Dress-up with the enemy

Sheriff's Estate - Upstairs

Reaching the top of the stairs, a short hallway bears four doors. One leads to the private quarter's of Erica, a spartan room with an ensuite bath and a reasonable office. Two of the others are merely guest bedrooms. The white, clinical theme continues throughout the house, the rooms all en suite with enough space for a double bed, a small desk area with computer terminal and a couple of comfortable chairs. The final door leads into a kitchen, with black and white slab gloss doors covering a variety of appliances and space. A bank of units across one wall contains various modern extravagances, including a coffee machine, wine cooler and oddly enough, what appears to be an ice dispenser.

It's nearing the end of the night and Clarence has put the incredibly hard task of guarding Susan Baker in the capable hands of one of the human security, which now leaves Sue in exactly the same situation she was before, sitting on her bed now, a book in her lap but tuned out. Waiting for the inevitable call for her to go downstairs and down another set of stairs. Life just doesn't get any better then this.

Trusted breather or not, Marius does not allow them in the vicinity of his chambers. As a matter of fact, there are very few that he allows near his room period. None enter but by his permission, and that is the way it will stay.
There had been thought of finding a new residence, but after meeting the personal bodyguard the other night, the Whip is now firmly in the belief that he is needed right where he is.
It is up the stairs, then, that he travels, his step light. Slowing in front of the room that is marked by the warm blooded guard, he nods his head once in dismissal. Only once the breather is gone does Marius push on the slightly open door.. without knocking. His gaze lands upon the figure that sits on her bed, the book in hand. Still in the garment that he chose for her. Not that she had any choice in the matter.
"It is time. Choose your clothing for the morrow."

Her face lifts, the eyes refocussing as she snaps back to the here and now. No telling what world she was dwelling on just now. She tilts her head even while she swings feet to the floor and rises, the question simply asked by a raise of brow, the eyes large and so blue. Any clothing? She will wait for his explanation before she'll choose anything.

Marius has not stated what sort of clothing he expects Susan to take. If she was stepping foot out of the Estate, the chances are good that he'd have mentioned something that would be appropriate for such a trip.. or perhaps not. Instead, he leans upon the door frame, his arms folding across his chest. "Choose something for the morrow. That dress without the bodice can easily serve as a night shift." These children..
There is no hint of amusement in those dead, blue eyes.. nothing that Susan may have seen from the others, mocking her appearance. To him, her mode of dress right now is just as any other dress.. only.. it suits her position.
"The sun will be rising soon, so we do not have all night for you to choose." He waits for a long second before adding, "If you do not choose, I will assume you wish to spend the day naked. It makes no difference to me."

One brow down, one staying up, looking at him the way only a woman can when a man makes a comment on clothing. She doesn't hesitate then if she can choose what to wear the next night: jeans, shirt, bra. And just before she reaches him she quickly dips to pick up the high heeled sandals. So… She won't presume to walk right past him, instead waits for instructions. He wants maid? He'll damn well have to give the order. She still hasn't forgiven him for the costume, one that particularly the younger vampires found rather hilarious.

The 'costume' is the manner of dress that Marius finds the most appealing for women. It brings out the feminine side, and it serves a multitude of purposes.. one of which he'd already mentioned.. something to sleep in. The skirts also serve as a rag for the hands, and when he was younger and before he was turned, wrapping paper to remove during his more amourous moments.
Those particular days, however, are long past.
Unfortunately, so is the style, such as it is. He'll have to speak to Clarence later about the mockery. This was not a lesson to point and laugh.. this was a lesson for her to learn her place. If she is mocked, she will turn her back on what it is that is required of her, thus wasting his instruction.
"I will purchase you another dress like this one, so when laundry is prepared, you will have something suitable to change in to." And should he hear about more mockery, he will be sure it comes to a halt.
The clothing chosen receives a neutral, unemotional look before he turns to lead the way down the corridor.

So much for hoping on a one day fly. Behind his back she lifts the bodice of the outfit in irritation, mocking his back with a sight most of her fans would give their right arm for. But she follows, not a murmur of discontent across her lips. Unless it's the resigned little sigh she breathes out when stepping into the vault. Should he turn, he'd find her duely following at a respectful distance, hugging her clothes, even if they aren't her favoured Valentino dresses, close. Comfort in cotton.

