My alarm went off at seven o’clock. That wasn't exactly the time I wish I’d be waking up on but I had to get myself to work. I kicked off the sheets and locked myself in the bathroom. Showering was always a blissful moment for me. The water was steamy and it penetrated my pours, making my every tension unwind and relax. If a hot shower was a person I'd be married to it.
When I felt satisfied, I stepped out of the shower and stood in front of the tall mirror nailed to bathroom wall. I can’t say I was your average girl. My creators had a taste for what they considered ‘perfection’. I had curves that took to an hourglass shape, my skin was evenly tanned and flawless, long legs, and my chest was a little more pronounced than I would have liked. My face was heart shaped, my lips big and plum, midnight hair so long it reached my ankles, and eyes the color of a brilliant pink. My eyes were the one thing I dreaded most. They brought too much attention to my face, which is something I often tried to avoid. I hated people staring at me. I think the reason is obvious.
Speaking of eyes. I couldn't help myself but think of Mason's. They were a fiery orange that threatened to burn you alive. I have yet to decide it that is a good thing, or a bad thing. Like mine, they were brilliant and very distracting... I wondered what it would be like to get close and stare deeply into them. I lightly slapped my cheek so I'd stop thinking about him.
After drying my hair I braided it so it wouldn't be all over the place, not that it did much since it was freakishly long. I'm just glad I'm no Rapunzel. I attempted cutting it a few times, but it would only grow down to my ankles within a week. I gave up after the third try. Three strikes and I’m so out.
Grabbing clothes in the morning was never a hassle. I’d just grab the first thing I find and move on. It's not like anyone was paying attention to how I looked, not around these parts. So I ended up dressed in worn, black jeans, white tank top with a denim vest over it and black boots tucked under my jeans. When I was finished applying a thin layer of concealer to hide the bags under my eyes, I wrapped the black, rose design bandanna I've had since I escaped around my right wrist and hurried out of the manor. I had about fifteen minutes before Benny's opens.
This time I didn't take my violin. I really wasn't in the mood to run into one of the Dusks like last night. In fact, I wasn't even in the mood to work. Benny didn't really care so I planned working half my shift today and coming back home. Home. I immediately erased that word from my head. There is no such thing for someone like me. I was on the run, not settling anywhere. As much as I would love to think I’m safe here, it is only a matter of time.
The Kovra sisters are my creators, mothers and mistresses. Kai, Katzune, and Karen Kovra are three of the most dangerous witches in the world. They made me, all contributing with something. Katzune, you could say, was who gave me shape. She molded me until all three of them were satisfied with my appearance. Karen designed the blue prints of how I operated. Feelings, emotions, reactions, and things that had to do with human nature. Kai is the brains as well as the master mind of my making. She is the one that actually brought me to life. She set me up with organs and what would make my body function just like a human’s would.
When I turned four months old I already looked like a twelve year old girl. To my dismay, I realized I could involve and learn on my own. Katzune and Karen were thrilled, but Kai saw it as a threat. She thought I’d run off, so she made it clear she owned me. She would beat me, punish me when I disobeyed or made a decision on my own. I became a slave. With time I found out of my powers. To this day I don’t understand how I got them, but I doubt Kai gave them to me. I kept the power hidden from all three of them in fear that Kai would do unspeakable things to me.
Two years later I already looked like a grown woman. I managed to escape because of the powers I possessed. Powers that gave me control of nature through my playing. That old violin was played by all three sisters, but nothing ever happened when they used it. Not until I picked it up. I slipped away one day to play and realized I had them. They went out on many hunts and they had me come along to assist them any way they asked. One of those nights I grabbed as many blueprints of my making and stuffed them in a bag. The moment they sent me out to retrieve their prey, I never came back. I swore never to use the powers after that night and I ran. I've been running for five years now. When I reached the physical appearance of a twenty year old I stopped aging.
Benny’s Bar came into view at the end of the alley. I wrapped the apron around my waist and kicked at the door. It opened moments later, an angry Benny staring down at me with furious lit eyes.
“What?” I was afraid to ask but did anyway. There was only so much I could have done and I'm sure I did nothing wrong. Unless you count the few plates I broke this week. I doubt Benny noticed them in the trash. Why? Because the I'm the one that throws out the trash.
“Get the hell in here.” He didn't sound pleased at all. I mean he was always angry, but it was never purposely directed at me. This time it was. I could feel it in my bones and I considered that maybe he noticed the bottle of bourbon missing from the shelves. Either way I hoped it wouldn't cost me my job.
I went in and the place was dead silent. It was already opening time and Benny’s was always full from opening till closing. It didn't take me long to understand why. Sitting on a chair was Mason Dusk, with a beer in hand and the other perched over a table at his side. I froze mid stride and looked back at Benny, who looked back at me with murderous eyes. It was no secret many disliked the Dusk family, and Benny was among that crowd. Many times I've heard him swear he'd take them down one day. I tried giving him my most apologetic glance, but he disregarded it.
“You never told me your name.” Mason said, looking down at his dripping beer.
“Yes. For a good reason. You need to get out. Like, right now.”
Those fiery orange eyes locked on me, making my every nerve tense. So much for the warm shower this morning. He watched me, studying my posture so very carefully. He brought the beer to his lips and took a good swing of it, then set it down and cleared his throat.
