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Lost Time (Cult of the Butterfly 12)


By Paul Smith.


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Lost Time (Cult of the Butterfly 12)

Paul Smith

Copyright 2017 Paul Smith

Smashwords Edition.


This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to people, places or events is purely coincidental, and bears no malicious intent.


ISBN: 9781370763443


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Website: http://paulsmithauthor.wordpress.com/






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'Everyone fancies the barman...'


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Author's note:

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Thank you.



Seb came to slowly.

The room was cool, prickling his skin with goosebumps as his body shed the caul of sleep. It was only as he shifted that he realised why things felt unfamiliar: he was on his couch, rather than in bed. Sunlight slanted through the blinds, painting bars of gold down the opposite wall.

Wind tugged at the curtains of his balcony door.

Well, that explains the breeze.

The night slowly came back to him.

The drag, the procession. The club, the confrontation.

The boy.

Ah.

He’d gone back to Phant after the job, pausing outside a late night cafe on the way to piggyback their wifi so that he could speed the syphoned drive copy on its way to Raina. It was possible to tell it’d been cloned apparently, but this could be passed off on the suit or the Peacock, trying to gain an edge over their superiors.

But they’d need to be pretty shit hot to spot it,” Raina had finished, her tone implying how unlikely she thought that was. Some may think Miss Murder had a high opinion of her talents, but Seb had yet to see evidence that they were anything other than justified.

Still, it didn’t pay to be too careful. So once they file transfer was complete (Pilot was infamous for it’s excellent connection speeds amongst those in the know) he deleted the copy on his phone and moved on.



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The door staff had obviously been told to watch out for her, and she was waved through via the VIP queue to many envious looks from the assembled. The door doll on duty winked as he held the rope to one side, before handing his clip board to a the drag artist standing in for HRH and following Seb in.

This way,” he offered, nodding to the door staff as he led them into the lobby and up the stairs immediately to the right. Seb followed him through the sea of bleary ecstasy, feeling increasingly like he needed a drink.

The clubs main office was down a short corridor next to the girl’s toilets, next to one of the club’s chill out lounges. The doll knocked and stuck his head round before waving Seb through with a smile. A blast of music as Seb entered was the door back into the club proper opening as the doll returned to the party.

Seb had been unsure what she’d find here. Particularly given what she’d seen at her initiation. But all was strict normality, down to the filing cabinets and writing desk. Blinds across the far window were slashed with neon light from the street below, but the room itself was painted in the soft gold glow of a pair of lamps, one stood on the desk where the Queen sat writing like some pantomime Victorian Governess, the other casting deep shadows across the stern line of Fistral’s jaw.

Oh, um...” momentarily thrown by the presence of the other man, Seb found she didn’t know quite what to do. But of course it made sense for him to be there. This was his domain, given that he owned the club on paper and (so rumour suggested) ran the business side of things.

The Queen looked up, and her face broke into a kindly smile. “My dear! Tristan didn’t say it was you! Do, come in, sit. Can I offer you tea?”

Thank you,” Seb nodded.

The Queen rose, removing a set of reading glasses and crossing in a rustle of skirts to a sideboard where a pot stood waiting, spout steaming. A fresh cup was turned over, the Queen employing a delicate silver strainer as she poured. She returned to the table, all smiles as she passed the steaming brew across before lowering herself into the chair opposite.

Fistral’s attention remained fixed on whatever lay on the table before him, as if there were no one else in the room.

So, success?”

Seb jerked her attention away from the club owner, allowing herself a small smile as she reached into her bodice to retrieve the object in question. The Queen took it with carefully feigned nonchalance, but Seb thought she detected excitement bubbling beneath the surface in the slight purse of her lips.

Well...” the Queen turned it over once before slipping it into a draw to her right. She looked up at Seb, eyes bright with sudden concern. “Did you have any trouble?”

Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

The Queen’s smile was that of a proud parent. “I expected as much.” She raised her own cup. “To a job well done.” They chinked, eyes meeting across the rims. “The first of many.”

The first of many,” Seb agreed, sipping the steaming liquid. It had the verdant, slightly nutty tang common to all good green teas.

So, tell me everything.”

Nodding, Seb launched into a recount of the night’s events, leaving out her meeting with Gillian and changing her trawl of the club’s network to a physical hunt through the crowd. The Queen listened intently, querying her impressions of the relationship between the suit and the Peacock.

They behaved like casual acquaintances rather than old friends,” Seb offered, giving the matter some genuine thought. “I’d say whatever association they’ve built, it hasn’t been going on that long. Casual drinking buddies? Rather than regular ravers.”

The Queen nodded. “That ties in with what my contacts at the Precinct think.” She gestured with her tea. “Please, do go on.”

So Seb told her the rest, the two of them laughing over the Peacock’s obvious mis-assumption in the toilets.

Poor darling. He was in for a shock one way or another.”

Seb grinned. “Debatable which he’d have found less of a surprise.”

The Queen gestured at her outfit. “Was it a gambit you had in mind, when you dressed for this evening?”

Seb shook her head. “To be honest no, this simply felt… right?”

The Queen nodded, leaning back in her chair. Her look was thoughtful as she took another sip of her tea. “Well, it’ll certainly make it harder for the Bays to ID you. Which might come in handy in the long run.” She met Seb’s gaze candidly. “We’re still deciding how to play this one...” and she glanced over her shoulder at the man sat on the far side of the room, apparently oblivious to their conversation “...so for now I’d prefer it if you said nothing of tonight’s little exercise to anyone, apart from Devan of course.”

