Grace: Preparations

She might be a high class individual, but Grace had always liked keeping in touch with people who could... help her. She had places to go, people to see, if things ever came to that. And right now, seemed like a good time to call in the favours.

She wore black, because black means discretion, danger and darkness. All three were needed; all three were found where she was going. As she circled her eyes with eyeliner, Grace thought about the effects of seduction in getting what you want. It wasn't an art she applied a lot when out of her leather catsuit, but she was willing to give it a go, if Dante had forgotten what he owed.

She couldn't take the car, because that was much too indiscreet. Expensive and red? Why not just point a sign at her in flashing lights? No, Grace decided, she would take the old classic her dad had owned. It was fitted for American driving, so the steering wheel was on the left. She would blend in nicely.

As the car moved slowly along in the busy city, Grace kept checking her rear view mirror. She had a strange feeling that something was going to happen, or that someone was following her. Which she couldn't quite work out, but there was definitely something that raised the hairs on the back of her neck. She decided to take the long route just in case.

An hour later and she arrived, pulling up at the side of a street. She didn't have long.

The door opened and Grace slipped inside, taking care not to catch anyone's eye. She went to the bar, ordered a drink and then slipped a note across to the bartender. He glanced down, took a quick look at her, then picked up the phone. Grace wound her way to the back of the bar and sat in a booth, quietly sipping from her drink. She took the oppertunity in the darkness of the shadows to check out who was in the bar. She recognised a few of them, but others not so much. She could tell who was regular here, who was not so much, and who was new. The problem was, no one was ever new. Except that one.

She peered over the top of her glass at the woman who was sat at the bar, a woman who appeared to be alert under her cool air. But then everyone in this bar was alert, because everyone here had at least two weapons concealed upon their person. But there was something else... she was too... upright...?

Grace caught the bartender's eye and he nodded to his left. She stood, ignoring the rest of her drink, and headed to the door, entering and closing it swiftly behind her.

"Well well well. To what do I owe dis honour?" Dante Mancini stood before her, his shirt open to reveal his smooth, muscled chest, and the necklace with the cross on it.

"Dante. How nice to see you again." Grace swept across to him and stuck out her hand.

"I see you remember your last visit." He kissed her hand then used it to pull her sharply towards him. "Tell me this is not a business trip bella."

"Afraid so." Grace slid her hand from his grasp and took a step backwards. "I need gossip, and I need weapons."

"The weapons, I can get you." He said, sighing and turning to sit behind his desk. "For the usual price. But the gossip... we'd have to negotiate the price on that one."

"Oh no. You owe me remember?"

"You want to use up your favour on gossip? Not a wise choice bella."

"It's not the usual gossip. It will involve the skills of your best spies."

Dante's eyes sharpened in interest.

"My best? What sort of a job would require my best spies? What have you  got yourself in to?"

This was dragging too long. That feeling had returned to Grace and she didn't like it. That coupled with the woman that stood out at the bar... She put her hands on the desk and leaned in to hiss:

"Never mind what I've gotten myself in to Dante. The question is, can you help me or will I have to find someone else?"

"You seem tense bella. No need to go ruining our... friendship. Sit down, and let us discuss details." Grace continued to stand, and Dante shrugged. "What do you need to know?"

"I want to know who is doing all the high profile robberies."

Dante laughed.

"Bella, I can tell you that! Is Snake Eyes you're looking for."

"No. This is not Snake Eyes' doing. It's someone else. And I want to know who they are, where they live.... everything."

"How do you know it's not Snake Eyes...?" He asked, and Grace narrowed her eyes until he chuckled. "You always keep everything close to your chest. Alright, we have a deal. I shall find out what I can."

"Excellent. Now, weapons."

"Alright. You have no patience today bella." He stood and went over to the wall. He reached up and pushed the Jesus figure on the cross down, and the wall slid aside.

Lines of guns, small bombs and other weapons hung in front of them. Grace smiled and pulled a Heckler and Koch USP Match from it's hanger.

"You have a good eye." Dante muttered, tossing her the ammunition. She took another of the guns and slipped that in to the holsters she had hidden under her coat, along with the first.

"How much?"

"The usual."

She grinned and pulled the cash from her pocket, handing it over. Dante took it over to the safe in his desk and slipped it inside.

"So, you will let me know if you hear anything?" She reminded him, sidling over and leaning on his desk.

"Of course. Don't I always keep my word?"

"No. But that's why I hire you. You're slippery like a snake, but predictable."

"How am I predictable?" He whispered, standing so that he was in front of her, pressing her against the desk a little.

"You like money, and sex. Both of which I can hold over you, till you do the job." She stroked a line down the centre of his chest with her finger. "Till next time Dante." Then she slid out from between him and the desk and headed for the door.

"I hope next time is more a social call bella." He called after her as she shut the door. She wove her way through the people crowding around the bar, pausing once she reached the door. She glanced over to the woman she had noticed before, who was so different. She was on the outskirts of the crowd. As Grace looked at her curiously, the woman turned. Before they could make eye contact Grace was out of the door and heading down the street.

The End

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