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Blood & Bourbon

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Celia IV, Chapter VII

Hidden Hearts

“I really love you…”
Roderick Durant

Friday night, 11 March 2016, AM

GM: Alana’s traded in Celia’s car, per her domitor’s instructions. It’s a short drive in her new ride back to her secondary haven. Roderick meets Celia there. He greets her with a kiss.

“How was your night?”

Celia: She’s relieved to see him. All in once piece, too. She spends a little bit longer than she needs to eying him up and down, as if waiting to see him crack under the knowledge that he had to kill and dismember his first person. People. Multiple.

She lets him in and hands him the spare key. He hadn’t personally given it back those years ago after he’d smashed her face, but the sudden appearance of it one night where she’d been sure to see it had been a clear message. She’d stopped waiting for him after that.

“I missed you,” she tells him, “so it was awful. But it’s better now.”

The apartment is still a mess. She hadn’t had a moment to shop for anything new, and the destroyed furniture sits where they left it. So much for making out on the couch, anyway.

“How was yours?”

GM: He looks together. Enough. Her question, though, brings a grim look to his face.

“Honestly, it was… awful.”

“Your being here makes it less awful.”

Celia: “I’m sorry. I should have been the one to clean it up. That shouldn’t have been on you.”

GM: “I killed two of them. With my own hands. It might as well have been me.”

He sits down with a tired expression.

“I guess I was going to do that sooner or later. Kill someone. Dispose of the body.”

Celia: Celia curls up beside him. She runs a hand up and down his back, lets her head rest on his shoulder.

“You did it because you had to. It wasn’t a choice, it wasn’t because you were hungry, you didn’t kill a vessel. You defended yourself and protected what’s yours.”

GM: He leans into her, running a hand of his own along her back.

“I know. Defended you, too. But doing what I did… that midnight boat trip, dropping bags of body parts overboard, weighted down with rocks…”

He doesn’t sigh. He just stares ahead at the floor for a moment. His face is very still.

“I felt like a mobster.”

Celia: “You’re not. You know that, right? That you’re not. What they do… what they do is awful. For money. For power. For drugs, or whatever else they’re after. That’s not you. That’s not you at all.”

“You’re not some heartless thug.”

GM: “That’s what I tried to tell myself. But all I could think of. All I could think of, was what my dad would say. What my grandpa would say.”

“If they could have seen me there.”

His eyes start to rim red.

Celia: “You know the night you went missing your dad brought a gun when we went looking for you. He handed one to me and he had one for himself. Do you think he’d have done that if he didn’t intend to use it, should he have found that something happened to you, that someone had you?”

“If someone hurt you, he’d have put them down. If someone hurt me, you’d put them down. That’s what love is, Roderick. You’re not a mindless killer. You don’t go around looking for people to kill. That’s not you. I know that. You know that. They would know that.”

“Do you think I’m a monster? Because I told you last night that I had to kill two people earlier this week. And you said that I did what I had to do. Because they’d have killed me, if not.”

“So what’s the difference here? Do you think I’m some battle-hardened, dreadful criminal who slaughters people and is completely inured to it?”

“I don’t feel bad for defending myself. I don’t feel bad for putting down someone else before they could put me down. I don’t feel bad for killing someone who wanted to hurt you.” She pulls back so that she can look him in the eyes. “Because I promise you this. I promise you. That if someone were to come after you, if someone were to hurt you, I would find them and I would end them. And I will not feel bad about it.”

“So don’t,” she continues, voice hard, “don’t. Do not beat yourself up about doing the same exact thing. Do not feel bad because you didn’t allow yourself to be staked and beheaded or lit on fire or ripped apart for science projects. I would have watched them kill you. You would have made me… made me watch them kill you.”

“And that is bullshit.”

“I lost you twice already.”

“Don’t make it a third. Don’t put me in that position, that I have to watch you die. That I have to lose you again.”

GM: He dabs at his eyes. Celia can feel her fangs lengthening in her mouth.

“You’re right. I don’t… I don’t regret killing them, when they were trying to kill you. When they might have been like those last hunters who raped you. I talked with Coco, and she said there was no way those hunters were going to make it out alive, even if I’d captured them all. ‘Walking Masquerade breaches,’ was what she called them.”

“I don’t think you’re a monster. I just wish… this whole thing hadn’t happened.”

“I don’t like how killing people makes me feel.”

Celia: Of course he talked to Coco.

What’s it like, she wonders, to have a sire that gives a fuck?

“It doesn’t need to happen again. Do you have another place picked out?”

GM: “Yeah. A house in Mid-City. It’ll take a little to set everything up, but I can crash with my krewemates, Coco, and hopefully you until then.”

“Although… even that depends, how the stuff with Dani shakes out.”

Celia: “You can stay here. You don’t need to couch surf. There’s no reason for it.”

GM: “More just that it’s an increasing risk to be coming here every night.”

“But I talked with Ayame, earlier. I don’t remember if I told you, between everything that’s been going on.”

“She said she’ll get in touch with her friends in Houston. I’m going to reach out to her again tomorrow, if I don’t hear from her first.”

Celia: “And you’ll take Dani out of the city?”

GM: “Yeah. I’ll go with her.”

Celia: “…wait, for… for good?”

He can’t leave.

GM: He shakes his head.

“I’m needed here. But I’ll go with her, probably spend a few nights in Houston, just to be completely sure Ayame’s friends are on the up and up. And to help Dani settle in.”

Celia: “Oh.” That makes sense. She inhales, then nods. “What about after?”

GM: “I’ll stay in touch with her.”

Celia: “I meant with you.”

GM: “I don’t know,” he admits. “That’ll be something to think about on the trip back. Right now I’ve just been so focused on Dani and those hunters.”

Celia: “Oh,” she says again. Quietly this time. She doesn’t quite meet his eye anymore.

GM: “Oh, what?” he frowns. “Did you think I meant us?”

He takes her hand in his. “Look, whatever comes… I want you in my Requiem.”

“You don’t need to worry about that. At all.”

Celia: She starts to protest. To tell him that isn’t what she means. But his words halt her in her tracks, and she can’t help the way her lips part. Her eyes shine.

There’s a conversation she should be having. Something she’s supposed to convince him of. But factions, princes, politics—what is all of that compared to matters of the heart?

So she doesn’t say anything. She just leans in. Her fangs are already long and sharp in her mouth. She drags them across his cheek, his throat. She doesn’t break the skin, not yet. She pushes him back, though. Moves so that she’s on his lap. Pins his arms above his head—as if he couldn’t shake her free.

“Not what I meant,” she finally says, once she’s got him where she wants him.

GM: He starts to kiss her as she traces his skin with her fangs. When she pushes him down onto the sofa, he grins and lays back. She can see how long his own fangs are in his mouth.

“Oh yeah, what did you mean?”

Celia: “Politics,” she says absently, “but you distracted me when you told me how much you like me.”

GM: “I like you a lot more than politics, too.”

Celia: “How much more?”

GM: “So much more. Lake Pontchartrain next to your bathtub more.”

Celia: “That’s almost romantic.”

GM: “It’s romantic if I talk about how much I like you, politics be damned.”

Celia: “Then be with me.”

GM: He smiles down from under her, arms still pinned under hers.

“I’m right here.”

Celia: It’s not what she means. He knows that. She knows he knows that.

GM: “Or, what, you mean… politically?”

Celia: He saves her the trouble of bringing it up, at least.

“How do you think this is going to end if not?”

GM: “We could make it work. Keep things on the down and low.”

Celia: “What, you didn’t already tell Coco you’re seeing me again?”

GM: “Give me some credit.”

Celia: “And the Golds? They just thought you killed three hunters on your own in the middle of the day?”

GM: “That’s what I told them. They seemed to buy it.” He smirks. “What can I say? I’m a badass.”

“Okay,” he adds after a moment, “it wasn’t. I told them my renfields arrived in the nick of time. Just so it sounded extra plausible.”

Celia: Celia pulls at the collar of her shirt. “Take me now, badass.”

GM: “That almost sounds sarcastic. I should punish you.”

His hands shoot up from their pinned position, grabbing hers. Her throws her to the side, against the back of the couch, then grabs her by the shoulders and flips her around, pushing her chest-first against the (torn) cushions as he clambers on top of her. He twists her hands and pins them against the small of her back as he leans in, fangs piercing the back of her neck. His other hand reaches along her groin and starts to play with her clit.

