Story Notes:

An episode set after 'Drawn and Quartered' but before all the angst of "Wrapped".Investigating the death of a young party girl, Vicki finds herself drawn into the hedonistic world of a wealthy wine maker.

M+ rating for adult themes.

Disclaimer: Blood Ties and its characters remain the property of Tanya Huff and Lifetime. No copyright infringement intended.

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It was mid-evening on a cold winters night. Vicki was dressed in her warm leather jacket and jeans, a scarf wrapped around her neck. She was walking along the top floor hallway of Henry Fitzroy's apartment building, towards his front door.

She hadn't been invited to his apartment tonight, but she had found herself feeling bored and lonely at home. She was hoping to use the pretence of needing to discuss their new 'unfaithful husband' case as an excuse to see him, when secretly she knew she just wanted Henry's company.

Vicki took off her eye glasses and put them in her pocket, straightening her pony tail before knocking on the door. After no response she knocked again. Surely the doorman would have told her if he had gone out? Gone out for a bite to eat? She sighed and began to walk away when she heard the door handle click. Henry greeted her with a look of surprise and concern.

"Vicki?"

"Hey.. what took you so long?" she enquired, attempting to look into the apartment to see if he had 'company'.

She took a moment to admire his clothing. Henry was always such a traditional, impeccably dressed vampire, wearing freshly pressed pants and collared shirts. Even when loitering around the house it seemed style was still a consideration. The gentle curls of his brown hair flowed to his shoulders.

Henry gestured for Vicki, to come inside, "I was working... I've got a week to finish the artwork for my next novel.. whats wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong Henry.. " she entered his apartment, taking her off her scarf and throwing it over the back of his black leather sofa. Vicki wondered if she'd have any luck getting him to buy her 'private investigator business' excuse, but gave it her best shot. "...just wanted to see if you wanted to tag along to the 'Mr-I'm-cheating-on-my-third-wife' stakeout tomorrow night?"

Smiling she walked over and sat down on his couch.

Henry paused for a moment and looked at Vicki questioningly, "And you had to come by... in person... at ten o'clock at night to ask me this?"

"Well I was in the neighbourhood... went out to get some late chinese" she lied, avoiding eye contact. Grabbing an 'artsy' book from his coffee table she put her feet up and got comfortable.

"Vicki, you really must practice keeping a straight face if you're planning on doing more under-cover work. You're a terrible liar." he teased and closed his front door.

Ignoring his comment, Vicki flipped through the pages of the book and persisted with her question "So you coming or not?"

Henry was pleased with the distraction of Vicki's visit, but at the same time could not afford the disruption. He returned to his artist's quarters, which were cordoned off in the corner of his living room by tall, black and white, paper-thin partitions. The walls were covered in a variety of colourful drawings, which he used as reminders when needing creative inspiration.

As he picked up his pencil and resumed his sketching, he responded more loudly now "Probably not... I have a lot of work to do Vicki. You'll need to go without me."

Vicki tossed the book back over to the coffee table. She was feeling a little dejected now, wondering if perhaps she should have called on Mike instead. She could imagine him, still awake, sitting up watching bad late-night TV, mulling over details of whatever crime had come his way through the precinct today. Maybe he would have given Vicki that bit of attention she was craving. Was it such a terrible thing for a girl to want a bit of affection without it having to lead to something all the time?

A little annoyed now, she got up and began to pace in the middle of the room "Hey Henry, you wanted to be a partner in this remember? You need to show a little commitment!" she said in a huff.

Still not looking up from his drawing, he stated simply "As much as you would like to believe that your life, and our little spy games are the number one priority, I actually do have another job to do. A real job that financially allows me to maintain the lifestyle in which I am accustomed. A vampire must make a living too you know."

"Fine Henry.." she began to storm off to the front door, feeling a little offended that he'd suggested her job was just a game.

"Oh Vicki, you really do get so stereotypical moody when it'sthat time of the month." he yelled out to her.

Vicki stopped in her tracks and spun around.

"How do you know that I..." she trailed off, confused for a moment.

He looked out at her in the living room, raised an eyebrow and gave her a knowing look.

"Oh... right..." the realisation that he could smell her came to mind, she scrunched her face in disgust.

Henry laughed at Vicki's facial expression. She really was distracting him now.

Henry stood and walked away from his draft table and over towards her. He circled her once before snaking an arm around her waist from behind her, pulling her in close.

As his fingers tucked loose strands of her hair behind her ear he leaned in to whisper to her. "You know, a vampire...and a woman" he placed several slow, gentle, little kisses along her neck as he continued. "at a time like this... can have a very symbiotic relationship. There are, how should I put it... 'benefits' for both parties."

He grinned mischievously before scraping his teeth ever so softly against her skin. As her pulse rate rapidly increased he was tempted to break through and take just a little.

Vicki shivered, lost in the sensation of Henry's lips and teeth tormenting her. She was in a happy daze. Slowly she replayed Henry's words in her head, her expression changing gradually as the realisation of his proposal began to sank in.

Blushing now she pushed him away playfully, "Ugh! Henry! That's disgusting! Change the topic please!" Until now she had thought it impossible to be a little turned on and repulsed all at the same time.

Henry laughed, shook his head and sighed "I will never understand why it is so taboo to discuss something that is just a perfectly natural human process." he questioned.

As much as Vicki had been seeking a little attention tonight, she certainly hadn't been expecting an offer like that. She was so overcome with embarrassment she struggled to respond.

"Uh well it just is buster... so deal with it." she stammered.

Henry relished in the fact he could make Vicki squirm. He studied her as she stood in the middle of the room, looking disorientated as if not quite sure where to look, or which way to turn. He watched her take her glasses back out of her pocket, breathing on the lenses before wiping them with the corner of her shirt and putting them back on.

"So is there anything else I can help you with tonight Vicki?"

"Umm nope...guess I'll go and leave you to your work." she replied.

Henry, still smiling picked up Vicki's scarf and delicately wrapped it around her neck.

"I'll see you soon Vicki."

"Bye Henry" she gave him an awkward wave and left his apartment.

Henry watched her leave, sighing as Vicki closed the door behind her. Yet again he'd succeeded in scaring her away. The modest and shy little Vicki had run for the proverbial hills again, just like she always did.

"Maybe one day... " he thought.

At least he'd get some work done tonight.

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End Notes: Sorry if you were a little grossed out by Henry's suggestion :) I promise if you keep reading there is no more of that :)