Note about future access: The next two installments of this story are super NSFW and will be behind a password. If you’re over 18 and want to see where the story goes, you can get in touch with me via the usual avenues: Twitter, my Tumblr inbox, or my contact form here.
At first, it looks like the only thing that Mahreen is going to get to do with her degree and her experience is conjure up filthy fantasies for lonely customers looking for some fun. Then, on one rainy night when no one else is in the store, a golden-eyed shifter walks in with a smiling concubus at his side and a very tempting proposition for Mahreen.
Mahreen has always liked the rain.
She even likes nights like this one when it starts storming so badly that she can sense the thunder rumbling, vibrating hard enough that it echoes in her head. Without having to glance at the forecast app on her phone, Mahreen can tell that the storm surging through sky is the kind that’ll last through the night.
That’s probably why The Sex Shoppe has been empty from the moment Mahreen had relieved Naoki from her shift.
People don’t usually come in for sex toys and fantasies when it’s pouring outside. Not customers, not Mahreen’s supervisor, and certainly not the young witches-in-training that are supposed to be working with her on this shifts.
Hell, she can’t even expect the odd actual pervert that wants her to conjure up something awful to wander in.
One would think that someone would dare to brave the storm in order to get a guaranteed spot in one of the booths and the chance to have their fantasies come to life for a few minutes or hours, but the rain is ever so helpful at clearing Mahreen’s night.
Two hours after the start of Mahreen’s shift, when Katy and Tully have finally called out from work with some half-hearted excuse that boils down to “witches don’t like to get wet any more than mundanes do”, the store is still empty and silent aside from the relaxing Celtic crooning coming from the record player at the front of the store.
With the three conjuration booths open and the rune-covered forms resting on their stands, there’s something unsettling about their stillness.
It’s strange… Mahreen has made these forms come to life. She’s watched them dance with, kiss, and fuck customers who’ve paid for the pleasure.
Hell, she’s made them do those things as part of her job.
But when they’re like this, still and stiff underneath her watchful eye, she can’t quite look away from them. They disturb her then, disturbing her in a way that they don’t once she’s imposed a veneer of humanity on them.
Eventually, Mahreen forces herself to move. She gathers up a few sex toys and sidhe fetish porn tapes that need reshelving and inches out from behind the cramped counter. On her way to the shelves, Mahreen sends out a brief, but powerful wave of magic and shuts the curtains on the blank-eyed forms.
“Ah, that’s better,” Mahreen says with a sighing note to her voice.
Now she can relax.
Mahreen then busies herself with tidying up, organizing the rack of bondage ropes so that the better, smoother ropes are at the front and the scratchier, cheaper ones don’t stand out as much.
When that’s done and the shelves looks much more pleasing to her eyes, she moves over to the love potions and aphrodisiacs.
Half of them aren’t actually magical in nature. The ones that are practically sing to Mahreen’s senses when she slides her fingers across their labels. The others – potions cobbled together from purely mundane ingredients to serve as a kind of placebo – don’t register on her magical radar.
Strangely enough, those are the store’s best sellers.
Mahreen picks through the potions, taking out the ones with long-passed expiration dates or the funky, almost sour smell of magic gone bad. It’s busy work to be sure, but someone has to do it.
Within a few minutes, she has a decent handful of tiny glass bottles cupped in one hand and her eye on a set of silver nipple clamps tucked into the back of the cabinet where they don’t belong. The moment that she goes to grab for the clamps, the wards set in the walkway in front of the store start to chime with an obnoxious ringing tone, warning her of an impending customer.
Mahreen sighs, tipping the little bottles into the side pocket of her windbreaker as she makes her way back to the counter. “Wonderful.”
It looks like the rain isn’t a deterrent for everyone.
The second that Mahreen skids to a stop in front of the cash register, the door to the store opens inward bringing in a gust of wind and rain powerful enough to send Mahreen’s thick hair swirling about in the cool, damp air.
The wind also brings in two beings that practically shine with magic to Mahreen’s Sight. One has horns and the faintly jagged aura that Mahreen has come to associate with demonkind while the other being’s aura crackles and spits into the air.
Once they cross the threshold, the glow dims to something more manageable and Mahreen finds herself blinking as her vision slowly returns to normal following the aftereffects of her Sight. She expects that the two customers will rummage around the store, selecting toys to use on one another before wandering over to her and she quickly rubs her eyes to try and clear them before then.
Instead, the duo makes a beeline for the counter.
Mahreen opens her eyes and comes face to face with a pair of luminous silver eyes set in a dark brown face.
She squeaks and jumps backward, nearly toppling right over the box for a Sybian that they’ve been holding for a customer that’s out of town for another week. She catches herself on the barstool behind the counter and then, with her dignity in tatters, pushes herself back up to her feet.
