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Like a Dull, Delightful, Spreading Bruise

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“These will do wonderfully.” Winston closes the case with a polite smile.

“I am pleased that they are to your liking,” I reply graciously, though I am unsurprised. The Continental’s sommelier in residence would never dream of purchasing knives from another cutlery, not with the established relationship between the hotel and my family’s company. Plus, the quality of craftsmanship remains unmatched to this day.

Winston passes me a weighty ledger. As I sign and date it, he picks up his phone and mutters, “Order 1721 complete.” He sets a stack of golden coins before me. “I’ve wired the money into your account. I know that you have come a long way. Please,” he gestures to the coins, “do stay and enjoy the hospitality of the Continental for as long as you’d like.”

I bow my head in gratitude. “Thank you. Always a pleasure, Winston.”

I leave Winston in his rooftop lounge, unwrapping my black cashmere scarf from around my neck as I walk past a gaggle of men, likely summoned to collect my product. I opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, sweeping my fingers along the ornate gold-tone bannister. To say that the Continental is a unique place would be reductive. There is no place in the world quite like it, and I belong to the tiny sample set of individuals who are free to come and go within this realm without permanent residence, or a blood debt come due.

I return to my room to apprise my sister of the successful transaction and my whereabouts for the next day, maybe two, and freshen up in the powder room. As I wash my hands in filtered water with triple-milled French soaps and dry them with towels spun from Turkish cotton, I imagine that it must provide some small comfort to the regulars of this establishment, to experience these lovely little luxuries in between executing their dark tasks.

I take a moment to enjoy the view of the twilight city skyline from my floor-to-ceiling windows, before changing into a clingy black cocktail dress, sheer black nylons, and strappy black patent fuck-me pumps. I never know who I’ll meet here, for either business or pleasure (and sometimes both), and prefer to be prepared. Although, a woeful amount of years have elapsed since I last encountered a member of the clientele with whom I desired to fraternize in an unprofessional manner...but it’s always best to be prepared, just in case. I slide a garter up my thigh and stash two of my favorite custom pieces there, one switchblade, one fixed blade. Always be prepared, just in case.

When I arrive at the lounge bar, there is only one person at the bar, and a handful of others scattered about the various tables and armchairs. Quiet jazz plays in the background. While I do enjoy the downstairs bar, I prefer to start my evening in a less raucous setting. Plus, the lounge’s dinner menu is one of the most absurdly wonderful things I have ever come across in my life. A bartender I know, Tasha, is working tonight--she greets me with a smile.

“Red wine tonight? Or a bourbon?”

I take a seat at the opposite end of the other customer. “I’ll have a glass of cabernet franc. The one from Chinon, if you’ve still got it.”

I’m halfway through my wine, pondering the menu’s offerings when I hear the scrape of the barstool next to me. I glance over, and have to stifle a gasp when I immediately recognize John Wick. After all of these years, I never even considered that I might encounter him again, and the sight of him sends excitement pulsing through my veins.

I pick up my glass and swirl it in my hand. “Hello, John.”

He turns, face passive, and greets me with a nod. He’s gotten even more handsome, if that’s possible, but there is a coldness in his eyes, a nearly tangible, bone-deep fatigue that was not present the last time we met. I wonder what happened, but I know not to ask.

“It’s been a long time,” he says, flagging Tasha down and ordering a bourbon. “I take it the sommelier restocked today?”

“Yes he did.” I cross my legs, surreptitiously taking note the way his suit and button-down fit his body. “I believe you’ll find the contents most interesting.”

“I’m sure I will.”

“I heard you got out.” I slide a golden coin to the bartender in exchange for John’s drink. He gives me a look, but doesn’t protest.

“I did.”

“What was that like?”

“Better than I deserved.”

“What happened?”

He stares into his drink for a long moment before taking a hefty swig. “Business happened.”

“It always does, huh?”

“Right.” He meets my gaze, and the myriad of emotions brimming in his dark eyes sends a chill up my spine. “Are you staying in town long?”

