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Chapter 1 - Frost (Part 1)
To the human eye, Ciara Frost was ordinary, except with an alternative sense of style. She had to admit as she walked down the street with people staring that her look didn't lead to blending in much. She wasn't a tall girl, but most human girls weren't.
That wasn't the odd thing about Ciara. It was her sense of fashion. Ciara had short white hair, for a woman, and dressed in a black leather trench coat, black leggings and wore a blue visor which she carefully placed on the top of her head. The sun was blistering and she had the top of her trench coat unzipped, which let her red top poke out under her neck.
She was fine, she was used to the heat in what she classified as her uniform, she had trained in similar clothing and knew that she liked her style. She watched as a woman in shorts and a tank top from across the street did a double take and a look confused as Ciara carried on. It made her smirk. Ciara wasn't anything ordinary and she didn't want to pretend she was.
Ciara was a Hunter; a member of a society that was there to protect people from the Immortals. She was a higher rank than most, especially for her age, and sometimes even she didn't believe it. These were the thoughts that played in her head whenever she went on a mission. Today, was her last mission before she finally got a week off.
Ciara loved her job, it was justice and she was happy doing it, but it was exhausting and like many Hunters before her it took a big toil without a break. She stretched out her arms as she walked along the street, and looked into the shop windows as she passed them. She noticed various bored looking workers doing small tasks and carried on walking until she had to stop.
Something had caught her eye, in the back of a small clothing shop there was a mannequin wearing an elegant red gown. She stared for a moment, fighting the urge to go in the shop. Ciara knew it was very rare for her to like something that wasn’t classified as comfortable or unique but this dress spoke to her. She looked up at the sign "Pandora's Box." 'That's a unique name for a human shop,' she thought before taking a deep breath and walking inside.
The clerk leaned on the counter, flicking through a magazine when he heard the bell on the door ring out. He looked up to see the customer who was walking in. Ciara noticed the look of disgust she received, before the clerk decided to ignore her and return to his magazine. She began to walk around the shop looking at the various fancy outfits.
When she heard the clerk mutter something under his breath, "stupid girl couldn't afford any of this in three years." She wanted to turn and confront him, show him that she earned a lot more than he did, considering she would risk her life practically everyday but restrained herself before making her way to the mannequin she saw from outside.
She circled the mannequin, like she was circling her target. She stared at the red dress that lay in front of her. It was simple in design. The dress was long but only on her and had two slits, which would reach the very top of her thighs. She let her eyes drift up and took in the single left side strap which she would hope would let the dress cling to her comfortably. She reached out her hand and took a deep breath, hoping that the material wasn't rough or made her itch. Her fingertips graced the hem and she placed the material between her fingers. She sighed with relief. The dress was perfect. The material was delicate and soft in her touch. It was like the dress was made for her.
She smiled as she heard a footstep creak behind her.
"It's called Chiffon, the material, and honestly it would look so good on you," a man's voice spoke, its deep sound boomed in her ear.
She paused as she recognized that it was the clerks voice. She turned on her heels and stared at the tall handsome guy in front of her. He wore glasses and she saw calm blue eyes, which she thought complimented her own icy blue stare. She smiled cautiously, before turning back to the dress and picking up the price tag. Her eyes widened as she saw the price. It was too expensive for her, she could afford it she knew that but she couldn't justify the wasting that much money on a single dress she would never get to wear.
"It's not cheap I know, but for the perfect dress no price can compare," the man grinned.
Ciara sighed and shook her head. "Not for me unfortunately, I should go," she whispered, clearly resisting the urge to splurge.
"Are you sure?" the man asked.
Ciara nodded and began to walk out the shop when she remembered the shop name.
"Pandora's box? It doesn't sound like an expensive dress shop, what made you pick the name?" she asked, her hand holding the door.
She could feel the man smirk.
"Because this is the last piece of hope for true fashion," he answered.
She waited and tried to take the answer in but felt like he was lying to her.
"Oh well, goodbye," she replied.
She waltzed out the shop quickly, turning her head taking in the dress one last time through the window.
Ciara felt her step quicken as she reached to the doors to her real destination. She pulled out her phone and looked at the time. She was early, even with her detour. She sighed and walked in. The diner felt familiar and welcoming, Ciara knew this place better than most as she was a regular.
She looked around and noticed the quiet in the room. There was only a handful of people spotted around and she knew that it was almost closing time.