Seb nodded. “Of course.”

The Queen smiled, sitting forward again, expression brightening once more. “Well. I think your hard work deserves a reward. Allow me to escort you to the bar?”

Seb nodded her thanks, rising with the Queen to quit the office’s cliched confines.



Without, the club was in full swing. Seb followed as the Queen led the way down towards the main dance floor, the crowds parting before them like fish before a shark.

They paused on the way for Seb to deposit her coat at the check, Seb muttering a quiet charm over the pocket that held her blade. The Queen raised an eyebrow as she listened to the enthusiastic gushing of a group of young twinks and their hags, but she said nothing as they continued on towards the main floor and the bar. The music swelled as they entered, the DJ name checking the Queen over the mike, throwing something processional over the top of the mix as the Queen waved to the assembled on the dance floor. Hands reached for the ceiling, the crowd whooping over the sound of the bass as they paced the periphery like tigers stalking the edge of a cage. Seb felt eyes on her but managed not to blush, particularly as one of the shirtless door dolls appeared, drawing most people’s attention. He finished muttering into his head set before placing a hand on the Queen’s shoulder. She lent in to confer, glancing at Seb as she offered a few words in response before straightening again.

Turning, she gestured Seb to join her at the bar, which at this point in the evening was relatively uncluttered. Most of the clubbers seemed to be well and truly into their stride, the floor itself a packed mass of sweating bodies. The two guys stood behind the bar were taking the opportunity for a bit of recovery work, one of them straightening as the Queen leant casually against the marble surface.

So, muscles then, Seb thought, eyeing the toned vision approaching with a bar towel slung casually over one bare, be-glittered shoulder.

Ilian darling, a tonic and lime for me, and whatever my friend desires...”

What’ll it be?” Ilian asked, one eyebrow cocked. The grin he offered reached all the way to his eyes and probably several other places as well. Seb forced her gaze away from the guys pecs, grinning as she gestured at the middle shelf of the fridge behind him, where they kept the blue cheek.

Ilian turned, bending over entirely further than was necessary to retrieve Seb’s order.

I fear duty calls me away.”

She glanced back at the Queen, finding entirely the look of satisfied merriment she’d expected on the other drag artist’s face.

Trouble?”

The Queen shook her head. “Heavens no! But one of our VIPs has arrived unexpectedly, and I fear I simply must attend...” she mimed contrition, biting her lower lip artfully.

Seb waved off her concern. “I’ll be fine, honestly.”

The Queen’s grin was genuine as the young barman returned with their order. “I’m sure you will.” She turned to the barman. “Our guest drinks free this evening...” placing a hand on Seb’s shoulder she she turned to go “...just speak to Ilian for whatever you need. Stay as long as you like…!”

Thank you!” Seb called, watching as the Queen departed through the crowd, like a war galley making for port.

Do you smoke?”

Seb turned to find muscles polishing a glass nonchalantly. “Occasionally...” she allowed.

He met her gaze briefly, Seb realising with a shock he was a lot younger than she’d first thought. “I go on break in ten minutes, if you fancy a cig?”

Seb placed her straw between her lips, enjoying the bittersweet rush of fruit and spirits over her tongue as she weighed the wisdom of this course.

Ilian peered up through his lashes and Seb felt his insides do a little skip. Oh, fuck it. You only live once. “Sure, why not. I’ll meet you by the DJ booth?”

His answering smile was like the first rays of sunlight after a storm.



The night went predictably enough after that. They shared a cigarette in the club’s smoking area out front, Ilian fending off a bout of teasing from the assembled door entourage as they wandered past. He was indeed younger than Seb, but not scandalously so, and they had enough in common that it was just awkward silences interspersed with Seb snatching looks at his abs. They even had a few friends in common, though Seb was careful to keep name dropping to a minimum for fear of giving the Queen any more information than strictly necessary. She didn’t for one minute imagine the young barman would be reporting back on their evening wholesale, but he did suspect that any gossip he shared would eventually find its way to the Queen, including any and all social tip bits and juicy details.

By the time they’d worked their way through a couple of fags and his bottle of cheek it was obvious where things might lead… So Seb offered to stick around, confident that she knew enough people on the Glades scene not to get too bored over the intervening hour until Ilian’s shift finished.

They stayed for another couple after he was done, before hailing a taxi to take them back to Seb’s.

Personally, Seb thought they did well to keep their clothes on that long.

Needless to say they’d barely made it through the door before pouncing on each other.



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A brief flash of Ilian standing in naked in the middle of his lounge, side lit by the moonlight through the patio, made Seb smile. The last of the night’s glitter sparkled across the sweep of his shoulders as he turned, grinning at the no doubt filthy smile on Seb’s face.

He’d proven to be quite the kink for all his apparent wide eyed innocence. Nothing too extreme, but one could never underestimate the power of a bit of slap and tickle. Seb particularly enjoyed the way he stuck his arse in the air to be spanked, the pert globes of each cheek fitting perfectly beneath Seb’s fingers as he slide his tongue into the taught, sweet darkness between...

His last coherent memory was of collapsing together in a sweaty heap on the bed, yanking the duvet roughly into place...

So what the hell am I doing out here on the settee?

He sat up gingerly, feeling a sense of icy calm descend as he took in the tacky red mess coating him from finger tips to elbow.

And why the hell are my hands covered in blood…?


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