Mourning Becomes Her

McCree Cemetery

For the most part, the cemetery seems to be a quiet and serene spot for both the souls that rest below and those that come to pay respect to their loved ones. A packed dirt pathway continues through the grounds boxing off expanses of green lawns that have gravestones of different shapes and ages.

Off in the southeast corner is an area of the grounds that seems to have gone forgotten. Overgrown with weeds, vines and various other plants, a cluster of old and broken grave-markers clutter the area. Even on the sunniest of days, this section has an extreme sense of foreboding to it.

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The sun has set some time ago, and all traces of the day have dissipated in a misty evening. Fog has risen in low-lying areas, and the news has predicted another scorching day of 100% temps tomorrow. Perhaps it's slightly cooler in the dampness of McCree Cemetery, but not so much as to be called a chill in the air. There are streetlights ringing the exterior of the graveyard, and a few gas lanterns lighted within. It gives the older section of the cemetery a foreboding, sinister appearance, what with all the trees and mist.

Fortunately, Desiree's family plot is outside the older section, albeit within easy sight. Her grandparents, uncles and aunts great and more recent, all like silent in their graves, the headstones pocked with age. Newer than the others is one for her father, and it is to this one Desiree has come. She has brought flowers to commemorate his birthday, the only fresh ones on the grave. Her brother and sister have not visited, nor will they, what with their busy lives. So, it falls to Desiree to remember him.

She stands at the foot of the grave, silent in prayer as a faint breeze stirs the trees overhead. Spanish moss drips from the limbs, like ghostly fingers reaching for the living. Desiree has no fear of the dead; they've never caused her any problem. It's the living which causes her difficulties.


There are those that say the cemetery is, at the very least, foreboding. Some will come right out and say it's haunted. As far as James is concerned, it's simply a pleasant place to walk his dogs.

Titus and Brutus sniff among the graves. They are off their leads, for the moment, chasing each other and bounding without regard to the so-called 'sacredness' of the space. At least they haven't pooped on someone's grave. Not yet, anyway.

The mists swirl around him as leaves the oldest part of the cemetery and makes his way towards the newer section. The dogs trot beside him, out of the mist, backlit by a security light.

(It's all very dramatic. Really.)


A visitor stopped by the practice earlier in the evening, as is his wont. Bethany was given a direction after being fed upon, which has led her to various locations in the city looking for a tall, barrel-chested, blunt-featured vampire with dogs. Driving from location to location in order to deliver a small package to the man.

Two new puncture wounds can be found in her neck, the blood having coagulated and started to dry already. Marks that label her as either chattel or belonging to someone.

Once the vehicle is parked Bethany makes her way through the various pathways trying to catch sight of the one she was sent for. Instead of locating the man right off she notes that there is a mourner. So as not to disturb her she turns onto a side path causing the gravel beneath her feet to crunch loudly.


Perhaps it's the stirring of mist shrouding the oldest section of the cemetery, but whatever it is which draws Desiree's attention, it doesn't seem to bother her. Much. She pauses in talking to her father's grave, turning to peer into the gloom. It feels like something out of a horror movie, but for some reason, Desiree feels relatively safe here amidst the headstones and mausoleums. She's come here at all hours of night and day, whenever she feels the need for comfort being near her father. The man himself might be gone, but his spirit lingers on — in her mind, at least.

Tonight there are figures moving in the mist. Three vague forms finally solidify into a human shape and two canines. Big dogs, at that. Tall, rangy, with curly hair. One dark, one lighter. Easily recognizable for their size and their pace with a master who has trained them. James. Odd, perhaps, to see him here, but not so strange, all things considered. Desiree has no idea if he's seen her yet or not, but she turns fully to face in his direction. Her heels sink into the ground, the grass tickling her ankles. Rain has made the lawn grow too fast for the maintenance man to keep mowed.

"Don't you think a vampire in a cemetery is just too cliche?" she asks, lips twitching into a smile. "Or did I stumble onto the set of 'Tales from the Crypt?'" It's meant to be a jest, not an insult, and she hopes James has a sense of humor about him. "What brings you here — just walking the dogs?" She'll hold out her fist for the wolfhounds to sniff; she's never actually touched them before, just admired them from a distance.


