Walk Between Shadows | Chapter 7 – Date Anxiety


Walk Between Shadows | Chapter 7 – Date Anxiety

DISCLAIMER – This story features images of violence, adult language, and some adult situations.

The following story is Copyright © 2015 Padraig O’C. Copying this story without permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

At the moment Quinn Tamsin Clarkson (she preferred Nyla) was rushing to get cleaned up to make herself presentable. Of course this was made even harder to discern by the fact that she was having one of those days she had now and then. Nyla preferred to appear androgynous when she was about normally. At times though she felt she could be either. Her eyes narrowed as she rubbed the fuzz on the size of her shaved head, and wonder if it was time to do some work on her hair style. The half shaved look was a recent addition, and then Nyla turned to stand in opposite profile.

Long hair fell just below her shoulder that was carefully constituted a set of thick dark hair curses. That was then combined with her almost caramel complexion showed her mixed heritage. She blinked and wondered if she wanted make up for the nights mission. Being ‘girl’ was not truly her thing, only when she felt it. In fact these days she was feeling far more androgynous over last few days. She wondered how she was going to deal with that at the date. In fact, her sister had not mumbled at all about who she was supposedly seeing. Nothing. People know I’m not gay right? She blinked as she sighed.

Well. Nyla was probably not in the right place to begin that though process again. Dating had truly never favored her much, in fact until recently she had refused to even touch the idea. That was till her mother, and sister dragged her kicking (and veritably screaming) back into finding a person worth spending a time with.

“I should just join a convent,” her eyes rolled then moved onto finding an outfit. They were to have dinner, and see a movie. I am super original. Her sarcasm was just bleeding like an open wound now. Anxiety, and self esteem were not two emotional reactions she desired to combat tonight. But, she was going to have to face it with no other recourse. I could fake being sick. Yet, she was not that crass, nope. She ended up choosing a black designer blouse covered in a spider webdesign made of silver thread. Her pants were simple jeans, but were tight as she wanted to feel a bit showy for the day. Her hair was carefully tassled, and prepared into long silky tresses. Her now elongated nails painted carefully violet, with a maroon finish.

She did love the color purple, or more appropriately violet. Her eyes closed as she finished off her look with a light trace of makeup, and shrugged off the growing sense of anxiety. Show time. Arriving on time for the date would be fine, it would not be really that hard at all. Her bike would be more than enough of a statement, along with the leather riding boots she was wearing. I am happy I am not doing this in Lynden. Last time she had entered the town Jack had assigned her to unearth a Fae playing at a revivalist priest trying to build a doomsday cult around the Canadian-US border. The man had turned to be a somewhat crazed Vodyanoi, or a male siren creature. In the end she was banished from the town.

“Never…ever…ever…doing a midnight raid with a Jack, -again-” she muttered to herself.

Focus for the upcoming event. Which would beginin in minutes. Riding back into town only served to remind her that she lived along a road that was too prone to flooding. A fact she would need to deal with later on as she dodged her bike around the worst sections of road.

It was starting to get dark out by the time she arrived in down, a fact that worried her slightly. Was she late? Dammit, did daylight savings time end? Oh the worries of a normal person. She reveled in that fact. To be normal when her Fae side was pretty much just on the edge of being revealed was a godsend in truth. A moment a solace which afforded her time to clear her mind as her helmets visor was pelted with the thick rain of the day.

This time she was avoiding downtown, and was heading straight to one of the more upper scale sections of town. A place known as Barkley, or more appropriately in Nyla’s mind home of the tick-tacky houses near the mountain. It was an older version of Shadedy Meadows, and had the local cineplex. Not to mention a choice selection of good restaurants, and bars (getting drunk might be a good thing if things went south).

She was suppose to meet the blind date in question at a small bar inside a high class restaurant. Why she had chosen such a place she was still trying to remember. Likely a move to scare the person away, a means of exacerbating the already evident sense of self consideration that was low. God, I’m more angsty than many of those stupid tween shows I grew up watching. Nyla found a parking spot minus a little difficulty, her attempts to disabuse herself of leaving the area posthaste. She removed her helmet to then use a brush from her saddle bag to brush her hair out.

Her eyes widened just a tad as she scanned the bank of cars parked in the lot. Many were those of the local trendsetters. The restaurant in question, Gordie’s, a place opened from a group out of Bellevue, Washington. Entering she then asked to be directed to the bar, and decided to get a bit buzzed. She was early, she thought. Easy just a bit, and get ready for what could turn easily to be disaster.

Perhaps it was then an obvious surprised when she checked her phone, and realize she was far from early. On the contrary she was twenty minutes late. Great. Dee is going to give me hell over this. Her eyes lingered on the edge of the bar while her mind decided to sift through those present. There were only a few people at the bar, and they were all definitely not her type. Her eyes thus lingered for a moment even further. How could she be spending her time on the notion of dating when the night before she was speaking to a dead man.

