Of Love and Monsters

Chapter 25: A Kiss is Just a Kiss

Me: Last chapter was really long, I’m not going to do that to myself again. I’m going keep it simple.

Also me: Here are 13 pages of text before I even added the screenshots.

Heads up, I’m going to have adjust my posting schedule. I don’t know what it will be yet, but one chapter a week is not working out. My actual life is pretty busy right now (for all good reasons!) and it’s clear I’m not going to write less, so I’m going to have figure something out. Stay tuned and enjoy this monster chapter. I reined in my smutty little heart but bear in mind that the slow burn does heat up a bit.

You must remember this

It’s still the same old story: Vampire meets the Mortal Conduit of the God of Death. Vampire woos said Mortal Conduit by waiting outside their window to kill things. Mortal Conduit calls Vampire out on their bullshit. You know. Love stuff.


The In Between Inn

Vlad rose from his crouching position in the garden. He wasn’t tired or uncomfortable, but he did feel ridiculous. He checked his phone again. 

::Hey! Staying at the In Between Inn. Been a weird night. Definitely ready to get some sleep. You know how it is [angel emoji]::

::Shit! Do vampires sleep? Sorry. I have a bad supernatural teacher [devil face]::

::Also, this is my number in case you want to text me back [smiley face]. Goodnight::

When he misted out of Straud Manor last night, finding Alice had seemed like a good idea. It was a quick trip to the Von Haunt Estate and he had no problem getting inside. The security of the temporary production office was laughable. 

Only Vlad wasn’t laughing. 

It took him five seconds flat to find Alice’s application, sim security number, home address and lodging. That anyone could find her information so easily while every supernatural worth their salt was hunting for The Owl made him furious. He burned her paperwork.

No one would be hunting Alice Martin down.

Well, except for him. But that was…different.

Not that it mattered. Caleb had been right: Alice was fine, as evidenced by the texts he received after breaking into the Von Haunt Estate. Still, he spent the whole night crouched in the garden, prepared for trouble. Trouble that never showed up. As it turned out, no one was coming to kill Alice Martin which meant Vlad had nothing to kill which meant that when the sun peeked over the horizon he was alone and grumpy and starving for plasma.

Or violence.

Well, both.

It was maddening.

He would have texted her back if only he knew how to make the damned keyboard appear!

Brushing himself off, he prepared to leave when his phone sent yet another message he could not respond to:

::Good morning! If you sleep, I hope you slept well [smiley face]. I did. Time for baking. Too bad vampires don’t like dessert [winking face]::

Vlad growled, torn between cradling his phone like a precious gemstone and tossing it down the hillside. 


The In between Inn

Alice awoke tangled in blankets. She slept peacefully, although she had the strangest dreams—a flash of bone and wing, a red-eyed monster, but she felt…safe. 

Sitting up, she stretched and yawned, pulling her legs in close to her. At first, she was unsure about following the sprightly looking young woman who could see Ben and warned her to keep her potential godhood a secret. But when your first implausible thing was accepting that you were a vessel for an ancient death god, and your second implausible thing was that the only way to fix it was a baking contest and a magical statue, and that was before meeting your first vampire; everything else didn’t seem like a very big deal.

“God of Death,” Ben corrected.

“I’m sorry, what?” Alice asked, clearly not sorry, but irritated.

“God of Death, not death god. That’s a whole other thing entirely.”

Alice groaned as she climbed out of bed. “You know what Ben? Don’t explain.”

She wasn’t irritated at Ben—well, she wasn’t only irritated at Ben. She had texted Vlad three times last night and once this morning. What was the point of him giving her his phone number if he wasn’t going to respond!

Not that she cared. She was totally fine with things being casual! But also, why was everything so hard and why were men like this?


“Ben, if you answer that question so help me I am going to scream,” Alice bit out.

“Fine, but I was just going to say that as a God…former god…well, semi-god, I agree with you.”

