Author's Note: I want to thank everyone who's reviewed/favourited/alerted 'This Perverted Thing'. The third series, I think, was the best yet. I love all the new characters, perhaps even more than the Brannaughs (all you Robin lovers, please don't shoot me!) and I can't wait until the fourth series.
I thought I'd end with this chapter. It's a little bit of silliness crossed with a little bit of tenderness and I hope I haven't gone too far over the line, i.e. I hope I've kept everything suitably in character (a tipsy Count Dracula is something that I've only ever imagined, sadly ;) ).
Thank you to everyone. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Please Read, Review and Enjoy.
Gillian Drake }-)
"Come in." She called gaily through her office door. Today was a good day-a very good day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and-Renfield shuffled into the office. A gross pout contorted his already rather unattractive features. Observing this, Alex couldn't help but be relieved that Mr Count had had that 'quiet word' with Renfield after he'd sent those abominable-it was unkind, but still true-gifts. Knowing her, she'd have trapped herself into dinner with the poor (ugly, unwashed, uncouth) man out of pity.
"Master wanted me to give you this." Renfield muttered belligerently, shoving a cream envelope into her stunned hands.
"Er…thank you." She replied as Renfield scurried out of the door.
She sat down at her desk and opened the letter, written in Mr Count's unmistakeably flamboyant scrawl. It read:
'My dear Miss McCauley,
Would you do me the honour of coming for a drink with me?
I will meet you at the school gates at seven o'clock, this evening.
Your Humble Servant,
She couldn't help but be amused by Mr Count's assumption that she would be free, this evening. The question that he'd begun with was not entirely a question. None of his questions ever were. It was just like him; that arrogant, seductive, autocratic, lovable, annoying, devilishly handsome man…Still, she was hardly going to pass up this golden opportunity to get to know her employer a little better.
So she wrote a reply which read:
I'd be pleased to have a drink with you, this evening.
I'll meet you at the school gates at seven o'clock.
"What do you think she means?" the Count demanded of his mostly empty study. Wolfie, sat in the tiny chair opposite the Count's, could only shrug. He was tempted to ask whether it meant what it said, but he wasn't suicidal by any means. And the vampire whose study he was in, supposedly learning how to play chess-again-had his brow furrowed as he read through the simple note for the twenty-eighth, ah, twenty-ninth time.
"I mean, she's written 'Mr Count'-there's not even a 'To' or a 'Dear'" the fussing Prince of Darkness looked directly at his…nephew (he'd decided that was the closest thing to describe Wolfie, though he'd threatened the boy from ever calling him 'Uncle Count' again, with sending him back to his mother. Apparently Magda was petulant and negligent with all her progeny).
"What's she s'posed to call you?" Wolfie asked, looking at the chess board that the Count had laid out in front of them. He deliberately moved his white queen so that the Count could beat him. Wolfie was getting better and better at chess all the time and the last time he'd beaten the vampire, said vampire had raged for three whole days, insisting that the vampup must have cheated. He hadn't.
The Count slouched back into his throne-like chair and re-read the note that Alexandra had sent. It had been Vlad who'd suggested that he take her out for a drink, and it hadn't seemed too bad an idea-at first-but now he felt nervous. As a rule, women never made him nervous. That honour was due only to the most powerful, most-likely –to-go-on-a-berserker-rampage vampires. And that was fading, what with Vlad being the most powerful vampire ever. But her…well.
Until seven o'clock, he had nothing to do but prepare himself and wait.
She felt underdressed. She only hoped that he wasn't taking her somewhere overly posh; she didn't have time to run home and get changed out of her teachers' get-up.
So, here she was outside the school-gate, swinging her bag. She was early. She hoped that she didn't look too eager (i.e. desperate) She bit her lip.
He was late-how could he be late? Oh, yes, that was right: he'd gotten Renfield to buy a bunch of roses and the idiot had-for some unknown reason-put them in the oven. Why he kept the snivelling troglodyte around, he had no idea whatsoever.
Either way, it was two minutes to seven when he straightened his jacket, checked himself in a mirror, remembered that he didn't have a reflection, sighed and flitted away.
"I hope I haven't kept you waiting long…" Mr Count murmured, startling Alex McCauley out of her silent reveries. "Oh, Mr Count!" She gasped, "You know, someone should put a bell on you so that people know when you're sneaking up on them." To which he grinned and apologised unconvincingly for scaring her. "You're not sorry at all." She smiled as Mr Count gallantly offered her his arm.
"Where are we going?" She asked.
"Just somewhere small and quiet."
And intimate, he silently added, revelling having her warm, soft touch on his arm.
The talked on their way into town. Not about anything in particular, but the conversation was still diverting. It lasted the whole way to the bar.
It was a nice, quiet jewel in the centre of town, which served a fairly dubious clientele, including vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches and…well, zombies were barred because they were bad for business. Either way, the Count was lucky to have found such a place; he couldn't remember the last time he'd had a blood martini or a 'Massacre on the Beach'.
Alexandra, for her part, ordered a glass of red wine.
"Have another!" The Count insisted after she'd finished her second glass, to which her shapely brows arched haughtily. "You wouldn't happen to be trying to get me drunk, would you?" she asked, laughter delicately lacing her tone. "Of course not!" he cried, putting his hand over his cold, unbeating heart in mock-hurt, before enquiring with a laugh: "Is it working?"
