Thanks, you’s on my list ;)
In a life of hardship and revenge, there had been no greater accomplishment than the feat of redemption, Ford's, feat of redemption. Where the League of Shadows was all he had known it was still a wonder how Damon Ford came to be. Many who had heard of the League's eradication had thought to believe he had slain the Raysh'Al Shaytan to take the assets for himself; others, much more ill-informed - the public media - had thought of Ford as just another face of the Nouveau-Riche.
Ford sneered at the rumors. Only one had been slightly correct. For he had not slain the Raysh when he wished he could've, there was only one option he was left with since the eradication. Become a defector. There had been no greater gift he had been given than the gift to kill, and in determination, Ford used that gift to bear a status he knew he had to uphold.
"You do the deed of defending a mans family for a week, you do him a favor. You defend his family for the rest of their lives, you own him"
And that he lived by. His influence grew faster than he could fathom, and soon he built an empire. With the word of powerful men in his pocket and the promises of politicians in the other, there had been nothing that could topple what he had meticulously built. When rivalries became limited and promises' even more-so, Damon had brought his mission of world-dominance to the one place his underworld sovereignty hadn't touched - The United States of America.
In Spain, Damon found his home. Himself he never knew a land as foreign to him as a new dialect could once become a place he could finally feel safe in, and yet it was. Asturias was as calm as it's grand lakes and its air was as exotic as his vogue. A castle whose past was as shrouded as the man's who resided in it, La Fortaleza towered over the treasure-bearing Lake Enol, casting a shadow larger than the castle itself.
"Bring the car around, Leiland" Ford's sharp Greek tone echoed amidst. "Yes sir,"Lieldand, a young boy and son of a man who worked for Ford since the dawn of his uprising, responded his obvious Spanish dialect clashing Ford's. Upon his temple, Ford sat pondering the thoughts that had blitzed his mind in an internal blink.
"It's ready.. sir," there was a pause. "Good, call the pilot and ready the jet. I have business in New York City."
Pulling into the entrance with the subtle 'screech' of the Black-Metallic Rolls-Royce Sweptail, as if it were automated flashes of light to and fro showered the limo-tinted Rolls-Royce in a blinding light unimaginable. From the sharp reflection of light upon Ford's Rolex Datejust to the absorbent material of his violet-grey Brioni Vanquish tailored, the late arrival of the Hellfire Club's renowned White King had been impossible to ignore. Underneath the clammer of spectators, flashes of cameras, and indistinguishable greetings of likewise bystanders, the click-clack of Ford's leather-clad Tom Ford dress shoes could be heard - a sound almost identical with that of a stallion's gallop.
There were a few he granted the courtesy of posing in their picture and others the gift of shaking their hand but eventually, he made his way into the lively club. From the outside-in, there had been no distinction to the sound and overall aura. Though he didn't complain, he rarely did. A nod here a smile there, Ford hadn't the time for small-talk. Instead, he immediately found his way into the VIP section.
Premium smoke greeted his nose as the subtle halt of defining noise left his ears; for there was much to do there wasn't much to start off. He needed to rebuild, not only the White Monarchy but the Inner Circle. Few had gained Valerie's eye and the same few met Damon's, with the White Queen's word and the White King's determination the Inner-Circle of Hellfire was to live once more.
A single beam of sunlight escaped through a barrier of heavy curtains to caress Naomi’s sleeping face. The warmth gently stirred her, bringing forth consciousness she would have otherwise avoided for several more hours. Her body remained still, wrapped within an indulgent white sea of duvet blankets, however, her eyes opened with a lazy reluctance.
She watched a man move silently around her bedroom. He moved as quick as he could without betraying his presence, pulling last night’s pants over his legs before sliding his chiseled upper body into a cashmere sweater. He gathered his scattered socks and shoes, not bothering to put them on, before exiting her room with the precision of an assassin. Naomi remained still, waiting until she heard the front door, on the first floor of her flat, shut behind her guest before she finally dared to move. Her supple frame rose dreamily from her bed, carrying with her a dress of blankets to keep her exposed figure warm. She stepped to her bedroom window, peeking through the curtains to watch the man hail a taxi. With a breath of relief she reached for her bedside table, lighting a cigarette before placing her supple frame on a chair to watch the morning activity on the street below her.
They had been playing this game for years. One would call the other without warning, usually in the latest hours of the night, resulting in a rendezvous wherever the other called home at that point in time. They would make love, confess their love, and fall asleep in love; wrapped in the arms of one another. The next morning someone would wake up to an empty bed. They would not speak again until, one unexpected night, loneliness would overtake one of them, and they would repeat the same dance. It was how it had always been, and exactly how Naomi preferred it.
“1942, neat. Merci,”
Naomi’s thick French accent dripped from her mouth as she ordered from the scantily clad Hellfire Club waitress. Music blared all around her, the hypnotic beat inspiring the human body’s desire for adrenaline and sex. She moved lithely through the heavy crowd, adorned in an understated black dress from Chanel Resort 2020. It wasn’t something she would have necessarily gone out of her way to buy, however, Virginie had sent it to her as a gift when she debuted the collection. This was how the French aristocrat attained most of her luxury possessions--as cherished gifts from friends or pieces she wore out of sympathy for lovers she had turned down. When you decline a Saudi heir’s marriage proposal, the least you can do is put good use to the diamonds he sends you.
