Book 2 - Mature Readers Only
☼ ☼ ☼
“It’s new shit.”
“Yeah. Purple Dot. Like Pink but better. Strong as powder if you take a lot of it.”
“I don’t like powder. Hurts my…nose.”
“Candy’s my favorite.”
“This is better than candy.”
“Don’t lie to me, Rodi.”
“Don’t fucking call me that.”
Talita glanced around the quiet service hallway behind the pilot kiosk of the landing garage at La Maria Theater, a historic landmark that Arbiter Pendergast had chosen to hold the fundraiser that night. She gathered the skirts of her shimmering gown—it was a promotional model by a designer who supported Pender-Pal—and shifted closer to Ivan, who’d cleaned up as well and wore a dark blue evening suit. Smoky, light blue-red venom swirled around the inside of the vial he held in his palm, something that looked like a mix of ether-like mist and fluid liquid.
“It’ll go right in the cartridge?” she asked.
“If it’s unlocked you’re good. Otherwise the sensors will clog and fail. You know the drill.”
She chewed her lip before nodding, glancing at her COM band. The fundraiser wasn’t just a party for the arbiter’s benefit but also part of her volunteer service for Temple Altir, to aid the high priestess of Isten Dar—Ava’s mother—in promoting Union’s Unifaith movement. That meant Talita expected plenty of questions about both public figures, aside from the usual gushing society questions about who she was wearing and who’d done her hair. A hit of something good before she hit that stage would make things so much better.
“Zip. Zero. Free.”
She scowled, slightly. “I have money, Ivan,” she retorted. “I can pay for it. Don’t pity me.”
He shook his head, incredulous. “Goddamn, Li. Relax. I’m not pitying you. If you’d listen for a fucking second I could tell you it’s a sample. Meant to be free. You’re too fucking touchy. Fucking annoying.” He handed the vial to her and she hesitated before accepting, a slight flush reddening her cheeks.