“Sorry about that,” Mahreen says with a smile that feels a little tense around the edges thanks to the intensity of the stare directed at her.
Up close, she catches a glimpse of a shimmering silver and black choker looped around the customer’s slender neck and bright patterns of pale scales that stand out against their dark brown skin.
“Now… how can I help you?”
The demon – a concubus if Mahreen remembers her demonology elective correctly – smiles widely, displaying sharp teeth, and then taps their fingers across the counter.
“My partner and I were passing by when we felt a brief surge of magic,” the concubus says, still holding Mahreen’s gaze. “We weren’t expecting –”
The concubus pauses, a surprisingly hungry expression settling on their lean face as they look Mahreen over from head to – just about hip level where the counter hits her. The concubus’ wide nostrils flare with a deep inhale and when they exhale with a lusty sigh, Mahreen finds herself pressing against the counter as heat awakens in her body.
The concubus’ partner steps forward to stand beside them at the counter, capturing Mahreen’s attention immediately.
Taller than Mahreen by a good five or six inches and with a body that looks powerful enough to carry Mahreen and his silver-eyed companion over his shoulders without breaking a sweat, the man standing in front of Mahreen puts her in mind of a predator. When she glances up at his face, the amber color of his eyes and the intensity of the heat within their depths nearly takes her breath away.
“What zie is trying to say is that we weren’t expecting to find such a powerful practitioner on this side of the city,” he says, his voice deep and rumbling out of his wide chest. He inclines his head in a brief nod that sends wavy black hair swinging in front of his face. “We didn’t know that there were any in San Sirena that didn’t work for one of the covens.”
Mahreen can feel her face scrunch up with a frown. Mentioning the covens that closed their ranks at the slightest sign of an outsider is the best way to remind her of what could’ve been. What she could’ve had.
“Well, there are and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone,” she says. She looks at Vilu instead of zir companion. “Now seriously, what can I help you with?”
Vilu’s eyes brighten as zie smiles. “What exactly do you do here, Mahreen?”
It takes Mahreen a moment to remember that she is wearing a nametag pinned to the front of her shirt.
The concubus leans over the counter a little, arching zir back like a cat would. The motion gives Mahreen a glance at the tail poking out above the back of a pair of low-slung jeans so tight that they almost look painted on.
Mahreen’s mouth goes dry with a sudden sense of wanting.
“What — what do I do?” She stammers the question like she’s sixteen again and struck into insensibility at a glance from one of the senior students at the institute.
Vilu laughs, the sound like tinkling bells.
“It’s a sex store,” zie says. “You’re –mm— a psymage, I think. So what do you do? Do you get rid of fetishes?” Zie leans forward, practically wriggling with an eager sort of delight. “Or do you give people fetishes?”
Mahreen shakes her head. “What? No!”
Against her common sense practically screaming in her mind, she keeps talking, saying, “I bring people’s fantasies to life. I’m a registered enchanter on top of my psymage specialty. We have forms –”
Mahreen pauses, only realizing that Vilu and zir partner aren’t really paying attention to her words any longer when she glances at them and sees identical lust-glazed looks on their faces.
Grinning, Vilu says, “Competence is sexy.”
Zie nudges zir partner with one pointy elbow. “Isn’t that right, Gabriel?”
Mahreen glances up at Gabriel’s handsome face. She’s half expecting to see disinterest there, maybe some embarrassment in the twist of his lips or the gleaming amber of his eyes. She’s not, however, prepared for the way that his eyes practically gleam with hunger.
Vilu grins up at zir partner. “Well?”
Gabriel clears his throat once, finally tearing his gaze away from Mahreen’s mouth. “Yes, Vee?”
“Tell the nice psymage how much competence turns you on,” Vilu demands with a grin and a roguish wriggle of zir silver eyebrows that earns zir a droll stare in return. “I could tell her myself, but then where would the fun be in that?”
Mahreen doesn’t want or need a pity compliment. “He doesn’t have to –”
Gabriel shakes his head. “I do,” he says quickly before clearing his throat. “I do actually find competence sexy. But then, you are also an attractive woman.”
Sheepishness looks good on Gabriel, Mahreen thinks. So does the faintly ruddy flush that steals across the bridge of his nose. Actually, Gabriel just looks good.
Then the rest of his words sink in and Mahreen finds herself blinking, stunned.
Mahreen knows how she looks and she normally likes what she sees in the mirror.
Tall, thick, and dressed down in sneakers, baggy blue jeans and an even baggier windbreaker over one of her many faded grey San Sirena tourism board t-shirts that hug her stomach, Mahreen has cultivated a style of dress that wouldn’t be out of place on a teenager. Sure, she has plenty going for her aside from her breasts (like her thick dark hair, the soft twist of her mouth, her ass), but still –
She’s not the kind of person that many people in this city of sirens, angels, and desire demons find approachable.
