As Steve stands in the doorway, he watches Mikayla leave. He has so many things he wants to say but he can feel the uneasiness in her voice. Maybe she wants to do something or perhaps she's trying to get comfortable in his presence. Whatever it is, he hopes it isn't some sort of trick because he's already growing fond of her.
Steve also stands there with questions swirling in his head. Firstly, what is a DVD player? He hasn't heard of a flatscreen. Most of these things are too hi-tech for him. He'll figure out how to use them eventually. He did pay attention.
Lastly, how is Mikayla able to recount details from so long ago? Steve wondered that when she mentioned 'Rebecca.' He also wondered it when she spoke of Leonardo's mother. Perhaps she noticed his puzzled look. That might be why she wanted to get away so fast.
With a sigh, Steve closes the door and steps into the room again. He might as well stay with this one. He likes it that much. He walks toward the bed and starts to feel new thoughts enter his head. These thoughts don't surround Peggy for now. They're focused on a different woman. . .
. . .Mikayla.
She's still mysterious and her words cause Steve to wonder if she might be a spy or an enemy. He hopes she isn't. He can see himself wanting to talk to her more. Although he might be a little awkward around women, once he opens up and gets comfortable, he finds himself enjoying their company.
Steve lays down on the bed and stares up at the ceiling. Will this be another night where he has trouble sleeping? Or will he finally get the rest he needs? With new thoughts entering his head, he can't imagine what the following days will bring.
The following days - or, day, really - were quiet. Mikayla's door remained locked for a full forty-eight hours. But she forced herself out after leaving the poor man 'stranded' for a full day, and knocked on his door at about ten in the morning, hoping that - being a military man - he'd be up. "Steve...? It's Mikayla... obviously," she added with a half-chuckle, clearing her throat. "I... just wanted to apologize for running off like that. I wasn't in the right, not with you so obviously confused and new here... If you haven't eaten yet I'll gladly answer any questions you may have over breakfast? I'll cook... Do you like omelettes? Pancakes and bacon? You name it I can probably whip it up..."
She smiled softly at him, her eyes warm and... well, different. Definitely not icy-blue. Now they looked more like a seriously-deluded grape slushy. She was paler than before, too. Not too badly, but it was still noticeable. And... was it possible she was thinner? She cleared her throat, and looked down, wearing loose white pants and a becoming black blouse, her hair pulled back in a sloppy pony tail. Her eyes were red and irritated, signs that she'd been crying, but also dull. She'd gotten hardly any sleep. "Kitchen's this way..."
She led him down the hallway, then back to the left. Through two more doors and another hall that was artistically spaced with /priceless/ pieces. Finally, into a kitchen worthy of Ramsey himself. It was massive, looking capable of easily holding a host of chefs /and/ those who would soon be dining. The island in the middle was a stove, a sink, and a cutting block all in one, with the stove top and block taking up about seventy-five percent of space and the sink on the end. Again, stained maple wood, but the flooring was black and the counter tops were polished forest green marble. All cookware and utensils and dishes were black with silver lines on them. Appliances were black and silver as well.
Mikayla turned her gaze to him, and smiled. "Does the young man know how to cook, or shall the lady do it for him? Because I certainly will if you don't know how to help. But I will require you learn... which means helping anyway." Enter the laugh. She walked further into the kitchen and leaned against the counter in front of the in-counter double-well sink, crossing her arms and giving him a look. Marcus hadn't known how to cook when she first came across him, but she'd definitely taught him. Now, aside from herself, he was the best cook she could find.
Steve spent his first day there by getting to know the place. He wanted to familiarize himself with everything so that he wouldn't be confused about anything. He set aside the fact that this world is futuristic now. He focused more on getting used to everything. He hoped to see Mikayla around but he didn't, so he stepped out of the place for the night and wandered around for a bit. He read a couple books afterward and spent the next day learning more about the casa di Silverblood. He spoke to Leonardo for a bit and then stayed in his room to read about WWII. He had to know what he missed so that things could make a bit more sense.
Steve had fallen asleep with a book over his chest. He hears a knock at his door. He opens his eyes and quickly sits up, causing the book to fall. It's ten. He should have been up a while ago. He had been up all night, so he had been exhausted. Hearing Mikayla's voice outside the door, he stands up. He walks in his plain white t-shirt and khakis to the door. He opens it and smiles a bit. "Good morning," he says. "Glad to see you're still around."
