Lavender Heights Community College 

Friday night in a college town was a veritable buffet. It was all she could do to contain herself while she searched for the fledgeling Master.

The little mewling witch had never returned, and while she had sufficiently covered her tracks there, the new moon still brought out a violent urge to track her down and snap her neck. She did not even feel much for the girl herself. It was the principle of having failed to design her loyalty correctly. Even now after centuries, there remained lessons to learn.

She'd ordered pizza from the same place only so that she could very horrifically and violently feed on the delivery boy. He took pleasure in the ripping up of his body as instructed, and once her clamor had subsided she had healed him and wiped his memories. The fresh pizza found its way to her neighbors, a friendly offering from her to them so the food would not go to waste. Better to feed the livestock next door than to send fodder to the trash.

And that had been her new moon.

She caught the eye of a drunken college boy with his friends, and offered him a sweet smile in passing as she wandered about, searching for her dinner date. Taraneh preferred women, but the male form had its uses. Perhaps later, habibi.

Ah, but there the Master was, she realized as she turned heel in her meander and felt his magnetic presence pressing against her own. She sought him out with her eyes, and upon finding him, approached with a raised brow to her smile, a fluttering white butterfly with a ravenous hunger for the youth surrounding them.

"Why, good evening, Master Beauregard. What a pleasant surprise."

She lifted her hand for him to take, as a queen might. Some ancient habits never died.


Beauregard was hardly starving. In fact, he'd made a particular effort to hunt late in the evening the night before. (There had been temptation to summon Kaylee, but he knew better than subject her to an irritable new moon feeding.) It was important he be at his most patient for an endeavor that he truly already hated.

Suffering over what to wear had been another miserable endeavor. Her instructions had not been helpful, and if he arrived overdressed he would be dangerously irate for it.

Of course, all worries over his clothing would prove ridiculous when he sensed and spotted her approach. She wore a dress he felt was likely impractical even for feeding, though experienced vampires rarely did dribble on their own clothing these days.

"What a lucky Friday the thirteenth happenstance," he said, smiling handsomely. "Would you care for a stroll?"

His eyes traced youthful faces, wondering what he was interested in this evening beyond gluttony.

He was gracious, compared to how he'd last greeted her, and she wondered if he considered her some sort of friend already. She hoped not. It would only serve him well to be on his toes for the evening, especially once they got started.

That, and she had enough easy "friendships" from humans. Taraneh rather preferred vampires to be a challenge to impress.

"With such esteemed company? I would be honored," she smiled, moving to take his arm with a lock of elbows if he would permit it.

"Tell me, what is your preferred cuisine?"

He took her arm with little fuss, perpetually comfortable with this sort of gesture.

But he could not deny a wariness. Beauregard was, in the end, no dominus, regardless of what Osvald kindly charmed him with. She could best him if she sought to, and not in the way that two vampires simply sparred.

The question was a pleasant distraction, and Beauregard wondered what sort of company he was in. She was not part of the clutch, and he was not yet eager to pull her into it. Much like Jaxon, there was no denying she had the potential to be a threatening presence.

"Young, female, and striking," he said, wondering if she might take offense. "Further from the new moon, I find great charm in willing compliance. Nearer seems to draw out some desire for feistiness."

It was nothing if not comprehensive.

A hum as she considered his words, and she gave a mischievous sort of smile. "Then we have similar tastes. Clutching a woman in pleasure is a treat."

Of course, that was because she made it so. And that did not bother her in the slightest. "I find boys to be clumsier, though sometimes their simplicity is an allure."

She glanced out, enjoying the choices. So many pretty people.

"How is being Master? I only regret that I can no longer tease you with 'Master-to-be.'"

It appeared they shared a preference, at least to some degree.

Some vampires tied feeding and sex very closely, and he wondered if that was the case for Taraneh. Beauregard could find arousal in it, but in the end, his priority was blood, not the moaning of some little harlot.

"Boys" was such a predatory word in itself.

"Perhaps dominus-to-be, then?" he said in a tease. "The group is young; it has not yet become complicated. Leadership keeps me occupied, and the group seems rather comfortable."