The dogs move ahead of their master, flanking him as they scent a new body nearby. Their heads are up, their dark eyes coppery with reflected light. They come to a halt and stand quite still as James approaches the woman that speaks to him. His face holds that blank, expressionless neutrality that seems to be his wont. Before he can respond to her, however, his nostrils flare and his head turns. Even in the darkness, his glittering eyes seem nearly to glow for just a moment.

Then, the sound of feet crunching on gravel can be heard.

Desiree's jest is ignored in favour of that new sound… and, more importantly, the new scent.

The dogs turn with their master, the three watching to see the source of the noise. And that scent.

Slowly, James walks toward it. He can't be said to stalk, exactly. His back is too straight and his head too high.

But, he stalks, nonetheless.


Two dogs, a large man, and a woman speaking with him. Bethany is determined to keep her distance and not interrupt. Until she hears Desiree's voice. Taking in the sight of the cast, the woman frowns a little. It is on the tip of her tongue to ask what has happened. Lips part to form the question and interrupt the mourner.

The dogs watching her suddenly catch her attention before she can say a word.

Standing perfectly still and calm she keeps her eyes on the dogs for a moment. To be sure that they are not going to lunge at her. Gentleness is what is needed with new creatures, not fear.


Desiree is nothing if not observant, and now that she's no longer speaking to her dead father, she can hear the crunch of footsteps on the gravel. That James and the dogs are now heading in that direction is another indicator there's someone else approaching through the misty night. She stands still, eyes peering into the gloaming, waiting to see who it is who comes to this place. Another mourner? Another vampire? It's not clear. From the way James moves, she has an idea he may know the newcomer.

And when the mist parts slightly, Desiree is treated to the sight of the Good Doctor in person. She's no more thrilled to see Bethany than she suspects Bethany is to see her, but she doesn't react with antipathy, just regard. Her fist lowers since the dogs are no longer coming toward her, and she observes in silence. Perhaps a tiny part of her is peeved to be ignored in favor of Bethany, but considering who has laid claim to the doctor, it really comes as no surprise. James and Marius do seem to be well-acquainted, after all.

Perhaps it's best if she simply continues her ritual, and Desiree does turn slightly back toward the grave bearing a bronze plaque reading "George R. DeVilliers, 1942-2001." So young to have died needlessly.


James doesn't know the 'good doctor', actually. They've never met. But, he knows blood when he smells it. He walks slowly toward the woman. His head cants to the side. His eyes, better than a human's in the dark, rake her form, coming to rest on her pale throat and the drying pricks there.

"And, who might you be?" he greets her, London accent heavy. His teeth are under strict control, held hidden still. At least for the moment.

Another beat.

"And whose?"


Despite the fact that a vampire is drawing near, Bethany's eyes remain upon the dogs.

"Do they bite?" The direction of the question could either be for Desiree or James. In the "good doctor's" manner of speaking it is just a question posed.

"Dr. Bethany Brooks. I belong to Marius Schlachter." The words sound only mildly awkward as they slip off her tongue. The first time she has spoken them.

"Would you be James Stockton?" Her voice remains gentle, quiet, and calm.


Desiree has no desire to eavesdrop on their conversation, and turns her complete attention to the gravesite. She kneels, ignoring her stockings and dress. Flowers are rearranged in the bronze vase attached to the stone by a bronze chain. Roses and carnations, dark red and white, with baby's breath and ferns. Her father's favorites.

"I wish you were here, Dad. I could really use some advice," she whispers. The words probably aren't heard by Bethany, but if James were paying attention, no doubt the vampire could hear clearly. "I think I've got myself in over my head, but I don't want to … to give it up. I want my cake and to eat it, too."

Very quietly, she begins to brush leaves from the grave, and to then remove her scarf. The fang-marks are still quite vivid against her skin, dark red on pale flesh. The scarf is tied in a bow around the base of the vase. "Mother Mary, pray for us sinners…"

When her prayer ends, Desiree can't help but let her eyes drift to James and Bethany. For some reason, it rankles that the Good Doctor has invaded this very special place.


