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Jun 03, 2020 7:36 PM
storms & palatinates in the anita blake-verse
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Anita sits at her desk with her coffee cooling in front of her, her legs crossed and with a very careful look of polite professionalism on her face. She's annoyed. But she doesn't want her client to know that. Potential client. Terrible. The clock on the wall behind her ticks evenly, causing the silence between them to feel oppressive.

The tacky pattern of his shirt really isn't interesting enough for Anita to justify focusing her eyes on it, but it beats looking into his eyes. Rule number one: never look a vampire in the eyes. Even newbie two years dead vampires whose funeral you attended. You can never be too cautious.

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He watches her with a slight smirk. "Mind if I smoke in here?"

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"Yes. I mind." She crosses her arms and switches her eyes to his other shoulder.

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"Damn, you're gonna make me do all the work, aren't you?"

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"You've paid for an hour of my time. My time. That's all you get." Her eyes flick up to his, only for a moment —they're still the brown he died with, before she looks back down at the buttons of his shirt.

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He laughs, more of a snicker than anything else. "You're afraid of me. Gotta love that."

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She unclenches her jaw, it takes a bit of effort but she manages it.

"What can Animators, Inc. do for you today?" It doesn't quite come out as cold and professional as she intended it, but what can you do? Vampires bring that out in her.

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"Hey, no need to be so hostile, I'm here to give you money. Be a client."

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She's going to kill Bert for putting her in this situation. That man and his money.

She checks her watch. "Forty-two more minutes."

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"Hey, no, just- Look, I wanna hire you to investigate some murders, huh?"

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"Go to the police."

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"Yeah, see, they don't really care what happens to us. You heard about the vamps getting wasted in the District right?"

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"I’m familiar with them.”

Four vampires had been slaughtered in the new vampire club district. Their hearts had been torn out, their heads cut off.

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"You still working with the spook squad then?"

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She was, they'd brought her in to look at the last two bodies. It wasn't looking good. But she wasn't going to tell him that.

She sighs. "Who are you working for, Frankie?"

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"That's not important. Money's real good. And we want someone what knows the nightlife looking into this."

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This isn't going anywhere productive.

“I gave a full report to the police.” She stares up at him, almost looking him in the eye.

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"Ya gonna give me that?"

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Like hell. “I am not at liberty to discuss police business with you.”

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Frankie sighs. "Told 'em you wouldn't go for it."

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"For what, exactly? You haven’t told me a damn thing.”

She's sick of this, she wants it to be over.

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"We want you to investigate the vampire killings. Find out who, what's doing it. And we'll pay three times your normal fee."

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Anita sighs and rubs her face. Fucking Bert and his money. No wonder he set up this appointment. He knows how she feels about vampires. But this is her job, and her contract forces her to at least meet with any client he sets her up with. They are going to have Words.

She stands. "Save your money. I've already told the police everything I can. Let them do their job."

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Frankie stays sat, staring up at her, very still. It's not the lifeless immobility of the long dead, but it was an image of it. "Why won't you help us?"

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His stare sends chills down her spine. She's scared, but she will not let him intimidate her. She won't.

“I have clients to meet, Frankie. I’m sorry that I can’t help you.”

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"You mean 'won't help'."

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