“Probably not.” I raise an eyebrow. “Did you have dinner yet?”


I push the menu between us. “Pick something, my treat.”

He exhales harshly through his nose, which I believe is the closest I’ve ever come to hearing him laugh. “Thanks, but I can’t stay.”

“Of course you can’t.” I lean forward conspiratorially until our noses almost touch. “Nothing changes with you, does it.”

He gives me a calculating look that lasts long enough that I almost break and pull away, or squirm in my seat, but I hold steady. “You might be surprised.”

Emboldened, I reach across him and take a sip of his bourbon, never breaking eye contact. “I doubt it, but you should try me some time.”

John grabs my wrist, startling a gasp from my throat. Deep brown eyes narrow almost imperceptibly as he plucks the glass from my grasp. “Do you really think you could handle that?”

My voice comes out breathier than I’d like when I respond, “Do you?”

Now there’s something like amusement in his eyes, only darker. He releases my wrist and takes a drink. The silence hangs between us like a spider’s web, tense and fragile. I sip my wine and try not to think about his touch lingering on my skin like a brand.

Just as I am about to say something, he clears his throat and stands. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out two gold coins. “For your dinner,” he says, then gets Tasha’s attention. “And another glass of that Chinon red.”

I open my mouth to protest, but he shocks me into silence by resting his hand almost possessively on my leg, fingers pressing into the nylon just above my knee. He leans down, close enough that I can smell him. “Midnight. Room 1804.” He pushes a weighty key card into my hand. “If you think you can handle it.”

Before I can muster the wherewithal to respond, he’s walking away, and I am left clutching John Wick’s room key in one hand, and the stem of my wine glass so tightly I can’t believe it hasn’t broken in the other.

“So, did you want to order anything for dinner?” I turn to see Tasha pointedly looking at John’s retreating figure, eyebrow raised, before turning to smirk at me.

“Um. Yeah, I just need a few moments. Also, perhaps a glass of water?”


At 12:15, I’m standing outside of room 1804, sweating on the key card as I turn it over in my palm, vibrating with nervous energy. The last time a man made me feel this way has to have been...never. It unsettles me and knocks me off my game in a way that I do not care for in the slightest. I’d thought some wine would help offset the nerves, and it had, but now that I am staring down the only barrier between myself and the most dangerous, desirable man I have ever met, I find myself strikingly sober.

Just as I muster the courage to open the door, there’s the sound of a muffled crash from inside. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end--I have a choice. I can go in and see what’s happening for myself, or I can hightail it to the concierge and alert him that John needs help.

I wait for a moment, my ear pressed to the door; perhaps it was nothing. Something shatters, then a cry of pain dispels that ridiculous notion, and before I can account for my behavior, I’m pushing the door open, quiet and careful, crouching down to slip into the room silently. I might not be a gun for hire, but as a frequent guest and enabler of the underworld, I know a thing or two about sneaking around.

The narrow hallway obstructs my vision of the dimly lit room, but I can see an overturned table, a bucket of ice spilled on the floor beside a smashed lamp. The distinct sound of an elbow connecting with someone’s skull fills the room, followed by a pained groan. I ease my tactical fixed-blade from the holster on my thigh as I move down the corridor, stopping just before it opens up into the bedroom. I listen to some struggling, the sound of shattering glass, and nearly bite my tongue clean through at the sound of gunfire. Ears ringing, I peer surreptitiously around the corner, just in time to see John rolling a man I have never seen across the bed and throwing him to the floor directly in front of me.

My eyes widen as John clambers on top of him, pinning his biceps with his knees, blood-tinged teeth bared, face slick with sweat and blood. He curls his upper lip and splays a huge hand across his assailant’s face, reaching into his jacket as the man struggles below him. John pulls out his knife, but the man has wriggled an arm out and rolls them over. John falls with a grunt, and sweat beads down my back as I watch the intruder gain the upperhand. He wrenches the knife from John’s fingers and brings it up, and in one split second that seems to move in slow motion, I surge forward and bury my knife between his shoulder blades with a cry.

