Testing the Leash

Hotel Carmilla

Entering the lobby and public space at the Hotel Carmilla is much like stumbling into a Bohemian artist's studio. The vivid and operatic display of seemingly haphazard combinations of surreal contemporary and centuries-old furnishings create a style that is akin to stepping into a real life painting.
The walls and floors are metallic grey, with a large piece of metal art marking the center of the lobby. Support pillars of metal and wood give the entire area an arty look. At the very end of the area is a hand-carved 10' Italian fireplace in front of which is a lush, red velvet couch, while a custom Venetian glass chandelier hangs above.
So as not to detract from the extravagant view of the hotel, the front check in desk has been settled into the wall at the left side; enough to be seen but not enough to stand out against the otherwise breathtaking room. The wall behind the desk is a lush deep pink. A unique piece of art hangs behind it, and on either side of the security guards can be seen.

The lounge of the Hotel Carmilla has no vampiric occupants save one: Darcy. Having only recently returned to the city, for the moment he is sitting upright on a thick armchair. Between his bony hands, clutched in its long fingers, is an old and weather-worn copy of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. On the side table next to him, an unattended Blackberry sits ready to return the vampire to the Modern world at a moment's vibration.

The dead hour probably, most out attending business elsewhere in town. And since Susan's business currently is moving back to the Carmilla… The doors swish open, allowing the wellknown face entrance. Almost incognito, since there's not a trace of signature archaic, 30's or twentyfirst century deisgner dress to be found, the small woman preferring jeans over high high heels. At those heels comes Marcus, her bodyguard as assigned by the sheriff. Lucky her. But it's an amicable silence in which they enter, moving over to the reception to retrieve her key. Marcus' cold eyes rove the lobby, landing on Darcy.

Darcy notes the bodyguard; but the vampire makes no indication of his presence, or betrays any hint that he has observed their entrance. He remains rooted to his seat, in perfect and poised posture, idly leafing through the book's pages. The ease with which he portrays himself suggests a man accoustomed to leisure, not to mention idleness.

"Ah, Miss Baker, a pleasure to have you back." The human clerk's sentiment sounds genuine enough and the woman… She's sporting a smile that has nothing to do with her vampire nature and everything with blending in with breathers. No wonder the AVL is making good use of her. Or was, before the sheriff made a public example of her of going against her orders. Public amongst their kind at least. She nods, doesn't verbally respond, simply holds out her hand. From where Darcy's sitting, he can see the note block and pen stuffed in a back pocket. Marcus' eyes have dropped to the book, just simple professional interest.

"Are you on the leash or holding it?" Darcy says from behind his book, speaking to Marcus. "Do send my regards to the face of the AVL. They have made our lives so decidedly simple. I should like to invite her for a drink, if you will pass the message, hmm?" The vampire speaks in a cool, tired manner with the slightest hint of a patrician's sneer. He adds,

"Yes! she will wake again,
Although her glowing limbs are motionless,
And silent those sweet lips,
Once breathing eloquence,
That might have soothed a tiger's rage,
Or thawed the cold heart of a conqueror."

Darcy's brown eyes are finally raised from the book, and look directly at Marcus. "Now you have had your Shelley. My message."

"Tell her yourself," Marcus sends back, the hint of sneer mirrored - and dealing the cards at the same moment. To Susan he nods, adding a quieter, "Let me know when you go up, I gotta call in." A warning look to both, to state the obvious and he steps outside again, indeed a phone on his ear. Susan meanwhile has retrieved her key, but the smile dies when she's adressed in a bee line, tilting her chin that much. Sauntering over, she nods briefly, telling him to state his business while giving him a quick once over.

"The face of cold death to the warm mortal world," Darcy muses, pointedly closing his book and standing to greet Susan. With a flat expression, he continues

How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!
One, pale as yonder waning moon
With lips of lurid blue;
The other, rosy as the morn
When throned on ocean's wave
It blushes o'er the world:
Yet both so passing wonderful!"

Darcy rests the closed book of poems on the end table, next to his Blackberry, and folds his hands before him knitting the long fingers together. "Do you think they fully comprehend those verses; do you think they fully comprehend us; your human associates, I mean to say?" Whatever his intended purpose is for speaking with the woman, Darcy is going about it in a dilettante's fashion.

Susan simply quirks a brow, higher still at the poetry, her look otherwise pretty deadpan. Marius would be so proud. All of her radiates, "And your point is…"

"Must one have a point?" Darcy asks. "Getting straight to answers is so… pedestrian. Decidedly dull," he adds. "I have been alive for centuries, and I find very few points to get at - only more questions, tedious repetition…" The man's voice is almost a yawn; his expression, deadpan. "Will you not have a drink with me? TruBlood, yes, is what you prefer? Or have you not totally embrassed the rhetoric of the mainstream?"

