As of today, ( 3rd August ) this blog is going on hiatus.
I hate to do this, I really do. Never have I had to put a blog on hiatus but, lately, I’ve begun to hate Serena’s muse and I think that calls for a big time-out. Who knows when I’ll be back? Maybe a week, a month, or a year, I don’t know. I’m hoping it won’t be long but if it is, hey, I can’t help it.
Everyone here though, you’re all wonderful okay? Such amazing people and writers and I just hope I’ll be back soon. I’ll miss you all a lot, but this is for the best.
Serena’s nonchalant façade was good, but not good enough. Fury burned in her gaze; unadulterated, unbridled rage. He was already squirming under her skin and he relished in the triumphant feeling that coincided with that lovely yet simple discovery. She was still easy, no matter how cool, collected, and stoic she pretended to be. Her emotions were her disadvantage; Brian felt only the most basic, primal emotions in turn. Seldom did he feel anything complex when it came to others. Only did he feel true, intricate emotions when they involved himself. Perhaps it was a jeopardizing strategy to inspire Serena’s wrath, but the more angry she became, the less logical and reasonable she became as a result. Brian would strip away at every layer of her good judgment until he was at a clear and unshakable advantage.
She spit venom when he mentioned the police, and that pled Brian to take a mental step back and recalculate her potential allegiances. An FBI agent would not reveal such contempt for even the lowliest of law officials. No special agent working for the proper side of the law would, actually. To surmount, she expressed knowledge of the underground crime syndicates. Brian raised an eyebrow, partially impressed but unperturbed by Serena’s advances. He was a lion, and she a hyena, and they were vying for the same prey. They would kill each other for it. “Oh, oh. I see,” Brian purred, like the proverbial lion. He was the king of the Sahara; she was a filthy, unworthy mongrel. Disposable, expendable, and worthless, she was, and his wryly condescending demeanor was quick to betray these disdainful thoughts. “You’re not a fed. You’re quite the opposite. How enthralling. What a plot twist.”
And the best of all: Brian might not have to murder her. The less blood on his hands, the better for him. Nevertheless, a verbal slashing was in order. He’d already drawn blood! “I assume you’re looking to recruit me for whatever reason, based on that. I really don’t know what your superiors could possibly want me for. You must expect me to be flattered. Well, I’m not.” He tilted his head toward her. He, too, was close enough to kiss her; close enough to strangle her. Brian was very enticed, but he had more control than that! “You see, I don’t care. I’m not impressed by organized crime other than my own brand. I’m superior to whoever you represent, and I’m superior to you. I said you were good, Serena, and I wasn’t lying, but you’re not good enough. If you’re the best the crime syndicates have to offer, I’m very disappointed.” But, actually, he doesn’t care. He’s only wedging himself deeper into her subconscious in the hope of battering her confidence.
“But never mind all that nonsense!” His long fingers coiled around her slim shoulders and pushed her back, slightly, though he didn’t release her yet. He wanted her to look into his eyes when he addressed her. “I work alone. I’m certainly not wrapped around your finger. Seems more like you’re wrapped around mine. I have my own objectives to carry out. It would be very kind and considerate of you and your bosses to leave me alone. I’m not interested.” Truly, this was the last thing Brian needed at this stage of his plan. He nearly had Dexter again—he was so close that his goal was almost palpable—but he didn’t expect Serena to be deterred so simply. Criminals didn’t tend to be obliging or understanding. It was Serena’s move, now, and he hoped for only his own sake that she would choose wisely.
This was what he was aiming for, what he wanted from her, and she only had that sickening rage every time she looked at him. How could she be failing so easily? She was the best, the best, and never let a job get to her like this. The bosses were going to have her this time for sure,no doubt, she was done. Now she was panicking, all of it dancing around in her eyes if he looked closely enough. Luckily she kept her breathing steady. Just.
Perhaps she had gone about this with just slightly wrong tactics. She was already surmising, pulling herself back in and tightening the reins. Losing it completely would just give him too much satisfaction, and he didn’t know anything about her. He had no cards like that to play, that advantage was all hers.
”I wouldn’t use the word recruit, since you would hardly become an employee. That is not what they want. This is all blackmail, ensuring your cooperation with the right price. We are criminals, yes, but first and foremost this is business. You can only go on for so long like this, are you not getting bored yet? I would be. Always the same. Take the hint. He ain’t getting the message.”