Sheriff's Estate - Marius' Room

Opening the chamber door, the interior has been modified slightly from the previous nights. Now, there is a single tapestry that hangs upon the wall. It is a hunting scene.. crimson reds, bright greens.. and the dogs are a study in whites and tans. The bed is made up, and lying upon the top, in an open box, is his sword with the sharpening stone. The armour still sits in the corner on its stand, the helm still in place.
Crossing the room, Marius reaches out for the box and closes it before picking it up in hand. "You may put your clothes over there." In the recessed closet. "I shall be one moment." He has to put his sword away into a safe place.. as well as the pistol that sits on his hip during waking hours.

And so she does. What else is there to do. The little bundle she's holding go at the bottom of the closet, the high heels carefully set before them. Picking up on his need for some secret stashing, she keeps her back to him, first looking at the closet and clothes, but after a few looks that starts to feel utterly rediculous. So she takes up studying the tapestry instead. Not that she has a particular liking for it. But her taste he'd no doubt find 'modern', which with some vampires just doesn't sit well. Mostly the elder. But outwardly there's only a show of patience. Lots and lots of patience. Whatever it takes.

Marius departs the room and returns within moments, his trove secured. It wouldn't be wise on his part to leave such weapons in the room.. particularly as they can end his life as surely as they can end others. He keeps his blade sharp, and his pistol loaded with silver shot.
Returning to his room, the Whip removes his shirt, pulling it up and over his head, before he sits on the corner of the bed and pulls his boots off, followed by his socks. Twisting around to level his gaze at Susan, his expression is.. expectant. "You are going to sleep in your corset?" The under-dress, he expects.. the corset and over-dress.. not so much.

There is surprise at his statement, the woman looking at him over her shoulder first before turning entirely. Suspicion is next, much like the previous night, but if it gets his rocks off, what the hell. So she starts untying the lacing of the bodice, chin held just a little higher. Modern values, being her own woman and all that. Or maybe she has her reasons for being more comfortable facing him while undressing rather than showing him her back.

If she was a lover, there would be no question that Marius would aid in the untying of the corset. The lacing can be quite tight, and normally, tying and untying is a two-person job. Even if he was asked by another, though the chances of that are rather slim, there is the consideration. A servant, however.. and one who is under punishment for the duration of her stay at the estate, she's on her own.
Incling his head in acknowledgment, Marius rises to his feet only to move those few paces before lying back down in the spot that he has determined is 'his side'. Rolling his head back slightly, crystal blue eyes watch her movements for any sign that she will do something… less than productive.

Susan is struggling with the lacing, sure, in the end ripping it all out instead of just getting it loser and slipping out. She catches the fabric before it has a chance to hit the floor and looks around for somewhere to hang it over. In the end she semi-folds it and lays it down in the closet next to her normal clothes. Getting out of today's heels is something she manages while sitting down on the bed, her outermost edge with great effort keeping her face clean and blank. After that, no laying down though, instead she takes the noteblock and pen she brought with and write a few words down. In the end turns around completely to show him,
Can you tell me what this is all about. Please

Marius lifts himself onto one elbow and glances down at the writing before he simply stares. His voice is low and even in the room, the tones dismissive. "If I told you, you would not learn the lesson." In other words, whatever it is he is doing, he seeks a certain reaction. When he is successful, he has no doubt that the desired result will come.
"You are being punished, and there are many who have lost patience with you. I, however, enjoy a challenge. I will see you become a vampire that can be trusted in human society, and one who knows her place in ours, or you will die. I care not for the sheep, but I am following my orders."

Looking at him squarely, he must be doing one of those typicly male things again, Susan slowly shaking her head before she glances back down at the paper to write down. She turns the block to him and slips off the bed to pick up the small towel she brought along with her clothes and returns to see his reaction to the word.
What about the AVL

"What about it?
"Should I care?"
Humans are food to Marius, which really isn't the main mission statement for the AVL. As such, it's probably a good idea to keep the two separate.
"I understand you are employed there. Now, once your instruction is completed, you will be of more use to the Lady.. and our King." As for whether or not he really cares? Not his job and therefore not his concern.
"We have survived for thousands of years, kind…" Just in case she's forgotten that.
He pauses midway through his statement, however, and rises quickly from his side. Reaching out, he pulls the shirt that he'd removed back on over his head, and steps into his boots.
"Do not depart this room. I will return in a moment.."
With the statement and no explanation, Marius crosses the distance to the door and opens the door.. and exits the room.

