Rosie cursed as the 'puddle' she'd stepped in turned out to be yet another pothole filled with rainwater. Even the addition of a well-soaked boot didn't really make too much of a difference to her appearance unfortunately. The autumn showers had hit the city as hard as ever but tonight the weather seemed to be trying to out do itself; even with the umbrella she'd quickly been soaked to the skin.
Oh well. There hadn't been anyone by in ages and there was no point standing out waiting in this weather. All the sane people were tucked up nice and warm in their beds and it was time to head off to hers. She buttoned up her coat and began to make her way home.
"Excuse me? How much?"
Rosie blinked. She'd been so busy thinking of how nice it'd be just to get somewhere dry that she hadn't even noticed the carriage approach her. She looked up at the young man leaning out of the carriage door. "Excuse me?"
"I asked how much," said the man. "You are available, aren't you?"
Rosie sighed inwardly as the thought of a good night's sleep drifted slowly away. Still, business was business; she quickly adopted bargaining position number four and tone number eight. "Well, that depends, sir," she simpered. "How much do you think I'm worth?"
The man looked her up and down, smiling slightly. "I wouldn't like to say, for fear of causing offence," he said. "I wouldn't want to price you too low."
"Well, why don't you come out of that carriage and get a better look? You might have a better chance at getting it right."
The man shrugged and stepped out of the carriage as Rosie eyed him up. Good carriage, very good, if she was any judge; nice clothes, well made, definitely made to order. An Assassin, obviously. She finally got a decent look at his face as he stepped towards her and her smile took on a touch of sincerity. Young, with just a hint of nervousness. Yes, she definitely use that to her advantage.
"So what do you think, sir?"
"Very…nice," said the young man. "So why don't you tell me just how much you think you're worth?"
"That depends on what you're after, sir. And for how long."
The man stared at her for a moment, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a money pouch. He opened it and Rosie's knees went weak as she saw the coins inside glisten in the light. "Why don't you just tell me when you've earned all of this?"
"All of…?" Rosie licked her lips and took a deep breath. "Fine, I have lodgings just around the corner--"
"Actually, I was thinking we could go somewhere a little more…secluded," said the man. "I have a house we can go to. It's not far."
"I'm not supposed to--"
"I can pay extra."
Extra? Every fibre of Rosie's being screamed with joy at those words…but it meant the Aunts wouldn't be able to follow… She looked at the money again and made up her mind. "Okay."
"Capital," said the man. He held out his hand and she stepped into the carriage. He looked around quickly and stepped in after her, banging his hand on the door to tell the driver to move on.
Rosie gave him friendly smile number two. "My name is Rosie. So what should I call you?"
"My name is not important."
"Yes, but I have to call you something," said Rosie. "How about…Pete?"
The man raised an eyebrow. "Do you really think I look like a Pete?"
"No, but if you won't tell me your name…?"
The man sighed. "Fine. But make it Peter at least."
"Okay." Rosie gave him a meaningful look. "Aren't you forgetting something?"
'Peter' looked back at her blankly. "What?"
She held out her hand. "Half the money up front."
"Oh, right. Sorry." He pulled the pouch from his pocket and began to count out the money.
"So how did you know someone would be out tonight?" asked Rosie as the gold began to pile up on her palm.
"I didn't but I've looking for you," muttered Peter. He stopped counting as he realised how what he'd just said had sounded and looked up. "I mean…er…you came recommended."
"Oh? From who?"
"From someone called…er…Downey?"
"Really? You a friend of his?"
"I go to school with him."
"I see." Rosie's eyes narrowed and she snatched the pouch out of Peter's grasp. "That'll be full payment up front then."
Peter leaned back and smiled. "I take it that means he's not a model customer?"
"Far from it."
"Yes, that sounds like Downey."
"Hmm." Rosie tucked the pouch somewhere secure and moved over next to Peter, sliding her hand up his thigh. "Shall we get started then?"
"What? Oh…er, not just yet, I—oh gods—oh…"
Rosie leaned towards him and gave him a seductive look as she applied a touch more pressure. "Do you like that?" she purred.
Peter fixed his gaze on the wall opposite and took a deep breath. "…That's very…enjoyable," he managed at last. "But I really think we should wait until we get to the house…"
She pulled his head around and kissed him, her other hand now reaching for the buttons to his breeches. "I don't want to wait."
He quickly pulled her hands away and moved over to the seat opposite. "I insist."
Rosie sighed. "Bloody virgins…" she muttered.
"What was that?" asked Peter sharply.
She gave him a sickly sweet smile. "Nothing."
"I thought not." He looked out of the window as the carriage slowed. "We're here."
"How wonderful." They both stepped out of the carriage and headed inside. "Nice place."
"Thank you, but it's not mine," said Peter, closing the front door and locking it. "Wait here one moment." He walked into a room on the left of the hallway and closed the door.
Rosie eyed it thoughtfully and reached into her bag, breathing a sigh of relief when her questing fingers found the knife. A customer who didn't seem that interested in 'completing the transaction' was never a good sign and she was definitely starting to get a bad feeling about all of this…still, at least she'd gotten all the money up front. It was a shame he'd locked the front door though; perhaps if she was really quiet and really, really lucky, she might be able to jimmy it open—
The side door opened and Peter stepped out. "Rosie? In here please."
She took a deep breath and took her hand out of the bag, forcing a smile on her face. "Of course." But the smile froze when she entered the room and saw a woman in purple sitting on a sofa. She glared at Peter. "Couples are extra."
He grimaced. "That won't be a problem."
The woman grinned. "Havelock, why don't you give me a few minutes alone with our guest?"
He nodded and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Rosie reached into her bag, ready just in case. "What's going on?"
The woman gave her a warm smile. "Rosie, I apologise for the deception but it was necessary given the circumstances. Please keep the money as compensation for taking up so much of your time. Now, allow me to introduce myself; my name is Madam--"