Tuesday, August 25, 2020
The Power, Potential and Peril of Social Network Exploring the depth of the Pool of New Opportunities
Presentation: Plugging in Though it appears always since data advancements have opened a passage into interesting open doors for correspondence for many individuals everywhere throughout the world, person to person communication has begun relatively as of late. It has grown quickly and has these days billions of individuals connected its system.Advertising We will compose a custom article test on The Power, Potential and Peril of Social Network: Exploring the profundity of the Pool of New Opportunities explicitly for you for just $16.05 $11/page Learn More Despite the way that person to person communication offers considerably more vocation possibilities and open doors for proficient turn of events, one faces the danger of a wholesale fraud when utilizing interpersonal organization, which implies that the last could utilize further upgrades. Articles Summary: At the Beginning Although informal communication has issues with the security right, it despite everything gives plentiful cha nces to vocation and business advancement. In his article Ã¢â¬ËThe right to security isn't the privilege to Facebook,Ã¢â¬â¢ Castro cautions that interpersonal organizations like Facebook utilize its usersÃ¢â¬â¢ private data rather indiscreetly: Ã¢â¬Å"There are two unique inquiries fundamental to this discussion: first, ought to Facebook have the option to utilize private data to convey items and administrations to its clients; and second, should any organization have the option to do this?Ã¢â¬ (Castro, 2010, p. 1). Pannunzio (2008), then again, guarantees that informal organizations can and ought to be utilized as the key way to advance oneÃ¢â¬â¢s business, and offers a broad grouping of the most well known locales, as YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so forth. In their turn, Lisa Harris and Alan Rae (2009) investigate the odds of independent companies advancement with the assistance of long range interpersonal communication, offering various models and demonstrating tha t web journals and informal organizations take into consideration an extraordinary advancement battle. Articles Analysis: Changing the Default Settings The articles recorded above show that the effect of the informal community is blended. From one perspective, Castro gives a real point concerning the absence of online security in most informal organizations (Castro, 2010). Then again, Pannunzio (2008) clarifies that informal communities are a productive business advancement instrument to Ã¢â¬Å"connect with associates and potential clientsÃ¢â¬ (Pannunzio, 2008, p. 8). At long last, Harris and Rae drive the line in the contention, clarifying that interpersonal organizations offer a plenty of points of interest for business advancement, yet surely need further enhancements and, along these lines, must be utilized with due alert: Ã¢â¬Å"Most online networks are as of now at a moderately early developmental stage and presently can't seem to be exposed to genuine investigation, howeve r from the organization viewpoint the data posted on important network destinations can give significant examination dataÃ¢â¬ (Harris Rae, 2009, p. 26). Examination Results: After Entering a Chat Room While informal organizations need security, they despite everything help advance business proficiently. Along these lines, person to person communication as a business device has potential. Staying away from the potential outcomes of having oneÃ¢â¬â¢s individual information presented to programmers, one can make significant progress in business circle. In this manner, informal communities must be utilized as an extra methods for business advancement. Be that as it may, it is additionally important to assess another potential way to improve an organization score.Advertising Looking for article on correspondences media? How about we check whether we can support you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Conclusion: Connection Disabled Though at present, there is a lot of disc ussion about the utilization of interpersonal organizations, it must be conceded that the new innovation has numerous chances to offer to its clients, beginning from correspondence with the individuals from remote corners of the planet to advancing oneÃ¢â¬â¢s business and improving oneÃ¢â¬â¢s vocation possibilities. Along these lines, it must be conceded that interpersonal organizations reserve the option to exist. By and by, it is pivotal to acquaint various enhancements with the present long range interpersonal communication framework to maintain a strategic distance from the occurrences of fraud or other illicit activities. Reference List Castro, D 2010, Ã¢â¬ËThe right to protection isn't the privilege to Facebook,Ã¢â¬â¢The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 30 April, pp. 1Ã¢â¬3. Harris, L Rae, A 2009, Ã¢â¬ËSocial systems: the eventual fate of advertising for little business,Ã¢â¬â¢ Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 30 no. 5, pp. 24Ã¢â¬31. Pannunzio, C O 2008, Ã¢â¬ËLeverage the intensity of social media,Ã¢â¬â¢ Practice Management Solutions, SeptemberÃ¢â¬October, pp. 6Ã¢â¬10. This article on The Power, Potential and Peril of Social Network: Exploring the profundity of the Pool of New Opportunities was composed and presented by client Ivan H. to help you with your own examinations. You are allowed to utilize it for examination and reference purposes so as to compose your own paper; be that as it may, you should refer to it as needs be. You can give your paper here.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
What are the pressures among present day and traditional radicalism Essay The thoughts of current dissidents are very not quite the same as those of old style nonconformists. In any case, despite the fact that there are pressures between the two types of radicalism over an assortment of themes, they all things considered concur on the fundamental liberalistic idea on independence, the faith in singular sway, that people ought to be a definitive leaders on how they carry on. Regardless of this crucial agreement, there is a still pressure among traditional and present day leftists over various subjects, for example, over the idea of the express, their perspectives on uniformity of chance, and furthermore over their gave a false representation of opportunity. The main source of pressure among old style and present day dissidents is their contrasting sentiments concerning the state. Traditional dissidents buy in to negative opportunity. This is the possibility of a nonattendance of and government obstruction and outside requirements of the people self-with respect to acts. Negative opportunity recommends an unmistakable differentiation between the individual and the state. Since all nonconformists buy in to the Hobbesian perspective on human instinct the conviction that all individuals are narrow minded, forceful and serious. Accordingly the state demonstrations to its greatest advantage, and is additionally harsh, forcing a group upon society, along these lines constraining the opportunity and duties of the person. Regardless of this, old style nonconformists consider the to be as an important wickedness. They along these lines trust in an insignificant state, acting just to keep up household request and individual security, referred to traditional dissidents as a night guardian state. In any case, albeit current nonconformists additionally accept that the state is a vital fiendishness, they accept that a state is to a greater extent a need, while old style dissidents consider it to be in effect increasingly underhanded. We will compose a custom article test on What are the strains among current and old style progressivism explicitly for you for just $16.38 $13.9/page Request now We will compose a custom paper test on What are the pressures among present day and old style progressivism explicitly for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Recruit Writer We will compose a custom paper test on What are the pressures among present day and old style progressivism explicitly for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Recruit Writer Current nonconformists are adherents to positive opportunity. The rationalist T. H. Green contended against negative opportunity, saying that the over the top to quest for benefit had offered ascend to new types of neediness and bad form. The monetary freedom of the couple of had broken and diminished the existence odds of many. As indicated by Green, people had compassion toward each other and had the ability of being charitable. He contended that negative opportunity in business would permit a representative to utilize work at the least expensive rate conceivable, along these lines misusing laborers and hindering on their freedom. Opportunity of decision in the market, was, subsequently an insufficient origination of individual freedom. Thus Green built up the possibility of constructive opportunity which would give individuals opportunity. Henceforth he built up the possibility of constructive opportunity which would give individuals opportunity from the social indecencies which injured people groups lives. Opportunity is along these lines the capacity of the person to create and accomplish uniqueness. This includes the capacity of individual to understand their own latent capacity, accomplish aptitudes, information and accomplish satisfaction. The common laborers is consequently kept down by the disservices of destitution, infection, joblessness and numbness.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
