Smokin’ Aces. Ivy/Israel. R. ~1000 words.
The mirror reflects only the space they occupy.
Flutter and Spin
The job went smooth, no matter how much Israel worries otherwise and tries to hide the shakes under the armour of his showman’s surface.
“People in this town know how to turn their heads in the right direction,” Ivy says. Israel pours himself a drink as an excuse to pace. “Tourists only ever remember the flash.”
“You sure about that? You sure?”
Ivy doesn’t bother to say what doesn’t bear repeating. Israel treks across the room to dig candy out of a cut-crystal dish. He starts popping them into his mouth. They roll around on his tongue and click against his teeth. “How sure?” he asks, swallowing.
The house is quiet, lights dimmed, but the room is full of electricity. Ivy counts the seconds ticking by with the measured beat of his own pulse. Israel needs to sit down, calm down, and learn how to trust him.
“You’ve got a good crew,” Ivy says, and Israel stops in his tracks.
He glances over, White Russian halfway to his mouth, hair feathering over his eyes. He thinks it over and Ivy can see that shine around him, all the promise of a new star on the rise that’s lured him in and keeps him here. Israel’s face breaks into a winning smile. “I do, don’t I.”
Israel downs his drink in a single swallow, coughing a little as he drops the glass on the sideboard. He smiles again, whips out a deck of cards and starts in on one of his tricks.
“We’ll know tomorrow, won’t we?”
Ivy nods, fixes the cuff of his sleeve and looks out the window to where the desert breeze is ruffling through the garden. There’s only so high a brother can get with a traditionalist like Sparazza, and Israel’s got ambition. “If the shit turns sour,” Ivy says, making his own plans, “we got time to improvise.”
Israel moves to stand beside him, his reflection a ghost in the panes. He looks over and up at Ivy, brows still tight, blue eyes glittering. His mouth slowly twists to the side. The whispering shuffle of fresh cards can’t hide the raw want bleeding out of him. “You know, you never watch my hands.”
“Magic ain’t in the cards,” Ivy says.
If there’s one thing Buddy Israel excels at, it’s being a quick study. Sharp as broken glass, he’s taken to the life like breathing. He’s learned who to play, who to let be, and if he slips up here and there with the latter, he evens things out by doing a damn good job with the former. Most importantly, when he isn’t wasted, he knows how to listen.
“Where’s my money?” Israel’s spitting into the phone, colour risen in his cheeks. The ladies on the couch shift, cuddling closer on the leather like they’re waiting for the storm to blow over so they can get back to fucking a few thousand out of Israel.
“Give ’em time,” Ivy says, and Israel’s gaze skips over to him.
He pulls the phone away from his ear and covers the mouthpiece with his hand. His eyes go narrow and shifty. “Fuckers think they can pull this shit on me, they’re insane. Driven down a dead fucking end. There is no way I’m going to let them back out on this deal.”
He repeats as much to the poor fuck on the other end of the line and snaps the phone shut without suffering a reply. Bracelet heavy arms reach for him, but he waves them away irritably and tells the twins to fuck off. He shoves the coffee table away from the couch with the toe of his Ferragamo’s when the girls are slow to move. Ivy opens the door for the pair, and closes it securely once they’re out.
“How much time?” Israel asks as soon as they’re alone. He combs fingers through his hair.
“How much time do we got until we rain hell down on their heads to verify the truth of the situation? Or how much time do we got right now?”
“Both,” Israel says.
Ivy puts a hand to Israel’s cheek. He leans into it beautifully. “Twenty minutes. Then me and the boys will be on ’em.”
“Good,” Israel says, and there’s no question he’s still hard up from the phone call and the bitches that’d been rubbing all over him. Making a mess of Ivy’s shirt, his fingers are quick, eager, callused in strange places.
Ivy kisses him slow and thorough, and Israel moans like he never does when he’s getting a piece of cunt.
“I don’t deserve all this,” Israel says. He’s doing line after line to keep up the high, but it’s one of those rare moments when he’s not busy believing his own bullshit.
“It’s not a matter of deserving it, it’s a matter of having it,” Ivy tells him
“Sparazza isn’t happy.” Israel’s face twists. He rubs at his teeth, licks them. He looks like he wants desperately to fuck, but knows he won’t be able to get it up.
“Sparazza is an old man.”
“You’re right, of course. How’d things go?” Israel beckons him forward, shaky hands going straight for Ivy’s belt. He’s sloppy, but Ivy lets him get a mouthful.
“Just fine,” Ivy says. His hand curls over the top of Israel’s skull, fine hair brushed back under his palm, and he rocks into the wet of Israel’s mouth. “You keep the operation running tight and it’ll stay fine.”
Israel chokes, tries to pull away like he’s got more to say, but Ivy takes his face in both hands and waits until his eyes flicker shut.
The mirror reflects only the space they occupy.
Face smeared with coke and regret, Israel’s mouth runs like it matters, feeding Ivy a line, trying to play him like an audience. Cards flutter and spin, the red and black of the suits as much of a blur as brown and blue.
Ivy doesn’t watch his hands.