One Look is all Susan needs to tell him he really should stop making assumptions about her and she turns to get the receptionists attention with a raised hand, simply wiggling two fingers to indicate the drinks. He'll have to have what she's having. Note block and pen fished from the pocket, she sits down, one knee daintily over the other. The block is flipped open and she scribbles down a few words, holding it up next to show a somewhat uncultured hand,
My preferences are irrelevant.

Darcy sits back down in his chair opposite of Susan. "I had heard they were hard on you," he remarks. "No mincing about in this city, I should say. I had heard two rumours about you," the vampire continues, lowering his voice to talk business. "One is that you are skilled with investments; the other, coincidentially, is that you are decidedly not skilled with investments."

There's that brow again, this time accompanied by a corner of her lips quirking, the ice blue eyes giving him renewed interest. She writes again, just as brief and holds up the pad,
You heard wrong.

"I had thought we might be of some use to one another," Darcy answers. "Purely professionally, I mean. But if I am mistaken, I will bid you a good night." The vampire immediately stands, reaching ahold of his Blackberry and crumbling book.

A soft chuckle precedes an amused looks at what she clearly categorizes as antics and when the pad shows, it tells him,
Sit down
At that moment, the drinks are brought in, set down with accompanying napkins and prestene glasses.
Who are you

The vampire does sit back down. He seizes hold of the glass, sipping the thick red liquid within. "You may call me Darcy," Darcy answers. "And from your glittering media presence across the state of Texas, I presume you are Susan." The glass is craddled between his fingers and palm as Darcy speaks. Slowly, the vampire idly swirls its contents. "Shall we proceed?"

A mildly wrinkled nose tells him just how she feels about that, but no comment is made. Instead, she lifts her glass with fingers that desperately need a good manicure and drinks. Not sips, /drinks/. Her free hand motions for him to continue.

"Let us say there are other ways of carrying out one's immortality than serving as the bitch in someone else's kennel," Darcy begins. "One may struggle against the collar, but will be pulled in by the lead; else one can grow docile, domestic and obedient, and consider one's chain a piece of ornamental jewellery. Either way, the kennel has taken the animal out the bitch, and left her nothing more than a tacit lapdog without will or agency." The vampire takes a lengthy drink out of his glass, pausing for the effect of his metaphor to deliver its weight. "Am I making myself clearly understood?"

The good humour dies a sudden death, Susan's eyes taking on glacial shades. A quick toss sends the rest of the blood down her throat before she rises, giving him the double finger.

Darcy's lips spread in a thin, mirthless smile. "So we understand one another," he answers. "Capital. What if we were to help each other, yes? One bitch and one hound, hmm?" The rest of the synthetic blood is finished with a gulp, and the glass gingerly set aside on the end table. "I am expanding my presence in this area, you see, and I should like to think we might be of some considerable service to one another."

Susan is listening. He can tell. She hasn't moved a muscle, even though the eyes haven't grown a degree warmer.

"So you are not totally under heel?" Darcy muses. "Good. A bitch without bite is too dull a companion. When I had heard the rumours in New Orleans about you, I had thought you had not turned a tame mongrel. Very good." Darcy stands, walking a few pointed steps toward Susan. "What I wish to say to you should be spoken about privately, yes? This place has… too many open ears."

Everywhere has ears
One set in fact walking back inside the lobby and closing the distance. Marcus looks from one to the other, gauging for trouble - and who's causing it. "Everything alright?"

Darcy's brown eyes look intently at Susan for a moment, a mere fraction of a second; but they convey an understanding that goes beyond verbal communication. The vampire turns around, his aging book still in hand, and faces the return of Susan's… 'bodyguard.' "Should it be amiss?" he curtly answers Marcus, looking at the man with sheer calculation. A breezy, practiced and almost peerless act of bold-faced lying follows. "We were talking about volunteer prospects with the AVL. Fancy, I do not recall seeing you on any of the posters." The vampire remarks, as if testing Marcus.

Surprisingly, it's Susan who steps in, a hand on Marcus' arm and after a moment he can read under Marcus' burning eyes,
Marcus is working under the sheriff's orders and I suggest you show some respect. And though Marcus will have seen the text, he'll most likely misses the urgent hint in Susan's eye for Darcy alone.

"One shant wish to offend the Sheriff nor her pitbulls, shant one?" Darcy answers. A rigid, formal bow is offered to Darcy that only bends his upper torso several centimetres forward. "I do think I will take the night air." As the vampire moves to leave, he imperceptibly slips a pearl-white business card with a telephone number and one word, DARCY, embossed on its face into one of Susan's pockets. The movement was calculated to escape Marcus's notice, and could have been fast enough to sneak past Susan for the moment as well. "Many pleasant greetings," Darcy adds, excusing himself from the pair. The tall man vanishes out the door into the warm evening air.


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