Revenge Tastes a lot like Cotton Candy
I found this on my harddrive the other day and since my RL at the moment is being consumed by things that force me to think logically, fooling around with this was just the opposing force I needed. Believe me, thought never entered into this story. You’ll see that once you’ve completed chapter one or maybe after reading the title.
As usual the characters don’t belong to me, blah, blah, blah. Who knows in another few weeks I may even deny that the story does. <g>
A black rage filtered through the evening sky and joined forces with the Loch that shared its anger. Both waging a war on the tiny boat battered by the massive swells and fleeing from the fingers of fire that ignited overhead and kissed the churning water.
"Are you all right?"
Eyes as dark and turbulent as the sea around them narrowed and met with the raven-haired beauty that had spoken.
"Obviously not, if I were all right I'd have never agreed to this. We're going to die ya know." His dark hair rippled in the wind, his beard glistening from the spray that crashed over the bow of the boat.
"The storm is miles away Will, and I don't understand why you're being so nasty about this. This will be fun, meeting a relative I've never met."
"And never heard of."
Behind the onyx curls that blew over her face he knew she was smiling, she'd been smiling since he'd caved into her feminine wiles and said he'd accompany her. His first leave longer then a few days since he'd taken command of the Enterprise, and he found himself in the middle of Scotland, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a storm.
"Look," He followed the finger she stabbed towards the flickering light ahead, "That must be it."
"Great, I can't wait.... Nothing like a weekend in a drafty castle, on a rocky island with a swarm of people we don't know."
"It won't be that bad Will."
"Oh no, did you see the expression on that guys face that rented us this boat, how many times did he ask if we were sure?"
"I don't know." She swept her hair away from her face, capturing it in her hand at the nape of her neck.
"Seven...seven times Deanna...doesn't that suggest to you that maybe this great, great aunt of yours is a little weird?" He wrapped his hand tighter around the tiller; it bucked against his palm as the waves began to break against the rocks that lined the shore.
"Have a sense of adventure Riker."
"I captain the federation flagship don't tell me..." His rebuttal fell off, his eyes stinging from the salt blurred his vision, but unfortunately not enough. The castle that stood, or barely stood a few hundred yards from the shoreline looked like something out of a gothic horror, crumbling pinnacles, drum towers, whatever, all guarded by a Yett of rusty bronze. He groaned. "What's your aunts name, Frankenstein?"
A wrinkled nose and another smile was all she afforded him.
A crack of thunder drowned out the profanity he mumbled under his breath. He cut the engines a few feet away from the dock and let the current push them into the splintered wood. His eyes darted between the huge, crumbling gray structure in the distance and Deanna's beaming smile. Dock-line in hand he crawled over the bow and hesitantly onto the wooden pier.
"It looks like something out of a fairy tale doesn't it Will?"
"A fairy tale written by a serial killer maybe." He grunted, checking the cleats before lowering the fenders and helping Deanna and their luggage off the boat.
"Please stop the grouchy old man now before we go inside." Her arms snaked around his waist and he knew she was deliberately pushing against him in all the right places. He held his ground, no way was hot breath, a caressed butt and a shifting body against him gonna cause him to give up the ship.
"Let's fool around right here, right now."
"Wha." He had no control over the crooked smile that completely devastated the brooding persona he'd perfected.
"Come on Will, the wind, the rain, the risk of getting caught...I know you want to." He stared at her, his mouth closing only to respond to the kiss she gave him before pulling back. But he knew Deanna, and her kisses and that one was a concerted effort to get him to relax, not to stimulate his interest in her offer. One he would love to have called her bluff on. Then meeting anyone, especially a relative of Deanna's with his pants down caused his stomach to tighten. A mental image of Lwaxana a few weeks ago flashed in his mind, his recollection of that enough to make him back down, he wondered if Deanna had put it there just to be on the safe side.
"You Deanna Troi are full of werewolf fodder." He kissed her forehead and pulled away.
"I just want you to have fun, and we are together."
