Interior Design

@"Regina Proulx"

They had taken a decent amount of time choosing a location off the list they'd collected that night a few weeks back, mostly as Holly allowed Regina to take the lead on picking a suitable location. The blonde could make a place look pretty - the ginger knew how to haggle, and get a decent price. Between the two of them, they had an older corner building purchased and signed over within the month. Not the prettiest thing, in Holly's opinion, but somewhat majestic in its own right. Two floors, that would be accessible for the clinic and offices/storage above it. The third, a basement, which would be refurbished to act as the common hub room.

The beginnings of construction were already in the works on the upper levels, though at night the workers had gone, leaving the space empty and smelling of paint and plaster. The girls were taking a look around, Holly interested in surveying the basement floors for ideas on how they'd furbish it; Regina interested in checking the workers were fulfilling the desired vision of the blood donation clinic.

"Eerie at night, isn't it?" she'd find herself murmuring, gesturing to one of the ladders draped with a paint-splattered sheet. A hospital was not a place she had ever frequented, outside a few odd visits for blood bags or human 'friends'. The clinic would end up being similar, she knew, with that sterile smell that made her nose burn.

At least she could mostly avoid that section, stick to the floors she would feel more at ease in.

It wasn't hard to buy the property, Regina was used to the process. She was also patient enough (and rich enough) not to even require suggestion. Why make a situation more complex than it needed to be?

Onto construction, which was slightly more difficult to oversee since she was unable to observe progress during the day. Still, she was confident in their work, and they seemed like they wouldn't ask too many questions. Not that it was hard to deal with them if so.

But, now she was here with her partner, hoping to produce some ideas for molding the basement into an image of the perfect hub area for their clutch. Somewhere secure, hard to get to unless you were a part of the clutch, and fitted with various elements they may need to lead.

"Do you think?" she'd reply, looking around too. She was unfazed by it, naturally. "I imagine you'll want a back entrance," since Regina knew of Holly's aversion to these types of places.

Regina was terribly unfazed, and it made Holly wonder a little self consciously if she was just being odd with her misgivings. Wasn't even like she'd ever been admitted to a hospital, either - it was merely unease about dying things and sterile equipment and the general bad vibes. But, the key point was they would not be overrun with sick humans. Merely healthy ones, donating blood. That would be better, nicer, not so.. Creepy.

"Mm," Holly replied, a little shortly in order to diverge the topic. "Ahh.. I imagine it'd be best for all of us? I doubt everyone will want to be listed as 'volunteers'." Plus, there was only so late they could keep this establishment open.

Her arms crossed, humming as she headed towards the stair-well. "We can lock the basement door too, of course, only keycard access. So two exits, which are good in case of an emergency."

Regina would hum back in agreement. "A very good point. If we have human receptionists and the like, we certainly wouldn't want them questioning our members." Although it wouldn't be hard to keep them quiet if so.

She would step along with her partner, following behind since of course, this was Holly's venture. She was the leader now, and Regina was her second. "Yes, multiple emergency exits are key," she would add before humming in thought some more.

"Speaking of key, I was thinking about this. Keycards are quite easily stolen, do you not think? Of course they could be used for the back entrance, but for the clutch hub itself, I was perhaps thinking of investing in some iris recognition?" It would be more secure, and it was harder to steal someone's eye without them noticing than it was a dangling card.

Holly paused to listen to Regina's tangent about keycards. They definitely were easily stolen, as much as a normal key, of course. She couldn't imagine a human managing to sneak away with one from herself or any other vampire, but.. Perhaps another vampire might be able to. It was overly cautious, but was there anything wrong with being so?

"That would be expensive wouldn't it?" She knew they weren't lacking for anything, but at the same time it just.. Sounded so excessive. Like they were in a spy movie. "Not saying it's a bad idea, but I don't want you going in debt for meeeeeee." The last part of somewhat teasingly trilled, the younger girl leaning so her head was resting on top of the ginger's.

She'd had had the same effect resting on her shoulder.. But she was too tall. Or, Regina was too short.

Expensive. Yes, of course it was expensive, but in the context Holly was using it, in that it would severely affect their finances, was, frankly, ridiculous. She opened her mouth to argue against her point, but it seemed Holly had a way of shutting it, at least from the top-down.

