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.
Hah! I’m beginning to appreciate the characters more, especially Vlad ping-ponging between throwing shade at everything, including the banners—leave the banners alone, for chrissakes—and learning what emotions are over 500 years too late. Jimena is totally the contestant who’s going to stay on the show for far too long because she causes drama.
Is one of the women in the vests Summer Holiday?
LOL it is 100% Summer Holiday. I have enough extras in this story that I’ve been raiding the premades. I like to imagine that she really enjoys her job while her roommate is fucking miserable.
It’s been so fun to write Vlad discovering what it is to feel things and to have a desire to understand his emotions.
Oh man, Jimena. Have I got plans for her!
Eeee! This was so fantastic. Making Vlad really grow on me, I’m loving his inner battle! Was that Jimena person confusing her with someone, or did she just use her as a random pawn to stir drama and secure herself a ticket? Either way, who cares, worked out in everyone’s favour!
And Vlad will be a judge@. I did not expect that, but yay!
Oh man, I can’t answer that question without spoiling things that come up later in the story. But I am glad that you are enjoying Vlad’s journey from bloodthirsty sociopath to slightly befuddled, lovesick fool.
Oh yes, I’m enjoying lovesick Vlad a lot!
I’m moving at a snail’s pace here but hey, slow and steady wins the race, right? 😁
I’m loving Vlad in this chapter. He’s really been growing on me lately but this chapter takes the cake, I think. And lol, the plot twist of him being a judge! That owl statue is as good as his, especially if he “lets” Alice win. He won’t even have to seduce her then – she’s already smitten with him. 🤣
HAHA! YES! I love when Vlad grows on people. Its a journey, though! I mean, I think no matter what role he was serving in the contest, Vlad would still find a reason to aboslutely “have” to seduce Alice.
Umm, I’m grateful you’re creeping along at a snail’s pace! I’m trying to finish the last few chapters of Baking By Death Book One and its taking a little while! 🙂
All’s fair in love and baked goods. That’s the expression anyways, right? It may have taken me far too long in the story to realize this, but both Vlad and Alice have an internal struggle. Alice’s is Ben and Vlad is his conscience. And BOTH are trying to rid themselves of *that* part of them. Interesting.
In regards to why each of them are there, neither are fooling the other, but they’re both so sprung on each other that they’re not really digging THAT deep about the matter.
Jimena is a twat. Got that out of the way.
Does William have a turn on for glasses?
“That throat would be the death of him” – I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t *just* an idiom, but rather foreshadowing.
I AM WORKING BACKWARDS AND I’M SORRY.
First off, it did not take you too long at all! Haha, I was learning a lot with this first story and full confession, this is about the part where that started coalesce for me too and I tried to make it more obvious.
I wanted Vlad and Alice to be drawn together because of their mutual desires for the same thing—love and acceptance, I thought that would go a long way towards helping them understand each other. I mean, there’s gotta be a reason they click, right?
You’re totally right about them not digging too deeply! Partially, this is me being tricky, partially this is me trying to be true to real life. We are all protagonists in our own stories so our goals and interests take precedence over someone else’s.
Oof, I think you are gonna hate Jimena more before the story is done.
Why yes, William does have a thing for glasses. His husband was a scholar. Now, I’m not going to say he’s in a death sprial of constantly trying to recreate the relationship he had with his dead scholar human husband but always pursuing men who seem nerdy but…
Hehe. Vlad is just horny for sinking his fangs into her throat. And also, other things that will be revealed and omg stop me from spoiling!!!!
I love that we are slowly approaching the levels of epic flirting that makes The Strauds’ bar scene live in my head rent free. (I still hope to some day be able to write something like that.)
Also Vlad, I can’t handle any more of these smouldering looks and wicked smiles. Staaahp. Actually, don’t. Please never stop.
<3 this fills my heart omg