Status: Setting up for the next act.

All out and Over

Chapter Ten: Next up, the Magic Man

“I almost didn’t recognize you,” Malory said. A smile played on her lips as a secretive laugh filtered through her voice. The man standing outside of her tent was muscular and tall. He wore a dusty black suit that fit his posture, and an unnecessary top hat that flattered his wide diamond shaped eyes and high cheek bones. She often thought it was a sin for a man to have long dark eyelashes like his, especially when his eyes seemed to sparkle like the magic he claimed to possess.

“Should I be offended; or is that supposed to be a compliment?” He asked with his own flirtatious grin finding its place.

“Xavier, you know I never mean to offend you.” She nodded toward the door. “Did you come here to chat outside?”

“I actually came to renew my offer, but if you’ll invite me in I won’t refuse.” His smile was more than flirtatious now; it was hopeful. Malory knew exactly what offer he meant, but she didn’t know if she could say yes to a man like this. She’d had one before, and he found another plaything for their bed. Older men like Xavier scared her, even though she hated to admit it; the magician was different though. He chased her, and she relished the chase since it had been so long since she was truly wanted.

“Have a cup of tea with me as a friend, and we’ll talk about my concerns.” Malory let him hold the tent back for her as she walked in, and she corrected him when he tried to tie the curtain back. “I’d rather have privacy; you know, ears are everywhere in this place, and I prefer to keep my life to myself.”

“You,” Xavier said, “my dear fortune teller, forget who you’re speaking to.” His voice quivered with excited anticipation.

“No, Magic Man, I know exactly who I’m speaking to; I make it a point to know.” Her words would’ve been a veiled threat if they pointed toward anyone else, but she’d known him ever since she was that frightened little girl who ran away because someone better came along. This time she wasn’t running.

“Why do you always say no to me?” Xavier asked, trying to bring her dark mind to a lighter place. He knew her too well, but she liked it.

“Because I like younger men.” She shrugged and continued to fix a pot of tea, “Plus, don’t you have that assistant? Ana? With the accent and the legs?” Malory dared not look at him as she spoke; instead, she focused solely on the kettle in front of her on the hotplate.

She heard him take a deep breath before his chair scrapped the floor. His footsteps fell heavy, almost matching the pace of her pounding heart. Long fingers wrapped gently around her arms just below her shoulders, and he planted a soft kiss in her hair near her temple. “Do you really think…?”

“Malory!” The screech that filled the air was heart wrenching, annoying, and definitely uncalled for. “They know! They all know, Malory!”

“Of course...” Xavier laughed in the fortune teller’s ear before he released her. He turned toward Cara and said, “Everyone knows Malory. She’s magnificent.”

He watched as her face flushed. “Why are you screaming like a banshee, Firecracker?”

Cara’s face was ten times redder than Malory’s. Anger seeped into the atmosphere from both women, and Xavier was smart enough to know when to put his magic to good use. “I should go, but we’ll finish this conversation later…” his eyes met Malory’s for a quick moment. “Right?”

“Of course we will.” She forced a smile. “I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get to finish it on this occasion.”

“Your set is starting soon, Magic Man,” Cara hissed.

Malory’s smile faded into a dangerous glare, and it was pointed toward the fire breather. She was smart and observant enough to understand that this filthy little girl didn’t know what cruel meant, and if she didn’t keep her mouth shut in the presents of her guests Cara was sure to find out sooner rather than later. “Goodbye, Friend.” Malory said. Her dark red fingernails curled into her palms as she waited. Patience seemed to be the only virtue Malory could possess in this lifetime, but that was alright because it was the only virtue she needed.

She moved faster than lightning across the room after Xavier’s face disappeared. There was a fire more dangerous than anything Cara ever saw burning in the pit of Malory’s stomach, and it couldn’t be quenched. She held the young girl’s arm in a death grip. “You do not come into my quarters and speak to my guests with such god awful manners.” She growled.

“You don’t understand!” Cara’s voice seemed far away. Malory didn’t care to understand, she had been embarrassed!

“I don’t care what foolish little fears you’ve concocted in your head!” Malory’s grip tightened enough for the girl who whimper. She released the fire, leaving her scorching handprints behind.

“They know, Malory, they know about Dmitri and me!” Tears swelled in her eyes. Malory, for a moment, almost felt bad for her.

“How do you know they know?” She asked. I already know the answer; that damned knife thrower is no better than any other common man that doesn’t know when to keep his mouth or his zipper closed!

“Freddy told me!” Cara’s wiped her face though there was nothing but smudged face paint and oil on her cheeks.

“The knife thrower?” Malory scoffed. “What in the hell could he possibly know? His brain is the size of a pea, and worse he’s terrible at his games.”

“What?” Cara’s voice came down from hysteria to almost annoyance. “You don’t know anything about him!”

“I know enough to keep him at bay. Let me handle your little knife thrower; you have bigger problems to worry about. Like I heard you weren’t with the lion tamer this morning.” Malory stepped back.

“I wasn’t in the mood,” Cara said and crossed her arms.

“Fix it,” Malory stated. Before I have too! She pushed Cara out of her tent. “I have things to attend to. Clean yourself up, and try to act half way presentable.”

Once she was rid of Cara, she changed into a pair of black jeans that hugged her legs, a ruffled off-white shirt that showed just a hint of her voluptuous cleavage, and her favorite black waist corset that offset her shirt. She fixed her eyeliner in the mirror, causing her eyes to seem more dangerous than they usually did. Her lips were ruby red, and she truly resembled the nickname most of the circus called her. I am the Queen of Hearts! “Alright,” she whispered to the mirror, “you look like a gambler now, I suppose.” She laced her boots and walked out of her tent past the dining hall to the Freak Show trailer.

Rickets stood there with his usual cloud of smoke. His cigarette perched on his lower lip as he spewed some stupid joke to the strong man. Their contrast was striking, but it was something Malory was accustomed to. “Well, well, well,” Rickets said after a high whistle. “What brings you, all dolled up, my way?”

“Is he still going?” Malory asked. Ricket’s arched a painted red eyebrow. “Tell me!” She half growled.

He smiled causing the white paint caked on his face to crack around his mouth and eyes. “Every week.”

“Then business brings me your way, but I do intend to get some pleasure out of it,” Malory answered before walking again. She didn’t look back to see if Rickets was following her, but she knew he was. Something about that little clown couldn’t help but to like the drama that often exceeded Malory’s reputation.

“This fool of yours will not ruin my fun, Rickets.” She stated. “If you don’t put your foot down then I will put mine down.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Now, you must tell me what you think of the Magic Man. Do you have any clue how this is going to play out yet?

All Magic Comes With A Price