Liquor and Skyline

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16 years ago…

“Yeah, well, we all know Simone’s the perfect child and I’m not….. No, that’s exactly what you said Dad. That I don’t live up to the image you protected in your head all those years, before you finally decided to have a kid with your actual wife…. I’m not afraid of you GENERAL DAKLAN!” she didn’t end the cell phone call, she threw the phone across the open landscape, uncaring where it landed and screamed her frustration.

She was being cruel to him, she knew. Some of it she didn’t mean some of it… goddess he was always on her case! Her mother too! And they always took each others side and they both were just so fucking… good. At everything. Their jobs. Loving each other. She was a mess and her parents were just stupidly fucking perfect.

She kicked the car tire once, then again. “Que se joda!” fuck it all. Reyna Charlie Daklan’s blue eyes were bright with her anger, and guilt. She gathered her hair back, secured it with a clip, then jumped into the car, revving the engine. There was a street race tonight. And since her father demanded she come home with the car, she was gonna put some miles on it first.

This was a bad idea.

“What the fuck am I doing?” Sloane muttered to herself. She took a slow breath as she looked around at the collection of people and cars.

But Sloane knew exactly what she was doing. She was here to prove she wasn’t the ‘good girl’ everyone saw her as. She was here to show everyone, and maybe even herself, that the only one who determines her life, was her.

And she was doing that by attending… an illegal street race. No, not ‘attending’, she was participating. Participating with a white knuckle grip on a pair of car keys.

To prove who she was…or maybe to find out.

The roar of the engine announced the car that pulled up alongside hers. Her gaze moved to the driver, the first thing Sloane noticed was her eyes. They were bright blue but the uniqueness of those eyes was not what held her attention. It was what she saw reflected there.

Because she knew it mirrored her own.

It’s funny how when you are in those life defining moments that you are entirely unaware how defining they are actually going to be. At this moment, Sloane didn’t realize that the girl with the angry, and somehow sad eyes, that called herself Reyna would become her person, her family, or how their friendship would shape her life.

How it would shape both their lives.

SVT Securities Graduation Day

Reyna slung both her arms around Sloane’s shoulders, making the most obnoxious duck face at the camera. “Two bitches about to break the record for time to senior agent, baby!”

Paul, Reyna’s boy toy, snapped the picture, chuckling. “Damn Reyna you just graduated. Can’t you enjoy that first?”

“This is why you’re one night stand material and not boyfriend material. You have no ambition.”

“Hey my real girlfriend likes my underachiever status okay.” Paul grabbed Reyna by the front of her uniform, pulling her in for a playful kiss. Reyna put a hand up against his face, pushing him away and laughing as she got loose.

Sloane grabbed hold of Reyna, pulling her away from Paul, and fluttered her fingers at him. “Go find your real girlfriend, I’m stealing Reyna tonight.”

“That’s cold. So cold. No graduation booty?”

“Not for you! I’ve got mine!” Reyna playfully grabbed a hold of her best friend’s ass. “And it looks great in uniform. Byyeeee!” And laughing with Sloane was dragged away. “Where we going?”

“Anywhere but here, yeah? No more proud parents plotting our futures.”

“Or those deep Terenzio gazes as they size us up. You’re right. Liquor and Skyline?”

Sloane grinned. “Liquor and Skyline.”

“Yaaaas my queen.” Arm and arm they moved through the throng of graduates, waving bye to their families.

A bottle sat between them. Two glass tumblrs in their hands, because as Reyna said, they were fancy bitches, and only grunts drank out of the bottle. Sloane loved reminding Reyna how much like her father she really was, even though Reyna to this day tried to resist being anything like him.

“Why do you hate him so much?” Sloane asked once, at the beginning of their friendship.

Reyna was quiet for a long time before she said, “I don’t. I love him so much and I hate that. I hate that I’m a daddy’s girl.” She shrugged. “So I punish him for it.”

She’d grown out of it, mostly, and was now close to both her parents, but Reyna still didn’t like being compared to him.

They sat on the ledge, an SVT billboard at their backs, the beautiful lights of the city on display underneath them. Reyna pulled out a cigar, biting off one end, and lighting the other. She drew in deeply of the flavor, rolling it around on her tongue before letting the smoke roll into the warm breeze. “Fuck we really did it.”

When they both turned 18, they enrolled in the SVT Securities training program. Four grueling years later, they were top of their class, ready to get to their first assignment. Reyna was the perfect anagram of her parents; her mother’s brashness and love of swords, her fathers security system and tactical leanings. Her love of boxing though, that was all hers. She’d made both she and Sloane a pretty penny on SVT fight nights, and scored a few trips to the ER, with Sloane supporting her, when she tried to fight the boys bigger than her. She won a few times. One time, she got hit so hard it almost popped her eye out. Luckily she lived in the age of advanced medicine so it wasn’t a problem. Reyna had a temper though, and when she saw that cadet the next day, bragging to his friends that he’d ended her winning streak, she’d picked up her text book, launched herself across a table and caught him by surprise. She sent him to campus ER with a concussion and broken collar bone. She’d eaten that three day suspension and mark on her record with pride. He wasn’t so quick to talk shit about her after that.

