The dead and the beautiful

Night Vision 
Beauregard had taken considerable time deciding on his wardrobe for the evening. Sincerely, it was an activity that he enjoyed, and it was part of why he had set the time to be a bit further after sunset than his usual first arrangements. (A cool blue had been the ultimate decision, easily among his favorite suits.)

It also allowed him to arrive early, which was essential for a meeting like this. He wanted time to scope out the roof, to find a table that afforded them an ideal view and privacy. Now would be an ideal time for wine, were he capable of drinking it. Some sipped at blood in glasses, but he found it to be an unpleasant affair. Cold blood did not sit well with him.

Winter made for a much quieter rooftop experience than the warmer months. It was Beauregard's preference, unaffected by cold as he was.

Perhaps it aged him to have brought a newspaper along, but he did much prefer reading something physical to read. Today it was the New York Times, but frequently it was whatever he came across during his outings. By the evening hours, the news was wholly outdated, but it didn't much bother him.

Newspaper in hand, mindful not to get any ink on his trousers, he read away a comfortable table in the corner. He would keep an eye out for Greta's approach, hardly wanting to ignore her in favor of what felt like very human news.


Dress + Earrings

 Greta was a fairly low maintenance woman. Not fussy or prissy, not vain or overtly worried about makeup, easy to please. She did, however, have a deep attachment to her wardrobe. Deciding on an outfit didn't take long because she was worried about what her company would think of this or that; it took long because her closet was filled to the brim with countless favorites for any occasion. It was her one materialistic downfall.

 Eventually, the vampire settled on a long green dress: simple, elegant, and giving the impression that she needed enough fabric to guard her from the cold, should any human get too curious. She wore her hair down, with a soft curl to it, and a pair of shimmering earrings that could easily be lost against the pale gleam of her hair. Getting ready was easy once she decided what she wanted.

 The drive from her house to Night Vision was not far - almost too short to justify a drive, really, but she was content to save her energy for the conversation ahead. She parked her car in its usual lot and made her way through the night club, sticking out like a sore vintage thumb in the dark atmosphere of the place. Her heels clicked rhythmically as she walked out onto the rooftop, the only sound she made as she spotted the man in the corner.

 When they made eye contact, she would greet him with her signature smile, a small and cryptic thing, but not without friendliness. "Hello, Beauregard," she greeted him fully, quietly as she closed the distance between herself and the table.

Beauregard enjoyed the sound of a woman in heels. He associated it with a certain level of feminine style and effort that pleased him.

Of course, the sound alone hardly heralded someone worth his time. Many a scantily clad trollop had disappointed him by learning to walk with a sound and gait better reserved for women with a sense of grace.

Given the sort of business Margaux managed here, he kept his expectations low, eyes rising from his newspaper with slow interest.

Kindly, he would without disappointment now. It was unfortunate how few women were turned around his age. The vampire world seemed flush with twenty-somethings touting centuries of life and so little class to go with it. Tattooed, pierced as if they yearned to hang on meat hooks.

The smile that slipped up his face had every appearance of warmth, and he folded his newspaper to place it on the table before rising to meet her. She looked both modest and elegant, and his eyes caught the flash of her earrings in the rooftop’s outdoor lighting.

Beauregard approved quietly. He would reach out to shake her hand, cold skin to cold skin in a way that had become the norm.

"Greta, it’s a pleasure," he said, meaning it quite sincerely. He would relinquish her hand to take a seat, a smile lingering in his expression. "I admit it was an unexpected blending of worlds to see your name come across my email. I did a rather comedic double take."

 Greta watched him stand, putting out a hand to take his in cool, gentle greeting. Her smile widened just so, showing a bit of tooth for a moment until she lowered herself to sit at his table. Her legs crossed at the ankle, posture straight as she listened to his humorous admission.

 "Indeed," she agreed. "I will be up front with you, however, Mr. Bertrand - and I hope you won't take offense. I would prefer not to work under a fellow member. I thought perhaps we could spend this time to simply talk."