“Honestly, I’m looking forward to the day when you get your body back and I can actually kick you out,” Alice fumed.

“My what?”

“Your body. When I win The Owl and use it to become normal, you’ll have to go somewhere. I just assumed you’d get your own body.”

Ben was quiet for a moment. “I-I hadn’t thought about it,” he said finally.

Alice shrugged. She had thought about it a lot. What would be like to have Ben as a friend in real life, and not just in her head?

She turned, running a hand over the engraving on the bureau. When Miko described the room as being “done up perfectly for the ruler of the seven underworlds” Alice had gotten a little nervous. But the room was nice—exactly the sort of thing she’d design for herself. She opened the top drawer hoping to find something she could borrow but was surprised to find her own clothes. 

Fucking magic! 

She slipped on a tank top and a pair of shorts before whirling around and pointing an accusing finger at Ben. “Actually Ben, do explain. And while you’re at it, get to all of the other crazy shit going on that you never prepared me for. Vampires? Fae? What else is there? Mermaids!? Werewolves!?! Fucking dragons?”

Miko knocked and then stepped into the room right as Alice was reading Ben the riot act. 

“Good morning! Day one of baking, are you ready?” she asked in a way that Alice found unbearably cheerful.

“Good morning Miko, you sound very relaxed. I’m not relaxed even though apparently I passed out last night without asking you a single question. You can see Ben? How?”

Ben gulped nervously but Alice pressed on.

“Oh, don’t think I’m done with you, Ben. Who the fuck is Akira Kibo? I didn’t forget—“

Miko gasped, her eyes widening. “Akira is in…did he look….was he…?” She looked half way between terrified and flustered, the friendly twang of her accent now high-pitched and nervous. “Did you invite him to come along with you?”

Alice hesitated. “Uh no…he looked fine. Really beautiful. But like too beautiful,” she explained thinking of his perfect bone structure, “He gave me weird vibes. Who is he?” 

“He’s…I…someone I used to know. We…it didn’t end well,” Miko stammered. She looked down, clutching herself so tightly that Alice was afraid she’d leave bruises. “He can’t be trusted.”

Alice didn’t press for more details. Her longest adult relationship was the 48 hours she spent with a dj/stripper named Cat’s Meow and his stupid turntables. Vlad wouldn’t even text her back. Who was she to judge? 

Once Miko realized there was no interrogation coming, she visibly relaxed. “Right, so don’t invite anyone you don’t trust here. It’s impossible to access this building without an invitation but once you do, all bets are off. It’s why we’re so discerning about our customers.”

Ben nodded sagely, “Yes, that’s very wise. Makes sense. We should start our day. Is there a soaking tub or just a regular clawfoot?”

“Ben!” Alice cried.

“What? Fine. Of course there aren’t dragons. That would be nonsense! Fantastical beasts occupy a completely different realm.”

“This is what I’m talking about!” Alice shouted, scrubbing her hands over her face. “There are other realms? How the fuck does that work? This is like the Offering Year all over again! You never explain a llama-shittin’ thing, you just shout inane instructions until I give in and then I’m the one who gets arrested!”

“I didn’t arrest you! And for the record, it was not your first—“

Miko cut in, gently placing a hand on Alice’s arm. 

“Uh, okay it’s clear that there is a lot Alice doesn’t know,” she gave Ben a long look before covering it with a bright smile. “Which is fine! Everything is fine! Finer than fine! I do agree though, you’ll feel better if you take a bath. We got hot food downstairs for breakfast and you can meet everyone.” 

At the mention of food, Alice felt some of the fight sap out of her. “Thanks and I’m sorry about losing it, it’s been a long…”—she cast about for the right description—“…sixteen years.”

Miko giggled. “Oh Alice! I can tell we are going to be great friends. And it’s a soaking tub, by the way. Only the best for our all-powerful guests!”


The In Between Inn

After a hot bath and a change of clothes, Alice was feeling much better. Ben was uncharacteristically quiet but when she nudged him about it, he just said he was lost in thought. 

