Fandom: The Curse Workers
Title: "The Chesire's Grin"
Characters, Relationships: Cassel Sharpe, Lila Zacharov
Warning: Spoilers for the end of Red Glove.
Word Count: 750
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. All characters, settings, and proprietary language are owned by the author of the work from which this is derived.
Notes: Written for The Curse Workers prompt table at yalit100.
Prompt 65: Kleoid Scar
It was stupid to come here, completely unnecessary. And even as I think it, I know why I'm here. I wanted to see her. I wanted to feel the pain that seems to accompany her. It was stupid, but given the events of the past few years, I'd say that's fairly in-character for me. In fact, I think I've reached the point at which I'm no longer shocked when I do the things I know I shouldn't. I've come to expect the stupidity of my own actions in a way that can only be described as self-destructive.
I should be shocked that I've let this happen to myself.
"Lila," I reply plainly, hoping that my face is arranged in a look of cool indifference; I doubt it. I've never been able to fool her, so I'm not surprised when her lips spread into a cold smile that doesn't quite meet her eyes. She's standing there, grinning at me, as I attempt to recover my composure; any calm I had been feeling abandoned me the moment I laid eyes on her. I glance around, momentarily curious as to why no one seems to be guarding the crime heiress too closely, before I dismiss the thought entirely. This is Lila - the real Lila. She is not the girl I remember from school, with those artificial feelings courtesy of my mother. She doesn’t need protection, at least not of the overbearing variety – even her father seems to know this.
"What are you doing here?" she asks, all signs of emotion absent, except perhaps a bit of amusement. Had anyone else asked, the question might have sounded suspicious or even nervous, but all I can hear is the familiar roughness of her voice. My eyes sweep quickly over her frame, pausing only momentarily as I survey her neck. Her father must be pleased; she's wearing the ash necklace with pride - in a way that immediately reminds me of Philip - the broken flesh risen from the rest of her skin in an angry line.
“I was invited,” I say, because it’s true. I’m trying hard not to stare, but I can sense how miserably I’m failing. I can't help but think of those classic films we used to watch in the basement, the ones with the heavily-accented gangsters and the beautiful women. She looks stunning. The only difference? She's equal parts gangster and beauty. She’s the sort of terrifying creature that most people can only imagine in their mind. And here she is, standing in front of me with an utterly callous expression.
“That’s not what I asked.”
Her reply is harsh, demanding, her voice adopting a cold tone to match her face. She sounds like Mr. Zacharov. I wish she would slap me, so maybe I could justify the sting I can feel on my face. I knew this would happen, this feeling – I wanted it to happen. It doesn’t help that she’s eyeing me curiously, like a caged animal, which is exactly what I am under her gaze. Just because I can’t con her properly doesn’t mean I’m going to tell the truth, though.
“Did someone forget to tell you it’s a party, L?”
I chuckle convincingly enough to earn a scowl. I have to force myself to breathe, letting out a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. But soon her face shifts again and the corners of her mouth have curled once more. She has the look of a predator – one that has stumbled upon the perfect prey. In the past, a thrill accompanied that look. I worshipped her then, unquestionably. I still do, but there’s a fear now, one that I must have ignored before, that threads itself across my palms and up my arms. I resist the urge to shudder at the Cheshire grin still gracing her stained lips, the one that matches the scar strung across the pale expanse of her neck. The symmetry is unnerving. I had never been particularly oblivious to the future that Lila envisioned for herself; she had always wanted to continue the Zacharov business. I just had never thought she would take the keloid scar. Even though it has been weeks since she first got it, the line that has mangled the smooth skin of her throat is still striking; it does not look as wrong as I expect it should, though. The scar complements the bearer well; it’s beautiful, in an awful twisted way.