything and make this house your home." Cocoa smiled again and Kenzi felt relieved, knowing that Cocoa wanted to share the information.
"What kind of shifter are you?" She asked and Cocoa clapped her hands.
"I knew it! I knew you had the eye. I cannot wait to tell Gracie she was wrong." She laughed before she settled herself down and answered Kenzi. "I'm a hyena, Nandi and I met when she took a trip to Mozambique. I was part of a violent, archaic clan under the rule of a Matriarch that thrived on abuse and humiliation. Nandi heard about us and came to help. She displaced the Matriarch and gave us a new leader, a superior leader and we thrived. I was her avatar during the trip and when she came back a year later she offered me a place here as her right hand and here is where I'll stay, serving my Matriarch and friend."
"I thought Gracie was her right hand?" Kenzi asked and Cocoa shook her head.
"No Gracie was her favorite. All that means is that she was the girl most often in Nandi's bed and most often on her arm at events. She's also the highest priced girl in the house. Think of Gracie as a show dog, I'm the trainer."
Kenzi and Cocoa shared a laugh before they toasted each other. As Kenzi drank she remembered her second question and quickly swallowed her drink.
"Oh yeah, I have another question. I'm friends with a succubus like Nandi and she has to get a little boom chicka mow wow to get her power. How does Nandi feed?" She asked and Cocoa laughed as she lifted her hand to show huge garnet ring perched prominently on her finger.
"Garnet's are powerful gems, to succubi they're like batteries that fill with sexual energy. We fill the gems with our activities then, once completely full, Nandi links her stone with ours. It usually takes one week for each stone to fill so we work in shifts. Last week was Gracie's week to fill Nandi's stone. This week Crispin and Marcus are responsible. My turn is the week after." She explained before she set her hand down and Kenzi's brow furrowed.
"Wait,you're her second-in-command and you're still playing the game? Why don't you say "no bitch, I'm not doing that shit"?" Kenzi asked, offended for her new friend and starting to get pissed at Nandi but Cocoa placed a hand on hers and gave her a bright, reassuring, smile.
"First of all, Nandi is no bitch. Yes she can be ruthless and violent, but if she's on your side you'll never find a more fierce protector." She patted Kenzi's hand before she withdrew. "Secondly, I still see to Nandi's needs because she is my Matriarch and if filling her battery is what she needs I'll do it without complaint. Third, I love sex in all of its forms. It was the one pleasure my foul Matriarch didn't beat from me and I embrace my love. That is why I do it."
Kenzi nodded, she understood that. Wanting to help someone you love while doing something you loved was a bonus.
"One last question, what's this I heard about a bloodmage? Nandi warned me he'd be lurking around and not to be weirded out by him." Kenzi asked, hoping to get more information that could help the case.
"That's Simon, he's very powerful but very strange. Don't make eye contact with him and avoid touching him at all costs." Cocoa warned and Kenzi leaned closer.
"Why?" She asked quietly and Cocoa looked around before she answered.
"His power is so great that he can drain your blood into his body at will. It happens instantly and you're left a dry husk. Nandi's the only one who trumps him in the house. Neither Crispin nor I stand a chance." She whispered sadly then backed up.
"No shit? Damn...How does shit go down when you need to give him blood?" She asked and a voice rudely interrupted.
"We prick our fingers and dab them in a handkerchief." Kenzi looked up to see Gracie looking at her with a look of distaste, a common occurrence it would seem. "Y'all know a lady doesn't cuss or eat with her fingers, right?"
"Right you are." Cocoa said and Kenzi looked at her quizzically before she picked up a wing and dropped it in her mouth, crunching loudly and wiping the mess from her mouth on the back of her hand. "Good thing I'm not a lady."
Kenzi and Cocoa laughed while Gracie huffed.
"Darn right you're not a lady. Your an animal, a gross, disgusting animal!" Gracie exclaimed and Cocoa shook her head.
"If I'm an animal so is our mistress. Is that the message you want Coral taking away tonight?" She asked and Gracie ground her teeth before she forced herself to speak.
"Shut up, our mistress is a lady." She ground out before she turned to Kenzi. "I've been told to bring ya to your room. I'll have Fred bring up your food."
Kenzi nodded and looked at Cocoa who tilted her head in dismissal before she stood and followed Gracie out of the game room and to the grand stairwell. Kenzi fought to keep up with the angry amazon but managed to stay a reasonable four steps behind. Once they were up the stairs she hung a right and stopped in front of a room and Kenzi was struck by deja vu when Gracie opened the door.
"Here's your room." Gracie stood in Kenzi's way so Kenzi just looked at her, rather than barrel through, deciding to pretend to be intimidated by Gracie's attitude. "Go in."
Once Gracie commanded her Kenzi walked through the door and placed her bag on the bench at the end of the bed before she sat down on the bed she'd only left a few hours before. As she bounced a bit on the soft mattress Gracie looked at her with narrowed eyes.
"Who do you think you are?" She asked, her voice venomous. "Think you're special because she likes ya? You're not special, you're nothin'."
"Nandi doesn't think so." Kenzi stayed seated and smiled as Gracie screamed in frustration and left the room, slamming the door behind her. Score one for Kenzi!
She grinned to herself as she laid back on the bed, reveling in the softness before she leapt up and ran to the bathroom. There she stripped out of her clothes and wrapped herself in the luxurious robe behind the door then ran back to the bed and laid down again. She sighed in bliss before her peace was shattered by her phone loudly ringing. She cursed but got up and answered.
"Yo, Bo." She spoke as she sat back on the bed.
"How's everything there? You find out anything?" Bo asked and Kenzi stretched.
"I learned that Nandi's set up to be nominated for Fae Sainthood and there's this weird sorority vibe going on." Kenzi said and Bo chuckled. "Don't get me wrong, everyone's happy and seems healthy but they're almost too happy and put together. Makes me want to have a long talk with Nandi about it."
"Would this talk involve pillows?" Bo asked and Kenzi laughed.
"You never know, she is a succubus." Kenzi joked before she jumped on the bed in excitement. "Oh, shit I learned how you can get power without stealing it from people. We need to get you some garnets and ask Nandi how she does it. It sounds awesome."
"Kenzi, calm down and tell me what you know about the case." Bo commanded as she smiled at her friend's enthusiasm.
"Oh yeah, as far as I could tell no one knows what's going on and they all spend a lot of time together. Nandi is keeping a close eye on Danielle and Frieda but even with that they're getting worse every day. The only alarm bells that went off came from Cocoa when she talked about Simon the bloodmage. She seemed completely freaked out. Told me to stay away. I'm gonna hit him up tomorrow, see what I can see. That's about all I have. Tomorrow I'm going on a tour of the house with Cocoa and Charles so I'll get more info." Kenzi told Bo everything as she sat back against the headboard.
"Wow, it sounds like you're fitting in around there." Kenzi could hear the smile in Bo's voice and smiled too. "I'll call again tomorrow, be sure to keep track of what you find."
"Will do boss." Kenzi saluted to the phone then hung up and relaxed into the bed again. Her muscles were getting nice and noodley when there was a knock at the door. Remembering her cheeseburger and fries Kenzi got up and hopped out of bed. When she opened the door she couldn't keep the flirty smile from her face.
"I heard you didn't get dinner tonight. I thought we'd enjoy another meal together." Nandi smiled that wicked smile as she held up a tray with food enough for two and Kenzi felt her heart speed up.
"Come in, everything looks good." Kenzi said as she moved out of the way. She wasn't talking about the food.