A Case for Urban and Social Policy COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY - SIPA Admissions Blog Like many prospective graduate school applicants, I had a hard time deciding exactly which school or program was right for me. Itâs incredibly difficult to think about places, schools, and classes youâve never taken in the abstract, let alone even trying to compare them. While being incredibly fortunate, my situation is also a little complicated; as a Pickering Fellow, I am required to serve in the U.S. Foreign Service for five years after graduating from SIPA. While applying, I was attempting to reconcile my interest in domestic politics and cities, with my career and general interest in international relations. I wanted a degree that would wholly prepare me for my time in the Service, while also providing me the skills and expertise to succeed if I ever decided to leave the organization. SIPA made sense on a variety of baseline levels; itâs incredibly diverse, and very international, two things I value both personally and professionally. It is prestigious and known for producing top-end talent in almost every profession related to public service and government. When I got in, it was almost a no-brainer; I knew this is where I wanted to be. However, I had a much harder time deciding which concentration was right for me. As someone who has worked with numerous organizations engaged in human rights and refugee-related work, Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy was appealing. Similarly, Economic and Political Development sounded like a natural fit with the work Iâd be doing in the Service. Urban and Social Policy, with its focus on development and broad social issues, also piqued my interest. As you can probably guess, I ultimately decided to concentrate in USP. Now let me tell you why. An Excellent Urban Studies Educationâ¦in the Greatest City in the World Ever since I moved to my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I have been in love with cities. I want to know their population density, the history behind their most famous landmarks, the backgrounds of the migrants that shaped them. I want to know what sports teams the locals support, and the rivalries that may exist between different parts of town. Understanding a city, and its working class people is something that gives me immense joy and a feeling of understanding and solidarity with others, even if I am an outsider. It just so happens that SIPA is located in arguably the greatest, or at least the most culturally significant city in the world. USP concentrators have the unique opportunity to study their favorite policy issues with leaders in the field, who are often engaged in their work while teaching. If housing is your favorite issue, you can study with William Eimecke, the previous Secretary of Housing for New York State, and then witness every day how city and state leaders are attempting to solve the affordable housing crisis. If youâre interested in education, you can cross enroll in classes at Columbiaâs prestigious Teachers College, and intern at the NY Department of Education, one of the biggest city agencies of its kind in the world. If youâre considering running for political office, you can take classes with ex-Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter, and the legendary New York City Mayor David Dinkins. In summary, SIPA and New York attract some of the best minds in urban governan ce, and for this reason alone, SIPA has a comparative advantage to other schools with urban studies programs. Its Broad but You Can Make It Your Own If you say you study Urban and Social Policy, you inevitably have to tell someone what that actually means. Thatâs partly because it is so broad; almost every social issue is now inherently an urban issue and vice versa. That being said, SIPAâs requirements make it incredibly easy to find your niche within the concentration, while also providing students with a generalist background that will prepare them for any type of work in the field. I am personally passionate about anti-corruption and good governance initiatives, and have therefore taken numerous management and systems analysis oriented courses. One of my friends in the concentration has explored the growth of data and algorithms in public sector decision making, and its impact on communities of color. Another friend of mine is committed to understanding the intersection of gender and development in urban communities. As a future diplomat, I know I will be serving in some of the worldâs truly global cities; therefore, my USP education will provide me with the skills and knowledge I need to understand the key challenges these cities face, while also allowing me to dive deeper into many of my domestic interests. In turn, by drawing upon the experiences and interests of your peers, and the expertise of USPâs great faculty, you too can find your own place in this passionate and driven community. The People USP is a relatively small concentration, compared to some of the others available at SIPA. However, I consider this one of its greatest strengths. USP attracts bright, motivated and culturally savvy people from around the world, with many hailing from the worldâs fastest growing and important urban centers. On an intellectual level, this is incredibly rewarding; often, you will find yourself in the halls or off-campus at a small meet up, casually discussing an urban policy issue with people from entirely separate countries and cities, each one providing their perspectives and experiences. Socially, you are surrounded by people who also love the city, and all that it has to offer. Personally, I have felt that my education has extended well beyond the walls of SIPA, as my network of USPers continues to challenge me, and introduce me to new concepts and ideas on a daily basis. Decisions, Decisions, Decisionsâ¦ No matter where you are in the admissions process, I encourage all prospective or recently admitted students to think critically about what they want out of their graduate school experience and how every concentration or program may advance your personal and professional growth. Nonetheless, if you are passionate about cities and social issues, I suggest that you take a look at the concentrationâs requirements and electives which are available on the SIPA website. It will give you a better idea of the type of coursework you can expect, while also hopefully inspiring some excitement at the prospect of being a USP concentrator!
Friday, May 22, 2020
Sample details Pages: 8 Words: 2421 Downloads: 10 Date added: 2017/09/14 Category Advertising Essay Did you like this example? Place and Space Abstract At its most basic, Ã¢â¬Å"spaceÃ¢â¬ marketing simply offers your customers more than one channel to purchase your goods or services Ã¢â¬â through a retail establishment, a Web site and a catalog, for example. But harnessed properly, multichannel marketing does much more. It provides a business with more opportunities to interact with customers and potential customers. And those interactions can generate a closer relationship and more business with customers, as the messages in each channel reinforce the other channels. In fact, customers of multichannel companies spend 30% more than customers of one-channel companies. This essay reviews Ã¢â¬Å"spaceÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"placeÃ¢â¬ marketing and how customers can move from one to another. Examples are further given of organizations who have managed to create transparency between the two. Introduction Market space can be defined as a second, parallel world where buyers and sellers may never meet and the goods and services may be delivered in a different way than in a traditional setting. One example that makes definitions of place and space clear is when banks provide services to customers at branch offices (i. e. , the market place) and when customers use banksÃ¢â¬â¢ electronic online services (i. e. , the market space). Sviokla Rayport, 1995) conclude that Ã¢â¬Å"to succeed in this new economic environment, executives must understand the differences between value creation and extraction in the market place and in the market space: they must manage both effectively and in concert. Ã¢â¬ Background and significance The World Wide Web was invente d in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee (Barnes-Lee, 2000, para. 1). He started a whole new way of doing things in business. Companies now can use the power of the internet to sell their products. Today thousands of sites can advertise their goods on websites such as Myspace, Facebook, and such search engines like Google. DonÃ¢â¬â¢t waste time! Our writers will create an original "Marketing Place and Space" essay for you Create order Many of these sites offer free advertising, which is even better for the companies because there is no cost involved. Sponsored searches and online advertising are amazing marketing tools with clear advantages for brand building and driving both on- and offline sales. These new tactics that companies are using are and can have a huge impact on their profitability. E-commerce grew rapidly in the last decade in areas such as electronic buying and selling, in electronic markets for various products, and in the use of intelligent agents for commerce, as predicted by (Malone, Yates, Benjamin, 1987). But the recent failure of Internet companies has made both researchers and academicians wonder about which business models will lead to sustainable competitive advantage in the digital economy. . Managers of brick-and-mortar companies who now have come to understand the importance of e-business, but are not quite sure how to migrate from their existing business models to a combination of bricks-and-mortar and the Internet. Weill and Vitale (2001) express concern for the senior managers of Ã¢â¬Å"old economyÃ¢â¬ companies who have pressure from all sides: from investors, stock market analysts, employees, customers, suppliers and competitors to migrate from market place to market space. Place vs. space When comparing traditional business to e-business, one can see several differences between the two. The most obvious difference when buying standard goods (such as a toaster, a book, or a new computer) is the store. When dealing with e-business there is no real store or merchandise to look at. It is all presented through the merchants webpage, or by other electronic means. You will not be able to touch, or inspect potential purchases. All you will have to go on is perhaps a picture and a brief description of the item in question. This is obviously a big change from traditional store-based business practices. Why would any self-respecting consumer buy something via e-business if they were unable to touch, or inspect a potential purchase, and there is a real store just down the street? There are several reasons why e-business is