Warning: Gets a little spicy!
Vlad realized he was holding her tightly. Too tightly? But she felt good in his arms, which honestly, was the worst news he could have received.
The desire to pin her down burned through him and it took everything he had to resist. Still, his mind betrayed him by playing out the scenario in living color.
He was not supposed to be dallying with this woman! He was supposed to be searching out a contestant, making their acquaintance, and beginning the process of seduction. After ten short weeks they’d win the prize, hand it over to him, and then he’d finally be free of his curse.
It was a solid plan, one that was unraveling the longer he stood holding Alice “Not madame” by the waist.
Sages help him she smelled divine, and the pulse thrumming in her throat promised something delicious and decadent.
He shook his head and stepped back. He needed to get control. He didn’t know who, or what she was, but she had spotted him. Did she work for Bloodvein? Some other vampire faction? San Myshuno had their own Queen (Contessa Arcadia) and he had taken great pains not to cross her or hunt in her favored territories. He didn’t need that headache alongside everything else.
He repeated his question, “How did you know?”
“I…umm…well…you know. The teeth. And I hear things…er…get told things,” she babbled nervously.
Was she a medium? He hadn’t sensed any ghosts but spirits were notorious gossips. She definitely wasn’t a witch, or fae, or any of the creatures he had ever encountered. Everything about her said normal sim, but there was a hint of something familiar, like a scent he couldn’t place, but it called to him.
“I’m sorry. That was rude. I forget that sometimes. You know how it goes, talking without thinking! Your teeth are fine! I like them. A lot!”
She liked his teeth? Vlad tried to tamp down the curl of pleasure that swept through him at the thought. She was…strange.
Intriguing, his conscience corrected.
And exciting, it added.
No. No! Vlad was not currently in the market for exciting. He had a plan. He just needed to threaten her and be done with it.
“I suggest, Alice “Not madame” that you forget I was here.”
He began to rise slowly, opening his arms in a way that generally made his enemies take an unsure step back. He wouldn’t reveal his true form yet, he’d save that for when—
She began to giggle. “Ohmigosh are you trying to hypnotize me? Does that work? Can you do that?”
Vlad dropped to the floor. “Of course not,” he said quickly.
“Now who’s being rude?” She paused and her eyes became unfocused. She turned her head slightly, “Okay, that was only once. I thought I needed you but false alarm. Take a hike.”
Vlad cocked his head. Now that he was paying attention, he could tell that she wasn’t talking to him. And she couldn’t be compelled? How?
“Fine!” she sighed, cutting her eyes to the side and then back to him again. “Listen, I’m very glad to meet you. I won’t tell anyone about you. I’ve got to get back to practicing my baking.”
Baking? Well, that certainly changed some things. Vlad stopped her before she could turn and go back into her room.
He gave her a bow. “You’re right, I was rude. I didn’t introduce myself. Vladislaus Straud, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Her eyes widened but she bit her lip and didn’t say anything. The bowing had been a bit dramatic but he had done it on purpose. He meant to leave her a little off-kilter. Information was always shared freely when his prey felt unsure. He licked his lips at the thought. Alice “Not madame” was mouthwatering prey…
“You mentioned baking?” he prompted.
He couldn’t let her leave, not now. He needed more information on the…baking show. That was all. Just information.
She shook her head, seeming to snap out of it. “Oh, yeah, well…” she sounded embarrassed suddenly. “I’m sort of trying to compete in this baking contest and win the prize.” She mumbled the last part, which Vlad found cute.
No! Not cute! Alice “Not madame”—Martin, he corrected himself—was not his mark. He needed to seduce someone who was likely to make it onto the show and win. He needed someone calculating and confident, a brutal competitor. He needed a winner and Alice, with her nervous stammering and strange outbursts did not strike him as a winner.
He shook his head as if to clear it and realized he had missed half of what she was saying.
Sages, her mouth. It captivated his attention. He tried to focus on her words. That’s what he was here for: words and information. He repeated this to himself as a reminder.
“…so that’s how I ended up here. Anyways, I’ve got to try out at least a brownie or something—” she paused. “Wait! A mixer? Tonight? When were you going to tell me about this? I hate parties!” she exclaimed.
She had that far off look in her eyes again. Vlad could sympathize. He hated parties too. If it wasn’t other vampires trying to curry favor with him, it was Bloodvein or Miss Hell putting on some absurd display. This was exactly the kind of information he needed.
“A mixer?” he started to ask, but was cut off by a voice shouting down the hall.
“Vladislaus!” William called.
Vlad quickly turned around. He did not need William involved in this situation. He glared at his enforcer, trying to send him a subtle message to back off.
William did not back down. Instead, he happily trotted over to them and gave Alice his best smile. She returned it with a bright smile of her own.
“I’m Alice,” she said, stepping forward to shake his hand.
“I’m William and I must admit, I am dearly charmed,” he said with a playful wink as he bowed to kiss her hand.
Damn William and his affable nature! William Redding was incredibly charming. Sims and vampires alike instantly fell at his feet. It’s why it was so surprising when he shoved them against a wall and threatened to tear open their face.
“William was just leav—”
“Is he a vampire too?” Alice asked. But he could tell that she wasn’t asking him, even if it seemed like it.
William did a double take, “You told her?”
“Oh no!” she clapped a hand over her mouth, “I’m sorry! I wasn’t supposed to say anything. No, he didn’t tell me…I just sort of…figured it out myself.” Then she coughed, “Er…I mean I heard it. Someone told me. Well, not a someone exactly but…”
Again, she looked embarrassed. Adorably embarrassed. Vlad clenched his fists and chastised himself for getting so carried away.