"Only if I order them to," James replies as to the dogs. Titus and Brutus near Bethany, now, sniffing her from a foot or so away. The vampire's eyes rake up and down her form again. He blinks slowly, as if he had to think to do so, and his head cants just faintly at the introduction she gives.

"I am, aye. And, you, then, are Marius' Lamb. You're looking for me." He phrases it as a statement, certain it is so, given how she identifies him. "What does my brother wish?"

He hears Desiree, certainly. Just as he registered the jest before. He may return to both, in a moment or two. But, for the moment, as she concentrates on her prayers, he concentrates on the 'lamb' before him.


"Gentle," Bethany calmly states to the dogs.

"Lamb, yes. That is what he prefers to call me," she replies a lightly faint smile touching her lips briefly. "He apologizes for not delivering this himself but there were matters he had to attend." A small envelope is extracted from her purse and offered to the vampire. "He said you would know what it is for. That he would meet you there before sunrise."

Bethany has no idea what is in the envelope.

She cannot hear Desiree's words, yet she knows the motions of mourning and prayer. She leaves the woman to it for now, the question of what has happened to her still in the forefront of her mind.

"Your beasts have very strong souls. They must do you proud."


There is no rosary in her hands, yet the posture of prayer is the same with or without. Taking a deep breath, Desiree sits to one side, turning her body until she can fully watch the other couple, a tilt to her head. She observes casually, nothing more, green eyes occasionally glittering as one or another thought strikes her. The dogs garner much of her attention. They have from the first moment she saw them. Not that she's a dog person, but one cannot ignore such magnificent animals.

Several minutes pass before she sees Bethany pass what looks to be an envelope to James. There's a lift of Desiree's brows, but she makes no move to discover anything more of this transaction. Perhaps Dr. Brooks will leave, now that she's fulfilled what she apparently needed to do for her vampire.

That there is antipathy between the two women cannot be denied, but Desiree will be damned to hell without redemption before she's less polite than someone she doesn't like. When the time comes, she will be pleasantly polite. Like the old saying goes, butter won't melt in her mouth.


"Aye," James concedes, expression still neutral — as neutral as his brother's is wont to be. "They serve me well."

Unusual, really, for a vampire to have dogs like this, but he does. And he seems to enjoy their company… insofar as they're often in his company.

He takes the envelope from her and opens it. Tenting it so he can peek inside, he recognizes the contents. The envelope is then secreted away into his pocket.

"Should you see him before I do, tell your Master I'll be there. If you do not see him, think nothing more of it." In other words: Don't go bustin' yer ass, luv.

One of the dogs, the larger, paler of the two, turns his head, now, reflecting back Desiree's gaze.


Marius chooses to keep a horse, James chooses to keep dogs. It does not seem so unusual to the doctor.

"I will not see him again this eve. He knows that you will be there." In other words, he told her that James would not fail him and she believed him.

Turning in a similar fashion to the dog a frown forms upon her lips. There are questions to be asked but she does not wish to pose them to this man she does not know.

With eyes still upon Desiree she quietly asks, "If there is nothing else I should like to go speak with that woman." Then she waits respectfully for the old one to confirm that she can continue on with her evening.


There's something almost eerie about the intelligence held within the dog's eyes. Desiree regards him (Titus? Brutus?) for several minutes, until she's sure he's looking directly at her. She doesn't call to him, but does smile. It's a gentle, admiring smile geared to let the animal know she poses no threat to him or his master. Her hand stirs in the tall grass, letting the blades caress the palm of her good hand. If the dog wishes to interpret this as invitation, so be it. She would never drive him away.

Now that the couple seem to have concluded their transaction, Desiree flicks her eyes toward Bethany. She takes in the whole "gentle" demeanor, the loose skirt and camisole, the shoes. It's certainly not what she would choose to enhance her appearance, but they are two very different women. Desiree is fire and ice, the doctor clouds and trees.

Noting Bethany's glance her way, Desiree makes her way to her feet, awkwardly since the cast throws her off balance. She stands, heels sinking into the moist earth once more. The mist has thickened, particularly in the "haunted" old sector. Desiree doesn't move, but regards James, his dogs and Bethany with a cool neutral silence.


