Passage of Time

She paused in the doorway, looking over her shoulder at him. Her eyes swept up to meet his, then lowered, triggering the small smile that raised the corner of her mouth. His heart raced like he had run a marathon in the few steps they had taken down the hall. His palm still felt the cool softness of her skin where her hand had been curved into his seconds before. The world shrank down to the size of a pinhole, giving him only a view of her before him. The scent of her perfume lingering where she had been filled his nostrils, and he struggled to stand upright.

How long had he wanted to be right here, about to slip into the bedroom beyond, to take her into his arms and show her how he felt about her? He suddenly couldn’t recall whether it had been mere moments or a month ago that they had met. It shouldn’t matter, he knew, and he tried to breathe slowly, but found himself unable to manage it. Emerald flashed as her eyes raised again to his. She was emeralds and sapphires and diamonds tonight, and more precious than all of those things.

“Ready?” she asked softly.

Featured shoe: Reign Mina Heels in Navy by Kenadee Cole

Other details:

  • Skin: Bold & Beauty Natasha in Porcelain by Jourdan McMillan
  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous Mesh Eye in Deep Paris Shadow by Arkesh Baral
  • Hands: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Casual by Siddean Munro
  • Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Feet Deluxe by Siddean Munro
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Dress: Clef de Peau Brandon Dress in Midnight by Marcopol Oh
  • Necklace and Earrings: Donna Flora BLUE by Donna Flora (no longer available)
  • Hair: D!va Hair Nayomi in Citrine (tinted) by Marisa Kira

Scene details:

  • RageWorks Classical White by RageDesign
  • AF Aristocrat Bed RARE by Apple Fall (gacha item)
  • Pixel Mode Victoria’s Bath Hurricane Sconce by Tya Fallingbridge
  • Fancy Decor Parlor Rug by Jake Vordun
  • MESHWORX Jessie Armchair by Loz Hyde
  • Pose: Custom by me
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Man of Means

I’ve worked here for 8 years, since I was 15. I get up early Friday through Monday, and I come here to staff the desk for Giancarlo’s Barber Shop, setting appointments and taking money, sweeping up and making change. He’s one of the few remaining shops in the area, mostly because so many businesses didn’t own the building they’re in, but GC does, so he’s been here almost 50 years.

The entire time I’ve worked here, GC’s first Friday appointment every four weeks is Mr. Lewis. He arrives in his sleek German sedan about 30 seconds before I open the front door, and GC comes down from his apartment upstairs, coffee in hand. The coffee goes on the counter, and GC gets to work. I usually study at the desk while there are clients in, but I’m always alert and listening when Mr. Lewis is here.

He has this soft, deep voice that he doesn’t have to raise at all, but you can hear him speaking throughout the room. I read up on him once; turns out he’s the CEO of an international company that he started in his basement when he was 15 and he went to live with an aunt after his parents died. He has a house on an island he created in a lake because he loves the water but didn’t want to be on the coast, and he had some sort of attachment to the site. He’s a few years shy of forty years old now, and despite being seen with Hollywood starlets as arm candy, he’s never been married. I’m not really sure what that says about him.

GC told me once that Mr. Lewis grew up nearby, and that he’d actually given him his first haircut. He apparently drives over an hour each way to keep this appointment, which lasts little more than that every time. That’s a level of loyalty that’s lost these days, according to my grandmother. I don’t know about that; I haven’t been around long enough to really know what loyalty looks like. But I do like to look at Mr. Lewis. I think I’ve had a crush on him since he swept in and the scent of his cologne made me weak in the knees. He introduced himself to me at the door on my first day, and kissed the back of my hand, without making it seem sleazy. Now, he still says “Good morning, Emma,” each time, and my heart does somersaults to hear him say my name.

He’s the most handsome man I think I’ve ever seen up close. I know GC was very attractive in his day — he still is, really — but something about Mr. Lewis sets him apart. It’s not that he’s got any one thing that makes him outrageously sexy, it’s like he has everything together. He’s very smart in what he and GC talk about; his laugh makes me feel like when the sun hits my face on a cold day. His eyes are clear hazel, with little flecks of gold near the center, and it seems like he notices everything around him. He complimented me on my haircut when GC styled me over, but he always has something nice to say to me before he goes. He pays in cash, which he gives to me in an exact amount with a generous tip before he smiles almost shyly and waves goodbye. It’s the highlight of every single month.

