Games We Play

Games We Play

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Summary

Thane Wolfe, known as "The Prince" in some circles, is a man of great wealth and respect in his city, but it does not come without steep costs. Like his father before him, Thane considers his seat of power his legacy and one, which he will fight to retain by any means at his disposal. Over the years, he has collected many enemies who seek to dethrone him, to unravel the two decades of peace he has painstakingly instilled. Amid the latest powerplay, Thane stumbles upon a dazzling beauty, who serves as a distraction from the one loss in his life that cuts deep to the heart. Emily Russell, a chef and restaurant owner, is an elusive quarry; a rare light that glimmers into his complicated, dark world. She is drawn to Thane's magnetic pull, although fighting not to get intimately involved with anyone since ending her last long-term relationship. On the surface, Thane and Emily seem from different worlds with alternate goals; however, time will tell how alike they really are and if they dare play the game of love.

Summary

Thane Wolfe, known as "The Prince" in some circles, is a man of great wealth and respect in his city, but it does not come without steep costs. Like his father before him, Thane considers his seat of power his legacy and one, which he will fight to retain by any means at his disposal. Over the years, he has collected many enemies who seek to dethrone him, to unravel the two decades of peace he has painstakingly instilled.
Amid the latest powerplay, Thane stumbles upon a dazzling beauty, who serves as a distraction from the one loss in his life that cuts deep to the heart. Emily Russell, a chef and restaurant owner, is an elusive quarry; a rare light that glimmers into his complicated, dark world. She is drawn to Thane's magnetic pull, although fighting not to get intimately involved with anyone since ending her last long-term relationship.
On the surface, Thane and Emily seem from different worlds with alternate goals; however, time will tell how alike they really are and if they dare play the game of love.

Chapter9 (v.1) - Informed Consent

Author Chapter Note

Thane meets up with another source of information...."Sometimes we know we shouldn't, and that's exactly why we do."--Unknown

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: September 12, 2020

Reads: 76

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: September 12, 2020

A A A

A A A

Informed Consent

“You taste good,” the sexy Filipina informed her customer sensuously as she dragged her index finger over his lips and then licked the same finger before sucking it into her mouth.

“And you feel better,” the Asian man replied as his hands reached around to cup her bottom clad in latex hot pants.  He stood between her slender legs, dangling over the top of the empty bar.  They hugged his hips as she grinned at him with a playful giggle while tossing her long ponytail over one shoulder. 

Leaning up, the young man returned her playful smile before licking his lips.  He puckered up as he tried to kiss the cute girl before him.  At the last possible moment, the Filipina’s head turned to see the approach of her boss.  Her smile faded slightly as her back stiffened.

Thane Wolfe walked toward the lit bar in the quiet of the exclusive club called the Underground.  There were no events down there today while Hellion above gathered all the attention with the guest DJs hired.  Only a mild hum reached them down there as it was well insulated from the major attraction.  It was ideal for the members only events which took place several times in the month.

At Thane’s side, he spotted his other bodyguard who replaced Stephan.  The man said nothing.  He merely nodded to let the boss know of his presence and then faded into the shadows.  With a glance forward, Thane viewed the solo red light which shone through the translucent stone slab of onyx making up the bar.  Above that was another red light, much softer, which put the couple on display amongst the shadows. 

The young man in skinny jeans with one distressed knee, a loose graphic t-shirt untucked and an army green bomber jacket missed his gorgeous target.  One of Thane’s more talented brew masters ran her painted pearly-white nails through the Asian man’s black hair.  It stood on end at the top of his head like a Japanese Anime character.  She held him off with the gentle tug of his hair and nodded toward the boss.  The young man merely continued to stare up at her, mesmerized.  When her brown eyes met those of her boss, she visibly swallowed, hesitated for a moment and then licked the man’s pouty lips with the tip of her tongue.

Thane smiled in amusement since he was aware of the attraction the two shared from the moment they met a few months shy of a year.  They flirted whenever in the same room, whether in Hellion or the Underground.  The Filipina swore she was the young man’s biggest fan while he declared his undying love without shame.  However, this public show of affection was beyond the innocent winks they usually engaged.  Something had made the Asian man bold in how his hands ran up and down her smooth thighs.  Grabbing his head, she turned it toward where Thane approached.

Flushed face, the young man gulped down and removed his hands from her tight tush.Thane flashed a bigger smile as the guy backed away fast from the flirty bartender.  He noted how she wore a matching latex corset that made her waist tiny and her breast look as if they might escape the top.  Closing her legs and lifting her knees, she spun away from the young man to the other side of the bar.  Promptly, she hopped down and reached for two glass mugs to fill.

“Hey, Mr. Wolfe!”  The two men fist-bumped.  “What’s poppin’?”  

