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Jeigz

Sleep to Dream

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armageddon You're not at all what you seem
That old adage about cities never sleeping? With blind trust, without turning a critical eye to the world as it functions, there’s no reason not to believe it. Businesses close for the evening, and the everyday citizens—the sinners, the prudes, the unknowables—find shelter and let night reign just for a few hours. The blinding lights all around never extinguish, though. “Darkness” is more a concept than an actual phenomenon in these places, even in these late-night hours. With all the stock placed in that timeless phrase, there are few who know that the metropolis does take its repose; they sit in waiting, obscuring themselves among the shadows until they can come up for air away from the cacophony of city light, the blinding lights dimmed and illuminating their inquisitive faces as they begin their nightly ritual, awake while the world around them sleeps, plunging into the truth of the city that has decided it can close its eyes for a moment since no one is watching.

Leaning against the brick façade of a building facing the shore, Cassandra Belmont runs one hand through her raven hair, disheveled from the long night that had just concluded. She looks out, her blue eyes icy and glowing in the cool-toned lights that are still flashing and oscillating in front of her. Luckily, though, it was still too early—or perhaps too late—for anyone to be arriving at the Atlantis Pier for the next day, seeing her slightly out-of-sorts and well-lit under the still flashing attractions of the boardwalk. It must have been nearly 3 AM, surely past the time where anyone would still be on the boardwalks from the night before. The breeze rolling in from the late night’s tide tousles her hair slightly and sends a chill up her back as she lifts her opposite hand, taking a drag from a lit cigarette. Dressed from her night out, the sleeves on her cropped mohair sweater are pushed up to three-quarters length, her midriff just barely exposed above a high-waisted, tartan skirt. Her gaze still empty, she inhales deeply, and quickly exhales a large plume of smoke from her darkly-painted lips, obscuring her view of the moonlit horizon, patiently waiting for the sun to peek out and begin the day to come. This is one of Cass’s favorite times of day; hours before Olympia comes alive, the air still thick with the previous night’s happenings, she can take her time to unpack the inner workings of her surroundings with the artificial world halted and only the natural world around her continuing on its indefatigable path. The ocean breeze, the diminishing moon, and her mind had worked in harmony many times before, and, now that she had allowed herself to officially arrive in Olympia, it was time to consult with nature again to attempt to steady this unfamiliar place.

Cassandra had arrived in Olympia several months ago, consciously choosing to guard herself and remain inconspicuous in this unfamiliar city. In the past, she had easily transitioned into new settings, particularly the nightlife and social scenes, but here she had chosen to stand back and, at first, gather information from afar. Running her aunt’s floral business was not proving to be profitable or particularly interesting, and so she’d finally decided to step out and check in on her peers firsthand this past evening. Unsure of where to go, she let her experience lead her: Sirens would be her first stop, where the most vulnerable and most hungry would be, looking for a surge of a adrenaline either in the form of human flesh or their vice of choice. Sitting in the darkest corners, hidden from the view of the other patrons, she set her sights not on any of the men there, instead attracted for some odd reason to the woman on stage: a young woman with a toned body, blonde hair, and mesmerizing eyes. This was not a sexual attraction; Cass saw something inside her that was intriguing and strangely familiar. Even from the shadows, exhaling small, unnoticeable puffs of smoke, she was careful not to make eye contact with the dancer. Drawing her attention would foil her foolproof strategy of scavenging for information from all sources before making her move. She was sure this dancer would be her way into Olympia for—as she well knew—the well-connected were likely to be among her, whether ogling, appreciating, or fulfilling some twisted fantasy. It was after midnight when she had arrived, but Cass decided to stick around, moving to the bar and carefully prodding the bartender with her own charms. Never asking the dancer’s name, she filled up on what were surprisingly cheap drinks as the men around her did some digging of their own, questioning why she would come to Sirens or if she was done working for the evening. She smirked and let her cool eyes answer to most of the men—the bartender included—but she couldn’t help but use language to address a few of in her quiet, hushed tone: “Get lost.” The bartender signaled for last call soon enough, which she assumed had to do more with her refusal to coquet than with the fact that the clock was inching towards 2 AM.