Regina just remained there, unmoving and essentially staring directly at Holly's chest. The wonders of being five foot tall.

Now. "You do understand that one, it won't put a dent in our finances, two, it is a one-time investment, and three, the one thing that actually poses any form of threat to the money I've earned is your addiction to high-end dresses, correct?" A small, wry smile would grace her lips.

Your move Bancroft.

No, it wouldn't put a dent in their finances, but it was the principle of having bloody spy-ware.

Yes, it was a one time investment, but again. James Bond Spy-ware Could she get a flying car, too? No. That was nearly the same level of ridiculous, really.

And.. the last comment was met with Holly stiffening slightly, a bemused grin getting nuzzled into Regina's hair because.. Well. She did like to look pretty.

"Shhh, darling, don't question the dresses," she purred back, knowing full well what her partner's face was level to. Just a little pull forward, one hand on the redhead's back, and she was effectively smooshed into cleavage. Silenced. You just didn't question the dresses.

Holly would heave a sigh (somewhat on purpose, given where Regina's face was), looking around them. "I suppose having a secret hub in a basement of a legitimate establishment merits fancy high-tech whatsits. Just make sure it works properly, I don't feel like making faces into a camera because it won't register my eyes."

Yes. She'd learned to not question the dresses over the years. It was a recurring theme, and quite honestly, Regina had completely given up trying to sort her partner's addiction out. At least the dresses went to a good cause after she was done with each one.

Regina would've loved to roll her eyes, but at that moment she was really unable to do anything with her face. In one swift move, the ginger lady was pulled into Holly's cleavage, and with an added sigh, practically squished right into her chest.

She couldn't deny that it felt good.

Still, she would make no reaction as the girl talked, but she did go as far as to close her eyes. Just enjoy the softness for a few moments. Tonight would be particularly fun it seemed.

"Mhmm," was really all she had to say on the matter. Or, rather, all she was able to say.


Holly stifled a snort. "Are you even listening to me?" she would chide pleasantly, pulling back to release her precious little princess from the clutch of her cleavage. She wouldn't blame Regina if the answer was a no, but still. Love, don't make her talk for nothing here.

Their little moment wasn't over, fully, but they did have some things to do before losing their focus on a game. Holly snaked her hand into the redhead's smaller one, pulling her along gently as they walked down the hall to one of the stairwells.

"So, this might be one of the interior entrances. We scan our eyes, it allows us in. We're met with.." She pushed the metal door open and stepped inside a somewhat wide set of stone stairs - the hints of more antique architecture becoming more evident as they descended.

If Regina still had to breathe at this point, she would gasp for air as she was pulled away from her partner's breasts. Thankfully she was dead, and she could easily stay in there for hours. And she had.

Nevertheless, Regina would smile back, some of her hair now sprouting out in various directions. Not that she cared to smooth it down. Holly had that effect on her, which was one of the many reasons why she kept the girl around. "I was yes, and I felt that 'mhmm' was a suitable response for someone in my situation." The girl would know that was a joke, although she did actually listen.

They would hold hands, an action they rarely ever performed out of their homes, and slowly move down the corridors. Regina was taking it all in, every inch, every angle, every detail of architecture. It was her job to know how this place worked. It was the same for all of her properties. She always spent a while scrutinising every little bit.

Now, to the metal door, swung open to reveal a dark set of stairs descending into the abyss of this place. Or at least it seemed that way to a naked eye. They could both easily see every detail, and as they wandered down together, they were able to see even more.

"Quite amazing is it not? According to my sources, this basement hasn't been used for decades." Still nothing compared to the centuries they had lived between them, but it still put a small scratch onto it.

In all honesty, could believe it. "It's been graffitied," she commented, somewhat intrigued that some group of teens had been brave enough to sneak down here to do so. A bit of writing on the walls, spray paint.. Nothing paint wouldn't fix, or more plaster. Shame though, that it's original walls had been ruined.

She stepped along with Regina into the middle of the area - a wide expanse, which they were planning on sectioning off into one or two smaller areas. "Some couches, lights.." They were vampires of course, and the darkness meant nothing to any of their kind aside from a general eeriness. Still, she wanted it warm, welcoming. Not some dungeon or scuzzy sort of club vibe.