When he returns, she's sitting deep on the bed with her back against the wall, a towel wrapped around the bracelet around her ankle. Nothing about the room looks touched or moved, no fiber of the tapestry out of place, no ring of the armour canted. Really looks, feels, smells like she didn't even get up and snoop around. There's something new written on the noteblock though, facing the door, pointedly so, for him to read:
FYI: I'm not employed at the AVL, I'm sentenced there
The correct verb is underlined.
It may not be my choice, my cause or even my point of view they're getting out there, but I will honour the magister's verdict, before I have to honour another's whim, challenge or whatever you want to call it.
Nothing personal, just making certain he's got a clear and open view of her priorities, her agenda. Surely he appreciates honesty? Loyalty? A little below this statement, by the looks of it added later on and in a far less certain state of mind,
When will you allow me to go outside the estate? I have obligations I need to attend to and Braeden is depending on me.
And at the bottom of the page finally,
So this is what happens when you give a woman time to think. Right now, she's been waiting on his answer for a good, good while, knees pulled up, ankles crossed (thanks to the towel), hands initially woven in her hair - but at his entrance quickly lowered, and she sits a little straighter. Just one big, formless -thanks to the under-dress-, blue eyed, unnaturally blonde bundle of Susan Baker. Rather nervous if you can catch the signs she's trying to hide, because with all that thinking, she at this moment isn't all that sure she'll ever be walking out of this building again.

It's difficult to gauge the vampire's mood as he returns. The door is opened, and there is a brief second in time when he remembers that he does, indeed, have a 'houseguest', as it were. If good humour can be felt in the veteran, any vestige of it gets locked away.. not because of any reaction to what he sees, but rather, he is no longer alone with his thoughts.
Slowing to a stop, pale blue eyes read the words written. Marius doesn't stand long, however, before he pulls his shirt off and begins again that which he'd done before he was interrupted by Cabot's presence. Folding the shirt to lay it on the edge of the bed, he moves around to reach out and grab the towel that lies around the ankle, serving as protection from the silver. Below it, the skin lies angry, and it is given hardly a notice. The towel, however, is closely regarded before it is cast aside.. thrown to a corner.
"You are judged by your behavior." The news that she isn't employed by the AVL is taken and stored, the underlined word serving as information that she'd been chastised before..
After all, he is still new here.
"You will leave this Estate when I am assured that there will be no more difficulty from you. If that is by you walking out or thrown out into the sun, that remains to be seen." However, there is no mention of his own consideration of bringing the child out with him on small trips. With Isobel's permission, of course.
"You should grow used to being here. The Lady Isobel wishes a maidservant."

Never has she uncrossed her ankles quicker then she does now and the path of the towel is followed with rising disquiet until her eyes land back on him. Connecting dots again and a little knowing light starts, if it weren't of the darkest nature. She's been here before and old, old methods of survival kick back in - resulting in not a single complaint from her. The sooner she can go back to her own quarters, the better off she'll be. She leans forward to take the note block and pen again started to write before the last bit of news stalls the movement for a single moment. Then the pen sqruibles again, pressing down in the paper perhaps a little harder.
1. That would be in direct violation with the magister's verdict, there's over 19 years of AVL service left.
Below that she's written, sometimes taking a second to choose her wording right,
2. Why am I here. If there's something you want to know, you can ask it. I've been known to answer before.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Marius pulls his boots off one by one, placing them on the floor before he rises once more to move to his 'spot' on his bed. "What is in violation of the Magister's verdict is not for you to decide, kind." The words have a dangerous undertone to them. It passes, the warning suitably given, and the next sound.. amused. "You speak as if 19 years are an eternity. They are nothing in our lives."
Once again, the Whip sits down on the edge and considers the wording, his voice lowering to almost a whisper, his tones even, "It matters not to me why you are here, and for what wrong you are being punished. That is not my concern. What I have seen since my arrival is willful disobedience, and this will cease. When I see that you are the picture of proper comportment, I will speak to the lady once again, and perhaps duties will be discharged."

Susan looks at him for a good while longer but when she feels disappointment over his choices rise again, she turns to lay down the block and pen beside the bed. This time, she does keep her back turned to him as she lays down, forgetting that the bodice of the dress is not there to protect the stretch of back from shoulders to neck and he's treated to a sight that surely pleases him. From her neck down the center of her back, disappearing beneath the dress she's still wearing is a true carnival of scars.