appealing to a growing amount of people. If you are using the Internet, you are not bound by geography. You can access any site, anywhere in the world from the comfort of your computer chair. What does this mean to the consumer? Now the consumer has access to several things they didnt before. The consumer now has diversity and ease of purchase. How can customers move effortlessly from one to another? First, we must understand why companies are being drawn towards selling their products online. A well implemented web site can significantly lower both order taking costs up front and also customer service after the sale has been made. For example being located on the Internet means that place does not enter into the marketing mix of an e-commerce company. As its customers will not visit the business, it means having a prominent high street location is no longer of importance. Also when considering mail orders, there is no longer the need to endure the costs of designing, printing and sending out catalogues. These factors contribute to e-commerce companies being able to offer products at greatly reduced prices as overheads have been minimized. This has been a Ã¢â¬Å"win-winÃ¢â¬ for both marketers and consumers. Internet consumers have the opportunity to preview products, conduct price comparison, locate stores or purchase the product online. McCall et al (2005, p. 46) argue that for an Ã¢â¬Å"environment to be responsive its users must feel as if they have the ability to move around and interact with objects in their personal and action spaces. Ã¢â¬ They define Ã¢â¬Å"action spaceÃ¢â¬ as distance grater than arms length but less than 30 meters (Loomis Knapp, 2005, cited in McCall et al, 2005, p. 6). If this is true, then shopping the Internet is the perfect medium. It is indeed almost seamless transition for consumers with basic computer skills. Before, the advertiser was in control and trying to persuade the customer to buy a product or service. Now the customer is in control with a plethora of information at their fingertips. Moreover, the internet is a new two-way medium the advertising message is put out ther e, and the potential customer can comment on it, forward it to ten friends, mock it, improve on it, blog it, etc. This two-way medium has created a new form of Internet marketing and with it, additional challenges and benefits for marketers Overall, the Web is best conceptualized as a developing marketing channel that transcends national boundaries and encompasses elements of informing, investigating, interacting, distribution, transacting, eliciting feedback, and supporting. In the pre-purchase stage, the Web can be used to investigate (e. g. , conduct market research into consumer attitudes, needs, and wants; monitor competitors; benchmark other service organizations), for hich the flow of information is primarily toward the service provider, and inform (promote, position, advertise, and inform consumers of the service and its options), for which information flows toward the consumer. In the purchase stage, the Web can be used to facilitate transaction, in which the consumer provides information regarding order specifications, payment details, and delivery; interaction, in which the consumer a nd service provider interact to co create unique customized service packages; and distribution, in which the provider actually distributes the service to the consumer. Finally, in the post purchase stage, the Web can be used to elicit feedback (the service provider gathers information on options, suggestions, level of satisfaction, potential loyalty, future services, and other pertinent areas), for which information flows from the consumer to the service provider. Examples of companies who have successfully created the transparency Internet opens a world of opportunities to the organizations as well as customers. It gives customers a much wider choice of products, services and prices from various suppliers. For organizations, it gives opportunity to widen horizons by entering new markets and offering new services thereby competing with larger business. Yet, comparably speaking few companies have transitioned, evolved or created transparency in their Ã¢â¬Å"placeÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"spaceÃ¢â¬ strategies. Exceptions would be Dell Computers and Barnes and Noble, both written about in previous assignments (see appendix). These organizations make online shopping an Ã¢â¬Å"experienceÃ¢â¬ that truly benefits the consumer. Further, we could argue which drives customers Ã¢â¬Å"placeÃ¢â¬ or Ã¢â¬Å"spaceÃ¢â¬ in these companies as they complement each other so well. Conclusion Emerging technologies have redefined business by erasing the traditional boundaries of time and geography and creating new communities of customers, distributors and suppliers, with new demands for products and services. Most notably, the Internet has redefined how commerce occurs between businesses and consumers and with that, how businesses create, communicate, and deliver value to consumers marketing. With the evolution of the Internet over the past decade, the practice of marketing has changed significantly and will continue to evolve. Effective multichannel strategy requires integrated brand management that can customize the message for each channel; the messaging must work in isolation and in combination with the brand messages on co-channels. References Barnes-Lee, T. (2000). Weaving the web The original design and ultimate destiny of the world wide web (1st ed. ). New York, NY: Harper Paperbacks. Malone, T. W. , Yates, J. , Benjamin, R. I. (1987). Electronic markets and electronic hierarchies. Communications of the ACM, 30(6), 484-497. McCall, R. , OÃ¢â¬â¢Neill, S. , Carroll, F. Benyon, D. , Smyth, M. (2005). Responsive environments, place and presence. PsychNology, 3(1), 35-73. Sviokla, J. , Rayport, J. (1995, Nov/Dec). Exploiting the virtuall value chain. Harvard Business Review, 72(6), 141-151. Weill, P. , Vitale, M. (2001). Place to space Migrating to e-business models (1st ed. ). MA: Harvard Business Press. APPENDIX A Barnes and Noble e-business Barnes and Noble offers a variety of marketing tools to enhance the online shopping experience and add value to their relationships with their customers. The search engine on the site allows the customer to define book searches via a variety of methods including using the ISBN number for a known book. This tool is a very useful feature for academics and serious book lovers. This is a feature also offered by Doubleday and Amazon. A nice feature is that many of the search returns provide the customer with the option to buy a used copy of the book, of a slightly damaged copy at a significant discount. While Amazon also offers this service, Doubleday does not. This is a useful promotional tool that coupled with their discount membership offers their customers and excellent value. A customer value add from the BN site is the existence of a Barnes and Noble University, where a person can register for a series of web based training programs on a variety of topics from literary studies to musical instrument lessons. This is a value add that promotes further online and in store sales volume while providing a useful service. This service is an edge over Amazon that does not support a similar program. Barnes and Noble also offer a series of audio podcasts on a regular basis with featured authors as the guest speakers. This program comes as a subscription service with Barnes and Noble downloading a new podcast to their members computer each week. This is an excellent feature for the avid reader that wants to learn more about their favorite authors. While not as broad in their product offerings as Amazon, Barnes and Noble offers an interesting online experience, offering a number of useful services for their customers. Customer service and a help section with answers to frequently asked questions section serve to promote comfort with the shopping and purchasing process The company has been selling direct to consumers for over 25 years, beginning with its mail-order catalogue in the 1970s. Today, the Barnes Noble. com Web site serves as the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s largest store, enabling customers to order any book any time from anywhere. With more than one million unique titles, the siteÃ¢â¬â¢s standing inventory is the largest of any bookseller online. Customers also have access through Barnes Noble. com to millions of used and out-of-print titles from a network of authorized book dealers, as well as a vast selection of music CDs and DVDs. APPENDIX B Cost-efficient build-to-order manufacturing Dell builds its computers, workstations, and servers to order; none were produced for inventory. Dells build-to-order strategy meant that it had no in-house stock of finished goods inventories and that, unlike competitors using the traditional value chain model; it did not have to wait for resellers to clear out their own inventories before it could push new models into the marketplace-resellers typically operated with 30 to 60 days inventory of prebuilt models. Dell customers could order customer-equipped servers and workstations based on the needs of their applications. The orders were directed to the nearest factory. At all locations, the company had the capability to assemble PCs, workstations, and servers; typical orders were built and delivered in three to five days. Its in-house manufacturing delivered about 6% cost advantage versus outsourcing. This happened because Dell was not simply carrying component inventory against forecasted sales, but rather was aligning inventory and sales, managing profitability on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Second, as inventory disappeared, the companys returns grew disproportionately. Not only did Dell avoid carrying costs and obsolete stock, but it was also saving enormous amounts of money on purchasing components because the component prices were dropping 3 percent per month. Direct sales strategy Dell offered competitive prices, high levels of support, and a focus on selling and supporting PCs without the distraction of offering a full line of hardware and services. Further, Dell partnered with reputable suppliers of PC parts and components in long-term rather than to integrate backward and get into parts and components manufacturing on its own. Customer service and technical support This strategy includes value-added services, premier pages designed for all kinds of customers, companys website with local language and currencies, on-site service which charges fees to provide technical support and other services. Use of the internet and e-commerce technology Dell was a leader in using the Internet and e-commerce. Dell is offering its customers its own individual touch on your orders; it has always been DellÃ¢â¬â¢s main area of expertise. If customers feel they are getting special treatment from an order, it will make them feel as if they are being personally praised for their order. They are focusing on the fact of being a product lead company, and by cutting out the retail side within shops worldwide they are able to focus more on customer needs Dell listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell sells more systems globally than any computer company, placing it No. 33 on the Fortune 500. Dells climb to market leadership is the result of a persistent focus on delivering the best possible customer experience by directly selling standards-based computing products and services. Revenue for the last four quarters totaled $59. 4 billion.
