Part 6

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"But, we ... had ... a ... deal!" Pandora seethed, as she openly glared at her new master, still very much displeased that it had been Natalia and not LaRouchette as she'd been lead to believe that it would be.

Seated at the makeup table where she'd just finished her touch-ups; cases and bags almost fully packed and stacked neatly waited by the door as she made ready for travel.

Remains of her meal lay stretched out haphazardly upon the bed, eyes blank as he stared up at the ceiling. Just as she'd started to make plans for the trip, he'd literally stumbled into her; delirious with his clothing soaked wet and carrying the stink of rotten fruit and vegetables.

Natalia studied the man, her elegant dark green dress form fitted with black accents that matched her raven hair.

"One thing we all learn fairly quickly, mon cheri," she mused as she reached down to pull the man up and over her shoulder without much effort, "... is to quickly faire la vaisselle before moving on to other more trivial matters."

"And I told you, that I do not ever do dishes; and stop calling me that." Pandora chided. "I want out of this hellhole and Leviticus ..." her next words were choked off as Natalia's fingers gripped her throat and pinned her hard against the wall.

The two women studied each other at arms length.

"We have fulfilled our bargain and he has given you to me to do with ... as ... I ... see ... fit."

Natalia released the fresh turn, her green eyes flared gold for emphasis. "And when we do travel ..." she gestured to the bags, "... we travel light. Burn everything old and purchase new when you get to California."

Anger quickly fled Pandora as the meaning of the words set in. "So I will be travelling with you?" she exclaimed with glee.

"Mais non, mon cheri ..." Natalia offered with a wry smile, "... business before pleasure. You are to manage the brothel until the new manager arrives in one week's time and then you will travel elsewhere in California to catch up with your friend."

Pandora almost danced with joy at the news. "I will do better ..." without realizing it, she crossed herself over her heart, "... I promise; and I'll have everything set for them, you'll see."

"Good." Natalia observed as she stepped back.

She sensed now some of what LaRouchette must have seen in this woman. In time she would indeed make a good addition, although she was also as certain that until then keeping her in line would be an ongoing challenge.

Undoubtedly it would probably be as he had often mused that it had once been with her.

"Now I will take care of this problem as a going away present for you, but from here on you must clean up after yourself and never leave the dishes out for long."

Pandora called after her as she neared the door. "But wait, you haven't told me what friend you want me to find once I get to California? Or how to find him once I get there?"

Natalia's dark lips curled with amusement accented by the twinkle in her eyes.

"Pour toi, c'est facile mon cheri. You already gave him the address, I'm sure by the time that you get there he'll be ready for more ... adventure, n'est-ce pas?"

With renewed glee, Pandora began to plan as she returned to the make-up table, her anger now all but forgotten as she had her prize to look forward to collecting.

None other than the ever delectable John Abraham Danvers; wouldn't he be surprised to see her now.

Of that she was more than sure.

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