A/N Sorry, guys! Magical PR 101 is indefinitely on hold. I encourage you to check out my main story, Paladin.
For the umpteenth time, I wondered what the hell I'd been thinking when I accepted the job offer.
My very first week on the job, and I'd managed to spill coffee on three separate occasions, delete several important client documents - oh, and create grounds for magical warfare of epic proportions.
Luckily, the latter issue had been settled, thanks to a few placating emails from my boss, Jim. Really, it was amazing I hadn't been fired yet.
Instead, Jim, a gruff, middle-aged werewolf, simply clapped me on the shoulder, and said, "Buck up, newbie. I'll be damned if someone doesn't declare war before the day's out."
Ever since the magical world went public - nearly a decade ago - I 'd been fascinated by all that goes bump in the night. I even majored in Inter-Species Politics in college, with a specialization in vamp-human relations. That's why, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and touting my brand new diploma, I had applied for a job with Wickman and Burnham's, the top public relations agency for Inter-Species Affairs in New York.
Wickman and Burnham was the oldest PR agency on the East Coast and one of the first to open a practice devoted to the needs of nonhumankind. In fact, W&B had handled the media campaign for the weres and vamps going public, which was widely viewed by the media as a great success. Of course, other public relations firms had since entered the scene, as magical acceptance and integration was an ongoing process. Even the most successful PR campaign couldn't erase the prejudices of a millennium of fairy tales. And besides, the weres and vamps had accumulated quite a bit of wealth in their extended lifetimes, and the magical affairs field was proving to be very lucrative.
Given my vamp specialization, I'd been assigned to the Vampire Rossi account, a powerful Italian-American family of vampires with deeply entrenched roots in the Big Apple. Many suspected the Rossis of ties to the mafia, but being new to the job, I wasn't yet privy to whether there was any truth behind the rumor.
"Newbie!" Bossman barked. I jumped at his voice, knocking my fourth cup of coffee over. Into my computer. Rats. IT was going to kill me.
As I started to grab napkins to clean up the spill - I now kept a stash at my desk - Jim growled, "For the love of...Corrie, stop that for a moment. About the Rossi account."
I stopped my frantic wiping.
"You've got a meeting with the Rossi client tonight. Drinks at 9 at The Graveyard. I assume you know the basics?"
I recited by rote: "Don't use perfume. Don't wear anything low cut or brightly colored. Don't stare."
Jim nodded. "Good. And don't order any food. It's considered rude."
"I know. I won't screw this up," I promised.
"Well, try not to cut yourself."
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks, Boss."
If there's anything the vamps hate more than sunlight, it's tardiness. As such, I arrived at The Graveyard promptly at 9:00 pm. Despite its Gothic name, The Graveyard was anything but. True enough, it was a favorite haunt of nonhumans and the bartender on Wednesday nights was reputedly a zombie, but beyond that, The Graveyard was really quite modern. Even so, I found the sleekly elegant nightclub intimidating, a sentiment reinforced by the hulking (human) monster of a bouncer who triple-checked my ID and aggressively searched my person for silver before granting me entry.
I immediately felt underdressed in my conservative sheath dress and opaque black tights. Everyone else was dressed to the nines. The club was filled with the beautiful, the rich and the famous. Although not all club-goers possessed all three attributes, I noted, as I spotted Matilda Mathison across the room. Matilda was the painfully ugly but fabulously wealthy heiress to Mathison Corp., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Mathison Corp was in the process of developing oral contraception geared towards the werewolf community - weres' super fast metabolisms rendered the regular Pill completely ineffective. If the drug was a success, the multi-millionairess would become a member of the billionaire's club.
For me, however, the fur-friendly pill was a bit of a PR nightmare. In fact, it had been the catalyst for my little mishap earlier this week. The drug was sponsored in part by the Rossi family, so I'd been pulled in to help with a Were-Vamp roundtable about the drug on CNN. A number of weres saw the drug as a slippery slope on the road to forced sterilization and accused Mathison Corp. and the Rossis of "barely disguised racism." During the interview prep, I may have insinuated that all intelligent women of age, regardless of their species, should be on birth control. Sometimes I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.