Warning: mentions of prostitution (no actual intense sex/nudity scenes). Also, bad words.
She answered to the lazy pounding on her door. The lobby 钟, 贝尔 had rang long enough 以前 that she had assumed her client had a difficult time climbing the stairs, and the sluggish knock confirmed the patron's heavy intoxication. The woman glanced in the mirror before turning the knob-- her last client had left half an 小时 ago, but her makeup had already been reapplied to accentuate her tan skin, full lips, and other favorable features of her Romanian heritage. The tiny red 丁字裤 with its band of tassels and matching corset pulled tight around her torso and breasts left little to the imagination. Her 板栗 hair was brushed to a shine the way the American 女演员 wore theirs, and her fangs were barely visible unless she wanted them to be--a perk of being only half vampire. The woman made sure to smirk at her reflection to bolster her confidence before throwing the door open.
Her demeanor changed to surprise at her visitor. Hailey straightened and watched the man enter, his footsteps heavy on her wooden floor. "I wasn't expecting 你 so soon, Aleksander," she remarked, moving to the 墙 opposite the 四柱, 四个海报, 四海报 床, 床上 as she slipped on a satin robe. "But no matter, your request arrived yesterday." The mirror slid to the side under her touch. Inside was a walk-in closet carefully organize with shelves of papers, lockboxes, and chests.
The woman located his envelope quickly, but lingered in the doorway to inspect the Russian man's rare presentation. His intimidating height and breadth were dulled 由 his slouched posture. The platinum blonde hair was unusually unkempt with a fringe of silver falling over a cloudy blue eye, starched 衬衫 half-untucked, vest unbuttoned, and 领, 衣领 upturned with a couple of buttons undone, allowing a glimpse of his muscular chest. Whether it was his odd appearance 或者 lack of his usual authority, Hailey thought he looked almost 迷失 as he squinted at something far away, chewing on his lip. No, not lost. Vulnerable.
"Aleksander?" she called gently for his attention. The envelope was passed into his hands, but he simply stood there, staring at the package containing one of the most expensive prizes Hailey had ever been asked to retrieve. After a long, silent moment, she offered, "Do 你 want to sit for a moment?"
Without a verbal answer, the tipsy giant lowered himself onto the window bench. The champagne colored pillows seemed to mock his drab appearance.
The woman tentatively sat be his side. "Is there a reason you're so early? Did something change?"
"I messed up, Hails."
"Then it's a good thing you're clever at figuring out messes, isn’t it?"
"I don't know about this time..." his words came slowly as he messaged his temple. "I thought I had everything under control after my father died, but now everything's so...hard."
"Wow, 你 really know how to brighten a room, don't you?"
He chuckled, and she was relieved at a hint of a groggy smile in his exhausted expression. "Aleksander, you'll figure this out. You're even craftier than your mother, and that's saying something."
"But everything feels impossible... I can't do anything to help the ones I care about most." He laid his head on her shoulder. 伏特加 wafted off him like cologne. Hailey wondered with growing concern how much the young man had drank.
She shrugged him off her shoulder, crossing one leg on the bench as she turned to face him. "You're overwhelmed, Aleksander, and that's okay. Anything that matters isn't going to come easy. You're smart, just breath, and keep moving forward."
His eyes were half-lidded, almost sleeping, as he stared at her lips. "Have 你 ever considered being a life coach?"
Hailey laughed, "But being a prostitute fits me so well." His hazy eyes narrowed and she rolled hers. "I'm kidding. Being an informant is the fun, paying part. 你 know working at the Black 天鹅 is just a part of the job...and as weird as it is, this is where our moms worked, and it feels 更多 like 首页 than anywhere else. I wouldn’t even know where else to go, and even if I did, I’m not good at much else-"
Usually she was the one listening, detracting truths with pleasure 或者 pain, yet Aleksander's expression was so concerned that she felt he would never hurt her. But then she couldn't talk anymore because he closed the distance between them.
His lips were hot on hers; she opened her mouth to the taste of vodka. Her body arched involuntarily into his hands, hands that were clumsy and strong but gentle as they pulled her against him. A palm pressed against his chest and she could feel the muscles beneath his shirt, hard and dependable as stone. On an impulse she nipped his lip with a fang and a sweet, salty taste filled her mouth. He tasted like pain. Like alcohol and iron. Like a 火山 boiling inside, solid rock on the exterior until too much pressure caused it to explode.
Suddenly Aleksander yanked back as if she had burnt him, eyes wide and startled. He scrambled back instinctively, leaving Hailey cold all over. A hand of disbelief went over his mouth to muffle his, "I'm so sorry."
"It's okay," she assured breathlessly.
He stumbled to his feet. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Wow, damn," she blinked quickly, taken aback. "I don't think I've ever gotten that response."
"Hailey, stop it--"
"No, seriously. I do this for a living. I LITERALLY 吻乐队（Kiss） people for a living. No one has ever..." Hailey noticed the pained regret in his eyes and stood, taking his arm when he started to retreat. "It's okay."
"It's not. I'm engaged, Hails. She'll never forgive me."
"Aleksander, calm down," she demanded without raising her voice. "You're panicking for nothing. Neither of us meant it. It was one stupid, drunk kiss...or a few drunk kisses. That's not the point."
"I need to portal home, right now."
"What? 你 portalled here? As intoxicated as 你 are, are 你 insane?! 你 could have accidentally portalled hundreds of feet below the ocean and drowned, 或者 thousands of feet in the air and fallen to your death. There's no way you're portalling anywhere else until you're sober." He had turned to go anyway, but she put a hand on the door to get his attention. "Aleksander. Our mother's protected each other, and neither of them would forgive me if I let 你 get yourself killed tonight."
The words slowly sank in. Hailey held her breath until he finally turned away from the door. With some insistence, he took her 建议 to lay down on the 床, 床上 before his unsteady legs betrayed him. The 床, 床上 creaked under his weight.
"Don't worry, I just changed the sheets before 你 got here," she noted as if it would change anything. He was silent as the woman sat down beside him, her back to him. "Are 你 ashamed of me?" she wondered suddenly, though he may have already passed out.
"No," he whispered despite her suspicion. "I'm awed 由 you, Hails. You're so strong. The world could never break 你 the way it's broken me."
Hailey choked on a laugh, feeling tears at his sudden sincerity. "Shut up. You're not broken, you're just drunk." She took a deep breath and ran her tongue over her fangs, a calming habit, then turned to ask if her visitor was alright. But this time, he was already fast asleep.