“Looks like you are, Min.”  Thane nodded toward his employee and glanced back to his guest.

“Oh, well, you know how it is.”  Min shrugged with his palms out.  “Take opportunity wherever it comes,” the Asian man admitted as he glanced at the tight bum of the bartender.  It appeared like the bottom of her nether cheeks popped out for a show when she bent over with a towel to mop up some froth that spilled over her fist of beer.  Min licked his upper lip expecting that if the hottie bartender kept this up he’d do the same thing in his pants. 

Thane chuckled in amusement, figuring what was on his guest’s mind.  “Good to see you, my friend.”  The prince patted him warmly on the shoulder.  He glanced to the bartender who smiled as she offered her boss the first mug of cold beer off the tap before the other man with a wink.  “Thank you, Liza.”  Thane took a sip and then nodded at her with pleasure.  The new brew she had been working on was as delicious as her pitch of making it had been.  However, that was best left to another day.  He needed to focus on the present.

“You’re welcome, sir.”  Liza moved further down the bar with a smug smile and sexy sway of her hips.  She took up a clipboard from a shelf below as she conducted her inventory.

Min lifted his mug and drank.  “Cheers!”  He gazed at the prince with a flash of white teeth that charmed the ladies well in the years Thane knew the Korean-American. 

After admiring the amber color of his beer, Thane took a whiff.  He nodded at the bold but pleasant floral aroma.  Taking a drink, he appreciated the sweet finish.  Liza brewed the new lager in-house.  It was a favorite of many tonight, including Min who downed over half of his without setting it away.

“Good stuff!”  The younger man smacked his lips and then belched after giving his chest a thump with his fist.

Thane chuckled with the shake of his head.  “So, besides enjoying my beer and lovely staff, how are you, Min?”

“You know me.”  He shrugged and drank more.

Min attended school at American University on a math scholarship filtered through one of Thane’s many charities, but had no interest in following in the footsteps of his parents.  He decided to leave that to his older brother Hyun, who took to the business a lot more than Min did.  Other family were involved, too, summing up to three aunts, one uncle and five cousins sharing a single-family house in the neighborhood of Crestwood.  No shortage of Seung family members existed that couldn’t help out in the family business.  Min could go his own way without feeling guilty.  Besides, he preferred being one of the hottest mixers under the moniker DJ Bae in the District.  He kept his finger on the pulse of what was happening now in all circles.

“Oh, no need for modesty.  Your debut on iTunes for your favored mixes was smoking hot.”

Min grinned, proudly thrusting his chest forward and squaring his shoulders.  “True.  Thanks for your help with that, by the way.  Ricki’s cool to work with on the engineering of the project, to give it the kick in the nuts it needed.”

Thane lifted his mug to him and then drank.  “My pleasure to see talent prosper.  You’re still on for Friday night at Starx right?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.”

Thane smiled cordially with the lick of his lips.  He drank more beer.  The taste was refreshing after a hard day.“How are your folks?”

Min’s parents owned a scattering of Dak-Ho carryout seafood, Chinese and Soul food restaurants in the DC area.  They leased the property from Thane’s reality company under LHW Enterprises, which was how they met.  By far, the Seungs also sold the best Mongolian beef and crab spring rolls he had ever tasted. 

Min sipped the last of his beer.  “Same.  Mom thinks I’ve lost my mind and Dad’s still not talking to me.”

Thane’s eyes widened in surprise.  “Still?”

His mouth turned upside down.  “Yeah, he thinks I’ve abandoned the family.”

Thane sat back in the barstool next to Min.  “Far from it.  You’re pursing your dreams.  Nothing wrong with that.”

The young man settled his empty mug on the glowing onyx bar after his sad sigh.  “Dad’s traditional.  Mom’s a little more understanding.  So are Hyun and Chin.”

Thane switched the subject to lighter matters.  He knew how much speaking of the father’s disapproval hurt Min.  “Is Chin still having problems in the new private school she switched to?”

Min’s face brightened.  “Not after her Sweet 16 bash two months ago.  I hosted it for her where she invited kids from school, and everyone showed up.” Thane lowered his beer in surprise that Min’s sister was that old.  “Man, where does the time go?”

He offered a side smile as he hoisted himself onto the barstool.  “She’s a little lady now.  Man, I can’t believe how grown up she is.”

?

Thane lifted his mug to him.  “I say the same regarding you.”

Min laughed and then sobered as he leaned on the bar by one forearm.  “Q’s back.”

“Oh, yeah?  When did you see her?”  Thane tried not to drain his beer but sip it while listening to what his young friend had to say.

“Last Saturday.  She showed up at Babylon talkin’ up and then makin’ out in the VIP lounge, Red Room with Zone.  What could that be about?”