"I know, I'm sorry." He picked up the bags and tilted his head towards the slated walkway, "Just don't toy with my libido in the future."
"Few hours anyway." He smiled, killing thoughts of a tropical Risa or a vibrant Alaskan sunset.
Riker gulped a deep breath and stopped outside the blood red metal doors of the castle. "Least the doors will be standing when the rest of this place crumbles to the ground." He ran his hand over the gray stone of the castle wall, the outer layer crumbled like dust in his hand, "I think this things still being held together with animal blood...Someone should tell them we've made improvements over the years."
"I think you're grumping again Riker...Go head and knock." Her hands buried in her pockets she gestured with her shoulder towards the circular iron rung that hung on the door.
The three raps he placed against the door echoed like thunder, he frowned at Deanna. The door rattled and creaked as it was pulled open, he rolled his eyes at Deanna then looked up,
and up to the man silhouetted in the doorway.
<Frankenstein, I knew it. >
"Welcome to Coffinwood."
"Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here." Deanna smiled and stepped inside, following the man's gesture.
Will forced a smile at the monster disguised as a butler and followed her. His smile a frown as he dropped his gaze down to her. In contrast her smile never wavered, he wondered if maybe they didn't have horror on Betazed.
"I will tell the Lady Scarlet her guests have begun to arrive." With a hand the size of Riker's head the butler motioned to a dimly lit room to the right of the great hall, "I will send milady to the Library to greet you."
Deanna was half way to the library; her feet clicking against the marble floor before Will had nodded to the man. He trailed behind her, his head still looking over his shoulder, watching Aunt Frankenstein's monster disappear up one of the two stairways that led to the open hall above them.
"This is incredible!" Deanna stepped in a full circle, studying the artwork and sculptures that adorned the room.
"Yea, if you're a vampire and need a place to keep your coffin.... Coffinwood Deanna.... You failed to mention that little piece of information." He snapped on a light, the tiny jewels that hung over the shade tickled against his hand, and sounded like a handful of tiny pebbles had been dropped on the glass table below them.
"It's her last name, Scarlet Coffinwood...My father's mother's sister-in-law, I think."
"Doesn't that worry you, that now you know both sides of your family contain a bizarre element." He sat down on the red crushed velvet couch beside her and grinned.
"I'm sure that remark wasn't at all meant to be derogatory to my mother." Patting his knee she leaned back against the couch and smiled, her dark hair feathering against the rich fabric, her skirt sliding up her leg revealing tanned skin he found himself staring at.
"It's OK Deanna, you're hot enough that even if you go a little nuts I'll still love you."
"I'm so relieved, I wish I could sa...."
"You must be Deanna Troi.... So beautiful.... So beautiful!" The woman's voice was beyond shrill; her entrance as she swept into the room as grandiose as any Lwaxana would have attempted. Gathering the folds of her royal blue gown in her wrinkled hands she wrapped Deanna in a hug, practically knocking her back down on the couch.
Will sat back, watching as the older woman, her hair as silver as Deanna's was black fawned over Deanna, sizing her up from the tips of her toes to the top of her head.
He stood as her attention drifted to him, her eyes, a deep violet, heavy with age still held a spark of youthful mischief, and the look she gave him suggested she was viewing more of him then what was exposed outside his bulky sweater and baggy pants.
"What a fine looking young man, I'll bet you have to fend the ladies off with a stick."
"From your lips to gods ear." he answered, waggling his brows at Deanna.
"I'll bet you have to keep him on short leash dear."
"A short leash?" He mouthed the words to Deanna as Scarlet turned away.
"I haven't found that to be necessary Aunt Scarlet."
"Not yet, I'm sure dear," Her thin hand rested on Deanna's shoulder, " but once those boobs of yours fall from attention to at ease you might change your mind."
Massaging thumb and index finger over his mustache he hid his smile.
"Now sit down both of you...Let me get you something to drink, I make a deadly martini and I'd love to chat for a bit before the others arrive for the masquerade ball."
"Sounds fine Aunt Scarlet, and we'd love to hear about you. Wouldn’t we Will?"
