Marcus headed back to his basement apartment after the meeting with Dante ended. His head was buzzing with thoughts, although none of them were particularly coherent. He kept wondering if what Dante wanted to do was right, if he, Marcus, wanted to be a part of it, if Dante would notice him and ask him out...
Sexuality with many vamps, especially the old-style ones, was pretty fluid. It didn’t seem to matter what the gender of the other person was, just that they were willing to play. Marcus subscribed to this belief in theory, but in practice, he was pretty much a virgin vamp.
He got to his apartment building and unlocked the main door, stepping up and inside to where the mailboxes were located in the main hall. Unsurprisingly, his mailbox was stuffed full of flyers advertising everything from the Mr. Mozzarella and 2 for 1 pizza joints in the neighbourhood (“Also available with blood sauce”) to the local blood bank (“Come in after hours for expired blood”). The local businesses were quickly adapting to their new clientele.
He skimmed through the flyers before dumping them into the overflowing recycling box; Marcus was a conscientious reuser and recycler. Before he was turned, he was an active member of Greenpeace, complete with granola diet and Birkenstock sandals. He still kept the sandals in the summertime, but when he wanted to blend with the rest of the populace in the winter, it was much less practical to wear them in public; those who weren’t as culturally-sensitive tended to look upon someone with exposed toes in -30 degree weather with some suspicion. The rest avoided him like he ... well, like he was going to go for their necks.
Marcus took great offense, just like Louisa, at the stereotype that all vamps were into human blood. Keeping to his vegan ways even after he was turned, Marcus avoided dining on animal blood as much as possible. Instead, he and some of his science geek buddies drank synthetic, which they had developed and marketed themselves to other sensitive vamps across the country. Skippy, the unfortunately-monikered vamp who had originally developed the formula, had sold it to several major drugstore chains across the country, and was currently living quite richly on the proceeds. It’s just like your mother (or my aunt) always says; be nice to the geeks, ‘cause when they grow up, they’re the ones with the smarts, the money, and sometimes even the looks.
Marcus headed downstairs towards the basement, where he and Skippy shared an apartment. As he approached, he could feel the bass of the techno-grunge rock music/noise that Skippy preferred making the walls and even the floor vibrate. He pushed upon the door and stepped inside, wincing as the music assaulted his ears even more completely. Skippy claimed that he worked best while listening to this cacophony; although Marcus personally abhorred it, preferring to listen instead to loon calls and whale music, he couldn’t deny that Skippy was rather productive, and their bank accounts spoke volumes to that effect.
The apartment was an open-concept one; at least, that was how the superintendent had billed it. In reality, it was a converted root and wine cellar, but that suited both vamps perfectly fine. There was one main hallway that ran down the centre of the apartment before ending in a large sitting room. A door to the left opened into what used to be the root cellar; Marcus and Skippy had kept the dirt floors and turned it into their workroom, where their science experiments were held. On the right was the former wine cellar, and its wood panelling and elegant air lent itself well to their bar and entertainment area, where they often held their D&D games.
At the back of the apartment was the sitting area, with several bean bag chairs scattered about, and two futons pushed up against opposite walls. This was where Marcus and Skippy would sleep, when exhaustion pushed them right to the absolute edge. Like all of the rooms in the apartment, there were no windows anywhere, not even the small ones that could often be found in basement dwellings. Those existed instead in the laundry room, which was right next door to them; the sitting room bore the unfortunate scent of lemon-scented laundry detergent and fabric softener at all times. It didn’t really help to dispel the effeminate image that Marcus gave off.
Skippy, on the other hand, was one of the biggest, burliest vamps that anyone had ever seen. A retired bodybuilder before his turning, the change had merely removed any body fat that Skippy had managed to accumulate and left him as nothing more than a solid mass of muscles. He kept his hair cropped short, almost military-style, and his face always shone with the blue-black gleam of the freshly shorn. Even without piercing blue eyes, Skippy was dangerous to women; add the allure of the vamp gaze and he found himself followed home on a regular basis.
Yet he rarely took any of the women – or men – up on their offers. The sins of the flesh had never held much appeal for Skippy, who preferred to exercise his brain and his body instead. He felt that sexual pursuits dulled his senses and his will, leaving him with no interest in developing new formulas for blood. Like many men and women who rarely indulged in carnal pursuits, when Skippy did indulge, he overindulged. Men and women alike had, after several days straight, left the apartment looking weak, shaken, and almost deathly pale, their limbs shaking and their eyes haunted. After a few of these experiences, Skippy had resolved that it was better all-around if he simply practised celibacy, and focused his attention on his experiments or workouts, instead.
Marcus, though, was almost pathetically desperate for
vampire contact. He came home with new crushes on a regular basis, and Skippy had long-ago learned not to make too much of it anytime he heard of a new one. He used to encourage Marcus to pursue those who interested him, not understanding how difficult it was for someone as painfully shy as Marcus to meet someone new and not overwhelm them in a short period of time. Marcus often reminded Skippy of a cautious little puppy, hungry for affection, but too sad and scared to go seeking it. Nonetheless, he always listened carefully to Marcus’ tales and advised him, knowing all the same that his advice would not go anywhere.
When Marcus arrived home that evening, he felt full to the point of bursting with details of Dante and the meeting. But he wasn’t sure he wanted to share them with Skippy; although he didn’t say so, he knew that Skippy had tired of hearing of his crushes and no longer took him seriously. With Dante, Marcus felt that things were different. He felt drawn to Dante in a way that he never had before, with any other man, woman or vamp, and he wanted to hold Dante and feel their flesh and lips pressed together. He wanted to do whatever it took to make Dante happy, and if, as had been stated at today’s meeting, that meant that he had to hunt down this “Project” and her followers, then so be it.