It was strange to have him demand privacy in her head, but she let it go. 

Heading downstairs, she got her first glimpse of the dining room. She had no memory of it from last night, she must’ve really been out of it.

“Alice! You joined us!” Miko shouted happily. “Penny, this is Alice. And before you ask, yes, she is the God of Death, and yes, her favorite song is also “Be Somebody” by Les Sims.”

“W-what? I thought we were keeping that quiet…” Alice protested.

“Quiet? That’s a banger of a song. No need to be ashamed! Now, Alice, this is Penny, our bartender and resident witch. The best witch in the School of Practical Magic. She handles our wards and magic stuff, which is important…”—Miko paused to consider—“But not as important as the fact that she makes a mean Tang and Zing.”

Penny rolled her eyes. She was stunning. And also scary. Actually, she looked a lot like what Alice imagined a witch would be—all dark colors and swirling skirts. 

“Miko’s priorities are, pardon my Champs Les Sims, fucking ridiculous. But I do make a great drink.” 

She scrunched her face in disgust. “You look terrible. Like you’re half dead. How much magic did you use?”

What the fuck? Alice thought she was looking pretty decent given how awful she felt last night.

Before a snarky response could come out of her mouth, a man came strolling out of the kitchen sporting a set of mutton chops that somehow managed to look fashionable. More importantly, he was holding a platter of omelettes. 

“Don’t mind Penny,” he said, with a huge smile. “She can be a bit brusque but her heart is kind. She doesn’t have a coven so she likes to find people to train and practice magic with.”

Penny gave him a scathing look and then turned back to Alice with…well…the same scathing look. “Wrong on both counts. I don’t have a kind heart and I sure as shit don’t need a coven.”

Alice’s eyes darted back and forth between them. She got the sense that this was an argument they’d been having for a long time. 

“Oh right, Alice this is Mikel, Mikel this is Alice,” Miko explained, as she dove into her omelette with gusto. 

Mikel gave her a friendly wave. “Yep! That’s me. Alien. Hailing from Sixam 9. And don’t worry, Miko brought you to the right place.”

Aliens! Did her dad know? Actually, she would bet simoleons that the government already had one of his poor alien cousins captured for “testing.” Damn it! She should really call her parents. Even if she mostly avoided her family, she didn’t want them to worry. 

“Pleased to meet you, and Miko didn’t invite me. I booked the room on the internet—“ Alice started to explain.

Penny cut her off. “You’re doing it wrong.” 

At Alice’s quizzical look, she continued. “Your power. You’re doing it wrong. Everyday magic requires a small outlay and only the most complex of spells should knock you out.”

Alice took umbrage on Ben’s behalf even if he was keeping quiet. Penny didn’t know what kind of power she was dealing with! 

“Okay, listen I’ve been working with the God of Death on my power so yeah, I think I’m fine.”

“Please!” Penny snorted. “Gods have no discipline or magical training. Their power is as natural as breathing. It’s all about strength for them, not efficiency. But you’re not a God. Well, not yet anyways. We’ll work on it.”

Before Alice could protest, Miko pushed an omelette in her direction. “Just nod your head and agree,” she advised, mouth full.

Alice did, but only because she was skilled in the art of pretending to do something she had no intention of doing. Much like calling the manufacturer to see about getting a special order of tissues for the lady who came into the store once a month, magic lessons were not going to be in Alice’s future anytime soon. 

Gulping down the rest of the omelette, she looked around the table. “Sounds good! Hey, can anyone give me a ride to Von Haunt Estate?”


The In Between Inn

Alice looked at the bike parked out front and sighed. The last thing she wanted to do was get on another one, but there was no other way. Penny declared she only traveled by broom and swept from the room. Miko gave Mikel an oddly specific admonishment about being 62 minutes behind schedule when he mentioned finishing repairs on their van. Ipso factso, Alice was stuck riding another stupid bike.

