The Better End of the Deal (PG)

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The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:30 am

Title: The Better End of the Deal

Rating: PG, but there are language and adult inferences. (Let me know if I should re-rate, Mods.)

Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be.

A/N: This comes from the same world as You really wanna know? and is the result of some unexpected encouragement that brought the origins of this story back to my attention. It's not necessary to read that story first, but it adds a little background.


The Better End of the Deal


Well, he sure wasn’t what I thought he’d be, I’ll tell you that for free.

It wasn’t that he was old - the air of deference everybody else in the room was giving him told me that – or the fact that he was easy on the eye. He must really have had some serious green to keep that pretty mug off of TMZ or out of contention for Time’s ‘Youngest Billionaire of the Year’ edition. Every year. Guess it’s not just all the beautiful people who gravitate to La La Land. Why yes, Randy, living in Bel Air means we get a better class of vampire. The age on him scared me, but only because I knew at some point I wasn’t going to be able to resist saying or doing something that would probably make him want to kill me. So I have a death wish, so what are you, my therapist? And to prove the point I figured I might as well make the TMZ comment right out loud.

He looked up from his work and said, “I’m guessing you’re not really my eleven-thirty from the agency.”

And then he looked me over. Well, he didn’t exactly look at me. It was more like his eyes meandered over me on the way to somewhere better, like I was some guano-covered statue in some second-rate public park or something. Sheesh, what a poser. Him being suck-the-air-right-out-of-your-lungs loaded meant I half expected the whole beneath my contempt routine, but what he said next I genuinely did not anticipate.

“She’s too young.”

What the-? And it came with it’s own dismissive little wave in my direction too. Sure, there’s an age limit for donating blood in normal-human-land, but no vamp I ever met believed in those do-gooder Red Cross type regulations. I seriously think he expected me to just turn tail and leave and that sure as hell wasn’t in the plan.

“Like the Sam bloody Henry I am,” I said, outraged but toning it down a little because Business Weekly says it’s important when negotiating to keep your cool. “I’m nineteen and I’ve been feeding fat-cat vamps like you since the night step-daddy number six had an accident on the way back to his room after giving me his idea of a gift for my fourteenth birthday.”

That got his attention.

A laser gaze settled on me and for the first time in like, forever, I felt what that dude Bernie Madoff might at an annual general meeting of his investors, which is to say, just a trifle less than comfortable. Something was going on behind those eyes I couldn’t read and it made me nervous. I mean, how peachy keen would you feel about jumping into bloodied water with a hungry great white shark? I know - not too great unless you knew for sure it was a committed vegetarian, right? The. Point. Is. You have to be able to read your apex predator - know when to hold up, know when to - you know how the rest of that country classic goes. Otherwise its all fun and games and then its goodnight sally without so much as a pink slip in your paycheck.

“Ray, give her some money and get her out of here,” he said finally to one of the crisp business-minions in the room and looked back down toward his work as if this golden opportunity for him to fund my future life plans was actually over. And that’s when things went to hell.

I ejected the sharp little silver blade I keep stitched into the hem of my sleeve for emergencies – no one ever thinks to check someone as sweetly innocently-looking as me for deadly weapons - and slashed it right across the middle of my right palm. Or at least, that’s what I would have done if everyone hadn’t been yelling hysterically get down on the ground get down on the ground like this was LAX International and what I was holding in my hand was an AK-47 and not a harmless little lancet and The Man himself hadn’t suddenly been standing there in front of me – goddamn, he was fast - crushing my wrist between two perfectly manicured pale fingers.

It’s funny, from everyone else’s reactions I thought I’d finally made one smart move too many and that the next thing I’d be holding in my hand would be a one-way ticket to a location much, much further south than Florida, but he surprised me with a brief, but definite, flicker of admiration before the businessman inside shut that down and in a smooth, professional voice he said, “Allow me.”

I held my index finger out and he pinched the sides and then, son of a bitch, plunged the lancet in deep enough to really sting. Guess I deserved that. A perfect, glossy, red sphere welled to the top, holding its shape like a mini balloon blown up by tiny little blood elves or what have you. I didn’t have to see all the other vamps in the room stiffen and sit up just a little straighter to know for sure that they all were. Every vamp always did. It was just like Jimmy had said way back when. The stuff inside me was pure gold - and you see, that now means you owe me one, because within the narrative flow that was an ideal time for me to say something dumb like ‘vampire heroin’. Luckily I’m the type that cares enough to want to spare you. That line always makes me want to hurl.

Anyway, I had to hand it to the Old Man, he really knew how to hold his water. He didn’t silver up straight away. It was a pretty impressive display of self-control, and I filed that fact away for future reference.

He held my eyes and took his time lowering his mouth over the tip of my outstretched finger and it would have been as sexy as hell if he’d been George Clooney and I’d been Jennifer Lopez, but I don’t buy that crap. When he’d finished, he loped back to his big chair behind the desk and steepled his fingers and looked at me silently for a long time and I mean, like a really long time. If I’d been back home in the bunker with Kel and Millsy we would have been locked in an honest-to-god world-class game of ‘who’ll blink first’.