“Oohh, so you’re a medium?” William asked.
“No…I don’t think so. I mean, not exactly a medium. Just you know, umm, knowledgeable,” she rushed past the explanation, which made Vlad even more curious. She knew what she was, but she wasn’t telling.
Maybe he would have to keep an eye on her after all.
His body was thrilled at that idea.
“Alice is here to compete in the baking contest,” Vlad explained, putting a slight emphasis on the words “baking contest.”
William nodded, “I see.”
Vlad continued. “She was just telling me about a mixer this evening, for the contestants, I assume?”
She wrinkled her forehead like she was disgusted. “Well, apparently, it’s like a meet and greet for the competitors. The network arranged it. They want some early footage to see how everyone interacts. It’s what they’re doing in place of a screen test.”
William shot Vlad a look that he could not decipher.
“So where is this mixer taking place? Somewhere in the city?” Vlad asked.
“Oh! Do you guys work for the network or something?” she asked, her eyes narrowed.
“We have a vested interest in the filming,” Vlad replied smoothly. It wasn’t a lie exactly. Still, his conscience fluttered a bit. No matter, he just needed to secure an invitat—
“Why don’t you come with me? I really, and I cannot stress this enough, hate parties. But it’ll be better if there is someone there that I know.”
She was making it way too easy. Was she mad? She didn’t know him from grilled cheese. She just found out he was a vampire and William was a vampire. He had threatened her and barely given her a drop of information about himself. Was she like this with everyone? Vlad growled at the thought. She’d get herself killed moving through the world like this!
“Yes!” Vlad said, a little too quickly and with a bit too much enthusiasm. He took a deep breath. “I mean, yes, of course. We’d be delighted. What time will you be ready?”
“Eight o’clock,” she said softy, her smile shy. She held his gaze and Vlad found he could not look away until William cleared his throat and signaled they should go.
“So?” William said casually as they walked back to their hotel room.
“Are you seducing her or is she seducing you?”
Caleb had outdone himself with the clothing. It was an act of amends. They had made them after William cornered them both and threatened to take their bodies apart piece by piece if they didn’t apologize. Vlad hadn’t gotten to be king by not knowing when to play dead.
That and there was a thread of loyalty there that he struggled break. He liked to think of himself as ruthless, and he was. He wanted to say his resistance was because of his plans for the Owl, but in truth, Vlad felt that hundreds of years was not something to throw away so easily.
Yes, he had to admit he was pleased. He was suspicious of new clothing trends, as a rule, but back in 1895, Caleb had found a tailor that made every piece of clothing feel timeless. He had turned him without any prompting from Vlad, though Vlad still paid the man an obscene retainer.
Monster makes a monster.
Vlad shook it off. He didn’t have time to worry about Herr Bramley and his transition into vampirism. The man could walk in the sunlight, lived in a penthouse in Windenburg’s modern district, and took a new lover every month.
Had he lost family?
Vlad hesitated. He hadn’t ever asked Caleb about it, just sent his suit orders long after Herr Bramley should have met a natural death. There had been no room in his life to consider the welfare of those around him.
Like father, like son.
Fine. He’d be exactly like his father if it meant a clear path to getting the Owl of Undoing. The Owl was the only thing that mattered and Vlad did not intend to get distracted by some strange young woman who talked to herself and blurted out awkward phrases. He would escort her to the event this evening and use her to put the other contestants at ease so he could scope out his mark.
He adjusted his lapels and straightened his shirt.
At the thought of Alice his blood heated. When he closed his eyes he could picture himself pulling her in close, kissing her wildly, before he turned his attention towards that errant pulse beating in her throat.
He gave an involuntary shiver and then flung himself away from the wall.
He needed to get control.
He was probably starving. That was why he so drawn to her! He needed to eat and once he got some fresh plasma flowing through him, he’d be able to think.
He walked out of his room into the living room, where Caleb was mixing a drink for William at the bar.
“Dressed for wooing I see, although I don’t know why. She doesn’t seem like the type to care about an expensive suit,” William teased.
“William, for shame! Don’t tease our king. Besides, has there ever been an occasion Vladislaus Straud has not been dressed for?” Caleb cackled, as he began mixing another drink for himself.
“Here! Here!” William toasted, with a laugh.
Vlad took a calming breath and counted to ten. It was their way to try and rile him. He ignored Caleb’s knowing smirk.
With a single feather, the Owl of Undoing could unravel every part of his curse. No more conscience. No more guilt.
No more desires, his conscience added.
But desires didn’t matter. He had been fine before the Windenburg Witches came along and got lucky with some powerful curse.
“Alice Martin is simply a means to an end. That end being a suitable contestant to charm so they hand over the prize once they’ve achieved victory. I have no intention of wooing that woman. Whatever I feel for her is lust, nothing more,” Vlad said firmly and reached for the glass of plasma that Caleb had prepared.
His conscience did not miss an opportunity to comment on his lie.
Vlad gulped the plasma down.
Emotions by SimmerBerlin
All My Life by SimmerBerlin
Be Together by Andromeda-sims
Chivalry by Madebycoffee
Emotions 4 by SimmerBerlin
Mad About You by SimmerBerlin
Expressions by Apple Pie Dimples
Alize Hotel Restaurant by otentikjuju
- (Don’t be confused if you download this lot from the gallery: The hallway and exterior shots are all the Alize Hotel Restaurant, but I built the hotel rooms on a separate lot. The build is really great, I just needed to customize the rooms so I could make them match the story…and so I could do things like knock down walls or create fake backgrounds to make screenshots less of a headache.)