Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The Lies We Tell Each Other
Solar System: Huola
Region: The Bleak Lands
Location: Cerra Manor
Evening sunlight flooded into her suite at Cerra Manor as she lounged on an over-sized, canopy bed, talking with her husband. She arrived the previous night, though he hadn't made it to Houla yet from his null-sec deployment. While waiting, she spent the evening on the terrace chatting with Lord Reginald Sakakibara and Lord Kailethre Ismaile. There was something soothing about being among polite society, where men treated her with the respect due to her Holder status.
Reginald had requested to stay at the Manor for a few days due to some stress at his Holding in Sasikeo and some problems with his wife, Lady Katerina Tzestu Sakakibara. Though she was sorry to hear of his troubles, she was more than happy to host him for a few days. She adored him and had often missed his company.
And then there was Lord Kaile. He seemed out of sorts and so she invited him to stay as well, and planned a weekend out of it.
Her Holding resided on Huola, planet seven, Cerra District-named for her ancestors. The manor house sat on a cliff near the ocean with several guest cottages on the property. The manor was open to the public, with a well stocked bar outside on the terrace. The place had become a favorite among many Imperial capsuleers, and various others who sought their company.
Shalee rolled her head to the side and feasted her gaze upon pewter sea beyond the opened balcony doors. White scalloped waves rolled towards the shore. Tiger stretched out beside her and placed a kiss against her neck. A smile curled her lips before she realized the familiar, warm feelings for him were probably nothing more than a lie. Their history was long, dark, and troubled. Though they had only been married a few months, they had been together for years. He loved her obsessively but there was some part of him that she would never be able to trust. Especially now, while she suspected he was part of the Aposi, a secret Sani Sabik sect responsible for the murder of her daughter.
It was a delicate line she was walking; pretending to be the dutiful, adoring wife, while she waited for him to slip up and show his hand. She wanted to believe he was innocent but it was too hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. He had lied to her so frequently in the past that she couldn't believe in him now, despite desperately wanting to.
Her thoughts drifted to Garst as she watched the rolling waves. The recording frightened her, more so than she would admit. When she applied to No Mercy, she had counted on him having forgotten her, but she had no idea that he would hold onto his utter hatred of her, even after all of these years. He loved me once, she thought sullenly. How can he think I'm spying on him?
"So, tell me, how are things progressing in Tri?" Tiger asked, interrupting her reverie.
"About the same," a pensive smile curled her lips. "I am taking it day by day."
"I'm sorry to hear that," he said. "I was hoping you'd have found something by now."
"I have some leads but nothing substantial at this point."
"Raphael still hardly speaking to you?" he asked.
"When he is around, yes. But I rarely see him. However, I have caught the attention of my old handler. He seems worried...he practically called me a traitor."
His brow creased into a frown. "Traitor? To whom?"
"The Empire, of course."
"How do you feel about that sentiment?" Tiger asked as he grazed his hand along her side.
"It feels horrible. But, I can understand why he would think that. I had to tell him the truth...I trust him," she said.
Tiger frowned, "Still, he has no right to talk to you that way. No one has done more for the Empire than you."
"It doesn't matter. I left the Empire. In their eyes it is pretty much means betrayal."
He sighed and changed the subject. "We should get some alcohol in for tomorrows boat trip."
"Sounds good. What do you suggest?" she asked, her thoughts drifting to the weekend with Lord Reginald and Lord Kaile.
"Some wine, perhaps? Maybe some Champagne?"
"Champagne, mmm, that sounds perfect."
"I'll sort it out tomorrow afternoon, before we set off."
"Strawberries too. It will go nice with the champagne."
"Strawberries? An excellent choice," he smiled. "Anything else you'd like?"
"Can't think of anything, no."
"You know, I can't even remember the last time I saw you wear a bikini..."
"Because you prefer me nude, usually," she smirked.
"You can't blame me for that... and tomorrow I'll be wanting the same again. Yet, if Kaile shows up, a bikini will have to suffice."
She laughed, "Yes, of course. I have no plans on seducing Lord Kaile, if that is what you are wondering."
"I'm pleased to hear it."
She stuck her tongue out at him.
Tiger smiled and raised her hand to his lips. "I'm only teasing."
She brushed her fingers along his cheek. "I know, love."
Tiger held her hand softly against his cheek. "I've missed you," he whispered. "All I've had is a painting of you to keep me company for the last week or so."
She kissed him lightly upon his lips, "Well you have me now. All to yourself."
"Perhaps you should talk to Katerina... if I'm to speak with Reginald tomorrow?" he said.
The thought of contacting Katerina frightened her. Kat had been her friend for years, the two had flown together in her old corp- but Kat moved on to the Legion. If Garst should find out she had such a friend in PL, he would assume she was feeding them intel. Or worse- that she was secretly a part of the Legion as well. "I will do that," she lied. "I need to catch up with her anyhow. I hope they can work it out." I hope she stays far away, the thought lingered in the back of her mind.
He smiled. "I never thought those two would hit the rocks so soon. I mean, they're good together," Tiger said.
"I know. I think it is just all the stress they are under, you know?"
"Of course. It's only natural, considering the circumstances."
"Mmmhmm." She curled up closer to him and laid her hand against his chest. "I'll send her a mail tomorrow."
Tiger relaxed, stretching his legs out, and carefully maneuvered her so that she was laying on top of him, "Excellent. You'll have to let me know what she says. I'm sure this is just a blip for them."
She wiggled on top of him, getting comfortable. She folded her arms across his chest and leaned her chin against her arms, staring at him. "And you'll have to tell me what he says."
