Drag the Waters

For The Record 

 Lazarus was still under the instruction to remain within the limits of Lavender Heights - which was, quite frankly, fine with him. It was a comfortable balance between adventure and safety - there was a sense of independence without the risk of having to deal with any potential problems on his own. Not that he couldn't handle a certain degree of danger. He could still recall clips of his human life, the dangerous thrill of thieving and fighting men; he liked to think he could hold his own with such experiences under his belt, but then again, a mere vampire woman had kept him under her thumb for over a century. Where was the line drawn?

 At any rate, a record store sounded like a small piece of heaven. Music was Laz's greatest reprieve from strife, and there was just so much of it. This place had shelves upon shelves lined with new and used vinyls - there were the metallic CDs and even considerably confusing cassette tapes. He would stick with the records for the time being, particularly because this store had a nifty feature for them: if a customer desired to listen to a record before they bought it, they could put it on a well-loved Crosley Executive and listen to it through a pair of over-ear headphones.

 It was a quiet night at the store - the employees were kind enough but did well to leave him alone, likely thanks to his own unapproachable demeanor. He had wandered through the rows and gathered a stockpile of interesting-looking albums, and played through the likes of Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton before dropping Pantera's "The Great Southern Outtakes" under the needle. Something about the album had struck him as familiar - maybe it would be a country album.

 He was very wrong.

 But... not disappointed. It was dark, and heavy, and loud. It was passionately furious and a far cry from Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. He turned the volume up as much as he could, until it drowned everything else out, including the heartbeats from the warm bodies in the building. If anyone passed within a few feet, they would have no trouble hearing his jams of choice - his head even bobbed a little with the beat.

Mameha was reluctant to enter the record store. Trying new places was somewhat of an anxiety fest for her, especially for her inner beast. New sites and smells riled up the anxious beast. The musty smell of the old albums hit her as she toom a deep breath to calm herself.

Her almond eyes scanned the store as she entered, her feet taking her further inside of the shop but her heart remained fluttering. She looked over each genre slowly until she found one that seemed to satisfy her. Well manicured nails flipped through the albums until one caught her attention. Her fingers nimbly pulled the album from the row and her eyes interestingly scanned over the cover and back.

She appreciated the design of albums, especially from the 60s with the psychedelic patterns, bubbly letters and bright colors.

No, no. Not this one. She placed the album back as if it never even left its spot, and inched over to a new genre quietly.

Outfit ignore the earrings

She’d felt a metaphysical tug for some while, only acknowledging it once she had Edith Piaf’s Eternelle in hand. CD format, which was how she preferred her music for its convenience.


He was busy bobbing away to some music - truly, what a sight for a Vampire she’d first met while he was naked in the middle of the street - and she had no intention of interrupting. Initially, anywho.

Carmen’s gaze soon shifted to a shorter woman, the stench of animal strong from her. That was more than fine, they weren’t hostile imbeciles here like in other areas of town - with one or two exceptions - but it no less left her gravitating towards her Clutch member.

She stopped in Lazarus’ line of sight, facing the rest of the store with her chin lifted, indirectly asking for his attention. Carmen’s gaze shifted between him and the young Werewolf, counting the seconds it’d take for her to notice them. Her finger tapped repetitively against her CD.

What on earth Lazarus was listening to was beyond her, but it had her leaving a pace or two between them.

 Somewhere in the back of his mind, he realized the familiar presence of another vampire - even the distinct smell of wet dog registered in the subconscious, but it was not until he caught sight of Carmen that he was pulled from his daze. He blinked at her a few times, following her gaze to another woman who pawed through the albums before her.

 He glanced back at his fellow clutch member uncertainly, lifting the needle off the spinning vinyl and lowering the headphones around his neck. He was mostly sure that Carmen was okay, a safe bet for trusting, but engrained paranoia certainly imposed its limits. Anyway, she had a somewhat intimidating air; she was a stoic and confident woman who seemed to be able to conquer whatever task she desired.

 Laz turned off the record player and replaced the vinyl in its sleeve, before removing the headphones from his person altogether and taking a few steps closer to the undead woman. "Evenin'," he greeted her in a low voice, his tone carrying a lilt of questioning as his eyes returned to the smaller lady that Carmen had seemed so intent on.

The smell hit her hard. She scrunched up her nose at the scent and tried her best to ignore it. It was usual to come across vampires in the city, so she didn’t think too much of it but boy, that smell. And it was strong. They must both be vampires.

