The Hunt


I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way...
There was certainly no reason to suspect the town car that rolled up to the UniCredit offices in London. A solid black, with tinted windows and a well-maintained, if unassuming appearance, it looked like a thousand others, hired luxury for those who lacked the resources for more permanent arrangements. Or, in the case of this particular passenger, their own reasons for not wishing to draw attention.
Not that the exquisitely dressed figure didn’t draw the eye. Some things simply could not be avoided, even with dark crimson hair coiled into an elaborate knot at the nape of her neck, and deep emerald eyes covered by dark sunglasses that neatly doubled as a mask. Curves both accented and hidden behind a relatively demure leather Jitrois wrap dress, Louboutin t-straps clicking across the pavement as she made her way into the offices. Not a word to the driver, or to the guard who instinctively opened the glass door with a flourish of his arm, and an unconscious sucking in of 20 years worth of nights at the pub. An enigmatic smile was his only reward, as her still-hidden gaze swept the interior. Generally, she admired the subtle merging of Mediterranean influence with stodgy British banking. Unfortunately, in this case, it had resulted in far too much beige, and too much reliance on glass walls, which would not suit her purposes at all. With any luck, the Senior Account Manager she was to meet would have a touch more privacy.
“Madame, welcome. Mr. Mervil is expecting you.
A mid-level manager, from the looks of her, in a non-descript black skirt suit and white button down, blond hair pulled into a ponytail - Ravyn didn’t bother to note her eyes, or the name displayed on the brass-colored tag at her lapel. Clipped, and dismissive, she barely flicked her eyes over her ‘guide’ as she made her way across the lobby.
“Of course he is. I can only assume UniCredit does not make a habit of placing fools in his position.”
Head high, the usual hypnotic sway of her hips telegraphing power and authority with every stride she took. She expected looks, everything about her very nearly demanded them - but the same mesmerism that drew the eye hinted at the dangerous consequences should anyone consider more than a glance. The unassuming banker scurried to gain the lead, to escort the stalking redhead to the proper office as instructed. There had been no dossier, but whoever this woman was - she was important - Mervil was known for never cancelling appointments, and he’d cleared his afternoon for her. That alone…but they were at the door, and clearly delay would not be tolerated.
“That will be all.”
The banker was halfway back down the hall before she realized it - and almost felt sorry for the man in the office.
The click of the door handle, meanwhile, was the only warning Brendon Mervil received before a perilously quiet voice drew his attention to the corner of his desk. Legs crossed, a hint of lace just hinted at beneath the leather hem that rested at mid-thigh. Jet buttons held the supple leather closed along her ribs, only to split and cling to the rather magnificent rise of her chest. Glasses, finally, set aside, emerald eyes almost too dark to be real bored into him as she spoke. “Mr. Mervil, let us cut to the chase. Whatever name you were given is not mine, nor will attempting to ascertain who I am yield any coherent results. In fact, the only name of any consequence is Turatello. Please do not attempt to deny that you know anything - you gave yourself away by agreeing to meet me immediately. My associate and I are seekers of knowledge. Knowledge you possess. Your bank has offices all over the United States. Members of that family have spread over that continent, and we are exceptionally interested in knowing where to find them. You, Mr. Mervil, have achieved your position, in great part, by handling all of the Turatello family business UniCredit has, through whatever shell games they require to hide the source of the funds. It has come to our attention that the monies which bankroll the scattered remnants would be directed through your hands. Which makes you one of only a handful of people who can tell us where to look. And, truly, I cannot stress to you enough how very important it is for you to cooperate. Will you?”
Pale and thin, her quarry blinked watery blue eyes, allergies, as he told any who would listen. Watery eyes, and hair a wispy dishwater brown that lay lank against his scalp. Not a prepossessing man at all. But one did not launder on such a scale, and for so many years, without a certain willpower. Leaning back in his upholstered swayback, he tented his fingers and regarded the ravishing beauty perched on his mahogany desk with a lust-filled gaze he didn’t even bother to hide. A languid drawl betrayed pretensions to nobility, if not the bloodlines to justify it. “Quite frankly, my dear Miss - whoever you are, that name is the only reason I agreed to see you at all. Although now that you’re here, I can think of a few ways you can make up for the inconvenience.” Positively leering, now, as his gaze lingered at the neckline of her dress. “I don’t know who your associate is, nor do I care. They have, perhaps, thought that sending in a piece of ass - fine though yours is, might lull me into revealing pillow-talk. I assure you, I am perfectly capable of retaining my faculties, although if you are particularly talented, I might give you a crumb or two. That is my offer, and no verbal response is required. Either on your knees or bent over my desk will suffice to answer.”
Ravyn couldn’t help the throaty chuckle that bubbled from her lips - she adored it when some pretentious bastard underestimated her, it made things so much more enjoyable. Shifting on the desk to subtly set one pointed toe between his thighs, the other brazenly pressed against his chest, and the sultry weave of her voice cooled to reveal the steel beneath it. “Tempting as your offer is, I beg to differ. You do, indeed, know him - at least by reputation. Your masters are dying, because they were very very stupid. They took something of his - something he prized. And. Every. Last. One. Of. Them. Will. Die to pay for that crime. Your choice is to die with them, or to be helpful.” The tip of her heel ground into his chest, the toe - sharper than one might expect - resting against his throat. “I advise you to be helpful, and if you are particularly good about it, I might not even tell him what you said. He is so terribly protective since the kidnapping.” She leaned forward, one blood-red nail tapping against his forehead between eyes gone wide and bloodshot. “You see? I can tell you know to whom I refer - and I am certain that you know what he is capable of when he is vexed. Believe me, Mr. Mervil, when I say that in that regard, I am nearly his equal. Now. Are you going to be a good boy and give me what I want? Or am I going to have to get your lovely office very messy…?”
Less time later than she’d anticipated, she stared into the glazed and blissful face of the formerly belligerent banker. He was alive, although it had been a near thing - when she’d finally stopped, she thought the shock would kill him. In this case, that was an option she preferred to save for later.
“Mr. Mervil, let me remind you the consequences should you mention to a soul what occurred today. If the Turatello’s don’t get you - I will tell my associate about your little...misunderstanding...earlier, and I assure you he will make your end both slow and painful. And I will be there. Watching - because you will be begging me for the release I granted you today the entire time. Are we clear?” A vague, boneless nod - the best he could do, clearly, was enough of an answer. Regardless, his days were numbered - she detested loose ends. Easing herself off the well-oiled oak, she slid the glasses back into place, and smoothed a hand over the supple leather of her dress. Not a hair out of place, she slid back out of his office, slinking down the office like a femme fatale of a bygone age. Through the lobby, and out into the London air, she made her way to her waiting car, and nodded to the hired chauffeur as she slid into the cool, dark interior. Only once the door had closed did she slip a phone from its hiding place, and press a single button.
“Darling? I have everything we needed…”
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