Steve listens to her apology but is a little distracted by her different eye color. He wonders if anything's wrong with her. He doesn't ask though. He just says, "That's alright. We can definitely go eat now and talk then." He smiles in return and runs his hand through his hair, which is probably messy right now. Judging by how she looks, he hopes she's alright.
Following her down the hallway, Steve looks over at her. She did say he can ask questions later, so he doesn't say anything yet. He only chuckles at her question. "Actually I do know how to cook. Learned it since I used to stay alone often." He smiles again. "It'd be my pleasure to cook the both of us breakfast. It's the least I can do for you as a sign of my thanks." He looks around the fancy kitchen, which he visited during the two days that she was absent. "What would the lovely lady like? Whatever you want, I'll be fine with."
It's true. For one thing, Steve isn't a picky eater.
Mikayla chuckled softly. "Good morning to you. Of course I'm still around. I've nowhere else to go... I... just wish I'd been around more. Sorry for leaving you poor man fending for yourself," she joked, smiling slightly.
And, well... that shocked her. Enough that for a moment she couldn't say anything, nor did she try, but her face was comical enough. "Well," she finally got out. "That's an unexpected yet pleasant surprise... You knowing how to cook, I mean. Another surprise is that you were alone... /That/ I have a hard time believing."
She removed her presence from the immediate kitchen area, leaning against the table in the other half of the room, feeling heat lightly kiss her cheeks and leave them a rather pretty pink, distracting from her more-gaunt appearance. She wondered if she could muster the guts to tell him today. "I'm feeling... eggs. Anything more specific is up to you. Surprise me... You haven't done enough of that yet," she added with a gentle laugh, playing with her hair, braiding the thick mane. "The kitchen shouldn't be too hard to navigate, but I'll help nonetheless. Pots and pans are hanging above the island, in case you're blind... Utensils are in the drawer under the chopping block. Food is in the fridge, knives are on top and in the rack hanging on the wall next to it.."
She chuckled, then sat on the table top, crossing her legs and resting her arms on her knees. This would be interesting to watch. Only other man she'd ever watched cook was Marcus, but... she really needed to get him off her mind. She'd left for a reason... "So, Steve... I have one question for you. Then you can fire any question you like at me, no matter how personal they seem, and as many as you want. I owe you answers for my... absence. Here's my question..."
"When exactly are you from? I know you're at least not from this decade... nor this century. You're too confused for that. Too... you're too nice. You're like Marcus. So when are you from?" She'd wanted to ask that since she'd met him. His not immediately jumping for her made that nice and clear. But she'd bided her time, and was asking now that the question was gnawing at her.
Steve chuckles at her little jokes, even when she says that she'll have a hard time believing that he was alone. Oh, he was alone most of the time before joining the Army. He only had one good friend. After he became Captain America, sure women flocked to him, but he was still awkward around them. He doesn't think he knows how to speak with one still. Peggy was one of few who he felt comfortable speaking with. It's because she never saw him as the frail man he once was.
As Mikayla explains the details of the kitchen, Steve smiles and gets the supplies he needs. It doesn't take him very long since he's rather quick. She wants eggs, so he'll add on to that a little. He doesn't specify what he's cooking. He only starts preparing as she asks the question to him. He gives her quick looks over his shoulder while she talks.
To her words, Steve pauses for a moment, slowing down in his actions. He avoids eye contact with her as he thinks of what she says. She wants to know what time period he's from. For her to ask that, it means that she really isn't normal. She must be no stranger to time travel or. . .she must know about him. This returns him to the idea that she might be a spy or she can be working for the current Army. They might have sent her to find him. It makes sense because this can be their way of getting him back in the world, helping him get used to it all.
Steve hesitates to answer her. She did say that she would answer anything he had to ask, which is a lot. He keeps on preparing the breakfast meal as an empty smile crosses his face. It's empty because he's trying not to feel weird about all of this. "This does confirm my thoughts about you not being a regular woman," he says first. "I would never imagine anyone coming up and asking me that. I guess if I can ask you questions, I can answer yours."
It's better to know more about the person staying in the same place as you, right?
Steve focuses on the breakfast meal and soon goes to the stove as he starts to speak. "I'm from the World War II era. 1940s. Well, I was born in 1920. Last thing I clearly remember before waking up here was fighting against Nazis. I then wake up and find out that the War is over." He sighs lightly and tries not to think of the comrades he lost. "You telling me that I'm too nice only explains more about the people of this time."
Steve chuckles a little and starts to cook the food while preparing something to the side.
