Bone apple tea!

Lavender Heights 
Rika could be thick, at times.

"I wanted to mind trick her into never going downtown again, given that if she was seen returning, it would be my 'failure' on display."

Beauregard looked from the card to Rika.

"Of course, it already was, but I thought I was safe at the time."

Wouldn't he have given off a more concerned vibe? Rika decided not to question it further.

"Am I allowed to borrow it? To see what what I can pull off of it. Maybe something before you had it."

He didn't see any potential harm from that, and so he nodded.

"Certainly," he said. "You might catch our initial meeting, and whatever else she's paid for with it, I suppose."

Beauregard toyed with the hinge of the box, thinking.

"She and the other shifter made a great show of kicking me out of Larkspur later after the vampire group in downtown fell apart. But they've lost their claim on the area since, so I suppose it worked out in the end."

Cool. That was cool of him. She set it on the counter, telling herself she would remember it later.

"Good. Karma comes back around," she nodded with a slight grin. But she felt somewhat disconnected, somehow, like she was on the verge of getting stuck in a hallucination. Or was just coming out of one. It was strange. She hadn't pushed long enough to warrant that feeling.

Maybe just eat your food or whatever.

"I guess... territory stuff. When a group moves in others have to move out?"

"Depends," he said. "I did not force shifters out of the Heights because it's very hard to police. I could spend every waking hour searching for shifters in town and would be hardpressed to track every one down and remove them."

Beauregard needed something to toy with and found himself woefully empty-handed for it. Perhaps it was nerves that inspired such a need to fidget.

"But I can sense any vampire who is not in my group, and I do not allow them to stay. They are a liability. If a vampire kills someone in Lavender Heights, no one pauses to ask whether it might be a rogue who simply happened to be in my territory."

A slight sigh.

"Long story short, she was making a choice to exclude me based on our prior interactions, apparently unaware of how merciful I was being at the time."

Apparently. But...

But. Nothing.

"Guess you were being nicer than they deserved. What made the vampire nasty?"

She'd maybe see it eventually anyway, but she might as well ask.

"She was very close with Margaux, the leader of it all," he said. "They even dressed the same, which in retrospect is mostly humorous."

Beauregard could not know what happened to Serafina after the split, but he did not have a sense that she'd stuck around.

"They did not treat people like people. I only learned the extent of it later, but to put it mildly, they would find a relationship like this one very distasteful."

Margaux? Oh, right. Edgy tatted thug lady who ran the other group. Though.

"Our relationship?" she asked to clarify, confused. She wasn't a problem. Not a shifter. What could be so wrong with her?

"That I would consider you a friend. That I would ever offer you my blood. That I would stop feeding if you asked me to, though. I do think you trend toward asking me not to stop."

A brief, faint smirk on his face, though he knew it was something of a grim topic beyond the joke.

"All of that would disgust them. They did not have friendships with people. I'm not sure they even had friendships with vampires. Miserable, lost individuals, the lot of those who stayed."

Wow. All the things that seemed so classically vampire of him, they didn't care for? Why? Wasn't it easier to have a friend with blood benefits than to hunt around?

She huffed to the tease, cheeks colored, glancing down at her food briefly before looking back at him.

"What would they have preferred you do with someone like me?"

Just feed and toss, she supposed.

He wrinkled his face.

"Feed from you and then wipe it out of your memory. If you survived, which was not a concern for them."

Beauregard rolled his eyes, then.

"Morally repugnant and also tremendously... stupid."

He gave some scoffed sound of disgust, then drummed his fingers on the box, deciding to change the subject.

"What is the oldest memory you've ever gathered from an object? A few years? A decade?"

Wow. That was kind of crazy, entirely.

Change of tickets subjects as they were, and she quirked a brow for it.

"Um... I'm not sure. The memories don't really have dates attached to them so unless there's a reference in it I don't know. I'd say... the newest stuff is usually the first thing I'll see, but sometimes if the memory is a strong enough experience it'll jump out of order."

That was to say, it was likely that if the person thought about the memory enough with the object in hand, she had a lot more likelihood of seeing it.

