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Just A Kiss

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[Ferid’s P.O.V.]

             

   Rolling over, I stared at the glowing numbers on the digital clock beside the bed. 2:36 AM, perfect. I still had time to get dressed and leave. I untangled the sheets from around me and stood, quietly grabbing my clothes. I’ve gotten lots of practice with this so I don’t stumble as much on my trip to the bathroom. I make sure to locate it every time I enter the house of a new ‘customer’, before the action begins. I stared at myself in the mirror, noticing less red marks than usual on my neck. Ah, yes. Last night I gave someone their ‘first time’, as some call it. Therefore, I was in control.

 

   “Don’t worry, sweetie. I’ll treat you right.”  Words from last night’s adventure resonated through my head. Though, to be quite honest, my late night deeds were not adventures. They were not fun. They were not entertaining. They were not worthwhile. Put simply, I only did this for the money. It was my job to either please people or be the tool people use to please themselves. After all, I wasn’t good at anything else.

   A seductive smirk etched its way across my lips as I held onto the man’s hips. It was all part of the charade. I had to look invested; otherwise my pay wouldn’t be quite stellar.

   Thrust once, twice, three times… I lost count as I just kept the rhythm until the ‘customer’ said things like “faster” or “harder”, sometimes just “more”. Well if that’s what they wanted, then that’s what I gave them.

   I pounded the inexperienced male from behind, slamming my hips forward again and again until he whined about climaxing… which he did, all over the sheets. It was honestly unattractive; the noises he made, the way his body wrenched with absolutely no grace, whatsoever… Then again, who cared for things like that when you’re being fucked senseless? There was no love. All they want is to use someone to help them hit their high. How ridiculous~ Yet I played along because I needed the money to live.

 

   To live? What kind of joke is that? I was only holding up because I had this stupid motivation to prove that I was more than capable of carrying my own weight. Letting myself die would prove to them that I had given up; that they were right. Despite all this emptiness, I still live. I do so to prove them wrong, even if they’re nowhere in sight. It was just my twisted sense of logic. They could be a million miles away and I’d still be here.

 

   I put my clothes back on, knowing I could just shower at home. I had to be quick if I didn’t want him to notice I was leaving. After dressing, I pulled my hair back into its normal ponytail. Albeit, it wasn’t as neat as it was when the night began, it would suffice. I grabbed my jacket from the coat rack and quietly exited the abode, silently hoping I’d never have to return to that one. Luckily, I didn’t live too far, meaning I wouldn’t have to attempt to hail a cab at this hour.

 

   But of course, Lady Luck betrayed me. It began raining; not even a light drizzle. It was pouring hard. Wonderful. Pulling my jacket tightly around my figure, I continued my walk home, soaked by the time I opened the door. Shutting it behind me, I was greeted by two small dogs. Fumie was a Border Collie and Ako was a Beagle. Letting out a soft sigh, I knelt down to pet them, whilst their whines becoming more prominent.

   “I know you hate it when I leave for so long.” A sad smile crossed my features as I stood upright, letting them paw at my legs. They stopped when I let out a sneeze, startling them. “I’m sorry, girls.”

 

  Trekking over to the couch, I slumped down. I didn’t even have the motivation to shower anymore, or even change my clothing. A pitiful sigh escaped my lips as I closed my eyes, ready to just fall back into a slumber. At least I knew I was in the security of my own home for now. I felt my pets hop up onto the couch, one laying on my chest and the other on my stomach. I didn’t bother trying to move them. Their warmth felt nice, especially when I didn’t have a blanket. I knew already, I was definitely going to be sick when I woke up. Nothing a little Ibuprofen can’t fix though, right? That reassured me just a little.

 

   Eventually, my mind found some peace and I took that opportunity to finally get a bit of needed rest. Tomorrow was going to be absolutely wonderful. After all, there was no love for me, nor would there ever be. Maybe that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

Chapter Text

[Ferid’s P.O.V.]

 

  I woke up to feeling something damp on my cheek, which resulted in me sitting up with a jolt. Turns out it was just Ako licking my face, but the poor thing rolled onto the floor from my sudden movement. “Ah, I’m sorry!” I spoke with desperation, picking up the small dog. At some point, Fumie had moved to my legs, so she hadn’t fallen off; lucky her. But the more I moved, the more disgusting I felt. I was still wearing yesterday’s (or earlier this morning’s) soaked clothing, which had only cooled from the ceiling fan (which I forgot to change the speed of). My hair was a mess and I was shivering like I was at the North Pole, or something stupid like that. Slowly, I moved the dogs aside to stand and make my way to the bathroom, sneezing a few times along the way. I needed a warm shower so badly.

