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Stories From The City Of Blood: Story Three

Stories from the City Of Blood are short bonus scenes and stories for the upcoming, City Of Blood series. You don't need to have read any of them to understand the series, but they will help fill in more information about the world. 

Story Three: Dimitri

15th July 1990

I don't knock, but sweet straight into the office of a woman I never thought I'd see again. The place is bustling with women as they pack everything away into suitcases and trunks. This isn't what I thought I'd be walking into.
I cough loudly, and she turns, her extravagant dress swishing out behind her.
"I'm not sure that kind of outfit is still in style, Kitty," I say.
She spins, finally noticing I'm here.
"No one calls me that any more," Catherine responds, though it's hard to tell if she's annoyed by my use of her nickname, or amused.
"No one here is me," I point out.
"Still as arrogant as ever, I see."
"And still as busy as ever," I counter. "You look like you're going somewhere."
"Yes." She folds her arms across her chest, drawing attention to the rather impressive cleavage granted to her by the corset she's wearing.
"Care to tell me where?"
She shrugs. "I can't say I've gotten that far yet," she admits. "But you know what tomorrow is. My duty is to my girls."
"Is the City Of Blood not going to have ripe enough pickings for you any more?"
She scoffs, disgust creeping across her face. "Leave us," she instructs the girls.
They're gone in seconds.
"You have them well trained," I observe.
She snorts. "Stay the night and you'll learn just how well."
"I'll pass, thank you." Though I imagine she's right, a night with her girls would be like entering heaven.
"That's good. They're all busy tonight."
"Hence the dresses?" I ask.
She nods. "There are wall celebration parties going on all over the city tonight."
"I know. I'm on my way to one now."
"No need to ask which," she mutters, then straightens to her full height. It's impossible to forget her noble birth when she does that. Catherine may be one of the most famed vampire courtesans in the world now, but she started life as nothing more than little Kitty, the youngest daughter of one of the noble families. "I don't have much time, just spit out what you want."
"You aren't staying?"
She shakes her head. "We're squeezing what we can out of the city tonight, then leaving before the gates shut," she admits. "I'm going to miss it here. But it doesn't seem to matter to our dear mayor that some of us have lived in this city for longer than she has, and we don't want what she's offering."
"Ah, then we may have different agendas," I admit.
She narrows her eyes at me. "You want me to stay, don't you?"
Ah. Intelligent as well as beautiful. A deadly combination, and one people often overlook. I suspect that's why she's so good at what she does.
"I won't endanger my girls," she warns me.
It's all I need to hear to know she'll agree.
"But I'll do it. I'll give each of them the option to leave still, and if they choose to, you will be required to set them up with whatever they desire," she instructs.
"You don't tell them what to do?" I raise an eyebrow. I've never had much to do with Catherine's line of work, but as far as I'm aware, as a Madam, she effectively owns them.
She laughs bitterly. "You're so out of touch, Dimitri. It's almost charming. I'd never take a girl's free will away from her. It was done to me, and I won't do it to anyone else. They choose to come to me, and they get to decide when they leave."
"Then why bother staying once they've been trained?"
She shrugs. "I vet clients. It's a good living and good company. Why not stay. I can't pretend to know all of their minds. My interest is in which ones stay, and which don't. But that's beside the point. What do you want me to do here?" She taps a finger against her chin. "You won't need me as an informant. You'll have those in place already. Plus, I've heard the Mayor hates you, she's likely to keep you up to date as it is."
"True," I admit. "I'm sure she'll grow out of it. But for now, I'm expecting she'll send me updates in order to gloat."
"What a charming woman," Catherine observes.
"Which means you want me to stay and do something more dangerous." She looks me up and down. "Ah."
"Ah?" I echo.
"You want me to use my expertise to run an underground railroad to get people in and out of the city."
"Yes," I admit, a little taken aback that she managed to work out my request so easily.
"Don't look so shocked, Dimitri," she purrs. "I wouldn't be any good at my job if I wasn't able to tell what men want." She pushes away from the desk and goes over to a small liquor cabinet.
"I'm not shocked."
I don't have to see her face to know she's raised an eyebrow at me.
She pours two glasses of deep red blood. "Don't worry, I ethically source it." She hands me one of them.
"I'm glad to hear it." At least that isn't a lie. I am glad she ethically sources blood for her brothel. I doubt many of the other vampires in the city will be doing that come morning.
"To our new partnership," she says, raising her glass.
"To partnership," I echo, then take a swig of blood. It's good stuff, though that doesn't surprise me. She has to make it worth her patrons' money to come here. Hopefully, it'll be enough to fortify me against whatever might happen at the party I have to attend.
"Oh well, things to do," Catherine announces. "I hope you don't mind if I throw you out."
I chuckle. "Don't worry, you're not the only one here who has things to do."
"Then I'll let you see yourself out. It's always a pleasure, Dimitri."
Catherine doesn't wait for me to acknowledge her words and turns back to her multitude of tasks. It's no matter, I have a party to attend, whether I want to be on the guestlist or not.

City Of Blood Series

The City Of Blood series starts with Drop Of Blood in July 2020! Pre-order is just 99 cents!