The intruder seizes up with a wet, punched-out wheeze, and turns to me, wild eyes rolling. My heart batters against my chest as I pull out my switchblade and flick it open. He backhands me weakly, and I lunge, but John scrambles free and shoves him over. He presses a pillow over his head and holds him down. “My gun,” he rasps, nodding towards where his firearm had been kicked out of his reach. “Give it to me.”

I grab it and pass it to him with shaking hands, and without hesitation, he shoves it against the pillow and pulls the trigger with a muffled pop, sending a cloud of feathers and smoke into the air as the man instantly goes limp.

For a moment, I can only stand there, panting hard, ears ringing with the sound of gunshots and the rushing of my own blood. John looks up at me as he stands, breathing hard as he readjusts his suit.

“Well,” I say after a time, legs weakening with every passing moment of his eyes on mine. “When you said I’d be surprised, I can’t say I was expecting thi--”

John cuts me off with a searing kiss. My switchblade clatters to the floor as I moan into his mouth and bury my hands in his hair. He slips his tongue between my lips and I feel my knees buckle. He grips my low back and presses our pelvises together as I run my hands over his broad shoulders, blood pulsing between my thighs.

When he finally breaks the kiss, he looks down his nose at me. “That came easily to you, didn’t it.”

My mind is so hazy that I barely clock what he’s saying. “What?”

He spins me around, swiping my hair off of my neck to kiss it hungrily as he slowly unzips my dress. “Killing.”

I shiver as it falls to the floor, leaving me in lingerie and pantyhose. “No, it wasn’t easy, I did what I had to.”

“And I am eternally grateful,” he murmurs in my ear. “Get on the bed.”

I comply immediately, sitting on the edge of the bed and leaning back onto my elbows. He sinks to his knees and grabs my abandoned switchblade before crawling between my legs. He holds it up appraisingly as the blade glints in the dim light. “You’re not half bad with this.”

“I should hope n--ah!

I’m cut off by the cool, flat side of the blade dragging across the nylon covering my inner thighs, then against my cunt. John teases it down, then up, before slicing my pantyhose open at the seam in the crotch with the same focus and intensity as he had aimed at his target earlier.

“Oh, god,” I whisper as he presses the knife against my underwear, the chill of the metal seeping through the fabric, making me clench and gush. He meets my eyes as he gingerly slides the blade between the waistband and my flesh and slices. My chest heaves as he slowly repeats the action on the other side, then yanks the gauzy fabric off with one hand and tosses it to the ground.

“Yes,” I murmur, half-delirious as his lips and teeth travel up my tremulous thigh. With no further preamble, he buries his face between my legs.

I arch against the bed as he points his tongue and parts my lips, tracing my clit torturously before teasing at my opening. My hands find his hair and I pull him instinctively towards me, rocking my hips against his face. I can feel his harsh breathing against me, like he loves it as much as I do. I’m powerless to the onslaught of sensation, gasping and pulling his hair when he sucks my clit, hard. He takes his time there, sucking and licking as violent shudders wrack my body, heat coiling in my low belly.

Stars burst before my eyes at the sensation of one of his long, lovely fingers prodding at my wet opening. My hands twist in his hair when he crooks it deep inside me, hitting a spot that has me crying out his name and bucking my hips wildly. He doubles his efforts as I spiral higher and higher, beard scratching my inner thighs raw as he rubs me from the inside and laps at my clit until I come with a high-pitched, broken moan, toes curling as he pins my hips to the bed and licks me through it.

He hums in approval as he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. I lie panting on the bed, allowing him to pull off my heels before ripping my pantyhose up to the waist and sliding them unceremoniously down my legs. He shrugs his jacket off and undoes his belt, and I wrap my legs around his waist, pulling him down on top of me. He slips his fingers into my mouth, and I suck myself off of him while he gazes at me with a sinister desire. I reach down and grab his crotch, moaning around his finger when I find him hard and straining against his zipper.