 Money was no obstacle; she had no desperate need for work. She did enjoy getting to know her vampiric comrades, though. Greta watched him steadily with a relaxed gaze, interested to see his reaction.

She held herself with a degree of composure that Beauregard did not miss. He was left wondering if he liked it or not, and to what degree he trusted it.

Clutches were so often political. Trapping enough ancient creatures in a single place tended to end in raised chins and an incorrect sense from each member that they were the cleverest.

As he took his seat, he was surprised to hear her dive directly into the matter at hand. “Mr. Bertrand” was a pleasant thing to hear, but regretfully, he knew the custom for that particular greeting.

"Call me Beau, if you will," he said, offering a light smile. "I am, truthfully, relieved to hear we are on the same page."

Speaking of, a light breeze tugged at one of the pages of his newspaper, teasing the threat of unfolding it. He raised a single eyebrow to it, and as if perhaps it had been scolded, the wind seemed to die down.

"What brought you to Cordova?"

 Beau, not Mr. Bertrand. Greta gave him another small smile, just enough to make the wrinkles at her eyes more prominent, nodding her head once in acknowledgement. Keeping this casual. She could appreciate that. "Excellent," she said easily, content to know they had been thinking the same thing. "Great minds think alike, yes?" She offered with a chuckle.

 The breeze that lifted the edge of Beau's newspaper would also pick up a few strands of her silvery hair. It died down just as quickly, and the woman would lift a hand to tuck the stray locks back into place. "Lots of interesting things happening in this place," she admitted simply. "Curiosity got the best of me." She rested her elbow on the table, chin on the heel of her palm. "What about you?"

Reservations from moments prior faded some as she continued. Contrary to the miserable tiger woman whose poise had been a cover for an unpleasant nature, Greta seemed to have warmer wits about her. And the answer to his question was remarkably like his own.

Beauregard mirrored her prior sentiment with a chuckle.

"Great minds think alike," he said, angling his chair slightly outward so that he could cross one leg over the other, ankle at his opposite knee. "Hard to pass up the sort of dramatic video on display from this area."

A cursory glance around the rooftop. It was quiet, still, and most notably, he did not see any lingering clutch members.

Particularly Marge.

"What do you make of them? The... beasts."

 Greta's response was a soft hum of approval. Surely there was such supernatural drama taking place all over the world - she felt that she would know - but that much of the recent highlights had fallen on such a place that was an otherwise inconspicuous city was curious. Whether it was simply a coincidence or something more, she would like to find out.

 Her dark eyes followed his gaze around the rooftop, still rather sparse as their previous conversation had suggested it would be. She glanced to him as he posed an interesting question, and she would straighten up again, lifting her chin from the brace of her hand and leaning back against her chair. For a few beats, there was a thoughtful silence, before she confessed, "I haven't decided yet. I would like to know more." She tilted her head, taking an unnecessary breath as she glanced towards the dark sky. "I have yet to encounter one - I mean, I'm sure I have met many over the years. But things are different now." She looked to Beau again, that cryptic smile back in place. She had more information now - but it wasn't enough to sate her wonder.

Open-minded. Beauregard valued that. Margaux's interest in near war certainly provided some interesting drama, but in the end, it was impractical and dangerous. He did not relish the claw marks he had earned for her gift bag trick.

"I have met a few," he said. "All young women, coincidentally. Skittish, secretive. One of them quite nasty, clawed me across the face for wandering into Belle Vista. But the other two seemed as curious about me as I was of them."

His gaze wandered out onto the city, wondering how many of the beasts lived within its urban confines. How many were like Yana and how many were like Maxine.

And then, however many clumsy few stumbled around in the middle as Alexandra had.

 Oh? Greta's eyebrows rose, signifying her interest as she listened to Beau relay a brief synopsis of his experiences thus far. Her brow stitched slightly at the mention of one of them clawing him across the face. She would wait for him to finish speaking before she commented.