Featured Shoes: Deadwool Monk Shoes by Masa Plympton (at Monsieur Chic) and ILLI Manuel Monk Shoes by Equitum

On Mr. Lewis:

  • Head: Catwa Jackson by Catwa Clip
  • Skin: Clef de Peau Phil in Tone 2 by Marcopol Oh
  • Eyes: Mayfly Liquid Light Eyes in Desert Twilight Shadow by Arkesh Baral
  • Hair: Action Inkubator Hair Theo by MarilynMonroe Munro
  • Suit: Deadwool Peak Suit (Wool) in black by Masa Plympton (at Monsieur Chic)
  • Socks: Deadwool Dandy Socks by Masa Plympton
  • Shoes: Deadwool Monk Shoes by Masa Plympton (at Monsieur Chic)
  • Hands: Slink AvEnhance Hands in Casual by Siddean Munro
  • Sitting pose custom by me

On Giancarlo:

  • Head & Skin/Appliers: Samurai Kyle Mesh Head Aged in Default Tone by Primrosestar
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous Eyes in Mountain Lake by Arkesh Baral
  • Hair: Exile Traveler in Naturals by Kavar Cleanslate
  • Body: Adam Body by Ginger Chevalier
  • Sweater: Deadwool Ernst Sweater in Chamois by Masa Plympton
  • Jeans: Deadwool Worn out jeans in tumbled wash by Masa Plympton
  • Socks: ILLI Applier Socks for Omega by Equitum
  • Barber pose custom by me

Other details:

  • Apple Fall Buffalo Taxidermy by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • David Heather -Shaving Shelf RARE by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • David Heather Whiskey Soap Dispenser by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // shave stuff by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // mirror by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • David Heather Toiletry Skincare by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • LISP – Mesh – Newspaper and Coffee – Blue by Pandora Popstar
  • oyasumi / cash register / grey by Kenzo Gateaux (gacha item)
  • David Heather Electric Razor by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // clipper heads by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // dye bowl by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // gentlemen sign by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barber’s tools by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Comb Jar by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barbershop posters by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • (fd) Cat – 11 Sitting by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Crumpled Newspaper by warehousefifteendesigns
  • Lusch Motors Excelsior Umbrella by Owen Lusch
  • David Heather Shoe Shine Kit by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • dust bunny . coat rack by Lxlnoel  (gacha item)
  • David Heather Cameo Bag/Decor/Black by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barbershop station by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // reception desk by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // waiting chairs by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barbershop chair (black) + rare by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Barber Supply Cabinet RARE by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Barrel Chair by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Barbers’ Sink by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Country Hall by warehousefifteendesigns

Crimson Darling

The knock on the door made her jump.

“Crimson,” came Margie’s voice in a near whisper from behind the door, “it’s about Randolph.”

Xi Xi sighed and rubbed her thigh where the prosthesis met her flesh. Randolph had left only fifteen minutes ago, but apparently had not gotten far.

“What is it?” she asked, and Margie’s blond ponytail swung around the door before her pinched little face was visible. Her mouth hung open as she looked in. Margie wasn’t usually privy to seeing Xi Xi as Crimson Darling, her work persona, especially seeing her so quickly after a customer had left. Her watery brown eyes were as big as saucers. They scanned the worktable, the sitting room, and seemed to take note of the made bed in the distance. Margie probably thought Xi Xi slept with her clients, but she wasn’t about to correct that thinking. Skills like hers were best hawked by the people who knew her worth was more than merely physical.

Xi Xi turned her head and pushed her hair out of her right eye, staring at Margie. “Yessss?” she prompted, irritated by the interruption.

“Randolph says he would like to come up and talk to you for a while, if you ‘are amenable,'” Margie said, imitating Randolph’s accent.

She really didn’t want to see him again, even though he was partial to telling her things that were of interest to her. Randolph worked for the Illirium, an underground network of information runners she shouldn’t have known about. But he paid her well to keep his secrets, and she knew he often tested her by telling her things that no one else knew, just to see if the word got around. Of course it hadn’t. Xi Xi was legendary for the length she would go to keep her secrets. The dull ache in her leg reminded her of just how far that was. Those who wanted their secrets kept paid her well to keep them. Since that money came while she learned things, it was a trade she was often willing to make.

“Tell him I have 30 minutes, have him pay Money before he comes up, and prompt him away when time is past.” Margie nodded and ducked back out of the doorway. Xi Xi tightened the strap that held her leg to her thigh, then checked the movement of her foot via the electrodes, to make sure nothing had been disconnected while she had prepared to remove it. She could only hope that Randolph had something interesting to say tonight. If he didn’t, it was going to be a very long half hour indeed.