Now, after regaining her composure, she stands still except for the light breeze rolling in off the waves. Should anyone come by, her vacant gaze would suggest that she’s not out for any reason—she was careful in choosing this spot not too present herself in a way that might attract the attention of either men looking for the evening’s final thrill or, more likely, law enforcement looking for an easy target. Her seeming emptiness, though, only masks her racing mind, ruminating on the last several hours and especially the woman she watched in the club. She again runs her free hand through her hair, carefully draping the loose locks over her left shoulder and crossing her arms across her chest, her cigarette ash glowing from between her clenched knuckles. I wonder… No, I’d remember her; she’s got to be around my age… It’s still a possibility though. Cassandra always had a problem thinking completely freely when she was confused, and this scenario was no different. Guarding her thoughts as if her internal monologue would be projected out loud in the silence, she continues: There’s something I know about her, but I don’t know… And there’s no way—no, that can’t be. Maybe… I suppose it’s possible. But how would they have met already? Her eyes move just slightly from side to side as her thoughts travel, though Cass remains relatively still, now pausing to take another drag from her cigarette, seeing that she’s finally reached the end and that perhaps it’s time to make her way home for the evening. She directs her eyes upward, flicking the butt from between her pointer and middle fingers, watching it land on a few of the wooden boards several feet away, rolling into the crevice between and to the sand underneath. Processing her new line of sight, however, she sees a pair of feet walking parallel to her own position: the blonde woman from the club. Her hair wavy and muss from her night of work, in a comfortable attire, she approaches Cass’s location at a moderate pace, raising her eyes upon seeing another person still out at this late hour. Her pace doesn’t slow as her shoulders turn in and she puts on an amicable smile, not wanting to engage with the stranger but letting her know she sees her.

Cassandra’s mind races. Does she recognize me? Why would she—no, no—she didn’t see me—couldn’t have. As the dancer comes within just a few feet, Cass straightens up her posture from the brick wall, her arms remaining cross but her eyes making direct contact with the stranger crossing her path. With a blank stare, her mouth unconsciously opens, signaling that something has clicked in her mind and she utters a single, quiet “Oh.” The syllable disappears into the late night air almost as quickly as Cass uttered it, but after realizing her internal dialogue has become verbal, she twists her lips into a smile at the woman she spent her night researching in darkness, catching her attention with an uncharacteristically friendly greeting for this time of the night, her voice climbing almost half an octave to signal her seeming excitement: “Hello!”
MONTY
@Mariah.
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jmpRHgI.gif I say tell me the truth, but you don't dare
"Um... hello," coos Emma De Angelo, the airiness of her voice harmonizing with the whistle of the late night wind. Her evening had been wearying, more so than normal. As her run at 'Sirens' steadily aged with each passing day, the popularity of the 'Angel' only greatly flourished, affording her far more opportunity for the riches this path offered. She felt powerful, instead of powerless; the latter sense which typically plagued her young life. But with every single man wishing for a kiss from the lips of an angel, they all seemed to obfuscate into one. For this exact reason, the dark haired, blue eyed woman particularly stood out to the bewitching dancer.

Having been made cognizant of the stranger studying her seductive, supple, naked form—Emma's coat of dewy, pearlescent skin entwining with the glacial silver pole—she begins to wonder if it was attraction or otherwise. It was rare to see a woman sit amidst the sea of hypnotized sailors, succumbing to the siren song and dance, but it wasn't something which would garner an objection. Emma was liberal with her sexual prowess, to a certain extent. However, the truth remained that she wasn't interested, her heart already being held with chains by the uncontested Bobby Carter, who she felt herself falling deeper and deeper for with each second.

Suddenly then, Emma becomes suspicious, having already known the shadows of Olympia to be dark and treacherous, even despite her short presence in the city. While still possible that the woman was attracted to her, an ulterior motive could be slithering its way up the beautiful blonde's leg. But her naivety still shone bright, leading to a further response when she otherwise could have just continued to float away. "Uh, did you need something? It seems like you've been waiting for me or following me?" she queries, her bright, wide eyes slightly deflating in puzzlement.
MONTY
@Jeigz
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armageddon You're not at all what you seem
The cool, late-night lights skimming the surface of the boardwalk, Cassandra was for the first time getting to see the girl she had watched entranced earlier in the evening, now even more arrested by her than before. Though the two must have been roughly in the same age group, she seemed to be quite young and quite beautiful, though now Cass could see a growing look of bewilderment and possibly anger growing from behind her kind eyes. Taking a small step away from her perch against the wall of a boardwalk shop, moving with the stillness and tranquility of the wind now tousling her hair as well as the blonde’s in front of her, she lowers her eyes just slightly, crossing her arms across her chest.

