The Viper and the Leech – July 2016

Asinoe tapped her fingernails on her desk impatiently.

The lawyer was late.

-Incompetent idiot- she thought uncharitably.

She wondered how he had become the Black Family lawyer. His superiors had done nothing but run her around until she was bored enough to let it drop. Now the thought occurred to her again.

45 minutes had gone past since she called him.

-Maybe he has been kidnapped or is on some drug fuelled bender, God why me?-

Suddenly the door to her office flew open. The lawyer stumbled in, limping a heavy stride. His shoulder caught the edge of the heavy door and upset his balance, his cane dropping from his hand and tumbling across the floor.

Finnigan Chase cursed, bending awkwardly as he stepped onwards, seemingly intent on stopping for nothing on his way to the nearest chair. Scooping up the cane on his way, he finally made eye contact with her, mumbling something under his breath that could have been a prayer.

“Right!” he shouted, as if the room was several times larger than it was, “Why couldn’t this be done on the phone?”

"Because I wanted to see you in person," Asinoe raised an eyebrow and pushed away from her desk, walking towards the dishevelled man in front of her. A predatory smile tilted her lips as she circled him. She loved the way he cringed slightly away from her. "Don't you want to see me Finn-i-gan…" she drew his name out in a purr and touched the back of his neck.

Finn flinched and shuffled quickly aside.

“Spare me”, he spat, noticeably afraid, but held her gaze.

-I’ll give you not a single inch- he thought to himself.

“Your sultry-eyed nymph routine might work on that boyfriend of yours, Asinoe, but I’m far too wound up for this silliness,” he said, only half-believing his own words as his eye unconsciously traced the nape of her neck, “Now, is it safe for me to sit down?” he asked, inspecting the nearest chair, “This doesn’t transform into an iron maiden or something, does it?”

"Unfortunately, not," her mouth quirked with amusement, "Sit, Mr. Chase." She gestured to the seat he was looking at and moved to her own behind the desk, "I have the information you want, but I'm not going to give it to you until you tell me what’s going on."

The lawyer sat, watching her. He hooked his cane over the edge of the desk and dragged a folder from the leather satchel slung awkwardly over his shoulder. He tossed the folder onto the desk.

“Do you like photography?” he asked. The folder slid to a halt, its content half spilling across the other papers on the desk, “Or do I have some other ‘artist’ to credit these snaps with?” he continued, his wide-eyed stare seemingly filled with ironic amusement.

Asinoe eyed the mess and restrained her eye roll.

"Actually, I am very fond of photography, Mr. Chase. Black and white nudes are my favourite," she flipped the top cover off the folder and black and white photographs became visible, "Oh look black and white!" she quirked a brow, "What is your point?"

“This one’s me, look at it!” he said, sliding out a particular shot, “You know where that’s taken? In my bedroom. Inside my house. Look at me all tucked in there, all comfortable and cosy. Good lighting, isn’t it? This…motherfucker. In my house. While I sleep!” Finn sat back in his chair, fidgeting.

"I'd rather not look at you if you don't mind," she said idly flicking through the pictures on the desk. They were all of the lawyer in various locations doing everyday things.

“This is a threat,” he said, stewing, “Another in a long line of threats since I started working for this family. Never ending bloody threats!”

"How did you get hold of these? Were they sent to you?" she frowned.

As amusing as his distress was, he was the Family lawyer and they protected their own. As incompetent as he was, he now belonged to them.

"What happened a few weeks ago, Mr. Chase? You said you were kidnapped. At the time we thought it was a drug-fuelled bender but were you actually taken against your will?" She closed the file and leant back in her chair, pinning him with a level stare.

“Yes, from my office in the city,” he said. He idly scratched at the knee that he limped on, seemingly disturbed by the resurgence of memory. He glanced at her, then looked away, “For two months…they either tortured me or ignored me completely. And then they let me go.” The lawyer looked around again, “I don’t know why. I hazard I never will.”

“As for these…they were left for me. In a bar that I frequent,” he said, licking lips that were suddenly dry as ash, “I want Steiner. Or…no, the other one…” he hesitated, “I’m not sure.”

Finn looked away, suddenly distracted, worried, or both. Asinoe didn't say anything for several minutes. Her mind whirled through lists of people who would have the balls to actually kidnap their lawyer.

"Here," she said eventually, and handed him a slip of paper. On it was a satellite phone number, “If you are not able to get Steiner, which I doubt you will as he has major issues at the moment, then ask for Xavier. He comes to the Fundays sometimes when he is on furlough." She looked at the cane and then his injured knee. "What do you remember? Names? Faces? Location? I need this information to help track down your kidnappers."

Finn laughed once out loud, clambering temporarily to his feet.

“You won’t find them,” he said, leaning over the table and snatching up the number. As he did he chanced her a grateful glance that he knew, one day, he might regret.

-Not an inch- he reminded himself, stuffing the number in his jacket pocket.

He sat for a moment, returning Asinoe’s impenetrable, intoxicating stare. He'd never realised until this moment just how stunning a creature she actually was.

He relented.

“British,” he said, scoffing, “Great Big British Villains, if you’d believe it.” He mocked the statement with a pompous British accent of his own, “You’d have liked them, methinks.”

"Fine, if you don't want them found, don't tell me," she sighed with annoyance and stood, extending her hand to him. "You have what you need," she hesitated for a moment, a glint of mischief on her eyes, "unless you wanted something else...?"

Asinoe dangled the question while she leant across the desk, aware that her blouse gaped open, revealing just the hint of smooth cleavage. Finn's gaze froze upon her perfect breast as she draped herself over the furniture. For a moment he forgot that she was, as always, playing him right into her hands. He tore his eyes away and stood, awkwardly collecting himself.

“Um, no,” he said, stuffing the photos back into his satchel, “Uh…” he stammered, then, avoiding her soft outstretched hand, patted Asinoe on the head lightly, as if she were a puppy.

She stared him in disbelief and he turned away, shaking his head at himself and his own peculiarity.

“Thanks,” he said, embarrassed, starting for the door.

"Your loss," she purred, righting herself, "Goodbye, Mr. Chase, please let me know if you need anything." She let him walk to the door before adding, "No one touches our things, Mr. Chase. We will get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, perhaps get a dog?"

Finn nodded silently, shaking his head as he moved quickly for the exit.

“A dog,” he muttered to himself, “I like dogs…Oh!” he exclaimed, turning back on his heel. He strode swiftly back to the desk, grabbing a scrap of paper and a pen and quickly writing down a series of numbers from memory, “This is where I was, apparently. But there’s nothing there, I’ve already checked. Have at it, if you’ve got nothing better to do.”

He flashed her a quick smile and hurried again for the door. Asinoe picked up the paper with a predatory smile as it clicked shut behind him, her eyes flickering to the series of numbers he’d hastily scrawled.

Longitude and latitude.

Her eyes drifted back up to the closed door. Clearly the lawyer was a lot smarter than he let on. A genuine smile graced her lips for a moment before it shut down and her face once again became a blank mask. She thought for a moment, then picked up her phone.

-Now, let's see where this little hunt will lead us-

Written by Chastity De Vice and Matt Hood.

All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2016. Natalie Ristovski.

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