Beauregard did not know what it meant for a memory to be "strong" enough. Perhaps very emotionally intense?

He regarded the box, had some sense that moments falling into that category were unlikely to be his most flattering.

Ultimately, he nodded, wondering still if he was best not doing this. He wasn't sure what drove him in the first place, save perhaps for some wish he could also participate in seeing a far lost time.

"This box has been around longer than I have," he said. "I imagine most of the moments attached to it are very mundane, though it would offer you brief glimpses of my life starting around age twelve or so, I'd say."

Plus moment's of his father's, something he felt a hint more private about, but likely they would be mundane too.

Hey what. He was just giving them to her? Why? Also.

"I'm... looking at them here? Or taking them home?"

There was a big difference in that, and she'd understand why if it was the former but be extremely honored if it was the latter.

Beauregard could not help but laugh a single note.

"No, this does not leave my home, I'm afraid," he said.

Truthfully, she hardly had the girlish excitement he'd been hoping for. Beauregard found himself a rare brand of insecure, and perhaps he could simply wipe her memory of this moment.

For now, the box was near him, and he did not offer it yet.

"But if you feel you need a break, we could try it next time?"

So it was a good thing she didn't make a goddamn idiot of herself getting excited for a gift he wasn't giving her. Rika nodded, still awed. It was still a nice thing!

"Not tired. I could go for it after dessert!"

Cheery cheery Rika.

Beauregard felt some reluctance, still. This had been too forward, too much his idea.

She was cheerful, but he had an idea in his head now, and it was difficult to shake. It would be easy to wipe this all away.

He slid the box aside, then rose to approach Annabel's cage.

"Of course," he said. "Was your dinner good?"

"It was! Are you going to make it for me now that you know how?"

She was still trying to work out what she'd picked up from him with the card. Maybe shock him into some surprise.

To that, he laughed quite sincerely.

"If you'd like me to," he said, opening the cage and reaching a hand in for Annabel. The little rodent bumbled forward, coming in for a hand sniff. "I can even be subtle and surprise you with it. All I'd need is a coy text."

He scooped the chinchilla into his arms, then continued as if reading said text.

"Dear Rika, may I please borrow your pots, pans, and 'blender thing' for a project unrelated to egg-based food dishes? Sincerely, Bo."

Of course Annabel went for her owner like nothing. Rika gave a tiny huff, to that and the hypothetical text.

"Well, Beau, you could always get your own pots, pans, and blender things."

The snark!

Into a plastic ball, Annabel would go.

"Even then, would I simply have eggs waiting for you when you entered my apartment?"

He began to laugh as he said it because it was utterly absurd. Beauregard placed the capsuled rodent onto the floor and watched as she began to toddle off.

"Perhaps surrounded by rose petals to make it all more charming?"

"You're just making fun of me now," Rika pouted, showily hurt as she watched Annabel wiggle off, then turned her gaze to him.

By the way, that sounded very romantic and she wasn't allowed to say so because it was all a mean tease. :(

"Consider, perhaps, that I am making fun of both of us."

To that, he even offered a wink, then sought to approach the kitchen again, circling to the opposite side of the island from Rika and resting his elbows on the counter.

"How is it we go about making a soufflé ?"

Of course he was. Of course he'd wink.

Stupid vampire man. Stupid blushing girl. Stupid stupid, all of this. She huffed, indignant or something akin to it.

"We start by looking at the recipe. Maybe you could even make it for me. With rose petals scattered around, please."

She found the recipe on her phone and showed it to him.

There was the blushing. He enjoyed it. With a happy smirk, he leaned in to look at the phone, reading off the first instruction as if she could not herself.

"Step one: Preheat the oven to three hundred ninety degrees Fahrenheit with the convection fan off."

He leaned back a bit, looking up toward the appliance in question.

"Hopefully the oven works!"

Assuming no harassment, he would go attempt to preheat the oven as required, though it was not clear to him how to turn off the convection.

Hey! He was doing it! Rika smiled, victorious in some way or another. She also didn't know what that meant, actually, so she would happily just assume all was well.

"Uhh, yeah, hopefully."

And then she saw a button on the thing for the fan, and helpfully pressed it to off.