"Of course." Will conjured up a smile from his bag of BS tricks, it diluted quickly to a grimace once Aunt Scarlet moved to the small bar to mix their drinks.
<Relax Will.> The words floated musically through his mind, the tone and the smile she held him with both equally sweet.
<Kiss my butt Deanna,> he returned, pleased when the look on her face assured him nothing had been lost in the telepathic translation.
"I shoulda listened to my gut when the dame walked into my ready-room, ain't nothin good ever come from sharing a bottle with a spicy tomato." Will Riker pushed the brim of his hat above his brows and stared out the window, watching the rain plummet the surface of the loch.
"Who are you talking to?"
Drawing his gun from his shoulder holster he spun towards the voice, "Dust pal, or I'll pump lead."
"Why are you talking like that, you sound like your mouth is full...I take it has something to do with these awful costumes you picked out." Deanna folded her arms across her chest, penciled brows raising over heavily made-up eyes.
"That's right sweetheart, it's the clothes, and getting dizzy over a dame ain't in my agenda...got it. I's call the shots around here, you just stand back and look pretty." Replacing his gun in his holster he backed her against the wall, his hands sliding up the curves of her red silk dress, he kissed her as hard as he could.
"I'm not sure I like this...who are you...Sam Spade?" She pulled back, her attempt at a frown failed.
"That's right, I'm a dick, a private dick."
"If the wing tips fit Riker."
"Hey, you ask me to relax...I'm trying." He plunged his hands in the pockets of his baggy pants and smiled. "If I have to go to this costume party I'd like to at least be comfortable. Your aunt Scarlet's choices seemed to all involve tights, I think she's obsessed with my....ya know."
"No more then you are Will." She sat on the edge of the canopied bed and struggled with her stockings, "Why are their seams in my stockings, this is very uncomfortable."
His grin broadened as she twisted the hose, each movement causing the skintight dress to slide further up her leg, "You look hot Deanna, maybe we should screw the party and...."
"No..... No..... It took me over an hour to layer on this make-up I'm going to display it to someone other then you. Beside I'm looking forward to getting to know aunt Scarlet better. I like her."
"I can't believe she got people to come over here in this storm." Skirting the agreement he knew she was looking for, and the dark eyes shaded by clumpy lashes he turned to the window again.
He liked his costume, and having Deanna in his bed, but that was the extent of what he liked about this trip. From the second she'd showed him the invitation from this unknown relative he'd had a bad feeling, and for every second that had ticked by it had become increasingly worse.
"Shall we dust, Mister Spade?"
"OK chicky, " He released a deep breath and rolled his shoulders to relax them.
This was a party, and maybe he was overreacting or maybe he was playing his part too well. But something deep in his gut was warning him to look behind everything he saw.... There was a stench in the air, the stench of murder, most foul.
Chapter 2 ( Am I Thinking Clearly)
He'd lost Deanna hours ago, the ballroom was too loud, the library reeked with an odd odor that made his head feel like it was swimming and he'd found himself drawn to the billiard room over and over. It was quiet and he'd found a challenger that not only played as well as he did, but looked better holding the cue. Bambi Snow, hair like Caramel, eyes like chocolate and full lips the color of cotton candy. Who the hell she was suppose to be dressed as he had no idea, but he had noticed the longer he looked at her the hungrier he got.
"I better go find Deanna." he said, "It's almost dawn, most of the guests have left, I'm ready to call it a night." Laying his cue on the emerald felt of the table, he tipped his hat and took a step towards the door.
"Come on, the night is young."
"Young to the young Bambi, us old folks need our......"
A scream, bloodcurdling and most definitely Deanna's echoed through the old castle. He took off like a shot.
The few guests that remained gathered in the foyer, he pushed past them, following the voice that now called his name. His feet slapping against the marbled stairway to the west wing, he pushed off the balustrade on the top step and headed down the long corridor.
"Deanna!" Opening doors, checking rooms, he finally stopped short, almost crashing into her, "What?"
