Sometimes when you’re writing a draft you give yourself background detail on the characters which would normally be removed through editing but I thought it would be nice to leave the extra bits in so you could get a feel for how I develop the scene when writing. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode.
As always, please excuse my typos.
Renee and Frei
‘A New Assignment’
Act 3 Scene 3
Renee folded her arms as she stood in the large living room with Frei and the Bite sisters, Alanna and Rachel. It was interesting to watch the interactions between the three: Frei always appeared strong and stoic but she took on a special, even more arrogant air when she was being Locks. Her posture was always straight and correct but, as Locks, she had a sharper way of moving, a sense that she could pull out a zip-wire and disappear with some jewel.
When she was around Renee and Aeron off-duty, her movements were relaxed, her eyes less sharp and soft, the corners of her icy blues crinkling up with something Aeron had said or when she was teasing Renee… usually about Aeron.
Alanna was tense in her facial expression through to her stance. She had a hardness to her eyes now that she remembered who she was, a glint in them as though she was angry her facial features had been changed to completely differ from Rachel’s family resemblance. Alanna smoked, which Frei had said she’d always done and she had a mannerism which saw her flicking the long thumb nail on her left hand with the index finger of her right hand as if she wanted to pull off the nails altogether.
Rachel was younger than her in features but neither Frei nor the sisters seemed to know how old they were. Renee was used to that from her experience with Caprock and Hartmann but she was sure that the slave owners knew their ages.
Rachel was expressive in the way she moved, relaxed, and had a tendency to shift on her feet. Susan had told Frei it was mostly likely due to the medication’s side effects but Renee wasn’t so sure. She didn’t quite move like a Locksmith but she definitely moved like she’d been trained to fight or break in like a Locksmith.
“I don’t know how you can persuade Agent Owens to not report that I’m in Derek Lavelle’s household,” Alanna said in a snippy, slave owner like tone.
“Because she knows that she needs to help you,” Rachel said with a “duh” tone. “You know she’s been trying to find you.”
“I didn’t know you were looking for me.” Alanna folded her arms and glared at Rachel. “It wasn’t my fault I got shoved into the stupid woman’s household.”
“It was your fault.” Rachel folded her arms and glared back. “You wanted to help the servants and you thought Agent Owens was going to be able to free them.” She turned to Renee and screwed up her brown eyebrows. “She only did it because Dad wouldn’t give her a slice of his business.”
“I deserved it.” Alanna waved her hand around as if trying to flick her long nails away from her. “I could have made him more money than his mistress and I wouldn’t have needed to use slaves.” She shrugged. “They would have worked better for a cut.”
Renee exchanged a glance with Frei. How kind of Alanna.
“So, you told Agent Owens about the way the property is dealt with?” Renee asked, making sure her English accent as Worthington was cultured but edged. “You thought it was a good move to go to the police?”
Alanna flicked her hand again. “Agent Owens didn’t have a clue about the property. She was only a junior agent. I thought she’d be easy to work.”
Frei remained in her usual stance, not even a flicker of emotion on her face. “Was she?”
“No.” Rachel poked her tongue out at Alanna then turned to Renee. “She worked Alanna and got information then passed it on to her boss.”
“How do you know? She wouldn’t tell you.” Alanna poked her sister in her shoulder. “You weren’t talking to her.”
“I spent three years hiding with her.” Rachel rolled her eyes then pulled a smug smile. “She rescued me.”
“So then why were you in jail?” Alanna muttered then scowled.
Renee and Frei exchanged another look. Who needed vials when you could just find a sister for someone to argue with?
“Because she was trying to get you out,” Rachel flicked her hands around in an impression of Alanna. “While you were following Pucker around.”
Renee looked at Frei again.
“The mistress who Derek Lavelle seems to be married to,” Frei said as both sisters immediately stopped bickering and gazed up at her. “I do not know much of her but I know Bite called her Pucker.”
Renee frowned forcing herself to think in the way Worthington would. “Because she was posh?”
As expected, all three women stared at her.
“Pucker is slang for posh in England,” she said like they were being dumb.
“You’re posh though,” Rachel said with complete focus on her and a shy smile.
“Yes.” Renee smiled back. She wasn’t used to people being shy to her… Frei and Aeron, definitely, but she didn’t get a fan club. POIs really weren’t in her fan club… unless you counted Aeron… and she was going to try not to smile smugly at that.
“She isn’t,” Frei stated in her blunt tone. “She just had speaking lessons.”
Renee folded her arms. “I was well educated, thank you.” She waved it off before they started bickering too. “Why was she called Pucker.”
“She’d been a mistress for a few households,” Alanna said with a smirk. “She was more than happy to entertain an owner.”
Rachel giggled until her eyes misted. “She’d entertain anyone who had a few bucks.”
“Did she need them to have bucks?” Alanna shot back and the Bite sisters snickered between themselves.
“That is what a mistress does,” Frei said with her same blunt tone and strode over to the cabinet where she poured a glass of whiskey for herself, complete with ice, and then one for Renee. “How did you get caught?”
Alanna sighed. “Owens told her bosses but the guy must have known Dad’s competitors… We had people break in and… I remember being dragged off from Rachel… then… I was in a house with Pucker… I don’t remember Lavelle being there.”