Her phone in hand, he could progress to the next step of the recipe. Or!

"Who would be the worst person for a vampire to send a text message to from your phone?"

Beauregard was already prepared to raise it up and away from her, perhaps closer to a mean brother than a suave, rose-petalling vampire.

Everything was chill and serene, until! It suddenly! Was not!

"Noooo!" Rika yelped, eyes all wide in surprise, and she jumped for him onto her toes with her hand outstretched.

Really there was no one. Maybe Niamh, that months old text collecting dust now. But that wouldn't exactly hit her until later.

Poor girl.

"You are very short, did you know that?" he questioned, though truthfully, he found her to be close to the right height. He would acquiesce after a moment, offering her back her phone, not wanting to be tackled in his own kitchen.

"You need to be giving me the consistent tasks or I am prone to mischief."

Speaking of, Annabel ran her ball into a wall with a soft thunk.

She was not short!! Rika puffed indignantly and snatched it back. And there was Annabel, being a dork. She shook her head.

"Well there's plenty to do while it's preheating you know."

Bringing the recipe back up on her phone, she went on to read the next part of step one: "'Liberally butter four ramekins, making sure to butter right to the edge of the ramekin. Sugar the buttered insides evenly, tapping out the excess and set the ramekins aside.'"

She looked at him expectantly. Make her dessert, Beau.

Four ramekins? Was she going to eat four souffles? Apparently it was a good thing she worked at a gym for a living.

Finding the butter, he was not entirely certain as to how one buttered a ramekin. Smear the stick into it?

With little else in the way of ideas, he would do precisely that unless stopped, smudging butter against glass without much in the way of delicacy about it.

Honestly, Rika didn't know what was what about baking either. He did whatever he did and she just assumed that was what was right. He was an adult, after all.

"Okay, now the sugar part. I guess you just... sprinkle it all over the place in there."

Sprinkle sugar everywhere.

"This is going to make a mess of my counter, isn't it?" he complained, and yet he would proceed regardless, sprinkling the sugar over the sink to keep it off the island as much as possible. Four ramekins was an absurd number, but at least they could he be set aside for now.

Chopping chocolate. Setting it aside. Boiling some pale mixture (or rather, pulling it away at a high simmer out of paranoia he would burn it). Apply to the chocolate. Wait. Stir. Create a fairly smooth... something.

Devise some strange double heating apparatus. Swirl chocolate around in a bowl on top. Get it hot but not too hot. Unknowingly burn it slightly.

"You are fiddling with the mixer," he decided eventually, having found a spot of chocolate on his shirt and going into quiet mourning for it.

Then, to be kind, he added:

"Can I get you a drink? Not anything you need to rush."

How strange, that his apartment would smell like chocolate.

It was very wonderful watching him make food for her. Like her heart made food for him! Give and take as if this was a real relationship.

Dumb dumb dumb. You're dumb and it's going to kill you one day, Rika.

"Deal," she agreed to the mixer, and would set it up and all that just fine. And then at the offer, she hummed. "Sure! What do you have?"

She assumed he'd carted the liquor from his last place when he moved but she didn't remember what her options were.

"What do I have," he parroted, but thoughtfully. He actually wasn't entirely sure.

"I believe I still have all the liquor from before somewhere, though in retrospect I forgot to purchase something to mix it with," he said, apologetic. "I do also have..."

Tucked into the corner of the counter, there was a bottle of wine that he grasped and looked over.

"It was a housewarming gift. I don't recall if you care for chardonnay."

He held it out for her to look at and pondered changing shirts for the sake of the very small fleck of chocolate on his.

White wine was not a room temperature wine, and Rika knew this. She hummed as she took the bottle.

"I think I'm down for this. It needs to sit in the fridge for a little bit, though."

She'd move to set it in there. It would likely be chilled in time for dessert! "I could start with vodka though. No mixer is totally fine."

Would the freezer be faster? Could wine freeze? Beauregard decided to trust her expertise.

"I knew all of that once, about wine," he lamented. "But I suppose I am ancient enough to be forgetful."

