Yesterday there was an Act I banter making the rounds about Isabela catching Carver at The Blooming Rose. To be honest, I’d completely forgotten about it until I saw the banter, and realized I’d been missing out out on quite the opportunity. I mean, who doesn’t love a good whorehouse scene? It’s almost a shame “Shadows” started after Act I wraps up, because wouldn’t it have been fun to see Carver and Faith in action? After all, you know 19-year-old Carver is the kind of idiot boy who’d go about earnestly romancing prostitutes he’s paying to sleep with.
Maker, I love that doof.
Previous: The Final Sacrifice
Like its namesake, the Blooming Rose smells lurid, intoxicating—it’s a scent undefinable, and one that begs to be followed. But what Carver hadn’t noticed the last time he was here was how stifling the air was too. The incense must be strong, of course, to cover up the spilled liquor and sweat and other, less savory aromas. But it is a smell that Carver now finds just the wrong side of pleasant.
The lobby is both bigger and smaller than he remembers. Draped across tables and chairs are brightly-colored whores in conversation with potential johns and, lacking that, each other; nobody pays one more out-of-dress Templar any mind. Quintus, the bartender, chats mildly with Madame Lusine, whose eyes flick briefly to him, while Viveka flits about the tables, her tray laden with beer.
Across the room, a tiny, beautiful creature breaks away from conversation with a few elves and bounds over to him. She has dark hair and pale skin, and large, liquid eyes the color of a forest floor.
“Carver!” She grins at him appreciatively. “Well, slap my ass and call me a horse. How are you, honey?”
“Faith,” he says, managing a smile. The years have been kind to her, although she doesn’t look quite as young and innocent as she once did. He supposes the same could be said about him. “You remember me.”
“Like I could forget a chin like that,” she says, beaming at him. Almost surreptitiously, she slides a hand along his naked bicep. “Where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in here for forever.”
He shrugs as casually as he can, trying not to shiver at her caress. It’s the most a woman has touched him in months—he hasn’t been with Moira since the Starkhaven apostates were tranked. “The Order keeps me busy,” he mutters.
“Sure it does. Your fellows are in here all the time.” Smirking, she shifts her weight such that Carver can see down her flimsy bodice, down, down into the tempting shadows below. “So,” she purrs. “What’ll it be, the usual?”
Swallowing thickly, Carver wipes his hands on his breeches. “Yes.”
Faith leans back and sticks her palm out. “You know the drill. Two silver, up front.”
Carver digs into his pouch with a shaking hand. “If I pay you extra, do I get more?”
“Ooh, you’ve never asked me that before,” she giggles. “Depends on how much you got, honey.”
He places six coins in her hand. Faith grins, white teeth gleaming.
“Madame,” she calls out. Behind her, Lusine is already at her book, pen in hand. “Cancel the rest of my appointments for the next—“ Faith stops, looks Carver up and down, then licks her lips. ”—for the rest of the night.”
Lusine rolls her eyes and begins to scratch off names.
Paying Lusine no mind, Faith hooks both slender, deceptively strong hands around his arm, and begins to lead him through the lobby. One of her rings digs into his skin like a promise. “You hungry, honey?”
Carver shakes his head, unable to speak. He should be embarrassed at how hard he is right now, from just the feel of her hands on his arm, but all he can think about is how near she is, and how very long it has been.
As if reading his mind, Faith glances down. When she looks back up, her expression is ravenous.
“I swear,” she murmurs, pressing her breasts against his bicep until he groans. “You got bigger since the last time you were in. The Order must agree with you.”
“Hmm,” he manages, allowing himself to be led up the stairs.
Faith slides her hands down his forearm, until their fingers interlink. She smells like the rest of the Blooming Rose, except sweeter. “What’s up with you, honey? You seem quieter than you used to be.”
“Just want to get to it, is all,” he mumbles.
“I suppose, though there’s something to be said for enthusiasm,” she says. When she reaches the top of the stairs, the back of her dress pulls and Carver can see the top of a faded tattoo scrolling across her shoulder bones. Carver remembers licking that tattoo once, and the way she squealed when he did, and his cock aches. Faith turns toward him. “You still mooning after that doe-eyed elven girl?”
Carver recoils. “Maker. Why would you ask me that right now?”
“Honey, it’s called customization,” she says warmly, invitingly. She folds her arms under her breasts, pushing them up a little, until Carver can see the tips of her piercings poking against the fabric. “If you’re honest with me, you’ll enjoy the experience much more.”
Carver grunts in assent.
“Good boy,” she says. She turns toward him and drapes her arms around his neck, barely-clothed nipple and metal brushing against his chest. “You’ll get your money’s worth tonight, I promise.”
“Let’s just focus on the task at hand,” he croaks.
“Only hands?” She drags one hand along his chin. He’s not even aware she’s leading him to a chamber until she turns to open the door. “I thought I’d treat you to something better, you being my favorite customer and all.”
He chuckles, mouth dry. “I bet you say that to everyone.”
“Doesn’t mean it ain’t true, honey,” she says. She tugs him into the room and closes the door behind them.