To Free a Djinn
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Copyright ©2013 Ayla Ruse
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"Nico, c'mon. Misty told me she saw Braden heading downstairs."
"Was Rebecca with him?" Nico asked, setting his clipboard on the prop table and following Justin backstage.
"She didn't think so, but I'm ready to rip Braden a new one for yelling at Rebecca the way he did."
"You and me both. Damn fucker is elusive as hell."
Justin Rebel, master illusionist, and Nico Comasco, his best friend and manager, hurried down the rickety stairs, slowing only as they reached the bottom and crossed through the dim hallway that led under the stage. In addition to extra dressing rooms, there were also huge sectioned-off areas that could be used for rehearsals if needed.
They checked each room, opening the doors quietly and moving on when silence greeted them. When they reached the last room, the door was locked. Justin raised his brow and Nico shook his head. Braden had to be here, unless he'd simply vanished into thin air. But why would Braden have locked the door?
Justin stepped back when Nico pulled a thin pouch from his pocket and dropped to his knees. Within seconds he'd silently unlocked and opened the door. Immediately they heard Braden's oily voice.
"Rebecca! Enough of this foolishness. You will appear. As your master, I command you." In a lower, smug voice, he added, "You know you cannot disobey me."
Justin and Nico looked in the room to see Braden's onstage illusion of green and blue flames.
"Rebecca!" Braden snapped again. This time, the flames died out, but left behind a huge cloud of similarly colored smoke.
"God damn it, bitch! Make the smoke leave this area at once!"
In a rush, the thick fog gathered and, as if a broom pushed it, swept off the stage and out of the opening they'd made in the doorway.
They returned their gazes to the stage to see Rebecca standing in front of Braden. Practically naked. She wore the sheer, cream-colored, gauzy leggings and vest she'd normally wear onstage as Braden's assistant, but there was nothing beneath to cover her stiff nipples or the blush of a triangle of hair between her legs. Despite her see-through clothing, she stood her ground. Feet planted, hip cocked, arms crossed defiantly beneath gorgeous breasts. Her long hair tumbled down her back and over her shoulders in a red so vibrant it rivaled a fall sunset.
But their attention shifted when Braden yelled.
"I will not tolerate another stunt like you pulled this afternoon. Got me? You pull crap like that when we have an audience and I'll give you more than a sore stomach."
Rebecca snorted. "I'm a fucking djinn, Braden. You can't touch me unless I allow it."
At these words, Justin and Nico blinked and looked at each other in surprise.
"A djinn?" Justin mouthed to Nico.
"Is she kidding?" Nico mouthed back.
Braden, meanwhile, took the two steps necessary to crowd her personal space. She didn't move a muscle. Justin had to hand it to Rebecca, she had balls to stand up to Braden. The magician was tall, muscular, and downright mean when he wasn't trying to win over an audience.
"Rebecca," Braden said, his voice sickeningly sweet. "My sweet, sweet girl." He ran the back of his hand across her cheek and she flinched. "You seem to forget I have all the power. Mighty. Little. Djinn."
His hand turned and he slapped her across the cheek, the crack sounding like a gunshot in the room. Rebecca's head snapped, and she raised her arms in defense, but Braden barked, "I command you to put down your arms. You know you cannot harm me, your master."
She did as he said, her face a furious mask. The red mark of his handprint stood out under the lights overhead.
"That's it. I'm going up there," Nico said. He tried to move forward, but couldn't. He shifted to the left and tried again, but there was no way to move ahead. Justin followed Nico's lead and likewise came against walls that shouldn't be there. It was as if an area around Rebecca and Braden was shielded.
As they tried to get around this strange shield, Braden took off his suit jacket and unbuttoned his shirt.
"Please tell me he's not taking off his clothes," Nico muttered. "We have to get up there."
Justin agreed. No one in their traveling troop cared much for Braden. He was slick, smarmy, and if his magic hadn't been considered the best, they'd have kick him out. He was kept and respected in the troop because no one could figure out how he did some of his magic tricks, but more because everyone loved Rebecca. How such a beautiful and sweet woman could work for Braden was beyond anyone's guess.
Yesterday, Justin and Nico had returned to the backstage area to gather items Justin had left behind. They had heard Braden and Rebecca in their own rehearsal. Then out of nowhere, Braden had started yelling at Rebecca, cussing at her, calling her names, blaming any little hitch in his act on her. Appalled, they'd hurried toward the stage, but by the time they'd made it there, Braden and Rebecca had disappeared.
Now, Braden finished removing his shirt and tossed it behind him. The muscles in his chest flexed as he brought up his right hand.
"You seem to easily forget I control you." The thick, gold ring Braden wore on his pinky caught the lights. "Yes, you, a mighty and powerful djinn." Braden snorted.
Justin clenched his fist. If he could get to him right now...