"Aunt Scarlet...Will, she's dead."
Looking over the shoulders his hands had latched onto he saw the bloodied body on the floor. "I'm sorry Deanna."
She buried her face in his chest and he held her tight, but never took his eyes off Aunt Scarlet's body. Aunt Scarlet, dressed in only a robe lay in a pool of blood by the window, one hand against the glass, the other across her chest, her gray hair flecked with crimson.
"What happened?" Using thumb and index finger on her chin he forced her to look up at him.
"I don't know, I wanted to say good night.... She didn't answer when I knocked...."
"Stay here." He said, looking over his shoulder as the other seven guest that were staying at the castle came down the hallway.
Deanna, ignoring his order followed behind him, letting go of his jacket only when he knelt beside the body, "How long ago did she leave the party Deanna?"
"I don't know," she shrugged, "Not long, maybe half an hour."
Well after the other guest had gone, meaning either someone else was on the island or one of the seven remaining were the killer. "Contact the mainland, let the authorities know."
"We can't," Bartholomew Dijon, Scarlet's half brother stepped forward, wide green eyes focused only on the body, "All communications are off-line because of the electrical storm."
<There's a surprise.> he thought, fighting the alcohol haze that veiled his mind. He eyed each of the seven guests that stood openmouthed around him, the corpse on the floor and the woman in the red dress that still clutched his hand. Something wasn't right, and it had nothing to do with murder and mayhem, it had more to do with the fact that this was playing out like a bad Dixon Hill novel. He shot a quick look out the dormer as if he could see his captain grinning from the widows walk, more then likely accompanied by his fiery haired accomplice. Very elaborate payback, but then what would he expect from his x-captain.
"This is a very serious matter," he said, pinning each "suspect" with a sharp look, "and everyone in this rueem is a suspect."
"Will?" Deanna's confusion played out as brilliantly as the chorus of gasps that sounded around him.
"That includes you Captain Riker." An accusatory finger stabbed in his direction.
"Of course.... You idiot...and until the storm breaks and we can contact the authorities I suggest each of us watch our backs. Now," he said, pacing the room, his hands folded composedly behind his back, "It's obvious Scarlet has been bludgeoned with a heavy object, and this circular pattern on the dresser free of dust would indicate that the weapon once stood... Here!" He jabbed his finger at the mahogany dresser beside the bed.
"Can I speak with you alone Will?" Deanna looked genuinely befuddled by his odd behavior, yet he couldn't imagine how Picard and Crusher could have pulled it off without her help. But she had been a party to the red alert incident...No, he had to assume she was in this up to her garter belt.
Deanna leaned heavy against him as he draped his arm around her shoulder and motivated everyone to leave the room, go to bed.
He waited and watched until the guests had each entered their perspective suites, feeling Deanna's hold on him tighten.
"You should go to bed too Deanna." He tipped his head down the hallway and nodded his head encouragingly.
"Why are you making light of this, this isn't funny." Maybe it was the smooth sound of her voice, maybe the curves under the sleek red dress or maybe the pincher hold she had on his arms, but trusting the dame seemed the only course.
"Don't you get it, this is a joke and it's got Jean-Luc Picard and his devious wife written all over it...They said they'd get us back for sending the red alert into the ready room when we knew they’d added a new dimension to ship’s business."
"I hardly think they'd try to kill us for it Will."
"Ah," he scoffed, waving a hand in front of his face, "they were probably monitoring the boat the entire time."
"Will, there's also a body on the floor, do you think they'd commit murder just because we interrupted their sex...."
"And made them run to the bridge disheveled and flushed, with the sweet smell of sex in their wake.... And we have no way of knowing if this for real, the whole damn place could be some kind of hologram."
Deanna wrinkled her nose and shook her head. "Has the fact that I’m an empath gotten lost in that stream of whiskey your brain is fermenting in...I’d know if these people were holograms."
OK, that thought hadn’t occurred to him and she had a point about his pickled brain, but he also knew his instincts were never wrong, almost never wrong, he decided after further thought. He walked slowly around the body and sat rigidly on the edge of the bed, staring at the victim and then the empath.