Celia: It was sarcastic. She doesn’t have the opportunity to tell him that, though, because before she can do more than think the words he has her flipped and pinned. Celia yelps at the sudden movement, thrashing against him, but the position favors him and he’s always been stronger than her. She whimpers when his fangs pierce her skin, the sound swallowed by what’s left of the padding in the cushion. Her hips press down against the hand he’s worked inside her clothing. She rubs against him, helps him find the right spot.

It’s hardly punishment, but she won’t be the one to tell him he’s doing it wrong if he’s suddenly decided to play at being aggressive.

GM: Play seems to be mostly what he’s interested in. For good or I’ll, he isn’t her sire. Or her father.

He does screw her, though. He pulls off her top and nips, rips, and bites all over her neck and back. He’s careful to lick the blood up after it’s had time to cool. He pleasures her between her legs with his fingers, and eventually with his mouth when he flips her over so that she can bite and suck from him too. He nips and licks her stiffened nipples, pleasing the Beast and the Man at once (or at least the vampire and the woman). He even gets hard, near the end, and gives her an “old-fashioned” fucking as they drink from one another’s necks. The motions of intercourse help distract from that torturously long wait for their blood to cool.

The two Kindred know pleasure in one another’s arms. The couch is heady with the scents of their blood and Celia’s love juices when they finish, naked and spent as dawn rises over the city. Roderick spoons with her, wrapping his arms around her belly as he nuzzles his face against her neck.

“I really love you…”

Celia: Licks don’t get tired anymore. Not really. So it isn’t exhaustion that she feels when they’re done licking and fucking and drinking from each other. Sated, maybe. Content. Pleased, if her smile is anything to go by, not that he can see it when she’s turned away from him as she is. She slides her arms around his, nestling further against him, and turns her head to plant a lazy kiss on the corner of his mouth. All lips, no fangs. She doesn’t need to pretend to be someone she isn’t around him. He doesn’t call her perverted for the human way she still shows affection.

His words wash over her. She closes her eyes, lets them sink in. Her heart swells.

He loves her.

It’s like no time passed at all. Like there was never any distance between them. Like she never fucked up to the point that he had to leave her. A pang in her chest reminds her that she did—that she’s been denied this for the past seven years because of her own actions—and she shoves it back down. She won’t look back. Only forward. Years of this, of him, ahead of her.

“I love you too.”

Friday night, 11 March 2016, PM

GM: Daysleep claims them instantly and recedes just as instantly. It’s a poor substitute for the sleep of the living. It never feels like they’ve actually slept, or like any time has passed. Perhaps there is a reason the elders long for torpor.

Roderick strokes her cheek.

“This is somewhat less romantic, but getting hard for you isn’t even that bad.”

Celia: She can’t help but laugh.

“You know if I were less confident that would be the worst thing to say to me.”

GM: “Hey, if you were less confident I’d remind you how we normally don’t do that.” He frowns a little. “Veronica must give you a pretty hard time, for still liking it the breather way.”

Celia: “Veronica’s idea of a good time is putting a spiked heel inside of someone’s ass, so.”

GM: “Pietro can’t seriously be into that.”

Celia: “You know when I was still a breather I saw them fuck, it was… intense. They ripped skin off of each other.”

GM: “That must’ve been really scary, if you had no idea what it all meant.”

Celia observes her surroundings look different. The apartment has been cleaned up. The salvageable furniture and sundry have been moved back into place, the trashed ones moved into a corner. The fluid stains on the cushions, and their bodies, have been cleaned up. They’ve both got clothes on. Celia’s got on a dark minidress that looks similar to the one they met in, though the cut is more modest than Alana’s usual choices.

“By the way,” he smirks, “you’re a total sleepyhead.”

Celia: “Ah, see, I was only pretending to sleep so you’d move things around for me. It worked.”

GM: “Nah, you were totally out of it. I could’ve put you in overalls, clown shoes, and drawn a mustache under your nose, and you’d have still been a total mannequin.”

Celia: Her eyes narrow at him.

“You wouldn’t dare.”

GM: “I know how serious you take looking good,” he answers somberly.

Then he grins. “So only if there’d been a floor-length mirror I could’ve moved for you to wake up to…”

Celia: Celia rolls away from him, crossing her arms over her chest. She sticks her nose in the air—at least as much as she can considering she’s still in bed—and huffs.

“You’re fired. Go away. You’re never getting laid again.”

GM: He laughs and pulls her against his chest.

“Not haute culture enough? Maybe also shaved you bald…”

Celia: “Couture.”

“I will murder you in your sleep if you shave my head.”

GM: “But whenever I’m asleep, you’ll be asleep, so I’ll always get away with it.”

Celia: “I’ll set an alarm.”

“And wake up just to smack you.”

“Then go back to bed.”

GM: “And you’ll still be bald.”

Celia: “I’ll tell all your friends you got beat up by a girl.”

GM: “But unlike your dad, I’m not insecure enough to let that bruise my ego. Coco or Opal could kick my ass anytime. Caroline also sounds like she could give me a run from what you’ve described.”

“Men of quality do not fear equality.”

Celia: Celia huffs again.

“It’s against the constitution to shave my head. Cruel and unusual punishment. You’ll go to jail.”

GM: “Mmm, but that particular piece of it only applies to the federal and state governments. Your legal defense is in tatters, counselor.”

Celia: “I’m a national treasure. You can’t deface me.”

GM: “Not even in the Constitution…”

He smiles and hugs her close.

“But you’re right. You are a treasure. A UNESCO world heritage treasure. Every country in the UN would go to war, if ours allowed such a crime against humanity to take place.”

Celia: She positively preens at the praise.

“I forgive you for thinking such heinous thoughts, then.”

GM: “It was fun to dress you, anyway. Like I said. Total mannequin.”

Celia: “You know most people would find that creepy instead of cute.”

“Ah yes my boyfriend watches me sleep and puts me in clothing.”

GM: “Hey, I was already cleaning up everything, and figured you’d appreciate it. Keeping you naked would also have been incredibly distracting.”

Celia: “Did you bathe me? I seem to recall more bloodstains than this.”

GM: “Yeah, actually. I was going to do a sponge bath, but then I figured, you’d probably want me to be thorough.”

Celia: “I wasn’t even awake to enjoy it,” she sighs. “Now we have to recreate the scene. Rose petals, champagne flutes of blood, LED candles…”

GM: “And it was a way to pass the time. Didn’t even use superspeed to make it faster. I didn’t want to leave you alone, in case… more hunters.”

Celia: “Oh. Right.”

She twists in his arms so that she can see him.

“Thank you.”

GM: “Unlikely at night, granted. But no lick should sleep completely alone.”

“And you’re welcome.”

Celia: “Have you ever heard the word ‘glinko’ before?”

GM: He thinks. “Nope. Context?”

Celia: “That was it. Just the one word. Something I came across while cracking the phones. I thought it might be a name. It’s… not a word. Not in English. Bulgarian, though, it means ‘clay.’ And there’s a ‘glinko’ mask that a cosmetic company has, it’s a clay mask people use to draw out impurities from their skin, so that makes sense, just…” She trails off, shaking her head.

GM: He raises his eyebrows. “I’m impressed you managed to get into those.”

Celia: “Yeah, well, despite what Maxen says, I’m not stupid.”

GM: “It’s not a question of intelligence, just training. I don’t know how to hack a phone.”

Celia: “Mostly you press the buttons and hope they don’t have a lockout timer.”

GM: “Oh, that actually works well with superspeed,” he says thoughtfully. “I might have been able to brute force a phone like that too.”

Celia: “I’ve seen you brute force a phone, Rod, there’s a lot of broken glass involved.”

GM: “Ha ha. The other kind of brute force.”

Celia: “I know, I know, I’m just teasing.”

GM: “I’ll have to keep that in mind for security with the new place, though. Lockout delays.”

“Oh, when I was cleaning, I saw food in the fridge. I thought you didn’t share this place with your renfields?”

Celia: God damnit.

“Uh. I don’t.”

She can’t even think of a way to spin it.

She changes the subject instead.

“How would you improve security here, anyway?”

GM: “I’ve looked it over. There’s a couple ways. Why do you have a bunch of salad and casserole, though?”

Celia: “Oh. That. My mom. I forgot it was in there.”

“She made me eat with them last night. You know how she is about leftovers.”

GM: “Oh. That must be awkward.”

Celia: “It wasn’t pleasant. There was cake, too.”

GM: “I saw. And you can’t say no without being rude.”

Celia: “I could only come up with so many diet excuses. Emily finally called me on the bullshit.”

“So now I have to make sure I’m, uh, really full before I go over in case they decide they want to eat.”

GM: “Well, count yourself lucky. I’d love to still come over for dinner with my dad.”

