School was kind of a breeze that day, the bullies stayed away, Emma still looked pissed, if not outright traumatized at what had happened on Friday. Which gave me some much needed calm. Although I was late again with homeworks. Scheming a takeover of the city and having adventures didn’t make me dispensed from school work.
I spent every moment I had free that day to draft the contract for my two would-be henchwomen. I took a few notes from Coil’s contract.
By the day’s end I was somewhat satisfied.
When I got out of school, I called Kaleb and took a cab straight to the boardwalk. I wasn’t really in any kind of hurry, but I didn’t want to waste time waiting and taking the bus. Kaleb met me home and we shared a hug.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea to take baby shifters in?” He asked me.
“I have no earthly clue.” I said, settling down in front of the laptop and copying my contract draft into a more proper form. “But I’ll need help if I want to do this. The darksiders are one thing, but they’re not mine.”
“Just hope you know what you’re doing?”
I really didn’t, but I didn’t tell him that. Instead I just kept typing. When it was done, I put it on a flash drive and left, Kaleb right behind me. I got the thing printed at a local shop in double. Then I took time to eat dinner with Kaleb, making me discover the wonders of Japchae. I might have spent a good deal of my free time on the boardwalk, but Kaleb knew every nook and cranny of it.
“Are you alright Lauren?” He asked me after a while. “No offense, but you look like shit… You’re sweating and your hands are shaking.”
“I didn’t sleep much.”
“I couldn’t help thinking about blood…” I confessed. “And how close we were...” I had a hard time finishing that sentence.
“How long has it been?”
“We’re tuesday… My last hit was on friday evening... About ninety hours… But it’s good, I’m getting through it.”
“Are you?” He asked and I felt bad, I really wasn’t handling it. “If you’re addicted, going cold turkey is not going to be pretty.”
“What are you suggesting, I go back on the blood?”
“Just a few drop every day for now, then every other day, and less and less until it’s easier for you. You look more on edge than when you were taking it.”
“I don’t know if I can do moderation…” I whined. “It’s like the best things you’ve ever tasted all rolled up into one…”
“That’s why I’m here.” he said. “I’ll watch over you, keep you from going over the deep end.”
“I love you.” I said, barely above a whisper. He kissed me and hugged me for a long time. We left the shop and dunked into an alley. He took out his switchblade and pressed it to his index until a few precious drop leaked out. He raised the finger closer to my mouth and I couldn’t help but feel like a kid at christmas, my heart beating faster than ever before. I licked the finger clean, a little more than was needed and he withdrew his hand.
There were no words to explain how good that had felt.
It wasn’t much, but I could feel my whole body relax, become less tense and I stopped shaking. Kaleb hugged me again and I just sort of melted, resting my weight on him, head on his shoulder and hands clinging to his shirt.
“You’re the best boyfriend a girl could ask, Kaleb.”
We snuggled up for a while, in the middle of an alley before I let go. It was still a bit early, but we went to Land’s End, but rather than the party beach we went on the viewing platform above. Land’s End held two things; the old Lighthouse and a viewing platform that gave you a very nice view on the City’s main bridge, uncreatively named Bay Bridge, a suspension bridge filled with lights slowly alternating between the colors of the rainbow.
We held hand for a while, watching the pretty colors and drinking a strawberry bubble tea from the same cup.
“There you are.” Someone said. I spun around and recognized the twins, they were early too.
I didn’t know which had been which in the tunnel, they were hard to differentiate when they were stark naked. Here, they wore clothes. The one who spoke was clad in jeans and a Cage the Elephant tee while the other wore a pink and black striped hoodie zipped to the top and the hood on her head, she looked cold.
“I’m Kayla.” She said, hands on her hips.
“Maika.” Was all the other said, her arms wrapped around her chest.
“I’m Lauren, this is my boyfriend Kaleb.” I responded. They waved at him, he nodded in answer.
I took out the contracts from my bag and passed them.
“I’ve took the liberty to draft these.” I said. “First article is that you will agree to perform any task I request of you unless it breaks one of the conditions outlined below. You will do them to the best of your ability.
Second clause; you will work for me and me uniquely unless I grant you my blessing to do so. You will not (or conspire to) inform anyone of my resources, or sabotage my plans and dealings. You will not steal from me, attempt to hurt me or my allies and reputation. You will also abstain from initiating anyone without my direct approval.
Third Clause: In exchange for this, I will pay you in cash, provide you with a safehouse and agree not to hurt directly or indirectly you, your family, friends or lovers so long as they do not oppose me. I will treat you with respect as allies and not as slaves or servants. Should I break any of these conditions, you will be freed from any obligations toward me.
This covenant will last until one of become forsworn, that I die or that I release you from your obligations. Terms are not negotiable.” I recited the points of the contract, knowing them by heart. I hoped I hadn’t left an exploitable loophole.
“Sounds fair.” Maika declared.
“Wait, there’s no amount in the pay section. What exactly are we getting?” Kayla asked.
“I was thinking a thousand dollar a week each. Plus a ten thousand bonus for signing up, which I would suggest spending on sprucing up your safehouse, which I’ll provide somewhere in the coming week.”
“That sounds good.” Maika said. “Much better than our allowance.”
“I think we’ll take it. How exactly do we do this? Do we just say like ‘I Kayla Byrd accepts the terms of your contract?”
“That will do.” I said. “The words aren’t too important.”
The two of them repeated that phrase and I felt something down in my spine, like a new connection being made. This covenant was bound.
“That felt weird.” Maika commented.
“I felt it too.” Her sister answered.
“This means you now officially work for me under the watch of the spirits. Welcome to the team girls. I have a feeling we’re going to go far.” I declared.