Which is probably why she never wears anything else to work or around the city.
Mahreen licks her lips slowly, glancing back and forth between Vilu and Gabriel.
“Y-you guys can’t be serious,” she says. “I work in retail –”
Vilu’s wide nose wrinkles with a frown and zie tilts zir head to one side. “And what exactly does that have to do with your attractiveness?”
“I – But –”
Mahreen opens her mouth.
Opens it again.
“I provide other people with their fantasies,” she says, voice rising slightly in pitch. “That’s all.”
The concubus’ faintly forked tongue flicks out and zie looks at her, the silver smudges of zir eyebrows drawing together as zie frowns. “So you’ll make our fantasies come true?”
Mahreen flinches backwards, helplessly. Her stomach twists with a mix of want and nervousness. She doesn’t know what they’ll ask for.
Usually, Mahreen can tell when a client is going to ask for a fantasy that she doesn’t want to conjure up. There’s this look about them, a twistiness to their auras that’s hard for her to focus on when she looks at them, but for Mahreen, who’s usually so good at reading people, the uncertainty she feels with Gabriel and Vilu is a little annoying.
“I can try,” she says with a shaky shrug of her shoulders. “But that depends on what you want. I don’t do fantasies involving assault, underage participants, animals, or bodily waste. If you want a specific person in your fantasy, you should know that we’re not allowed to simulate Tierciel or Sazan under penalty of death.”
Vilu’s eyes narrow with an openly calculating look. “But we can have anyone and anything else?”
Mahreen finds herself nodding. “Y-yeah, I –”
The smile on Vilu’s dark face is bright and sweet with a genuine sort of happiness. It shouldn’t make goosebumps prickle over the skin of Mahreen’s arms or sweat start to collect in the dip of her spine.
“We want you,” zie says, glancing up at Gabriel as if to have him confirm their interest. “Can we have you?”
Mahreen blinks, nonplussed. “As a fantasy, or –”
“The real thing,” Gabriel says, his voice a low growl that makes Mahreen sway on her feet.
He stares at her intently, hungrily.
“Please,” Gabriel says before licking his lips with a slow swipe of the tongue that gets Mahreen right in the gut.
This sort of thing has never happened to Mahreen before.
Sure, she’s been propositioned many times while working in the store. There’s something about a woman working in a sex store that makes customers lose their minds with lust. Not for her, not really, but for the fantasy of making it with a girl that works in a store like this one.
But these two – Gabriel and Vilu – look at her and seem to just want her.
“I need a moment to think about this,” Mahreen says, speaking slowly as if feeling out the words with her mouth. She looks first at Vilu and then lifts her gaze to meet the hunger that she knows is present on Gabriel’s face. “Would you want from me? If I said yes to you, that is.”
Vilu and Gabriel share a lengthy, weighted look.
That look is accompanied by the nearly imperceptible frisson of mindspeak that calls to Mahreen’s psymage talents. She can tell that they’re talking in one another’s heads, but not what they’re saying.
That would require a little less subtlety on her part.
The silence lasts only a handful of moments before Gabriel dips his head in a brief nod to Mahreen.
“We want to fuck you,” Gabriel confesses in a raspy murmur that thrills Mahreen to her core. “You’re beautiful and we like the feel of your magic. We’d like to feel all of you if you’re open to it.” The words tumble from Gabriel’s mouth as though he can’t help himself. He keeps talking as he holds Mahreen’s wide-eyed gaze. “Vilu and I have never agreed on a potential lover this quickly before.”
Shaking her head, Mahreen feels her mouth purse with a frown. “You do this often, then?”
“No we don’t,” Vilu says. “That’s kind of the point.” Zie reaches out with one long-fingered hand and then draws back, flinching if zie wants to touch Mahreen but can’t bring zirself to cross that first boundary. “But please, don’t let us talk you into anything that you don’t want.”
That’s the problem.
Mahreen doesn’t know what she wants.
It’s been an embarrassingly long time since she’s had sex. It’s been even longer since the last time she had a regular lover that made her feel wanted, cherished. Of course, Vilu and Gabriel could just want something brief to tide them over until the rain and storms die down, but Mahreen has a hunch –
And she’s rarely wrong about those.
“Okay,” Mahreen murmurs, smiling at the absurdity of it all, at how unbelievable it is to have attractive preternaturals walk into the store on the one rare night that she’s here by herself and then proposition her.
“I’m in. But first,” she says as she glances between Vilu and Gabriel’s faces and registers the identical, almost shocked looks that she sees there, “We’ll need to talk about what we’re going to be doing and I need to lock up the store so that no one can interrupt us.”