 "My," she started with a soft click of her tongue. "Powerful, apparently." At least, in comparison to humans - in what ways beyond sheer strength, though? Greta liked to think that they could be allies of sorts, should humans get the idea that their supernatural friends were not worthy of a place at the table. "Perhaps that's why Margaux has such distaste for them."

 Of course, she wasn't really in the loop of information well enough to know exactly what had made their Domina feel so strongly about them. It was likely an easy thing to learn - or maybe it was little more than the clash between vampire and tiger that had been aired on public television.

Very powerful. Beauregard wondered how powerful, exactly. He had little doubt that he would lose in a fight to even a relatively weak shifter. Greta's word choice struck him in a way that left him wondering.

Where did Margaux's loathing begin? Was she afraid of their power, or jealous of it?

"I fear the domina has made a slight name for us," he said quietly, against gazing over the rooftop to be sure she was not lurking nearby. "Has she told you what parts of town are... unfavorable for vampires?"

It was news he'd come upon late, and he would not wish for Greta to face similar claws.

 Greta's gaze settled easily on Beau once more, watching the way he scanned the rooftop once more as they spoke of Margaux. Perhaps he was not so fond of her? Or perhaps he was worried about what kind of consequences he might face for talking about her. It didn't seem that the conversation was traveling in such a way that they would be lifting her in praise.

 "Ah," she interjected softly. What kind of name? There didn't appear to be a broad range of guessing room. She tilted her head at him, curiosity written on her features. "No." At least, not that she could remember. "Do you know?"

What important information Margaux neglected. Did she want her clutch to end up nibbled on? He knew, on some level, that he'd been terribly lucky to escape when he did. Had it come down to a contest of brute force, he regretfully would have lost.

He felt very real disappointment in his domina there.

"Belle Vista is where I was attacked. Cats, there. Cedar Creek is all wolves. Some beast lurks in Crestview that our domina hasn't yet identified."

A faint sigh. What a name the clutch had made for itself within mountainside.

"Margaux indicated that Red Rock, also, is unsafe so some degree. Our reputation precedes us, I fear."

Beauregard offered a wistful smile, but he took no pleasure in the territory lines.

 Greta sat in quiet thoughtfulness for a while, trying to dedicate all those names to memory. She was more of a city girl, herself, so downtown Cordova was just right for her - she had hardly ventured beyond it since her arrival. She hummed softly, lifting a finger to run gingerly against her chin. "Apparently so," she responded, her voice neutral. "That's too bad. I've been of the opinion that they could be useful associates."

Greta kept her reactions mild, and Beauregard found some disappointment in that. It was a wise choice, but he'd been spoiled by how many offered their opinions colorfully and immediately.

"I have met kinder varieties in the Glenn area. When egos die down, perhaps we can all be friends."

Another smile, something he always offered easily, and he glanced out toward the city's lights again.

"Where are you from, originally?"

How long ago "originally" was would, regretfully, remain a mystery to him unless she offered it. He knew better than to ask a woman her age.

 Greta would let out a soft chuckle at the man's suggestion that they could all be friends. It wasn't an entirely otherworldly notion - peace on earth and all that. But if they were truly animalistic in nature - they had territories, after all - what were the odds of them being trusting after whatever Margaux had done to them? Not to mention other vampires. The woman who fought the tiger on the television broadcast? They likely hadn't taken too kindly to that. Surely all these shifter people were as unique and varied as much as vampires.

 The woman tilted her head at Beau as he changed the subject. "Sweden," she said quietly, the "w" coming out with a "v" sound. She grinned a little. "What about you? Perhaps... European. Or maybe you're an all-American fellow."

With a name like Greta Hellström, Sweden came as little surprise. The mere mention seemed to brighten her. The grin was an improvement over the small smile she seemed to favor. It allowed her a hint of youth.

"A culture in between," he said with a chuckle. "Québec, Canada. Though I fear I have been largely Americanized in the time since. You hear a place called Kwuh-bec enough and it nearly sticks."