Sloane had been surprised when Reyna said that she was joining her at the SVT training academy. But all Reyna had said was, “Liquor and Skylines.” Sloane knew it was more than that though, she knew that Reyna was still trying to outrun the Daklan name. To show the world, and maybe herself, that she was more than that.

Funny thing was that Sloane always saw Reyna as larger than life. Since the first moment in that street race all those years ago. Definitely bigger than the Daklan name. She hoped one day, Reyna would see it. She looked over at the other woman, her eyes trailing her profile as the sky went from brilliant colors to shades of darkness.

“Yeah, we did.” She grinned, “I can see it now, Senior Agent Reyna, kicking ass and taking names.” Sloane smirked and then her expression got more serious. “You can’t see it yet, Rey. But I do, I see you. The known worlds aren’t gonna know what hit them.”

Reyna turned to her and grinned, but then she caught the look in Sloane’s eyes, “Liquor and Skylines, Roisin.”

Sloane rested her head against the side of Reyna’s as they stared out at the stars. As they stared out at the start of everything, “Liquor and Skylines.”

Almost Present Day…

Reyna married (not Paul) at 26. Divorce came five years later. No kids yet, thankfully, just a broken home, and a broken heart, and her, the strong one, lying on the floor of her house, with boxes around her, broken picture frames, and cut up photographs.

She’d never forget that morning. Sloane was out on a mission, but she’d been there, through the divorce, and the fights, picking her friend up when the weight of her broken heart threatened to drown her. Sloane even broke his jaw once, when he’d come to the house drunk and demanding to be given a second chance.

But this morning, Reyna was alone. Lying on that floor, wondering why her husband didn’t love her, as much as father and mother loved each other. Wondering what piece of shit didn’t take their vows seriously, and why she’d gotten that particular piece of shit. Someone rang her doorbell. She didn’t answer. It rang again, and she yelled at whomever it was to go away. Of course he didn’t listen. She heard the lock get picked and knew immediately who it was; her father. He’d come into the house, found her in the kitchen and layed on the floor next to her, staring up at the ceiling in absolute silence for the longest time before he said, very quietly, “Want that hug now?”

She’d wanted to punch him, but realized maybe, she needed to stop hurting the people she loved for reasons that were never clear to her, though she supposed the SVT shrinks had a whole fucking file on the reasons why. Instead, she nodded, sniffled, and let her father wrap her up in his arms, holding her as tightly as he used to do when she was a child and something scared her.

“Your mother misses you. I miss you. Come home for a while?”

That’s what broke her, she buried her face in her father’s arm and sobbed at the thought of disappointing her mother with her failure to be a good wife. Charlotte Daklan was in Reyna’s eyes, the best wife in the fucking milky way galaxy and she knew her father agreed. But maybe she needed to nut up, and get some advice on how to be one. And maybe she just… really missed her family. So she sniffled and pulled herself together and blubbered, “Okay but you gotta make the guest room up for Sloane. For when she comes back.”

“Deal.”

In a way it was a good thing, her divorce. SVT became her life. And she tried, mostly because Sloane yelled at her a lot about it, to reforge bonds with her siblings that had been there when they were younger. With her stupidly perfect big sister, (Simone wasn’t, but you couldn’t tell Reyna that), and her brother, who might as well have been her mother, for how much he acted like her. But she loved them, and after loosing what she’d thought was the love of her life, (what a cruel fucking joke that had been), she stopped giving them grief about how much she loved them.

She lived two doors down from Sloane. Her apartment was full of pictures, now of her and her parents. Of her and Sloane. Of her and Sloane, and Simone and , together. Family. Real family.

Simone and Colin, worked with the Roshinaya (the FYI on that is classified), which meant they worked with mom and dad, (of course, Reyna had to be different) but once, they’d all gone on a mission together. Admittedly, Reyna never had so much fun in her life.

She had reasons to live. Lots of them. So maybe, when her handler came to see that day, she should have said no.

Closer to Present Day….

SVT wasn’t the now extinct CIA. Agents had a choice of assignments and there was never a penalty for turning one down. A senior agent’s gut instinct was welcomed, cultivated, taught not to be ignored. But once an Agent was in an assignment, they were in, and there was no getting out, only mission completion. It was a fair deal in Reyna’s mind.

When her handler approached her with another undercover assignment, Reyna got that twinge. That very small warning. But when he’d given her the sitrep, told her it was EMC, and what could possibly be at stake well… as much as she hated to admit it, she was a Daklan-Black (her mother had always kept her last name, bad bitch that she was). She was SVT. She squared her shoulders and gave her handler a faint smile. “When do I leave?”

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