Mine For The Taking

by forbloodysummer

Chapter 1: The Balcony

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The room pulsed steadily every half-second, each beat of the bass drum hammering in her head and reverberating through her bones. The vibrations carried through her chair and so encompassed her that it felt like the room expanded imperceptibly on each impact, shrinking back to its normal size a moment later, as if she were seeing the world through a video camera with its zoom control synched to the music.

Spitfire lounged in a tall seat of red leather tucked into an alcove in the VIP lounge of Canterlot’s best nightclub, whisky and victory on her breath. She wasn’t completely hammered, but very pleasantly buzzing. Raising her glass to her lips, she finished the last few drops and pushed herself to her feet. It was time.

The VIP area was a storey higher than the rest of the club, a side room edged with a balcony looking out over the dance floor. Spitfire gracefully made her way towards the railings, smoothing the creases from the tight lemon-yellow fabric of her cocktail dress as she moved, the music still pounding all around her and the air growing hotter the closer she got. Her demeanour changed as she reached her vantage point, the slow movements of a swan giving way to the silent gaze of a wolf surveying a flock.

Usually she liked nothing better than to rest her elbows on the chrome railings and spend a few minutes gazing down on all the dancing bodies illuminated by the moving coloured lights and lasers while she picked out the prettiest target to invite up to join her for the evening. Tonight there would be no need, because the first glance over the crowd had immediately revealed one of the hottest girls she had ever seen, swaying to the music on the dance floor near the door on the far side.

The hair was the first thing she saw, because there was just so much of it. Ginger in colour, she thought, although it was hard to tell in the club, even when the darkened blue light was punctuated by sweeping flashes of bright colour. But despite the low light, its silhouette needed to be seen to be believed; an impossible nest of fiery curls that had to be three feet wide at the shoulders, and maintained its volume as far down the back as she could see, her view cut off below a certain level by others in the crowd. Against that, the other details seemed small in comparison. Pale skin, a thin frame wrapped in bejewelled purple satin that left her delicate arms and shoulders bare, and a smile on her lips somewhere between shy and enticing.

Those eyes, though. They held her gaze, unafraid, almost daring her to look elsewhere, as if there were anything else worth looking at. Spitfire wasn’t known for poetry, even after a few drinks, and she knew from basic physics that the human eye absorbed light or reflected it, never capable of generating it, but the metaphor in her mind was perfect for the image before her: Those eyes had lit up when she walked in the room.

Leaning over the balcony, Spitfire beckoned to her with a finger. The girl’s smile deepened, but after a moment she lowered her eyes and, although it was very difficult to be certain, blushed. Oh, and she’s cute... Confident, too, though; there had been no surprise or gesture of ‘who, me?’.

The girl started to move through the dancing people towards the side of the room and the dark metal steps up to the VIP area. She moved slowly, perhaps just because of having to weave a path through the crowd, but the dancers weren’t packed together that tightly, and the girl didn’t look in Spitfire’s direction again, which led her to suspect nervousness might be to blame. Either way, she was not used to having to wait for things, and the anticipation was electrifying. She even felt some nerves of her own, because while she assumed it was the VIP steps that the girl was heading for, it appeared so casual that Spitfire couldn’t quite be sure.

After what felt like far longer than the minute it probably was, the girl reached the bouncer in the black suit and tie at the bottom of the steps, and Spitfire breathed a little easier. Without anyone saying a word, the bouncer turned his head to look up at Spitfire on the balcony, his eyebrows raising in askance. She nodded. A pretty girl approaches the bouncer, and he knows without asking that she’s there to see me. Perhaps I do this too often.

That thought vanished as the plush rope across the bottom of the stairs was drawn back and the girl was ushered through. She always felt a thrill at this stage, savouring the thought of a new toy to play with through the events to come. But this time... She told herself she wasn’t giddy with excitement as the girl climbed the stairs. Spitfire didn’t do giddy, she performed in front of crowds of thousands on a daily basis, she barely even felt stagefright anymore after stepping out into a stadium. Giddy was how the fans felt when they met her, not the other way around. It was surely just the alcohol toying with her.

