As soon as William headed towards the bar, Alice turned as if to go back out the door. To keep her from fleeing, Vlad placed a hand on the small of her back and guided her forward, ignoring the part of him that advised against using her. He snapped his fingers at the bartender and motioned at a plate of oyster crackers. Eating something would calm her down and settle her nerves.
“Thanks,” she said, after taking a bite. “So…uh…you’re here because you like baking?” She gave him a doubtful look.
His reasons were his own. He narrowed his eyes and gave a short answer. “Something like that.”
She smiled. “It’s okay if you hate it. It’s not actually my thing either.”
What? Why couldn’t she stop saying things that surprised…and (if he was being honest) intrigued him.
“Why compete then?” he snapped.
“Why watch? I don’t think vampires are big on eating pastries,” Alice shot back.
Pastries! He barked a laugh. “And what do you think vampires eat?”
Alice shrugged. “You’re my first vampire. You tell me. Though I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it doesn’t come with icing.”
Was she flirting with him?
“Why Alice ‘Not madame,’ I’m surprised that you don’t know what’s on the menu…” he replied, giving her a long look with a hint of mischief in his voice.
Sages! She was flirting with him and now he was flirting with her.
He tried not to enjoy it–this feeling he had around her but it seemed that he was helpless to stop it. He liked that he didn’t have to pretend to be mortal. He liked how relaxed she was with him, the way her hair swung in a mass of unruly curls and the expanse of skin he could not stop staring at. He liked…
…he liked Alice.
Vlad took an unnecessary breath, unsure if that thought came from him or his conscience.
The more they talked, the more he found–to his horror–that not only was he enjoying himself, he didn’t want it end.
Alice laughed when he told her how he drank plasma out of a glass in order to appear civilized. “But how else would you drink it?” she pointed out, “I mean, laying someone out on a table every time you get thirsty doesn’t seem very practical.” Vlad nodded in agreement as if he had not, mere weeks ago, bemoaned the absence of that very thing.
She teased him when he complained about technology and hearing the vibrations of the electric lights. “So I guess that’s a no to taking a picture with my cell phone? Wait, will you even show up in a picture?” she asked, before arguing with herself about whether or not it was a rude question. But Vlad didn’t mind. In fact, when he thought about having a photo of Alice so easily accessible, he found his stance on cell phones wavering.
She got a kick out of the fact that he hadn’t been to a New Year’s party in at least a century. “Bringing merriment to sims near and far always means a massive hangover…and regrets about who you wake up next to,” she quipped. And Vlad found himself smiling at her old fashioned turn of phrase and wondering exactly who she had woken up next to so he could hunt them down.
He learned that she was from a place called StrangerVille where her parents worked for the military–her mother as a scientist and father doing something in covert operations. When he asked her what, exactly that meant she just arched an eyebrow in a perfect dramatic imitation of him and said, “Nah, if I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
At that statement, Vlad laughed so hard that William turned and gave him a quizzical look.
It took him a moment to regain his composure.
“But really though, why compete if you don’t want to bake?” he asked.
“Because I want to win the prize. Then I can sell it and…uh…get some stuff I need. It’s probably worth a lot.”
She gave a half-hearted shrug, but her eyes were too earnest. Vlad experienced a flood of emotions all tugging him in different directions. Her statement was a reminder of his plan and of how far off course he had gotten.
He swallowed around the acrid taste in his mouth as he turned from her. “You have no idea.”