Celia: Her face falls.

“I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to complain. I’m lucky to have them.”

GM: “It’s okay. I still doubt it’s much fun, if it tastes as bad as they all say.”

Celia: “It’s worse on the way up.”

“If you really want to try it you can help yourself, though.”

“Hell, if we make this work you can come over for dinner.”

GM: “You don’t think your mom would mind, if I’m just going to throw it up?”

Celia: “She wouldn’t know. It’s not like I tell her what I do. She’d accuse me of bulimia or something. Then Emily would tell me how it rots my teeth and the stomach acid destroys my esophagus. Then she’d say something like, ‘if you destroy your gag reflex you’ll never be able to suck another dick,’ and then my mom will make a face at us. It’s a whole thing.”

GM: He smiles. “They sound like a great family.”

Celia: She arches her brows at him.

“That is not the response I expected.”

“But they are. I’ll hook you up with some prosthetics and you can come over.”

GM: “Prosthetics?”

Celia: “Like facial things. Inserts. Special effects makeup.”

GM: “Ah. That made me think of artificial limbs.”

“That would be nice, though. I spent a while wondering if Lucy was my daughter or not, so I feel… at least a little close to her, if that doesn’t sound weird.”

Celia: “It doesn’t. Makes me wonder sometimes, you know. What if you’d have approached me after your Embrace, before our release. How that would have gone. Finding out about each other like that, rather than… how we did.”

“I think you’ll like her, though.”

GM: “Who knows there. But she seemed like a pretty happy little toddler, last I looked in.”

“I wouldn’t mind getting to see your mom again, either. She was always so nice to me. Just a total 180 from your dad.”

“I had this fantasy a few times, you know, that if we’d gotten married, we could’ve set up our parents together.”

Celia: “…wouldn’t that make us stepsiblings, though.”

“Well, wait a minute. Hold on. Is your dad still available? Because Mom wants to get back with Maxen and I’m just… not about to let that happen.”

GM: Roderick frowns in thought.

“Well, my dad never remarried. He’s always been so busy with work. I think how bitter the divorce with my mom was just burned him out to the idea of marriage. Made him not want to put that effort into another one when it could go into his career.”

“I asked him about it, once, and he said he wasn’t really thinking of dating until Dani and I were out of the house. And maybe college.”

Celia: “So now’s the time.”

GM: Roderick looks thoughtful.

“He’s going to die alone, if Dani disappears and he doesn’t find someone else. I’ve thought about that.”

“How he’s going to think both his kids are dead.”

Celia: “Dani doesn’t need to disappear. She can stay here. In the Quarter.”

“And… there’s a rumor, you know, that… that Lucy is yours. I was with you and the timeline meshes, and maybe… I mean… a grandchild isn’t a replacement for a child, but maybe if he thought that, too…”

GM: Roderick seems to pause in further thought.

“Coco asked me, once, which I thought was more important. Truth or beauty.”

“I said truth. I know my dad would too.”

Celia: Celia had also asked him that. Right before he’d smashed her face in. But it doesn’t matter since she’s not Coco.

GM: “That’s a sweet thought, to give him a grandchild. But he’d rather have truth.”

“And your mom knows the truth. She knows he’s not the grandfather.”

Celia: “I know. Just…” she doesn’t sigh, but she looks like she wants to. “I just… feel terrible.”

GM: He strokes her cheek.

“I know there’s a lot. What about?”

Celia: “You. Becoming what you are. You dying. Your dad. Your sister, even. I know… I know Coco said I was overstating my own importance, but… I still feel responsible.”

GM: “You aren’t. Coco made the offer, and I said yes, because I saw a way to destroy the Mafia.”

Celia: “I want to help.”

GM: “I’d welcome that help. It’s funny how I just haven’t gotten around to it. Like you and your dad, I guess.”

“Right now, though, I think I want to keep my family safe and happy first. The Mafia will still be around after they’re gone.”

“I think my dad could really use someone. He took my death… he’s moved on, but it’s cast this eternal shadow over him.”

“I don’t know what losing Dani might do.”

Celia: “Then don’t make her leave, Roderick. Don’t do that to him. Let her stay here. If she’s a thin-blood… I mean, you know the rumors, that they don’t rage. It’s safer. And isn’t it better if she’s here, with someone who loves her?”

GM: The Brujah looks torn. He really does.

“But Savoy knows who she is. What she is. She’ll always be leverage over me.”

“If I thought he didn’t know, then no question, I’d want her to stay.”

Celia: Celia shakes her head.

“He’s known who my family is this whole time and he’s never done anything to them. He’s not like that.”

GM: “He’s an elder.”

Celia: “So is Coco.”

GM: “Celia, I get to listen to a roomful of them when they let down their hair. I’ve gotten to listen for years.”

“Dani is leverage to him. That’s just how their minds work. You would not believe how ruthless, cynical, and utterly without conscience they can be.”

Celia: She would, actually, but she doesn’t tell him that.

GM: “Henry Kissinger could take tips.”

Celia: He’s going to know she told. He’s going to know she told Roderick the truth about his family, and he’s going to… to be done with her. That’s it. Second chance. Gone. It’s like she can see her family dying in front of her eyes. Lucy, Emily, Diana. The only people she cares about anymore. Heads rolling. Worse.

She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t know what to say.

GM: “Coco cares about me. And she’s decent, for an elder. But when push comes to shove she can be ruthless too.”

“I told you all about those thin-bloods…”

He shakes his head.

Celia: “Then why would you side with the people who made that happen?”

“Yeah, Roderick, he’s an elder. He’s probably as ruthless as the rest of them. He wants what he wants. But he doesn’t butcher people because of an accident of Embrace. He doesn’t round people up and sell them out.”

“And if that Asian bitch hadn’t dragged Max out like you said, you think the Sanctified would have stopped at murdering the thin-bloods? No. They’d have taken down the rest of you because that’s the kind of rule Vidal has.”

GM: “I think there are a lot of ways that could’ve gone south for them. Sanctified casualties, Anarch survivors running to Savoy. They didn’t want a fight with us, even if they’d have won. Too much mess.”

Celia: “But they would have done it. They would have come after all of you. And that’s the difference.”

“You told me. You said he counted back from ten. Anyone inside would die with the rest of them. They don’t care. Vidal doesn’t care. You’re all expendable. And your own sire sold them out. She knew what she was doing. That she sent her people to die. That the other Anarchs who believed in her could die if they did what they normally do.”

GM: “I think it may have been a bluff. We outnumbered them. I don’t think we’d have won, but I think that’d have been an ugly enough fight they’d have tried to avoid it. You can’t try to butcher dozens of true-blooded Kindred without a really big mess that benefits Savoy. Again, Sanctified casualties, Anarch survivors all fleeing to Savoy, not to mention Coco and Opal for the sheriff trying to destroy their covenant.”

“What it ultimately comes down to is practicality, not morals. That’s why Coco and Opal were complicit. The Camarilla says the pogrom is over, Vidal is just a hardliner who refuses to get the message, and pushed my sire to go along. She cares about the thin-bloods as much as Savoy does. It will always be a question of expediency to them.”

Celia: “Do you hear yourself? You’re literally defending them.”

GM: “I’m not! What Coco did was wrong! But you’re kidding yourself too if you think Savoy will be a good faith actor, or that Dani won’t be a hostage he’ll use to control me with.”

Celia: “What do you think is going to happen when Vidal konks out?”

GM: “I don’t know what’ll happen. Maybe Vidal will try to take Savoy and the Baron our before he does.”

Celia: “And it’ll be my head if he doesn’t get to.”

GM: “You’re not one of Savoy’s inner circle. If there’s war, you can hide out, and I’ll do everything to keep you safe in the aftermath. They can’t execute every single Savoy partisan. You’ll probably lose your domain, but you could survive this.”

Celia: “I’m not talking about a war. I’m talking about the fact that I’m the only person who knows what and who Dani is. I’m talking about the fact that I was seen leaving the Quarter yesterday in a car that belongs to you. It doesn’t take a genius to put that together.”

GM: “I doubt Savoy keeps a database with my car make that his people have memorized. His people probably wouldn’t even give it a glance with you behind the wheel.”

Celia: “All it takes is a quick online search, or a whisper in the right ear. But it’s fine. I get it.”

Who cares about the girl you claim to love when your sister is in danger, right?

GM: “But you are right, it’s still a needless risk to keep using my car when we could just use another.”

“Look, tonight’s Elysium Primo. All of Savoy’s important people will be there. Maybe see what you can find out. If they know about you driving my car.”