“Well, I…” She’s careful now, not wanting the girl to become more suspicious than she already seemed. “Well, I’m new in town, and I just thought—I just—I don’t know, my mistake to call out to a stranger in the middle of the night, but—” The woman lowers her eyes, seemingly not buying what Cass is saying; Cassandra, though, has thought this scenario through already and knows precisely what to say. “I recognized you from earlier.” She smirks now, making direct eye contact and seeing that the lingering confusion about what’s going on has returned to the girl’s eyes opposite hers. There was no point in keeping up the illusion that she had no idea who she was: there was too large a chance the dancer had seen her earlier in the night. “You were really great. And I don’t mean that in a… disrespectful way—I’m not interested, no offense, you’re very beautiful. I just enjoyed myself tonight, and I saw you coming down the boardwalk, and it’s the middle of the night, so I thought I’d say hello.” Cass uncrosses her arms, taking another step closer but keeping quite a bit of distance still. “I don’t think I frightened you—did I? I’m sorry, I know I’m probably coming across a little skittish, but it’s the middle of the night and all. I just wanted to let you know I’m here because I’m not following you. I’ve just been sitting here, thinking, trying to figure out what’s going on in this town… It’s so different from what I’m used to.” She sighs, almost a performance of her own though her she portrays her exhaustion from this evening's events well.

The woman’s body seems to exhale, her entire frame relaxing following Cass’s last statement. Clearly she had hit some kind of a nerve or awoken some insecure feelings, as her body language told her that the girl had let her guard down despite the fact that she was still confused. It was an obvious play: she had seen the girl dancing a club full of patronizing and callous men, ogling at her figure for the entire evening. Still, she held her own, and that intrigued Cassandra and made her admire this stranger. Now, though, it was just the two women and the glow of the moon. “My name’s Cassandra, by the way.”
MONTY
@Mariah.
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jmpRHgI.gif I say tell me the truth, but you don't dare
A sweeping uncertainty continues to cover over Emma De Angelo like a pool of lava, the harsh, scalding nature of reality thickening and hardening into a solid shield for her protection. Though her guard had melted away substantially since trying to call this fast city her and her son's home, the dubious behavior emanating from 'Cassandra' was still cause for disquietude. Her empathy would however lead her actions, the doe-eyed blonde immediately able to identify with the stranger's unfamiliarity with this new setting. It was just a little over a month or so ago that Emma herself was a novel Olympian, struggling to find her place amidst all the shadowy figures, until someone special took hold of her hand to serve as her guide. Perhaps in still seeking more bonds with other women—a facet to her life she missed out on with her cruel, wicked mother—she could pay it forward.  

"You can call me Emma," she reveals, coyly drawing back one side of her long curtain bangs behind her ear and avoiding the piercing eyes directly her opposite. "And yeah, no, I totally get it. The whole 'new in town' thing, I mean. I just moved here myself not too long ago, with no idea what this crazy city was all about. I'm still not remotely used to it. It still kinda intimidates me; scares me a bit, actually." She was honest here. Perhaps it was a bit credulous to immediately show vulnerability with someone she'd just met, who had been seemingly stalking her, but she had become almost fearless. She had to be in Olympia, where genuine faces were few and far between, masks instead being the uniform. If she could show that her vulnerability was no weakness and that unlike most, she had an honest heart, then perhaps she'd ward away the monsters.

"What brought you here? To the club and Olympia?" she inquires, attempting to take lead of the conversation as an advantage.
MONTY
@Jeigz
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armageddon You're not at all what you seem
“I have family here.” Cass cooed out, accepting Emma’s kind invitation into a deeper conversation. Still, though, she couldn’t help her eyes’ momentary glimmer, knowing she was going to return home tonight with at least some kind of intel that would help her in navigating this new environment. “That’s why I came to Olympia, anyway. My aunt’s a florist up in the Hills, and she’s losing her vision, so I was elected to come here to take over the business.” Her gaze lowers, feigning disappointment as she straightens herself out from her reclined position, taking a quick step with one foot overlapping the other and looking up straight into Emma’s face. “It’s sad, really, you know? She was sort of like the only mother I’ve ever known, so it’s hard to see her like this. The business keeps me going, though. It’s nice to have something material of my own since I don’t have… well, anything else.”