As the girl drew closer, Spitfire was able to make out more details. The hair was definitely ginger, a slightly deeper shade than her own, but it had a few blonde streaks running through it. Even when pulled back with a heavy duty headband, it reached down to hang behind her hips, which swayed as she walked. A bushy curtain of curls still framed each side of her face, and her skin looked to be a pale yellow, like a sun-bleached version of Spitfire’s.

Her dress was a strong purple, and it looked like a cocktail dress crossed with a corset, though so covered in assorted gemstones around the sides and neckline that it was hard to be sure. It definitely had a sweetheart neckline, but with fine translucent mesh above it of the same purple, up to the level of her shoulders. It was perilously short, yet somehow not scandalous, and revealed the long, thin legs of a supermodel. The boots were chunkier than might often be paired with such a dress, but with no less of a heel. This Spitfire could relate to; she was at home in tight fabric, but the athlete in her hated how much harder it was to move around in spindly heels.

The girl was nearly done climbing the stairs, so Spitfire turned and glided over to meet her at the top. Ordinarily she might have stayed in her spot at the centre of the railings and made the girls she chose come to join her there, watching them idly and feeling like a queen on a throne, but for this particular girl she had waited long enough already. She held a predatory smirk as she finally saw the girl up close in all her beauty, and if she had licked her lips it definitely would have been out of lustful hunger and certainly not at all because she felt in the slightest bit nervous.

Neither of them broke eye contact as the girl closed the distance between them, her hands smoothly rising from her sides to rest lightly on Spitfire’s hips, finally stopping when their bodies were pressing gently together. The girl leaned in closer still, her head over Spitfire’s right shoulder and turned inwards, so near that Spitfire’s vision was almost entirely filled with a wall of ginger curls, the scent of which her nostrils seemed to reach out towards. Passion fruit?

“Hi, I’m Adagio,” she breathed into Spitfire’s ear, sounding impressively sultry despite having to talk loudly to be heard over the booming music. Adagio then lifted a hand to pull back her hair on the right of her face, offering Spitfire her own ear.

“Spitfire,” she said in return, hoping her voice came out as honey-smooth as she’d commanded it to. She assumed Adagio already knew her name, but introductions could be welcoming, and the tone of her voice would set the tone for the evening. Reminding herself that she was on her home turf and completely in control, she turned away, taking the hand from her hip into her own, and led Adagio deeper into the VIP area. She made sure to walk as if on a catwalk, each foot landing directly in front of the other, knowing the view Adagio was free to enjoy whilst her back was turned.

She caught the eye of a dark-uniformed bartender nearby and lifted her free hand to raise two fingers to him signalling for more drinks. That was a move she’d made in this game many times before, but only now did it occur to her that the girl she was leading might not like Spitfire’s usual choice of poison. If it came to it, though, she would happily have both drinks herself when they arrived and order something different for Adagio.

Spitfire wondered about heading back to the alcove she had left only minutes before and the soft leather seats within. Set into the side wall, the alcove had the advantages of both privacy and very slight insulation from the thundering speakers. But it also tended to be dark, even when compared to the surrounding nightclub, and while that appealed to her for the devious opportunities it offered, somewhere lighter would be better to see the girl she was with.

And Adagio was a girl she wanted to see all of, someone she could stare at for hours on end. But she couldn’t do that on a sofa, either, as they’d be side by side, and the view really ought to be appreciated for a while from the front first.

As she led Adagio into the VIP lounge itself, she noticed the few two-person tables scattered through the room, which would be ideal to sit at facing each other, but to do so would leave them too far apart to talk over the noise. She was glad that the lounge was only sparsely populated tonight, with two or three of the sofas occupied out of a dozen. She didn’t recognise anyone else there, and so guessed they were minor local celebrities like news anchors.

The air was cooler than in the main room, where the body heat of hundreds only served to amplify the humid climate of the hottest May in decades. The ornate lamps sprouting between bits and pieces of the furniture provided brighter mood lighting than on the dance floor, but little of it reached the ceiling, and so the club atmosphere was maintained. The continuous roar of the music streaming in from the main room helped with that too.

While her eyes flicked between the tables and chairs as she walked slowly through the lounge, agonising over where to sit and enjoy her pretty treat, Spitfire scarcely noticed that Adagio’s hand was no longer in her own. She was only snapped out of her thoughts by a dampening of the sound of the music coming from behind her, and turned to see Adagio, not following closely as she had assumed, but instead standing in the lounge entrance way tugging the heavy concealed doors shut.