“Oh, I didn’t realize this was going to be a regular thing,” Ben complained, sounding like he was the one being put out. 

“Yeah, well, join the fucking club,” Alice muttered, eyeing the bike suspiciously.

She was just about to jump on when she looked up and saw Vlad creeping out of the garden like a…

Well, like a vampire.


He froze and tried to avoid her gaze. 

Not only was he ignoring her texts but now he was trying to act like he didn’t know her? Alice marched right up to him.  

“Okay, so where did you come from?” she demanded. “I mean, I never heard back from you so it’s weird to run into you here. At the place where I’m staying.”

Vlad straightened and scowled. “I had business to attend to and I was preparing to answer your message—”

Preparing? He was fucking preparing to answer her message? Did he think she was an idiot?

“Okay, you know what Vlad, it’s fine. Business to attend to. Sure. I totally get…” Alice trailed off as she studied him.

For the first time, she noticed how disheveled he looked. She had never seen Vlad look anything but flawless. When they got off the train his clothes didn’t have so much as a crease, and now his vest was balled up in his hands and his pants were dirty—

Alice’s eyes widened. “You were out here waiting for me?” 

“I-I didn’t know how to text,” he grumbled, looking like he hated saying every word.


He wasn’t avoiding her, he was just incompetent! Alice knew she should feel creeped out by the fact that he was sitting outside her window all night, but she didn’t. Vladislaus Straud was a big dumb idiot who didn’t do anything by half and llama’s help her, she was into it.

“I just assumed you were avoiding me. You know…trying to keep it casual,” she explained, suddenly feeling shy. 

The corners of his mouth lifted into a devastating smirk, “I have been many things in my long life, Alice Martin, but casual is not one of them.”

The heat in his stare made Alice feel unbalanced. A thrill went through her. She cleared her throat. “You don’t by chance have a car hidden around here?” 

As soon as she said the word “car” the moment evaporated. 

He threw up his hands, frustration painting his features. “And where would I stash a vehicle on this hillside? Don’t be absurd!” he snapped.

Giving him the finger in San Myshuno worked so well that Alice decided to do it again. “Fine, whatever, I’ll just bike.”

“Bike? On that rusty contraption!” he sounded incredulous. “It could kill you! You’re being ridiculous!”

“It’s ridiculous that I bike but also that you would have a car around here? Make up your mind!”

He gave her a cold, imperious look in response and maybe it intimidated others but Alice was unfazed. Vlad was only half as arrogant as Ben and she had been stuck with Mr. Unknowable Name since her 13th birthday. 


Alice ignored Ben and kept her attention on Vlad. “Listen, I don’t know what crawled up your ass but I had a long night that is turning out to be a long morning and I am not in the mood. Go fuck yourself.”

Indignant, Alice turned and stomped back towards the bike.

“I don’t know how to drive,” Vlad blurted out. 

She froze. He didn’t know how to drive? A million questions floated through her mind. First of all: why not? He was a fucking vampire. He had amazing reflexes and, from what she could tell, infinite time. Cars had been around for at least a century, why the hell couldn’t he drive one?

Though, he also didn’t know how to text…

Alice was sensing a pattern. 

She looked him up and down. “Is this a vampire thing? Or because you’re so old?”

“It’s not a vampire—wait! Old? How old do you think I am?”

“544 years give or take,” Alice replied with a shrug.

He blanched.

“I’m kidding!” she laughed. “Your face!”—she gasped, trying to get a hold of herself—“I didn’t just guess. Llamas, is that what you thought? I read about you in a book with B—a friend.”

Taking a deep breath, she sobered up enough to get through a sentence without cackling. “Listen, how about you get me a ride and I’ll show you how to text so next time, you can just ask me what I’m doing instead of creeping outside my window.”

“You don’t possess this technology on your phone?” he asked, still sounding slightly miffed.

“Ah yeah,” Alice chuckled, waving a hand, “But you’re rich so I think you should call a car.”

