[AC] Bush43 Daily Week One

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at gmail.com
Fri Jun 9 09:19:12 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com

And week one comes to a close.  Whew.  You ready for it?  Check out
today's installment and keep your eyes open this Sunday for one amazing
promotional piece.  I'm serious, it's great.  You'll see.  Then join us
again next Monday as we get back to this daily thing!


BUSH43 #24
By Jason S. Kenney


I sat and studied the neck of the beer bottle before me, my thumbnail
picking at the label, while I ignored the noise around me, the to-do
that accompanied a bar.

The place was some set up near City Hall, something a little more high
brow than I was used to and that catered to politicos and
professionals.  Too damn many people there knew my name and face, had
already bothered the hell out of me, but, after about half an hour of
ignoring small talk and being a bastard, I'd finally gotten some peace.

Some.  But not enough.

"You know what they say about someone picking the label off of their
bottle, don't you?"

No rest for the weary.

I tensed slightly at the sound of her voice.

Cassandra Trellis settled onto the stool next to me, as I just kept
staring at my bottle whose label I continued to pick at.

"What's that?" I asked without looking to her.

"It's a sign of sexual frustration," she said, as I saw her out of the
corner of my eye, smiling as she drank from her glass.

"I thought that was chewing ice."

"Perhaps," she said, accentuating her response with a very audible

Strictly business.

"Are you following me, Miss Trellis?"

"Are you avoiding me, Mister Carter?"

"To be quite honest, yes, I am."

"I'm insulted."

"Don't be," I said, taking a knock off of my beer. "I tend to associate
myself with the things that make me miserable, so maybe it's a good

"Are you trying to be funny?" she asked.  I looked to her, that smile
across her face, and knew she was trying to be.

"I'm trying to figure out a polite way to excuse myself yet still get
enough alcohol in me to feel like I've done something with my evening."

I turned to look at the mirror behind the bar and stare at it, perhaps
intending to wonder why every bar had a mirror behind it, as I took
another swig out of my drink, only to find that was the end of it.

"Well," she said, shifting in her seat slightly, her body getting
closer to mine, our shoulders almost touching. "Perhaps you can simply
accept my company and allow me to join you in this noble endeavor of

"Are your intentions pure?" I asked, as I waived for the bartender.

"Never," she said, her voice low and in my ear, almost a purr.

"Another one?" asked the bartender, as he reached me.

"Let's try something stronger," I said. "And another for my ladyfriend

Strictly business, I told myself, as I ordered.

Strictly business.


It was late when I helped Cassandra Trellis out of the bar and in the
direction she said she lived.  I wasn't exactly sober myself, but my
tolerance was a little better than hers.  So, I was the designated

"This is convenient," she said with a giggle, as we made our way down
the street.  "Now, I won't have to give you directions for Saturday."

"Now, wait a minute," I said with a grin, not really feeling combative
about the fact that I had yet to agree to anything.

"No, you wait a minute, Jeffy," she said, drunkenly jabbing me gently
in the chest with her finger.  "You are coming with me to that thing,
and that is final."

I didn't say anything to that, so I guess I'd agreed.

"Besides," she said after a few moments. "It'll be good for you to meet
and greet the rich and famous of Pacific City.  The upper crust, the
'elite'!" she shouted, letting the last word drip with distaste.

I wanted to ask her why she dealt with it then, why she put up with
these people she obviously detested when she could very easily not go
to these things, not associate with these people.  But, I kept my mouth

"This is it," she said, arm reaching across my chest, as she pointed to
the building beside us.

As she pulled her arm back, she grabbed my opposite shoulder and turned
me toward her, her other hand quickly at the back of my neck and
pulling me into a kiss that might have been passionate were she not so

I didn't pull away as quickly as I should have, and any effort on my
part to blame that on the alcohol would be a lie.  And, I didn't pull
away far, inches separating our faces, her hand moving from my neck to
my cheek.

"Come up," she said, more a command than a request.

"Only to make sure you get in all right," I said with a smirk that she
returned, her eyes glinting with thoughts that said volumes about her
true intentions.

And so, I followed her into her apartment building.  She waived to
thank the doorman, as we walked past and stumbled to the elevator, both
laughing, as she pressed her back against the wall for support and I
put a hand on the wall next to her for a bit of my own.  She grabbed my
suit coat and tried to pull me to her again, but I pulled back and
stood upright, reaching beside her and poking the button for the
elevator.  She pouted slightly, as I wagged a finger at her.

The elevator dinged, and we went in, her immediately going to the back
and resuming her position of pressed against the wall for as much
support as she could get.  I stepped in and turned to the panel of

"Which floor?" I asked, as the doors closed.

"Does it matter?" she said.

I turned and wasn't surprised at all, as she practically pounced on me,
her mouth finding mine, mine not protesting a bit, her body pressing
against mine so hard, as if it wanted to become part of me.  Her arms
wrapped around me, her legs trying their best, and I gave back as good
as I got.

Maybe this was the alcohol.  Maybe this was the fact that it had been
almost two years since I'd done anything remotely this physical with a
lady.  Who knows?

Our mouths broke apart for a second, barely, just enough room for me to

"Maybe we should continue this..."

"Eleventh floor," she said softly, and she came back to my lips, as one
of my hands fumbled for the buttons, the other practically clutching
her closer to me.

I pulled away and held up a finger, as she began to pout again,
turning, finding the button for the eleventh floor, mashing it, as if
we'd get there faster the harder I pushed, and I turned into her again,
this time being the one who was a bit more aggressive.

We almost missed our floor, me interrupting our session just in time to
get a hand in the closing doors.

"Ladies first," I said, as I stepped aside and held the doors open.