Nyla ordered a mojito, and once it was in her hands she let the rum hit her gullet. At the bar was a tall black man who she guessed could be the date, but at the moment was far too interested in speaking to the cute girl working the bar. Nyla resigned herself to then turned and face outward toward the rest of the restaurants booths, and tables. Yup. Time for a moment of drunken self pity. Pity was good, at least she could get a break, and as she did that she reached a decision to leave. Time to go find something else to focus on. Music in the background of Gordie’s was switching from contemporary to a selection of jazz.

“Hey Folks here’s the story of Minnie the moocher.”

“What a weird song,” a voice said to behind her. Nyla took a second to affirm someone was talking near her, or toward her. Maybe fortune was showing her favor? Fortuna is a brat all she does is whine about how mummy can’t see her. Having dealt with a few ‘gods’ in her time she found it hard to have much belief in anything other than fate.

“She was a low down hoochie-coocher.”

Green eyes turned to meet a those of someone nearly her height, if not an inch taller. Nyla was nearly six feet tall so she cut a tangibly intimidating figure when she tried. What met her gaze were was a solemn face slightly androgynous, but quite feminine. Her reaction was to widen her own eyes and to have her mouth drop just a bit. Whoa. Outlined eyes with a bit of eyeliner, and then a pair of dark colored lips. Were they purple?

“So, Deidre was right you do have a problem with social encounters,” the individual said as they leaned forward and to give a smile.

“I am not,” she coughed in response to the woman, or who she thought was a woman. The person she was talking to seemed to have curves, a few at least.

“Yes you are luv,” the woman responded, she then brushed aside a lock of hair which was in her face. Finally Nyla got at a look at her talking companion. She was tall, and had slightly broad shoulders. A long braid rested along the woman’s back, and her hair was died stragically so that it spiraled with strains of red in light blond hair. Bleached blonde though. The researcher coughed again as she felt herself being herded by this person.

“And you are then?” Nyla finally choked out as the woman turned and ordered a shot of Icelandic vodka.

“Hoku Nakamura,” the woman replied.

“Japanese?” Nyla replied, “You don’t-”

“My mother is Hawaiian, my father is from Hokkaido. My fully name is Hokulani, Quinn,” the woman said. Again asserting herself toward Nyla.

“I really do not like being called that,” she retorted as she took a step off the stool, and stopped as a chuckle came from behind.

“Your sister also told me you like to run away,” Hoku added. Nyla was getting angry, her breath seethed. The edge was there again, and she could tell. Soulburn had eaten away her ability to resolve the stronger emotions left by her Fae side.

“This was a bad idea,” the researcher said as she started walking toward the door. Hokulani stood up and waved to Matre’D, “Please get my table ready.”

“I said, I was leaving,” Nyla stated again.

“You owe me more than a few bandied words,” the Polynesian woman said. Nyla relented for a moment as she followed as a hostess appeared to lead them to their table. In front of her stood Hoku who was wearing a knee length skirt and heels. Wow, she’s kind of hot. The words remained with Nyla as she sat down, and then stood across from the other woman. She got another look, a better one. Hokulani had epicanthic eyes showing her asian ancestry, and straight hair that had dark roots. A round heart shaped face was met by a small nose, and a slightly strong jawline.

Hokulani held up the menu, while Nyla simply observed her. The slightly taller woman was focused in that instant on making sure she did not let her silver tongue lash out again. From what Deidre had informed her of Quinn Tamsin, or Nyla, she had surmised that the researcher was arrogant, pompous, and edgy. A great combination of visceral traits to have in someone that Hoku personally did -not- want to date. On the other hand, Deidre did say that her dear sister was really just a nervous woman who spent too much time working.

“Cis or not?” Nyla broke the tension when suddenly she asked a fairly personal question. Hoku’s frame tensed as she gripped the edge of the menu.

“I do my best to pass,” was the stiff affirmation. God, she can tell? The polynesian woman’s mind wailed quietly in the confines of her thoughts.

“You do really well,” a hand reached up and was holding her own suddenly. Nyla was actually looking somewhat honest in what she had said. Hoku relaxed as she exhaled.

“Your sister said you consider yourself genderqueer?” Hoku hinted. Her date’s immediate retort was to stll her voice, and to focus upon how to answer the woman. They would end their conversation thus for a time, and do nothing else until they both ordered. The connection there was a strange relationship forged in a form of commonality by being outside the assumed norminative of society.

“So we answered your questioned,” Hoku broke the silence.

“Yeah we did,” Nyla observed.