Kames shifts his weight enough to turn half a step, indicating Bethany may feel free to proceed. Brutus circles around behind her, coming to her opposite flank, almost herding her towards the DeVilliers plot — though he never touches her or behaves in any aggressive manner at all.

Titus, however, precedes her toward Desiree, the pale-furred cur stalking in a manner similar to his master's approach to Bethany moments before. His head is up and his back is straight. So, there's no hostility there, either.

James remains where he is, perfectly able to hear and see all of them well enough.


"I have no idea of your name," Bethany says plainly to the dog, "though I find it highly amusing that you are herding me like a lamb. You are far better than a sheep dog, warrior." There is a demeanor about the dog that just exudes that it was a battler in the past.

"Desiree," she offers gently as she approaches the plot. A glance to the stones reveals the woman's surname and it is filed away for later. "Pardon me for interrupting your prayer."

In an automatic manner, her hand reaches down for the top of Brutus' head. Fingers giving him a gentle, calming pet and ear scritch. No longer wary of the beast.

A minute passes before anything else is said. When she speaks again, Bethany's voice remains calm. "Forgive me also for noting your injuries. Are they related?"


Desiree tries not to stiffen as Bethany approaches the gravesite. She schools her face into that mask of polite neutrality worn by so many in her profession. She regards the doctor evenly, then acknowledges her apology for interrupting her prayers. "I was through," she says, voice soft and slow. "I forgot my roasary, anyway," thus betraying her beliefs. "Thank you for your consideration."

There's a nod of her head, meant to be simple politeness, but could be interpreted as haughtiness by some. She glances down at the grave. "No, not at all related," she tells Bethany. "My father …" A pause, a moistening of lips. "… died three years ago. An … accident." There's just a hint of something in the words which might indicate there's more to the story. For example, why are Catholics buried in a non-denominational cemetery? "I find it soothing to come and talk to him when I'm troubled."

There is stiffening at the mention of her injuries. No denying the bite marks on her neck, similar but more ragged scars than those on Bethany's own throat. "I'll heal," she says, her eyes meeting those of the doctor's. "It hurts now and then, but isn't anything I can't handle. Just makes it hard to dance." Unless questioned directly, Desiree will leave it at that. "I try to ignore it, but hard to miss ten pounds of plaster."


Brutus, the darker, slightly smaller of the pair of animals, accepts Bethany's attention without any complaint. His ears flicker a little, but other than that, he's a patient escort. Titus, the paler, larger of the pair, walks up to nose Desiree curiously, sniffing at her cast — easily done, given his height. He circles around her to stand at her flank, the dogs like two silent guardsmen.

James remains where he is, letting the two women speak, though there's no mistaking his expressionless, glittering gaze.


Bethany easily spots the signs of one on her guard. She does not seem to pay them much mind.

"I am sorry to hear of the loss of your father." Even though it is years past. Many of her patients have been through similar situations and the emotional scars from such do not heal swiftly. "No one can fault you for that. Though they are gone our loved ones always remain with us in some way or another." The doctor is less talking about having discussions with a slab of stone and more thinking of reincarnation.

"Your physical injuries may heal, Miss DeVilliers, but unless you tend to the emotional and psychological ones as well you will always be hurt by what has happened."


Desiree takes a deep breath, forcing down the instantaneous desire to tell Dr. Brooks to mind her own business. But that would be rude, and she's not by nature a rude person. "My father was a good man, trustworthy. I could go to him about anything, and he'd always have an answer." There's a wistfulness in her voice, and a soft smile curves her lips upward. "I miss him a great deal." Then there's a short, sharp laugh. "Would that my mother'd loved him half as much as I did." A pause. "Do. I won't ever stop loving him."

Sensing more than seeing Titus beside her, Desiree lets the dog sniff her cast, then gently touches the top of his head with her fingertips. She wools at his ears, something her old Irish Setter used to love. Perhaps she'll lose a hand, but he doesn't seem terribly upset by the touch.

