Disclaimer: So I doubt anyone is reading but I was just inspired to edit and post this anyway. The characters are not mine (belongs to Ms. Huff) except Selene, no profits are being made, just the pleasure of writing! Enjoy ;)
The light breeze flowed through the downtown district of Vancouver, cooling the hot bodies of young adults walking from the club scene. It was a pleasure for others, taking a night walk to enjoy the cool weather of the city. Groups of women flooded the walkways, talking and laughing at their nightly excursions. A teenage couple walked along enjoying one's company. The warmth in the young man's eyes smiled affectionately at his companion, laughing softly as they spoke. But none of them noticed the pale, yet handsome young man walked the streets, taking in the city's potential. The cool weather neither affected nor pleased the man, as he walked through the night to arrive at a menial occasion in which he pleased at being invited to. It was a private art gala, a showcase of all the finest art pieces in Vancouver.
Walking about, he heard the many heartbeats that permeated the room. Lust-filled gazes stared at the alluring man, whose poise and beauty struck them deeply. Henry was a man of honor, art, and intelligence. As the bastard son of a ruthless, yet worthy king, Henry Fitzroy carried the act of a prince in every way. His calm, alluring demeanor pleased the artists and patrons.
He drew, painted, and created what he saw; the good and bad side of human nature, the passionate moment of a lover's bliss, or the devotion of one to another. He drew from centuries of experience, yet this one seemed more thrilling and painful than ever.
Vancouver would have been a great choice, as its previous tenant moved to the outskirts of Australia for a path to enlightenment. The penthouse suit overlooked the incredible spacious city, overseeing the bright lights of the nightlife, the river, and the people that glow ever so brightly.
The city was all his…right?
With the rise of Astaroth's terror on Earth, Henry knew his obligation was in Toronto and defeating the demon for good this time. He took drastic measures into his plan. He sold his previous condo to the highest bidder, moving into another condominium a few blocks away from his old one. He changed his number, all addresses from and to his editors to a P.O. Box in Vancouver to keep his cover. He knew it would be a dishonest move and slap in his old friend Augustus' face if he followed through. Augustus knew all the unfortunate details of Astaroth running amuck and made all of the arrangements for Henry's new identity. After all the anger and disappointment, Augustus could never refuse Henry, whose loyalty and good faith would prevail against the odds.
Henry strolled towards the prestigious Academy of Art, an invitation only soiree for the renowned and rising artists of Canada, patrons, and their respective guests. He walked in, hearing the many heartbeats that delighted his inner beast. Even more were the vast majority of woman at the show, whose desire rose as their many eyes focused on his appearance. A few benefactors welcomed him as he stepped into the room, delighted he could make the show. Feverish women happily greeted and welcomed him, some offering to show off their many talents after the show ended.
He didn't even need his hypnotic charm for that invitation.
Henry's eyes scanned across the room as he walked and greeted artists he knew. His eyes had a different idea however, as they shortly focused across the room, seeing what proved to be an angel. A young woman stood in the corner, dressed in a deep purple one-shoulder chiffon gown that accented her curves perfectly. Complimenting the dress, she wore silver stilettos to match the rhinestones on the front, while adding subtle diamond earrings. Her flowing curls were neatly pinned to the right, with a stand of hair brushed lightly over her eye. The very essence of this woman enthralled Henry. He can usual tell by a woman's scent whether she was strong, desperate, hostile, or filled with desire. But the woman's light perfume and unique scent left him intrigued.
She held a glass of water in her left hand, staring at the wonderful art in the back room, filled with paintings of the dark and light side of human natures. Her body seemed to glide against the marble floor to examine each piece, entranced by each work of art. Henry waltzed swiftly through the crowd to meet the woman, whose blood echoed in his ears. He was at her side in an instant and, as he had hoped for, she took no notice of him.
She gazed at the painting before her, her face filled with curiosity and intrigue. Her eyes too notice of the exhilarating presence beside her, but they never fully left the paintings, giving it full attention. He smirked; pleased she was intrigued by the work of art in front of them. Silence continued between the two for what seemed like eternity, so Henry decided to speak first, obviously not afraid to converse with women.
"Interesting works of art." He counted on the sultry sound of his voice to draw her in.
"Yes, it's…definitely unique." She didn't seem to care for his sudden appearance and continued about the room, her gown lightly caressing the floor, with Henry in toe.
Her eyes glanced around the room at a second painting by the same artist: a woman lying peacefully in a pool of water and blood, her blond hair sprawled outward and a smile of delight gracing her face. The next piece was obviously the work of a talented graphic novelist; hell hounds and hideous monsters ripping the soul of a man. Haunting to some at first, but it was just the kind of art that intrigued many sponsors of the Academy.
