Saundra glided up to the entrance to Dragonfly’s past an obvious bachelor’s party stumbling out of a stretch hummer and smiled to the bouncer “Evening, Bento. Looks like a lively group tonight.”
“Yeah, we just got the word from Delilah’s. They’ve been flagged already in two other clubs. Groom’s marrying some congressmen’s niece if he makes it through the night.”
Saundra glanced back at the raucous group trying to get one of them out of the vehicle feet first “Good luck to him … or her, I guess? See you later, Bento” as she entered the club. There was a new girl working the gate who looked all of sixteen, the slight points on her ears and slant of her eyes marked her as sidhe and meant in all likelihood that the ‘girl’ was at least Saundra’s age if not significantly older.
“Welcome to Dragonfly’s, Where your dreams come true. Is this your first time with us
“Heavens no, my dear. I’m expected” as she showed the ‘girl’ the embossed card with the line drawing of a dragonfly in flight, definitely Terri’s work without a doubt. The sidhe nodded to the hallway that just appeared in the wall next to Saundra. The Fae do love their glamours, she thought to herself as she went up to the ‘private’ floor. As she neared the end of the ramp she could hear Dragonfly’s musical laughter and shivered. Saundra was not into women at all but that sound was almost like a caress against her skin, how on earth did mere mortals resist that woman. She took a cleansing breath then strode briskly into the lounge “Started without me I see. Should I be offended or just thankful?”
“Saundra, dear, I knew you wouldn’t be too long and we were just finishing up” purred the response from Dragonfly. The other person in the room hastily got to her feet and mumbled a greeting. Well over six feet and blonde hair said Scandinavian ancestry but facial features said Asian. “Don’t worry, Izzy dear, Saundra’s bark is … well, no, her bite really is much worse than her bark but she hardly ever bites now so we’re probably safe. Saundra this is Izzy, a mutual friend of Drucillia and Karl. She has recently been dropped into our world of troubles so to speak and it was thought that I could be of assistance in certain matters.”
“Nice to meet you, Izzy. I thought we had to discuss certain matters regarding…. someone else. No offense, Izzy.”
“She knows about Terri … She doesn’t remember most of it yet, but from what Karl says, she is getting more and more back from that mess in the park as nightmares. It was her they were after at the time when Terri rushed in. That child is going to get into serious trouble one of these days. Anyways, that should be alright for now, Izzy dear. Just remember, one cup of tea before bed and you should have peaceful rest until morning. See you next week and we shall talk again.” With that, Dragonfly led Izzy to a door that somehow opened directly to the parking garage across the street.
When Dragonfly sat back down Saundra arched an eyebrow at her "Slumber magic? Should we be worried that you’ve changed allegiance again
“Great Spirits No! It was just a blend of chamomile and mint, quite mundane but very good all the same. Dolores’ recipe actually so I suppose ‘mundane’ may not be the proper descriptor. And if you shall recall it was not my choice to switch courts.”
“True, I apologize. Are the others running late? I would have thought they’d beat me here.”
“Regrettably no, Ted and Michelle were unavoidably detained upstate and as for any representatives from the COURTS, there was an official “hands off” decreed by both Queens. They seem content to sit back and see which side of the fence Terri lands on and deal accordingly at that time, that last is a direct quote by the way. I myself am only permitted involvement as ‘former beloved’ and no farther. I have not heard from any of her former associates and honestly not quite sure what they could do. Whomever it was that was backing that obnoxious little vermin in a suit is well hidden. I know they were quite formidable after a fashion but …"
“Yes, they had their moments to be sure. I distinctly remember a time or two when ‘The Paranoia Patrol’ got their act together and focused on coming after me instead of each other that I was genuinely concerned. Luckily for me it never lasted long enough to be lethal. Speaking of, Dragonfly dear, have you heard anything of The Agency? I keep hearing whispers in the dark but nothing solid, not since that attack on their base of operations here in the city.”
“No I have not and that even more concerns me. It is like all knowledge of them has been swept away and no one even notices the absence. Like that ridiculous movie Terri forced me to watch about alien things trying to take over the city and red flashing lights that erased memories only this has actually happened. I had hoped to enlist … oh, what was her name … the young one with all the high tech toys … used to be a top notch assassin, part of that trio including The Tigress and Jessica Brown?”
