We Were One Once Book 1

By: Willow Madison

I turn to the car window and see my tired reflection in the dark storm. I look older than my 26 years. It’s the suit. It’s that and the small lines around my dark eyes, the determined set to my mouth and strong jawline, the dark hair kept so short it fades into the darkness of my reflection. I know I have the look of a man of power beyond his years. I’ve had women tell me it’s sexy, that I’m handsome with how powerful I look. I have the Vanderson build. I’m masculine and athletic, not hulking, not bulky, but lithe and muscular. Looking down at my hands holding firm to my knees, I see the strength. I’ll need all of it to get through the next few weeks. It’ll help me to hold on to that hope.

“Traffic should get moving here soon, Mr. Vanderson.” I only nod at my driver’s interruption to my thoughts.

San Francisco: Simon Lamb

The buzz from the lit sign right outside her window stops. I look at my watch in the weak light; it’s 5:37 a.m.

Hmm. Grace didn’t come back. I lift myself from her bed to sit with my shoes on the stained tile floor. Hmm. She starts work at 9:00 a.m. I decide to wait here for a few more hours.

It’s dangerous to do this in the morning, but I’ve done it before. I prefer the cover of night, but for Grace, I’ll make an exception.

And I’ll make her pay for it. I smile, getting up to help myself to a bowl of cereal.

Parking on a hill, I grab my cap again from the passenger seat. I hate this part of the city almost as much as I hate Chinatown. My body revolts against the press of people. Their smells all mingle.

My anger from this morning is increasing again with each step down the street. Grace never showed.

At least in this area, I don’t stand out. I do, but it’s because these fuckers think I’m one of them. Or they hope I am. Two twinks smile at me as I pass under the large rainbow flag. Their scrawny shoulders and high voices resemble teenage boys, but they’re in their twenties. I growl at them and probably just made their cocks stiff.

I slow down as I near the storefront around the corner. It’s a small shop, full of shit twinks would love—tiny t-shirts, porn, collars and leashes, a few hardcore bondage pieces. There’s always a gagging display of incense too.

I was surprised to see that this is where she works, surprised for a lot of reasons. She’s shy for one. I’ve not heard Grace speak to a stranger unless it’s in this shop, and then it’s only to ask and answer as part of her job. She barely makes eye contact. Maybe she’s a wanna-be mufflicker? No, I don’t think so. She doesn’t act any differently around other chicks. Everybody’s off limits with Grace.

I liked that from the beginning. I don’t think she’s a virgin. That’d be too much to hope. I’m not dumb enough to believe that shit in this day. She’s young, maybe 20, but I don’t buy that she’s that innocent. She’s never been anything but shy and quiet in the four weeks I’ve watched her though. No men. No women. No one.

So, the fact that she works around the sex shit was surprising enough, but then there’s the astrology crap too. She helps out with the front sometimes, but mostly she runs a table in the back doing astrological charting. She’ll tell your past, present, or future using a computer. She’s popular and apparently accurate according to the idiots that eat that shit up.

As I open the door, I can hear a guy complaining that he can’t get his reading for this weekend. I have to take a deep breath against the assault of incense burning.

“Well, where is she? Will she be in by lunch?” The guy looks conventional enough; he’s clean cut, wearing a suit and tie. I’ve seen him in here on weekends with bareass leather chaps and a collar. Grace puts paper towels down for him, but she never makes a face or even acts like it’s different. She treats everyone the same—cold and distant.

No one gets past the blank looks and unemotional eyes of my girl.

I liked that from the beginning too. It’s what drew me to her. I want to see those dark eyes open wide with emotion, specifically from pain and fear.

“Sorry, Ed. She’s never late. I don’t even have a phone number for Grace to contact her. Do you want me to call you as soon as she comes in? I’m sure she can have a reading ready for you pretty quickly…” The owner’s a white-haired hippy type. He would’ve been a twink back in his day, but now he settles for being one of the proud survivors of the ‘80’s. He and his partner act fatherly with Grace, but she never acts like she notices. They get the same cold treatment as everybody else.

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