"Really, what do you think the artist should have done…differently?"
"Don't get me wrong, the pieces are brilliantly haunting, yet beautiful and I quite love the works from this artist. But it seems…repetitive. The piece seems to accentuate the very same theme of good versus evil and the dark sides of human nature; it sometimes gets…dare I say boring?"
She went on and on about the work of art and the artist in question. What was the purpose of the blood? What was the woman actually doing? What was the artist trying to prove in the first place? The piece in question placed a woman in front of a fountain of blood pouring. The woman appeared beside, looking into the pool at her reflection within. Strange to some, but his pieces had true meaning to them. It was his greatest inspiration Vicki Nelson, and the darkness that seemed to strengthen…and plague her life.
Even when her rejection lay heavily at his bruised soul, he still carried a part of her inside, inspiring his art as the woman he saw her as: strong-willed, beautiful, fearless, and reckless.
"Yes, I think he does seem," he said, loathing the next words coming from his mouth, "…bored with his craftsmanship. Maybe his true art lies within the battle between good and evil."
"I suppose. He has a great sense of taste and style, but he may benefit from other modes of inspiration."
Henry growled lowly, up for the scrutiny of his work, but not for the ongoing criticism from this particular woman. He opened his mouth to speak, but it seems the young girl wanted to say more.
"Hmm…Foy-Foyer? No that isn't right…Foray! There it is…Foray seems like a great artist."
"Fitzroy." He was staring to get annoyed by the minute at the girl's criticisms and now his name? I bet she'd feel embarrassed once she discovers I am Henry Fitzroy. He continued to stand at her side, listening and nodding his head in agreement.
"Oh yes, Fitzroy. Well, I guess I'll have to rely on your graphic novels, Mr. Fitzroy. But I must say I rather enjoy these paintings more." She said, finally turning to face him, her hazel eyes staring into his cerulean eyes.
He looked at her surprised, as a smile danced on her face, revealing her beautiful smile. He didn't know what to say; this woman knew who he was and still criticized him. He felt shame as he tried to speak, his mouth gaped open, but no words forming. She chuckled lightly at his reaction and quickly apologized for her harsh criticism; she actually enjoyed his work.
"It is nice to finally have a face to a name. When I heard you might attend, I was interested to hearing about your inspiration for your art. But I just thought a little bruise to the ego would start be a more interesting start, don't you think? Your 'Interesting Art' line wasn't that great of an introduction or at getting my attention, Mr. Fitz-"
"Henry Fitzroy. And you certainly did that, Ms.?"
"Selene. I think it's better if we start at a first name basis, Mr. Henry. Now, would you care to escort a gal around? Maybe we could continue to 'talk' more about the art if you will."
Henry took that as an invitation, and held out his hand to take hers, slightly bowing his head. As her fingertips touched his palm, a chill ran down his back. Her touch was warm and inviting, yet something seemed…off. He shook off the feeling and redirected his eyes to her lips as she spoke. Henry's eyes diverted shortly to the massive Leo diamond covering her left ring finger, but he decided to not bring up the matter. The two walked around the gala, admiring and analyzing the many paintings, portraits, and sculptures.
Selene was a stunning woman, with smooth brown skin that seemed to illuminate under the light. She was young, seemingly in her early twenties, but there was a sense of maturity in her demeanor. She not only spoke eloquently, but she had a sense of humor and underlying adventure in her tone that Henry's only known very few women to posses. What seemed like a few minutes turned into an hour filled conversations on the arts, literature, and travel.
The two stumbled onto a several beautiful paintings centered on the beauty and the spirit of troubled women. Henry first examined a painting in which a blond woman stared vainly, brushing her long hair and admiring her beauty. In the mirror however, the woman appeared frail, aged and cracked like a china doll. It was as if her vanity consumed her. It seemed like any other painting of a vain women looking into a mirror at first glance. But looking closer, tiny scratches could be seen on the woman's arm and also the tiny puncture wounds on her neck. It was as not noticeable, but with Henry's excellent sight, he could see the faint outline of a man at the edge of the mirror, eyes glowing yellow.
The painting on the right was that of a frozen forest, limbs decaying and broken. There were bloodied footprints embedded in the ground and a faint shadow of a woman walking towards a frozen lake. Henry smiled, thinking the painter used the literary reference of Dante's frozen hell; he remembered the many stories Christina elaborated on of her sire's love affair with the famous poet.
"Now these are incredible; the texture is remarkable, and the color scheme in this one," pointing to the dead forest, "is haunting, yet remarkable. And I can see The Inferno inspired somewhat.
"Well, I'm glad you like them, I worked hard you know."