A cheeky look.

"Ask me again on the next new moon."

He took in a slow breath, seeking the scent of a psychic, but he did not find any in the immediate area. A pretty, drunk thing would do, and his eyes fell on a red-headed girl in the distance that reminded him of Kaylee. A bit too much. Variety was of greater interest.

Beauregard let his gaze wander elsewhere after he was sure it was not her.

"What trouble have you found over the last month?"

"Master" was a fun title to play with. "Dominus" embraced less mischief, though she could perhaps make it work.

"Are you suggesting we are to meet for gossip over drinks after every new moon? I think that would be wonderful."

A small sigh to answer the other question. She saw another boy up ahead, of the featureless sort that made her wonder if she'd met him before, and she contemplated the air in his lungs as she spoke.

"Mostly, I've been traveling. You'd think such an old woman would want to settle down."

Pulling the air from his lungs as they ambled nearer, she watched with a raised brow as he began to clutch his chest and frown to himself, trying to get more air in.

"But I was down in Costa Rica. The beaches are lovely even at night, as are the people. And the sunrises..."

Her concentration broke and she looked up at the vampire at her arm. "Have you seen one yet?"

Beauregard offered a chuckle to her first sentiment. He had no intention of any such thing, and likely she did not either.

Talk of beaches did not particularly charm him. He preferred a moodier coast over a sandy one and truthfully did not trust the ocean enough to swim in it.

He missed entirely that she was strangling someone. Beauregard's gaze was decidedly constrained to the finer sex.

"I have not," he answered truthfully. "Perhaps want of it will be enough to inspire whatever change is necessary to advance to dominus."

His tone, nearly a sigh, made it clear he had no such expectation.

Beauregard's gaze fell on a dark-skinned girl who reminded him of the unfortunate performer in Red Rock. Not his typical taste, but there was something to be said for fantasy.

"Have you spotted your dinner yet?" he asked, because he believed he had found his own.

Delicate Beauregard, waiting and waiting until he graduated to Dominus. Unfortunate, in the end, but she supposed he couldn't be convinced to take wing after all.

She smiled at his question, glancing back at the boy who was breathing exceedingly deeply. "I believe I have," she answered, arm sliding smoothly from his and nodding her head in departure.

"Bon appetit."

Her focus shifted, and she wandered to the boy from before to chat him up long enough to catch his eye.

The murmured suggestion that he follow her failed, but she managed her own favorite trick, and that had him eager to lead her somewhere a little more private all on his own. He took her by the hand, and she managed to giggle like a far younger girl than she was as she followed him to his car.

They would dine separately, and Beauregard let his gaze wander to her prey. Something about an older woman and a young boy disgusted him, likely a rather choice sentiment from an older gentleman who preferred his women young.

His gaze fell on the young woman he decided to pretend was the woman from Red Rock. What had her fake name been? Ebony? Ivory? Some nonsense like that.

Either way, he was hardly interested in sex, that need met well enough with the promise of whatever Kaylee would choose to offer going forward. It hardly took an empath to recognize lustfulness.

He decided to try a new approach, driven by perhaps the lingering sense of threat from the other vampire. Indicated to her, with some degree of mental manipulation, that he was a professor she was meaning to lead to the nearest private space to discuss grades.

It worked delightfully well, and her eyes lit up with the concern of a student. She chattered along the way, and he listened with some degree of amusement.

Where her little brain decided to take him was a short walk into a small botanical garden, and he laughed in spite of himself, the struggle of her mind to choose between a place that made sense for discussing grades and what it decided to be technically the nearest private spot.

It would work just fine, in the end.

The feeding was passionate, as was the subsequent raunchy car makeout. She never let him so much as slide a finger beneath her dress, but it was enough to rile him up. And then a heavy-lidded gaze into his eyes, and she moaned out her suggestion. He was confused and grabby until she left his car.

The poor boy would then be confused as to why he was sitting there all mussed up when he could have sworn he'd gotten out an hour ago.

