A cacophony of sound assaulted her as she stepped into the club; the low murmur of Amarrians scattered about the tables and booths, the soft ambient cathedral music playing in the background, the occasional clinking of glass against the bar.
She darted her gaze back and forth as if searching for someone, looking through the fog of smoke that hung just above the tables.
The silhouette of a lone figure sitting near the back caught her attention. She watched him for a moment as he lowered a cigarette and flicked the ashes into an ashtray.
Before she could move towards him, hands slid around her waist from behind. She felt someones mouth against her neck, tongue trailing a wet path to her ear. He whispered, "Don't turn around."
He pulled her into a dark alcove, staying behind her. His fingers slid through her amber hair, curling in the silky strands and tugging slightly to bare her neck again. His lips grazed across warm skin. His other hand defly unclasped her cloak, pulling away the heavy fabric, leaving her in a thin white dress.
Some part of her wanted to pull away. She whispered, "Let me go."
Her protests were answered with his hand against her thigh, pulling the silky fabric of her dress up against her hip.
In a fluid movement, his fingers slid beneath the band of her delicate undergarment and yanked, ripping it as he spun her around, pulling her down into his lap.
Facing him, she opened her mouth to protest, knowing she shouldn't be there with him. He didn't give her a chance.
His tongue was in her mouth as his hands grabbed her by the hips.
A whimper caught in the back of her throat as she felt him pressed intimately between her thighs. Vaguely she was aware that others in the bar could see them if they happened to look in their direction but she didn't care.
Drowning in anticipation, every nerve tingling with desire, she closed her eyes. His hands were everywhere, tugging at her hair, grasping at her dress tugging it down her shoulder, skimming across her back. His mouth covered hers, moved to her chin and kissed along her jawline.
She sucked in her breath sharply as he thrust into her. A myriad of emotions fought for dominance; lust, desire, shame, and guilt. But there was no turning back. She gave into the moment, desire winning out. She held onto his shoulders, her fingers curling into the fabric of his cloak as her knees dug into the bench on either side of him. She whispered his name against his lips before sliding her tongue into his mouth, kissing him urgently.
He yanked her hair back and bared her throat, licking his way down from her chin to her collarbone. She moaned softly, forgetting where they were. He covered her mouth with his hand, her tongue licked against his fingers.
The pace quickened, fast and furiously, until that moment where both had lost themselves...
And the dream shifted suddenly.
Moonlight lit the Basilica where Shalee was kneeling in front of the statue of Jamyl. The empty corridors echoed with the heavy footsteps of Zenton. She turned and looked over her shoulder, her smile fading at the dire expression he wore.
"Have you said your prayers tonight, Shalee?"
"If you can think of any sin you haven't confessed..then pray for forgiveness right away." He stepped behind her and hesitated, his fingers gently stroked through her hair.
"Zenton? What do you mean by that?"
"Hurry up and confess." He pulled away from her suddenly and stalked over to the waterfountain. "Be quick about it, I'll wait over here. I don't want to kill you before you you've readied your soul." He shook his head "No, I wont send your soul to hell when I kill you."
"Killing...?" Her breath caught as she looked at him with a mixture of confusion and fear "You're going to kill me?"
"Yes, I am."
"Then heaven have mercy on me...." Standing, she turned to face him. "You're scaring me with that look in your eyes. I don't know why I should be afraid since I haven't done anything wrong....but you're frightning me."
"Think of your sins."
"My only sin was loving you too much." She moved towards him, reaching for his hands, trying to make sense of what he was saying. Desperately she curled her fingers around his, her chin tilted up, staring in his eyes, silently pleading with him to explain.
"And that is why you have to die." He jerked his hand from hers and wrapped his fingers around her throat.
Panic flashed in her eyes. "You're wrong to kill me for loving you! Why? You're trembling with emotion...Zenton? Don't do this." She struggled, reaching up to pull at his wrists.
"Hush...stay still," he whispered, his gaze betraying his madness. He loosened his hold as he stared at her.
She went still. "Alright...but what's this all about? I don't understand..."
"You slept with Garst."
"No! I swear by my life and soul! Bring him here and ask him!"
"My sweet darling, don't lie. You're on your deathbed."
"Am I? But I'm not dead yet." She dug her fingernails into his wrist as she tried to fight him off, realizing that this wasn't a joke, that he truely believed she'd betrayed him and was going to murder her for it.
"Yes, you are. Confess your sins Shalee, tell me the truth. But even if you swear you're innocent, you wont change my mind, you wont remove these thoughts that are tormenting me. You're going to die." He pulled them down to the low wall that wrapped around the fountain, tightening his grasp.
"I've never done anything wrong to you in all my life. I've never been with Garst, I love him as a friend, as I do any other Praetorian...but not the way I love you."