Drawls of speech as thus hardly wore her out, and through this she had found her second wind. Even with his hands on her, pushing her back and putting her in the threatening position, she was ready for whatever he was going to throw at her. Ready and willing to throw back worse. She never broke eye contact, kept her expression fully neutral, all the while calculating what points to hit should the need arise. She still had to find a way through the apartment, get the information she needed, but that would come in time. However long they were going to be at this, she wasn’t leaving empty-handed.
”I will never be under your control, have ya’ got that? Never. I’m not like those whores you pick up for display, charm them until they swoon and then you strike. For someone so smart you act like a clown, and this is all getting a little tiresome. Just face it - you’re losing. Losing so badly it amuses me to watch. Give it up now, while you’ve still got a little dignity intact.”
❝Precisely❞ He responds despite not knowing how he had come to hear of his first name. He shoves the concern from his mind, gripping her hand in a firm shake before mirroring her actions and returning his hand to the interior of his pocket
❝The pleasure is mine❞
He assures her with what attempts to be a partial smile to make up for his offhanded remarks. He;s not entirely sure where he’s going with this but it seems only right considering she obviously knows him.
Usually people got so affronted when she addressed them by their first names, despite no introduction. But, well, partly she was glad he didn’t get up in arms about it. She really couldn’t be bothered with that.
“I doubt it is. Why the pleasantries?”
She certainly was blunt at times, no hint of a smile in her expression as she looked at him. Now though she was regretting showing her knowledge of him. Bad idea, perhaps.
Brian chuckled darkly at Serena’s jab. “I wouldn’t call myself a barbarian. I happen to think I’m rather elegant. But, don’t take my word for it. In the end, I am what others think of me, and I’m not held in high regard by normal people. I’m sure you know that already.” Not in high regard, perhaps, but he was known nonetheless—and, more importantly, feared. However, horrifying all of Miami had not been Brian’s objective in altering his modus operandi and displaying his kills for all the world to see. That was nothing but the very entertaining and partially satisfying byproduct of his true agenda; his impetus to do anything for all his life. All along, he had meant for his uniquely exsanguinated, dislimbed prostitutes to catch Dexter’s attention and inspire his awe, and he had been unequivocally successful. He’d known that he would be, of course. Dexter abhorred blood as much as Brian did. To do without it was a distant fantasy, a blissfully perfect dream out of reach, for both Moser brothers. The younger unknowing, but not for long.
He looked on contentedly as Serena complied with his request, and without complaint, no less! Brian was impressed by her small yet powerful arsenal of weaponry. A pistol, a knife… although he knew that there must be more. He hardly trusted her to follow through entirely. She was far too much like him. So, with a mockingly gracious bow of his head, he said, “Thank you for being so cooperative, Serena. I appreciate it. But, I’d like to frisk you anyway, for my own sake. You understand, I’m sure.” But he really didn’t pause to accommodate for a reply on her end; he simply extended his hands and, if she would permit it without physical retaliation, brushed them along either side of her torso, under her arms, down her legs—and felt a lump under her dress. Another weapon, he presumed. “Ah, ah. What’s this?” Gone with Rudy was any modicum of decency. He merely lifted the skirt of her dress without permission and thrust the dagger from her garter.
Rising back up to his full stature, Brian tilted his head and trained his icy stare on hers, idly fiddling with the newly acquired dagger in his hands. “A little too much? I think I’m just fine. The police don’t suspect a thing. Besides, I’ve emerged from the shadows for good reason.” But he wouldn’t dare mention Dexter. It would be irresponsible of him to send his little brother careening into this debacle. “Now, you don’t seem like a police officer to me. The police aren’t nearly as good as you are. They’re easy to fool, but you’ve seen through me from the moment we met. The flat tire was clever, by the way.” Brian, ever a courteous nemesis, complimented her where compliments were due. But, that was where the compliments ended. He wouldn’t like to inflate her ego so much that she believed she would actually beat him! She had already lost many times this evening, and while the coy little woman he’d met was gone and supplanted by a fierce titan, she was no match for him.
