In the process of cleaning out my closet last weekend I uncovered a portfolio of my writing from some of my workshops back in college. I've had a lot of fun glancing through the words I wrote ten years ago (!!!) and it's been exciting to see how far I've come as a writer since I was but a wee little Sarey. It was also wonderful to be reunited with my old characters whom I tucked away so long ago. These characters are the very first ones I truly fell in love with, and they're still close to my heart.
Since it's Halloween, I thought I'd share a spooky little scene with you. At the top of the page, I scribbled THE VAMPIRE COMES TO LONDON. So, without further ado...
It was the grand re-opening of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden and everyone who was anyone in the ton made sure to show up. This included Lord Gregory FitzWalter and his wife Caroline. The chair beneath Gregory creaked as he shifted and leaned over heavily on the arm to stifle a yawn. The company was opening the season with a rendition of “That Scottish Play” and while it was one of his favorites of Shakespeare’s work, his mind was elsewhere tonight.
Doing his best to avoid glancing in a different direction, he focused on the pearl earring dangling from his wife’s ear. It jiggled as she canted her head to the side. The stage filled with an eerie mist as the lights came up on the three witches circling their cauldron. Caroline shivered beside him.
As soon as the lights dimmed, Gregory took the opportunity to steal another glance at the woman on the other side of the theatre. Her box was directly opposite theirs–which he was certain was no coincidence–and a steady stream of gentleman callers still made their way past it, even though the play had long been in progress. It had to be her. There was no other like her in existence. He just wondered how she could possibly be here, in this place, at this time. Why?
The fair crown of blonde hair accented with the bright glitter of jewels, was nearly unmistakable. But that wasn’t what marked her as unusual. No, it was the pale, ethereal complexion that so many women coveted and no one achieved the way this one could. Her attention drew away from the stage. As though she felt his gaze, her bright green eyes shifted in his direction.
Their glances caught and tangled in mid-air, and the corner of her mouth turned upward. Like a spider snaring a fly in her web.
Gregory’s blood sang in his veins as the witches cackled on stage.
He certainly couldn’t sit still now. The delicate touch he felt all over his body was not from his wife, sitting right next to him. She’d faint at merely the suggestion of his true desires.
No, this was a different touch, and even though it was merely a memory he could still feel her cold hands searing his burning skin. If she could force him to recall these images with a simple half-smile of those pouting lips, he wondered what it would be like to find himself in her arms again. Gregory shifted once more, discreetly adjusting his tightening breeches.
Caroline reached her hand over and rested it on his knee. She turned her head slightly in his direction, keeping her eyes directed at the stage and whispered, “What ever has gotten into you? Be still.”
He squeezed her hand and placed it back in her lap.
“Not feeling well. That salmon at dinner. I need some air.” He rose and exited their box, galloping down the narrow red-carpeted stairway that led to the lobby. He burst through the front door and dodged through carriages as he made his way across the street. Though, he thought as far as the moon and back wouldn’t be enough distance to put between them.
Pacing up and down the block, gulping in the damp night air, he shoved his trembling hands deep in the pockets of his waistcoat. After a few trips to the corner and back his stride became more even, the knots in his stomach loosened along with his breeches, and the lightness in his head faded away.
He laughed aloud, thinking he was silly for letting a woman get to him in such a way.
“Better not do that too much, or people will think you’ve gone mad.”
Gregory snapped his jaw shut and spun around. She was standing there before him with a coy smile playing on her mouth and a look of hunger in her eyes. The fabric of her gown was woven so finely, with such an iridescent silk that if she swayed a certain way the street lamp above made it seem invisible. He nearly forgot himself and half reached out for her, before he snatched his hand back as though he’d stuck it in a flame.
The glowing lights of the grand theatre lit up the street even from this far away. The doorman stood like a statue on the steps but Gregory still couldn’t risk being seen with this woman. Eyes of the ton were everywhere.
“Am I?” Gregory demanded.
“No more than any other mortal being.” She took a step toward him.
“Don’t.” He stepped back. “I have a wife here. A family.”
“That didn’t stop you before.”
“That wasn’t real,” he insisted.
“Stop kidding yourself, or you will go mad.” She walked her fingers up the front of his waistcoat. “My darling, what we had was as real as it ever gets. When you change your mind, I’ll be waiting.” She slipped a dainty card into his pocket. The sweet smell of her perfume wafted up, intoxicating him as if he’d drunk a hundred goblets of Brandy after dinner instead of just the two.
Gregory glanced down and removed the card, fully prepared to thrust it back in her face, but there was nothing left in front of him except a bit of swirling fog.