There are many types of vampires on the market right now. Young and sexy, young and…sparkly, young and terrifying, old and terrifying, but how about: old and responsible? Old and financially savvy? They may not exactly fill a niche market, but guess what? These vampires deserve our attention and respect as well.
“Why?” you may ask. “What does he have to offer me?”
And to you I reply: “Because there may be more to them then what appears on the surface.”
Adrian, over two thousand years old, was not a young man when he was turned, so when I arrived to meet with him, it was to find a man who appears to be in his 60s, with grey hair and a neatly trimmed beard. Blue eyes twinkle in a subtly lined face. His suit is classic, brown tweed, complete with elbow patches and a silver pocket watch hanging from his waistcoat.
He leans over to kiss my hand in greeting and invites me to a brown leather wing-back chair in front of a large mahogany desk. A wall of windows overlooking a flawless lake in Switzerland is the offered view behind him, but my attention never strays from the vampire in the chair across from me.
A French serving girl he calls Jeanne brings in a tray of tea and biscuits for one. He thanks her and she leaves with a smile.
“Can I just start by asking what it’s like to be a vampire?” I begin. “We’ve all read the stories, seen the movies. but here you are able to give me a real answer.”
“You’ve read the stories, you’ve seen the movies. What else is there to know?” Adrian’s voice is smooth as butter, a low rumble that’s almost a purr. I need to give my head a shake and focus on his words before I get lost in the spell of it. “Ms. Walsh, being a vampire is like nothing you could imagine. You get to experience so much, have time to accomplish everything you’ve ever dreamed. And it can be dreadfully dull. It would be unbearable if it weren’t for the lovely people who come to ask me questions from time to time.”
I giggle and my cheeks turn red. “I’ve met with everyone else over the last couple of weeks. I hope you don’t feel too left out or ignored.”
Adrian grins, an interesting smile that keeps his elongated canines cleverly hidden. “Not at all, my dear. It’s perfectly understandable you would start with the key players in Katerina’s intrigue.”
“I think you’re underestimating yourself. From what I hear you’re Katerina’s oldest ally and friend. How did you two meet?”
Adrian taps his finger against his top lip. “That was a long time ago. I’m afraid our sorceress had got herself into quite a dangerous situation. A girl like Katerina, it’s best to help her when you’re able, to stay on her good side. Not that I begrudge helping her. When one has accumulated as much wealth as myself, it’s best when one can put it to good use.”
“Are you as well off as this beautiful home suggests?”
Another smile. “I’ve been fortunate.”
“Is it true that you act as Katerina’s accountant, as well?”
“I manage accounts for a number of people. I have an interest in stock trends and watching the figures climb. Playing with them is a relaxing way to pass the time.”
I glance around the large office. Floor to ceiling bookshelves line the wall to my left, and to my right a great fireplace, dark tonight with the mild temperature.
“How else do you pass your time. What would you consider ‘Adrian time’?”
He chuckles. “My dear, after you’ve been around as long as I have, it becomes a matter of finding chores to keep you busy, not how to relax.”
“There must be someone else to keep you company when Katerina is away?”
“Very few with her conversational skills,” Adrian answers.
I smile. “What about Barret? I’ve had the pleasure of speaking–well, sitting in the same room with him. Most of what I know is guess-work though. He’s in your employ, can you tell me anything about him?”
“He can be challenging,” the vampire agrees. “But he’s a loyal man, and most competent as my head of security.”
I sigh. “All right, I have to ask. Are there many other vampires? If so, what fictional type are they most like?”
“I could as soon do that as summarize humankind in one person. It cannot be done.”
I sense a wrap-up of our conversation and stand up. “Thank you for meeting with me,” I say. He smiles broadly – that small flash of teeth – and bids me a good night. Jeanne returns to lead me to the front door. It’s not until I walk out of the office and into a lovely foyer that I realise Adrian hadn’t answered one of my questions.
Adrian is a very private man, but despite the ruthless and dangerous nature you can sense beneath the gentleman-y veneer, he will always try to make a guest feel welcome in his home. His servants think highly of him, and Barret has been with him for years, which leads me to believe he keeps his vampirism safely tucked away when not needed. But I still wouldn’t try to get him angry.
And so ends my character profiles for Playing with Fire. With luck and good fortune you’ll be able to read more about the people and their story one day!