He Was There

"You procured it, ja?"

"No, I did not. He was there."

"Your father will not be happy with this, huh? What will you tell him?"

"I will tell him…" Vasha pauses as she pulls a tumbler from the bar and fills it half full with an amber liquid. Raising the glass, she curls her hand around until the backs of her fingers touch her lips and chin. It almost seems as though she is hugging the glass for comfort. "I will tell him that the Captain was already there. I will tell him the truth."

"He will not be pleased."

"No, I expect not."

Fourteen Years Ago

Pulling herself from the pool, Vasha's bronze legs take long strides toward the deck chair where her towel lays. Pulling it up, she dabs the water from her face and turns toward the french doors leading to her father's bedroom. Through the glass, she can see Elsa there. Her eyebrow twitches upward in surprise, slowly, she creeps across the patio, hugging the wall until she's adjacent to the door and able to hear.

Elsa glances at the french doors and then back to her cohort. "You are the one. You know you are the one. That's all that matters, ja?" She's not pleading, she's trying to make sense of the situation in which she finds herself. Her straight, long, dark hair is smoothed as she steps towards him to reach out a hand to his arm. "Come, my darling. Can we not put this unpleasantness behind us and move on?" Fortunately, like it or not, her lips rest in a perpetual pout, keeping her thoughts a complete secret to those around her. Her little black dress falls mid-thigh, but rises a few inches further as she takes a step. "Come, have a drink. Scotch? Neat?"

The muscular arm reached for retracts, disgusted with the very idea of a touch from this dark-haired vixen. Jan's entire figure fills the antique chair in which he sits, pressed against the cushions in an unflinching pose meant for the gargoyles on cathedrals. Before he pulled away, both arms were on those of the chair, thick fingers clenched about the ends of the rests with intent enough to leave permanent indents. The dark mood is redundant on the chiseled face, an overcast of grim deliberation making his emotions quite clear, if not his thoughts and intentions. His hand leaving the chair arm slides into his pocket, removes something. Bits of wire and charred plastic clinging to an unrecognizable hunk of material. "Move on," the rumble starts low in his chest as he takes his sweet time answering her. "Move on, she says. Is that what you want me to do, wo-man."

Outside, next to the wall, Vasha crouches low to the ground. The dark, slim figure of one of the servants catches her eye and she turns her head in his direction, narrowing her eyes in a glare. He scuttles into the house on the opposite side of the pool, fearful of raising the young mistress' ire. The death of the Bantu, Dangaan, was not only a slight on the house but a great loss to the warlord. Though not quite indispensable, he was a loyal man and a friend to the young woman skulking to the side of the double glass doors.

Present Day

"What will you do now, huh? You will tuck your tail and return to Beaconsfield to hide under your father's shirt?"

The glass flies across the room to smash against the wall next to the man's head. "Be mindful of your place, Old Man, I have not yet decided my course of action." She turns, waving her hand toward the trembling boy standing against the wall. "Clean that up, be quick." Her sneer of displeasure hurries him along, as though her tone of voice isn't enough to do the job.

"Where are you going?"

"I am going out. The drink here is less than palatable." Or maybe it's the company. She never could stand having his hands all over her.

Fourteen Years Ago

Dark eyes flit towards the alcohol and then back to Jan. "Dahling, you lived did you not?" her arms are drawn to her sides while she shifts her weight, the only sign of her uneasiness about the entire situation. In fact, Elsa has quite the poker face overall — a sea of calm in the middle of a storm. "And what else can we do? What else can anyone do? In my estimation a person can die or move on." Her dark long eyelashes flutter with a kind of odd flirtation — not outwardly flirty, but it's a flirtation regardless. "So. Would you like that drink?" her expression turns stoic, statuesque.

"I will choose who dies and who moves on," Jan's rumble turns into a thunder clap, the arrogance rolling so naturally off of him that it smacks of fact. Half of him rises from the chair, disconnecting from the expensive fabric like a monster birthed from the shadows he's placed himself in. "And I will not tolerate to live any who disrespect this house, like this motherless scum-sucking coward Por-ter." Seething a moment longer, he regains his composure the next. Sliding naturally into place, fitting into that black throne that has become an extension of him. He uses the hand holding the burnt bit of metal, curling it towards himself as guide. "Yes… bring me that drink."

Still crouched outside the door, Vasha slowly straightens to her full height. Though not as thick as her father, she commands an imposing figure when she wishes. Her face hardens and slowly, she steps out from her hiding place, wrapping the towel around her waist to cover herself. Throwing a glare into the glass, her eyes find Elsa and she tenses her jaw. She stands outside the door, knowing Jan will either reward or punish her for what she's done. Disrespecting the woman that he placed in the position of mother to her is a great offense in the house, even still.

She'd answer him, but that's a disrespect in itself. Of course he decides who dies and who moves on, but it's her job to remind him what she does here. Her wiles, her contributions, and the like. She steps over to the scotch service and pours a tumbler-full of the amber fluid into a tumbler. There are servants to do this kind of thing, but currently this is her way of calming him. Elsa gracefully steps back to the place where Jan is seated. "There is no man of your stature inside or outside these walls. You know that, dah-ling." Her tone remains level as does her gaze, almost as if dealing with a lion as its potential prey.