“Right. I’ll be seeing you after work. When do you get off?” He asked while standing up and dusting off his coat.
“Not your problem.” I responded.
“Ok.” He sat back down and fixed his foot over his knee. So this is how he was going to play it? Benny was getting tense behind me and I knew I was walking on dangerous grounds.
“Fine. I get off at six. Now get out before you cost me my job.”
That worked well enough. Mason stood and walked out of the bar. I turned to face Benny, but he only blew out a long, irritated sigh.
“Just get to work before I seriously consider firing you.” Benny left before I could muster an apology, so I got to working. Soon enough the bar began to fill and the few that came in first were cautious. Probably checking if the coast was clear. Later in the day the rush of, well, always settled in. I had to fight off a few hands during the time I worked the floor. I was happy when I switched to the bar. Being safely behind the counter always made my time here a litle better, and not only because I could sneak drink every now and then.
I was getting close to the end of the shift and Benny was cursing his brains out in the kitchen. There was a reason many people didn't last working here. The environment wasn't nice to anything with breasts and pretty eyes, the pay was horrible, and the boss was an ass most of the time. I was still here because it was all I could find. Plus, Benny isn’t that bad if you don’t get under his skin, which is actually a habit of mine.
"Blasted fries, cursed chicken!" A butcher knife flew across the kitchen. I saw it stick to the wall when I approached the small pickup window. The smell of burned fries filled my nose and I coughed it out.
"Benny, don't blame it on the chicken!" I called out. He was about to throw it across the kitchen as well, but I bolted in and snatched it from his hands. I couldn't afford to get my pay cut because we were in need of groceries.
"I'm not! I blame that good for nothing Mason Dusk!"
Have I ever mentioned Benny was Irish? You wouldn't know since his accent is barely noticeable in his usual tone. Now that he was fuming, you could notice a hint of his Irish roots. It was funny how the veins in his throat and forehead bump out but I tried not to laugh. Instead, I gave him a hand before I had to go. I put a new batch of fries in the fryer and retrieved the butcher knife. I sent Benny out to serve the beers and drinks while I took care of the food. I rang the bell signaling the orders were ready but Benny was too distracted by a group of middle-aged men he was talking to.
"Guess I'll do it." I placed a plate on each forearm and grabbed two more, one in each hand. I called out the orders and soon enough my hands were empty. The clock above the bar said it was six thirty and panic set in. I imagined that if I wasn't out in the next five minutes Mason Dusk would storm in and raid the place.
"I gotta go!" My screaming did little to be heard over the mess of voices in the bar. So I tried the next best thing. My hands slammed on the counter. I knew how unstable it was, so the impact rattled all the way to where Benny was leaning. His eyes snapped my way in rage at first and then I pointed at the clock. He stared at it in confusion before understanding. He only gave me a nod and that was good enough for me. I bolted.
I worked on untying the apron as I got out, only to have it snatched from my hands.
"You said six." Mason leaned against the alley wall with the apron crushed in his hand.
"So? It was a busy day."
"That, or you're avoiding me."
That made me turn right around and face him. He was still dressed the same, except for a black fedora.
"Yes, Mason Dusk, I'm avoiding you."
"Why? Are you serious?"
Rolling my eyes, I continued walking out the alley. He followed close behind me, still waiting for a response.
"Because you're Mason Dusk of the Dusk family."
"So? Do you actually care about titles?"
In frustration, I turned his way and yanked the apron from his hand and tucked it into the waist of my pants. "No."
"Then what is your problem? Scared of making friends?"
"Is that what this is? An attempt to make a friend? Why me?"
"Because you don't care about titles. I knew that the other night at the manor. You didn't cower or give into anger when I appeared to you."
"That's because I've seen things worse than you. Also, don't get me wrong, I hate your family. No wait, now that I think about it, I just hate the leader. He's cruel and perverse."
"Yeah... I guess we get our reputation from him."
"No. You all built up your own reputation. Just so happens that I hate how you and the rest of your family follow with everything Robin does and says. So maybe I care about titles, but only Robin's title because I believe he is misusing his power and you and your family are letting him."
He was silent throughout my burst, but he didn't look at all bothered by it. He look... like he was admiring it. The thought made me shut up.
"How about we grab something to eat tomorrow?"
"Great." Mason left me feeling dumbfounded. Had I not been ranting about his family's flaws just a minute ago? I'm pretty sure I was. My stomach somersaulted and my fingertips tingled. I've never been dismissed like that, partly because I don't really have any friends. Is that what Mason was? My first, real friend? I must admit that the thought made me a bit giddy. I try to avoid people so I wouldn't get attached. I didn't want it to hurt when I had to leave them. I'm having that same feeling now, but I can't bring myself to turn away from this, from him.
"A friend. How does a friend work?" I asked myself. I can evolve and learn but I never bothered on something so trivial. I developed, with excellency, all the knowledge there is on escaping, running, hiding. Everything else seemed pointless. And now? Is it still pointless? This guy was making my head spin and I'm not so sure I like it, but I'm not sure I dislike it either.
I didn't duel too much on it or else my brain would explode.
I got home, grateful that there was a hot shower waiting for me. I had Benny to thank for that. After that shower all I remembered was collapsing on the bed.