“I don’t have any beautiful memories.” Nedra’s latest client leaned slightly forward with a chagrined half-smile.
“It occurred to me,” the lovely woman drawled, “that shouldn’t be the case.”
She was perched on the cracked edge of Nedra’s worn out leather chair with all the grace of a Queen of Sheba. Her skin wasn’t quite as dark as Nedra’s. It was more like the milky coffee that Nedra had drunk that morning to take the edge off what had apparently been a very rough night.
The woman’s eyes were over-large, bright and watchful. Predatory. Small jewels traced the curves of her eyebrows. Her eyeshadow was a reddish blue, bruised-seeming hue. Her swollen lips were painted black. A cascade of crystal teardrops dangled from her pierced ears. Her long dress was made of thin, shiny fiber that gently caressed her delicate bones. The shawl thrown carelessly over her shoulder was made of expensive, meticulously woven material.
This woman was a jewel of the night. She didn’t belong in the raw glare of daylight on the shabby outskirts of town. She certainly didn’t belong in this dingy office with the leaky roof and rats crawling underneath the floorboards. Here she was though, looking at Nedra as if the small-time detective were her lifeline. Looking as if there was no other place she could have possibly gone.
When she spoke again, her voice was sweet and smoky, possessing a strangely powerful timbre that sent a small tremor running down Nedra’s spine and straight down to her toes.
Nedra cleared her throat and croaked, “Come again?”
The woman smiled slightly. She leaned further forward and Nedra caught a glimpse of the two perfect, soft mounds enveloped in the delicate fabric of her bosom.
“My beautiful memories,” the femme fatale answered lowly and slowly as if speaking to a child, “they’ve gone away. In fact, I seem to keep losing more and more each day.” The woman eased back, settling more deeply into the chair, “you’ll help me find them, won’t you?”
“Augmented?” Nedra queried, just to be on the safe side.
Dear god. She was born with it. That mind-numbing Nubian beauty…