As the doors met in the middle, the music seemed to diminish in volume. The bass still coursed through air and the floor like a heartbeat, probably the furniture too, but the higher frequencies were mostly blotted out, and Spitfire’s ears breathed a sigh of relief, although she knew they’d still be ringing in the morning.

“Much nicer,” she smiled, as Adagio sauntered over to her and slipped into a chair at the nearest table. Spitfire followed suit, dropping into the chair opposite, a second before she thought to do so gracefully. She felt the tiniest bit frazzled at how effortless Adagio made everything seem, despite being in unfamiliar territory. Closing the doors had never occurred to Spitfire, and she’d hung out in that room on more nights than she could remember. Of course it now seemed such an obvious solution; that was the whole reason the doors were there in the first place, and Adagio had acted without hesitation, as if in her own home. Look at me, I’m stressed – about where to sit, of all things – but she’s freestyle, just adapting to the situation and altering it as necessary.

Forcing herself to relax, Spitfire leaned back in her chair, straightening her legs out in front of her and crossing her ankles. She ran a hand lightly over the top of her hair, casually making sure her gelled quiff was still in place and being careful not to squash it in the process. Adagio leaned towards her, resting both elbows on the tabletop to prop up her chin, a smile playing on her lips. Doing so gave Spitfire a much clearer idea of exactly how low the centre dip in Adagio’s sweetheart neckline was cut, and while it still left plenty to the imagination, she certainly wasn’t complaining. Adagio’s eyes never left her own, tracking their wanderings and becoming more half-lidded.

Spitfire refused to feel guilty for being caught looking, indeed, given the irresistibility of the girl in question, she thought she’d feel more guilty if she hadn’t looked, as though visiting an art gallery and ignoring the paintings. And to be coy or chaste now would betray the brazenness of the last few minutes. But to openly leer would be tasteless, so she stopped herself before that could happen. She still felt a tiny bit like she had something to make up for, though, so she threw Adagio a bone and made the opening line of the conversation.

“So, what do you do, Adagio?”

It wasn’t like she cared about the daytime occupations of any of her conquests; she was never going to see them again, so she hardly thought it relevant. But it was generally considered polite to ask, and had proven to be a good place to start conversation on a first meeting, as it allowed people to be confident talking about things they were familiar with. For all it was nice having the upper hand, after all, bundles of nerves were rarely fun to spend the evening with, the opposite of alluring. She wondered if she’d ever have found any of them interesting enough to sleep with, if not for alcohol.

She meant intoxication on their part, to give them the courage to actually talk to her, but it still didn’t sound so good when phrased like that. And if she were having a slightly bleak moment of honesty, she could admit to herself that despite the ones she chose always being good to look at, she might not have made it through the small talk with a good number of them if she hadn’t been half cut either.

Obviously, Adagio’s confidence was one of the attributes that set her apart from those who had come before her. Ha ha, come before her! She did genuinely wonder what the rest of Adagio’s life entailed that might fuel such self-assurance.

But Adagio wasn’t showing any signs of relaxing into easy conversation about her day job, or even moving a muscle. She was sitting perfectly still, exactly as she had been, holding Spitfire’s gaze so intensely that Adagio seemed to loom forwards without actually moving. When she finally spoke, only her mouth moved, the rest of her body completely stationary, as if frozen, but not due to distress, and her eyes were locked onto Spitfire’s, unblinking and smouldering as she dragged out every word.

“The very lucky ones.”

Spitfire sat, stunned. Much like Adagio, she was now locked into her pose as if made of stone. She wasn’t sure if her mind was blank or if it was running around in circles trying to figure out how to react. Whole stellar lifetimes could have passed while she was stuck on pause and she wouldn’t have known, absolutely oblivious to their surroundings and the passage of time. Adagio’s eyes still stared into her own, magenta irises from which nothing could escape.

Her thoughts returned to her erratically. Her eyes didn’t hurt from lack of blinking, and Adagio wasn’t looking perturbed, so in all likelihood it hadn’t been more than a few heartbeats. If her heart hadn’t frozen in place like the rest of her, that was, which it might have done, for all she’d been aware of it. Now that her brain had rebooted, the first thing was to think about was making a reply. What could someone possibly say in response to that?

