INTERLUDE: AN EARLY MORNING SNACK

“Olivia,” Charles, Goodwin’s finance director and ghoul, cornered her in his upstairs office. He was a tall, broad man with receding silver hair and glasses that were too small for his face. “You can’t keep blowing cash like this. Midnight feasts, that stunt with the dry ice the other night; that stuff shows up. I have to show that to the auditors.” He sighed. “I know you’ve got the capital to keep us running at a loss indefinitely, but we do have an image to maintain.”
“I know. That’s why Shen recruited you.” Olivia sighed, sitting down at his desk. “What do you need from me?”
Charles pulled a small bottle of scotch and a tumbler from his desk, pouring himself a shot. “Was hoping you would ask me that. I’ve had some thoughts.”

They talked about Goodwin’s future for hours; trades with other kindred-front companies and possible product releases, Charles drinking steadily as they did. Finally, the sky began to lighten, a prelude to the dawn.

Olivia cleared her throat, looking to the window. “It’s getting a little… early for me, Charles.”
He followed her gaze, eyes widening a little as comprehension dawned. “Ah, of course.”
“And a little too late for me to hunt. Would you mind if I fed on you?” Olivia resisted the urge to stand, to touch him, to press her face against his neck. It was there, under her skin, as easy as breathing used to be. She clasped her hands in front of her, meeting his eyes intently.
Mixed emotions flashed over his face as he hesitated, each one distinct. Pity. Fear. Desire. “I- yes. Please, go ahead.” He reached to his throat, loosening his tie. Olivia felt herself stand and walk behind him, putting a hand on his shoulder. She could feel his pulse quickening through the palm of her hand.
“You might want to undo a couple of buttons, too. I wouldn’t want to ruin your shirt.” Her voice sounded small and hoarse as she spoke, fighting to keep her fangs retracted.
He looked up at her, all trace of pity gone. “Of course.”
She breathed in as she leaned into his neck, her fangs extended, and she felt him shudder as she pierced his skin.
He tasted good; like oak furniture and fine scotch, like envelopes should taste.

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