Saturday, May 9, 2020
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Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Ã¢â¬Å"You called us together for biblical porn?Ã¢â¬ Hugh turned away with disinterest from where the vampires and I huddled around my kitchen table. Barely a bruise showed on him anymore. Putting a cigarette to his lips, the imp produced a lighter from his coat pocket. We will write a custom essay sample on Succubus Blues CHAPTER 14 or any similar topic only for you Order Now Ã¢â¬Å"DonÃ¢â¬â¢t smoke in here,Ã¢â¬ I warned. Ã¢â¬Å"What do you care? Are you saying you didnÃ¢â¬â¢t smoke throughout most of the twentieth century?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m not saying that at all. But I donÃ¢â¬â¢t do it anymore. Besides, itÃ¢â¬â¢s bad for Aubrey.Ã¢â¬ The cat, sitting on one of my counters, paused mid-bath at the sound of her name and eyed him askance. Hugh, glaring back, took a long drag on the cigarette before putting it out on the countertop next to her. She returned to her cleaning, and he paced around the apartment. Beside me, Cody leaned over the table, studying my proffered Bible. Ã¢â¬Å"I donÃ¢â¬â¢t get how these guys are actually angels. Ã¢â¬ËSons of GodÃ¢â¬â¢ seems like a generic term for humans. I mean, arenÃ¢â¬â¢t we all supposed to be children of God?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Present company excluded, of course,Ã¢â¬ called Hugh from the living room. Then: Ã¢â¬Å"Jesus Christ! WhereÃ¢â¬â¢d you get this bookcase? Hiroshima?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Theoretically we are,Ã¢â¬ I agreed, ignoring the imp and answering CodyÃ¢â¬â¢s question. IÃ¢â¬â¢d done a lot of biblical perusal since my earlier discovery today and was growing tired of looking at the book. Ã¢â¬Å"But WarrenÃ¢â¬â¢s right Ã¢â¬â that term is used throughout to refer to angels. Plus, the women here arenÃ¢â¬â¢t called Ã¢â¬Ëdaughters of God.Ã¢â¬â¢ TheyÃ¢â¬â¢re called Ã¢â¬Ëdaughters of men.Ã¢â¬â¢ TheyÃ¢â¬â¢re human, their husbands are not.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Could just be good old-fashioned sexism.Ã¢â¬ Peter had finally taken the plunge and shaved his hair off. I did not find the look flattering at all, considering the shape of his head. Ã¢â¬Å"ItÃ¢â¬â¢s not like thatÃ¢â¬â¢d be a new concept in the Bible.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Nah, I think GeorginaÃ¢â¬â¢s right,Ã¢â¬ said Hugh, returning to us. Ã¢â¬Å"I mean, we know something made angels fall. Lust is as good a reason as any, and it beats the hell out of gluttony or sloth.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"So whatÃ¢â¬â¢s the point then?Ã¢â¬ Peter wanted to know. Ã¢â¬Å"How does this relate to the not-just-a-vampire hunter?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Here.Ã¢â¬ I pointed to verse 6:4. Ã¢â¬Å"It says, Ã¢â¬ËThere were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.Ã¢â¬â¢ The key words here are Ã¢â¬Ëin those daysÃ¢â¬â¢ and Ã¢â¬Ëalso after that.Ã¢â¬â¢ ItÃ¢â¬â¢s saying angels have fallen for human women more than once. This answers our question about whether angels still fall anymore. They do.Ã¢â¬ Cody was nodding along with me. Ã¢â¬Å"Which backs up your theory that one is trying to fall right now.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"It doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t sound like lust is going to be his catalyst, though,Ã¢â¬ Hugh noted. Ã¢â¬Å"I think assault and battery will do it first.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Unless itÃ¢â¬â¢s lust for Georgina,Ã¢â¬ suggested Peter dryly. Ã¢â¬Å"He seems to think youÃ¢â¬â¢re pretty enough.Ã¢â¬ Something odd struck me at HughÃ¢â¬â¢s observation. Ã¢â¬Å"Would assault and battery really do it, though? Especially of vampires and imps? It might be frowned upon by the other side, but IÃ¢â¬â¢m not convinced taking out evil agents would necessarily warrant an angel turning into a demon.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Past evidence suggests the other side isnÃ¢â¬â¢t exactlyÃ¢â¬ ¦ flexible with transgressors,Ã¢â¬ observed the imp. Ã¢â¬Å"And ours is?Ã¢â¬ wondered Peter. Cody gave me a sharp look. Ã¢â¬Å"Are you backing out of your own theory?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No, no. IÃ¢â¬â¢m suddenly reconsidering the falling bit, thatÃ¢â¬â¢s all. The Ã¢â¬ËrogueÃ¢â¬â¢ or Ã¢â¬ËrenegadeÃ¢â¬â¢ part might be more accurate.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"But your note did mention angels falling,Ã¢â¬ Hugh pointed out. Ã¢â¬Å"Surely thatÃ¢â¬â¢s indicative of something? A meaningful clue and not just a bad attempt at humor?Ã¢â¬ I thought about the note. Yes, Hugh was right. I felt certain the noteÃ¢â¬â¢s content played a role here; I just couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t yet grasp what it meant. Ã¢â¬Å"Bad humor is par for the course with angels,Ã¢â¬ Peter reminded us. Ã¢â¬Å"At least if CarterÃ¢â¬â¢s any indication.Ã¢â¬ I hesitated a moment, nervous about bringing up my secondary theory. They all seemed to be going along with the angel idea, however, so I figured it was now or never. Ã¢â¬Å"Do you guys thinkÃ¢â¬ ¦ do you think itÃ¢â¬â¢s possible Carter might be the one behind all of this?Ã¢â¬ Three sets of eyes turned on me in astonishment. Hugh spoke first. Ã¢â¬Å"What? Are you crazy? I know you two spar a lot, but Christ, if you thinkÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"CarterÃ¢â¬â¢s one of us,Ã¢â¬ agreed Cody fiercely. Ã¢â¬Å"I know, I know.Ã¢â¬ I proceeded to explain the reasoning behind my accusation, citing his weird shadowing of me and subsequent conversation at ErikÃ¢â¬â¢s. Silence fell. Finally, Peter said, Ã¢â¬Å"All of that is strange. But I still canÃ¢â¬â¢t buy it. Not Carter.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Not Carter,Ã¢â¬ agreed Hugh. Ã¢â¬Å"Oh, I see. EveryoneÃ¢â¬â¢s quick to implicate me for Duane, but not perfect Carter?Ã¢â¬ My ire rose at their automatic solidarity, at the idea that Carter would be above reproach. Ã¢â¬Å"Why does he hang out with us then? Have you ever heard of an angel doing anything like that?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"WeÃ¢â¬â¢re his friends,Ã¢â¬ said Cody. Ã¢â¬Å"And weÃ¢â¬â¢re more fun,Ã¢â¬ added Hugh. Ã¢â¬Å"You can believe that if you want, but not me. Going from pub to pub with a demon and his cronies is the perfect setup for sabotage. HeÃ¢â¬â¢s been spying on us. YouÃ¢â¬â¢re just biased because heÃ¢â¬â¢s such a good drinking buddy.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"And donÃ¢â¬â¢t you think, Georgina,Ã¢â¬ warned Peter, Ã¢â¬Å"thereÃ¢â¬â¢s just the slightest possibility that youÃ¢â¬â¢re the one whoÃ¢â¬â¢s biased? I admit, this crazy angel theory makes more and more sense as time goes on, but whereÃ¢â¬â¢d Carter come from?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Yeah,Ã¢â¬ said Hugh. Ã¢â¬Å"Seems like you just sort of threw him in for no good reason. Everyone knows you two donÃ¢â¬â¢t get along.Ã¢â¬ I stared disbelievingly at the three sets of angry eyes. Ã¢â¬Å"I have plenty of good reason. How do you explain him being at ErikÃ¢â¬â¢s?Ã¢â¬ The imp shook his head. Ã¢â¬Å"We all know Erik. Carter could have been there for the same reasons you were.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"What about the things he said?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"What did he say really?Ã¢â¬ Peter asked. Ã¢â¬Å"Was he like, Ã¢â¬ËHey Georgina, hope you got my noteÃ¢â¬â¢? ItÃ¢â¬â¢s all pretty flimsy.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Look, IÃ¢â¬â¢m not saying I have strong evidence, just that circumstantially Ã¢â¬â Ã¢â¬Å" Ã¢â¬Å"I need to go,Ã¢â¬ interjected Cody, standing up. I gave him a cold look. Had I pushed them that far? Ã¢â¬Å"I understand if you donÃ¢â¬â¢t agree with me, but donÃ¢â¬â¢t just walk out.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No, thereÃ¢â¬â¢s something IÃ¢â¬â¢ve got to do.Ã¢â¬ Peter rolled his eyes. Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢re not the only one dating now, Georgina. Cody wonÃ¢â¬â¢t admit it, but I think heÃ¢â¬â¢s got a woman stashed somewhere.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"A live one?Ã¢â¬ asked Hugh, impressed. Cody put his coat on. Ã¢â¬Å"You guys donÃ¢â¬â¢t know anything.