Had it come from anyone else, she might have laughed. It was a joke, of sorts, after all – a subversion of a question about career into one about sexual preferences. And it was so drenched in egotism that it exaggerated self-belief to the point of parody, which, again, from anyone else would have been funny. But from Adagio, she believed it. Everyone knew the term ‘getting lucky,’ and as a result its meaning had been much diluted. But Adagio, between how she looked and how she’d acted already, held within her the promise of restoring that term, the potential to move the goalposts for how humanity regarded good fortune.

Far too late Spitfire clamped down on those thoughts, unable to stop her mind from conjuring up images of how their night together might be spent. She hated to force the pictures away, and was tempted to surrender to them entirely, for they were very much appreciated, but she felt the faintest trace of heat rising in her cheeks and knew she had to come up with a response right at that moment to avoid blushing like a schoolgirl.

“Good answer,” she said with a slightly mischievous smile, knowing her cheeks reddened a little, and blinked but still didn’t break eye contact.

“Thanks,” Adagio said, eyes twinkling as she smiled, waving a hand in the air nonchalantly, “it was that or ‘inspire jealousy.’”

As she spoke, she glanced upwards briefly as if casting her mind back, ending their long stare into each others’ eyes so casually that Spitfire wondered for a moment if she had imagined the whole thing. She noticed the light blush on Adagio’s cheeks too and heard the amusement in her voice, a complete change of demeanour. Even the way she sat had shifted subtly; while still roughly the same pose, and losing none of its seductiveness, it now came across as more open. Spitfire felt like she had gone from being the audience for Adagio’s intensity to being behind the scenes with her, and suddenly the whole thing was companionable rather than competitive.

A burst of louder music cut through the room, and Spitfire looked up to see a waiter entering the lounge, closing the door again behind him and heading over to their table, two drinks in hand. She and Adagio both flashed him quick grins of gratitude as he set the two heavy weight glass tumblers on the table between them, before turning their attention to the 20 year-old peat-fired single malt scotch held within. Spitfire kept an eye on Adagio’s expression as the waiter withdrew again, thankfully noting intrigue rather than apprehension or revulsion.

After the door closed, they raised their glasses together and softly clinked the edges. Spitfire brought her drink to her lips and inhaled, savouring the familiar aroma for a second, before sipping and setting her glass down again. She watched Adagio do the same, smiling at her inquisitive face becoming an approving and pleased one as she tasted the drink.

“I’m glad you like it,” Spitfire chuckled. “It loosens the tongue, as well.”

“And the morals,” came the knowing reply, along with a grin both wicked and enticing.

“Mmm,” Spitfire nodded, her agreement sounding like the kind of noise normally brought on by taking a bite of something delicious, after which the innuendos cavorted freely in her head, “who needs them, right?”

A montage of mornings after flashed before her eyes. Some had come with sore heads, most with dry mouths and terrible breath, a few with serious nausea that had written her off for the rest of the day, but none had ever been accompanied by regret. She had occasionally felt loneliness in those moments as well, feeling the gulf between herself and the ever-changing face on the other pillow, but even then, never regret. And after those rare situations she’d remembered that she had all the close company she needed the next time she saw her teammates. She loved that bit of her life just as it was, and banished any stray doubting thoughts.

“There’s a saying I’m rather fond of,” Spitfire continued. “A conscience is what hurts when everything else feels good.”

Adagio leaned in closer, her eyes sparkling even more than before.

“I wouldn’t know,” she whispered just loudly enough for Spitfire to hear. Then Adagio leaned back again, and her grin returned, looking conspiratorial. Oh, the promise of things to come...

“It sounds like a buzzkill we’re better off chasing away,” Spitfire shrugged.

She found Adagio staring into her eyes again, head cocked slightly to one side, and she couldn’t look away. This time Adagio’s motionless expression and posture showed absent contemplation rather than charisma personified. Two or three seconds passed, then she gave a quick smile.

“I’ll drink to that,” she said quietly, raising her glass.

Author's Notes:

I've been working on this for a while, and I'm very excited to be able to release it at last. The story is all finished, so I'll be releasing a new chapter each Monday until it's all done.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to say - this is Adagio's dress:

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