I must have won, because in the end he said, “Janice, tell legal to send up a standard contract.”

Screw that. “Yeah, Janice - ”, I mimicked, just in case the TMZ comment and my lancet faux pas were getting lonely as his only potential motivators for ending me, “ - and tell them to send up a red pen right along with it, because I don’t sign anything that’s ‘standard’.” Wanting me on the payroll was just step one.

He sat back in his chair and I could see him start to wonder just how much more trouble I would be and whether, despite the unique gastronomic quality of my blood, his first instinct to send me packing had been correct. Years of experience with my product made me pretty confident that he was going to take me on no matter what he suspected about my ability to settle down and behave like all the other girls. Poor sap. He didn’t know the half of it. No matter what I signed, I just could never find a way to follow rules that wouldn’t make me puke. I almost felt sorry for him before I remembered that pity was for losers. The little wheels in his billion-dollar brain started clicking over and then I got the thousand-watt business smile, which meant that negotiations had already started.

“Your move,” he said.

“Three variations to the standard contract,” I said. I’d done my homework and named a figure five times more per bite than the usual fee paid to over-priced at-home girls. He was smart. He didn’t fake outrage as a lever to try to screw the price down because he knew I wouldn’t buy it. Instead he made a counter offer of double the usual price.

“But only if,” he said, holding up a finger, “You come on board as an Exclusive.”

Goodbye freedom, hello home detention. His house, his house-rules and - rules... I think you already have some idea of the level of détente I have with those, right? If an ankle monitor was involved the deal was definitely off. The worst part about it was that it meant fitting in and playing nice with all the other bleeders, and let me tell you, girls who service guys like him have a reputation that could make a Mexican drug cartel cry. I had a feeling his other meaty bites and I would get along about as well as Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie might if trapped in an elevator together the night of Poor Jen’s former anniversary, but I figured I could hold my own, so done it was. Too bad for him having to live in his house meant my second condition might set the cat amongst the pigeons in his cosy roost.

“Three weeks between feeds instead of the usual one.”

“Two. And the last?”

Okay, given this vamp’s stickler-for-the-straight-and-narrow-with-girls-like-me reputation, the clause behind door number three was always going to be the tricky part.

“I don’t know what a hedge fund is, but you obviously,” I said, making damn sure it was obvious by the way I was ogling his pricey office furnishings, “are something of a grand pooh-bah in that respect and I want in.”

He shook his head. “I’ll get you some more suitable names,” he said and clicked his fingers toward the minions.

“I want you.”

“Even with the exorbitant fee I’ve just agreed to, your annual salary wouldn’t be enough to meet the company’s minimum deposit requirements.”

“Which is why I’m talking to the guy whose name’s the one in lights above the marquee.”

“I don’t do business with my meals.”

Any colder and his voice would have frosted the great big windows behind his desk. He meant it too. Which was bad for me, because condition three was the cornerstone of my grand plan. If I couldn’t swing this no matter how much money I earned in the day-to-day, I’d never really be free to live my life the way I wanted. I had no choice but to play the card I’d prepared and hope to God it worked.

“Say no and I’ll walk straight down Melrose and into Nelson Gamble’s office.”

His eyes narrowed, both because he was surprised my homework had been thorough enough to identify his major vampire business rival and because he wasn’t sure whether I meant it after I’d gone to all this trouble to get a little of his attention. I was counting on him not wanting to lose me to a competitor but the way his eyes shifted said for some reason that it really mattered. Good for me. I pressed the advantage home. “Two thirds of everything I earn into your highest yield account.”

“That’s also my highest risk account,” he said, trying to scare me off.

“Do I seem risk averse to you?”

He thought about that and I could see that he didn’t really like the feeling that he’d been out manoeuvred and he made damn sure I knew it. “You can start on a six week contract with a four week probation period. One wrong move and you’re out.”

On the streets where you belong wasn't said but by the look on his face it may as well have been. That was only half the usual contract length for a new girl signing up to Exclusive biting rights. So he was punishing me, so what? I could afford to be a little magnanimous. I’d gotten what I wanted and I knew that this was only bluster. Once he’d truly tasted what a mouthful of me was like, he’d learn to love the kind of trouble I would bring into his regimented and no doubt dull routine.

A minion he called Mike from Legal separated from the pack and drew up the paperwork in super quick speed. I signed and handed the document back and waited for the fireworks. We both knew that in vamp circles my signature was totally legit as long as the bloody thumbprint on any subsequent documents matched whatever name was next to it. He should count his blessings. I’d been tossing up between that and ‘Bella Swan’. Guess there must be some fragile hope left after all for what the social worker laughingly called the ‘remnants of my damaged self-esteem’, because I went with the name of an individual I considered to be a lot more three-dimensional.

“Someone less like a mouse I couldn’t possibly imagine,” he said drily. It was the only comment he ever made about my outrageous claim to be Mickey’s wife scrawled there along the dotted line and I filed that little tidbit away for mulling over too. An individual who won’t be rattled when someone's doing a fine job of shaking their cage is less predictable and therefore dangerous. “So what is it that you actually want me to call you?,” he said.