He looked down his body, into her blue eyes as she rested on his chest. "I'm sure he'll tell you himself when he joins us on the boat. But if he doesn't, of course I will. I do hope Kaile won't be too mopey."
"I'm sure Lord Kaile will be mopey, but, only because he is going through a hard time. I'm hoping to introduce him to someone and get his mind off of things."
"Oh? Whom?" he asked.
Shalee's eyes lit with intrigue. "A girl I've met recently. She is pretty, sweet, and available, so..."
"A girl? What girl?" he inquired.
"Her name is Sahriah. She used to be in Militia years and years ago. She dropped by the manor the other day in search of Garst...which is odd, but perhaps she remembered that he and I flew together back then, and I'm in his corporation now. So. She must assume we are closer than what we are."
He sat up, supporting himself on his elbows. "Sahriah?"
She rolled off of him as he sat up. "Yeah?" She laid on her back, with her arm hooked behind her head, using it as a pillow. "Long before you ever joined Militia."
"Sahriah? Does she have a surname?"
Something in the way he said her name gave her pause. A hint of worry washed across her delicate face. "She does. Blood....stone? Something blood, I think. I don't remember."
"Bloodstone," he said softly, confirming the name for her. "Sahriah Bloodstone."
"Yes..." She stared at him with confusion, "That sounds right."
"That's a name I've not heard in a long time," he said in a quieter voice.
"You know her?" she asked.
He nodded his head. "I do, yes ...more, I did know her."
"How? Please don't say she's an ex lover...." Her stomach lurched. Anger pulsed, and her bright blue eyes fixated on him with a blistering stare. As much as he claimed to love her, their relationship was fraught with his infidelities.
He shook his head. "Fortunately, no. She was a pilot from an opposing corporation that I attacked. Had them thoroughly demoralized within a matter of weeks. They were losing members... I offered a cease fire, in exchange for a ransom."
"Ah. So she was an enemy?"
"Initially. After they paid the ransom, I offered to train them, and a few of their officers joined UPAY to learn from me. She was their FC."
"She was in your corp? Oh....I hadn't checked her corp history. How curious."
He nodded. "That was roughly eight years ago, when I served Revan. After several months, I even took Sahriah as my own Prathet. But she ran away, and I never heard her name again until just now."
She frowned deeply. "Sahriah was Sani Sabik?!" She sat up on the bed, then slid to the edge. "She was one of yours..." She shook her head in disbelief.
Tiger sat up and moved over towards her, sliding his arm around her, "Darling, you know I came with a past when you first met me."
She nodded her head slowly, "Yes. Of course." She forced her smile. "It was just a coincidence...one I wasn't expecting."
He smiled meekly and kissed her shoulder tenderly. "It was years before you and I met. She wasn't Sani very long... Well, not that I recall. But she may have remained such since leaving me."
"I understand." She stared ahead as she dropped her hands to lap. "You said 'they' joined your corp. Who are the others?"
"There was a man very dear to her, a guy called Gemini...," he said, tapping his lip. "Tordanis. Then there were two others; Shantalis.... and Azani something."
She inwardly cringed as she heard the name Gemini. "Gemini Tordanis?" The name was very familiar. Gemini was in Tri with her. Not just in the same alliance, but the same corp. That couldn't be a coincidence. "I see." She smiled again, then changed the subject. "We should do lunch on the boat, don't you think? Make a whole day of it?"
He began rubbing her shoulder as she changed the subject, massaging her muscles with his thumb. "Of course. Anything you like, darling. You only need name it."
She relaxed slightly beneath his touch. It was easier playing the part of adoring wife and Amarrian hostess than to think about Tiger and Sahriah and their bloodied history. "I want our guest to have a good time."
"So do I..." he said, trailing off. "Wait, you didn't invite Sahriah, did you?"
"No. I only invited the other two late last night. I've not seen Sahriah since then.
He smiled and lowered his hand from her shoulder. "Very well, darling", he said in a soft, gentle tone. "What do you reckon we could do to increase their enjoyment?"
"I don't know much about Lord Kaile, so I don't know, really."
"Hmmmm. I've only met him a couple of times. What about Reginald?" he asked.
"You know Reginald as well as I do."
He thought for a moment, "Maybe some fishing. That's quite relaxing. I'll talk to him tomorrow."
"That will be fun," she said automatically.
He moved back onto the bed, and rolled onto his side, watching her from his side of the bed. "For now, however, I want to see your sunbathing attire for tomorrow..."
She laughed suddenly. Of course that would be on his mind. "I'm curious. Why didn't you sleep with her?" she asked as she headed over into her walk-in closet.
"Sahriah?" he asked after her. "I don't remember much from back then. I probably suggested it a couple of times, but nothing ever came of it"
She took her time, changing into a tiny, pale yellow bikini inside of her walk-in. "Why didnt you make her?" She checked her reflection in the mirror before stepping out into the bedroom.
He cast his eyes down her body, sweeping lower and examining every curve of her figure. "I could have, but decided not to. Perhaps I didn't want to make her succumb to my desires."
She dropped her hands to her lithe hips, showing off her willowy body, "That is odd. I mean. Why did you hold back during those times?"
He looked back up her body, to meet her gaze. "Would it have done me any favors now, had I made her give herself to me?"
She shrugged lightly, "Very well. I'll drop it."
"Thank you", he said, offering her a seductive smile. "Surely you can't be upset over something that happened three years before we met?"
"No, but I find it suspicious that she all-of-a-sudden shows up where we live, and fails to mention that she knows you." And that she was a goddamned Sani Sabik.
...and the person who murdered my daughter was Sani Sabik, the thought hung in the back of her mind.