It's the final statements which have Desiree shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other. "I'm dealing with it, Dr. Brooks. In my own way, in my own time. There's not much else I can do, really. I'm working through the anger and the … the desire for vengenance." Her voice is cool, and her eyes flick to James, who has remained at a distance. "Someone gave me some excellent advice, and I'm taking it. Someone else is giving me the space and the alone time I need to heal the … wounds."


What dog doesn't love its ears luvved?

Brutus and Titus are no exceptions to that rule. Indeed, wolfhounds are, by and large, known as friendly dogs. Whereas rotties and dobies might have a bit of the hostile in them — thus making them better guard dogs — few are better guardians than the faithful hounds. Perhaps, then, it's no wonder James prefers them. And as there's really no threat around in the least, they can afford to be friendly.

And James is content to allow them to be.

This isn't to say, however, that he doesn't hear every word, sense the change in blood pressure in each off them, scent how they react to one another. It's no wonder Marius finds his lamb intriguing. Her serenity is… highly unusual.


Brutus is not forgotten. Bethany's fingers find his head again, gently petting through the fur as she speaks with Desiree.

"I meant no offense to your father," in case the woman believes this to be the case. "It is good, and healthy that you find solace in being near him. That he can still guide you." Nothing she would not say to her patients. All said with her usual calm demeanor.

"Everyone must work through these things in their own way, Miss DeVilliers. Should you seek someone to just discuss the incident with though, you are welcome to come by the office after hours. Having space and time to oneself is good, but from your own words just now you were a victim and none should suffer that or bear that burden alone."


"Please, just call me Desiree," she says. "I'm not all that formal. Miss DeVilliers reminds me too much of my pageant days." There's a faint shudder; obviously, that wasn't a pleasant memory. "Thank you for those words. Dad wasn't particularly faithful, but he believed in the power of a Higher Being, someone who was smarter than us poor mortals. I like to think he's with that Being, helping others the way he helps me." Her own voice is more relaxed now, her demeanor apparently calmed by the presence of Titus.

"I also appreciate the offer, but I'm not certain I'm ready to seek counseling on this. It's still very … recent, and they tell me time heals all wounds — physical, mental, emotional." But there's no stiffness, and the antipathy seems to have dissipated. "It's a kind offer, though, and I'll keep it in mind. The … the nights are sometimes the most difficult." The smile is as gentle as the doctor's own.

"Perhaps I should get a dog, but I'm afraid my cats would disown me," Desiree comments, kneeling to put herself at head level with Titus. "Thank you, Titus," she says to the dog, running her hand over his head. "You're really something special."


James remains, still as a statue, watching the pair almost without blinking. The dogs are content to accept the scritches the women give them. And if, perchance, that helps calm the humans, so much the better, it seems.

Titus bears the compliment with great equanimity and patience. (Someone's gotta do it, right?) His nostrils flare a little as Desiree comes level with him. He sniffs some at her hair. But, generally, he keeps his chin tilted up so that she can scritch him easier.


Brutus is as solid beside Bethany as his brother is beside Desiree, and just as happy for the attention.


"Desiree, then. I did not mean as counseling. Just as an ear not so familiar with you that you can speak with who will offer no judgments or advice unless you wish it." Bethany is not offering friendship. Rather a body that was uninvolved with the attack that Desiree does not know fully so that the woman will have no worry of offending anyone when she speaks of what happened.

"The offer stands." Bethany extracts a small golden business card case from her purse and slips out one of the cards. This is held out to Desiree. "The second number is a direct line to my office. Should you wish to stop in, simply call beforehand and I stay later." It is really nothing too major for her to do as her apartment is above the practice.

The old one who remains watching them does not unnerve her in the least. He has been made aware that she is protected. Beyond that, were he the one responsible for Desiree's attack, Marius would never have sent her to him.

Brutus continues to get attention though as the dogs seemed to have kept the tensions between the two women to a minimum. They should be petted and rewarded for that.

"It is not my intention to pry on this matter. Nor should I linger much longer. You are entitled to your privacy with your father."