"Hey Ciara," a familiar voice called as she made her way over to her usual spot by the bar.
She took off her jacket and hung it on a hook placed by her seat.
"Hey Sal, things are quiet," Ciara answered as a pale skinned woman approached her.
The woman had ginger hair with one side arched over her pointed ear. She smiled as she approached.
"It's the change over, you know when we set up for the nightclub," Sal whispered, "it always goes quiet. Anyway you're a bit late for food but I can make you your favourite, you know anything for a regular."
Ciara smiled, she like the simplicity of the diner. It was set to feel like a fifties American dinner. There were booths with striped white and red seats and metal rimmed tables set about the place. She had drifted into a small world separate from the chaos of her life.
"So strawberry milkshake extra cream then?" Sal asked, after a few moments went by.
Ciara didn't reply as she noticed a couple get up and leave before turning back to Sal. "No sorry, I'll have a coffee though, black. You know like my soul," Ciara smirked.
Sal shook her head and laughed. A few moments later she brought back a big mug with a black coffee in.
"So what brings you to Inferno's Night today?" Sal questioned leaning against the counter.
Ciara took a big gulp before looking around. "Mission unfortunately, I need to speak to Jonas, is he around?"
She whispered gently, her lips seemingly stuck to the cup. Sal nodded and pointed to a door which lead to the back.
"He's cleaning the dishes, you know he likes to get stuck into the work like everyone else," Sal replied.
Ciara laughed. "Yeah the only owner I know that has lots of employees, but still works around these parts, he's unique, you should know better than anyone," she joked.
Sal went a shade of bright red. "I don't make a habit with sleeping with the boss you know, an elf like me just happens to love her shifter boyfriend," Sal retorted.
Ciara finished her coffee before grabbing her coat and walking into the kitchen.
The dishes clinked, as Jonas cleaned them.
"Hey Ciara, you wanted to see me?" he asked, before Ciara had time to announce her arrival. She turned around quickly to see Sal laugh on the other side of the doorway.
"Yeah Jonas, I'm afraid I have some bad news," Ciara replied, as she played with her hair. Ciara had known Jonas for a while now and she liked him. He was a shifter, a simple werewolf, but he was always jolly. When she was first taught about werewolves she never imagined Jonas as one. Most werewolves were rough, usually animalistic and as she always fantasised built like a mountain. Jonas was thin, toned but not overly muscled. He wore a tight white t-shirt which showed his abs and black pants, which were a little too big and sagged at the lower legs. Jonas had never been anything but a gentle man, he was always smooth shaven and had kind pale green eyes.
Ciara watched, as he continued cleaning the dishes, his white shirt getting splashed with water. She remembered the first time she came to Inferno's Night, and saw Jonas. She was drunk enough to flirt with him and would have pounced if she was drunker. The next day she came to the diner and they became properly introduced and she apologised. She had remembered feeling stupid, especially when she met Sal, his long time girlfriend. She recalled Sal rubbing her hand through his salt and pepper hair, almost to claim him as hers. From then on, Sal and Jonas where practically Ciara's only real friends. Jonas cleared his throat, and interrupted Ciara's train of thought.
"You never come and see me with good news, so what is it this time?" he asked after a slight laugh.
"Well, I'm on a mission hunting down a blood enslaver, someone who seems to hit the legal blood clubs and kidnap young people, people who are at first willing to give their blood for vampires. My informant says that he's already hit two other places in the city. That leaves here," her voice became serious as she began to grimace.
Jonas turned around and wiped his brow. "That sounds like a regular Tuesday night then, how can I help?" he retorted.
Ciara nodded, cautiously and stared as Jonas walked towards her. "I need to stake the place out, remain undercover and have access to the blood club area without hassle. I know Vampires and their guests only for discretion but it is important."
"Anything you need, you got it. I wouldn't have the blood club if it wasn't for you and your legalisation suggestions, I'll let Jimmy know and Sal and I will stay bartending tonight, so you just have to pretend to be drunk. You going to get your gear first?"
Ciara nodded. "Yeah, I'll be back in three hours, if you notice anything suspicious before I get back ring me and I'll be here in a flash." Jonas nodded as they walked back into the diner. Ciara noted that everyone had left and Sal was gathering plates.
"I'm sorry Jonas but I need tonight to go off without a hitch, so trusted staff only no newbies, see you later." She watched Jonas agree before leaving. He walked over to Sal as Ciara walked out the door.