Both then shut up for a minute as the server arrive and took orders. The poor young man seemed a bit out of place as the two punkettes continued their staring contest. The food would of course take its time to be cooked, leaving them more time to simply wait. This is going swimmingly. Nyla looked up just as the young man from earlier returned to deliver the food. Had a half hour really passed that quickly?

“So we shall speak again?” Hoku began.

“What do you wish to speak about?” Nyla asked as she raised her head as her hand fished around with the food. A finely made bowl of rice mixed with thai spices.

“How about you tell me why half your head is shaved?”

“Ritual,” she answered slowly, “I gave up half my hair in an act of contract.”

“A contract for what?” Hokulani asked as she ate a bit of her food, a fine scampi.

“Private,” Nyla responded quietly, as she gazed down at her food. Dealing with Fae was one thing, dealing with people on a personal level was not always a joyride for her.

“Fascinating,” Hokulani mused as she reached forward and took a drink she had ordered earlier. The little stand off was going no where at all. They were wasting an hour on enjoying a deadlock.

“Yes,” the woman said as they remained quiet for the rest of the dinner. From what either was gaining from the small observances, deductions, and simply staring there was not much between them. So the entire thing was going bust faster than an attempt by a old bald man selling girl scout cookies.

“What else has my darling sibling Dee told you, and how do you know her?” Nyla asked finally pushing for the conversation to move forward. The woman, her blind date, raised her hand and asked for the check. The other woman then stood and offered her hand to Nyla, an action which slightly shocked her.

“Lets go for a walk,” came the suggestion from the braid wearing woman who Nyla apprehensively hesitated on deciding to follow. After a dreadful pause finally she relented. Hoku accepted the reporter’s hand when Nyla shoved her grasp outward in a rigid gesture. The slightly taller woman smirked, and giggled at her androgynous dates rolling eyes.

“Fine,” Nyla replied again stiffly.

This is going well, maybe she’ll leave me alone after this. There were a multitude of reasons why Nyla did not want to get into a relationship in this time of her life. Part of it being her half-magical nature, a curse that to her could cause a lot of problems. There were days when she could not walk over cracks, or when salt caused her to become ill. One reason she had ceased attending church was the very presence of blessed wine had made her vommit on the scene. This woman seemed quite intent on pressing issue.

Easily offensive, as she walked with Hokulani after the woman paid the check. Wait, I was the one being dated? She blinked and stared off into space for a moment. What in the world was going on? Her eyes moved around as she just walked along with Hoku quietly. It was all quiet. Why was she still here.

“You can bolt at any time you want,” Hoku turned to her with a smile.

“Are you trying to come off as a creep?” Nyla hissed to her. The polynesian woman stopped and gave a shrug.

“I work with your sister in the local school district. She told me you were this big recluse who disliked people,” was the reply. Hoku then stopped and pulled them aside out of the rain under the overhanging awning of a building entrance. Her hands then came to rest upon Nyla’s shoulders.

“Shea,” she said using the Elder Tongue affirmative.

“Well, I have to get going, but how about this,” Hoku said as the woman leaned back against the wall to the right of the building’s glass doors and gave a half-smirk to Nyla. A swift motion then caught Nyla off balance as the other woman kissed her on the cheek before pressing a piece of paper against her chest.

“You know you are really hot when you aren’t squinting at people,” the other woman said as she turned around and started walking toward the cineplex. Nyla just stood there in awe, she experienced a fairly painful date, and yet that woman wanted to perhaps continue? Why does Deidre push the crazy ones on me? The reporter unfolded the piece of paper and glanced at it.

‘Here’s my number Nyla.‘ She could only begin to wonder how crazy the girl had to be. With a shake of her head Nyla rubbed her temple as she made her way back to her bike. What a wonderfully droll evening. Slowly she thrust her helmet back on and then stopped as the phone rang.

Standing in the rain as she grabbed a blue tooth ear pieces to talk she strated up the engine. She noticed in the caller ID that it was Jack.

“How goes the date?” she heard his brassy toned voice lilting over to her.

“Dreadful,” she said and then sighed, “Some dyed haired woman named Hokulani Nakamura.”

There was a pause, which was a tad unlike Jack. Usually when her dates bombed he was there to thrust in a quick comment about how much better he should have prepared her as her mentor. Then again Jack’s own take on attractiveness tended to include things that were not defined as human.

“Oh, her interesting,” the man answered quickly. What the?

“I have information from my informants in the Dusk Court, says that Bone Ash circles are used primarily by blood magic rituals,” the man said simply.

“Sounds fun,” she said as she rounded a bend while focusing on the road.

“Aye, I’ll tell ye more in a few days, need to deal with a convening of the local Dukes. Apparently someone tried to kill the Baron of Woe last night,” the words barely registered with her.

More damn conspiracy. I wish I just lived somewhere less interesting. Were her thoughts as she headed home that night.

Next Part: Chapter 8

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