"He is an insect," unlike the lion that is Jan, "And like one he will crushed." Now when Elsa approaches, his hand has reconsidered; thick grasp coming to find her upper arm, caress the skin, pushing away hair as it gets in the way of his touch. As he does, the rough black cut of his eyes find Vasha across the way, the vision of her defiant even in her towel. "And like him…" He continues, nearly to a purr with that low, earthy voice that can just as soon turn to earthquakes— that does: "All who grovel in the dirt by his side!" The caress has turned into a crushing hold, bruising skin but not happy until bones creak as he erupts from his chair, yanking with one powerful sweep to force Elsa into it: cornered. Set on display. A finger curves outwards, stabbing the air towards his flesh and blood watcher at the door. "Come here," he instructs neutrally, storm swept away. "Come and tell me what you think of this woman now."

Stepping through the open door, Vasha moves fluidly to her father's side. The water still dripping off of her from the swim she had just moments before. "Ja, Papa," she emits, her voice calm and level, much like his. Hazel eyes look down at the woman in the corner, then the teenager takes a breath, causing her chest to swell with pride. She wasn't the one who betrayed Jan, she was his savior, his angel. "I do not think of her, Papa, she is dead to me." With a few slow blinks in Elsa's direction, it is as though she no longer exists to the girl. The Bantu is dead, her father's hold on the land crippled by such a display.

A shriek is emitted at the movement — a stark contrast to her proffered emotionlessness moments before. The liquor spills on the floor and the glass shatters against it as Elsa is thrust into the chair, cornered like the prey that she is. There is no stoicism left in the earth. For Elsa there is no mercy; there is no mirth; there is no joy. Terror crosses her features. Her eyes fight to find some semblance of wit or cunning, but none can be found. Her gaze flits to Vasha and she knows there is no words she can utter that will change her former-lover's mind, yet she speaks anyways, her tone fearful, yet firm in its resolve, as an ironic smile spreads across her lips — if she's going to receive retribution, she may as well do all she can to deserve it, "I lied. Kyle Porter is twice the man you are," she glances down towards his crotch, "in more ways than one." And then she turns upwards to meet his gaze. A dare. A terrified dare. Pained yet accepting at the same time. At least she sent him one last blow. At this one wasn't of the job variety.

Angel she may be, but Vasha is not looked upon with any form of on high-generosity; there are only monsters here, and the snake amongst them must be purged. The task brings no pleasure to Jan's heavy features, only a grim set of anger lines amongst the weight of responsibility. This. Is his house. But the first curve of his powerful arm lashes not towards Elsa but his daughter, landing flatly on her cheek with no sense of restraint on account of youth or blood shared. "You will shed a bitter tear for a mother who is so wretched she is not even a woman any longer." Mother is sacred. Elsa is not. He gave her this chance; she spit in his face. And now, at his pride. The pillar of his body does not curve at her insults, though thin lips part cruelly to the side to reveal white teeth in sharp contrast, a sneer he wears too well. "No one will see fit to recognize you. They will flinch and say: what is this hellish creature that does not belong even below our feet." And his arm extends, the length of it a terrible sentence until that hand wraps the entirety of Elsa's face in its grasp. She has seconds within which to imagine what is next.

Vasha's head pivots to the side as she is sent reeling from the slap across the face. Her father is strong, but he knows her resilience, he knows her limits and that is not one of them. Shaking her head, she snorts to clear her head from the dizziness. Then one bronzed hand reaches up to touch the tender cheek as she glances up to her father, an expression of betrayal painted across her face. "Ja, Papa," she utters obediently, though the sadness shed are for her own pain, not for the woman on the floor. Blinking twice, a small rivulet forms from the corner of each eye as two tears rolls down her cheeks. Turning slightly, she faces Elsa, the coldness in her eyes betraying none of the sentiment she once gave the woman she called Mama.

"And no woman in her right mind would take you — " she hisses through clenched teeth before his hand grasps her face — at which a very distinct yelp followed by a glass-shattering scream escape her lips. Her fear is palpable, particularly in the beads of sweat that form along the outside of her skin. But then, it's a fear she's lived in for years; a fear that's washed over her because of the man she knows so intimately yet fears just the same. And perhaps that's the appeal, some deep-seated sadomasochist fear that makes all of it that much more thrilling. Her cheeks are wet with tears for the impending doom — not only that which befalls her, but for the fate of her foster daughter — a fate worse than death; an existence where coldness and detachment reign and where any sign of emotion, remorse, or empathy are considered complete weaknesses. And perhaps, that is the true pain.

Unyielding that grip, unmoving that rock of resentment. When Elsa decides her last words are going to be ones of wickedness, Jan's mouth hardens into an exact line. A moment of serenity for this family; a still-frame of father with false mother in hand, bruised daughter standing by. Then, the hand squeezes. In the same motion, he brings his elbow up and then straight down, rocketing the trapped woman to the floor, her head slamming into the broken shards of the glass of scotch she meant as peace offering mere minutes before. Before she's fully even hit the ground the first time, his hand lifts away, forming a massive fist of curled fingers and thick calloused knuckles that fly forward to impact once — twice — repeatedly into the face of Elsa. An early one breaks her nose, splattering its blood amongst the glass shards. Every one after that cracks something else, rearranging once beautiful features that he would cup tenderly as they shared a bed not paces from this very spot. He continues even after her squirms have long ended: continues to pummel the sin from her.

Present Day

Leaning her head against the steering wheel, Vasha's eyes are closed as she fumbles to insert the keys into the ignition. The moment they are turned, the engine is screaming like a beast to be let loose onto the streets. Opening her eyes, she stares at a brown stain on the concrete barrier. It could be blood, some of the very same that purchased the vehicle, but it's not.

Soon after the request is made, it is granted and the silver Lotus peels out of the parking garage, into the rain dampened streets. The manual states 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds, it takes Vasha less.

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