"Do you think we could get a piano down here? Something to entertain.. Perhaps a clutch mascot pet?" A cheeky grin, knowing Regina wasn't too thrilled by the idea of animals - lost its appeal once you could turn into one yourself.

"Hrm." So it had. How deplorable. It was saddening that people nowadays could not see the beauty of the past and instead feel the need to tarnish what was left of it. Regina supposed that's why they decided on this quite old building. The need to preserve it was there.

The space was good though, and Regina could see it turning into somewhere quite comforting, and safe. That's what this clutch was about after all. Avoiding the two existing clutches and giving one that served no other purpose than to simply act as a zone of comfort. Though they would have to have words with the other members to prevent them from causing trouble.

Or, more trouble. With some specific members.

The darkening thoughts were quickly sidetracked by a rather nice notion from Holly. She'd smile back at the idea of the piano, though go back to a deadpan stare about the idea of having an animal. "We cannot have an animal around a medically sterilised area."

Still, she knew Holly was joking, and she'd go back to a light smile. "You think the members would appreciate my piano?" she'd ask, with a little bit of doubt in her voice. She'd never tell anyone but Holly, but she never had much confidence with her piano.

Well, it technically wasn't in the medically sterilized area. It was in the basement. Which, in itself, was probably a little wrong given the cat wouldn't be an undead creature who couldn't handle the light of day. It'd probably end up with jaundice.

At any rate, her thoughts were distracted by Regina's question. For whatever reason, whatever insecurity, her partner never had any confidence over her own talents with art. Drawing, painting, music.. The first two were justified, because in all honesty she was terrible and couldn't even properly draw a stick figure. The last though.. "I know I would. You play so well, it'd be nice for others to hear it. Even at home, you've stopped since the girls came."

A gentle prod to the ginger's ribcage. "I think that, at the very least, it'd be a nice form of entertainment?" She could imagine Amy or Jackson dramatically trying to play whilst looking all smoldery and broody.

Which gave her another thought. "No smoking down here, we'll have to make sure they know. I doubt Amy would, but a reminder would be nice."

Holly was always there to try and perk Regina out of whatever insecurity was plaguing her at whatever time. That's why they got along so well all those centuries ago. It was why Regina kept her around. Accepted her offer of immortality. As long as she could be around her.

Still, she'd droop a little at the mention of herself stopping since the girls arrived at the mansion. She just always had to make sure they were out of the house before attempting anything. And even then, she was always too high-strung in case of their sudden return.

She'd let out a worried chuckle as her ribs were poked, before looking up to her partner. As long as she thought it was nice..

Moving on. "Certainly. Harsh consequences for those who think otherwise." It was just completely unacceptable.

Then she'd let out a huff, looking around the place. "Do you remember my father's desperation for smoking?"

Perhaps not too harsh, unless they were being purposefully asinine about it. Not like a bit of extra-scary Regina would be bad, though, if Holly was there to play good cop to her bad cop. Which was.. Actually a perfect description of their relationship, she just realized. It was making her want to giggle, but she wheezed it down and proceeded to pull out a small notebook.

"Mm?" It was one of those very long ago, fuzzy memories. Still not nearly as decayed as the ones from pre-Regina, but she was going to need a reminder to fully catch the gist. "Vaguely. He spent a small fortune importing tobacco no?"

With a pencil, she started outlining the area they were in. How the ceilings were, where the walls connected to entries and doors. A plan, which she could play with and detail out where things might go, what types of couches and tables.

The artsy part of design, she found enjoyable.

Regina would watch closely as the notebook was produced and beginning to be drawn in. Holly always had some artistic talent, and Regina constantly appreciated it. That was another reason why Holly was able to help Regina with her 'artistic expression' so much.

And yes, onto the topic of her father's habit. "Indeed he did. I would say I became against it when I became susceptible to fire, but as you know I was always against it." It was just a dreary, horrifically detrimental habit, that nobody in their right mind should pursue.

Especially not vampires.

With her hand now released, Regina was left to wander around herself, her hands squarely behind her back, and a slow strolling walk in order to analyse every inch of this area.

