Phone in hand. Hunched over it in the huge leather (real leather!) seat, alone in the green room. Flick. Flick. Flick. Nina Survival dragged pulled, held, and released with a compelled, ticking-clock urgency, like a shot of new social sludge would buy her a little more time free from her thoughts, and - well, like there was a chance in hell that something new had been posted in the last 0.2s since she last tried it.
Well, the reflex was wired up, and there was no getting out of it. Fuck. She could feel her heart racing, knew how fast she was breathing, how soon was she on, this must be destroying her voice, when-
When her manager was gone, god, this was it, he finally figured out how much she was going to fuck it up, finally decided he had enough, probably has three singers on the line ten years younger than her already and they're fucking triplets or something-
The door swung open and with a dozy, apologetic smile, Reyard - non-distinctly feigning at being British - returned to her, clutching a thin bag, bottom-soaked with the oozing pounds of smoked meat sandwich inside. He set it and the traditional cherry cola down, and brought his pinstripe-suit wearing self (the man was a good solid three parts affectation to one part person and the lapel flower wasn't helping) down to seat at Nina's side. She turned to look at him, eyes teary, and her "hi-" came out as a long, embarrassed, snot-whistling wheeze.
"Sorry that I'm running a bit behind," Reyard said, "There was a little bit of a line, and as much as I'd love to shout get out of my way you fucks, I'm getting lunch for the most important woman in the world, we like that place and I wouldn't wish to make a scene."
Nina's brain, briefly, stumbled - this wasn't the thought she was expecting to process right now - and she cracked up, in a short, stuttered laugh, blinking the tears out. "You - you don't mean that," she said, with a sniffle. She lifted her hand to wipe away her nose, which did nothing more than smear it, and her eyes went wide with oh fuck everything is ruined cold horror.
"I don't," Reyard said. "You like that place. Which is enough, of course." And, noticing that look. "It's fine. You're fine. Your makeup is invincible, you haven't had the cheap stuff in years." Reyard got the Nina Survival Disaster Kit out of his pocket, and a wet napkin was already ripped open. He cleaned off her face with gentle, delicate strokes, holding her chin. Steam drifted off the sandwich through the bag. Nina knew it smelled delicious, but her gut just turned at the thought of - well, doing anything.
"It's - it's not fine, I can't do it, maybe I could never do it, I think I just woke up and forgot how to sing, have you seen this outfit, it feels like it's for a different person-"
"Nina," Reyard said. "Nina. Nina." He was still holding her chin. The kit contained a small vial of scented oil, too, in a special metal canister. He unscrewed it, held her in place as the scent hit her. "I'd like you to relax for me. You can do that, can't you? You're very stressed right now, but you're going to relax. You're very good at relaxing for me."
She was surprised by what it did to her. She shouldn't be, she thought, but why-am-I-surprised was a slippery thought, as slippery as I-can't-do-this or I-wish-I-could-eat-that-sandwich, as slippery as every single thought she was having before became, all of them squirming and squiggling out when she tried to hold them except for the one Reyard was really, really helpfully providing, over and over - "I'mm - I'm gonna - going... to..."
"You're going to relax," Reyard finished for her. Nina nodded. She blinked slowly, could feel the tears dripping down her face, felt like all the crying had happened to someone else. She was going to relax. "It's going to be okay, and you're going to be okay. You know that because you know you're going to be okay. You know you're going to be okay because you're being told you're going to be okay. You trust me, don't you?"
She did. She trusted him a lot, and it felt nice, focusing on that. At the start - was there a start? It seemed really hard to imagine now - well, everything was really hard to imagine now - her thoughts were running in loops, but the loops were slowing down, fanning out, big lazy circles around her whole self - she joked that it felt strange, 'cause, someone really trustworthy wouldn't ask to be trusted, right? But she trusted him. And it felt nice to trust him, and he said he liked that he trusted her, and it - it was nice, that this happened.
"M- yeah... trust. Trust you." She breathed in, and out. The scent was familiar. She liked - was in the habit of - taking big, deep breaths of it, feeling herself sink into it, deeper and deeper, big lungfuls in, big lungfuls out. She sank a little lower on the chair. She sank a little further into the trance.
"Good," Reyard said. "I like that. Everyone likes to be trusted. But it's especially important to me - you're especially important to me - so I like it that you trust me. That it makes you feel good. You're starting to feel good, don't you think? You're starting to feel things fade away. You can sink further into it."
"Y'...important to me, too." She mumbled. Reyard smiled, and waited. He had to feel out an exact moment, when he did this, and this felt like the exact moment now. Art, not science.
"You're going to put on a show. You're Nina Survival, and will do it. You will sing every note. You do everything you have to in order to be the person who sings that song. You do not need a backing track. You do not need a song. You could melt the panties off the entire fucking room with a single word-"
He moved to snap his fingers, but he didn't have to. She came up like a spring, breathing for delirious air, eyes wild, throwing her shoulders back, bursting up from where she was like a orca thrashes above the water.
"--And don't you fucking forget it! Ha ha, holy shit, how long was I out, when am I on in?"
"Not long," said Reyard. "You're on in eight."
"You stupid asshole, who the hell ever says eight? I'm on in ten or five. Are you like, the one guy in the world who ever pushes the eight button on their microwave? What's the show, do we like them, do they deserve on-time Nina? There's some tears drying up, did they fuck something up for me?"