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Well, be careful,Ã¢â¬ I warned automatically. The tense mood was suddenly shattered, and no one seemed to be angry with me about suspecting Carter anymore. It was clear, however, that no one believed me about him either. They were dismissing my ideas like one does a childÃ¢â¬â¢s irrational fears or imaginary friends. The vampires left together, and Hugh followed soon thereafter. I wandered off to bed, still trying to put the pieces into place. The note writer had made a reference to angels falling for beautiful women; that had to be significant. Yet, I just couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t reconcile it with this bizarre pair of attacks on Duane and Hugh, which had more to do with violence and brutality than beauty or lust. When I got to work the next day, my e-mail inbox revealed a new message from Seth, and I feared some sort of follow-up to his date request from yesterday. Instead, he merely responded to my last message, which had been one in an ongoing conversation about his observations of the Northwest. The messageÃ¢â¬â¢s writing style and voice were as entertaining as ever, and he seemed for all the world not to have minded Ã¢â¬â or even noticed Ã¢â¬â my wacky rejection yesterday. I verified this further when I went upstairs to buy coffee. Seth sat in his usual corner, typing away, oblivious to it being Saturday. I paused and said hello, getting a typically distracted response in return. He did not mention asking me to the party, did not seem upset, and indeed apparently didnÃ¢â¬â¢t care at all about it. I supposed I should have been grateful that heÃ¢â¬â¢d recovered so quickly, that he wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t pining or breaking his heart over me, but my selfishness couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t help but feel a little disappointed. I wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t have minded making a slightly stronger impression on him, one that elicited some regret over my refusal. Doug and Roman, for example, hadnÃ¢â¬â¢t let one rejection deter them. What a fickle creature I was. Thinking of both of them reminded me I was meeting Roman later to go to DougÃ¢â¬â¢s concert. I grew heady at the thought of seeing Roman again, though apprehension tinged the feeling. I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t like him having this effect on me, and I had thus far demonstrated no aptitude in refusing his advances. We were going to reach a critical point one of these days, and I feared for its outcome. I suspected that when it did come, I would wish Roman had bowed out of my pursuit so easily as Seth seemed to have. Such worries vanished from my mind that evening when I admitted Roman into my apartment. He wore dress clothing all done in elegant shades of blue and silvery gray, every hair and fold perfectly in place. He flashed me one of those devastating smiles, and I made sure my knees didnÃ¢â¬â¢t start knocking, schoolgirl style. Ã¢â¬Å"You do realize this is a post-grunge, punk rock, ska -type of concert weÃ¢â¬â¢re going to. Most everyone else will be in jeans and T-shirts. Maybe some leather here and there.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Most good dates do end in leather.Ã¢â¬ His eyes took in the sights of the apartment, lingering briefly on the bookcase. Ã¢â¬Å"But didnÃ¢â¬â¢t you say this was a late show?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Yup. Starts at eleven.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"That gives us four hours to burn, love. YouÃ¢â¬â¢re going to have to change.Ã¢â¬ I looked down at my black jeans and red tank top. Ã¢â¬Å"This wonÃ¢â¬â¢t work?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"That does wonderful things for your legs, I admit, but I think youÃ¢â¬â¢re going to want a skirt or dress. Something like you wore swing dancing, only maybeÃ¢â¬ ¦ steamier.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m pretty sure IÃ¢â¬â¢ve never heard the word Ã¢â¬ËsteamyÃ¢â¬â¢ applied to any of my wardrobe.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I find that hard to believe.Ã¢â¬ He pointed down my hall. Ã¢â¬Å"Go. The clock is ticking.Ã¢â¬ Ten minutes later I returned in a clingy, navy dress made of georgette. It had spaghetti straps and an asymmetrical hemline, jagged and ruffled, that rose high on my left leg. I had taken my hair out of its ponytail and now wore it long over my shoulders. Roman looked up from where heÃ¢â¬â¢d been having meaningful, eye-to-eye communication with Aubrey. Ã¢â¬Å"Steamy.Ã¢â¬ He pointed to the King James Bible sitting on my coffee table. It was open, like heÃ¢â¬â¢d been perusing. Ã¢â¬Å"I never took you for the churchgoing type.Ã¢â¬ Both Seth and Warren had made similar jokes. That thing was ruining my reputation. Ã¢â¬Å"Just something IÃ¢â¬â¢m researching. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s only been moderately useful.Ã¢â¬ Roman stood up and stretched. Ã¢â¬Å"Probably because thatÃ¢â¬â¢s one of the worst translations out there.Ã¢â¬ I remembered the plethora of Bibles. Ã¢â¬Å"Is there a better one youÃ¢â¬â¢d recommend?Ã¢â¬ He shrugged. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m no expert, but youÃ¢â¬â¢d probably get more out of one meant for research, not devotional use. Annotated ones. Ones that they use in college classes.Ã¢â¬ I filed the information away, wondering if the mystery verses might still have more to reveal. For now, I had a date to contend with. We ended up at a small, hidden Mexican restaurant IÃ¢â¬â¢d never been to. The waiters spoke Spanish Ã¢â¬â as did Roman, it turned out Ã¢â¬â and the food had not been watered down for Americans. When two margaritas appeared on our table, I realized Roman had ordered one for me. Ã¢â¬Å"I donÃ¢â¬â¢t want to drink tonight.Ã¢â¬ I recalled how flaky IÃ¢â¬â¢d been the last time we went out. He stared at me like IÃ¢â¬â¢d just declared I was going to stop breathing for a change. Ã¢â¬Å"You have to be kidding. This place makes the best margaritas north of the Rio Grande.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I want to stay sober tonight.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"One wonÃ¢â¬â¢t kill you. Take it with food, and you wonÃ¢â¬â¢t even notice.Ã¢â¬ I stayed silent. Ã¢â¬Å"For ChristÃ¢â¬â¢s sake, Georgina, just try the salt. One taste and youÃ¢â¬â¢ll be hooked.Ã¢â¬ I reluctantly ran my tongue around the edge. It triggered a longing to taste tequila that rivaled my succubus urge for sex. Giving in against my better judgment, I took a sip. It was fantastic. The food was too, not surprisingly, and I ended up having two margaritas, instead of just the one. Roman proved to be right about drinking with food, fortunately, and I only felt mildly buzzed. I did not feel out of control and knew I could handle things until the sobering up began. Ã¢â¬Å"Two more hours,Ã¢â¬ I told him as we left the restaurant. Ã¢â¬Å"Got something else in mind?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Sure do.Ã¢â¬ He inclined his head across the street, and I followed his motion. MiguelÃ¢â¬â¢s. I racked my brain. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢ve heard of that placeÃ¢â¬ ¦ wait, they do salsa dancing there, donÃ¢â¬â¢t they?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Yup. Ever tried it?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"What? I thought you were a dancing queen.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m not done with swing yet.Ã¢â¬ Truthfully, I was dying to try salsa. Like Seth MortensenÃ¢â¬â¢s books, though, I did not like to burn through too much of a good thing too fast. I still enjoyed swing and wanted to run it into the ground before I switched dances. Long life tended to make one savor things more. Ã¢â¬Å"Well, now youÃ¢â¬â¢ll just have to multitask.Ã¢â¬ Taking my hand, he led me across the street. I tried to protest but couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t really explain my reasoning to him, and so, like the margaritas, I gave in fairly easily. The club was warm and packed with bodies, and the music was to die for. My feet immediately began counting out beats as Roman paid our entrance fee and led me to the dance floor. Just like with swing, he turned out to be an expert at salsa, and I found myself easily catching on after a few practices. I might not have demonstrated much talent for standing my ground against margaritas, but I had been dancing for centuries. The skill was fused into me. Salsa turned out to be a lot sexier than swing. Not that swing wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t sexy, mind you, but salsa had a dark, sinuous edge about it. One couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t help but focus on the closeness of the other personÃ¢â¬â¢s body, the way hips moved together. I now knew what Roman had meant about steamy. After about a half hour, we took a break, and he led us to the bar. Ã¢â¬ Mojitosnow,Ã¢â¬ he told me, holding up two fingers for the bartender. Ã¢â¬Å"In keeping with our Latin theme tonight.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I canÃ¢â¬â¢tÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ But the mojitos appeared without my counsel and turned out to be pretty damned good. We finished them faster than we should have, so we could get back out on the floor. By the time we had to leave for DougÃ¢â¬â¢s concert, post-grunge, punk rock, ska -type music didnÃ¢â¬â¢t sound so good anymore. I was exhilarated from dancing, hot and sweaty, and IÃ¢â¬â¢d gone through another mojito and a tequila chaser. I knew IÃ¢â¬â¢d found a new passion in salsa and silently cursed Roman for what would probably become a dancing addiction, even though I had exalted in the movement. His body had moved with a seductive grace, brushing against mine in a way that left me quivering and aching. We stumbled out into the street, holding hands, breathless and laughing. The world spun around me slightly, and I decided it was probably just as well weÃ¢â¬â¢d left when we did. My motor controls had stopped operating at normal levels. Ã¢â¬Å"Okay, whereÃ¢â¬â¢d we park?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢ve got to be kidding,Ã¢â¬ I told him, jerking him around the corner where I could see the soft glow of a yellow taxi. Ã¢â¬Å"We have to take a cab.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Come on, IÃ¢â¬â¢m not that bad.Ã¢â¬ But he had the wisdom to protest no further, and we caught the taxi up to the brewery in Greenlake. People milled in and out of the building; there had been two other performances before DougÃ¢â¬â¢s. As I had feared, our posh dancing clothing looked hopelessly out of place among the rough and tumble ware of the college-aged, but it no longer seemed the big deal it had when Roman picked me up. Ã¢â¬Å"DonÃ¢â¬â¢t get caught up in fashion games,Ã¢â¬ he advised as we squeezed our way inside the packed brewery. Ã¢â¬Å"These kids probably think weÃ¢â¬â¢re old, nark conformists or something, but really, theyÃ¢â¬â¢re just conforming in their own ways. TheyÃ¢â¬â¢re conforming to nonconformity.