 

  I turned the dial of the shower to adjust the temperature, finding a good medium of warmth before leaning back to undress and untie my hair. I observed the silvery strands reach my mid-back as I stepped into the shower, letting the warm water wash over my body… a body that has a slender, slightly toned figure; nothing to muscular or ‘manly’, as some may say. I had a lithe build, yet it had been tainted by countless men and women. The people back in high school would always tease me for looking more feminine. They were the kids who had sex in the bathrooms or some shit. Some wanted it desperately and look where I am now! This body has piqued the interest of many, no matter how many times it’s been used. They just kept coming back for more. I’d swing around a pole or sway my hips and have them all mesmerized. It was honestly pathetic how they were so easily amused.

 

  I blinked a few times upon realizing I was reminiscing for so long. I hadn’t properly cleaned myself at all~! I grabbed a bottle of lavender shampoo and rubbed the product in my hands before lathering it in my hair. It took a while to rinse because of how lengthy and thick my hair was and it was always fun to repeat the process with conditioner. I then put some body wash onto a damp cloth and carefully scrubbed my body up and down. Rinsing the bubbles from the body, I let the warm water rush over my pale skin for a while before the temperature gradually decreased. This signaled that I should be getting out, thus I did. I turned the dial until the water stopped dripping completely. Stepping out, I grabbed a fluffy white towel with silver-colored embroidery and dried my hair thoroughly before wrapping the said towel around my body. The typical routine of getting dressed in my room followed

 

   I put on a gray shirt with a dark blue blazer and some jeans. I stepped in front of the mirror to brush my hair and tie it back with a long, dark blue ribbon to match my blazer, which I flipped the collar of up to hide the fading red marks on my neck a bit better. Deeming myself dressed for my ‘day off’, I walked to the kitchen and filled a glass with water to take that Ibuprofen I mentioned. I swallowed the pill before going to replenish the food and water in the dog bowls for Fumie and Ako, who came scampering over immediately at the sound of their food clattering against the bowl’s surface.

 

   “Good girls~” I crouched down to pet them each before standing upright to grab my shoes. I was going to head out to a café that a ‘friend’ of mine owns. I don’t really have ‘friends’, she just likes to call herself that. As I made my way to the door, I called over to the dogs saying that I’d be back later, which earned me a couple of sad-like whimpers. I glance back over sympathetically before making my exit.

 

~~~

 

   September only came with a few chills, so I thought it would be okay to walk. There were only two crosswalks within the distance between my house and the café. I made sure to look both ways and all that safety stuff and made it to the building without any trouble. Pushing open the door, I looked around. Good, my normal table is free. The clock on the wall read 8:33 AM, so Krul should expect me to be here around now. My stomach was hating me for taking medication without having eaten first. Oh, the regret.

  Well, it’s not like this is the first time. As if on cue, the pink-haired manager strolled over with a tray of cream cheese brioche and a cup of tea. Ah, she knows me too well by now. “Thanks…” I mumbled as she set the tray down. She was manager, so technically she didn’t have to serve me. But we’ve been acquainted for a while, so she does what she wants. She knows about my life in the club, yet doesn’t criticize me. She just brings me something to ingest, smiling deviously as she knew she was getting money from her valued customer. She held out her hand for the pay. Feeling generous, I set 220 Yen in addition to the normal price in her hand. By ‘generous’, I mean I got paid extra last night… so I could spare some cash for a lovely acquaintance.

 

  She looked at the extra money in her hand, grin widening. Using her free hand to pat my head, she voiced her gratitude. “Thank you, Fenix!”  Yes, Fenix was the name I used in public. “Ferid Bathory” left a bad taste in my mouth after middle school, so from high school on, I took up the moniker “Fenix Kordella”. We were close enough that she knew my real name by now, but she had the common sense not to blabber it carelessly. Fenix was a bit like a stage name now. Most people at the club refer to me by that name now, the clients included. Not that they need to remember it after their drunken nights of intercourse… unless they saw Ferid as ‘pretty enough’ to come back for a second round some other time.

 

  Krul pocketed the money and slid into the seat across from me. She inquired about the simple things, not delving too much into my ‘career’ details. Stuff about Fumie and Ako, or how well I slept, or what made me decide what I was wearing that day. Despite her attitude and insistence that we were ‘friends’, she was a pretty good person to chat with. Our conversation broke when I heard familiar terms uttered from the audio of the flat-screen television up in the corner of the café. Listening carefully I heard some disturbing information on the news channel.

 

  “Shinoa Hiragi, waitress at the local club ‘Flashing Fantasies’, was found dead this morning around 5 AM. We were not given much information, but the murder seems to have been intense…”

 

  Yes, ‘Flashing Fantasies’ was the club I worked at. Shinoa had been a waitress for a while and was planning on becoming a pole dancer… or something. I didn’t pay much attention. But I knew another waitress, Mitsuba Sangu, had been very close to her and must be devastated. Not only did I need to check on her, but I had to gather more information. No matter how twisted it may seem, I was ready for some real spark of adventure. Maybe I’d take some matters into my own hands…

 