Mikayla chuckled softly, then sighed. "I wish I was 'regular'... I do so wish. But I suppose being different has its perks. I get to meet people like you and Marcus, for one... 1920? Hmm... That makes you only a decade younger than Marcus..." She then laughed softly. "Oh, it's a pity you and he didn't meet first... Although I suppose it is good that you two have at least met."
You'd think if she was a spy, or working with the current army, that she'd know more about him, not just the fact that he wasn't from that time. The more information given, the better results, right? Besides. She was too dense at times to be a spy, although with her unique ability she would nevertheless make a great one. She wasn't so much familiar with time travel as she was with just passing it, though. However, she had heard of him, thanks to Marcus and his fascination with people like him... And she shuddered with his memories. She didn't remember fighting them, but she sure remembered them. "It's sad, really, what the last few decades have done to humanity... Headed deeper and deeper down into the pit of destruction. I'm waiting for WWIII to start. I know it will happen. With how people are anymore, there is no way the big wars are over..."
She watched him, sitting cross-legged on the table, then sniffed the air and smiled, resting her cheek on a hand. "It's not often I get to smell food and watch it get prepared and cooked without knowing what exactly I'm getting. I mean... Leonardo used to cook for me... but he's gotten a little too ripe in age to cook anymore. He has trouble seeing, you know? But he's still kicking, and I have a feeling he will be for longer yet."
Suddenly a depressing thought passed through her mind. Eighty years she had lived with that man, raising him herself when his mother died. She couldn't imagine what the house would be like with no Leonardo. She cleared her throat, and shook the thought from her head, then looked at him, smiling. "Alright, your turn. Fire away... Just make sure to give me enough time to answer."
To answer truthfully, that is. She'd been lying her way through life for as long as she could remember. She was in the right to lie, but she still didn't like doing it. Telling the truth... for each question, she told herself, she would tell him the truth. If he left, then she'd be alone with Leonardo. If not, it would help her carry the burden of what she was a little more happily, with having someone else that wasn't already one of her kind know what she was. Aside from Leonardo.
Leonardo knew everything.
Listening to everything that she says, Steve remains silent. He has to take this all in and try to make sense of it. He has to dissect her words so that he knows that this isn't a trap. It would be a real shame if it was all a trap. Mikayla appears like a very nice woman, one who he would like to stay in contact with. If she turns out to be someone who's part of a bigger game, that would be disheartening.
At the mention of a possible third World War, Steve almost winces. He doesn't want to think of that. Of course if another war does start, he wouldn't hesitate to take part in it. He would try and find his Captain America outfit and help the others fight off the enemies. That's for certain. Ironically that would get him back in the world.
He has to get that thought out of his head.
Steve smiles at her comment about the food. All of it is almost done. He gets the plates ready as she finishes her words. He briefly glances at her over his shoulder and lets the silence hang in the air for a moment before he starts to speak. "I'll admit, what you said is a lot to take in. . .but I suppose I've recently handled worse."
He hasn't exactly mentioned that he woke up to this era and didn't witness the past seventy years.
While Steve starts to serve the eggs on each plate, he finally speaks. "How are you and Marcus so. . ." No, he can't ask it like that. ". . .how is it possible that you two have witnessed so much? How can Marcus be a decade older than me and look like that? How can you be older? I doubt it's because of my same reason. You know a lot more than me about current events."
Steve also wants to know what her real reason is for taking him here. She might genuinely be trying to be nice but. . . Oh man, the questions keep piling on. Why does she look like something's wrong with her or has been bothering her? She did tell him to give her time to answer so he does that. He's ready for whatever answer she's about to give him.
While Steve gives her the time to reply, he sets the full plate of breakfast down on the table. It contains eggs, crepes, and a couple pancakes. To the side lies a plate of French toast and regular toast. Once he places it down, he goes to get some orange juice.
Mention it or not, Mikayla knew. It was obvious, really, if you knew what to look for. At the beginning of his question, she laughs, sliding herself off the table, then sitting in a chair. Though there was plenty of room at that table for food, one wasn't supposed to sit on the table anyway. "How are Marcus and I so old? Well... No. No, we weren't frozen. And before you can ask how I knew that, it's simple. You look twenty. You're not one of my kind, and you're certainly not the horrible other breeds. While humans have invented things that will slow the aging process... I don't think they can do it so well... Which means either external or internal - or both - cryo was used, preserving your looks and rendering you completely oblivious to outside events."