Ã¢â¬ I scanned for the bookstore crew, hoping theyÃ¢â¬â¢d secured a table. Ã¢â¬Å"Oh no. You donÃ¢â¬â¢t wax political when youÃ¢â¬â¢re drunk, do you?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No, no. I just get tired of people always trying to fit a mold, trying to toe some line, regardless if itÃ¢â¬â¢s right or left. IÃ¢â¬â¢m proud to be the best-dressed person in this room. Make your own rules, thatÃ¢â¬â¢s what I say.Ã¢â¬ I spotted Beth and dragged Roman over to a table on the other side of the room. Other bookstore natives sat with her: Casey, Andy, Bruce Ã¢â¬â and Seth. My stomach sank. Ã¢â¬Å"Nice dress,Ã¢â¬ said Bruce. Ã¢â¬Å"We saved you a seat.Ã¢â¬ Casey indicated a chair. Ã¢â¬Å"I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t realize youÃ¢â¬â¢d have aÃ¢â¬ ¦ friend.Ã¢â¬ The chair situation held little concern for me. All I could feel were SethÃ¢â¬â¢s eyes on me, his face thoughtful but neutral. Flushing, I felt like a complete idiot and wished I could just turn around and leave. After refusing him with my stupid tirade about not dating, here I was, hand in hand, drunk off my ass with Roman. I couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t even imagine what Seth must think of me now. Ã¢â¬Å"Not a problem,Ã¢â¬ Roman declared, oblivious to my churning emotions and unfazed by my colleaguesÃ¢â¬â¢ bemused attention. He sat down in the chair, pulling me onto his lap. Ã¢â¬Å"WeÃ¢â¬â¢ll share.Ã¢â¬ Andy made a bar run, bringing back beers for all of us except Seth who, just like with caffeine, chose to abstain. Roman and I explained where weÃ¢â¬â¢d been, lauding salsa as the worldÃ¢â¬â¢s new greatest pastime, thus earning demands from the others that I start up a second wave of dance lessons. DougÃ¢â¬â¢s group soon came on stage, and we all cheered appropriately at the sight of Doug-the-assistant-manager turned Doug-the-lead-singer of Nocturnal Admission. Beer kept coming, and while continuing to drink was probably the stupidest thing I could have done, I was beyond the point where I could reasonably stop. Besides, I had too many other things to worry about. Like avoiding eye contact with a thus-far-silent Seth. And savoring the feel of being on top of Roman, his chest against my back and arms around my waist. His chin rested on my shoulder, giving him easy access to whisper in my ear and occasionally run his lips by my neck. The hardness I felt underneath my thighs suggested I wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t the only one getting something out of this seating arrangement. Doug came to talk to us during a break, covered in sweat but thoroughly ecstatic. He took in the sight of me plastered on Roman. Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢re a little overdressed, arenÃ¢â¬â¢t you, Kin- caid?Ã¢â¬ He reconsidered. Ã¢â¬Å"Or under. Hard to say.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢re one to talk,Ã¢â¬ I shot back, finishing myÃ¢â¬ ¦ secondÃ¢â¬ ¦ or was it thirdÃ¢â¬ ¦ beer. Doug wore tight, red vinyl pants; combat boots; and a long, purple velvet jacket left open to expose his chest. A ragged top hat perched jauntily on his head. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m part of the entertainment, babe.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"So am I, babe.Ã¢â¬ Some of the others chuckled. DougÃ¢â¬â¢s expression turned disapproving, but he said nothing to me, instead making some comment to Beth about the number of people who had turned out for the show. I entered that weird sort of tunnel vision that occurs sometimes with alcohol, where I became so consumed with my own buzzing, swirling perceptions that the conversation and noise around me blurred to an indistinct drone, and faces and colors faded out to an irrelevant background separate from my existence. Indeed, all I really felt was Roman. Every nerve in me was screaming, and I wished the hands he rested on my stomach would slide up to touch my breasts. I could already feel my nipples hardening under the thin fabric and wondered what itÃ¢â¬â¢d be like to turn around and ride him like I had WarrenÃ¢â¬ ¦ Ã¢â¬Å"Restroom,Ã¢â¬ I suddenly exclaimed, clambering ungracefully off Roman. It was weird how oneÃ¢â¬â¢s bladder could turn from tolerable to unbearable so quickly. Ã¢â¬Å"WhereÃ¢â¬â¢s the restroom here?Ã¢â¬ The others looked at me strangely, or so it seemed to me. Ã¢â¬Å"Back there,Ã¢â¬ pointed Casey, her voice sounding far away despite her close proximity. Ã¢â¬Å"You okay?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Yeah.Ã¢â¬ I pushed a slipping strap up. Ã¢â¬Å"I just need to use the restroom.Ã¢â¬ And get away from Roman, I silently added, so I can think about things clearly. Not that that last feat would probably be possible in my current state. Roman started to rise, as drunk and fumbling as me. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢ll go with you Ã¢â¬â Ã¢â¬Å" Ã¢â¬Å"I will,Ã¢â¬ offered Doug hastily. Ã¢â¬Å"I need to get back there anyway before the next set.Ã¢â¬ Taking my arm, he wound us through the people toward a less-populated back hallway. I staggered slightly as we went, and he slowed his pace to help. Ã¢â¬Å"How much have you had to drink?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Before or after I got here?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Holy shit. You are trashed.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You got a problem with it?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Hardly. How do you think I spend most of my nights off?Ã¢â¬ We paused outside the ladiesÃ¢â¬â¢ restroom. Ã¢â¬Å"I bet Seth thinks IÃ¢â¬â¢m a lush.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Why would he think that?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You donÃ¢â¬â¢t see him drinking. HeÃ¢â¬â¢s such a fucking purist. Him and his stupid no caffeine and no alcohol shit.Ã¢â¬ DougÃ¢â¬â¢s dark eyes flickered in surprise at my language. Ã¢â¬Å"Not all nondrinkers despise drinkers, you know. Besides, SethÃ¢â¬â¢s not the one IÃ¢â¬â¢m worried about. IÃ¢â¬â¢m more concerned about Mr. Happy Hands out there.Ã¢â¬ I blinked, confused. Then: Ã¢â¬Å"You mean Roman?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢ve come a long way from refusing to date to practically making out in public.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"So?Ã¢â¬ I countered hotly. Ã¢â¬Å"CanÃ¢â¬â¢t I be with someone? ArenÃ¢â¬â¢t I entitled to do something for a change thatÃ¢â¬â¢s actually something I want to do, not something I have to do?Ã¢â¬ My words came out with more bitter truth Ã¢â¬â and volume Ã¢â¬â than I intended. Ã¢â¬Å"Of course,Ã¢â¬ he soothed, Ã¢â¬Å"but you arenÃ¢â¬â¢t yourself tonight. YouÃ¢â¬â¢re going to do something stupid if youÃ¢â¬â¢re not careful. Something youÃ¢â¬â¢ll regret later. You should ask Casey or Beth to take you home Ã¢â¬â Ã¢â¬Å" Ã¢â¬Å"Oh, youÃ¢â¬â¢re a piece of work,Ã¢â¬ I exclaimed. I knew I was being irrational, that IÃ¢â¬â¢d never have turned on Doug sober, but I couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t stop. Ã¢â¬Å"Just because I wonÃ¢â¬â¢t go out with you, just because I choose to fuck Warren or someone else, then you have to step in and try to keep me pure and untouched. If you canÃ¢â¬â¢t have me, then no one can, is that it?Ã¢â¬ Doug blanched, and a few passersby stared at us. Ã¢â¬Å"Christ, Georgina, no Ã¢â¬â Ã¢â¬Å" Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢re such a fucking hypocrite,Ã¢â¬ I yelled at him. Ã¢â¬Å"You have no right to tell me what to do! No fucking right.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m not, I Ã¢â¬â Ã¢â¬Å" I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t listen to what else he had to say. Turning, I stormed into the ladiesÃ¢â¬â¢ restroom, the only place I could go to escape these men. When IÃ¢â¬â¢d finished and gone to wash my hands, I looked up in the mirror. Did I look trashed? My cheeks were pink, some of the waves in my hair a little limper than when IÃ¢â¬â¢d started the evening. And I was sweating. Not too trashed, I decided. I could be a lot worse. I felt hesitant to leave the restroom, fearing Doug waited for me. I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t want to talk to him. Another woman came in with a lit cigarette, and I bummed one off her, smoking it in its entirety while I crouched in a corner to kill time. When I heard the band kick up again, I knew it was safe. I walked out of the restroom and ran straight into Roman. Ã¢â¬Å"Are you okay?Ã¢â¬ he asked, his hands catching me around the waist to steady me. Ã¢â¬Å"I was worried when you didnÃ¢â¬â¢t come back.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"YeahÃ¢â¬ ¦ IÃ¢â¬â¢m fineÃ¢â¬ ¦ er, no, I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know,Ã¢â¬ I admitted, leaning into him, wrapping my arms around him. Ã¢â¬Å"I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know whatÃ¢â¬â¢s going on. I feel so strange.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"ItÃ¢â¬â¢s all right,Ã¢â¬ he told me, patting my back. Ã¢â¬Å"EverythingÃ¢â¬â¢s going to be all right. Do you need to leave? Is there anything I can do?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬ ¦ donÃ¢â¬â¢t knowÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ I pulled away slightly, looking up into his eyes. Those blue-green depths were drowning me, and suddenly, I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t care. I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know who started it Ã¢â¬â it could have been either of us Ã¢â¬â but suddenly we were kissing, there in the middle of the hallway, arms pulling each other tighter, lips and tongues working furiously. The alcohol enhanced my base physical response yet numbed my awareness of succubus energy absorption. It must have still been working in spite of my inability to sense it, however, because Roman abruptly pulled away from me, looking aghast. Ã¢â¬Å"WeirdÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ He put a hand to his forehead. Ã¢â¬Å"I feelÃ¢â¬ ¦ dizzy all of a sudden.