Mameha didn’t bat an eye when the girl came in. She stuck to flipping through records and occasionally pushing her silver hair out of her face to keep an eye on them. But when she glanced up to move to a new genre, she found the male meeting her gaze. She paused and gave him a blank stare back. She was a peacekeeper. There was no need for her to get all riled up. She took a deep breathe and broke her gaze.

”Good evening Lazarus. Faring well?” she asked by way of greeting, eyes following the girl. Simply... tracking.

She eventually looked in their direction, vacantly staring at Lazarus. Carmen had no idea what to make of the look other than that it certainly wasn’t one of friendliness.

”I don’t know if you’ve ran into any creatures with Edvin,” Carmen told him under her breath. ”So would you like to come give her the official welcome to Lavender Heights with me?” A slight nod was given in the direction of the Werewolf.

 Lazarus's eyes would not linger on the stranger for long; he looked away before she did, focusing on Carmen as his fingers shifted somewhat against the records in his grasp. "Yes ma'am," he said lowly, his words just above the volume and audibility of a mumble. He would not return the question, too absorbed in the wonder of the moment. She smelled familiar, and yet not - he had never seen her, but something about her rang a bell.

 Edvin. Edvin had had these peculiarly-scented creatures in his apartment for counseling. Lazarus had been generally... removed from these situations with one, brief exception. It was safe to say he had limited experience in this realm. "I reckon," he conceded, finally, adjusting his posture to signal his readiness to follow the undead doctor.

Good, good.

Carmen was more than comfortable with taking the lead, and she began towards the shorter woman. She made no attempt to disguise that she was making a beeline for her, the particular smell of canine growing stronger.

Yet a different scent to the canine who'd disrupted her theme park loitering.

"Carmen," she introduced, looking directly at the woman as she stopped to her side. "We're not here to disrupt you, you needn't... worry," Carmen nodded towards whatever she was browsing. "Friendly introductions is all." She raised her brows and smiled faintly, expecting to hear a name.

Mameha sensed movement as she continued to sort through the records. Her ears pricked up as she noticed it getting closer. A low growl started deep in her throat as she realized it was the vampires approaching her. They had caught her somewhat off guard, she hadn't expected them to actually come up to her and... talk?

The female was the one to speak first to her. Mameha locked her eyes on to hers and growled, standing her ground and unsure of what these bloodsuckers wanted. Friendly introduction? What this chick serious. She turned the front of her body perpendicular to the records and looked them over suspiciously. "Aren't we supposed to be like, enemies? Or am I being cliche?" she asked, completely ignoring what she even said to begin with. She arched an eyebrow at the two, looking between them, still standing her ground.

 Lazarus, perpetually on guard, was more than a little stiff as he trailed behind Carmen. When she stopped, he did, too, less than a foot behind her and just to the side. His dark eyes lingered on the beast woman, who was hardly friendly, making some absurd growling noises, perhaps every bit a beast as she smelled like. The boyish vampire was practically made of stone, stoically silent as his companion offered a greeting and the animal woman snapped back, not holding back on the snark. A part of him was intrigued, but overall, he was unsure why he had agreed to this.

Dear dear. They were really being growled at. How unpleasant and unwarranted. Carmen wondered if it was an involuntary reaction which came with being half animal, but she certainly hadn't experienced it with any of the other Werewolves she'd encountered.

"If we were inherently enemies, we would have chased you out of our territory by now." She was a guest here and Carmen had all intentions of making that clear. Words were followed with a smile which twitched. "So unless you're looking for trouble..."

She glanced to Lazarus, giving a shrug of feigned indifference.

Mameha cleared her throat and looked down, bit embarrassed. Her hyena must've taken the driver's seat and immediately went defensive. "I'm not looking for trouble, I'm sorry. I'm new to this whole, " she waved her arms about, unsure how to word it, "animal, thing."

A hand reached up and scratched her head nervously. God, get yourself together, girl. She lashed out every once in a while but, damn. The two vampires staring at her from across the shop was super weird, to be honest though so naturally her hyena went into protect mode.

"Mameha. I mean, that's my name."

 Carmen's words may have seemed harmless enough on the surface, but Lazarus, for his severe lack in socialization, understood the thinly-veiled threat without issue. He glanced down at the female vampire, still expressionless, though there may or may not have been a certain gleam in his eye, an unspoken suggestion that he had her back. Beauregard had warned them all not to seek confrontation, but he could not deny some subtle itch to latch onto any opportunity that arose. Was it new fear that birthed this aggression, or still-fresh freedom?

 The girl softened up pretty quickly, apologizing, looking sheepish. That was probably smart of her, but it did little to take the tension out of Lazarus's shoulders. He remained silent, still not offering his name despite the two women having made introductions. Laz watched her carefully still, expressionless, and... thirsty.