Celia: “He knows I know, Roderick. He knows I know, and he knows what you are to me. He’s not stupid.”

GM: “He isn’t omniscient either.”

Celia: “Yeah, well, you can deliver the news to my mom if he puts me down for the betrayal.”

GM: “It isn’t a betrayal. You just failed to convince me to sign on. I doubt he’ll be happy with you, but I’d say that’s better than Dani being a hostage he could kill anytime I make him unhappy, wouldn’t you?”

Celia: “I don’t think he’s going to give me a third chance,” she says quietly. “I might as well just cut my losses and run.”

GM: “So because you’re not useful enough… he kills you? That really sounds more like Vidal.”

“But, look. If you’re really scared… you could come over with me. To the Anarchs.”

Celia: Celia turns away. She presses a hand against her face, wiping at her eyes. The scent of blood is unmistakable.

“It’s fine,” she says again. Her voice exudes a cheerfulness she clearly doesn’t feel. “It’s fine.”

GM: He wipes her eyes too.

“It’s not fine. You’re crying.”

Celia: “It doesn’t matter. Your mind is clearly made up. You’d rather support the butcher on the throne than take a chance and work for change. It’s easier that way, right? Just go with it. Let yourself get distracted playing Kindred politics, forget about what matters.” The Mafia. Cleaning up the city. The reason he’d agreed to Coco’s offer. Generations of Garrisons all fighting for the same thing, and him the only one left in any position to do something about it. The dream will die with his father.

“Any of those elders you regularly listen to will feel the same way, but fuck it, let’s get them in when Vidal kicks it.”

GM: “Vidal isn’t going to be around much longer. Whoever succeeds him won’t be able to govern the same way. And to hear the primogen talk about it, Savoy’s no better than any of them.”

Celia: She wonders if he even hears himself.

“Savoy wouldn’t throw out his own for the scourge and sheriff and hunters to exterminate. He wouldn’t sacrifice childer because it’s easier than trying to deal with an external threat. He wouldn’t make an example of thin-bloods by sending his lapdogs to slaughter them.”

GM: “I think he’d do all of those things if it was convenient. That’s how all the primogen talk about him.”

Celia: “You don’t even know him.”

GM: “I hear how other elders talk about him. He’s one of them. They all think so.”

“Hell, they want him on the primogen. Him and the Baron.”

Celia: “So you’re just going to take Dani out of the city because it’s a little bit dangerous. Send her to another place where she doesn’t know anyone, where she has no one to rely on if things get tough, where you can’t look after her. Where I can’t look after her.”

GM: “Do you hear yourself? It’s way more than a little dangerous. Savoy will kill her as soon as I step out of line.”

“Houston is a bad option, but at least there she won’t be an elder’s hostage. There are no good options here, just bad and worse.”

Celia: “Why,” she asks, “would he kill her? She’s not worth anything if she’s dead. If you were a ruthless elder, would you kill her?”

GM: “If I had no more use for Roderick anymore? Yeah, I might.”

Celia: “I wouldn’t. Death is very final. Life is full of possibilities. People are always useful, even if it isn’t readily apparent.”

GM: “Except to elders there’ll always be more people. Life is cheap. More always comes along. But loose ends can always pop back up to make trouble.”

Celia: “Sure. Your sire could find someone else. I mean, she let Micheal go, what’s another one, right?”

GM: “Don’t even start on Mike. He went out of his way to alienate her. And me. She did everything to be a good sire to him and he just threw it back in her face.”

“I think he never got over his stupid complex. He never went to school. He never read books. He’s everything that gives our clan a bad name as a bunch of angry thugs and punks instead of scholars and philosopher-kings.”

“Coco tried to teach him to be more. He has no idea what an incredible opportunity that was. She’s collected countless degrees from the city’s universities. She’s seen hundreds of years of history. She has a tested IQ over 150. And she was willing to be his personal tutor, for years. But he just pissed that opportunity completely away.”

“I don’t accept that not everyone can improve themselves, either. Coco used to be even less educated than Mike. She was illiterate until she was around 20 years old, did you know that? She hadn’t read a book or gone to school a day in her life, until my grandsire taught her. He’s at least as smart and well-read as she is, but she didn’t let her ego get in the way of bettering herself. She wanted to give Mike the same gift William gave her. She tried and tried and tried. And he just threw it back in her face. I don’t blame her for washing her hands of him, any more than I blame you for not wanting your dad back in your family’s lives. Some people—actually, probably most people—just do not ever fucking change.”

“Your dad was also half-right. You aren’t stupid, and you’re way smarter than he ever gave you credit for, but some people are stupid. Some people have no desire to better themselves, even if they get the opportunity. Unpopular opinion here, but one that a lot of well-read people secretly hold: we’re better than them. Mike realizes that, deep down, but he’s too lazy and egotistical to admit he could improve himself. So he chooses to be small and petty and stupid for eternity.”

“Coco didn’t let Mike go. She tried and tried and tried with him, and he cut her out. I don’t blame her one bit for that.”

Celia: Saying she’s smarter than her dad gave her credit for isn’t much of a compliment considering what her dad thought of her, but she doesn’t bother to point it out to him. He wouldn’t understand. After all, he’d almost said it to her—about her—last night. As if it means nothing. As if it didn’t take years to finally put it behind her.

She wonders if he’d feel the same way about Micheal if he knew what Veronica is doing to him. How she treats him. Night after night after night. But hey, Mike is stupid, right? He deserves it.

Her lips thin.

“I used to be jealous of you, you know. That Coco is your sire. That she keeps you busy with everything. Got you a spot as the scribe, protected when the sheriff comes calling, talks to you about history. Embraced you so you could realize your dream of taking down the Mafia.”

When he’s done playing lapdog to her, anyway.

But he’s a well-read, smart sort of guy. Better than other people, isn’t he? She doesn’t need to say it.

GM: He grasps her arms as it seems to click on his face.

“I didn’t mean it like that. I’m not better than you.”

“I’m sorry. That was the wrong thing to say. I know that must be sensitive after how much your dad insulted and belittled you.”

Celia: “That and everything else,” she mutters.

All that book learning and he’s still ass at reading people.

“We have some time to kill before we need to leave. Why don’t we go upstairs and you can show me how to throw a punch without breaking my hand.”

Really knock her around since he’s so good at that.

GM: He glances at the time. It’s around 10 PM.

She really has been sleeping late.

“Tonight’s Elysium Primo is at midnight. You don’t have anything else on the docket until then?”

Celia: “Why, trying to go meet up with your other lovers? ‘Cause listen, I’ll fight them.” She holds up a fist. Or rather a poor interpretation of a fist: her thumb is tucked inside her fingers, popping out the knuckles on her first three digits.

It’s quite possibly the worst form anyone has ever seen. Easy way to break her thumb, her knuckles, even her wrist.

GM: Roderick smirks.

“If you know how to fight, like you said you did, you know what’s wrong with that. Or else it’s a good thing you didn’t use your fists against those hunters.”

“But okay, we can get in some practice,” he says, pulling off his nice Elysium clothes for a t-shirt and sweats. “We’ll try not to fuck each other’s brains out until the end, this time.”

Celia: There are too many things to say back to that: a reminder that she doesn’t need to fight because she’s so pretty no one would even think to swing on her so of course her form is wrong. An accusation of actually having other lovers since he hadn’t denied it (and when had that changed?). A scowl and reminder that she’s able to control herself and doesn’t need to fuck him, thank you very much.

The words die before they ever reach her lips, though, when he starts peeling off his clothes. Her eyes follow the movement of his shirt as he pulls it up over his head, revealing the unblemished, flat stomach, the muscles that play beneath the skin. So much more buff now than he was when they were together as mortals, and she gets to enjoy it. Forever. Now, even, all she has to do is reach out, and…

Celia blinks a few times and turns her face away, then finally gets up and moves across the room to distract herself so she doesn’t pounce on him while he’s half-naked. She opens the refrigerator in want of something else to do. His earlier question made her wary.

GM: Celia smells the coppery tang as soon as she opens the fridge. The grisly “food” is where she left it in the lower produce compartment: leakage is easier to clean up there. There isn’t much blood left at all in the plastic-wrapped body parts. Celia was very thorough. A human probably wouldn’t smell anything. But she isn’t human.

Celia: She shuts the door just as quickly.

How had he missed it? Or does he just not care that she’s got a fridge full of body parts?

That’s what love must be: finding a body in your girlfriend’s apartment and not asking questions.

GM: She finds Roderick on his phone wherever they’ve decided to practice. He sets it down and tosses her the best workout clothes he could find in her closet.