“As long as the cash keeps rolling in, call me whatever you like, Boss-Man. Names are for personal relationships and this is strictly business.”

“Strictly business.” He rolled it around in his mouth like an old red wine and looked at me as if measuring me up for a shroud. “Strictly Business it is, then.”

It wasn’t til later, when all the shit went down, that I realised that compared to his usual self, he’d given me quite a lot of rope that day. From what I was told, there was an almost-thoughtful look on his face as he watched me swagger out and then rumour has it that Mike-from-Legal pointed out that contracting a two-buck, white trash blow-in like me was bad for both business and his reputation. Much later on I made darn sure that Mike-from-Legal got a little visit from the IRS for that offensive slur. I mean, really, white trash and blow-in were accurate enough descriptions, but the two-buck really hurt. Everybody knows I wouldn’t tie my own shoelaces for less than five. And the big man? Apparently, ‘Leave it alone Mike', was all he said.

I should have known then that while I was out celebrating screwing L.A. vampdom’s Big Kahuna to the wall, his nimble brain was already suspecting the true value of what he was getting and was making plans to use it to his advantage. That’s just one more thing that bleeding for him taught me the hard way.

Josef Kostan always gets the better end of the deal.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last edited by Luxe de Luxe on Sun May 27, 2012 2:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby allegrita » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:33 am

Oh, honey--your muse has been working in overdrive lately. This is absolutely scrumptious!! :rose:
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby francis » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:21 am

This is very intriguing, this freshie sure keeps Josef on his toes and he likes it.
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby darkstarrising » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:28 pm

O, I love this, Luxe..... :hug:

Not only have you come up with a freshie that gives Josef a run for his money, but the back and forth between them was priceless...

“She’s too young.”


Josef's eyes said what he was thinking and what he verbalized what likely the most polite of it all. Chronologically, perhaps Josef was right, but 'Strictly Business' was older and wiser beyond her years, something Josef came to appreciate. Somehow, I believe Strictly Business will eventually find out that four centuries outweighs two decades in cunning among other things.

A little self-deprecating humor?

The stuff was pure gold, and you see, that now means you owe me one, because within the narrative flow that there was an ideal time for me to say something dumb like ‘vampire heroin’. Luckily I’m the type that cares enough to want to spare you. That line always makes me hurl.


but totally consistent with the character.
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:00 pm

Thanks, francis and Alle!

I agree, dsr, this girl is in way over her head doesn't realise it, is over confident because she's always had to rely on herself.
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby librarian_7 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:22 pm

I can't begin to tell you how much I love this. In some ways, in tone it reminds me of eris's "Freshie Chaos," who came from a different direction, but with almost as much attitude.

But what I really want to say is:

MORE.

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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby jen » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:20 pm

I totally agree with Lucky! I was thinking the same thing!

This girl dishes up the attitude with style and flare, just as Chaos did and it would be intriguing to see what lies in her background to create those hard edges to her personality.

And Josef absolutely MUST have the last word. He would not have it any other way.

Wonderful beginning! More please...
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:38 pm

Thanks, Lucky. Thanks, jen. I have to confess, I haven't read Eris's freshie stuff. I've read very little of the genre at all, apart from the Lucky stories and one or two from other writers (P-gal's Damages springs to mind.) I definitely didn't think I'd ever be exploring this particular corner of the Mooni-verse.
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby jen » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:46 pm

For the longest time, I didn't read the freshie fic either but over time, I decided to dip my toe in the water and discovered this wonderful facet of the moonlight universe that was developed in fanfic

Great minds think alike. It is logical that a human who becomes aware of that profession would become very proficient at negotiating for the best contract.

Fabulous!
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:04 am

jen, Lucky and others know that I'm a conscientious objector to the whole concept of freshies, so it's interesting that this story was there. I've started several others from this young lady's POV. Maybe I'm trying to work something out. Not sure. But thanks for reading. :flowers:
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby jen » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:07 pm

Luxe

Thanks for writing!!!

It stands to reason that if a business exists, there will be individuals who learn it and become experts in the field.

Wonderful!

Thank you!

Jenna

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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks again, jen. Yes, it makes absolute sense that some of the girls would have hard business brains themselves.
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby jen » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:57 am

This is truly wonderful.

The freshie world wasn't truly explored in the series, but it has been developed so wonderfully in fanfic.

Absolutely brilliant!

Thank you!

Jenna

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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Marigold » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:16 am

Fantastic! :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: You did an amazing job of developing this freshie's character. Her voice is very distinct and very real. Nicely done!

Thank you, Luxe! :rose: :hug:
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Re: The Better End of the Deal (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:46 am

Thanks Jen. I think seeing more of the freshie world would have been really interesting in the series. Just imagine all the potential for conflict b/w Mick and Beth, Beth and Josef.... :devil:

Thank you so much, Marigold :rose: Her voice is totally her own. I'm not sure where it comes from.
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