With her gaze still diverted, Cassandra takes a moment to smirk knowing that Emma wouldn’t be able to detect it. Her crimson-painted mouth curled up, she can almost tell that her new acquaintance would surely have some reaction to this revelation, only half-grounded in truth. Quickly reverting to her rather stoic, steely visage, she pulls her hair back from her temples with both hands, uncrossing her feet below her and placing her hands on her hips. “That didn’t all need to come out, and I’m sorry if it was too much—I think you get it, though. It’s hard being in a new place where you don’t know anyone, don’t have anywhere to go. That’s just a universal thing really—not trying to project onto you at all.” Her painted lips twist upwards into a smile again, but this time plainly for Emma to see; she even lets out a husky giggle. Practiced to perfection, her low chuckle almost evaporates into the saline air, and Cass can see Emma half-reciprocating the smile. “I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a good reason for coming to the club tonight. Sometimes when we’re lonely, we do strange things—I don’t mean we like you and I, I just mean—you get it, I know. I have to learn to be a little less… paranoid about things. Really, the night is just more interesting. I could go sit on the beach for the afternoon and get hit on by douchebags or I can go to the club and swat away disgusting, middle-aged men with no manners with no consequence.”

Cassandra’s wandering anecdote pauses here deliberately with another diaphanous giggle, once again fixing her gaze on Emma for any kind of nonverbal reaction. “I suppose you know that better than I do, of course. It’s just so much easier to get a… true grasp of people during the night, right?” Her earnest smile mirroring another breeze coming in off the shore, Cass's icy eyes almost seem a bit thawed in an attempt to relate to the first inhabitant of Olympia she's formally met. “Well, that, and… It’s more fun when you can take control of the situation.”
MONTY
@Mariah.
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jmpRHgI.gif I say tell me the truth, but you don't dare
Cassandra's statement of 'control' struck a powerful chord within Emma, forcing her to reflect upon her own song and its melancholy melody. When she was a bright, beautiful young girl, control was what she often wished upon the stars at night, since the daylight hours with her mother brought on strict pageant preparations, and the subsequent abuse through her mother's unfounded jealousy and resentment. Then, into her adolescence, once older men took quick notice of her burgeoning womanhood and physical development, they'd circle her vulnerable body like vicious vultures, the lead to the flock being her own father. She still faced nightmares of the evening she thought her paternal figure finally took notice of her pain, depression and loneliness; that he at long last saw her. But once he ran his frigid fingers across her skin with an uncanny look in his eye, she was left to feel controlless once more, despite managing an escape from his abuse. Afterward, it was her first love who she thought would allow her to be free. But he, too, held control over her, until his death by overdose.

As Emma unexpectedly became a parent herself—after her first love's plea for her to keep the child against her full will—she felt all control of her mind, body, sexuality and spirit was lost amidst her traumas. But with the years drifting past her, she found it again in her baby boy. Her son was the first person who loved her without expectation or abuse or demand for reward. He wanted nothing of her beyond her unconditional love back, shining light upon the boundless land love gave breath to. It's there she was finally able to run free, with her baby's hand in her own. And in wanting to provide for and reward her son for changing her life, she was able to take back control over her mind, body and spirit. On the stage, as the neon hues coat her naked form, Emma was irrevocably in control of all she lost, especially her body and her sexuality.

"Yes. Yeah you're totally on the mark there," responds Emma following her fleeting daze. "I think I've managed to get that down to a science, specifically where it concerns the male species. Well..." she refrains momentarily while her mind flutters back to Bobby, who had proven to be more than meets the eye, the more the pair of them opened their hearts to one another. "For the most part, as far immediately seeing people for who they truly are is concerned. I've learned that some people may surprise you, in a good way. I mean, this interaction itself is pretty surprising. Like, I've never met another woman so fascinated by another in a platonic way. And one so vulnerable and open and honest... you said you're lonely?" As her empathy for Cassandra grew, the lock to her barrier would loosen and slowly turn open.
MONTY
@Jeigz

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