It’s not like they ever sweat. Or need to work out.

Celia: It took her all of two seconds to open and close the door, but she supposes that’s the problem with millennials. Can’t pry them away from their devices.

“Are you telling your other girlfriend you’re going to be late?” she asks as she strips and changes into the offered clothing. Yoga pants. T-shirt. It’s not like she only owns ball gowns.

GM: He watches her appreciatively at first, his fangs lengthening in his mouth, then turns away.

“What gave you the idea I had another girlfriend?” he asks with amusement.

Celia: “Cute guy like you?”

GM: “I’ve been with other girls. But not in a while. Plenty else to keep busy with.”

Celia: “I’d ask who, but then I’d have to beat them up, and apparently I don’t even know how to make a fist.” Celia sighs at him, hands on her hips.

GM: “I can see why. I already want to do you over the bed.”

“The way you move, the way you dress, the way you look… you make everything hot.”

Celia: Celia beams at him. She tosses her head, hair flipping over her shoulder.

“Maybe if you win I’ll even let you.” She watches him for a minute, then asks, “you’re not gonna lose it on me if we’re not really fighting but I hit you or something, are you? Because, just… I don’t know if I could actually take you like that…”

GM: “God, and your smile,” he smiles back. “I really just want to flip you over right n…”

He trails off at her question, but shakes his head. “Maybe if you were fighting with your claws out. Bare-handed shouldn’t be enough to seriously hurt me, though.”

Celia: “That’s why we never got anything done last time,” Celia reminds him, but she’s still grinning. She finds a tie for her hair and pulls it up so it’s out of her face, bouncing lightly on the balls of her feet.

“This one of those things where I have to call you sensei? Teacher? Mister Roderick? I think I’ve got a plaid skirt somewhere…” she trails off, wiggling her brows at him.

GM: “It’s in the way you move, how you just make every little thing so sexy… you’re irresistible…” he murmurs, pulling her close. His hands start to explore her body as he nuzzles her neck.

Her next words only seem to make him more excited.

“Mmm, why don’t I help you change out of these clothes, first…”

Celia: She starts to tell him that they’re supposed to be doing something—she doesn’t get dressed like this for no reason—but it flies out of her mind the moment he pulls her in. Her resolve falters; why put in the effort of learning how to fight when the lick in front of her is so much sweeter?

They’d made it further than usual, at least. All the way into sweats.

GM: Before those come off.

Friday night, 11 March 2016, PM

GM: The lovers lie naked and spent in one another’s blood-streaked arms. Roderick chuckles.


“You’re never going to learn to fight at this rate.”

Celia: “Probably not,” she agrees. She doesn’t look too put out about it though. “If someone comes after me I’ll just blind them with my dazzling smile.”

GM: “Could you make yourself look, maybe… uglier?”

He laughs again.

Celia: She gives him a flat look.

GM: “You’re really too sexy for your own good. It’s very distracting.”

Celia: “I could get a bag, maybe. Poke some eyeholes in it. Would that work for you?”

GM: He looks thoughtful.

Celia: “Oh my god. I was kidding.”

GM: He smirks and squeezes her against his chest. “I’m just worried it wouldn’t make you un-sexy enough.”

Celia: “You’re ridiculous,” she mutters. She leans into him all the same, a satisfied smile pulling at her lips. “I have a weird question for you.”

GM: “Can’t be weirder than my thinking you should wear a bag over your head,” he smiles back.

Celia: “I wonder if we can say it’s a new trend and convince the rats to try it.”

“But I was wondering… you don’t get off the same way I do. But you said earlier that you don’t mind it. So I’m just kind of curious what it feels like.”

GM: “It’s… it’s really not that bad, actually. It’s kind of like the first time I got off, where I felt so close, and didn’t have any idea when I would finally come. Part of me wanted to stop, but also keep going…”

If Celia didn’t know any better, she’d say he was enjoying himself.

Celia: “Hm.” She can’t relate. The first time she’d gotten off had been with him, and she hadn’t had much choice in the matter; it had kind of just snuck up on her all of a sudden without her doing much of anything. He’d taken care of all of that, the first time. “But you don’t mind it? Or you… like it?” She looks up at him.

GM: He seems to think for a moment.

“Uh… maybe?”

Celia: “I was just going to say if you’re not into it we don’t have to do it every time, is all.”

GM: “No, no, I think…”

He trails off, then smiles.

“Would you like to play with my dick? As an ‘experiment?’”

Celia: Celia doesn’t need further encouragement than that. She’s happy to lend a hand. Then her mouth. The rest of her, too, even if he doesn’t take her up on it yet, so she sticks to her mouth, with her fingers wrapped around the base. Just as she used to do for him, the way he showed her he liked all those years ago.

GM: He swiftly grows hard under her touch. Celia keeps going for a while. He breathes and pants (both needlessly, but perhaps a psychophysiological reflex). Towards what feels like the end, he tenses and breathes harder, but Celia doesn’t feel anything come out of his shaft.


“That felt… good.”

Celia: She looks up at him from where she’s kneeling between his legs.

“Yeah? Like you, ah, got there good?” She’d almost thought there’d be blood. “Or like it was mildly enjoyable good?”

GM: “I’m pretty sure I got there…”

He smiles and puts his hands around her, just under her armpits, and lifts her into the air. He sets her down on the couch and pulls her against him. His arms encircle her belly.

“You make everything around you better. You know that? Everything you touch comes out with a coat of gold. The makeup is part of it. Making people look like their best selves. But that’s only part of what you do.”

“The way you gave Emily a family. The way you turned your mom’s life around. The way you brought, bring, so much happiness into mine. You’re like a fire. A sun. The closer someone gets to you, the more the more warmth and joy you bring into their life.”

Celia: Nestled against him, snug within the circle of his arms, she can almost believe him. That she makes things better. That she’s capable of being good.

But that’s not true, isn’t it? None of the planets closer to the sun than theirs can sustain life, and a fire eats up all the oxygen in the room. It’s like her. It just destroys. The pretty little flames melt the skin off anyone stupid enough to get too close.

Would he still think the same if he knew the truth? If he knew how monstrous her sire is, the terrible things that she has done, still does, plans to do? The lives—and unlives—she’ll destroy to claw her way to the top? Could he still care for her then?

Celia tucks her cheek against him. She’d asked herself two nights ago if she could be better for him. She can. She can try, at least. He’s worth that much, deserves that much from her.

“That was really beautiful, you know. You give me hope for the future. That it can be beautiful, even with this thing inside of us. That we can be good, do good things, be better than the rest of them, than what they think we have to be. You make me think it’s all possible.”

GM: His hand traces along her flank.

“That’s what Carthage was, you know. Maybe not literally. But as a story. An ideal. That a whole city of licks, just like us, could all decide to be better than what everyone thinks we have to be. To use their powers and immortality as a force for good. To live in harmony with mortals, to no longer need any lies between us, with both races using their abilities to build something together that they never could apart.”

“That’s what I see, too, when I look at you. A citizen of Carthage. The promise of something better.”

He hugs her close.

“I love you, Celia. I love you so much.”

“I don’t know how I was able to spend so much of my Requiem without you, or how I could’ve been so stupid as to throw you away, but I’m not ever going to make that mistake again.”

Celia: His words fill her with warmth. She’s safe here in his arms, pressed against his chest. Cheek on his shoulder, she breathes him in and closes her eyes, letting his love wash over her.

She’ll never tell him. Never tell him that she’s not what he thinks. Never give him a reason to look at her like she’s some sort of monster. She can protect him from that, from the worst of their kind. Maybe she’s not a fighter, but she can still be a shield of sorts.

“I love you too, Roderick. I missed you. Every night we weren’t together I missed you. So much.” She twists in his arms, turning to face him. She touches a hand to his cheek, trails kisses across the other side: brow, cheek, jaw, lips. “People say they have all the time in the world, you know, when they talk about the future. But it’s true for us in a way it isn’t for others. We have forever. Eternity. Together. We don’t need to be apart again. We never have to be apart again.”

It doesn’t feel like enough, not next to what he said to her. But it’s what she has, what she can give him.

GM: He kisses her forehead. Traces a hand along her hair as he stares up into her eyes.

“God, I don’t even want to go to Elysium tonight. Having to pretend as if we’re total strangers in public.”

GM: “Part of me wants to just spend more time with you. Actually get started teaching you to fight.”

Celia: She gives him a wistful smile.

“I wish. I’d love to tell those blowhards where to shove it. Tonight, though. Afterwards. I have a few things to take care of immediately after, but spend the day again. I feel safer when you’re here. And we can amuse ourselves until dawn however you want.”

