Despite it being in the height of summer, the day had been incredibly autumnal; the trees swayed harshly which created gusts of wind strong enough to help a passerby walk down the street by giving them a gentle or violent push depending on the size of the individual. Despite being a Valkyr and naturally being a little stronger when the sun was not shining, these kind of days were definitely Nadiya’s favourite days; she found storms incredibly beautiful and there was nothing more relaxing than hearing the wind beat against her window in a violent fashion nor the sound of the rain tap dancing against the glass. More often than not, she would sit against the window and just watch the weather in fascination whilst chuckling softly to herself each time someone got themselves soaked by a passing car. Today was just like that, many of the girls went out shopping for the show that they were holding at Poison in the evening; after all, it was one of her best girl’s birthday and it would have been rude if they ignored such an event; thus it was a no brainer when she decided tonight would hold a burlesque show. 

Thus, her home was fairly quiet for a change and she did not like it one bit - she enjoyed having company and although she would never admit it; she really did hate being alone. Being alone allowed her mind to wander to darker days in her life and more often than not caused her to regret some of her actions when she lost all control; thus, when the girls returned from their shopping trip, she quickly found herself decorating the main areas with bunting, banners and balloons. “Nadiya, you don’t need to help everyone” One of her girls commented which only received a wave of a hand in dismissal, she wanted to help - besides, they were now against the clock as the doors normally opened at 8pm each night. Diya moved over to the bar and requested that the barman, Rafael kept the drinks flowing at all times and if he ever needed an extra pair of hands, to call her over before she made her way up to her room to change into something more formal than her usual attire for an evening. 

Eventually, she appeared downstairs to be greeted with wolf whistles from her girls before some comments about how tonight she could have a client of her own. “Oh hush, no no” She laughed, her smile wide and bright. “I’m just the hostess, thank you very much” Diya responded to their comments whilst brushing her digits through the lengths of a girls hair and tucking a strand of hair behind the girls ear. “Tim, please open the doors” The security guard nodded and opened the doors for the evening, which automatically moved the girls into their stations, ready for whoever walked through the door. Owning a business like this was enjoyable for Nadiya, she was nosey at best but she was always curious to see what kind of characters walked through the doors of her home; and more often than not, it was always the most unexpected ones, ones just like Cedric Reigns. 

Customers began to shuffle into the warmth of her home, clearly the weather had not truly improved since the morning and she greeted as many people as she could with a wide smile; some were regulars and some were people she had never seen before - and what a night it would be for new customers. Not only would they see that the brothel was more than a sex house, but also a place for fun and enjoyment - a place were judgement did not exist. Nadiya accepted a glass of champagne from Rafael as she sat upon the bar counter, and watched the evening begin. “Oh how I love this, Raffy” She beamed happily, her legs swinging back and forth as they dangled from the bar. . 

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The dreams were the worst. The moments when his mind would take the events of the past and replay them with added drama and twists that ramped up his blood pressure and nearly had his heart pounding out of his chest. Waking up in a pool of sweat still smelling the blood, his body shaking as the bile rose in his throat, and he struggled to make it to the bathroom in time only to find that he couldn't throw anything up was the next worst part. Finally, Jonathan would spend the next several hours lying on the floor, trying to figure out what he could have done better or what he might have done differently that could have saved his siblings. Guilt would eat at his insides like a living jackal, tearing at him until he thought he could actually look down and see the bloody chunks of flesh being ripped from his torso.

Drinking wasn't an option, alcohol was a vice he had sworn he would never indulge in and even now in his lowest point he couldn't bring himself to teach for a bottle. Drugs of any kind were equally abhorrent which left him few options in the way of escape, much as he needed some way of numbing the pain, there was no way he was going to ruin his body and mind by diving down that rabbit hole. Eating was out of the question, anything he managed to stomach eventually came right back up and work didn't hold his interest anymore. Still, he was trying, going through the motions in an attempt to make it seem as if he was coping in the hope that maybe if he faked it for long enough that perhaps one day he might feel a spark of truth in it.

Standing in the middle of his apartment Jonathan couldn't stand to try his usual routine tonight, didn't feel like wrestling with his demons and most of all hated the aching loneliness that had infected his soul of late. Scooping up his keys he went out and just started walking, strolling along the walks into downtown as the Evermore nightlife came alive around him. He followed the flow of people, trying to find some direction when a bright neon sign caught his sapphire hues stopping him dead in his tracks. On impulse, he turned and slipped into line though he didn't stay there long, a scantily clad woman came sashaying down the line, her hips swaying hypnotically as her heels clicked to the rhythm of the music that drifted out of the doors of the joint. She stopped dead in front of him, giving him a once over and without speaking a word she took his hand and pulled him with her, bypassing those waiting to help him inside.