“Oh, you mean Cameron? Rumor has it she left the business and took up with a holy scholar or something like that. I seem to remember Mickie or Markie mentioned something about her at the baby shower at Drucillia’s apartment a week or so ago when I picked up Lily. Do you think she could really help? If so I’ll call Drucillia right now, I’m sure third party connection won’t violate the Queens stricture if we don’t say anything as to WHY we want to talk to her
“As Terri would say ‘good luck with that, let me know how that works out for you and where should I send the flowers?’ I think it best if we leave out any perceived fae involvement for now and hold that as last resort be….”
An intercom interrupted Dragonfly before she could finish that sentence. “I apologize, mistress but there is a LADY here to see you and I thought it best to not keep her waiting” said the voice which Saundra recognized as that of the receptionist downstairs.
“By all means, send her in” was Dragonfly’s response as she gave Saundra an anxious look. They both stood and faced the hallway as Lady Annona walked into the lounge.
“Might I join you? I think I may be of assistance to your dilemma and have a solution to the benefit of all those we each hold dear.”
“Of course, Lady but I do not wish to put you at odds with the Courts. They have decreed that none shall…” Dragonfly started to protest.
“I know very well of their joint proclamation but as I am effectively a Court unto myself, as is my erstwhile counterpart, it holds no sway over me. Before I share my solution, pray tell why seek you to circumvent the play that someone has set before our dear Terri?” Lady Annona asked Dragonfly as one would ask a child why they chased lightning bugs.
“While we are no longer together I still feel for her deeply and hope one day her spirit heals enough that we may together again be. We … I mean she deserves the chance at least.”
“And you? Not so long ago you were quite literally at each other’s throats. I heard she even took your arm.” Lady Annona’s gaze bore into Saundra’s eyes and she felt as though her very soul was being weighed.
“While it’s true Terri took my arm away from the battle and preserved it, it was not she who ripped it from my body. It was her who gave it back along with an offer of truce while the rest of her group wanted me dead. She was instrumental in my getting my daughter back. Terri has a knack if you will of turning aggressors into allies and yes, sometimes the opposite as well. I have come to respect her and her views and consider her a friend.”
“I see, very well then my proposal is very simple. Both SUMMER and WINTER have decided to wait and see which Court Terri eventually becomes entangled with. While still greatly diminished, both SPRING and I have amassed much of our former power of late, due in no small part to Terri and her associates. I have just as strong of a connection to Terri as do either Mab or Titania and as I do not possess a full Court there would be significantly less intrigue for Terri to fall afoul of. I have posed this to her directly but still prefers to think of herself as ‘an artistic free agent’ and has thus far refused to see the web being woven around her. My hope is that you being her friends will allow her to view this objectively. Your thoughts?”
A stunned silence followed until Saundra cleared her throat “I mean no disrespect at all, Lady, but wouldn’t that be just another choice of leash as far as Terri would be concerned? As I see it, she worked very hard to erase all debts and even gave up her former life to avoid any perceived conflict of interests. She truly enjoyed being an investigator yet left the D.A.’s office and chose a completely new line of work rather than go work with her adoptive parents just to keep Mab from feeling slighted. How exactly would Mab take this as not another form of betrayal?”
“I see. And your thoughts?” Lady Annona said as she directed her gaze at Dragonfly.
“I am greatly pleased that both you and your counterpart have begun to regain your due but does not each gain come at the expense, however trivial, of both SUMMER and WINTER in equal measure? Would not both QUEENS see this as a double sting as it involves the morsel they have selected as latest pawn? And what of your counterpart herself, would it not demand a champion of her own to maintain balance? I must confess I like not that thought given her current…. instability.”
“Well said, both of you. I had not thought of some of those points and you have raised valid questions. I must think more on this. For now let us hope our rope does not fray too much. By your leave, Courtesan
And Lady Annona was simply gone. Saundra at times envied the Fae’s ability to make an exit. “Well, that was unexpected” she said with a faint attempt at levity.
“Indeed. Maybe we should skip next week? Hope for some inspiration?” Dragonfly said.
“Inspiration…. could it be that simple? I need to go to 5Pointz right now. Wish me luck!” Saundra said as she ran out of the lounge
“Granted” Dragonfruit said quietly with a smile. And not once did she violate the QUEENS’ decree.