A Vampire can resist temptation, right?
“Solitude sometimes is best society.”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost
Vlad watched Alice skid to a halt as soon as they got through the doors. He could tell that her nerves were frayed even without that strange dance performance in the hotel. Her eyes were as big as saucers and she kept looking around the room saying “cool…cool, cool, cool” over and over again.
He wasn’t supposed to be paying attention to her eyes or her stress level. And he definitely wasn’t supposed to be enjoying the fact that she disliked being around others almost as much as he did.
He chastised himself to stop focusing on her and make circuit of the room. Alice was a means to an end, and the end was here. He needed entry to this abysmal event and thanks to her, he had it.
He scanned the room, trying to focus on the task at hand. Planet Honeypop was normally a karaoke bar but tonight it had been converted for the purposes of the tv show. Stationary cameras dotted the dining area. The stage, where Vlad assumed the singing normally took place, was now converted to a mini-kitchen. Two baking stations sat side by side while a sorry-looking banner covered the wall. The whole affair was gaudy, loud, and reminded Vlad too much of Princess Cordelia’s royal court.
Some things never changed.
Sims prostrating themselves in embarrassing acts to gain favor and popularity was an old tradition, and not just in Princess Cordelia’s court. His father had been fond of this particular brand of entertainment too. Vlad swore it would never be part of his own court, but Miss Hell, Bloodvein, and a few other members of his council delighted in it. Every once in awhile, he was forced to sip plasma on the balcony of his great room while some poor sim danced or told jokes in hopes that the vampires in attendance would be entertained enough not to drain them.
It wasn’t that Vlad valued sims, more like he despised spectacle. Mortals were so pathetic, so weak, so…breakable.
He looked at Alice again. She never did get herself a coat.
The bar was pretty empty, considering the “gravity” of the occasion. Normally, this suited Vlad just fine, but it did not bode well for the contest. Meanwhile, Alice’s head swiveled from left to right, almost as if she was scanning the place for additional exits.
“It’s just a party,” William told her, “And not even a real one by the looks of it. With all these cameras and crew, it’s a wonder anyone is having a good time.”
That was easy for William to say, he adored parties and gatherings and sims. Vlad’s eyes traced the line of Alice’s throat as she gulped and nodded. The level of attention he was paying to her movements did not bode well for the contest either. And that throat?
That throat would be the death of him.
A small commotion on the stage caught his attention. Suddenly, the place was full of sound and sims that had been loitering around the edges of the room began to gather.
“Welcome to the contestant mixer for The Unparalleled Windenburg Baking Show! I’m your host, Rory Webber!”
Alice took a step back. Vlad tried to ignore the thrill her closeness gave him by busying himself with observing Rory and the crowd of potential contestants. Did no one notice how loud he was?
“As you know, tonight will act as a screen test for the show. Now, don’t worry. We don’t want you to do anything rash! Just act natural! Our top choices from tonight’s mixer will go on to final auditions but hey, no pressure!”
Rory paused to laugh at his own joke.
“In a little bit, we’ll have our ceremonial bake-off to kick the event into high gear. Our team will be strolling around to see who among you will be chosen for the match.”
Two sims in vests and headsets waved their hands so the crowd could identify them.
Well, that’s a paltry-sized production team. Vlad folded his arms and glared. Was this the make-up of the contest? Grandfathers and accountants? Where were the chefs? Where were the champions who could be brought under his thrall to bring him his prize?
“You’ll meet our celebrity judge tomorrow so for tonight, we’ll choose someone in the crowd,” Rory told the audience in a conspiratorial stage whisper.
“For now, just enjoy the night and please, no autographs folks!”
The clapping continued even as Rory stepped off-stage. Now that the cameras were rolling, the room was starting to get much more lively.
“Well, I think it’s high time for a drink!” William declared.
Vlad raised an eyebrow as he glanced towards the bar. Off to flirt with the bespectacled man ordering a water was more like it. It didn’t matter. He didn’t need William’s help to find some poor sap to seduce. He had Alice. If anything, he needed her to make him seem softer and less terrifying. Some of these sims looked like they had never set foot in a city before. They wouldn’t think of his teeth as an eccentric urban accessory, they’d be scared.
He tried and failed not to think of Alice telling him that she liked his teeth.