“That leads to my question, then.” He tossed the dagger toward the coffee table, where it landed with a clamor among its counterparts. “Who are you working for, and why are you so adamant to catch me? I can’t possibly be the most dangerous man in the United States. I think the government has much more looming threats than a silly serial killer with a fondness for dismemberment.” That was his assumption: that Serena was working for the government. Perhaps the FBI, but the FBI tended to barge in with guns blazing. Serena took a much more organized and covert approach. If he must resort to brute force, she had no weaponry on which to rely to beat him, but he hoped to give her no reason to attack him. Instead, he would drive her away, but only based on the organization by which she was dispatched. If she was a fed, Brian would be in quite a bind; he might have to murder her.
”Oh, I’m sorry. Let me rephrase myself then —- a clean savage. ‘Normal’ people hate you, yes, or at least what the media has painted you to be,” she continued, pacing around the space between them. She always loved to do this, and secretly it was one of the big reasons why she loved her heels. Made the sound more dramatic, made her look more imposing. But she knew that he didn’t care about any of that, and so tempting to circle closer to him, she also kept her distance. Small steps, occasionally stopping to look at him.
The removal of ‘all’ of her weapons was a predictable move, but she had to try it, didn’t she? She didn’t actually expect him to frisk her though, but made no move when he started to feel for the knife, only tensing under his touch and keeping her head up. It made her feel sick, the way he just stormed right ahead without permission, hands searching everywhere until they finally found it. When he took the knife out she ought to have snapped his neck there and then, but didn’t, simply glaring him down with a mock look of glee in her eyes. Silly man. Stupid, foolish, silly man.
”The police are idiots,” she snapped, her very obvious distaste for them showing through. Easy, easy. “Are you not aware of the underground networks? The crime ‘lords’ and bosses? They’re the ones you’ve got to keep right and well, dear, you’re not.”
Her blood was boiling with hate and anger now, though mostly due to the frisking at this point. That was a deliberate move, she knew, for him to strip her bare of her protection and ruin her modesty. Bad idea to make her angry, even worse idea to make her furious.
”Who I am working for is of no concern to you right now, or ever, in fact. Your time is up, Brian, and I sure as hell ain’t going without what I came for-” she paused, grinning slyly and coming back in on him. Personal space didn’t seem to be a known concept between them and she reveled in this, close enough to him so that her lips nearly touched is ear.
”-which is you wrapped right around my little finger.”
She certainly didn’t want a fight, but wouldn’t back down if it came to it, weapons or not. He was a smart man, and the move was now his, Serena leaving it wide open for him.
Got most replies done and drafted, but I’m going to wait until they’re all done to post. PROMISE they’ll be done today!
"What’s the craziest thing you have ever
done for money? I’m trying to see if I can beat it.”
A new idea took formation in his mind as he closed the tremendous door and locked it behind them. Serena appeared exhausted, both mentally and physically. As chipper as she made herself seem, she was weary and drained after this eventful evening of pretending and plotting. There was no better time than the present to take advantage of this, before a second wind of energy struck her, and before his energy also reached its low. He beamed, then, far brighter than before, at the brilliance of this new idea; it was so simple that he wondered why he had contrived such elaborate schemes before when he could have addressed the issue of Serena’s true operation more forthrightly. Rather than attack her like a brute and physically force all of the information he wished to hear from her, Brian would implement more psychological meddling. That was his area of expertise, and it would be less jeopardizing than assault. He didn’t know her level of combat skill, but what he did know was her capacity for beguilement. He would much rather use that against her.
He allowed layers of his mask to slip with each passing second. First went his eyes—in an instant, their brightness died like the flame of a candle, and they were lifeless, though he continued to smile. “Oh, I’ve lived here for nearly three years. I got a pay raise and decided that I deserved a new place for all my hard work. I’m glad you like it. I put a lot of time and effort into it, you know.” Not a lie. And then went his posture—once relaxed, it straightened like a wooden board, rigid and unsnappable. His hands drew behind his back and his head tilted downward, condescendingly. It really was such a help to his domineering nature that he was taller than most people, although she was hardly shorter than him in those ridiculous heels of hers. Those shoes would be quite a pitfall if she saw fit to flee.