Featured shoes: [ContraptioN] Classic Leg Prosthesis in Gunmetal by Faust Steamer

Other details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous in Palest True Grey by Arkesh Baral
  • Skin: L’Etre Xiaoyu in Buttermilk by Dam1710
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Hair: LeLutka Dakota from the Range set by Thora Charron
  • Lingerie: Dead Dollz Victoria in Brown by Kiddo Oh
  • Watch: Mandala Billionaire Genius in Brown by Kikunosuke Eel
  • Hands and Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Casual and Mouse; Flat Feet by Siddean Munro
  • Manicure: Hello Dave in Nude Mattes by Maia Gasparini

Scene details:

  • NOMAD // Microscope by Piraiyah Novikov (gacha item)
  • [TheForge] Lampv1.2 by wiredexperiment (Premium from Epiphany)
  • NOMAD // Armillary by Piraiyah Novikov
  • -David Heather-Industrio Book Stack2 by Gianni Broda
  • Fashionably Dead Cat – 02 Sleeping Curled by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Crumpled Newspaper by warehousefifteendesigns
  • +Half-Deer+ Great Horned Owl – Brown (Forward) by Halogen Magic
  • Paper Moon Qitou – Paper Parasol – Peach/Lotus by Sohma Dix (gacha item)
  • [ContraptioN] Decor: Mark’s Lamp by Faust Steamer
  • junk. bartlet wheel table. worn. by Tab Tatham
  • junk. redfern chair. mustard. by Tab Tatham
  • Bazar Paris – Wine set by Ria Bazar
  • Zigana . holiday spirit . books by Nalena Fairey (gacha item)
  • Ex Machina Bookcase Ending Element by Hatris Panacek
  • Ex Machina Bookcase Element B by Hatris Panacek
  • junk. cage stool. by Tab Tatham
  • POST: Damaged Gorodetsky Nouveau Rug by Van Auster
  • Ex Machina Prof Baltazar Lab Table by Hatris Panacek
  • Ex Machina Vulcano 2 by Hatris Panacek
  • Ex Machina Zeitgeist Clocktower Skybox by Hatris Panacek

Daughter of the Sands

Daughter of the Sands gif

Khamira slipped through the square when the sun was low on the horizon, its rays casting a soft amber glow over the stones of street and building. She was using the side entrance to avoid notice, and the shout behind her was one she didn’t listen to above the din of the crowds still lingering in the market square. When she got to the first step she heard it again, and this time it registered: “Stop” in the Druhili tongue. It was a masculine voice, heavy and rich and deep. But her hand was on the door already, the wood rough under her calloused palm.

“Stop,” he said again and this time he was close, a few steps away. She had not heard him move down the alley, which made her instantly suspicious. She froze in the doorway, her hand tightening against the smooth, cool wood of her staff, its light orb pulsing with her heartbeat. Of course it would want to turn around and fight this man, because that’s what Illara was made to do, and she did it well.

The man’s breathing was fast. He was certainly lucky he had not reached out and tried to grab her, lest he find himself missing a hand. Still, she could hear that he had stopped moving, so she stilled herself.

“Please,” he said, without pleading, “turn around? I believe…” he babbled, his sentence trailing. Whatever he believed wasn’t her concern, but his identifying her would be a problem. She sighed inwardly, and slowly turned around, raising her head and looking him straight in the eye.

There was no disguising the sunset gold of her eyes, made all the more visible by the markings on her nose and high on her cheekbones that identified her as Mariellan. The man — who was handsome, broad of shoulder and very tall — gasped and stepped back a pace. The slightest movement of her head warned him not to bow to her here.

She moved to him, gripping her staff tightly, holding his gaze. “You believe what?” She asked in Druhili.

“I thought I knew…” he stammered, mesmerized by her eyes, as they so commonly were. “I was mistaken.” He finally broke their intense staring contest, looking down at the dusty stone steps.

She raised her left hand to his cheek, cupping it tenderly, once more raising his eyes to hers. “You were mistaken. Go back to the market. You’ll remember what you were doing once you get there.” He nodded dumbly, turned and walked back down the alleyway, disappearing around the corner. She was never fond of having to make that delicate connection, and to wipe memories from the untroubled. But she was here for a reason, and her mission could not be compromised.