At that, he finally cracked a smile. A crooked, slightly dangerous smile that made her stomach do flips.

“Point well taken. So, Alice Martin, just what did the books tell you about me?”

“Uh…that you love jokes and you do favors for friends without requesting anything in return,” she stressed hopefully. 

In a split second, he closed the distance between them. His hand was gentle as he nudged her chin up, finger hovering as if he was going to trace the outline of her lips. Alice’s heart thundered in her chest, but he never actually touched them. 

He searched her eyes for a few long moments and Alice’s whole body unanimously decided that she would say “yes” to whatever he asked.

“You still need a better supernatural teacher, Alice,” he admonished, voice low. “You shouldn’t believe everything you read.”


Von Haunt Estate

Alice fanned herself and tried to pay attention to the producers. The weather in Windenburg was nuts! It went from chilly and windy to burning hot in the span of an hour. For once, Alice was grateful that Ben overpacked so she could wear a tank top under her sweater. It considerably lowered her chances of dying from heatstroke. 

“Alright everyone, like we said, just a totally casual demo to get you acquainted with the set. Bake anything you like!” one of the producers called out. Alice was pretty sure her name was Summer.

The kitchen erupted into chaos as everyone ran to the fridge and pantry to grab supplies. 

“Excuse me! Er…everyone, I need your attention please!” Dylan begged. 

When no one responded he screamed, waving his arms like a maniac. “For the love of llamas does anyone have some carrots?”

“Gotta mix up a pineapple smoothie, but can’t let any of these bozos know my plan,” Deacon announced, clearly unaware that he was saying the quiet part out loud.

Giancarlo and Bailee were busy mixing and dicing, happily sharing a counter and Jimena…

Jimena was practicing preening for the camera, hence the sunglasses.

“Well, Ben, there’s no time like the present,” Alice declared. 

She opened a drawer to pull out her utensils when Ben cried out:  

“Wait! We should practice using magic! Just…small amounts like that witch said.”

Ben was feeling insecure?

“Oh, hey, Ben, buddy, it’s you and me in this game. I don’t give a shit what she thinks,“ Alice said, trying to reassure him.

“You should! We should! I…I…Just for once in your life listen to me!” he ordered.

Whoa. Ben didn’t usually demand things so angrily.

“Hey, Okay. I hear you. Is everything…do you want to talk about it?” Alice asked gently.

“Just do it for me, please,” he amended, his voice softer.

“45 minutes bakers, get moving!” Summer cried out, tapping her clipboard. 

“Sure, for you. What did you have in mind? And uh…let’s make sure we don’t get caught okay?” Alice said, glancing around at her competitors.


In theory, using magic sounded like an easy move. In practice…eh…Penny might’ve been right. 

Ben tried to get Alice to ease her power out slowly and conjure a single plate of cupcakes, but it was to no avail. Even though on the outside she was all small hand flicks and tiny waves, on the inside Alice still felt like she was releasing a giant crest of power.

Suddenly, eight plates of cupcakes popped out of thin air covering her counter and the floor around her.  

“Fuck!!!” Alice screeched, looking frantically around the room to see if anyone noticed. Her cast mates were all focused on preparing their own dishes so no one was paying any mind. 

“Turn it off! Shut down the flow of power!” Ben shouted, as another plate of cupcakes materialized in Alice’s hand. For reasons only the Llamas knew, they were piping hot.

“YEOWWWW!!!!” Alice cried, dropping the plate on the ground. 

It landed with a thunk, cupcakes still intact because fucking magic.

Bailee turned around, “Oh my gosh, Alice are you okay? Did you burn yourself?” 

Damn it! Leave it to Bailee to be paying attention!

“Yep, uh, fine, just fine, I’m not hot! I mean the pan isn’t hot! How could I make cupcakes so quickly? I’ll tell you how. I can’t!” Alice babbled, resisting the urge to run her hand under cold water. 

