I’d seen photos of my family’s 1849 Colt revolver since I was a child. My father had a photo album that had been passed down for generations, and within the fragile, aged pages were faded photos of the men in our family with it. Some of them posed with pride and purpose, chests puffed out and serious expressions on their faces while others were candidly captured, a chorus line of expressions dancing across their faces.
The weapon was fairly non-descript: steel barrel, cylinder, hammer and mechanisms with a brass backstrap and trigger guard and a dark walnut grip. The only thing that made it stand out from the rest of the weapons of its time was its infallible accuracy; all who had wielded that gun never missed what they aimed at… ever.
I was the first woman in the family to inherit the pistol, well; I would have been if it hadn’t been stolen the day before my 18th birthday; the day before it was to come to me. In this, the age of energy weapons, it wasn’t valuable for its designed purpose, but I wanted it; I wanted it based on principal and family honor.
For five years I chased my Colt. I followed every lead I ever had, no matter how dodgy, unreliable or far fetched it may have seemed. Over the years it passed through many hands, always moving onto the next pair just days before I would have been able to reclaim it, and each person who had touched it, died.
My father had told me stories about the gun, stories about it being bound to our family by magic, but I hadn’t started believing those stories until I came across its second or third casualty. Who believed in magic anymore anyway? Science had an answer for everything, and had advanced technology far beyond anything I thought magic could claim to accomplish, but with each close call and each new dead body I began to question more and more what force might be surrounding my pistol.
As I stood watching the well dressed, elegant and filthy rich crowd milling around the lavish ballroom, I found myself hyper-aware of every noise, scent and movement around me; I’d never been so close to my goal.
The fabric of my floor length gown moved with me as though it was a living thing, the deep red fibers gently hugging my curves and shimmering in the soft light; people staring at it as though waiting for it to breathe. I’d pinned my heavy black hair up and was wearing the ruby choker and earrings my mother had given me, and had even applied some make-up, something I never bothered with.
My heart jumped when the auction began, the auctioneer’s voice booming over the low din of mass conversation, and I moved to my seat, bidder’s paddle in hand and ready to fly. A wide array of antiques from furniture to random knick-knacks paraded past, and was claimed by an enthusiastic new owner.
When my Colt was carried onto the platform my heart leapt as though seeing a long lost lover, and I felt it staring at me, asking me where I’d been. The bids rolled almost faster than the auctioneer could acknowledge them, and before I knew it the price was out of my range. The bids began to slow, the barrage dwindling until there was a victor and the crowd applauded his acquisition. The man rose to his feet and turned, his dark eyes zeroing in on my blue stare, and with a wink he made his way out of the ballroom.
To hell with discretion. I jumped to my feet and ran after him, erupting through the heavy double doors as though I’d been fired from the gun I was trying to reclaim. I stopped and scanned the lobby, my eyes shifting toward his movement just in time to see him disappear down the hallway opposite where I stood.
As I ran I discarded my shoes, my bare feet silent on the thick carpet, and I followed the glimpses I caught of his long dark hair just before he disappeared around corners. When I reached the door to the penthouse I turned the knob in stride and burst into the posh room to find myself face to face with the stranger who bought my gun.
“Selena.” His voice was rich, like a decedent dessert, and I wanted to roll it around on my tongue. He was wearing a tailored black suit punctuated by a dark red tie, and his long black hair was in a loose pony tail that hung between his shoulder blades.
“How do you know my name?” I asked, my brows drawn together in confusion. “Do I know you?”
He smiled as he walked toward me, his gait predatory. “The last time you saw me I was a gangly boy.” His approach backed me up, step after step I moved away from him until the barrier of the door prevented me from going further and still he came closer. “You were my love, and because of that love I was sold, your father disapproved.”
I felt my eyes go wide as I stared into his face, seeing the boy he’d once been like a shadow within him. “Ian?” My voice was a whisper, and my heart was pounding almost painfully against my sternum.
We stood staring at each other, frozen and humming with tension, our adolescent passion flaring back to life after a decade and a half of dormancy. In unison we reached for each other, hands touching, groping and seeking while hungry mouths fed at one another.
I almost didn’t hear the knock at the door, too lost in the feel of Ian against me, and I whimpered when he stepped back. Taking my hand he guided me to the side and opened the door, stepping back to allow the delivery of his purchase, which I watched wide-eyed.
Closing the door behind the delivery man Ian turned and walked to the glass case in which my gun was nestled. Lifting the lid he turned with the leather belt hanging from his hand, the tooled holster cradling my Colt and he held it out to me. “Wear this for me,” he said, his voice touchable.
I reached for my birth-right with trembling fingers, feeling the hum of the weapon calling to me, and when Ian pulled it back out of my reach I frowned at him. “Just this,” he clarified, a lustful smile spreading across his face, which I returned as I unzipped my gown and reached for my gun belt.