"Ah, I misinterpreted, then," Desiree says, glancing over at Bethany as she continues to make much over Titus. (Oh, yes, the chin gets its share of attention, too.) "Still, it's a kind offer, and I'll consider it." She reaches for the card, and, having no purse with her, places it inside the neckline of her dress, pushing it into her strapless bra. Nor does Desiree offer friendship in return, though her manner is cordial. "I'll be sure to call in plenty of time, should the need arise."

James is given another glance, but it's not one of fear. No, quite the opposite, there's not an iota of fear in Desiree as she pets the vampire's dog. Caution, perhaps, because no one is ever totally safe with a vampire they don't know well, but not fear.

"My father is a very understanding man," Desiree says, her smile full of warmth and affection. "But, I've no desire to keep you if you need to leave. Thank you again for the offer, and for the kind words. If there's such a thing as reincarnation, I could easily see my father coming back as one of these magnificent hounds. He had that same affect on people: calm."


James probably wouldn't bother much with either woman, were he hunting. But, it's still probably a good thing he's not hunting at the moment. He will be, before too much longer. The drying blood on Bethany's throat is still a temptation. Perhaps that's why he keeps his distance. But, she is protected. And he would not cross his swordbrother even were Marius not his sire.

The dogs continue to lap up the attention. Though neither's tail wags, the are raised just above the level of their flanks in an alert, contented posture. And there's no pulling back from massaging fingers.


"Never underestimate the spiritual world, Desiree. Reincarnation does exist very prominently in quite a few cultures and religions, though perhaps not strongly in Christianity and Catholicism." Bethany tips her head at the woman, knowing well that when Desiree looks at the card that was offered, she will see:

Dr. Bethany Brooks
Psychologist and Past Life Therapist
Oak Cliff Psychological Practice

"Warrior, you should return to your master now." Bethany would lead Brutus toward James but her vehicle rests in the opposite direction.

"Be careful in the night, Desiree." The doctor turns, heading back down the path which she originally came down.


"I rarely underestimate things of a spiritual nature," Desiree says, offering a nod as the doctor prepares to depart. "Be well," she adds, not really knowing what to call the woman: Bethany? Dr. Brooks? "Drive safely in the fog."

Desiree rises, brushing off her knees with her good hand. She smiles down at Titus. "If you need to go back to your master, I won't keep you, but thanks for the company. Come by anytime for a good petting." There's a soft chuckle as she realizes she's talking to the dog. Then again, this is a woman who talks to gravestones, so…?

Turning toward James, Desiree watches Bethany leaving, hand still moving over Titus' head. If the dog goes to move away, she won't stop him, or impede his progress in any manner. The dried blood on the doctor's throat was not unnoticed by Desiree, and her own hand goes to her neck, lightly rubbing at the fang-marks.

To James, she says across the distance, "Can I offer you and the dogs a lift back to your hotel?" She doesn't need to shout. She knows he can hear her.


James remains statuesque for a span of moments longer, as he considers the offer. Then, at once, movement resumes and he begins walking toward the woman. The dogs stay by her until he has reached their sides. "Ta, luv," he says. His expression is still neutral, but his Londoner accent is thick as he accepts the offer. "I've haunted the cemetary long enough for one night." A beat. "And I believe there's a Tales From The Crypt marathon on the television, tonight."

Was that a joke?

Maybe he didn't entirely ignore her first overture to him this evening after all.

He makes a small gesture, indicating that she should lead the way. The dogs take up their usual flanking position as he walks.

Their work, for this hour, is done.


She walks carefully, since her heels are once again sinking into the moist ground. Desiree doesn't lose her footing, though, and soon they're all on the harder-packed roadway upon which her car is parked. The silver Mustang looks large enough to handle the man and his dogs. At the moment, the convertible top is up, but she can lower it with the press of a finger.

Her laughter drifts through the mist. "So you did catch that, hm?" she remarks, meaning the "Tales of the Crypt" comment from much earlier. "Not, mind you, that you at all resemble the Cryptkeeper." Another chuckle, and they're covering the short distance to the vehicle. "You want the top up or down?" she asks, pressing the unlock button on her key-chain. "If we put it down, will they try to jump out? I know you've got them well-trained, but I'd hate to see anything happen to them." She pauses at the driver's side door, hand on the latch.