“Are you sure? Let me see!” Bailee insisted, starting to come around the side of the counter. 

“Eep!” Alice yelped, diving down to grab the cupcakes on the floor. She crammed them all into the oven, tossing the last plate in just as Bailee walked up.

Panting and wiping the sweat from her brow, she gave what she hoped was a convincing smile. 

“See? All good! Just poppin’ ‘em in the oven like how you do when you’re baking with your hands, which I definitely did. Say, don’t you have a bake to check on?”

“You’re so right! This is a competition! Oops, looks like you forgot to turn the oven on. I think you needed me to come over here after all!” 

Before Alice could stop her, Bailee reached over and flipped the switch, setting the oven to bake.

“Good luck!” she declared cheerfully as she went back to her post. 

As soon as Bailee left, Alice let out a hiss of pain.

Checking again to make sure no one was looking, she ran back to the fridge and stuck her throbbing hand into the freezer. She breathed a sigh of relief.

“And bakers that’s time!” Summer clapped. “Now, the one and only Marjorie Barr was kind enough to join us today. She’ll be tasting your bakes at your stations and giving you some feedback before the show officially starts.”

Sighing, Alice took back her throbbing hand and returned to her station.

Marjorie smiled when she bit into one of Alice’s cupcakes. “Warm and gooey, needs a bit more time to bake but the chocolate is forgiving. Very smart, Miss Martin. Very smart. I look forward to seeing what you do in the rest of the—”

Thrilled, Alice waited for Marjorie to continue.

Then she smelled the smoke. 


Alice turned and watched in horror as her entire oven erupted in flames.

Alice was the last one out of the mansion. Clean-up took forever and she had to stand around for another hour while the production team chastised her about time management and oven safety. It was clear that in addition to thinking she was a straight up weirdo, they also thought she was an idiot.


“Well, you know what they say, Selvadorada wasn’t built in a day!” Ben chirped. 

“Ben, I set an oven on fire hiding all the cupcakes I made appear out of thin air. I don’t need a day, I need a whole fucking year,” Alice groused.

Her phone buzzed with a text. It was from Vlad, though she would have known it was him even if he didn’t sign it like a letter. The whole thing was three paragraphs long, written with perfect grammar, and used not a single emoji.

It detailed not only why he didn’t drive, but everything he hated about cars and the forward march of time too. Alice had to laugh. His reasons were insane. Who counted the fact that they enjoyed the convenience of cars as a minus? And refusing to learn how to drive hadn’t stopped them from appearing. Didn’t he get that?

It was the most over-the-top thing she had ever read and of course, she was into it. Besides, he had texted it to her instead of just showing—

She looked up just as Vlad appeared in a cloud of black shadow and mist at the bottom of the stairs.

“Well, after that text I guess it’s safe to assume you didn’t drive here,” she smirked, biting the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing.

“Of course not. I came to show you what you miss when you’re in a vehicle.”

the bluffs

“I don’t think cars are keeping me from this experience,” Alice insisted, as Vlad arranged his long limbs on a plastic lounge chair and pulled her towards him. 

“Shhh,” he chided, “Listen.”

With Ben respecting her privacy for once, she actually could listen. The air was full of a musical kind of buzzing sound that reminded her of crickets, but louder.

“What is that?”

“Cicadas,” he laughed, wrapping his arms around her.

“They sound a lot like poltergeists, but less scream-y,” Alice mused, settling back against him. 

She felt comfortable, like they had done this a thousand times. It was nice to say something true about her experiences and not have someone react as if she were completely looney. 

“They came the summer of 1495,” Vlad explained, gesturing at the remnants of a stone wall, “This used to be the summer palace, but the nuns lived here full-time and ran a washing service to pay for their food and lodging. They told everyone the cicadas were a sign of displeasure from the Gods that their favored devotees were scrubbing pants in a hot springs.”

Alice laughed. She could not imagine Ben getting too worked up about nuns doing laundry. Ben confirmed, chuckling in her head, but otherwise didn’t answer.  