 ~~~

 

  I finished off my tea, thanking Krul again before stuffing the pastry in my mouth and made a dash out of the café. The club was only a few blocks away, so running to get there wasn’t much of an issue. I swung the door open and looked around. My boss, Norito Goshi, gave me a strange look. “Fenix, your shift doesn’t start until—“

   I cut him off quickly to inquire. “Where’s Mitsuba?”

Another worker, Lacus Welt, walked over to answer my question. “We don’t know. She’s forty minutes late, which is rare. Maybe she’s taking her friend’s death badly.”

  Death.

The word resonated clearly throughout my mind. Yes, somebody had died. I knew this prior, yet…

 

  My thoughts were interrupted by a redheaded woman bursting through the doors. Goshi’s ‘assistant’.

  “Sir! Mitsuba Sangu was found deceased at the park. Both girls had messages left at the scene, but no traces of DNA have been found.”

 

   Goshi’s eyes widened a fraction before sighing in frustration. Obviously the police couldn’t interfere unless they knew the culprit for sure because this was a club that gave work to prostitutes. It was best not to get them involved for now.

 

  Arching a brow, I walked over to the redhead and spoke in a calm manner. “What were the messages?”

  Mito took out her phone to show us pictures of the messages left at the crime scenes before adding a strange bit of information. “I took a picture of the paper note, but when I went to touch it… the note caught on fire and disintegrated! Sayuri got it on camera!” She held up a camcorder with the evidence of the paper burning up as if someone was using magic or something from a distance.

 

  “What the hell?” I squinted at the video before turning my gaze to Mito’s phone to read the paper message aloud. “Wasting away your lives in that trash hole... You lot should be ashamed! You have FIVE individual deaths until I come for the entire staff. I’m kindly leaving hints at the scene. Maybe one of you is smart enough to figure this out. Have fun~!”

 

  I glared at the phone screen as if the culprit had been laughing at us behind the screen before turning my attention to a loud sound. Goshi had knocked a few glasses over in frustration, muttering “Shit, that’s already two of five!”

 

  He then looked up to ask. “What are the ‘hints’ this person left for us?”

  I looked back down to the phone screen, swiping to the left to look at the images.

“The one found at Shinoa’s death said: Killing can be really fun, my next target could be anyone. The one at Mitsuba’s death said: You’re probably thinking ‘what the hell?’ But keep in mind, there’s three more bells.”

   Everyone looked over in confusion. “Bells? What’s that supposed to mean?” René, a bartender, had finally spoken up.

   Well, maybe I was smart enough to at least guess this.

“It could mean three more deaths. You know, bells chiming for an execution?” Their confusion turned to bewilderment, as if I was smarter than I looked and they were dumber than they’d like to think.

 

“Hey, I’m probably right.” I gestured a small shrug, simply invested in this mystery as a whole… not the mourning over the losses or sentiments that tagged along with it. Only to hear Goshi sigh, yet again. He looked over at René with a stern expression, speaking.

  “Give him a call.”

The quiet man bowed his head as if our boss was royalty or some shit. “Right away, sir.” Then took his leave to go make the call. I just leaned against the bar counter, idly twirling some silvery strands of my long bangs around my index finger. I was curious as to who this him may be, but I was too busy thinking about the dumb ‘hints’ we were given. This could possibly give me an excuse to get a break from all that senseless intercourse I’ve been having. “Let’s see how this all plays out.” I thought to myself.

 

  And so, it begins…