Then he'd carry on with his life.

She straightened out her dress as she made it out of sight, sighing in relief to herself. All fed now and ready to teach.

She wandered back to the spot where they'd parted ways, humming to herself.

His suggestion that she stay still and quiet did not work, and also proved enough to send her seeking to escape.

He would not let her, of course. It was important he assist her in forgetting before deciding his next step, and mercifully he was granted that much.

Choking was an effective way to keep her quiet, in addition to some outlet for his misery over it all.

Her blood was uninspiring, as was the struggle he was hardly in the mood for. The strangling also proved excessive as she eventually drooped before he'd finished.

Beauregard let her body fall with a thump, and he hated her as much as he had the dreadful beastly stripper. He lingered long enough to assure that she was coming to before leaving to return to where he assumed they would meet again.

He heard her humming and hated that as well, and Beauregard hated every aspect of this all so terribly much that it threatened to make him sick.

Instead, he put on his best smirk as he approached and pondered tearing out into bloodlust now to save himself some time.

"Were we driving together or separately?" he asked

He struggled to find it in him for anything more genial to say, though he kept his tone light.

There he was, and she was no mind reader to dive far past his smirk. Simply assumed he was fed and ready to go.

"I imagined together, but if you prefer your space, I am happy to go home and fetch my car."

She angled towards home, one glance back at him, and wondered if he'd simply flake.

Beauregard was very certain that if he traveled separately, he would not arrive at their meeting point.

"So quick to leave," he tutted as she turned, and he nodded toward the guest parking lot as he pulled his keys from his pocket.

"I must admit a grand discomfort in everything that will likely follow this evening."

A click of the button to unlock the car as they drew nearer, the headlights flashing once.

"I hope you will forgive the steady decline in the effervescently charming nature of my company."

Oh? Seemed he'd be a gentleman after all. She smiled graciously, turning on the end of her impractical stilletto to walk with him again.

Taraneh listened, smiled, and could not empathize in the slightest. But she could make the effort to understand.

"I look forward to it, Master Beauregard. Just know my pride is in helping you, not harming you, and you can snarl at me all you like."

She'd get in the car and settle in comfortably.

At least "Master Beauregard" had a way of soothing. To be quite truthful, the words were chosen in a comforting way, but he did not yet trust her.

Paranoia nipped as it always did as he brought the car to life with the push of a button he did still find somewhat disappointing in comparison to the turn of a key.

"Snarling is my expertise," he said, thoughtful in tone.

It reminded him of another question.

"Have you ever tangled with a shifter?"

She chuckled to the comment, and hummed thoughtfully at the question.

"I have. He made the mistake of grabbing my throat while fully facing me, and I made swift use of his sex with my knee."

A smile, and she assumed she would see discomfort in his expression for it.

"Have you?"

Her wording was dreadful but the imagery inspired a genuine laugh. That even a shifter could be taken down with a knee to the appropriate area was some unifier of all masculinity.

"Ill-fated from the beginning, strangling a vampire."

Perhaps the beast had been attempting some dramatic ripping of the throat, but that was much more challenging than popular media made it look. Difficult to get that variety of grip.

"Only a mutual swiping with some cat woman who could grow claws and retract them in an instant. I daresay I got the meaner scrape, but it was not a scrap for either party to write home about."

No discomfort, but a laugh. Surprising. What he said otherwise? Further surprising. Taraneh pondered an attack like that, how she would handle it.

"Considering you seem to feel no confidence in your sparring abilities, that is promising. When we get started, imagine I am that shifter. Stop at nothing until I yield."

It was not in her nature to yield, but for training, she was happy to make the exception.

That shifter was hardly his least favorite creature. There were many others he would rather swing at. Perhaps be could cycle through them.

He nodded to her instructions, wondering how little it would take to inspire him to bloodlust after being so freshly fed.

If he saw even the slightest sign of it from her, he'd be on the wing and away in a flash.

The drive would proceed fairly quietly unless she offered further instruction, and unease roiled in his guts like some human meal forcibly consumed.

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