“Was it?” Alice asked, enjoying the history lesson. 

“No! It was hot as blazes and they couldn’t bear to spend three months submerged in the steam from the spring,” he grinned.

“I always thought it was a wise strategy,” he continued in a low whisper.

Alice shivered. It was so hot that she had to braid her back, but sitting this close to Vlad was like having her own personal air conditioner…amongst other things. She felt him hard against her the small of her back, but he didn’t mention it. Didn’t push her. Didn’t move to act. His utter calm just emphasized for Alice how much she felt the exact opposite. 

“The heat really doesn’t bother you,” she observed, trying not to think about how badly she wanted to slide her hand between them. She shifted, wishing more of his cool skin was touching hers.  

He smiled against her neck. “Not at all, I can’t feel it.”

At her surprised sound, he explained. “The Universe’s way of maintaining balance. I can punch a hole through a brick wall but I can’t feel heat, or cold. Not any of it. Frankly, I’m not even sure I remember what it felt like,” he admitted, “I generally observe mortals and try to blend.”

At that, Alice gave a snort of disbelief. “You’re dressed head to toe in black on the hottest day of the year,” she pointed out. 

His laugh was dry. “You’re right. I don’t try. Not since…” he struggled to complete the sentence. “…I used to when I was….” 

He cleared his throat and licked the shell of her ear, clearly trying to distract her. “Wasn’t it you who said I was very old?” he murmured, “Let’s just say I’m out of practice.”

The history book said Vladislaus Straud had a wife and son. Once upon a time he must’ve tried for them, but since he didn’t say it, Alice let it go. How could she demand truth from him when she was holding back parts of herself too? 

Instead, they talked about other things as the sun went down—her oven catching fire, the original names of the neighborhoods in Windenburg. He even answered all her questions about vampires. When it was something popular or universally liked—fangs, traveling as a mist, strength and speed—he was all wit and excitement. 

But he grew distant when he explained the darker things that made them predators. And maybe he thought he was hiding it, but Alice swore she could hear the same hum of excitement even as he tried to sound blasé.

Closing her eyes and stretching back, she made a non-committal sound and let that go too. She couldn’t say that he wasn’t fooling her. That Ben used to tell her stories of gathering armies of the dead when she couldn’t sleep and that once she had set an entire building on fire because of a bully and when he peed himself in terror she had been delighted. 

Vlad didn’t know that she was a monster. The kind that could smite the ever-living shit out of him. Probably by accident. It was why she needed to win The Owl so badly.  

“What was it like back then?” she asked, trying to change the subject.

He traced a pattern along her collarbone, fingers skating over her skin. “Different.”

“Not better?” she teased. 

Every time he mentioned something from his mortal life, his voice was full of such yearning that Alice almost understood why he didn’t drive, or text, or even acknowledge that he was living the year 2019.

He paused and Alice waited for another diatribe on the “ills of modernity.” His words, not hers.

“Different,” he said finally. 

There were a hundred reasons not to kiss him, but Alice did it anyways. Even as a small voice that wasn’t Ben’s, but sounded like her own, told her that his heart was likely stuck somewhere in 1502. 

That her life was too fleeting. 

That this, all of this, was just for right now.

Now, now, now, her heart beat out as she slanted her mouth over his. And because everything was slow and hungry and he nipped gently at her bottom lip, Alice could drown out every second thought. 

It’s just a kiss, she told herself. And listened to the cicadas. 


Poses & CC by Simmerberlin

Be Together Couple Pose by Andromeda Sims

Couple Pose – Magic by Migdagere Sims

Monday Poses by Ratboysims

Male Posepack 2 by Natalia-Audtiore

From the sims 4 Gallery

The In Between Inn is the Up & Up Inn by Kulthero777. Alice’s room is actually on soundstage in the movie studio I built for my story, but that was just because I needed a larger space and I didn’t want to dismantle this fabulous build!

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