He pushes my hand away and grinds against my dripping cunt; I sigh at the cold zipper against my hot flesh. “You want me to fuck you?” He grits out, pulling the cup of my bra down and sucking my nipple into his mouth.

“Yes, John, yes.” The level of desperation coursing through me is unbearable. Just when I think I’ll be trapped forever in the glorious, torturous limbo of John’s mouth on my breast and his clothed cock rubbing against me, he maneuvers me onto my stomach, positioning me to his liking on all fours. I arch my back and throw a hungry look over my shoulder, raking my eyes over him as he slowly unbuttons his shirt.

“Please, hurry,” I groan, reaching to press against the urgent throbbing between my legs.

Saliva floods my mouth at the sound of his zipper. He spits in his hand and rubs it on his prick before yanking my hips back and positioning himself at my entrance. Lust burns through me as I feel him hard and thick against me, my body drawn tight as I wait for him to push.

When he doesn’t, I look back at him. “Please, John.”

His hands tighten on my waist. “Show me how much you want it.”

I wiggle my ass invitingly and bite my lip. He smacks me so hard that I cry out at the jolt of pleasure-pain. “You’re gonna have to do better than that,” he says lowly, squeezing the flesh he had just struck and teasing his head at my opening.

Oh. With a bite of my lip, I arch my back and push my hips back, panting as I impale myself slowly on his length, inch by aching inch. When I’m flush with his hips, I take a moment to inhale, trying fruitlessly to stop trembling.

His fingernails bite into my flesh, like he finds it difficult to stay still. “Go on, fuck yourself.”

With an audible swallow, I move slowly, gripping the wrought iron headboard for dear life as I obey, sliding back and forth on his cock. It’s good, so fucking good, but it’s not enough, and I’m sweating and shaking, keyed up beyond belief by the time he finally grabs my hips to stop me.

“John,” I gasp, drunk on arousal as I push back against his hands.

“Yeah, baby,” he murmurs. I feel his sweat-slick chest press against my back, and let out a sigh of pleasure as he noses and nibbles at my overheated neck. He plants one hand on the wall and grabs one of my hands around the iron post, then thrusts into me with full force. I throw my head back with a feral cry as our fingers slide together. He fucks me deep and primal, stroking me where his fingers had touched earlier as his beard scrapes against my neck and cheek. My head drops between my shoulders as I tremble, hurtling closer to another mind-blowing orgasm, incapable of uttering anything more coherent than his name, and god, oh god.

“Come for me,” he pants against my ear, parting my lips with long fingers to play with my clit.

“So good,” I gasp, heat blooming between my thighs and shooting up my spine. “God, John, it’s so good, I’m so wet for you, I’m gonna--I’m gonna--”

“That’s it, come on.”

His cock hits that spot, just right, so fucking good, my mouth falls open in a silent scream as my body seizes up, head lolling back against the slope of his shoulder as I come hard, gushing around him.

“Good girl,” he all but coos, voice deep and strained with arousal, making the most wonderful noises in my ear, and I shake violently and soak the bed with a second, smaller orgasm.

With a groan, John pulls out. Before I can whimper at the loss of him, I feel his mouth on me, hot and hungry. He parts my knees wider and I can only lay there, face down, hips high, sweating and shaking with pleasure as he takes me apart with his lips and teeth and tongue.

He pulls off with an obscene slurp, and maneuvers me onto my back. I whimper as he rests my ankles on his shoulders and bends me nearly in two before sliding wetly back inside of me.

I bite my lip and dig my nails into his firm biceps, my eyelids fluttering as he sets a steady pace, not too fast, just mind-numbingly right. I slowly disengage my legs from his shoulders to wrap them around his waist. When he plunges deep, I squeeze my thighs around his torso and, with a grunt of effort, roll him onto his back.