Once Jon was past the doors his mysterious benefactor disappeared, though he felt a soft hand on his back give him a push down the hallway. He followed the silent command and walked into the club proper, his eyes glittering at all there was to behold. He had stepped right into a burlesque lounge complete with working brothel and full-service bar, the perfect place for a male that needed to take his mind off his troubles. The Nephilim found a table in the corner and ordered a coke, watching the beauties as she danced and pranced around the customers though his own eyes were scoping out for a blonde that might help him take his mind off another blonde that might never be his.

Most nights at Poison had some kind of theme, particularly at weekends when people were more willing to enter the city nightlife; but none had truly had such an impact like this one - this evening, watching everyone have fun, and have wide smiles upon their faces truly made Nadiya happy. It seemed she fed off the atmosphere in the room, she found happiness to be somewhat contagious, much like the sound of someone laugh as well as someone yawning; you simply couldn’t stop yourself from joining in. Diya watched how her girls danced through the crowds, offering drinks, their private services as well as the more open services such as lapdances - it was times like this she often found herself comparing the old pleasure house in which she was brought up in; not often did she recall Quinn running events much like this, but perhaps she was simply too young to remember and often round back to try and protect her innocent eyes. 

The Valkyr noticed that the bar was beginning to get packed by people simply wanted a drink or needed some courage to go and ask their favourite girl to one of the many rooms around back; thus she was not shy to get mucked in to help her workers - and soon enough, she was behind the bar, pulling pints and making cocktails. In fact, behind the bar, her gaze caught one particular individual who did not seem to have the same kind of aura as the rest of her customers and when she served him a coke; she was more than just bamboozled. It was an oddity to watch someone order a non alcoholic drink in a place like this, but she respected it nonetheless, but perhaps it was due to the accompanying sadness and disturbance that radiated from him that made her think something was wrong. Of course, many people came to Poison to escape many troubling things in their life outside, but this gentleman - he looked and certainly smelled a lot better than some of the regular men that frequented. 

Her brows furrowed for a moment as she watched him through the sea of people, as she watched the waitress grab the glass of coke for him, Diya soon moved in. “I’ll take it to the gentleman” She offered a warm smile and took the chilled glass from her girl and gracefully moved through the crowds. “One coke?” Diya grinned widely and placed the glass down in front of him before making herself at home on the other chair beside him; she glanced at him for a moment before looking out at the stage where one of the performers was about to show. “First time at Poison, hey?” She gave out the rhetorical question. “Good night to lose your brothel virginity, it’s my girl, Poppy’s birthday celebrations hence the vibrancy” 

The colors and the music swelled the longer he sat inside the venue, soaking in the atmosphere of the place while watching the people who swirled around him. The working guys and gals had a certain bearing that set them apart from the rest, their eyes constantly scanning the crowd while the smiles that were permanently poised upon their mouths seemed almost cultured. Jon had no doubt as to the sincerity behind their joy, for the happiness and relaxed demeanor was there in the set of their shoulders and the sparkle in their eyes. Still, the working men and women of the brothel were always doing just that, working to ensure that everyone around them was having just as good of a time as they were. That no one was left out and that everyone that needed a drink or some companionship had it.

The place must have been good, the longer he sat there scanning over the working women the more packed the place became. Each time a bubbly blonde with blue eyes, red light or not came within his visual spectrum his heart gave a little jump within his chest then thumped painfully to the bottom of his sternum when he realized it wasn't her. Each time he cursed himself out for his ridiculous obsession, for the feelings that plagued him and desperately wished he could drink away his trouble. Unfortunately, his fear of becoming just like his father outweighed his need to be free of his emotions, leaving him in a catch 22 that never seemed to end. The Nephilim sat up and peeled off his jacket, suddenly feeling hot and hoping his drink would arrive soon. Setting the article on the back of the chair he caught the eye of a few individuals, both male and female that he trade brief little smiles with though if Jon was honest he wasn't quite sure what he was doing.

His head came up as a brunette sat down across from him, setting his coke down in front of him with the air and authority he had come to associate with someone in charge. He tilted his head for a moment as he picked up the drink and took a sip before answering, "Just one for now and yes, first time. I like to get the lay of the land before dive in headfirst." He sized her up, from the easy smile on her lips to the relaxed way she sat across from him to the casual offer of information that this was indeed her establishment. "Are birthday's always this big of a fanfare? What does the birthday girl get?" Jon found that he was genuinely curious, turning to face the woman as he took another drink of his coke as he waited for an answer.