There is no pity there to be found in his eyes when Marius sees the patchwork of lines. Hardly. Laying down on his back, his hands cross against the flat of his stomach, and he closes his eyes. Not a breath is taken, nor is there one released in the quiet of the room as the sun begins its rise. As on cue, as the day begins for the world outside, within, all semblance of life has passed from the room.
Not until the sun begins its downward trek once again is there the stirrings within the Estate on the upper floors. All must be made ready for the next day, and the living make sure that all is in readiness for their Masters who will soon be rising with the darkness.

Sleep was welcome, restful, certainly after one hour of laying still and pretending to be just as out as he was. Morning came far more restless and in contrast the her previous choice not to look around, Susan was all over the room this morning. First order of business: to get out of that oldfashioned thing. A look was given at the sleeping Marius. Really. Back into shirt and jeans, but she didn't put on the heels just yet. Silence gave her time. So she studied the tapestry. The armour. The sleeping whip - at a moderately safe distance. When he wakes, 10 minutes earlier then he normally might have, it's probably to the last strap clicked in place, Susan Baker sitting crouched on the balls of her feet by the door. Observing the bed in silent contemplation. Weighing options, as she usually is.

In some of the old movies, they have the vampire waking as a rush of air into the lungs, hissing life into the body.. and then the eyes shoot open suddenly.
That only happens in movies.
Marius rises slowly; there's no hiss of a breath suddenly taken, no split second between sleep and wakefulness, though he does have an ingrained sense of military survival.. and doesn't have quite such a muddled head as life pours back into his body from.. the evening star?
His eyes open slowly, and he stares at the ceiling, listening to the sounds of the room.. and his eyes narrow as he sits up on the bed, his hands grabbing at his legs, setting him into a casual position.
"Shame. The outfit I chose suited you."
Vampires are traditionalists, and those born centuries ago, even more so. "That.. does not."

A quirked brow is his answer, rather thoughtful. Then again, he is a man. Maybe she should be more obvious next time. A polaroid with her and a clock maybe, telling him that she's sharing. She's actually chosen him to share something vital. Next time. This time however, she plucks the noteblock from a back pocket (useful!) and writes something down. Holds it up for him to read. For a moment, just one fraction of a second a corner of her mouth threatens to lift. It's beaten into submission before it can complete the rebellion.
Valentino suits me.
But given that he's a man who's stuck in a timeframe several centuries back, that probably won't make any sense.T

Rolling his legs off the bed in an easy motion, Marius crosses to his closet to choose a navy blue shirt, and this time, a light, thinly-lapelled suit jacket with a pin glistening in the light is worn over it. Then back to his dresser for socks, and the boots.. and his evening preparation is complete. No need to run fingers through his hair, and his need to shave ceased centuries ago.
"Who is Valentino?" He doesn't recall anyone of that name around the Estate, nor does he recall the lady Isobel ever mentioning that this person may be of concern or interest to them. "The vessel from which you drink?"

That corner of her mouth knows opportunity when it sees it and makes another go for it, this time turning still lips into a little smile. A far cry from the brilliance her smile can be, and short lived, but it tells him her sentiment. Rising herself now, she writes and shows.
Valentino is the best designer out there. He knows how to make a woman look her best and I look stunning in his dresses.
Just fact. Ask - and you'll get an answer.

"A tailor, then."
Marius takes the information and stores it. 'Designer' means nothing to him, but the fact that he has dresses, well.. yes. That makes things a little easier to understand. The distance between the closet and the door is taken, and pulling open the door, the corridor lies empty beyond. "Go." He still has to collect his pistol, but that will be after the 'changing of the guard' as it were. "It is time to move upstairs and wait for the rest to wake." It shouldn't be too long. "Your tasks shall be given you soon, and I will return later to be sure they were done to my satisfaction."

And gone is any kindness she might've shown him, back the wary and distrust. But she'll take the stairs in her usual slow pace without a single comment, the block and pen tucked back in her jeans. What tasks. What tasks?! It's the one thing on her mind and he can probably tell just from the set of her shoulders.

And it's an answer that he's not incline to give. Marius takes the stairs easily, and opens the door leading into the Vault. First order of business is to take the edge off his thirst. Then, he can contemplate the rest of the evening. Swordplay at the new arena, discussions with the Lady, late night feeding from some lamb begging to be used by him. That is certainly one of the positive things that has come out of the Revelation.. food for the asking. He hadn't realized until coming into the city and remaining long enough to learn..
"Then, before the sun rises, depending upon how I deem your work, you may sleep alone, or again with me."

Susan followed him to the bar, opting to wait on the other side though for him to be done. That little bit of information though, it sets off a wide, ice blue display of hope and relief. Maybe a girl needs her privacy. Maybe he snores.