She drew her hood down over her face and slipped into the building.

Featured shoes: ISON Cult Riding Boots in Tan by Harry Hyx

Other details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Skin: Atelier Pepe Khadijah Skin in Natural by Pepehair
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous Mesh Eyes in Sunset by Arkesh Baral
  • Hair: booN POI481 by boo Nakamura
  • Bodysuit & Hood: Moon Elixir Roguish 1 Bodysuit RARE by ElixirBlack (gacha item)
  • Necklace: MINIMAL Monoton Necklace in Gold by Ors Quan
  • Hands: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Casual by Siddean Munro
  • Manicure: Hello Dave in Temptation by Maia Gasparini
  • Face Paint: LeForme Native Paint 4 for Catwa by Louise Marsault (tinted)

Scene details:

  • Doorway: Fanatik Tower by Funatik
  • Staff: AF/AL Light Staff by Apple Fall (warehousefifteendesigns) (gacha item)
  • Poses custom by me

Home Stretch

Featured shoes: Reign Scarlett Boots in Cocoa by KenadeeCole

Other details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Skin: YS&YS Kate by Monicuzza Babenco
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Hair: EnVogue Izabella in Dark Reds by Casandra Rain
  • Sweater: Blueberry Dawnee Sweater Cardigan in Mint by Blueberryxx
  • Necklace: Cae Pemberley Necklace by Caelan Hancroft
  • Hands and Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Casual by Siddean Munro
  • Manicure: Hello Dave in Matte Neutrals by Maia Gasparini

Scene details:

  • floorplan. sly fox print by Tegan Serin
  • Fancy Decor: Wire Clock by Jake Vordun
  • Fancy Decor: Metal Hourglasses by Jake Vordun
  • +Half-Deer+ Neatly Folded Blankets – White by Halogen Magic
  • Honey Apple Oversize Chair  by Rayvn Hynes
  • Fancy Decor: Print Storage Table by Jake Vordun
  • AF Jute Natural Rug by Apple Fall (warehousefifteendesigns)
  • Scarlet Creative Craft Cabin by Charlotte Bartlett
  • Fancy Decor: Fireplace by Jake Vordun
  • What Next Hanne Fireplace Tools  and Log Pile by FrankLee Anatra
  • Pose 1 custom by me; Pose 2 from my Footsie pose set at oOo Studio

Gentleman’s Club

“It’s not about just getting the power,” he had told her, “it’s also about keeping, and about using it wisely. The threat of loss is just as real as the inability to come to terms with having it.”

The thought had stuck with her for a long time. It had surfaced in the boardroom, when Higgins had interrupted her the first time, interjecting some bit of trivial nonsense, as was his way. She let him have that spotlight the first time, her green gaze surveying him coolly. She tucked a lock of red hair behind her ear as she listened. It was her tell, but no one on the board had noticed it yet.

He had noticed it. He had seen her do it across a dinner table at their weekly meeting. It was his signal that what she was going to say meant something to her, and he tried always to finish his thought quickly and let her go where she wanted. He had told her once about figuring it out, and about using it to facilitate their communication. And as she pushed her hair back this time, she focused her thoughts.

Higgins’ blathering drew to a close, and she clipped the last few words right off of his statement. Of course he noticed, and of course he opened his mouth to grab attention. This time, though, she didn’t let him take it. This time her eyes snapped to him, and to her delight, his mouth clamped into a tight little line and he held his tongue as she spoke. Her gaze drifted to each of the 21 male board members. It may indeed have been a gentleman’s club within Hapsburg before she arrived.

Now, though, this was her company, and her board. And it was her time to lead it.

Featured shoes: Reign Abbie pumps for Slink High feet by KenadeeCole

Other details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Skin: YS&YS Kate by Monicuzza Babenco
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Hair: Little Bones Black Mirror in Rosewood by Nova Faerye
  • Jacket: Tendance in Charcoal by Steffen Garcia (no longer available)
  • Skirt: Maitreya Mesh Mini Skirt in Black by Onyx LeShelle
  • Bodysuit: Maai Freya Lingerie in Black by Snow Wolfhunter
  • Bracelet: Osakki HAMUR Metal Cufff in Gunmetal by Kaysha Piers (probably no longer available)
  • Cigar: Nikotin Classic Cigar with Colorado leaf and specialty band by Ralph Dirval

Scene details:

  • oOo Studio Gentleman’s Quarters Set by Olaenka Chesnokov (yay!)
  • [ kunst ] – Boho carpet #2 – rose floral by Kunst Himmel (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Masculine Bar by warehousefifteendesigns
  • Dutchie Schefflera tall by Froukje Hoorenbeek
  • Ravenghost Victorian Gas Sconce Luminarie by Ravenghost7
  • Ravenghost SteamPunk Fireplace by Ravenghost7
  • Trompe Loeil Enfield Chair in Bark by Cory Edo
  • David Heather Bally Bag in Black by Gianni Broda
  • 22769 ~ [bauwerk] Box of Cigars by Paco Pooley
  • 22769 ~ [bauwerk] Cigar Lounge  Ashtray by Paco Pooley
  • Apple Fall Books by warehousefifteendesigns
  • Apple Fall Reading Pile by warehousefifteendesigns
  • [PM]Pixel Mode – Levi Table by Tya Fallingbridge
  • [ kunst ] – Vodka bottle and glasses by Kunst Himmel (part of the set)
  • Studio Skye Scots Pine Forest by Alex Bader
  • Pose custom by me

 

Invitations

“I must go where I am invited, or I should be too lonely. Why not come with me?”

Archer felt that at any cost he must keep her beside him, must make her give him the rest of her evening. Ignoring her question, he continued to lean against the chimney-piece, his eyes fixed on the hand in which she held her gloves and fan, as if watching to see if he had the power to make her drop them.

Archer felt that at any cost he must keep her beside him, must make her give him the rest of her evening. Ignoring her question, he continued to lean against the chimney-piece, his eyes fixed on the hand in which she held her gloves and fan, as if watching to see if he had the power to make her drop them.

“May guessed the truth,” he said. “There is another woman—but not the one she thinks.”

Ellen Olenska made no answer, and did not move. After a moment he sat down beside her, and, taking her hand, softly unclasped it, so that the gloves and fan fell on the sofa between them.

She started up, and freeing herself from him moved away to the other side of the hearth. “Ah, don’t make love to me! Too many people have done that,” she said, frowning.

The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

Featured shoes: Purple Moon Titania Sandals in Red by Poulet Koenkamp

Her details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous in Deep Paris Shadow by Arkesh Baral
  • Skin: Glam Affair Denis 10 in Polar by Aida Ewing (gacha item)
  • Lipstick: Deetalez High Gloss Appliers for Catwa Heads  by Steffi Villota
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Hair: Runaway Margaery Hair by Candela Kira
  • Dress: Purple Moon Drew Gown Xmas Edition by Poulet Koenkamp
  • Necklace: Minimal Swift Necklace in gold by Ors Quan
  • Hands and Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Flat and Casual; High Feet by Siddean Munro
  • Manicure: Hello Dave in Rich Reds by Maia Gasparini

His details:

  • Head: Catwa Jackson by Catwa Clip
  • Eyes: Mayfly Deep Sky Eyes in Green Tourmaline Shadow by Arkesh Baral
  • Skin: L’Etre Marcus Skin in Cotton by David Cooper (dam1710)
  • Body: Slink Physique Male Mesh Body by Siddean Munro
  • Hair: Exile High and Dry Naturals by Kavar Cleanslate
  • Jacket: Kauna XIV Double Breasted Jacket in Black by Ross Myhre
  • Shirt: Kauna Tuxedo XIV Shirt in White by Ross Myhre
  • Bow Tie: Kauna Tuxedo XIV Accessories in Paisley B&W by Ross Myhre
  • Pants: Syn Frank Pants by Synystercreator
  • Shoes: Deadwool Dandy Shoes in Black by Masa Plympton

Scene details:

  • HAIKEI Dusky White Skybox by QoOop
  • The Loft Claryon Curtains in White by Nardya Rousselot
  • Fancy Decor ‘Triumphal Entry’ Print by Jake Vordun
  • Fancy Decor ‘Diana the Evening’ Print by Jake Vordun
  • PILOT Romantic Candlesticks in Silver b Kaz Nayar
  • NOMAD Gustavian Armchair by Piraiyah Novikov (gacha item)
  • NOMAD Amore Desk by Piraiyah Novikov (gacha item)
  • NOMAD Amore Chandelier by Piraiyah Novikov (gacha item)
  • AF Calla Lilies by Apple Fall (gacha item)
  • AF Carved Corbel Shelf by Apple Fall
  • Studio Skye Enchanted Woods v2 -8 (3 group) by Alex Bader
  • Pose by me, Invitation (unreleased)