There was something about having new people attend her Brothel that excited her, it made her happy and eager to please them; it was more than likely that word about Poison was making it rounds and it piqued people’s interest and curiosity. Whatever their reason for entering her establishment was not necessarily any of her business, but what was certainly her business was that they left satisfied and with a smile upon their face; Diya always believed a happy customer would always return, even if they did think shamefully of themselves afterwards. Therefore, when she saw a face that she did not recognise, she simply could not help herself but take over from the normal waitress that worked that area of the room; she liked to get some of her clients, even if they were not her personal clients - she wanted them to feel at home and at ease. Thus, once the coke was placed down on the table in front of him, she knew she needed to engage in some conversation; or else he would look all out of place. 

Diya mused silently to herself, from just the looks of him she knew he probably had some money, and as she glanced down at his hand there was no ring - divorced maybe? Eventually her darkened hues met his own and a warm smile appeared on her lips. “I understand that, places like this do not always have a good reputation to dive head first into” She laughed, the pads of her fingers drummed on the table top along with the music which filled the air around them. “We always tend to do something for the birthday girl, many don’t like a big soirée like this one” Diya winked at one of the girls who walked by at that very moment. “Poppy, however, was my first girl when I opened Poison, so she is very much part of the furniture” She commented before her petite shoulders gave off a slight shrug at his question. “That is all down to the birthday girl, Poppy has yet to decide what she actually wants - besides being center stage for this evening” 

At that, Nadiya nodded her head in the direction of Poppy who was putting on quite the show just to the right of the bar where a pole stood; her body moved around the pole gracefully, her limbs curling around it as she propped herself up. Diya waited for a moment before glancing back at the gentleman who sat opposite her. “Perhaps I could introduce her to you, if that is not too headfirst, of course” She teased lightheartedly, she did not want to scare him off so suddenly if this was his first time; he was anxious, caught up over something or someone and simply needed a release - and who was she to take that away from him. Besides, all that knew Nadiya, knew she loved to help mend people. 

Tilting his head as he reached for his drink the male took in her comments in answer to his musing, wondering if she still felt that her establishment was outside of the norm or if she was just a prudent business-woman. It was obvious she had some definite savvy in the area, judging by the sheer volume of clients that were milling around the joint. Just within the 20-minute span that he had sat down Jonathan had counted maybe 10 people who had been escorted to some back section for the paying services. One particularly disheveled gentleman had come out with a goofy grin on his face and promptly floated out the door.

“So how do you get people to dive in then? Are you the person who comes and sets someone at ease enough to lower their inhibitions and jump into something that for eons has been taboo?” Perhaps taboo was a little too strong of a word and yet the very word brothel normally had people wrinkling their nose or snorting in disgust. The very idea of a brothel and selling sex was illegal after all so perhaps taboo wasn’t so far off the mark? The Nephilim had asked the question though out of pure curiosity, as knowledge was power.

Listening to Poppy’s story with Poison was a revelation and from that little bit of information, Jon surmised that this woman cared for both her business and the people working for her. That was rare in this day and age, growing his respect for the brunette instantly. His cobalt hues drifted over to the woman twirling around the brass pole with such ease, her body seeming to meld with the metal as she spun around with a huge smile on her face. “I see, she does seem to enjoy being in the spotlight.” Taking another drink of his coke the male’s eyes landed back on the brunette before drifting back over to the young woman on the stage.

Sighing heavily Jonathan shook his head, the environment and his mood loosening his lips just a bit. “No offense to Miss Poppy but she isn’t blonde. And I doubt any of your girls would be able to wipe this pain away with a simple romp between the sheets. I have way too much baggage to feel comfortable unloading on one of your girls.” Which brought to mind that perhaps he should leave, coming here had been a bad idea. With that thought clear in mind, he downed the rest of his coke and leaned forward so that he could reach his coat.

Nadiya leaned back into her chair and chuckled at the curiosity that came off of him; he was one of the first, in fact, to ask such questions - many that came here knew what they wanted so there really was no need to sell the services which ran. Yet there was the odd one or two that perhaps needed a little more persuading than others; the persuading mostly went down the road of telling them that sex, paid for or not was not shameful if that was what that person wanted. And that if they did want it, then a place like this was one of the safest places; it definitely beat someone picking up another on the side of a road. She rolled her lips as she pondered her answer, seeing as she could offer quite a few of them. "Some may be word of mouth, a friend, brother, sister. Those are the people that tend to come knowing exactly what they want" She smiled widely. "Then there are some that may have bumped into some of my girls during daylight hours. Because they're not prisoners, what they do outside of their working hours is up to them" She shrugged with her arms out to the side slightly. 

"Then, there are people like you" She then leaned forwards, her arms resting upon the table top as she looked at him. "That perhaps heard the rumours and wanted to see for yourself. But not all people come here for the sex" She leaned back once more and pointed to a 50 something man in the corner, simply drinking and watching the performances. "He swings by most nights, his wife died about a year ago. He just wants the company. So you see, we're more than a brothel, a sex house. This is a place to feel alive, to feel welcomed and seen" Diya grinned before answering his question. "We just help you decide what you want from this place. It is rather wonderful if I do say so myself" She shrugged nonchalantly. The valkyr felt her eyes narrow ever so slightly as she listened to him; she wondered what baggage he had, and a man to turn down sex was quite unusual - at least her experience. This man, he piqued her interest and it would be a shame for her not to see him again. 