She made her way upstairs to where the crowd began to thin, eventually landing in front of a pair of imposing double doors guarded by two men. She smiled at them.
“Miss Delacour,” they smiled back, clearly delighted to see her. One man, impossible in the size of his stature, opened his arms to Naomi.
“It has been too long. You were only little girl last time we saw you.”
“I know, darling. But you know I hate leaving Europe. How are Sofia and the kids?” Naomi asked. She embraced the security guard with a kiss on each cheek, which required him to bend his neck awkwardly low so that she could reach him without effort.
“Good, good, you are too kind for asking. Hurry inside, little one, your cousin is…in a particular mood. I’m sure she will be glad to see you.”
Naomi thanked him, promising to visit more often, before stepping into the room behind the doors.
Naomi entered a massive foyer, the entire room decorated to maintain a careful balance between classic simplicity and modern opulence. Busts of Greek nudes were placed throughout, and a sparkling fountain rested between two grand staircases. The room was adorned almost entirely of white and gold details, existing somewhere between the villa of an ancient god and the penthouse of a modern tycoon.
Naomi took a final sip of her tequila, setting the empty glass on the tray of a nearby waiter while taking with her a flute of champagne. She hated events like these. Stuffy men and women peered curiously at her, some showing recognition, but no one saw enough interest to approach her. They were all waiting for one person.
Looking around, she spotted the man her cousin had mentioned to her. She retrieved a cigarette from her bag, taking a few puffs before approaching him.
“Enjoying yourself?” she spoke softly, placing her lips just slightly closer to his ear than necessary. Naomi’s good graces made her charmingly disarming, her smile always pleasant and her voice always inviting. But behind her brilliant green eyes, a sharp, calculated wit glowed fiercely.
@naomi_delacour: Badass :)
There was no mistaking the dialect of a Frenchwoman's patois, nor was their mistaking her cool confidence. With the faint turn of his head, Ford's sharp, sapphire gaze set upon the duchess. "Always," his accent, torn between an Italian-Greek inflection, "and yourself?" As a kind gesture, his hand extended, palm-upwards in a formality he rarely escaped. Eyes wandered the great hall's curious as ever, they awaited a name that was lost on even Damon, perhaps it was Valerie herself, or just another great name of the Hellfire Club's Inner-Circle monarchy. As he was one of them himself, Damon couldn't think of a particular person.
Nonetheless, the White King accompanied much more interesting matters. "Correct me if I am wrong but you don't happen to be a Naomi Delacour, do you?" The tone in his question as avid as his grin, "I make it my business to know my new friends, and their's. Plus, you draw a lot of eyes" a devilish grin formed, basking in the smoke and aura only a king could delve in. "Care to join me?" His opposite arm extended towards an empty chair alike to his, to his right. His imposing figure comfortably sunk into the red velvet material, nay a crease in his violet accented grey Brioni three-piece.
He tilted his head amusingly, "oh forgive me for my manners, Damon Ford, White King."
Naomi let her hand fall delicately into his grip as she lowered her head in a mock curtsey.
“An honor, you majesty.” The whole pretense of Kings and Queens within the Hellfire Club had always struck her as a bit comical, but she recognized the affinity for formal hierarchy that ran among her Huntington relatives. In Naomi’s world, power never needed to be labeled. It was omnipotent, something a person either commanded without effort, or, would be unable to wield regardless of the titles at their disposal. She had yet to decipher which category Damon Ford fell under.
She took the seat offered to her, bringing one strappy Stuart Weitzman sandal over the other to cross her legs at the ankles.
“Please, just Naomi. Queen of no colors, I’m afraid to say. Or shapes for that matter.” She grinned playfully.
“I’ll confess, my cousin asked me here to…acquaint myself with you. Hellfire Club parties aren’t usually my first choice of venues. But family always comes first, so here I am.”
She took a sip of her champagne, the diamond tennis bracelet on her slight wrist dancing through the air as she moved. She glanced around the room, her attention resting for a moment on a tall, dark-haired man before drifting away coolly. She pushed a strand of rich espresso hair behind her ear, turning back to Damon.
“She has told me much about your home in Spain. It sounds absolutely marvelous. I would love a tour sometime, if I’m not being too presumptuous.”
A light shrug tugged his broad shoulders as his head tilted, "a Queen of no colors nor shapes is still a Queen nonetheless, no?" From the glass side-table that sat in-between the two velvet thrones, Ford grasped firmly to a glass of 'Hennessy Fine de Cognac', holding it at his side. "That's quite thoughtful of you, I usually just, show up and leave. Indulge in whatever people like us indulge in for a moment then disappear, I'm glad I didn't disappear yet," a rare smile offered, Damon took a sharp sip of the brandy that had been resting in his palm.
In a room of faces more shallow than their pockets there had been no mistaking the Delacour Duchess's true intent, whether it had been instructed or not. The wealthy stay wealthy by collaborating with those with pockets deeper than theirs, and in anyone's case - Valerie Huntington. The Hellfire Club had always been the iconic hub for fame and riches. There was no doubting it. So meeting the gaze of someone who had truly cared about neither had sparked an interest Damon Ford didn't even know he had.
Subtly, his formal etiquette had been replaced by a cool attraction. "Not at all, if you hadn't asked first I would've offered, truly." He leaned back into the velvet sea of red, taking a final sip of the brandy before setting it down empty.
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