Ã¢â¬ He hesitated a moment then shook it off, pulling me toward him again. Just like all the others. They never caught on that it was me doing it, me hurting them, so they still came back for more. His pause had been what I needed to gain some tiny sense of clarity in my drunken cloud. What had I done? What had I let myself become tonight? Every interaction with Roman had pushed me past another boundary. First IÃ¢â¬â¢d said we wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t date. Then IÃ¢â¬â¢d confined us to limited dates. Tonight IÃ¢â¬â¢d sworn I wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t drink, and now I could barely stand up from all the booze. Kissing was another taboo I had just broken. And it would only lead to the inevitableÃ¢â¬ ¦ In my mindÃ¢â¬â¢s eye, I could see us after sex. Roman would sprawl, pale and exhausted, drained of his life. That energy would crackle through me like an electric current, and he would stare at me, weak and confused, unable to comprehend what he no longer had. Depending on how much I stole from him, he would lose years off his life. Some sloppy succubi had even been known to kill victims by drinking too much life too fast. Ã¢â¬Å"NoÃ¢â¬ ¦ noÃ¢â¬ ¦ donÃ¢â¬â¢t.Ã¢â¬ I pushed him away, unwilling to see that future realized, but his arm still held me. Looking beyond him, I suddenly caught sight of Seth coming down the hallway. He froze when he saw us, but I was too preoccupied to pay any attention to the writer. I was a hairÃ¢â¬â¢s breath away from kissing Roman again, from taking him somewhere Ã¢â¬â anywhere Ã¢â¬â where we could be alone and naked, where I could do all the things IÃ¢â¬â¢d fantasized doing with him. Another kissÃ¢â¬ ¦ another kiss, and I would not be able to stop. I wanted it too much. I wanted to be with someone I wanted. Just once after all these years. And that was exactly why I couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t do it. Ã¢â¬Å"GeorginaÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ began Roman confusedly, hands still on me. Ã¢â¬Å"Please,Ã¢â¬ I begged, my voice a whisper, Ã¢â¬Å"let me go. Please let me go. You have to let me go.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"WhatÃ¢â¬â¢s wrong? I donÃ¢â¬â¢t understand.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Please let me go,Ã¢â¬ I repeated. Ã¢â¬Å"Let me go!Ã¢â¬ The sudden volume of my own voice startled me, giving me a small boost of will to break from his grasp. He reached toward me, saying my name, but I stepped back. I sounded hysterical, like a crazy woman, and Roman was looking at me rightfully so. Ã¢â¬Å"DonÃ¢â¬â¢t touch me. DonÃ¢â¬â¢t. Touch. Me!Ã¢â¬ My anger was more at myself, at my life, than it was at him. A terrible rage and frustration, amplified by alcohol, coursed through me at the universe. The world wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t fair. It wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t fair that some people had perfect lives. That beautiful civilizations should fall to dust. That babies should be born with only a handful of breaths. That I should be trapped in this cruel joke of an existence. An eternity of making love without love. Ã¢â¬Å"GeorginaÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"DonÃ¢â¬â¢t touch me. Ever again. Please,Ã¢â¬ I whispered hoarsely, and then, I did the only thing left to me. Escape. I ran. I turned from him and ran down the hall, away from Roman, away from Seth, away from the main seating area. I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t know where I was going, but it would keep me safe. Would keep Roman safe. I might not be able to heal my own pain, but I could prevent any more from coming to him. My poor coordination and desperation made me run into people who responded with varying degrees of politeness to my mania. Was Roman behind me? I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t know. HeÃ¢â¬â¢d drunk at least as much as I had; his coordination couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t be any better. If I could just be alone, I could shape-shift or go invisible and get out of hereÃ¢â¬ ¦ I burst through a door, and a wave of cool night air suddenly engulfed me. Gasping, I looked around. I stood in the back parking lot. It was packed with cars, and a few people smoking pot lingered around, most not paying attention to me. The door IÃ¢â¬â¢d come through opened, and I turned, expecting Roman. Instead, I saw Seth, looking anxious. Ã¢â¬Å"Stay away from me,Ã¢â¬ I warned. He held up his hands, palms forward in an appeasing gesture as he approached me slowly. Ã¢â¬Å"Are you okay?Ã¢â¬ I took two steps back, fumbling for my purse. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m fine. I just have toÃ¢â¬ ¦ have to get away from hereÃ¢â¬ ¦ get away from him.Ã¢â¬ I pulled out my cell phone, intending to call one of the vampires. It slipped from my hands, dodged my attempts to catch it, and hit the asphalt with a sickening crack. Ã¢â¬Å"Oh shit.Ã¢â¬ Kneeling down, I picked up the phone, looking with dismay at the gibberish on the display. Ã¢â¬Å"Shit,Ã¢â¬ I repeated. Seth knelt by me. Ã¢â¬Å"What can I do?Ã¢â¬ I looked up at him, his face swimming in my blurred vision. Ã¢â¬Å"I have to get out of here. I have to get away from him.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Okay. Come on. IÃ¢â¬â¢ll take you home.Ã¢â¬ Seth took my arm, and I had a faint recollection of being led a few blocks to some dark-colored car. He helped me inside and drove away. Leaning back, I sank into the motion of the drive, letting it pull me under, the backward and forward of inertia, backward and forward, backward and forwardÃ¢â¬ ¦ Ã¢â¬Å"Pullover.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"What?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Pull over now!Ã¢â¬ He complied, and I opened the door, expelling the contents of my stomach onto the street outside. When I had finished, Seth waited a moment before asking, Ã¢â¬Å"Are you okay to keep going?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Yeah.Ã¢â¬ But a few minutes later, I made him pull over and repeated the process. Ã¢â¬Å"ThisÃ¢â¬ ¦ car ride is killing me,Ã¢â¬ I gasped once we were on the road again. Ã¢â¬Å"I canÃ¢â¬â¢t stay in the car. The motionÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ SethÃ¢â¬â¢s brow furrowed, and he suddenly made a hard right that nearly set me to throwing up inside the car. Ã¢â¬Å"Sorry,Ã¢â¬ he said. We drove a few more minutes, and I was on the verge of asking him to pull over again when the car stopped. He helped me out, and I looked around, not recognizing the building in front of us. Ã¢â¬Å"Where are we?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"My place.Ã¢â¬ He ushered me inside, straight to a bathroom where I promptly knelt and paid homage to the toilet, again releasing more liquid than I had realized was in me. I felt distantly aware of Seth behind me, pulling my hair out of the way. Dimly, I remembered that higher immortals like Jerome and Carter could be affected by alcohol as little or as much as they liked, choosing to sober up at will. Bastards. I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know how long I knelt there before Seth gently helped me to my feet. Ã¢â¬Å"Can you stand?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I think so.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"ItÃ¢â¬â¢sÃ¢â¬ ¦ uhÃ¢â¬ ¦ in your hair and on your dress. I think youÃ¢â¬â¢ll want to change.Ã¢â¬ I looked down at the navy georgette and sighed. Ã¢â¬Å"Steamy.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"What?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Never mind.Ã¢â¬ I started pulling the straps down so I could get out of the dress. His eyebrows rose, and he hastily turned away. Ã¢â¬Å"What are you doing?Ã¢â¬ he asked in a forcibly normal voice. Ã¢â¬Å"I need to shower.Ã¢â¬ Naked, I stumbled over and turned on the water. Seth, still not looking at me, retreated to the door. Ã¢â¬Å"You wonÃ¢â¬â¢t fall or anything?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I hope not.Ã¢â¬ I stepped into the water, gasping at its heat. I leaned against the tiled wall and just let the heavy stream power-wash me, the shock momentarily rousing my wits. Looking up, I saw that Seth was gone, the bathroom door closed. I sighed and shut my eyes, wanting to sink to my knees and pass out. Standing there, I thought again about Roman, about how good it had felt to kiss him. I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t know what he would think of me now, not after how IÃ¢â¬â¢d acted. When I turned off the water and stepped out, the bathroom door opened a crack. Ã¢â¬Å"Georgina? Use these.Ã¢â¬ A towel and an oversize T-shirt were tossed through before the door closed again. I dried myself off and put on the shirt. It was red and had a picture of Black Sabbath on it. Nice. The activity took its toll, however, and a wave of nausea rolled over me again. Ã¢â¬Å"No,Ã¢â¬ I moaned, making for the toilet. The door opened. Ã¢â¬Å"Are you okay?Ã¢â¬ Seth came in and pulled my hair back once more. I waited but nothing came. Finally, I stood uneasily. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m all right. I need to lie down.Ã¢â¬ He led me out of the bathroom and into a bedroom with an unmade queen-sized bed. I collapsed onto it, pleased to be flat and stationary, even though the room continued to spin. He sat down gingerly on the bedÃ¢â¬â¢s edge, watching me uncertainly. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m sorry about this,Ã¢â¬ I told him. Ã¢â¬Å"Sorry you had toÃ¢â¬ ¦ do all this.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"ItÃ¢â¬â¢s okay.Ã¢â¬ I closed my eyes. Ã¢â¬Å"Relationships suck. This is why I donÃ¢â¬â¢t date. You just hurt people.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Most good things come with the risk of something bad,Ã¢â¬ he observed philosophically. I remembered the letter heÃ¢â¬â¢d sent me, about the long-term girlfriend heÃ¢â¬â¢d neglected for his writing. Ã¢â¬Å"Would you do it again?Ã¢â¬ I asked. Ã¢â¬Å"Go out with that one girl? Even if you knew things would turn out exactly the same?Ã¢â¬ A pause. Ã¢â¬Å"Yes.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Not me.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Not me what?Ã¢â¬ I opened my eyes and looked up at him. Ã¢â¬Å"I was married once.Ã¢â¬ It was the kind of drunken admission one made fully aware that it would never have been spoken sober. Ã¢â¬Å"Did you know that?