"Well, if sex is not going to help you. Or just the simplicity of enjoying the entertainment then I bid you adieu. But before you take leave, please let me show you around Poison" A playful smile occupied her lips as she sat up straight; her hands clapped together once in excitement. "You never know, you may just find what you came here looking for" Diya prompted him, there was a feeling in her stomach that she could help him and Poison could be a safe place for him; if he would allow it. "My name is Nadiya by the way! What is yours?" She asked and jumped up from her seat.

Jon looked around at the scattering of clientele that milled and moved around him, there seemed to be people from all walks of life both male and female. That latter fact surprised him a bit as most of the time it was only males that frequented this type of establishment. Yet there seemed to be equal representation of both males and females enjoying the club’s atmosphere, despite the fact that there only seemed to be a couple of males working the room. Then there were some shady characters such as himself that didn’t fit into any of the categories, though he wasn’t too worried about the ability of the staff to look after themselves. Especially with a Valkyr as the manager and owner.

Quirking a brow as the woman detailed out what type of person he was, the Nephilim couldn’t help but inwardly scoff at the idea that she might know him. Still, he listened to her every word, marveling at her perception and skills at gauging individuals. With him as the exception, he could see where she might be able to ferret out just what each visitor might be looking for and provide it with little to no effort. The male rolled his eyes back to the owner, head tilted to the side as he considered her for a few moments. “Impressive. For me, however, you are mistaken. I was running from my own thoughts and memories. Looking for a distraction.” It surprised him how easily that admission had popped out of his mouth, as he had only met the woman a mere 10 or 15 minutes ago.

Though he was sorely tempted to get up and take his leave, to head to a bar and drown his restlessness in a bottle until the darkness took him. Something about her though kept him there, following suit as she stood up and introduced herself. “Jon, my name is Jon.” The lease he could do was let her lead him around, give him a better view of the place. If along the way he found a blonde that struck his fancy then perhaps he would be able to work out some of his frustrations in a positive way. The least that could come from a tour was a better understanding of the place, perhaps for a second visit later on down the road. When he wasn’t distracted by emotions or caught up in haunting memories.

“How long have you had this place?” the Nephilim asked, following the Valkyr around as she began his private tour.

Nadiya watched him with a curious eye after she tried to evaluate him and figure out what kind of customer he was; and she had to swallow back a laugh at his scoff as she clearly got him all wrong. She chewed on the inner sides of her cheeks before humming as he came here to be distracted from whatever was going on outside beyond the walls of Poison. "I see, I see" She nodded before she gave off a slight shrug. "Well you my friend!" Well aware that they were far from that status right now. "You have come to a great place to be distracted, even if you haven't found a girl that has caught your eye yet" She was almost positive that he would find the right girl eventually on his tour round of which she was secretly containing her excitement when he agreed to her offer. She eyed him for a moment before standing, her head nodded in the direction towards the bar. 

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Jon!" She exclaimed with a wide smile as she placed herself beside him as they walked throughout the growing crowds. It was like she could see the darkness radiate from him, mingling with the shadows and it saddened her, of course he was not the first conflicted man to walk in but there was certainly something different about him. Being nosey, and some would say a complete gossip, it pained her that she didn't know what it was; she just had to hope that he would tell her eventually if he came back. She rolled her lips in thought. "We are soon celebrating our first birthday in Evermore, I opened it a few months after I entered the city last year" Nadiya beamed, and guided him towards the back of the house where the bedrooms were located. "Each girl and each guy have their own private room. And there are some more public rooms for those who do not wish to live at work" She laughed. The Valkyr leaned forwards to open one of the vacant rooms so the Nephilim beside her could get a glimpse at the modern room; where the lights were dimmed and soft music played in the background. "Don't worry, perfectly clean, perk of having an OCD cleaner" She winked at the much taller male. 

"We also have a very small garden around the back of the house. I really, really want to get a jacuzzi out there" She laughed and waited for him to emerge from the room again before walking towards the door which led them to the garden. "However, I would need to impose strict rules there I reckon. If you know what I mean" She snorted and shook her head playfully, however, she suspected things would happen with or without the rules implemented. Diya waited to the side to let a girl and her client pass before opening the garden door for Jon. "After you!" She almost bowed to him and followed him out to the decking which held some sun beds, and another small mini bar. The area alight with fairy lights. "It's not very good, with a terrible view but it stops the peeping toms of the world" She confessed, and allowed Jon to have a little wonder around the miniature haven. 

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