She glances at the clock.

GM: There’s enough time to get ready and go to Elysium without rushing, but probably not an extended martial arts lesson.

“Okay,” he relents. “Are you going to talk to Dani tonight?”

Celia: She’s more concerned about the ghoul’s body she needs to put back together than the boxing.

“If I can find her.”

GM: He looks worried. “You can do that, can’t you? Or else how do we get her out?”

Celia: “Yes, Roderick. I’ll find her. Of course I can find her.”

She hesitates a beat. What if she can’t find her? What if she’s overly optimistic about this whole plan? She tries not to let him see it, the uncertainty. But she’s never been able to hide her emotions from him, has she? It’s there in her eyes, all he has to do is look into them. Belatedly, she averts her gaze.

GM: “Oh my god! Celia, we can’t just have her running around loose with no idea where she is!” he exclaims.

Celia: “And I can’t make contact and tip our hand until we’re ready to move her. It has to be one smooth operation, otherwise it’s going to get messy. Is that what you want?”

GM: “I want you to at least know where she is! How the hell are we going to move her without that?”

Celia: “I’ll find her,” Celia says again. “I just don’t think I should approach her yet.”

GM: “Okay, just… find her. We need to be ready to go, as soon as Ayame comes through.”

Celia: “Roderick… what if she doesn’t?”

GM: “We’ll deal with that then.”

Celia: She makes a noise that might be assent. She doesn’t say anything. Not for a long minute. She’s not particularly hopeful that everything will go off without a hitch.

She finally changes the subject.

“What do you know about Carolla? If we’re going to take down the Mafia we can start there.”

GM: “Brujah, like me. He’s showed up to the rants. I’ve slugged it out with him a few times.”

“Can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. Decent in a fight, though.”

“There was a stupid rumor going he’s Coco’s childe.”

Celia: “…oh?”

GM: Roderick actually looks a little angry at that.

“It’s pure bullshit. You’ve probably heard how coy he plays over his sire.”

Celia: Is it, though? She’s kept Roderick too busy to pick him off, anyway.


GM: “My guess would be it’s a nobody and this is how he builds up his rep.”

Celia: “Thought Brujah didn’t care about who their sires were, just their own merit.”

“Anyway, isn’t he First Estate? Kind of lame for a Brujah.”

GM: “We don’t, that’s the thing. He makes it a mystery and that gets people curious, anyway.”

Celia: “Ah. The game of rumors.”

GM: “Also, we might not, but the other clans do.”

“Sheriff spared me because of who my sire was, at the massacre. I’m not blind to that.”

“Or how being able to say I’m Roderick Durant, childe of Coco Duquette, childe of William Starkweather, childe of Eleanor de Valois, childe of Adana de Sforza, childe of Losario, childe of Troile, opens more doors with elders.”

Celia: “Do you think it matters, though? Who someone’s sire is?”

She doesn’t bother pointing out that the sheriff spared him because Coco set up the massacre. He has to know.

GM: “100% not. I’m not my sire. Or grandsire. Or so on and so on down the line. If you mean ‘matter’ in the sense of ‘should it entitle them to preferential treatment in Kindred society,’ at least. For good or ill, it definitely has consequences.”

Celia: “What about those people who have super fucked up sires. Like real monsters. You think they come out like that? Like how people turn into their parents?”

GM: “I’d say they can, but they don’t have to. Wright had a horrific sire and he’s turned out… mostly okay. But not everyone is that lucky or resilient, and I doubt things are perfect with him either. A horrible sire can fuck your Requiem up in all sorts of ways, just like a horrible breather parent can.”

“In a perfect world, either of those scenarios wouldn’t be a barrier to your future opportunities, but we don’t live in a perfect world.”

“I’m very lucky with who my sire was. Both that she descends from a fairly prestigious line, which opens more opportunities to me, and also because she treated me decently. Which also opens more opportunities, in other ways.”

Celia: “People think I’m a slut. Because of Veronica. And how she sleeps with everyone. They assume that I’m the same way. I’ve heard rumors…” Celia trails off, shaking her head. “The things they say about me are just… ugly. And I wonder, y’know, what it’d be like if she weren’t my sire. If it were even someone like Pietro, or if my grandsire had gotten to me instead. Same line, different reputation.”

“Anyway, sorry, we were talking about you. And beating up Carolla.”

GM: “You probably would have a different reputation,” Roderick says thoughtfully. “For good or ill, our sire colors everything about our Requiem. Some licks think that’s unfair and some think it’s right and proper, but there’s no avoiding it.”

Celia: “It’s the same as anything, really. Like you said. Being born to a different breather family would have made my life different, too.”

GM: “And even among the Brujah, we aren’t completely indifferent to it. Elders tend to put more stock in lineage than neonates. And if your sire was someone like Jeremy MacNeil… we might not think you’re better than another lick, but you’ll have people wondering what you did to impress such a badass sire.”

Celia: “I mean, aside from him just being an accident. But you think he’s making it up.”

GM: “I think he does it to get licks talking, which is exactly what we’re doing.”

Celia: “Maybe. I asked about him, you just brought up his sire,” Celia points out.

GM: “It’s the only noteworthy thing about him.”

Celia: “Because you’re mad that Coco might have Embraced him. Doesn’t his dad run the Mafia?”

GM: Roderick gives her a flat look. “Coco didn’t Embrace him.”

Celia: “I could find out. If you really want to know.”

GM: He looks angrier. “I just said she didn’t Embrace him!”

Celia: Celia holds up her hands, placating. “Sorry. I was kidding.”

GM: “I’ve seen no evidence. Absolutely none.”

Celia: “You mentioned him a while back. I remember because I made fun of his name. And you said there was something weird about him?”

“But then we got distracted.”

With sex, probably.

GM: “Sorry, don’t remember. That was a while ago.”

Celia: “You are dead to me,” Celia says with a sigh.

GM: “Oh, too bad. I was going to suggest we take a shower together before Elysium.”

“But since I’m dead…”

Celia: Celia considers him.

“I’m actually a necromancer, so… I guess I can bring you back.”

She presses the palm of her hand against his forehead.

“You’re healed.”

GM: He smirks, gets off the couch, and picks her up, positioning his arms under her knees as she holds onto his shoulders.

“Let’s see how healed…”

Friday night, 11 March 2016, PM

Celia: Their shower turned into another bout of sex, more enjoyable beneath the spray of the water as members of the undead than it had ever been while they were alive. She’d made him wash the blood off of her after that, scrubbing her back while she was awake to enjoy it, and she’d returned the favor once he was done with her.

It’s a feeling she can get used to, more showers with Roderick. Waking up with him. Spending her evenings with him. Already she’s looking forward to the end of Elysium so she can hit up the Evergreen, fix the ghoul, and jet back here to spend more time with him. Eternity, right? Somehow it doesn’t seem long enough.

He’d laughed at her when she had dithered over what to wear. He has it easy, she tells him, all he has to do is slap on a suit and tie and he looks presentable. Plus he’s an Anarch, it’s not like anyone is really judging him for what he wears. She walks a finer line. Not quite welcome in this domain because of who she serves, childe of a harpy, grandchilde and great-grandchilde of two primogen, hangs with the bitches who titter all night over a faux pas… it’s a lot to handle.

She’d changed twice before settling on the green gown. Seafoam or mint or shamrock or emerald, some such variant that means green without being so gauche as to actually say the word, because god-forbid licks like her stoop to such plebian descriptors. Mermaid cut, gauzy, with a tiny train and cutouts along the midriff and thighs that offer a peek at the delectable Kindred wrapped inside the ruched tulle.

Jewels glitter at ear and throat, though her neck is left bare, and, as always, she wears her fire opal ring on the middle finger of her left hand. A pair of black heels complete the look. None so tall as her sire glides around in—she’d be a fool to try to mimic Veronica’s footwear—but strappy all the same, with a delicate strap around her ankle.

She even finds an overcoat in case it rains, pulls her hair into an effortless up-do that leaves a few strands free to curl around her face, and swipes on a fresh coat of lipstick. She almost can’t pry her eyes from the mirror once she’s done, and she’s glad that she and Roderick had fucked themselves silly because she looks bangin’.

Celia winks at her reflection before she leaves.

GM: Roderick agrees. He runs his hands along her shoulders in shoulders in massage-like motions as she finishes up in the mirror.

“Keep that on,” he murmurs into her ear. “I’m going to fuck you in it later.”

Celia: Do they really need to go to Elysium?