To the vodka, and to the absurdly fine little glasses Raziyya had purchased for him. The quality of the vodka was perhaps offensive to the vessel, but his only other option was pouring it into a standard drinking glass, which felt rather rude. (He supposed he also had wine glasses, also purchased by Raziyya.

Ultimately, he would place both vodka and glass on the counter, filling the latter and sliding it nearer to her on the island.

"These are not the correct glasses for vodka, but I imagine serving it from something larger is a bit presumptuous."

Offered lightly, and he sought to inspect how her mixing efforts were going.

Mixing was going fine because the dice loved Rika, whatever. Though he made a joke (or something?) that was weird.

He followed up forgetting wine serving temperatures with a knowledge of what to serve vodka in and Rika honestly didn't know vodka shots came in a specific kind of thing so she supposed it all evened out.

But back to the first thing!

"Thank youuuu. I never called you ancient though," she tilted her head in confusion.


"I never said you did," he said, brows furrowing slightly. Annabel rolled past, heading with intensity for a living area wall.

Women could be so utterly strange, the way they took accusation from literally nothing. He had some desire to drink something of her before she'd even started getting herself sloppy, as if perhaps that would make him like her more again. It was a hot and cold sort of evening for Beauregard, though he didn't imagine he could be blamed for it. She bounced between sensible and illogical. She wasn't responding, as a whole, in the ways that he wanted.


None of this was helped by the fact that the mixer was not a pleasant noise. And so, deciding it was best to do what made him happy,

"How much longer on the mixing?" he asked, and perhaps rudely, he would approach with the intention of adjusting where her hair sat on her shoulders.

Oh. What was with that weird emphasis, then?

Anyway, Rika let it go, sensing this had the capacity to become a dumb argument like it had on his birthday.

He approached behind her and her shoulders tensed for the tickling feeling of her hair being managed. And also because like, they were still in the middle of this soufflé thing. Did he want to feed already? Should they even bother to continue?

"Not much longer. Are you hungry?" Rika asked. As if they were both concerned with the same food.

Yes, but this was less about hunger, though it could not be explained that it was an issue of liking her more.

"Only want a sip," he said. "If that will not get me in trouble."

Truthfully, he wasn't waiting to see if it would. Assuming she didn't blatantly tell him otherwise, he would find a place at her neck for what would be only a few seconds, perhaps ten, ideally.

It wouldn't get him in trouble.

It was rude and just a bit pushier than he'd ever been, and she wondered if she should have felt a little more objectified than she did.

But Rika was stupid and into it. Really into it. "Blushing and closing her eyes as they rolled back" into it. "Silenced and breathing out a soft sigh" into it.

"Stupid and mewling out a little "You could keep going,"" into it.

This was stupid. She was foolish. He was, arguably, just greedy, drinking to the seductive sounds of a kitchen mixer.

Beauregard would not argue with her request, lingering another ten seconds or so before eventually pulling away with an unprompted chuckle that implied he'd found at least some high.

And, unsurprisingly, he did like her more than he had a moment ago as he swallowed down the lingering taste of blood in his mouth.

"Are we-"

His voice felt a tad high, and he cleared his throat.

"Are we finished mixing?"

The moment lasted enough not to be entirely murderous of dessert, thankfully, and she nodded with her head all lost in the fog. She felt stupid, but like in a happy way. He seemed happy too.

Rika smiled and didn't even know what happened next anyway. She paraphrased in a dreamy voice.

"Just gotta... mix with the chocolate. With a spatula. And mix more. And then like. Pour into ramekins."

She could move to take over doing things since he was high. Unless he made a move for it first. Then it was alllll his.

Ah, yes. All of that sounded very important. Beauregard nodded a tad floppily, finding his mood surging.

Better. Much better. He circled around to take a seat at the island, only about half on the chair. Strange how a bit of blood could make a vampire feel close to human.

It was all very nostalgic. Watching her cook, helping somewhat, drinking a bit here and there. The warm high of it all. These were moments of humanity a man could miss. Some of them could be recreated, somewhat, but never with precisely the same warmth and shine.

Beauregard would merely watch her work, feeling fond and light and perhaps distantly aware this might all come back down with a great sadness later.

Concerns for after she left.

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