“Absorbent and yellow and porous is he,” Sarah sang along as she picked up Tristan’s toys from off the floor and threw them into the bin next to the entertainment center. She sighed when she realized she had been doing it.

“Spongebob?” she muttered. “I’ve got to get out more often.”

She didn’t regret having Tristan – oh no, Tristan was one of the few truly positive things that had ever happened to her – she regretted that this wasn’t what she had imagined for herself.

Closing the chest, she walked over to the counter and picked up her glass of wine and sunk into the couch, putting her socked feet up on the coffee table, intent on enjoying having a clean living room for a few hours. The destructive power of toddlers was amazing, she was horrified of what her place might look like if she didn’t have a live-in to tidy up on a daily basis.

Picking up the remote she started flipping through channels before stopping on the classic movie channel. When the commercials ended a pre-Great Revelation vampire movie popped up. The movie was hardly five years. It was silly to think that it was a “classic” but the media had been rather stumped about what to do with those films. While some were fairly close to what vampires actually turned out to be, others were far off and it was now generally safer to just relegate them to classic channels as quaint and naive products of the past, like some of the more racist films of the first half of the century.

She sighed. A week and a half had passed since her foolish decision to drive down to Bon Temps and try to get her one-night-fling of a Master become something more. If she hadn’t heard from him by now, she didn’t expect to ever hear from him. She knew the guy code.

She flipped the channel over to the Game Show Network where an old rerun of Match Game ’73 was playing. Much better. Bad double entendres were exactly what the situation called for.

Twenty minutes later she was studying the freezer, looking for some Haagen Dazs to indulge in – if she was going to wallow, she fully intended to commit to it – and finally in the far back corner she found a lonely container of coffee ice cream. She peered in. Slightly frost-bitten but it would do. She was more disappointed that there were only a few spoonfuls left. She walked over to the chalk-board and added it to the shopping list for Rosa. She briefly considered going out to get some, but it was Rosa’s night off and she wasn’t about to wake up Tristan just for the sake of getting ice cream. She wasn’t that kind of callous. And some was better than none. Popcorn just didn’t comfort the soul in the same way.

Digging out a spoon she had it halfway in her mouth when the phone rang. And of course her phone was in her purse. She ran over to it, trying to not choke no her spoon as she did so. She pulled that out of her mouth as she reached it, digging into it, thanking her lucky stars she’d actually placed it in its designated pocket for once.

“Hello?” she said on what she thought might be the last ring before voice mail.

“Belle.”

He called! He actually called! She was about to replay when he continued.

“You will not speak, only listen.”

She shut her mouth. That was kind of cold.

 “You will knock on the door precisely at 9:00 pm tomorrow night. You will be wearing business attire. You will have an envelope in your hand with two lists: one with things you are curious to try and one with hard limits. You will give the envelope to the guard and then you will be led to my office where a stack of papers needing to be sorted and file will be there with along with a note containing any instructions you may need. You will not speak to anyone as you attend your task. I will collect you when I am ready for you. Deviate and your mind will be wiped of all encounters between us and you will be sent on your way.

I am doing this because I see potential in you. But do not mistake my concern for you as a sign of love or affection for you will only be disappointed. If this does not please you then stay away. Make the right decision Belle. You will make it on your own, for no one knows yourself better.

Choose wisely.”

There was a click and the line went dead.

She stared at the phone for a moment before scrambling to grab a pen and paper to jot down everything he had said. The vampire she’d met at the party had been warm and charming. The vampire she’d formally met was cold and distant. She wondered which one was wearing the mask.

She looked at the clock.

10:45 pm.

Less than 24 hours to make up her mind. But then she didn’t really have to decide, did she? She already knew her answer. The last sorry spoonfuls of ice cream forgotten, she retrieved her laptop from the den and returned to the kitchen table and powered it on.

She had homework to do.

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