The Jackal took one last swig of beer from the brown bottle before chunking it into the dumpster. Glass shattered inside, sounding oddly like the twinkling of music, something he could almost call beautiful. It was better than the crescendo of gun shots or whores screaming while their pimp's chased them down the sidewalk, promising a world of hurt. Yeah, it was downright Mozart compared to that shit.
A motorcycle that sounded too high end to belong to any of the gutter trash that called this place home had the Watcher pulling his black mask back down over his face. He slunk further into the shadows that blanketed the alley. If this was a setup he wanted to have his claws at the ready.
The yellow eyes that made their traumatic debut when he'd been a reclusive teenager watched the bike slow a few yards away. Jackal's mind was still trying to make sense of the curvaceous body in the driver's seat when the woman took off her helmet, allowing dark hair to fall about her shoulders. This was certainly not the man he'd agreed to meet. This was no Warcat.
He let a few precious minutes float by, waiting to see if anyone else attempted to secretly join them for the sole purpose of rushing him once he'd revealed his hiding spot. When Jackal eventually believed they were in fact alone he stepped out of the shadows. She stood with her back to him, oblivious to his dark suit hugged her like a second skin. He should have been somewhat excited to see such a beautiful flower blooming amidst the concrete walls and overflowing trashcans that littered the sidewalk. But all he managed to feel was unease.
"If you're not Warcat, I suggest you get out of my borough. I don't recall asking for help."
And then she spoke.
"I like the sound of your voice. Brooding with just the right hint of danger."
Jackal was hard even before the woman began to turn around to face him. When she spoke it was like silk sliding across his skin, teasing the area between his thighs. She smiled up at him. The mask only hid the upper part of her face, allowing him to see the pink hues of her bee stung lips.
"Its just how I pictured it sounding after seeing you on TV. You don't do interviews so you leave all us pining women wondering." She put a hand at her hip and met his gaze without hesitation.
He stared at her for a moment. The woman's body had a shape he wouldn't mind running his fingers across. It wasn't as if he hadn't ever seen a female Watcher before, but most of the licensed ones had runner's bodies. Bodies that looked as if they'd snap like twigs. Either that or they were so goddamned jacked that they passed for men. She on the other hand, was different.
"Lady, I don't have time to screw around. If you say you're Warcat then you're a liar."
She laughed and it gave him chills along his arms. "I like you." They were only three words but he enjoyed the sound of them far more than he should have.
The woman reached over to her bike and plucked a folder out of a compartment. "You're right. I'm not the Watcat you expected, but I'm what you've got now."
He blinked at her, slowly taking in her words syllable by syllable. The Warcat he, and the rest of the world, had known was dead. Slowly word had reached each Watcher in Killiman Pike that someone had picked up the mantle once again and was ready to do right by it. But the name alone wasn't just something anyone could use anytime they damn well pleased.
"You expect me to believe The Forever Man let you take that name?." The name of one of the city's most illusive Watchers felt strange to say. It had been years since The Forever Man had been seen, let alone heard from, causing all sorts of rumors to spread. He was either dead, retired and basking in the sun near the tropics, or still around lurking...waiting. Jackal had always believed the later.
Warcat tilted her head to the side and tossed the folder in his direction. He managed to catch it before the papers flew out and landed into the piss smelling puddles at their feet. "Its all in there. Everything I promised. The names and alias of everyone involved in The Regulators Gang. The police aren't able to interrogate suspects like they used too in my borough. Lucky for them, I pick up their slack."
Jackal pretended to flip through the pages but honestly he didn't quite care. Tomorrow all that information would be useful but right now he couldn't concentrate when something so fucking interesting was happening right in front of him.
The monotony of day to day life had been eating away at him for sometime. At night he fought like hell for his hometown, the place where he'd grown up and become a man, only to watch it spiral into chaos. By day he blended in with the other working stiffs. A cycle he feared would eventually wear him down. Now she was hear trying to change all that.
Warcat was back?
The Forever Man had come out of hiding?
Those two facts alone had the possibility to make certain people on the Watcher's Council very, very angry. The mere thought of it had him smiling beneath his mask.
"Have any questions?" She asked.
Jackal looked at the smooth skin of her cheek and wondered if it was as soft as it appeared to be.
What does your skin taste like? The animalistic part of his brain wondered. Luckily, the saner of the two personalities spoke up.
"You took the scenic route." He said, watching a few tendrils of hair fall over her shoulders and slide along the slick material of her suit, teasing the slope of her breasts. "From the way you smell I know that you passed Mario's Pizza and Subs all the way over on 45th street. They use a lot of chopped pepper in their sauce. If you really are Warcat you'd come from Oakdale, and you wouldn't take 45th street. You'd drive from the east. " You also use cheap shampoo for your hair, meaning either you're lower middle class or you used it just to trick me.
Unease began to settle around him again. Unlike all the times before when he worried about being double crossed, tonight he welcomed it. Monday nights were slow when it came to crime. Even the drug pushers and other criminals weren't immune to spending their nights in front of the television, waiting for Friday to roll around. He'd take a good backstabbing for pure entertainments sake at this point.
"I don't think that constitutes as a question."
He cut his eyes at her and tried to keep them from wandering down her body, but Jackal quickly found that he even loved the way her lips moved. So full and quick to smile while she spoke. "You know what I'm asking…"
"You think I'm a liar?" She turned away from him and moved toward her bike again. The movement was too quick for his liking. He went to close the distance between them in a few long strides. Her sweet scent filled his lungs. By the time he got to her she was already turning back to him. He'd expected a gun, a knife, or any weapon small enough to hide. Instead she held a take-out box.
Jackal's gloved hand clutched her thin wrist before he realized what she held. In the heat of the moment he'd not taken her gender into account or how she made all the blood in his body flow to his groin. He gripped her as he would any man who dared play him for a fool.
Warcat looked at his metallic claws that now dug into both her suit and flesh. They should have cut into her, spilled her blood. But all the gorgeous creature did was smile. "Paranoia doesn't suit you."
"Let me get this straight. You were on your way to send me precious information…and you stopped to get pizza first?"
She shook her head. "No, it's actually a sub. Saved the other half for you. Figured you'd get hungry if you spend your nights lurking in the shadows like they say you do."
He smiled again. Luckily she couldn't see it beneath his mask. "If there's some leftover fries in that bag then you've got yourself a deal."
"Sorry. Mario's fries are the best part. Be thankful I saved you anything at all."
There was no fear in her eyes, or pain. She stared up at him with the sort of resolve he wasn't used to seeing in women. Slowly he loosened his grip, pulling each claw away from her skin one by one. Amazingly her olive flesh was unmarred.
"What a let down."
Warcat shoved the take out bag into his broad chest. He felt the faintest brush of her fingertips. The urge to grab her again and this time pull her against his body so he could feel her outline was there, nagging at his brain. What did her skin taste like? Did she taste as sweet as she smelled?
"Well, take it. Next time it'll be you buying." Warcat backed away, allowing him to see that smile one last time before she spread those strong thighs around her bike and left him standing alone on an empty street, wondering when he'd be graced with her presence again.
Women came and went out of his life like fall leaves, hanging around for a time until they eventually fell to the way side, only to be replaced by another, nearly identical to the first. It was a pattern Jackal had gotten used to, a safe way to live. But tonight he felt something change in him.
The true Warcat or not he would see this woman again, even if the air of danger and lies about her brought him nothing but trouble. But hell, this was Killiman Pike, home of both the Watchers Council and rampant crime. Trouble was something he could handle.
At least that's what he told himself.