He jerked her closer to him. "You're a liar." He whispered against her ear "You're turning my heart to stone, and calling what I'll do murder, when I am sacrificing you."
She could see the conflict flash across his face as he loosened his grasp ever so slightly. "It never happened! Tell him to come here, he'll tell you the truth!"
"He's already done so,' he said mockingly.
"What?" She shook her head with disbelief, knowing that Garst would not lie about such a thing.
"He said that he had sex with you."
"What? He said he had sex with me? No."
"No! He wouldn't say that."
"Mmm, no. He wont say anything anymore." He laughed a low, menancing sound. "Koronakesh has arranged that."
"What? He is dead?" Koronakesh? Oh Gods, no. Why would he lie? To what avail? Tears dripped down her cheeks. Garst, murdered. It made no sense. Why? Why would Kor manipulate Zenton? What had Garst ever done to deserve such a fate? What had she done?
"And every clone in every station, I will kill them all in revenge."
"Oh gods, he's been betrayed and I am ruined," she sobbed, her face streaked with tears.
"What, you whore! Are you crying for him right in front of me?" Zenton's face flushed with rage. He dug his fingers into the hollow of her throat.
"Let me go!"
"Down, whore." He shoved her into the fountain, holding her head beneath the water. Frantically she fought, her hands struggling to push him away.
She gasped for breath as he pulled her up. Water streaked down her face. "Stop! Please oh god stop, Zenton," she cried desperately, pleading with him.
"No, if you struggle with me.."
"It's too late." He pushed her beneath the water again and held her down, long after she had stopped struggling. Calmly he stood and straightened his robe as he looked down at her lithe form, hanging limply over the side of the fountain, her red hair floating atop the water, fanning about her pale face, blank eyes staring at nothing.
Shalee jolted up in bed, flailing her hands at her throat as if to push away her attacker. Gasping for breath, she realized that she'd been dreaming.
Oh gods. It was a nightmare, nothing more than her overactive imagination. It hadn't happened, it wasn't real. She was safe and alive. Garst was alive. Nothing had happened. Oh gods.
She cringed at the memory of Zenton's murderous gaze. "It wasn't real," she whispered to herself.
She looked around the captain's cabin of her retribution where she had fallen asleep during down time, thankful that she was alone.
She slid out of the bed and moved over to her desk, turning on a fan, feeling clammy and drenched in sweat. She pulled her hair above her head and let the breeze blow against the back of her neck.
"Activate Log." She could still feel her heart racing as the nightmare lingered in the back of her mind.
"I can't keep pretending like nothing is wrong. I can't ignore the fact that Garst told me he loved me and I can't keep pretending that there isn't an attachment growing between the two of us. At what point does it cross the line? At what point does it go beyond simple friendship on my part. Am I encouraging him?"
She shook her head "No. I don't think I am...I hope I am not. I love Zenton. I love him. And yet, for the last two weeks he has put me through so much hell. I just...," she sighed heavily. "Maybe I have turned to Garst. Maybe I have sought comfort from him because I knew he'd give it."
Because he loves me.
"Zenton can't even begin to understand what he has done. He thinks it's so simple, so explainable. He thinks his actions have had no consequences in regards to us. He thinks he can leave the Praetoria and do the things he has done and not suffer for it? Murder is murder, it's wrong, and I don't know if he has even asked for forgiveness for it."
She laughed with disbelief. "I can't even believe I am saying this. Who am I to preach to anyone."
"He left me in the Basilica that day. He ripped my heart out and theres some small part of me that can't just let that go. He hurt me and I wanted to hurt him back."
So there it was. The horrible, vile truth. She knew that it would hurt Zenton to know that Garst had feelings for her.
Her dark brows drew together as she sighed, wondering what she should do next. Talk to Garst? Explain to him that she couldn't be around him anymore off duty, that it wasn't fair to Zenton? Or maybe she should talk to Michael about it. She nodded to herself. Michael would know what to do.
The one thing she did know was that she couldn't tell Zenton about it. The nightmare flashed through her mind. Zenton would kill them both, no questions asked.
Could he really kill her? No. No Zenton couldn't do such a thing...could he?
She thought of her Father, a man who had loved her too. Love could be expressed in so many ways. Sick, vile, twisted ways. And Zenton was not the man she thought him to be. He had a darker side to him, one that could kill in cold blood. He could turn off his emotions, his reasonings, and kill without remorse, even take pleasure in it.
Fear trickled down her spine.
Was she afraid of him? No..not now. But if he should find out about Garst, then she had no doubts that he'd sooner kill the man and fall into darkness, piracy, and murder with no hope of redemption.
And it'd be all her fault...