Content Warning: Sexual Situations
The music was obscenely loud. I could barely hear myself think. It was perfect. I didn’t want to think. All I wanted to do was feel. I wanted to feel Trevor below me and AJ above me.
It felt like every inch of my body bowed and flexed to take Trevor as he entered me, even as my lips and mouth had come to exist, only to make AJ quiver from her place above me.
The last few months had been hard. Mike had paid up, with interest, three days early. Big Z had found that inconveniently efficient. The response had been decisive and swift. A half-hour after telling me, a cleaner had been at the furniture store. No one had seen or heard from Mike since, and the store was permanently closed.
For the moment, no one else was earning his share, and we were all on lockdown. Big Z was convinced someone was watching. Usually, I was sure he was being paranoid, but not that time.
That weird feeling I’d gotten at Mike’s hadn’t left. Something was fucking off.
But not right then. Not while I was between Trevor and AJ, with his fingers between my thighs as he filled me over and over, and her warm heat surrounded my tongue. I could faintly make out her moans and partially hear his grunts as they mixed with the pulsing, throbbing beat of the music. Moments later, we all came together, transporting and crashing back to earth on one drawn-out beat. One that was so encompassing and deafening we didn’t hear my door caving in.
We were struggling to catch our breaths when someone yanked AJ away. I could barely make out the outlines of three hulking figures before one forced a black sack over my head and hauled me up. Curses sailed past my lips as I felt a pinch on my shoulder, right above the crest of my burn scars. I propelled myself forward, my head ramming into someone before I heard a muffled, “Jesus.” Then the world went black.
There are many things that taunt us all,
But the trust of life is a bruising wall
You will give up pride, you’ll lose it all
There is no justice in the fall
The lines repeated over and over in my head as I tried to reorient myself. My head was buzzing, and I couldn’t seem to open my eyes.
There is no justice in the fall.
What was going on? Who the fuck had broken into my house? Who would dare? Everyone knew who I was. No one would dare fuck with Zephyr’s, Big Z’s, daughter.
There are many things that taunt us all.
Which left only one option.
I forced my eyes open. The room was partially lit by the fading sunlight shining through the windows. The room was instantly recognizable. It was my own. I hadn’t slept in it in over 15 years, but he had never changed a thing.
I was home.
I groaned as I slowly rolled to a sitting position. They had dressed me in shorts and a tank top. I was extra grateful since I wasn’t upright more than a few minutes before the door burst open.
“Ah, you’re awake.”
I frowned, refusing to look up. “What the fuck is going on, Nakia?”
I watched as her gold boots strolled closer. “Papa is ready to speak with you.”
I could rush her, knee cap her. Daddy’s favorite, his message bringer. My vision swam, and I squeezed my eyes shut, grunting. Or maybe I could just sit my ass still.
“Tell me what’s going on?”
She sucked her teeth, her hands yanking at my collar. “As if you don’t know, Justine. You’ve fucked with the ecosystem’s balance. Time to set the scales right.”
Her words ping-ponged around my skull over and over. I fell forward, glancing up with narrowed eyes to find the source of the sudden jolt of confusion. I saw only shadows, figments I couldn’t capture. The clearest was a man, wearing a sneer as his hand extended. He offered me something…a drink?
“Get up. If I have to drag you, I will.” Nakia’s voice brought me back to the world as it was. I shook my head slowly and struggled to stand.
I stumbled, falling against the wall and knocking a lamp to the floor.
“For fuck’s sake, don’t be so dramatic.” She grabbed my arm, yanking me forward. My head was still swimming. I couldn’t fight her, but I was filing it all away for later. I was going to make sister dearest bleed.
She ushered me into Big Z’s den, where he was holding court with several of his generals. Men who usually bowed to me stared at me with smirks or pity before beating a quick exit.
Nakia deposited me in a chair in front of Big Z’s desk, her hand pressing down on my shoulder. Oh…I was going to make it hurt once my strength returned.
“Pop, what the hell is going on?”
He chuckled, the sound rolling through his formidable body and curving across his face into a sneer. “Do not play me for a fool, Justine.”
“I’m not,” I responded vehemently. I had never been more confused in my life. Even the day he’d given me my scars had made more sense.
I flexed my shoulders out of habit, feeling the tightly knitted tissue pull and bunch.
How many more scars did I need to carry to earn his love and trust? I glanced at the hand on my shoulder. Meanwhile, the golden daughter went unblemished and loved unconditionally.
“Tell me about Mike and Elroy.” His tone was flat, deadly serious. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me.
What the fuck was I missing?
Mike and Elroy? Elroy and Mike? Two cogs. Neither had been paying on time recently. They were both mucking up the ecosystem. Elroy was in the hospital from a secondary visit, last I’d heard, and everyone knew Big Z had ordered Mike cleansed.
What was there for me to tell?
“You know everything—”
“Don’t lie to me, girl. This is about order! About balance! Do I need to take your eyes for you to admit you see?”
“Wh-what?” The stammer pushed through my system as I looked around, confused by his words.
Something was wrong, this was wrong.
There was no order, no balance to what was happening. It was chaotic and wrong…unbalanced.
I glanced back at Nakia, and she looked dipped in gold, with wings sprouting behind her in front of an office building of reflecting glass. She was majestic, and for a moment, I didn’t hate or envy her. I adored her, my sister.
The ringing in my head from her fist boxing my ears brought me back. “Tell me about Mike and Elroy, or we’ll need to do things the hard way, starting with giving your friends downstairs matching scars.”
I squeezed my eyes shut. He meant every syllable. The only way he was lying was if they were already dead.
I didn’t know what to say or do to get us all out of danger. I didn’t even know what it was.
“Tell me, Justine. Just balance the fucking scales!” His big meaty palm slammed down on the desk, scattering papers as a boom of thunder pounded outside.
The world spun and flipped, and suddenly I was…awake.
I was Justice incarnate, and somebody had a lot of fucking explaining to do.