“A lot of people find the sculptures… unsettling,” Brian continued. His grin was faker, and it stretched so broadly across his face that it almost seemed animated; surrealistic, like a disturbing portrait. “I really don’t know why. They’re no different than the prostheses I make every day, except they’re white and not wearable. I think the human body is a beautiful thing. I have an aesthetic appreciation for it; for the individual parts. Lovely, aren’t they?” Rudy’s colloquial manner of speech was dripping away, and away, and away. It was being stripped off piece by piece in favor of Brian’s personal brand of eloquent, but not too eloquent, articulation. “Limbs, especially—obviously. Perhaps it’s a psychological matter. My mother lost her limbs a long time ago. I saw it happen. I was only five. I believe that made me what I am today. It was a horrible, grisly thing to see at such a young age. Completely detrimental to a child’s mental development.”
Brian stalked forth, in uncomfortably close proximity to Serena. This was on purpose. She might have weapons—he was aware of that—but she had no reason to use them yet. He would make certain that he gave her no reason to use them. A bit of a sick thrill wasn’t quite impetus to harm another human being, was it? Even if that human being was a monster. Just like that, he stood mere inches away from her, and his grin veritably fell off of his lips, slid down his chin, and landed with a splat at his feet. Rudy was gone now. “Serena,” he murmured, “will you please put all of your weapons on that table over there?” Blindly, Brian gestured toward the nearest coffee table. “I’d like to talk like civil people, not barbarians. You’re not a barbarian, are you? I know that you have more than whatever you’re hiding under your dress. You really shouldn’t try to fool me. You know very well that I am more intelligent than that. All I want to do is talk. No reason for you not to comply. I’ll frisk you regardless.” He glided back a long, lithe step, allowing her the space to do as he asked.
Perhaps the lull in their company was what was draining her too. Upon first meeting him there had been so much excitement, the anticipation of the unknown. She was getting to deal with a man leagues above the other lowlifes she had destroyed and manipulated, and it thrilled her. Every job had its highs and lows, but fortunately for her, it was about to pick up at break-neck speed. However, not quite so in a way she could control. Not yet, anyway.
The apartment fascinated her, no doubt, but now was not the time. After another careful glance around, she faced him once again fully. The first thing to note though were his eyes, and if she were to be honest, it made her stomach go hollow. He’d nearly convinced her on the sincerity of his actions, purely because of the light in his eyes. ( After all, weren’t the eyes the gateway telling to all? ) However, now looking on the ( unfortunately ) familiar man and seeing someone completely different, even her throat began to tighten in anxiety.
Her mouth opened and closed two or three times, attempting to get a word in edge ways. However, she decided on letting him go on, see how much he would give up without much encouragement. At first it was amusing, the smirk she would not wear all too evident in just her eyes. They were bright, her blinks slow and deliberate as her head tilted in understanding to his words. What a showman he pretended to be. At least there was common ground for them there, something else to play off of each other.
But, the amusement couldn’t last, and all too horrifyingly Serena realised the path he was going down with this display. Her eyes dulled, head straightening and the small of her back tensing. Subsequently her chin raised and held her head, as if she were sneering up to him. Her mother would be proud of that look, no doubt indeed.
Lovely, aren’t they?
The words echoed in following, though Serena never glanced to them. Her eyes were fixated on him, always on him. Whoever got the upper hand here was guaranteed most certainly to walk away better off, and Serena just couldn’t let that happen. She couldn’t let him break her like this, not here and not now. He had underestimated her, clearly, and her acting had to stop now. He had to know the full extent of who he was dealing with and be scared of it, scared of her. Taking one deep breath in she readied herself, waiting for her attack to come.
Even with his slow, predatory approach she remained stoic, eyes boring up to him as he stood right in front of her. So close she could feel his breath on her face, she would shudder if it didn’t show weakness. He would have to play harder than that, definitely harder than that.
”I’m no barbarian, no,-” she spoke up finally, not moving as he slipped back. Now that the masks had been dropped, Serena exposed herself just a little more. Her accent had changed, far more London sounding than before. Sure, she’d been playing it down a little, but now she was feeling threatened. “-but I shan’t speak for you.”
Surprisingly she complied, digging her hand into her coat pocket and removing the pistol and knife to be found in there, chucking them heavily down on the coffee table. The coat followed it and she stood there open, facing him down with a strong stare she had left unused until now. This was not the shy, giggly woman he had met a mere few hours ago, this was the real her. Closing the distance between them again, she spoke.
”Talk, yes lets. How about what you’ve got going on in here? I’m tired of the small talk. You’re not exactly flying under the radar anymore and, well, you’re beginning to be noted a little too much.”