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No one does.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"It didnÃ¢â¬â¢t work out then?Ã¢â¬ Seth asked when I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t say anything for a minute. I couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t help a bitter laugh. DidnÃ¢â¬â¢t work out? That was an understatement. I had been weak and foolish, giving into the same physical urges that had nearly led me into disaster with Roman. Only with Ariston, I couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t claim drunkenness for that slip. I had been dead sober, and honestly, I think IÃ¢â¬â¢d been planning it for a long time anyway. We both had. HeÃ¢â¬â¢d come over one day for another visit, only this time we didnÃ¢â¬â¢t talk much. I think we were past conversation by then. WeÃ¢â¬â¢d both been restless, pacing and standing, making small talk that neither of us really listened to. My attention was on his physical presence Ã¢â¬â on his body and the powerful muscles in his arms and legs. The air was so thick with sexual tension it was a wonder we could move at all. I walked to the window, staring at nothing as I listened to him pacing the rest of the house. A moment later he returned, this time standing behind me. His hands suddenly rested on my shoulders, the first deliberate touch heÃ¢â¬â¢d ever made. His fingers burned me like a brand, and I shivered, making his hold tighten as he stepped closer to me. Ã¢â¬Å"Letha,Ã¢â¬ he said in my ear, Ã¢â¬Å"you knowÃ¢â¬ ¦ you know I think about you all the time. I think about what it would be like toÃ¢â¬ ¦ be with you.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"YouÃ¢â¬â¢re with me now.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You know thatÃ¢â¬â¢s not what I mean.Ã¢â¬ He turned me around to face him, and his gaze was like hot oil running over my body, slick and scorching. Trailing his hands up my neck, he cupped my face for a moment. He leaned down and held his mouth a breath away from mine. Then, his tongue darted out and lightly ran over my lips, the barest of caresses. My lips parted, and I leaned forward to take more, but he stepped away with a small smile. One of his hands moved down to my shoulder, to the clasp that held my gown together, and unfastened it. The fabric slid off me, pooling around me on the floor, so I stood naked before him. His eyes blazed, taking in every part. I should have felt embarrassed or shy, but I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t. I felt wonderful. Desired. Adored. Wanted. Powerful. Ã¢â¬Å"I would do anything, anything at all to have you right now,Ã¢â¬ he whispered. His hands traveled down my shoulders to the sides of my breasts, to my waist, and then my hips. My mother had always said my hips were too skinny, but under his hands, they felt lush and sexy. Ã¢â¬Å"I would kill for you. I would go to the ends of the earth for you. I would do anything at all that you ask. Anything just to feel your body against mine and your legs wrapped around me.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No oneÃ¢â¬â¢s ever said anything like that to me.Ã¢â¬ I was surprised at how calmly my voice came out. Inside, I was melting. I would hear variations of his promises for the next millennium or so, from a hundred different men, but at the time, the words were fresh and new. AristonÃ¢â¬â¢slips turned up in a rueful smile. Ã¢â¬ Kyriakosmust say things like that all the time.Ã¢â¬ There was an arch tone to his voice, reminding me that even though the two men were longtime friends, there had always been a rivalry underscoring that friendship. Ã¢â¬Å"No. He makes love to me with his eyes.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I want to use a lot more than my eyes.Ã¢â¬ In that moment, I suddenly understood the power women had over men. It was surprising and exhilarating. Never mind issues of property and politics; it was in the bedroom that women ruled. With flesh and sheets and sweat. The knowledge filled me, rushing through me with an arousal stronger than any aphrodisiac could produce. I thrived on it, liking this newfound clout. I think it was this revelation that would later make the powers of hell cast me as a succubus. I reached out trembling hands to him and began removing his tunic. He stood still as I undressed him, but every inch of him quivered with heat and longing. His breathing came heavy and fast as I studied his body now, noticing all the ways it was the same as Kyriakos Ã¢â¬Ë and all the ways it was different. I moved my fingertips over him, lightly touching the tanned flesh, the well-defined muscles, the nipples. Then my hands moved lower, below his stomach, wrapping around the long, hard length they found there. Ariston emitted a soft groan but did not move toward me yet. He was still waiting for my consent. I raised my eyes from my fondling hands and looked into his face. He really would have done anything for me. That awareness increased my need for him. Ã¢â¬Å"You can do anything you want to me,Ã¢â¬ I told him finally. I made it sound like a concession, but truthfully, I wanted him to do anything he wanted. My words broke the spell that had been holding us apart. It was like a damn bursting. Like exhaling after holding your breath for too long. A rush. A release. My body nearly tumbled into his, like it had been straining and straining at bindings that had finally been cut. Touching him made me realize we should have been touching long before this. He jerked me into a harsh kiss, jamming his tongue into my mouth as his hands moved under me to grab the backs of my thighs. In one motion, he hoisted me up and pressed my back against the wall. My legs wrapped around his hips, needing him closer to me, and then with one hard thrust, he was inside. I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know if I was too tight or he was too big Ã¢â¬â maybe both Ã¢â¬â but it hurt in a sort of pleasurable way. I let out a surprised cry, but he didnÃ¢â¬â¢t stop to see if I was okay. The passion had seized him, that animalistic urge locked deep into our blood that ensures the continuation of our species. He focused only on his own pleasure now as he pushed into me, over and over, harder and harder, seeming to thrive on every moan and scream that crossed my lips. I wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t have thought I could find release in such rough sex, but I did Ã¢â¬â more than once. Each time, it came as a great, consuming wave of sensation, starting deep within me and spreading through out my body, rubbing every nerve, covering every piece of me until I was completely saturated. Then the wave would explode into glittering fragments, leaving me warm and tender and breathless. Like being shattered then remade. It was exquisite. Each of these orgasms seemed to drive him more urgently until his own climax came. This time, I was the one thriving on his release, digging my nails into his back as tightly as I could, holding on to him, bringing the episode to a shuddering, gasping end. And yet, it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t the end because in only a little while, he was ready again. He took me to my bed and this time put me on my knees, leaning into me from behind. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢ve heard the old women say this is the best position for conceiving a child,Ã¢â¬ he whispered. I had only a moment to ponder this before he was in me again, still rough and demanding. I considered his words as he pumped away, that maybe he would be the one who gave me a child after all, not Kyriakos. The realization made me feel strange, eager yet regretful. Aristonfelt no such regret when we lay back on the blankets later in the afternoon, both of us exhausted and spent as warm sun spilled in over us through the window. Ã¢â¬Å"The lack could be in Kyriakos,Ã¢â¬ he explained. Ã¢â¬Å"Not you. With as many times as IÃ¢â¬â¢ve had you today, you canÃ¢â¬â¢t help but get pregnant.Ã¢â¬ He sucked my earlobe and wrapped his arms around me from behind, letting his hands rest on my breasts. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢ve filled you up, Letha.Ã¢â¬ His voice was low and proprietary, like heÃ¢â¬â¢d just gained something more tangible than sex. Suddenly I wondered who really did have the power in the bedroom after all. I lay against him, wondering what I had done and what I wanted to do now. How did one go back to being a wife after being someone elseÃ¢â¬â¢s goddess? I never got to decide, however, because the next thing I heard was Kyriakos calling me from the front of the house, home too early. Ariston and I both sat up, startled. My fingers fumbled as I tried to get the blankets off me, tangling in the fabric. My dress. I needed to find my dress. But it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t here, I realized. IÃ¢â¬â¢d left it in the other room. Maybe, I thought desperately, I could get to it before Kyriakos found us. Maybe I could move fast enough. But it turned out I couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t. In the present, all I said to Seth was: Ã¢â¬Å"Yeah. It didnÃ¢â¬â¢t work out. Not at all. I cheated on him.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Oh.Ã¢â¬ A pause. Ã¢â¬Å"Why?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Because I could. It was stupid.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"ThatÃ¢â¬â¢s why you donÃ¢â¬â¢t date?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Everything about that hurt too much. No good justified the bad.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You canÃ¢â¬â¢t know that the next one will turn out badly. Things change.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Not for me.Ã¢â¬ I closed my eyes to hide the tears welling up. Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m going to pass out now.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Okay.Ã¢â¬ He might have left or he might have stayed; I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t know. I simply slept, lost in black, numbing sleep. How to cite Succubus Blues CHAPTER 14, Essay examples
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
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