She doesn’t think it’s possible for her stomach to flutter anymore. She’s dead. But it does anyway. A thrill runs through her at the words. She’s already wondering what part of her evening she can shift to tomorrow so she can get back here more quickly.

GM: Roderick’s hands move down from her shoulders. They squeeze her breasts and rub up and down the hips her gown’s mermaid cut makes so deliciously plain.

“Wrapped and dolled up just like a present…”

Celia: Celia only lets him touch her for a minute, only leans back against him and closes her eyes while he tells her the words she loves to hear for long enough to think that maybe they could just skip it…

No, no, no.

“Shhh,” Celia says, pulling his hands away, “if you don’t hush I’m going to jump you again, and then we’ll definitely never make it.”

GM: “Would that really be so bad?” he smiles. “I know you’re thinking it.”

Celia: “I am thinking it, that’s the worst part, that I just want to lock the two of us in here and let you ravish me.”

GM: “Sex with clothes on is messy. But we don’t even sweat…” he murmurs. His hands move back to her hips, then start appreciatively tracing her rump. “We could make it fast… I could do you right here on your vanity, arms around my neck, sexy dress on the whole time…”

Celia: “And show up smelling like sex and blood so everyone knows that we just fucked each other?” Celia gives him a look. It’s an appraising look, because she very, very much wants to do as he says. To hop up onto her vanity and let him slide the dress up her legs, to let him part her thighs with his hands or body and slip inside. To fuck. He doesn’t have to make it messy, she doesn’t have to make it messy, he’d said before that he just likes to drink blood, none of the kinky shit…

She shivers in his arms, clearly torn. She wants him. Wants him now, wants him later, wants him forever. He’s hers. His blood calls to her, and it’s so close, right beneath the surface, all she has to do is lean in and… bite.

Unless he means fuck like breathers.

Then there really is no mess. Nothing to clean up because he doesn’t actually…

She stops her thoughts from traveling further down that line. They don’t have time. It’s the blood, she knows, the collar they share, their prior history, his adoring words. It’s just like last time, when they’d never actually gotten to any of the rants because they’d been too busy bumping into cars and fucking on the roof to get anything done.

She’d never imagined there’d come a time when she wanted to turn down sex. Not with him. But she has things to do tonight. People to talk to.

Finally, she shakes her head, turning in his arms to press a kiss against the underside of his jaw.

“Later,” she whispers in his ear, “after you’ve been thinking about me all night, about the things we’re going to do together, after you’re so riled up and turned on that you can’t even think straight. Then…” she trails a hand down his chest, “then you can unwrap your present.”

GM: “Oh, I want to fuck my present with the wrapping still on, when she looks this delicious…” Roderick grins, his hands longingly kneading and squeezing her ass.

He relents after a moment, though, with a wistfully effected sigh.

“But I guess you’re right. Licks to see. Things to do, besides each other. And it does feel like a waste for you to get so dressed up without going out.”

He hefts her up, moving one arm under her legs and the other around her back.

“Carry you to your car, at least?” he smiles.

Celia: He spoils her, truly. It’s the sort of treatment she can get used to, the kind of thing she deserves, beautiful creature that she is. She shouldn’t have to walk, not when there’s a dashing Brujah here to do it for her, not when she fits so snugly against him. Cradled in his arms, head against his chest, her thoughts run as wild as the hands that roam his body. Teasing, gentle caresses, nipping at his neck, his ear, his lips. He reminds her to lock the door and she does it in a haze, back to him before she’s even finished putting the key back into her purse.

He fills her world. He is her world. Sire who? No one else matters, not when she has Roderick. Soul mates. There it is, the beautiful word that ties them together. Have to be, don’t they, because she can’t think of another place she’d rather be than right here nestled against him.

Her feet find the ground again, but Celia pays it no mind. He says something, his lips moving, but she doesn’t hear the words because she’s busy pulling him in, pressing her lips against his, her body against his, her arms around his neck, holding him close. A flash of fangs against his skin, not enough to cut, but to give it to him two ways, lick and human both.

She could drown in his love. She is drowning, spiraling down, further and further, and she doesn’t need the air to breathe so she doesn’t care, they can find the bottom of the abyss together, see how deep the trench goes.

But something else pulls at her too. Commitments. Things she said she’d do, people she needs to see. She claws her way back to the surface, fighting against the shackle that has her by the ankles, the anchor that wants to sink her. She fights against it, kicking and screaming to pull herself up, up, out. Her head breaks the surface and she can breathe again, but the waves keep rolling over her, crashing again and again, and she clings to him, her little place of safety in the turmoil.

She’ll see him again. Soon. That’s what makes her finally pull back, touch a hand to his cheek, look up into his eyes. Soon. Thirty minutes. He’ll be there, and they’ll pretend they don’t know each other, that they mean nothing to each other, but it’s just another game. Another game to keep them safe. Another game in a city of lies.

But tonight. Later. Errands, then him. All night, all day, the next night and day. Him.

“Temporary goodbyes shouldn’t hurt so much,” she whispers.

GM: Perhaps she notices how long it takes him to carry her to her car. More likely she doesn’t. It’s a nice feeling to not need to think about anything in the world, even walking, except the lover with his arms under her.

Her teasing touch when he finally (and so reluctantly) sets her down clear electrifies him. He pulls her close, her breasts pressing against his chest, his hands squeezing her rear, as he plants hungry kisses against her lips. His tongue explores her mouth, tracing against her fangs. She can feel how long and sharp his are, too. He runs his hands through her hair. He wraps his arms around her back and hugs her against him like he wants nothing more than to hold her in place there forever.

Some of it has to be the bond, this sheer intoxication with one another. But it’s real, too. She knows it is. It’s a rose planted in already fertile soil.

“It almost feels like a crime to set you down,” he whispers ruefully into her ear. “Those dainty little feet of yours shouldn’t ever have to touch the ground. You should have admirers to carry you everywhere.”

Celia: Her eyes all but shine as she looks up at him, cheeks flush with blood. She doesn’t care that it’s a conscious act to send it there, she wants him to see what he does to her, the effect that he has on her.

It’s real. It is. His sire has said it is rare, and their kind maybe don’t believe in it, but she knows the truth. They’re both capable of love, and they’ve found it in each other.

“How would they ever get close to me if you’re around to beat them off with a stick, hm?” Celia slides her hands up his chest, then around the back of his head to slide through his hair. “I don’t need any admirers but you.”

GM: “God…” he murmurs, his hands continuing to appreciatively trace up and down her backside.

“You’re too good for them, for Elysium. It’ll only seem fair if they declare you’re the exhibit. The center of the evening, for everyone else to gush about and admire.”

“They should put you on a throne. And all the other licks should have to beg just for a turn of getting to help carry it.”

Celia: “Everyone already knows that,” Celia tells him, smirking. It’s true, though. Jade’s face was designed to be the prettiest lick in the city, and anyone who says otherwise is simply lying to themselves. She’s not so gauche as to brag about it, though. She’s never even said as much out loud.

“A throne, hm? I’ve a crown somewhere, maybe I’ll put it on tonight and make you worship me.”

GM: He just presses her close. “Oh, I already worship you. When Elysium’s all over, and we’re back here, I’m going to carry you inside. I’m going to set you down over the sink, and hand-wash the bottoms of your shoes, so we don’t ever have to be reminded they touched the earth. Then I’m going to carry you to bed, and unwrap my present, just a little, when I crawl up between your legs, with your sexy dress still on. Then I’ll really worship you, to pay you back for that blowjob.”

Celia: “Now that,” she murmurs, pulling him down to press her lips against his once more, “sounds like a perfect end to the evening.” Her body responds to his words, nipples stiffening and moisture pooling between her thighs at the thought of him kneeling before her. Oh, yes, a wonderful evening indeed.

It’s difficult after that to extricate herself from him, but a glance at his watch tells her that if they don’t get going they’re both going to be late, and that will set all sorts of tongues wagging. Not in the good way, either. Not like he promises to do later.

“Four?” She turns it into a question. Four am. Enough time for her to complete her tasks and get back here so he can ravish her, provided Elysium doesn’t run long.

GM: “Four,” he repeats longingly. He opens her car door, then picks her up and sets her down in the driver’s seat, as if solely to enjoy having her in his arms again. He pulls up the hem of her dress, pulls down her panties, and runs his fingers along and inside her womanhood, getting as much of her dampness all over them he can.

“Have to keep you dry so your dress doesn’t stain,” he smiles.

It doesn’t help that she probably just gets wetter.

Celia: It doesn’t help at all. She almost yanks him into the car with her so that he can finish the job. She makes a noise, clearly discontent when he pulls away, her lips pulled back from her teeth to growl at him.