Thane shrugged without a clue.  Juan Rosario, better known as “Zone” was younger than Quita.  Regardless, the territory Zone ran used to belong to her as the former ward leader before her exile.  That part of the upper Northwest quadrant of the city was still loyal to her.  As far as Thane gathered from other sources, they never cut their ties from her.  How could they?  Quita was one of the biggest distributors in the Mid-Atlantic region since her move to Baltimore.  Another reason Thane tread carefully with her. 

Why would Quita make her move with Zone and not Dawg though?  Of the four leaders controlling the eight wards of the District, Dawg was the most ambitious and powerful.  He stood the most to gain from Thane toppled at the head of their unofficial syndicate and from a war between P-boy and LC specifically if it ever came to that.  At the same time, Dawg would be more difficult to manipulate for the same reasons.  Thane had a hard time believing that the fallen princess, in her ultimate ambition for control of the District, which she believed her birthright, would play second to anyone. 

As if Min read Thane’s next question on his face, the young man continued, “Dawg’s been quiet.  Haven’t heard much of anything from him or his camp.”

Thane rubbed his chin thoughtfully with his free hand.  “Strange.”

“Him and Zone have cooled it over the last few months since their last falling out, haven’t they?”

Thane scratched his head.  For years, the two ward leaders goaded one another because their wards were right next to each other.  The crews in those joining areas were loyal to one or the other, but not both.  “They’ve kinda tested the waters out of habit for years.  Wonder what changed?” 

Min shrugged his shoulders and sipped his second beer Liza poured him with the lick of his bottom lip.  “Zone’s been in to it more with P-boy than anyone else though.”

Thane considered that statement very odd.  Dawg operated out of the richest wards on the west side of city next to Zone followed by P-boy and last LC.  Nick Barkley, a lieutenant under the former leader of the city, better known as Dawg minced no words with Thane long ago.  The man vied for the city he felt groomed to run, that Thane stole a quarter of a century ago.  He would take it back when the opportunity arose if the prince ever appeared weak.  Thane assured that he never would. 

The power of the city would remain firmly in Thane’s hand where it belonged.  He sacrificed far too much to get where he was to lose it all to a chump with no vision.  Refusing to follow the same plight of his father Lone Wolfe, who once ruled the city but was betrayed, the prince feared deep within enduring the same fate.  Thane struggled with the threat of the unknown daily.  Like all things, he was the master of himself.  He would never allow fear to rule his actions, just as he would any emotion.  To do so meant he would enact the disastrous decisions which led to his father’s untimely death.

Did Zone look for more territory because his area of control was crowded and his people needed expansion?  The wards he controlled were the most populated over the smallest space.  In contrast, Dawg controlled the most land area to the west, but most of it was parkland areas.  However, with that, if hiding a body after a murder was necessary, his area proved the best dumping ground.  Bottom line, if Zone sought to expand his influence, he would find it difficult to do so heading west with such a strong opponent.  The east offered easier pickings in the unstable P-boy rather than a face-off with the clever Dawg. 

LC hated both men equally.  This arose due to their continued antics that caused her grief as they tested her.  Should she ever be forced to consider possible bedfellows, Thane could see LC choose the lesser of the two evils being Zone.  He stood to be a man of reason above all, and she respected that. 

“LC keeps the peace as best she can so I hear,” Min comments with the newest sip of Liza’s new beer.  He winks at her down the other end of the bar where she returns his flirting in kind.

Thane nodded, but at the back of his mind, he wondered for how long.  Quita and LC had a long history.  Bad blood lingered over someone they mutually cared for.  LC blamed Quita for her involvement in leading Gonzales astray and then getting him killed in one of the fallen princess’s many schemes to gain more power from P-boy at the time.  To his credit, the young man sought to make a name for himself separate from his girl LC who created a lot of buzz and goodwill amongst the crews throughout the District. 

Gonzales’ alliance with Quita was born in disaster though because anyone who worked for her became expendable.  Her loyalties resided firmly with herself above everyone, no matter the situation or cost.  That woman would survive any catastrophe.  Betrayal was not above her standard for that truth.

Further, to complicate the situation was Thane’s involvement.  Seeing the fallen princess operate, he understood that Quita could not be trusted.  She would not be persuaded, manipulated or controlled.  Her agenda was strictly her own and only involved others up to the point of their inability to help her in her goals.  Thane valued loyalty while Quita was too selfish to appreciate such a thing.  Removing her from his backdoor was the best bet at the time to maintain stability in the city.  Besides, he preferred LC’s even temperament and so did the other crews who continued to back her. 