"They will be fine," James replies simply. He waits for the sound of the locks disengaging before he opens the doors — one to let the dogs in, the other to let himself into the car. "You can arrange the top however you see fit." He has utmost confidence in the animals, apparently.

Beyond that, however, his only response to her inquiry is the faintest ghost of a smile. Yes. He heard her, earlier. He heard everything.

"Thank you for this courtesy. I don't suggest you linger, when we reach the hotel. I do not wish to be rude, but Marius' lamb had blood on her, and it's caused me a bit of hunger. You're safe from me, this night. But, I will have to feed once you've left."


There's a moment of hesitation before Desiree climbs into the vehicle. She has no problem with the dogs sitting in her backseat; they're better passengers than many college kids. "Of course they will," she says, nodding. She leaves the top up, but does open the side windows so the dogs will have a breath of fresh air as they drive. "My old Irish Setter loved to hand his head out the window," she remarks a little wistfully. "Stupidest dog ever born, but he was my best friend when I was a kid." Chuckling, she starts the engine.

"And here I thought you were angling for an invitation to watch the marathon," she teases lightly. Music comes blaring out of the speakers; hard rock, which she immediately turns down lest she disturb the peaceful night. "I sometimes forget vampires have such incredible hearing. The one and only time Michael gave me his blood, I about went bats. I could hear far too much, and I was in New York at the time."

She falls silent, then, listening to what James has to say. Desiree pulls out into the flow of traffic, face staring straight forward. "I understand about the hunger." It's not like she's never fed a vampire, after all. "And, I know you're not going to hurt me. You would've already if that was your intent." Even so, she is acutely aware of the fang-marks on her throat.


Oh, there's no doubt the dogs snouts escape the windows the moment the glass lowers. They are dogs, after all. Remarkably well-trained dogs, perhaps, but canines nonetheless.

James pays them little mind, however, so confident is he in their training. He does turn his head slightly to look at the woman as she tells him something about her past with Michael. "How long ago was New York?" he queries now, curious as to how long she's known Michael, really. Even if it's not an accurate time frame, that answer, it will tell him enough.


Dogs will be dogs, and Desiree laughs softly as their long snouts poke from the back windows. She's pretty certain no one's going to try and car-jack this vehicle! If the vampire doesn't scare them off, the dogs will. The question doesn't really catch Desiree off guard, but she does respond with a soft, "Hm? — oh, I guess that was back in … April? No, May. I was gone for nearly the entire month, supposedly doing a revival of 'Annie Get Your Gun,' but it was a total flop. I, however, was fantastic." She gives her head a toss. Vanity, thy name is Desiree.

Actually, that's a joke. "I'd been out by the lake doing my usual jogging when this animal came out of no where and attacked me. I was torn up pretty bad, apparently. I don't remember a lot. Michael found me and gave me his blood, then took me to the hospital." She tells the tale in a very nonchalant manner.

"I healed, then got the job. Michael thought I was upset with him, but I just didn't have time to let him know my plans." She shrugs. "I hear he's heading to Europe for a while. Business of some sort." She sighs. "I hate to say it, but I'm kind of glad. I need some time to process everything that's happened, and he … complicates things. He's complicated things since I met him in March."


James nods simply in response, an acknowledgment of what she's said; nothing more. "Aye. You need to clear your head. Spend some time in the light, I reckon. It'd be better for you." It's also, however, entirely her choice. He's unconcerned, either way, which choice she makes: light or dark. His choice was made centuries ago.

He does not ask her any further questions, over the course of the drive back to his hotel. When they arrive and she has pulled the car into the port before the central doors, he turns towards her.

"Thank you again for your courtesy. Doubtless, we'll see each other again." She does, after all, live in this neighborhood. And since he's no where else to go and reason enough to stay in the city, it's highly likely. With that said, however, he opens his door and emerges from the car to open the door for his dogs as well. They stay close to him on the sidewalk, which is probably a good thing since he hasn't re-leashed them at all. He leans down to look in the passenger window at her.

"Take care of yourself, Desiree. And good night."

With that, he takes his leave.

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