John’s surprised huff is almost as sexy as the other noises he’s been making all night, and I waste no time in pressing down on his shoulders and rolling my hips, riding him. He stares up at me with a mix of lust and incredulity for a few moments, breathing hard, then runs his hands possessively up my body.

Suddenly, he sits up, sliding his sweaty palms up my back, pressing his chest against mine. The change in angle sends a molten shot of arousal up my spine, and I gasp. His hand finds my hair and grips, hard, angling my face down.

The moment our eyes meet, the tension that has built between us breaks, shattering any fragile remnants of my sanity.

“You’re so tight,” he murmurs, watching my face, guiding my hips with an eager hand. “So wet.”

My eyes roll back in my head and I claw at his back, scratching deep lines across his tattoos as I grind down on his cock. “God, John, you’re so big, it feels so fucking good.”

The hand in my hair tightens as John exposes my throat. His ravenous mouth finds my sensitive flesh, biting and sucking before he licks down to my collarbone. A broken moan escapes my lips as one of his hands squeezes my breast, then presses against my back, pushing us impossibly close. My body is a time bomb, moved closer to the edge with each of John’s sinfully deep thrusts.

“Oh, fuck,” I groan, slamming my eyes shut as I writhe in his lap, telltale heat creeping up my spine. “Fuck, John, you’re gonna make me come again, oh, fuck, John.”

He lets out a shuddering, loud exhale and grabs my jaw, forcing my eyes open. The look on his face is nearly enough to make me pass out, eyes blazing like he wants to crush me into dust. “Look at me,” he growls. “Look at me when you come.”

My lips part in a sob as I struggle to hold his gaze. He thrusts his hips to meet mine, hand sliding against my jaw as he grits his teeth and watches my face. I buck my hips wildly as his cock rubs against my spot, aching so sweet, like a dull, delightful, spreading bruise. My grip on reality disappears as I drown in his deep, dark eyes, the feeling of his body, the smell of his sweat, the exquisite swell of his cock inside me.

“Come,” he murmurs.

I gasp, arching my back, eyelids fluttering as a white-hot spasm of ecstasy tears me apart, cunt dripping hot and sticky on John’s cock as I claw at his back until blood runs in the wake of my fingernails, crying out his name like it’s my salvation as I fall over the precipice. I moan as John fucks me through it, aftershocks pulsing between my legs as he thrusts hard and deep, breaking eye contact to sink his teeth into my neck as he comes deep inside of me.

All I can do is tremble in his lap, letting out little whimpers as aftershocks run through me, clutching at him as he holds me, panting against him as he nuzzles my neck. Eventually, I disentangle myself from him, flopping onto the sheets, panting and staring up at the ceiling as he gets out of bed with a groan. He returns clad in grey sweatpants, clutching two glasses of bourbon in one hand. I accept one with a grateful nod.

The side of his mouth quirks up in a little half-smile as he sits beside me on the bed. “This didn’t quite start how I thought it would, but I think I managed to salvage it.”

“More than,” I say, raising my glass.

He clinks his tumbler against mine and takes a long pull before glancing at the cooling body that I’d all but forgotten about, slumped pitifully on the floor.

“Who was he?”

“No one important.” John picks up the hotel phone and presses zero. “Yes, this is Wick. 1804. Yeah. I know. An uninvited guest.” He turns his back idly, giving me a full view of the carnage of our passion. “A dinner reservation for one would be perfect. Thanks.”

I reach out and rub a hand up his side, swiping a thumb through drying blood, pressing on the scratch. He hangs up and turns on me, crawling on top of me and kneeing my legs apart.

“Oh, god,” I whisper, bourbon spilling onto the bed as he sucks a bruise onto my throat. He rocks his hips against me and I let out a sigh, sticky and sore and already painfully aroused. “Aren’t they--isn’t the clean up crew on their way?”

John sticks out his tongue and trails it down my body, pulling ragged gasps from my throat when he settles between my thighs, pushing them apart. He looks up at me, and my heart palpitates at the hard determination in his eyes. “I guess you’ll have to come quickly.”