“She does, which is better in many ways than the alternative,” Thane agreed with a nod even as his mind turned to the probability of LC not taking Zone’s side because of his assumed involvement with her most hated enemy.  That left her with her constant fight with P-boy and to a lesser extent, Dawg.  Would LC choose the devil she knew or the one she did not?  Her crews would sooner side with Dawg than P-dog Thane knew.  The bitterness between the crews was too strong.  A neutral party like Dawg could win the day by shifting the balance unfavorably toward Dawg with whom Thane did not dare trust. 

Assuming, of course, LC would ever side with anyone over Thane himself, he was forced to consider the worst-case scenario.  Amongst his allies, she was the strongest.The further west he went so decreased his influence over the ward leaders.  None of them could be trusted, which was why Thane kept tabs on all of them.  Information made the difference between him staying one step ahead of his enemies and not falling for the latest trap sprung for him.

Thane was the common thread that untied them all the ward leaders.  Like it or not, without his influence in local politics, vast real estate holdings and business savvy to exploit money opportunities wherever they arose, made them all very rich.  Such things only went so far for those with true ambition.  It made Thane diligent and mindful of the minefield he navigated with an uncanny intuition up to this point.  Even intuition could only get him so far.  Right now it told him that a shift was coming and not one he would like.

“Alternative?” Min inquired with a frown of his own not understanding. 

Thane waved him off.  “Merely thinking out loud.”  There was no need in rehashing the past.  The present offered plenty of its own worries.  With the information gathered so far from Min and others spoken with tonight before his final business meeting of the day, Thane saw a landscape that filled with possibilities against him that he had not considered.

“You, my friend, are not keeping the peace now are you?” the prince inquired carefully veering the conversation away from his dark thoughts and back to Min with a smile.  He sipped his beer with a gesture of the mug toward the young man.  “You’re stirring up quite a lot of excitement on the dance scene right now.  That all-dance radio station features a rolling gambit of your mixes on their randomized playlist?”

Min chuckled with his excitement, flattered by the praise thrown his way.  “Crazy as it seems, but thanks in large part because you got me some air time on that new station WHOT.”

Thane lifted his hands and shook his tilted head.  The radio station venue was something he wanted to get into for some time, but the opportunity never arose for it.  WHOT was competition for WPGC and KISS, which were staples for Hip Hop and R & B for years.  Thane’s niche though was a heavy rotation of dance music, which happened to cross over into the Pop as well as R & B and Hip Hop genres.  So far, the format brought in new listeners in their core market of ages 18-24 and 24 -30.  It helped though to have radio personalities in sync with their listener base.  Signing DJ Swag was the first amongst those to be signed at Thane’s urging to seal up the evening drive.  WHOT’s morning format still needed some help, but they worked through it.

“Hey, DJ Swag knows talent when he hears it.”

Min gushed with widened almond eyes, “Aww, man, DJ Swag is da beast right now.  That he’s even a fan… OMG!”

Thane waved at him again and chuckled.  “Like everyone else on Twitter and Instagram following you.  How many is it now 100,000 and counting since you opened the two accounts a month ago?”

“Unreal.”  He shook his head, giving Thane the Home Alone look between his hands with his mouth hanging open for a moment.  “My Facebook and YouTube channels are also blowing up even with my old content.  I only really have time to keep up with Twitter and copy to the other platforms so I can let everyone know what’s up and where I’ll be performing.”

Thane chuckled at the comedian as Min performed his happy two-step dance to the left and then to the right before he spun on his heels in two revolutions before jumping out of it with his hands at his side in a final pose.  He used the move often while in his element in front of his spinning tables.  “That’s right.  I’m the man.”  Min popped his collar and struck a new pose.

Thane chuckled at him before he sipped his beer.  “Much deserved.  Can’t wait to see what the future brings for you.”

Min sobered with a sigh when he hopped back on his bar stool.  “A summer of no worries now that exams are done!”  He fist pumped the air.  “Whoo hoo!”

“Planning anything fun?”

“I hate to slow down when things seem to be taking off, but partin’ in Aruba with my friends would be awesome!  They’ve been buggin’ for months to do something since I worked spring break.”

“Do it.  Recharging is cathartic.  Believe me, you don’t get this time of your life back later.  Enjoy it while you can.”

“Sounds a bit like regret to me.”  Min leaned into the bar as he glanced at the older man’s wise eyes. 

Thane chuckled lightly with a half-smile, envying Min’s youth alone.  He liked the path of his life, no matter the future dangers and intrigues to come.  It was his city and knew with it came great responsibility.  Thane would do what he had to, just as he did in the past to protect his interests at all costs, but also to ensure the best outcome for all to prosper. 

He winked at Min as he stood and watched the younger man finish his second beer.  “None actually, but want to let you know, my friend, it does go by faster than you can imagine.”


© Copyright 2020 Amy F. Turner. All rights reserved.

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