She grabbed my tie, as she walked by and practically dragged me down
the hall, as she moved with a purpose, her free hand going into her
small handbag and coming out with a key.  She let go of my tie and
pressed her hand to my chest, as we stopped at 1109, keeping me at arms
length, as she unlocked the door, every now and then peeking out of the
corner of her eyes at me, a smirk on her face.

And then, she opened the door.

"All right," I said, straightening up and making to fix my tie. "I see
that you've gotten in well enough, so here we part."

She grabbed my tie again.

"Get in here," she said with a toothy grin, and she yanked me into her
apartment, closing the door solidly behind us, as she pressed me
against the wall and latched onto me again, her mouth all over mine.

"Is this a bad time?"

We quickly broke apart and turned to see a gentleman standing in her
living room.

A gentleman that looked horribly familiar.

Perhaps this was strictly business.

Simon Cooper didn't even look at her; his eyes locked with mine.

I don't think I've ever sobered up so quick.

My first thought was that this was a set up.  It had to be.  There was
no way in hell this was coincidence.

Simon Cooper stood in Cassandra Trellis's living room, glaring at me
where I stood just inside her apartment.

Why the hell was he here?  What the hell did Cassandra have to do with

This had to be a set up.

"What do you want, Simon?" Cassandra asked with a slight slur in her
voice, the impact of the man's presence not having the same sobering
effect on her as it did on me.

Simon Cooper didn't even look at her; his eyes locked with mine, as he
studied me.

Did he recognize me?

I hardly recognized him.  He looked liked he'd cleaned up, his clothes
well chosen, his face clean shaven, his hair well kept.  He stood
straighter than when last I saw him, his shoulders broader.

He looked bigger.

He looked badder.

I stepped forward slightly, putting myself between Simon and Cassandra,
though I knew what little good it would do her.  Or me.

Simon tensed, as I stepped, and I worried he might go off, but he

"Do I know you?" he asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.

"If you do, you have me at a disadvantage," I said, hoping he was truly
lost on my identity.  Please please please...

Neither of us spoke for a bit, but Cassandra broke the silence, as she
pushed past me and tossed her pocketbook onto her couch on the way to
the kitchen.

"What the hell do you want, Simon?  And, how did you get in here?"

"I have my ways," he said, reluctantly taking his eyes off of me, as he
turned to face her.  "And, I came with a business proposal, though I'd
prefer if we discussed it--" He looked at me out of the corner of his
eyes. "--privately."

I heard some shuffling in the kitchen, the sound of glasses, pouring,
and she emerged with two glasses of wine and walked past Simon,
practically forcing one glass in my hand, turning and leaning back on
me slightly, as she brought hers to her lips.

"Anything you need to say to me can be said in front of Jeffery," she
said, as she took a drink.

I tried not to visibly wince, as she said my name, and Simon's lack of
a response told me that I probably had pulled it off.

Simon shook his head before he spoke again.

"This must be done privately," he said, eying me but not fully
connecting with my gaze. "And, it must be done tonight."

"Well," said Cassandra, ending her lean on me, slowly walking with
purposeful grace towards Simon. "I'm afraid it's not going to happen
the way you'd like, Simon."  She stopped a few feet from Simon and
leaned close, her voice taunting him.  "But, you should be used to that
by now, eh?"

The glass of wine shattered in my hand, as my body suddenly clenched,
electricity surging through me out of nowhere.  My legs buckled, and I
fell to the floor hard and without a sound escaping my mouth, my lungs
trying desperately to bring in air that the rest of my body seemed to
want to resist.

And, after what seemed like an eternity, it stopped.

"...have any idea what I can do to you?" continued Cassandra in a
conversation I missed the first part of.

"Actually," said Simon, as he walked past her and toward me, "I have a
better idea about what you can do to me than you do.  For instance,"
said Simon as he stopped by me, the toe of his shoe coming under my
chin and pulling up, turning my face upwards and towards his. "I know
that whatever you choose to do to me or any number of people ceases the
moment you die."  He looked to her with a grin that I could partially
see, blurred by my tears, slightly blocked by the angle of my sight.

"Bullshit," she spat harshly, but there was a tone to her voice that
betrayed her boldness.

"Let's not test it," said Simon, turning back to me.  "Not quite yet,
at least."

He crouched down and leaned close, peering into my face.

"Why do you look so familiar?" he asked, trying to remember me, my face
that he saw so briefly that one night so long ago.  Our first meeting.

He was so intent to stare at my face that he missed my fist until it
shattered his nose.

He shouted, as he stumbled back, grabbing his face.

I was to my feet and moving quick, snatching Cassandra and diving with
her to the ground, as electricity shot from his body and around the
room at any- and everything.

And, after a moment, it stopped, and I heard Simon running, the door
opening, and he was out of the apartment.

I got to my feet again and started after him.  I charged into the
hallway and turned to see the doorway to the stairs closing.  I ran and
threw open the door, only to suddenly be gripped with pain again, the
body clenching, arcing backwards, as electricity surged through me.  I
was thrown forward and into the air, over the steps, crashing into the
wall and then falling to the floor one flight down.

"WHO ARE YOU?!" shouted Simon from above me.  The fucker had come from
behind me, pretended with the steps.  He was learning.

I slowly started to get to my feet and looked up to him with a grin.

"Shouldn't be that hard to figure out," I said, as he pointed a finger
at me, electricity sparking around its tip, my grin turning into a full
blown smile. "Stacy."

He cursed softly, as his eyes went wide, and he stumbled back a step,
as if I'd just clocked him one, the blood running from his nose and
around his open mouth.

And, right as I braced myself for the most searing shock of my life, he
dropped his hand and started to vault up the stairs, two at a time.

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