“I got sent to Caprock. I got to have fun being beaten by Mr. Jäger.” Rachel shuddered, her focus on Renee again.
“Mr. Jäger?” Alanna folded her arms and flicked at her nails. “You called him Mr. Jäger? The guy was what… sooo unimportant.”
“Not in Caprock,” Rachel said then sighed. “Agent Owens somehow got a job there. She worked her way around Smythe and then she smuggled me out.”
“How, she wasn’t a locksmith or anything?” Alanna studied Rachel’s face then reached forward and brushed at Rachel’s short fringe. “I can’t believe Jäger hurt you.”
“He hurt a lot of people.” Rachel took a breath and tapped Alanna’s hand. “Watch the nails.”
“You were the one with the long nails and all this crap on your head,” Alanna waved at her hair. “You look weird with my haircut.”
“I feel weird with it.” Rachel shook her head and then sighed. “Owens got me out but she wasn’t like the junior agent we met. She was really good at getting me away from the academy and then she hid me nearby while we looked for you.”
“Why was she looking for me?” Alanna furrowed her brow. “She wasn’t going to be my mistress.”
Rachel rolled her eyes. “She was trying to help. Some people help without wanting you drooling.”
Alanna stuck her chin in. “I meant mistress doing the protection bit.”
“You did not.” Rachel turned back to Renee. “She could have been called Pucker herself.”
“I sooo would not have.” Alanna poked her in the shoulder.
“You sooo would. You were friendly with Pucker.” Rachel folded her arms and stuck out her lips. “You thought she was beautiful.”
“I… She’s gross.” Alanna stamped her foot and turned to Frei. “She is.”
Frei sipped at her whiskey and held up Renee’s to her. “So, Owens remained in Caprock to help… even when she did not know your parent’s occupation?”
Rachel nodded, blushed then smiled. “She got fired or left… I can’t remember when we got put into slavery. She said that she kinda had a drinking problem.” She eyed the glasses in Frei and Renee’s hands. “But someone helped her dry out because she could find us and help us… she wouldn’t say much more… but she was pretty clever.”
“And you say I drool?” Alanna curled her lip and grunted.
“I wasn’t drooling… I don’t do drooling over women, that’s your job.” Rachel grunted and flicked her hand through Alanna’s hair. “Don’t you get that straightening that much is going to make it scraggly.”
“I don’t know if I straighten it or not but you have gray hairs.” Alanna plucked at Rachel’s head.
Rachel gasped and covered her head with her t-shirt.
Renee sipped her whiskey to hide her smirk. “Owens left Caprock when we sorted it out.”
“Yup, she had to hide with me for a while because the owners thought she’d helped.” Rachel glanced at Frei, blushed, then focused back on Renee. “They were sure that Locks had worked her.”
Frei managed to raise her eyebrow. “I don’t need to work anyone. I have Roberta for that.”
Renee pursed her lips. “You don’t complain when I’m entertaining you.”
Frei sipped at her whiskey but her icy eyes filled with laughter. “Don’t expect flowers.”
“I won’t, I prefer your money better.” Renee turned to the Bite sisters. “I worked Owens. I didn’t realize she was trying to help you. I didn’t see you in Caprock though.”
“No, they thought some girl who played violin was her.” Rachel said then blushed as she looked between Renee and Frei. “We tried to get her and this boy who told her he knew which owner had bought us you guys caught her.”
“We rescued them because Owens was going to sell them.” Renee shook her head, careful her accent remained in place.
“She was pretending she would to Jones and his buddies… No, she was going to bring them to our hiding place and get rid of the thugs.” Rachel fiddled with Alanna’s hair. “You sooo need conditioner.”
“I need a haircut.” Alanna batted her off. “Why did Owens leave you so you could get caught?”
“She didn’t leave me.” Rachel slapped at her hands and fiddled with Alanna’s hair again. “I was trying to help her but her old boss, the one who got us in trouble, showed up and she said she needed to protect someone… guess she’s still trying to.”
“I guess.” Alanna looked at Frei. “Do you know where she is?”
Renee swallowed her whiskey then spluttered as if she’d swallowed the wrong way.
Frei got the cue and nodded to the Bite sisters. “Why don’t you head to get something to eat. We need to get you back to Lavelle’s.”
Alanna nodded but stayed in place until Rachel dragged her out.
“They thought Miranda was Alanna in Caprock?” Renee whispered as she studied Frei.
“Yes, it explains why they thought she was of such high value.” Frei stared at the door. “And why Pucker wished to keep her as a mistress.”
“To keep her close?” Renee asked and leaned on the desk.
“To make use of her mistress-like qualities.” Frei sighed and turned from the door. “She is business-like and more able than she is portraying.”
“I got that, but why not just get her to do some of the duties… why get her to be a mistress?” Renee put the whiskey down and shook her head. “Especially as she’d married Lavelle.”
“She married him to hide.” Frei held her gaze. “And Alanna, if her sister is correct, was an enjoyable entertainment.”
Renee rolled her eyes. “I’m thrilled with my reputation due to my role.”
Frei smirked and then her icy blues warmed until her face shone with laughter. “Don’t expect flowers, Black.” She strolled to the door chuckling. “Don’t expect flowers.”