Beauregard had little allegiance to any country, but to be all-American was decidedly a less than appealing trait for anyone seeking a sense of refinement.

 "Ah," Greta offered with a slightly raised brow, a chuckle at his words. Over time, she had seen English in particular dwindle from rivers of flowing words and complex sentences into contractions and lazy synonyms, and now into abominations like "LOL," "OMG," and those hideous little emoticons. It hardly surprised her that the typical American couldn't be bothered to properly taste a word like Québec. "Parlez-vous français?"

Another French speaker. Perhaps he had chosen a clutch with a favored language.

Beauregard nodded, brightened some for her choice of languages.

"Les vampires sont de tels polyglottes," he said with a smile. "Je me sens un peu inadéquat avec seulement l'anglais et le français."

Likely she spoke additional languages, particularly given her origin. How old was she, he wondered. He knew himself to be so utterly youthful in the scheme of it all. A tenth of the age of some he'd encountered. Beauregard at times was unsure he would want to live so long. Time would fly at such a speed he could hardly imagine having any connection to the world.

He sighed wistfully.

"Un but pour mon deuxième siècle. Suédois, peut-être?"

"Vampires are such polyglots. I feel a tad inadequate with only English and French."
"A goal for my second century. Swedish, perhaps?"


 Greta would award him another smile, marginally larger than her usual for his understanding of what was perhaps her favorite language. A smart vampire would have many years on earth, with any luck - in her opinion, learning multiple languages was one of the most fruitful ways to fill such time. "Vous devriez voyager plus," she jested quietly.

 "Peut être," she hummed thoughtfully. "Espanol? C'est utile ici. Le suédois est beau, cependant." Another grin that would display teeth, amused by the French word for beauty. Absently, she wondered if such a name had any bearing on his personality.

"You should travel more."
Perhaps. Spanish? It is useful. Swedish is beautiful, though."


Beauregard had been through much of the United States, but international travel was... troublesome, these days. Plane rides were simply out of the question, and frankly, he had absolutely no desire for air travel even without the logistical issues it posed. Some lengthy boat ride also sounded ripe for issues.

In time, Europe. Perhaps when he was strong enough to withstand the sun.

He did not miss the sound of his nickname as she spoke it in a different context, though he would assure anyone it was merely a coincidental result of his full name.


"Combien de langues parlez-vous, Greta? Je suppose que tu me mettras dans la honte."

How many languages do you speak, Greta? I assume you will put me to shame.


 The vampire smirked a little at the other. She doubted she would actually make him feel shame - unless he was really that vulnerable. He didn't strike her as such a person. Just another old-fashioned immortal with a taste for posh social games.

 How many languages? A human Greta may have given a thoughtful sigh. Instead, the woman tilted her head, eyes roaming somewhere else as she counted. "Cinq. Anglais, français, suédois, chinois, et Japonais. Je parlais d'autres langues. Je les ai oubliés." She looked back to Beau with a slightly raised brow. "Avez-vous besoin d'un tuteur?"

Five. English, French, Swedish, Chinese (Mandarin), and Japanese. I spoke other languages. I forgot them.
Do you need a tutor?

That was an eclectic mix. Beauregard's eyebrows rose slightly, polite surprise, but it faded into a rarely genuine smile as she looked to him and made her offer.

However sincere it was or wasn't, he was amused regardless. There was more to learn about Greta, to decide if she was merely polite and political or something more interesting.

"Si vous offrez," he said, half-teasing.

He could take it or leave it, really.

"If you're offering."


 Greta smirked a little at the man, an almost sly thing that only pulled at one side of her mouth, bringing out a few extra wrinkles around the corner of her eye. Here she had gone from nearly applying to be this man's subordinate, to offering to make him her student. A low, quiet chuckle came from her. "Tu sais me trouver, mon cher."

-fade thread-

You know how to find me, my dear.

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