didntseeit: (princesa on the run)
[personal profile] didntseeit
There is, she decides as she stands in the mirror, a definite freedom in being someone else. Not pretending, just being. Being Beatriz Ajedrez had been liberating when she first started; someone enough like herself to be reassuring, and enough unlike to be able to breathe. But that had been years ago, and now the woman standing in front of the mirror doesn’t know where Ajedrez stops and Barillo begins. All she knows that both are confused and upset, choking on hertheir mistakes.

Time for someone new, at least for this job. Someone without confusion or angst, without nightmares or guilt or a dark-haired man who smirks and lists the ways he wants to kill her.

Someone…else.

She finishes painting her eyes (dark brown eyeliner, meeting at a point ‘til her eyes look dark and exotic), finishes running her fingers through her hair (thick and glossy like a lion’s mane) and steps back. Knee-high brown boots with a low, thick heel (with a hidden knife, small and flat and it does the job); black jeans, comfortable and tight; scarlet top, sleeveless and soft, with a low neckline and the colour makes her skin seem all the browner; a simple black jacket, loose, generic, all-purpose.

It’s nothing that either of the Beatrizes would wear, at least not all together and certainly not without a boyfriend anywhere outside Miami. But that’s okay; she doesn’t want to be either of the Beatrizes right now

It is, when all is said and done, something that Leon Kahlo would wear. Leon (it’s a version of Helen) is someone who always comes from somewhere else, even if she entered her city of birth. Leon is rough around the edges, always moving with a cynical tongue and a restless mind, but that’s okay, because Leon is someone who quite honestly doesn’t give a shit. Leon is someone who may work if she gets the chance, and someone who would steal if that chance arose, too. She’s a petty criminal and a liar, the kind who tells stories so tall that you wonder if they are true even as you laugh.

Leon Kahlo smiles at herself in the mirror, swings her backpack (some clothes, a notebook with Spanish notes, a wallet, cash, two guns and ammo and a sharp, sharp knife) and goes downstairs to meet Random.

--

Texorami reminds her of Bogotá. Not that she had been to the Columbian capital recently, but it has something of the humidity, something of the big old colonial boulevards next to the modern urban sprawl. Random had left her on the street maybe an hour ago, murmuring to take care before moving off like she were a stranger. In that hour, she had just walked along the streets, getting familiar with both city and persona. She did have a destination, though. A little hotel down this street turn left then right, discrete with cash accepted and no questions asks.

She puts her name down as Alma Fuentes, just to keep in practice, and asks for a room next to a window. Fire escape blocks the view? Oh, that’s fine, honey. Drifters can’t be choosers, and she makes the boy at reception blush when she leaves.

Time to work.

--

César Parnell, so sayeth her notes, can be found in a number of places in the early afternoon (once he wakes up), but can normally be found at his sister’s café on the south corner of Rhodopis Avenue. Having breakfast, talkin’ to the boys, sorting out the day’s business, planning heists and all of that; she knows the type. And, she could sit outside, shoot, and then run away. She could, but it’s been too long since she’s been around criminals. You still dice and mix your words, but about different things and, hell. It isn’t as if there is a time limit on this thing.

So Leon Kahlo walks in.

And promptly gets an angry “Oi!

Leon pauses, and then turns to glance at the speaker. Young, maybe early twenties, ring through his eyebrow and the kind of outfit that makes Beatriz Barillo cringe and wish for her cartel’s suits. Leon just looks at him with her dark eyes.

“Yes?”

“Can’t you read?”

“Very well, actually.”

“We’re. Closed.”

“Honey, you can’t be a waiter. You’d scare off the customers.” Her words get laughter, but hell if she thinks it’s because she’s being funny. Eyebrow flushes and gets to his feet; she doesn’t step back. Eyebrow manages maybe three steps when a voice says,

“Greig.” That’s it, one word and Eyebrow stops instantly. It’s a calm voice, soft and melodic, with power and assurance threaded through it and (power’s the ultimate aphrodisiac) she can feel herself react even through (or because) of the hum of nerves. The voice belongs to a man sitting towards the back, trimmed beard and she can’t tell if his dark is short or just tied back. He’s maybe thirty, maybe thirty-five or maybe twenty-five; it’s all hard to tell and his photo really doesn’t give him justice.

Leon slips her hands into her jacket pockets, and waits. César Parnell leans forward, and the light turns his brown eyes gold.

“New in town?”

“Yeah.”

A curved smile.

“You don’t have very good luck, do you, girl?”

Leon snorts.

“This the point where I run screamin’ because y’all goin’ to chop me up into itty bitty pieces?” Her quiet, husky voice is…sardonic, to put it mildly, and his smile just widens even as his eyes flick over her form.

“No chopping on my watch.”

(and he’s such a liar)

“Good to know. Still closed?”

“Much to my sister’s disgust. It’s a business meeting.”

“Ah.” There is a lot that can be said in a single syllable, and she says oh, I understand ahahashit.

César just smiles at her, inclining his head as gracefully as any emperor.

“In that case, I’ll leave you gentlemen to-”

“What’s your name?”

“Leon Kahlo.” Beat. “It’s a form of Helen.”

“I know.”

And Leon grins at him, because most people don’t know and because he is hot-as-sin, and she’s a strange girl in a stranger city and why shouldn’t she grin? César’s eyes darken in the sunlight and Leon thinks gotcha.

“Why don’t you meet me at the club just north of here, on Mazierre Street? Say my name, they’ll let you in.”

“…you normally pick up girls like this?”

“Sometimes.”

She looks at him with her dark, exotic eyes and smiles faintly. “And what’s your name?”

“César Parnell. Remember it?”

“I’ll try to.” She tosses the room a smile and opens the door again. “The pub across the road?”

“Is open.”

“Thanks.”

And with that, she shuts the door.

(a couple minutes later, and she watches with amusment as one of them walks out to find that the sign still reads 'open' anyway)

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Ajedrez

October 2007

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