The Nightingale RisesBy: Cynthia Dane
“I couldn’t have you tramping around in used panties, now could I?”
Nala was surprised he remembered that. “I don’t have room for this stuff at my place. Can I dump most of it at yours?”
“I’ll be home at six. Anytime after that is fine.”
What was Nala supposed to do until then? It was barely after five.
As if Robin read her mind, she said in the elevator, “Let’s get dinner. Lucian won’t be home until late, anyway. We haven’t had time for a real chat anyway.”
“Sure. You pick.” Nala plucked the black card out of Robin’s hand. “I’ll take this over for now. I’m sure my Master won’t mind.” Besides, she could give it back to him later.
They reached the bottom floor and stepped out onto the sidewalk. The rain had let up, but crowds continued to swell in the dark. With so many cars passing by, they would have to wait a few minutes for Robin’s driver to make it around the block and reach them with the skin still on his back.
“Hey! You ladies got any money?”
Robin leaped out of her stilettos, instinctively hiding behind Nala even though the other woman was a good head and a half shorter. Nala, on the other hand, could hardly be bothered by the homeless man sauntering up to them and putting his hand out.
“Sorry. No cash,” she said. Even if I had any money, I’m probably going to be asked five more times tonight. What do I tell those guys?
“Baaah!” The man, who smelled like alcohol and an allergy to baths, tossed his hand into the air and sent Robin a stink-eye. “Look how rich you are,” he sneered, turning on his foot and marching away to harass someone else. “Can’t spare even a dollar…”
Robin waited until he was at the end of the block before stepping out from behind Nala. “That was scary. I had heard the homeless problem was worse down here but… I don’t normally go shopping without a man in present company.”
I bet. “They’re mostly harmless. Just tell them you don’t carry cash and they’ll be on their way. Be firm.” She shrugged. “Then again, I look poorer than you. That probably has a lot to do with it.”
“You’re not poor, though,” Robin said, as the car pulled up. “You’ve got Mr. Lane.”
Nala didn’t have the heart to tell her. Not that she would, anyway.
Robin took them toward Burnside, to a restaurant sitting atop a historical building and boasting some of the “best seafood” around. What is it with rich people and seafood? Was it a Portland transplant thing? Even when Nala moved back from the desert, she had no desire to try the local fresh caught salmon. Or the factory farmed, for that matter.
They had their own corner in the half-empty restaurant. Robin claimed a booth while Nala sat in a wooden chair across from her. The waitress hadn’t come by with water and taken away their orders when Robin opened her big, gossiping mouth.
“So, Gale, tell me everything,” she said, teeth bared. “How big is Mr. Lane’s cock?”
The glass Nala held dumped on the table. Water spilled everywhere, including in Robin’s lap.
And that was how Nala responded to the least invasive question that night.
“Sorry, so sorry,” Nala apologized, helping Robin and the waitress clean up the mess. “To be fair, though,” she muttered, once the waitress was gone, “that was a banger of a question.”
Robin inhaled deeply, composing her long limbs and making sure her red dress went back into place. “Never mind. Just thought we would have a bit of girl talk. I can see, though, that you’re jitterier than I expected. Also, shy.”
Shy? Was Nala shy? I’m the girl who had no problem with Vincent tearing my dress apart the first time we had sex. Nor did she have issues dropping his pants and putting her mouth all over him. She didn’t have a problem with a lot of things. “I wasn’t expecting a question like that, let alone so soon. Sorry.”
Her mumbling did not go unheard. “Okay, so I was quick to jump into that, but come on! We know so little about you two. Lucian and I speculate about you and Mr. Lane all the time…”