Carmen regarded the girl and her waving arms. Perhaps a silent threat was really all it took to get her to flounder.

It left her mood light because it stroked her ego quite comfortably.

"Yes, well, Mameha," she began, tapping at her CD again and keeping her voice low. "You should know that Vampires run Lavender Heights. We take no issue with your kind so long as you don't prove... problematic. Don't bring attention to us, don't end up on the news, etcetera. Sensible enough, yes?"

She blinked a few times, trying to understand the social norms of the non-normies. It was proving to be difficult for her. A lot of do's and don't 's she was still having a hard time understanding. But she nodded at Carmen like she understood. She did understand, but didn't understand why things had to be like such.

Ugh. Being a were was fucking hard. If she wanted to go to Lavender Heights, then she would be able to. Right?

"I understand. " Her eyes bounced back and forth between the too, but she stopped the longest at the man. He was a quiet one and that made her even more nervous.

"I guess I'll be going then..." she held her eye contact on the man for a bit longer before breaking it and striding past the two.

 Lazarus let his eyes wander around, slowly scanning the store as Carmen said her piece. No one appeared to be eavesdropping, as far as he could see; if they were, it would at least prove a fine opportunity to test his ability of suggestion. He returned to the conversation at hand when they young beast made clear her understanding, catching her gaze. She had dropped the attitude, but still seemed less at ease, even as she seemed to make an attempt at gazing into his soul. At least, where one might have been long ago.

 He watched her still as she dropped her eyes and began to head past them. Lazarus would sidestep just enough to ensure she could move along without brushing him as she went, making no move to stop her. Only then did he look back to Carmen, his expression still stony with discomfort, and give her a slight nod of his head.


She was afraid she hadn’t given Mameha permission to leave yet.

Carmen allowed her to begin on her way, turning with her, but brought an arm out to cut her short from her path in the last moment. ”I haven’t finished, Mameha.”

A momentary pause as she forced a smile. She was willing to give her a second chance to redeem herself... or was it third, now?

”Please do stay. We’re on our way anywho,” Carmen nodded towards Lazarus. ”But what are you and which group are you with?”

She saw the woman reach for her arm has she brushed passed them both, but she quickly yanked it away. Her hyena wanted to lash out right then and there. Her eyes beamed, glowing a bright green as her hyena was close to the surface.

"Please, stop," she growled, "I don’t want any trouble." Mameha struggled to reel her hyena in.

What was she and what group was she in? Did it really matter all that much? Apparently...

She shook her head, shrugging off her questions. It was the last thing she needed to worry about. She needed to get this fucking beast under control. She was scared and anxious and so was her hyena. It wasn’t in her nature to cower in fear, so her hyena tried to hold her stance but Mameha ripped her away and bounded out the door.

 Carmen pushed the bill, trying to keep the girl close - perhaps unsurprisingly, she yanked away, and Lazarus was practically bristling as her anxiety became palpable. She didn't want to be here, that much was clear, and part of him - the steadily growing predatory side - wanted to chase her down and find out the truth. Instead, he held his ground, though his body language was tense and even defensive. His fingers gripped the vinyls in his hand hard enough to make the covers warp slightly. "Testy," he rumbled quietly.

A very dramatic response to polite conversation. She wondered if she was hiding something or simply a combination of inexperienced and foolish.

"Mhm," Carmen agreed, tilting her head Lazarus' way as he made the remark.

She watched her speed out of the store, thoughtful.

"Do you have the... social media?" she eventually asked, straightening again and looking to the other Vampire.

 Lazarus relaxed marginally as the girl all but bolted from the record store, drawing a shadowy glance from the kid behind the checkout counter. There was still the characteristic stiffness about him, even as Carmen asked him about the social media. That was... the bookface? Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that wasn't right, and he felt utterly ridiculous for not really having much of a clue what it was about. He had at least some modicum of understanding that it was a communication form.

 "...No," he responded pensively, eyeing her with clear uncertainty. "Do you?"

She gave a shake of her head but retrieved her phone all the same.

Carmen googled the girl's first name, alongside Facebook. A handful of results, none of the images of her, and so she added Mountainside. The first result was also the one she was looking for.

"Mameha Yamada," Carmen enunciated, looking through her profile. Twenty-eight years of age. No information on occupation...

She paused her scrolling rather suddenly.

"Well, Lazarus. It seems we've discovered what Crestview's hyenas smell like." Carmen snapped her gaze back up to him, deadpan.

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