"Maybe you’re right," he finally said, "I’ll take the boat to back to the mainland in the morning and bring back the authorities."
"He was angry," Deanna said suddenly as he stood up, "but I can't believe they'd go to all this trouble."
"Why not, they're married now, they have nothing better to do." His answer was distracted at best, at the moment he wished he was the empath, because he had a hunch this little cookie was playing him.
"Deanna, are you in on this with the Picards?"
"Of course not."
"You’ve never lied to me before."
She took a step towards him. "I’ve never lied to you period," she said, her voice, her gaze, even her slightly rigid posture suggesting he’d offended her.
"I’m sorry, I’m not thinking clearly I guess." He shook his head and smiled, the most pitiful smile he could muster. "I’m having a hard time buying into this."
Deanna’s gaze, dark and penetrating shifted from him to the cliché murder scene and then back to him, "It is a little hard to swallow." The bed creaked as she sat down beside him. He tilted his head curiously, his eyes dipping to the hands she was twisting in her lap. It wasn’t often Deanna was uncertain about expressing her thoughts, at least not to him, her behavior either meant she couldn’t find the words to tell him he was a drunken fool or she knew something she was afraid was going to egg him on.
"Spill it Deanna, what are you thinking?"
"It’s just I did sense some duplicity from Aunt Scarlet yesterday, but with humans that’s not too unusual."
"Maybe their actors?" His mouth curled into a broad smile, a real one, not the facsimile he’d used on Deanna. "And the body’s a hologram?"
"Or not," she countered. "If you're wrong and we..."
"I'm not wrong, but even if I was there's not much we can do...I don't have a tricorder, or a weapon." He knelt down again and rubbed his finger over the ribbing of Scarlet's robe, "I just noticed something I want to check it out. Are you going to play with me or not?" He held out his hand impatiently. The way he had it figured with the thought processes his brain was allowing him, they were stuck here and Deanna’s nutty aunt was now a corpse, real or not. Either way there was a killer, and either way he’d find out who it was; And then he’d deal with the case of the vindictive Picards.
"What did you see?" She finally said on a defeated sigh.
1"I'm not sure," he began, tugging her towards the bathroom.
Without releasing her hand, he dragged his other over the side of the oversized tub, then massaged the moisture between his fingers, "This tub is wet and so is Scarlet's robe."
"So, she had just taken a bath?"
"Except the carpet's not wet, and neither is the bathroom floor...Look at it."
"Maybe she wore slippers Will."
"Then where are they, not on her feet, or anywhere else around the body."
"So you think she was killed in here and her body moved to the bedroom...Why?"
"Beats me, be a lot easier to clean up blood in a tub, especially if it wasn't only the victim's blood." He followed her gaze to the empty towel racks and nodded to her.
"Ya know what we should do," he said moments later, pulling her out of the bathroom, "We should make love, give em an eye full, show the Picards that it takes more then a dead body on the floor and a puddle of blood by the bed to take the fire out our relationship...Shit, maybe they’ll realize how much time they’ve wasted and...Go Away!" he added at the top of his lungs.
"Have you lost your mind, I’m not making love to prove something. Not on your life." She folded her arms under perfect breasts tightly hugged by silk and stared up at him like a stubborn child.
"I’m not taking a celibate vacation because.... Some people have no life!" He shouted towards the ceiling.
"Then you better solve the crime." With the 15 inch heals she was wearing it took little effort for her to lean into him and make sure her breath blew softly against his mouth. "Because I’m dying to take this dress off, it’s very hot." She accentuated the word hot and stared at him for a second with a smoky gaze before walking out of the room with a perfectly rehearsed sway.
"Dames," he said, staring at the space she’d just vacated and listening to the sound of her heals grow softer as they moved down the hall.
He scratched his beard thoughtfully. "Deanna would never lie", he assured himself, tossing a look over his shoulder at the murder scene, "But I wonder how far she’d bend the truth to bust my ass."