Even if she wasn't becoming overly tipsy, she had loosened up to quite a pleasurable degree, even going so far at one point to call him 'Countie' before apologising for her presumption. He'd smiled and waved it away as nonsense; 'Countie' was better than 'Mr Count' and immeasurably better than 'Bun-buns', and he said as much.
"Who calls you 'Bun-buns'?" Alex asked with a frown, unable to imagine the tall, dark and devilish millionaire being called 'Bun-buns' by anyone.
"Magda," Countie muttered with a grimace, "When we were together, we went through a whole repertoire of names from 'lambykins' and 'batty' to 'you rank bastard' and 'male chauvinist pig'. I think 'Bun-buns' was the compromise; for her it was affectionate, and I detested it."
"Oh," she couldn't think of anything to say to that and decided that 'Countie' was definitely safer than 'Bun-buns'.
"Well, either way," She declared, "I have no intention of getting drunk, this evening."
"Really?" Her breath caught in her throat at the way his voice curled sensually around the word. His electric eyes were alight with mischief and his lips twitched with boyish mirth. "I wonder how much it would take."
"A fair amount." She told him with not a little pride, "My brothers used to involve me in their drinking games and, as a result, I now have the ability to drink both of them under the table."
"Do you, indeed?" The Count had never been one to resist a challenge, and was doubly looking forward to this one in particular. "I'm sure I can match you." He coaxed, snapping his fingers to order another bottle of red wine and another 'Massacre on the Beach'.
So, for the next hour or so, they competed (in a totally unofficial capacity of course) in their drinking competition; it was a Friday and it didn't matter too much if they had a hangover in the morning. As a result, eight glasses of wine, ten 'Massacres on the Beach' and a number of various other intoxicating beverages later, and Count Dracula was discussing the merits of putting the 'Mr Men' through the most gruesome and painful methods of torture ever devised.
Alexandra, strangely, was agreeing with him. "I don't like the 'Mr Men'," she announced with a giggle, "I always preferred 'Rhubarb and Custard' and 'The Clangers'"
"I never could understand what Vladdie saw in 'Mr Tickle' and 'Mr Bump'; they're so big and bright and round. And they don't even have fangs!" he added the last as if the 'Mr Men's lack of fangs was the most heinous thing he'd ever encountered in all his six-hundred years.
"They're just so cheerful!" She replied with a scowl, "Don't get me wrong, being cheerful is nice, but not all the time! It's just so…so"
"Repugnant." The Count agreed blackly.
"Yes…what you said." She giggled.
"I do believe that you-my dear, dear, dear Miss McCauley-are drunk! Sotted! Foxed!" he hiccupped and chuckled, putting his head in his hands whilst she mock-indignantly declared that she was "not pyjama-ed…well…maybe just a little bit."
"Perhaps we should call this a draw." The Count mumbled, "I can already feel myself regretting our poor decision."
"No…no…I win, Mr Count." She insisted, poking him in the arm for emphasis.
"Did you just poke me in the arm? Did you just poke the Prince of Darkness in the arm!" the Count blustered before continuing, "I have never been poked in the arm, before. I am most highly insulted!-"
"Well, I'm sorry."
"I forgive you." He murmured with a smile.
"We should go." She murmured with a sigh, to which the Count groaned. He didn't want this night to be over quite yet. "You don't have to leave me," he implored, "I haven't had such scintillating company for centuries-no-no! I'm serious. Centuries."
"Ok." She said placatingly, patting his hand, "I'll walk you back home."
"That's my job!" he insisted, "I have to walk me-no you-home…thing is," he whispered conspiratorially, "I'm not sure I can fly."
Alex leaned forward, looked him in the eye and murmured just as conspiratorially: "I don't think I can, either."
"That, my love, is because you're a breather." He nodded like a child who is absolutely certain that what they're saying is absolute fact. Before she could ask what he meant, he continued: "We could always go back to mine. 'S closest. And we neither of us have to fly."
"I hope you're not going to take advantage of me," she said with mock-archness before giggling.
"I'm not in any position to take advantage of you, Alexandra," she smiled dreamily when he said her name, "besides, I like you too much. I don't want you to change. I don't want you to hate me."
"You are such a softie." She murmured.
The Count left that uncontested as they prepared to leave. In his 'mildly inebriated state' he supposed that he should be affronted by being called a 'softie', on the other hand, he was too happy that she found something agreeable about him.
They were silent, walking back to Garside Grange. They slipped through the back door. Well, if 'slipped' actually meant 'shook the back door and shouted for Renfield until he came and opened the door with a scowl'.
"Hello, Renfield." Alexandra beamed happily.
"Renfield!" The Count smiled, draping an arm across his snivelling manservant's grimy shoulders, "You are disgusting, repellent-"
"Countie!" Alexandra reproved swaying slightly.
"It's true." The Count insisted, turning back to a thoroughly bemused Renfield, "You are disgusting, repellent…your cooking is completely inedible…and I can't stand you…but 'm glad you're back…you were insufferable when you were all…efficient and clean and fainting all the time. Now get Alexandra and I some blankets and report to throne room." The Count ordered imperiously, before guiding his alluring companion there, himself.
When he had them both settled on a sofa, next to a fire roaring in the fireplace, he closed his eyes and felt happier than he'd ever felt in his six-hundred years. It was even better when he felt a soft kiss press itself against his cheek.
"Tonight was wonderful," Alex whispered, snuggling into him. She'd be ridiculously embarrassed in the morning, but for now, all was as it should be. "Thank you."
Yes. All was as it should be.