GM: “Turnabout is fair play,” he smirks, though his eyes turn concerned after a moment. “I can grab you a towel from inside, though. You don’t want to have even a hair out of place around the harpies.”

“Maybe some new underwear too, if yours got wet. They might be able to smell it.”

Celia: Celia pats the purse, then makes a vague gesture to her glove compartment as well.

“I have wipes,” she tells him, “and I’ll simply remove my panties. Now you have to think about that while they drone on tonight.”

GM: “Oh, are you sure? You don’t want me rifling through your underwear drawer and picking out a sexy pair?”

Celia: “Oh, no, I’ll let you dress me for tomorrow, so that when I go to this tedious dinner function you’ll know I’m thinking about you.”

GM: “That does sound incredibly tedious without me there. But okay, if you’re not wearing panties tonight…”

Celia doesn’t see the lightning-fast Brujah do it, but she feels her suddenly close-together legs shoot up into the air. The she sees the panties dangling from his hand. He rubs his wet fingers against them to towel off.

“I think I’ll keep these inside my jacket as a good luck charm.”

Celia: “Then you’re going to smell like sex,” Celia points out, but she’s too busy giggling at the sight to put any heat into her words.

GM: He smiles back, ruefully. “You’re right. I suppose I’ll just have to keep them in my car, until I can get them framed or mounted to a plaque in my new haven.”

“Or maybe I should donate them to an art museum as a priceless piece of cultural heritage.”

Celia: “You could auction them off online. I think my panties might sell for a pretty penny, especially worn.”

GM: “But there’d be no one with enough money to buy them. It’d be like with the Cullinan, where all they could do was give it to the British monarchy.”

Celia: “I guess they’re yours forever then.” She tilts her head, considering. “I kind of like the idea of you carrying around a little piece of me.”

GM: “I like it a lot too.” He leans in to kiss her.

“All right. I love you. Make sure you get everything with the wipes.”

Celia: “I will. I love you too. I’ll see you soon. Or rather, I’ll studiously avoid looking at you soon and sneer at the mention of your name.”

GM: “You and me both,” he says with another rueful look. He closes the car door, waves, and heads off to his own car.

It feels like it’s going to be a very long Elysium.


Emily Feedback Repost

First Scene

I suppose there could have been more fanfare about giving Roderick a key to her place. I was thinking about it the other day and had to scroll back to see if she’d already done it. He didn’t even say thanks, or make any noise about how she trusts him, or anything. What a noob.

“You defended yourself and what’s yours,” Celia says to Roderick, and then he goes, “defended you too.” And I’m like yes that’s what Celia meant she’s yours, dummy.

”Do you think I’m some battle-hardened, dreadful criminal who slaughters people and is completely inured to it?” I mean yes.

I’m not sure if Roderick felt better by what she said about doing what he needed to do, anyway. Hopefully it helped. I’m sure bringing it up at Elysium the next night probably didn’t, but oh well.

They’re a cute couple. She’ll break his heart again because that’s the kind of cunt she is, but they’re cute together and I’m glad they got back together.

Second Scene

The intro here reminds me that Celia still needs to order new furniture for her haven since Roderick destroyed the last of it. Hope he doesn’t expect her to abandon it just because she has agreed to move in with him. Wonder if she’s going to have to pay rent. How wealthy is Roderick anyway? Decent car, paid the lawyer dude without complaint, cut her a check with no issue… what does he even do for money? These are things I don’t know about him that I should. 

Cute exchange here. Callback to her telling her dad that he can’t take her makeup because it’s "cruel and unusual punishment." Celia would prob frenzy if she woke up and he’d fucked with her appearance to be totally honest. Thought about telling him it was his broodmate that she’d seen Veronica brutalizing but figured it wasn’t worth the conversation. He doesn’t seem to care much about Micheal. 

Celia: “I’ve seen you brute force a phone, Rod, there’s a lot of broken glass involved.”

I’m hilarious.

So he brings up the food in her fridge here and didn’t ask about the body. I always wondered why. I think she mentions something about it later: that’s what love is, finding a body in your girlfriend’s apartment and not asking why. Thought she’d have to explain that he was a hunter / etc. Was getting ready to lay down all sorts of lies. Then didn’t ask. Wompwomp. But made sure to find out why she had food, like that was the weirdest thing in there. Lol. He amuses me. I’m also curious about how he’d improve security and would like to revisit that topic. Celia mostly relies on it not being a known place. Only people who for sure know are her, Donovan, Roderick, and now Randy (since he picked up the body). Which is good, but not foolproof. 

Still an interesting thought to get Diana and Henry together. Going to leave the Maxen topic alone for a moment, but I think those two could be cute together. Probably should have told her dinner w/ Maxen went poorly if I wanted her to more seriously consider Henry as a partner, but… oh well. He’d have to move to the Quarter since I’m not letting Diana move to Uptown, though.

I think Celia’s pitch here to keep Dani in the city makes sense. I didn’t roll for it but like… it makes sense, you know? Don’t take her from her dad. They’d just spoken about how Stephen’s death had destroyed him, why take his other kid away? From a personal standpoint it makes sense. And I know he’s concerned about Savoy murdering Dani, and it kind of hurts my plan that Celia can’t just be like, “look I have more standing with him than you think because I’m his grandchilde,” which obviously is not her secret to tell. And maybe she doesn’t have any more standing with Savoy than she would if she weren’t his grandchilde, but obviously Roderick doesn’t know that. I was actually going to just tell him that he’s her sire and leave Donovan out of it, but y’know. 

I mean honestly the whole thing could have been avoided if I just hadn’t told him that Savoy knows who she is, so that’s my bad for blabbing. Thought it would make him trust Celia more. 

I’m always torn on what to say on feedback when an event happens over the course of multiple logs. But like here he says, “talk to Savoy’s people and ask if they saw you,” which is why she left with Gui, and he never even asked about it. 

“My life is in danger if you don’t do this” definitely didn’t work out like I thought it would. Whoops.

This sex thing with Roderick being able to enjoy it is pretty cool. I don’t know if it’s just other licks don’t give themselves the chance to try it and he does, if he’s feeling something down the Blood Sympathy line, or if Celia is rubbing off on him, but it’s pretty cool. Not like a big deal that he can have sex too but it makes me feel like they’re closer.

Celia has a lot of thoughts that she doesn’t share and I kind of just think maybe she should sometimes. 

“Do you think it matters who someone’s sire is?” She was lowkey gonna get into the “my sire is a monster” talk but then we didn’t since he didn’t really answer her question the way she wanted him to. Think it’s something she’ll need to clear up with him before she ever comes out as his childe, though. 

They fucked, what, three times before leaving for Elysium? Plus a blowjob? Christ. If she bonds him any further they’ll literally never leave the apartment. “How was Celia written out?” “She wasn’t, she’s still fucking someone somewhere.” 

Re: the quote, I hadn’t realized that the Rod/Celia stuff took up so much of the log (half), so it could be something from their dialogue. 

Celia IV, Chapter VII

Calder Feedback Repost

Calder: Key-wise, I did think that was sweet
Rod wasn’t really thinking about it, as he was still upset by how he’d cut up corpses and dumped them in the Gulf

Emily: Rude.
Just like
Get over the fact that you murdered some people
You know?
Celia did.

Calder: Rod is better than she is, though

Emily: ouch

Calder: So she should feel jealous and inadequate
And self-sabotage

Emily: You right, lemme go back to see one of her boytoys again


Calder Yesterday at 11:43 AM
That is a good question you raise on what Rod does for money
Can always ask

Emily Yesterday at 11:44 AM
He’s in the mafia

Calder Yesterday at 11:44 AM
Celia frenzying if her appearance was marred is pretty reasonable

Emily Yesterday at 11:44 AM
I’d Rouse that to beat him up, too

Calder Yesterday at 11:45 AM
Rod does not care much for Micheal. His brother’s player never sought to establish a relationship with him IG
I was amused by her brute force quip


Calder Yesterday at 11:54 AM
“But like here he says, “talk to Savoy’s people and ask if they saw you,” which is why she left with Gui, and he never even asked about it. "
In fairness, he did say for you to ask them
Vice see if they ask you
Glad you liked the sex with Roderick. It’s obviously a very important thing to Celia, and if she didn’t get it from him, she might actually be pretty starved for it
Well, relatively
I liked their talk about sires


Calder Yesterday at 12:02 PM
I enjoy Celia’s introspection a lot

Celia IV, Chapter VII
False_Epiphany False_Epiphany