Through all of it though, she couldn't help herself thinking one thing..

"Where.. would the piano go..?" she'd ask tentatively, not looking Holly's way.

She was focused on sketching, but not enough she couldn't hum in reply to Regina. "It isn't a good habit, even for a human. It smells." In all honesty, she had never been fond of any sort of addicting drugs. The feeling of being detached, of not knowing what was happening.. It disoriented her. She experienced it enough in dream-walking.

Slowly, Holly pivoted around in a circle, eyes flicking from the book to the room.

"Mm.." A soft hum, her pen tapping lightly at the paper. "In a corner, but the main room of course. We want it inviting, but not a center piece obviously. It's merely a nice little distraction for members."

They could keep it somewhat tight, perhaps. A circle of couches, with a few writing tables and book shelves on the side walls. "I was thinking of asking Robbie to help with some plants, that maybe will do well in artificial light."

The main room. She'd be playing piano in the main room. That alone was enough to make her gulp a little, but she attempted to shrug it off. She needed to be a good Second and show no fear. Not even in playing an instrument to other people.

Moving on, which was a much welcome concept for Regina, Holly would mention plants. Which.. admittedly was another area Regina had no expertise in. "I'm sure she can assist, with that power of hers. It's quite fascinating, being able to manipulate the forces of nature, when said forces are quite inherently devastating in their own right."

They'd been on this planet long enough to witness many, many natural disasters and calamities. The world was a wonder, and even being on this planet for as long as they had garnered no additional knowledge to how it worked.

Holly hummed in reply, lightly sketching out a few tables with potted plants around the couches. Not too many to start, to crowd it in. There was generally more comfort in places that weren't too wide and open, but, too squashed in and it would inspire awkwardness.

"Maybe we can get a moat around the building," she joked back, at the mention of Robbie's powers. Nothing like a strong earthquake to open up the ground. It was honestly so interesting, to think of the power.

Her own seemed somehow so weak and dainty in comparison - Regina's more so. "I do worry the weres will cause issue. It'd be nice to somehow get word to them that we mean no trouble, but I wouldn't know how to do that without risking my own neck and stepping into their territory."

Too risky, honestly. A letter would be nice, if she could find out where their own hubs were.

Regina would hum back at the joke, giving a light smile back to Holly. That was her way of showing appreciation, naturally. However, she imagined a moat wouldn't have much use to them, since a were could most likely jump over it. And that just sounded like a hassle. "I doubt we'd get planning permission for that," she'd return.

Now onto the topic of weres. "Yes, that would be a worry. The best option we have is to send a member over, but even then we wouldn't want to risk them."

She would let out a long hum, her eyes trailing down as they began to double-blink in deep thought. "The other issue is how do we know they're not in leagues with other clutches? I understand many of them may despite the central clutch in Cordova, but surely that means that Beauregard would have tried his hardest in order to maintain a positive rapport with the other were groups."

That was the question, wasn't it. Holly wasn't sure how she could get the weres any info, without directly coming into contact with any. She sighed, shaking her head a little. "I don't honestly know. I can imagine he's just kept low, or has friends we aren't aware of." Either option was already unavailable to them.

They would just have to keep quiet, and hope that any suspicion blew over by the time they were ready to claim the area.

"Perhaps we'll meet a less hostile were, on our travels. Pass the info on through them. I'm not risking any of ours crossing their borders." It was a stressful thought, one she found herself pushing away as she finished up her sketch. The blonde would show it to her partner, then, pointing around the room in a decisive tone that meant she didn't wish to dwell on things beyond their control.

What she could control, was paint and design. "What do you think of opening up that wall, adding another room.."

They didn't know at the moment, but they would be able to work something out. They always worked something out. They both had strong, intelligent minds, and their ability to bounce ideas off each other so easily, due to their relationship, there was nothing they couldn't work out.

The best way to deal with this so far was as Holly said. "Yes, letting them come to us would show we're passive at least," she would respond with a hum.

Nevertheless, it seemed Holly was done with her sketch, and they were onto the topic of the building once again. Regina would wander back over, and concern her double-blinking habit onto the layout of their headquarters instead.

"I think it might be more efficient if you open it up over there.."

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