"It's a lucky number," Reyard said. "And I don't know if anyone deserves you, but they've been to your specifications. You're playing the Atomize Music Awards. You're expecting to win Best Musical Act. You're going to win it, in fact. But you'll be surprised."
"Oh, well, that's good - just - just a panic attack, then? Damn. I need a therapist. Like, I mean--"
Reyard laughed. "...One that isn't me."
"Bingo, babe," said Nina. She turned her attention to the sandwich, ripped the paper open to get at it, and moaned as the scent of salt and meat and fat hit her nose. "This. This is the best fucking object that has ever existed, ever. Reyard. Reyard I love you. I love you Reyard. You know what I'm going to do after this show? I am going to pin you against the million dollar catering spread that somehow couldn't contain a proper fucking Montreal smoked meat sandwich for Nina fucking Survival and I am going to fuck you senseless. I'm going to grab you by your weird fake-British balls and drag you close to me and kiss you so hard I swallow your fillings-"
"Nina," Reyard said. "Nina." Steady, insistent, as she waved the dripping rye towards him. "You have... to actually eat the sandwich."
"Fuck," she said. "You're right." And then she devoured it.
In less than a minute flat, Nina Survival was finished, and Reyard was cleaning the crumbs off of her and dabbing mustard off her chin with a napkin. (The kit had many purposes.) When she was done, she stood up, running her hands down her body. Flared mini-skirt in deep, bright purple. Fish-net stockings. An almost-vest, bare-backed, held on with straps, showing off the perfect line of her back. Her brown hair fell in a lustrous sheen, ribbon-bound, to her shoulders. She was taller than Reyard at most times, and the outfit had her in platform boots, running up to her knees, with caution stickers on every single buckle. Garish, manic, bra-less, hot. She drained her cola on the way out.
She went out to sing on stage and nobody in the audience really remembered anything else about the evening. As soon as she opened her mouth, no one could look away.
She baked under the stage lights. She did it on automatic. She did the encore on automatic. No thoughts, head empty, just like how she liked it. The crowd hadn't stopped roaring when she came back to her room, muffled by the foundations to a faint thrum in the seat of Reynard's shoes.
She was shining in sweat, not tired but exhilarated, and Reyard lit up when he saw her. He was going to say something but she didn't let him, she was on him, one hand around his shirt collar and the other squeezing his thigh, pulling him off his feet as she lifted him into the air and spun him around into the table full of insufficiently Montreal insufficiently smoked-meat sandwiches.
She was trying to pin him against it, but she hit a seam in the tables with him - two pushed up together, under the table-cloth, you know? - and they just tumbled aside, and she followed through, having him to the floor, and Reyard looked up at her with awe. Not panic.
Oh yeah, I created a monster. Right. I keep forgetting that.
When he breathed all he could smell was her, her cosmetics and her body and her clothes and her stage-light sweat shining on her perfect body and the heat of her breath. Her fingers had his thigh and she squeezed in, forcing gasps and moans out of him. Kisses to his neck, hungry, hungry, and when she wanted more of his shoulder she bit into his suit-jacket and ripped it open to have sweet bare skin.
Her thighs gripped around his, and she pushed in, pinning the bulge in his pants between her and her palm, rutting and grinding and rubbing, and she arched her back with the sheer pleasure of what she was doing to him, the stunned look on his face, the mad want she could have him worked up to in a moment. Reyard put his hands around her and -
"Those go on my breasts, babe-"
- And he corrected himself, grabbing her breasts like she liked it, thumbs pushing down into her straining top, gripping her nipples, thumbs rolling around them in a soft, gentle circle. They were firm. She was excited. She moaned and let out an almost-purr, her crotch pulsing hot against his, and she worked her way past Reyard's waistband, making him gasp and suck in his chest with the sudden touch of she's-going-for-it.
"Yeah," she said. "You want to feel good for me. Don't I make you feel good, babe? I know you can do it. You're going to-" She grabbed him, wrapped fingers around his length, squeezed and squeezed as she stroked, smiling with satisfaction when he wasn't just hard but hard enough for her. "- You're going to come for me, won't you? I know you want to. You don't-"
Reyard started to say something and Nina kissed him instead, pulling back with a bridge of spit between their lips. She was almost out of breath, pushing herself through it. Couldn't slow down.
"- You don't have to say a fucking word, babe. Do it."
She pumped faster. Faster and faster and faster. Reyard closed his eyes and scrunched up and released, could feel himself letting go, the sudden surge of everything flooding through his body, matched with a spurt of semen into Nina's fingers. She smiled and relaxed, came down with a huff.
"Yeah," she said. "Just like that. Just... mm. Just like... that. Don't stop rubbing my chest."
He didn't. They lay there, together, for some time, as the fatigue caught up to her. She closed her eyes and rested her head against Reyard's chest. When she opened them next, she spoke -
"-Oh my god am I okay, what happened, is it - what happened to the--"
"Shh." Reyard said. He hugged her. "Nina Survival happened. Everybody loves you. You're great."
"...Good," she said. "...Wow." She hugged him back. "Also, uh," she added, after a moment's thought, coming up from it. "I think I have your come all over my hand?"
"Yeah," said Reyard. "Let me get you a little napkin."