The reward thus dangled, Marius sets to making his 'breakfast', the bag in the back taken and the top torn off and poured into the mug. The first lick from a finger dipped is taken before he sets it into the microwave to heat to a reasonable temperature. With the *ding*, he withdraws it and dips his finger in once again, drawing trails in the surface of the crimson liquid. Licking his finger like a child having dipped a finger in crystal sugar, he takes the first deep draught, the blood dripping on the sides of his mouth.
"Does that mean you will endeavor to please me in the completion of your work?"

The woman nods, eyes once more glued to the trails of blood. If her stomach could still growl, it probably would with a vengeance. Instead she feels her fangs growing, hungry to the core.

There's an answer he wouldn't have expected from her a couple of days ago. There is progress there, and he's pleased. Marius steps away from the microwave, allowing the girl to go to the refrigerator and take the bottles that contain her sustenance. Thumbing the side of his mouth, he looks at it and licks at his finger. While he wastes more than a few drops when taking it from a vessel, the first meal is drank to completion.
"Very well."
Maneuvering around the room, Marius finds a place to sit, and takes his ease for the remaining minutes before the rest of the household rises. "Tomorrow, you shall choose your tasks to complete and submit them to me. I will see if they are appropriate." Estate life is a great deal different than his wandering existance.
His tones turn.. oddly conversational, though there is nothing in his manner or mien that suggests his relaxing his guard, or his position as the one who determines life or death."How many vampires within this city do you know?"

Bottling her desire for the richer, real blood he's drinking, Sue's usual pick of True Blood (random) ends up in the microwave before she turns to write down her answer, brows drawn as she tries to translate his first order. So the first line reads -and she walks over to make it easier for him to do so-,
What tasks?
At least that's now actually communicated. If he ecpects her to clean out the toilets he's sorely mistaken, the stubborn tilt of her chin tells him so. Second line of business,
I know 6 or 7. Am acquainted with most.
She has a public function, after all.

"His name is Cabot."
The other questions are ignored for the moment. What an estate requires for day to day operation is beyond his ken. Someone will assign the tasks. Perhaps.. polishing the silver for an event?
"I wish to know what it is you know about him."
Tipping the mug back, another couple of deep swallows is all it takes to finish his first drink of the evening. It's just enough to take the edge off; enough to keep his head. The blood tinges his lips, however, and the sides of his mouth drip with the redness. Placing the mug down, he cleans his mouth as well as he can before he continues. "We are currently checking on his activities."

More likely reorganizing logistics, if it's her choice. Or making sure suppliers deliver on time, she's good at that. But since that's not the order of business… She tilts her head, the surprise showing through and it's of the pleasant kind. Memory darkens her eyes and lengthens her fangs. Cabot. With half a grin she starts writing, then allows him to read,
Cabot paints the town red. In a very good way.
She observes him with a knowingly lifted brow.

There is nothing out of the ordinary of a trusted servant running the manor's day to day, with the oversight of the Lady of the Manor. Perhaps the concept disappeared before she was conceived, and Marius doesn't even give it consideration. After all.. the running of the house has never, ever been his concern. Lady's work.
The printed words causes his head to quirk in momentary confusion. He knows the phrase, certainly. England in the early 1800s was an unruly bit of time, and there was a good number of times when towns were.. painted red with spilt blood from fights, riots.. but Cabot?
Perhaps he missed on taking the man's measure, but that doesn't seem likely. A warrior, the man was not. A vagabond? Yes. A charletan? Undoubtedly. But one who seems would go on a spree? He didn't look like he had the nerve. One of those who would hide away and take what was left.. or perhaps be the silent partner in a kill? Potentially.
"I think this is a different man."

James Cabot?
After he's had time to read, she writes again, with growing fondness, elongated fangs still,
When you see him again, will you tell him I said hi? Mention my name and LA and it should trigger his memory if he doesn't remember.
Patiently she waits for his answer, even if the microwave has already sounded, marking the news of Cabot more important then quenching her thirst.

"I am not your courier. I merely seek information so that I may better determine how to view the report I will undoubtedly receive regarding his activities." And from there, determine how and what to do about him— honour his request, of punish for transgressions discovered.
Marius rises from his seat and turns his back on the girl to carry his mug to the sink and place it in the emptied drain. "And with that, I am discharged of my duty." The changing of the guard, as it were.. and with a silent cross of the room, Marius takes to the door leading out.
There is always business to attend to.

~ FIN ~

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