Henry looked surprised at Selene. He met a few prodigies in his lifetime of the arts, but her brushstroke and techniques were genius and innovative.
"Each piece I create usually portrays a woman I envision. They can be influenced from woman I see everywhere, but mostly the woman in my family. Strong yet vulnerable. Vain, yet poised and humble. Other times, my dreams guide me; painting whatever I see. Kind of unusual, but that's my life."
"How long have you been painting?"
"Since I started to crawl," she said amusingly. I'm not sure when exactly, but I know I've always loved the arts. I think it comes from my family. My great-grandmother started to paint as a child and started again before she died. She said the essence of living is to be able to put it down, whether writing a poem or creating a picture. As you can see, I chose the latter. I went to Brown and got my degree in Art and Sociology. Art is a part of my life…among other things," Selene said while glancing around the room. She looked at all the men and women in the crowd, who gloated of their wealth and success in art. She, like Henry, painted for fulfillment and peace.
As she turned her attention back to Henry, she looked to see that a few of the women where staring at her intently, a sheer of disgust and disdain in their eyes. She scoffed at their pitied looks, bringing a confused Henry back into her focus.
"I'm sorry Henry. I'm just amused by some of the stares around the room. I am glad you've kept my company tonight. Seems like the rest of the crowd doesn't particularly take a liking to me…"
Henry felt the stares long before her scoff and recognized by the pounding hearts and smells in the room told him that a few women were jealous…angry even that he spoke to another woman and not them.
"And why is that?"
"Other than my supposed eccentric personality as the rumors say, seems like I am a threat of some kind to every married woman here. And I don't get it honestly, seeing as I myself am happily married," she said gazing down at her ring proudly.
"Of which I've noticed. I offer my congratulations."
"Why thank you Henry."
"And may I ask why he isn't here with his beautiful wife?"
His flattery made Selene blush. She was not a vain woman herself, but she knew that she was an attractive woman. She hears comments daily on her beauty, but not many as genuine as Henry's.
"He chose a quiet night in instead of all the frenzy of the art world. I'm only here to keep up appearances," she said laughing softly.
Her eyes wandered, taking in the marvel of artists, art dealers, and the wealthy. The subtle touch of a woman's hand by an older married man, the erupting laughter as a group of rich men gathered with their wives in tow. And the sight of another artist amused her; a rambunctious young artist who marveled at his own sculptures twenty feet away. In that instant, a heat wave of evil and despair washed over Selene, hitting her like a massive tidal wave pushing its way to the surface. She pushed the feeling of gloom away, subduing her bouncing curiosity for later. Glancing past a small crowd towards the windows, her smile disappeared as she saw bloodshot eyes staring at her.
Sipping on wine, his crooked face curved into a mischievous smile and in an instant, he vanished into the crowd. She flinched in fear of his presence, breaking her wine glass in response. She gasped, as if someone had knocked the air out of her lungs.
Her escort did not flinch at the sight of blood, but he still didn't want to become too overwhelmed by it. He quickly excused himself to get her a towel and something to clean her hand. A few guests stopped to ask if she was alright, as did a few men who offered to clean the glass of the floor. Selene's breathing calmed, but her expression never changed, anxiety and rage washed over her as her hazel eyes held a purplish tint. Recovering quickly, she reassured the other guests that she was fine, and thanked them for cleaning the glass fragments off the floor. She blinked twice to get her focus underway, as she glanced down at her now healing hand. She couldn't risk the exposure, not tonight. Her feeling of anguish was climbing in her body at an alarming rate, she felt as if her heart could explode. She turned furiously around to find him, excusing her way through the crowd. Selene ran smack dead into her new friend and jumped at the sight of him.
"Henry!" Selene huffed and placed her hand over her heart, "you scared the crap outta me, I-"
Henry, however, noticed the climbing rate in her heart as he reached for her hand to clean it. Once he turned over her hand however, only a small scar was found on her index finger. Henry looked up suspiciously to question her, as she reluctantly removed her hand from his slightly cold one.
"Henry, it was a really pleasure to meet you." She pulled out her business card swiftly from her clutch bag and offered him one. "Maybe we can talk about art some more, I'd love to hear from a great graphic novelist's point of view," Selene said as she swiftly made an exit out of the gallery, glancing down at her hand again. Henry sensed the evil as well, but doubting that that was the reason for her sudden departure.
Against his better judgment and with a deep sigh, he decided to go after her. Once he went outside, however, she was nowhere to be found and her scent had long disappeared. The scent he could pick up; however, was one that nearly brought out the beast within.
He shook off his demeanor, got in his Jag and left the scene; he needed to make a few calls.