"Back to your question... It's a no-brainer that you've heard of vampires. Well, rest assured, because I am not one." Obviously. She nearly spat the word 'vampires', meaning she really did not like them. "Some call my kind the Elder Breed, others call vampires the Elder Breed. Doesn't matter, but... Vampyres (pronounced vamp-peer) came first. I am a vampyre. I was turned at the age of nineteen, and I have remained physically at that age ever since... Marcus is one, as well, which explains why he seems thirty but is, in actuality, two years over a century old. Marcus is also Leonardo's father... If you've digested that, next question." She didn't much like talking about what she was... most people thought it gross or unnatural and either fled or killed her...
Mikayla cleared her throat, looking away after mentioning that. It had slipped out. Very few people knew that, and that was how Marcus wanted it kept. Whoops? She looked at the food, and blinked for a moment, then laughed softly. "My, my, someone's got a big stomach." She arched a brow. "Or you were hoping no more cooking would be required breakfast-wise for tomorrow."
The stomach is as big as a fist. Mikayla's fist was tiny, as she wasn't that big of a person. Even stretched, it didn't look that big. Unless he was that hungry, she knew a good portion of what she'd been given would be going in plastic bags and resting for about eighteen to twenty-four hours on a shelf in the fridge, to be reopened and nuked or eaten cold the next morning.
Steve pours them both some orange juice as she begins to speak again. How does she know he was frozen? He could have been a time traveler. Her knowing so much still makes him feel a little weary. She might have also heard of him since she's lived for so long. Captain America had been an international icon seventy years ago.
Steve doesn't say anything yet though. He gives her some orange juice besides both her plates. Then he gets all of his food and doesn't sit at the table yet. He only does so after she does. He begins to eat and tries to take in more of what she says. A Vampyre. He's never heard of that before. Of course he knows what vampires are and he believes in them. Vampyres though, those are unfamiliar. How long ago was she turned? How much has she actually seen?
Steve takes a moment to say anything at all. It takes him longer to digest than normal. He starts to eat some of the eggs as he thinks it all over. So he's staying with a Vampyre who's older than everyone in this house. Can she hurt him? Probably? Can she kill him? Most likely. Should he be on edge? Well, it's kind of hard to put Captain America on edge but he's cautious. Either way, she's told him all of this for a reason.
Steve chuckles lightly when she remarks on the food. "My appetite is always strong," he tells her. He eats more eggs and thinks of what he wants to ask next. Should he ask why she's looked so sad recently? No, that might be too much, wouldn't it? Maybe he can ask that later.
"Is there anything in specific that you want from me?" Steve asks with a small chuckle. "I still appreciate your hospitality. I do still intend to pay you back for that but. . . Do you have any other intentions? I. . .I apologize if this seems out of line."
Steve looks at her and smiles again. He doesn't want to appear as though he sees her as a potential enemy now.
Could she hurt and kill him? Absolutely. Could he do the same to her? Of course... for a while, anywho. But neither of them intended to do either actions... She wouldn't dream of it. Had he asked either of those questions, the answers might have left him wanting. She knew exactly how long it had been since she received those circular scars on her neck, but as to seeing things... well. She hadn't left her little town of nine-thousand souls ever. And she never intended to. She didn't have a reason to travel.
Mikayla's face fell when he asked about paying her back. She slowly ate her eggs while thinking about the best way to word her response. "There is something specific, actually... Everyone knows a vampire must feed in order to live... Feed on blood. While they are capable of going 'vegetarian' - meaning they can feed from animals instead - vampyres... well, we're not. I... I wish I could say I invited you here purely out of my fascination of you and liking you and being the kind-hearted generous person I am... But..." She paused for a while, eyes cast aside. She almost looked ashamed of what she was saying, as if she had run over his dog, blamed it on someone else, and was now coming forth... like she'd done him some wrong already. "I... do in fact have other intentions in letting you stay here..."
"What I first noticed about you was the smell of your blood. That's... that sounds disgustingly kinky out loud, but it's true. It's intoxicating... Imagine your absolute favorite smell, then multiply the intensity and attraction by twenty-fold. That's how it smells to me. It's been very hard on me to... not bother you about it... In the Little Lady I was tempted to ask, but... And now, I am..."
More silence, but with her darting eyes and occasionally-opening mouth, it was obvious she wanted to say more. Finally: "But I'm not going to."
Five words that seemed to drain the life out of her. She smiled slightly, then cleared her throat and continued eating. After she'd eaten what she absolutely could, she cleared her throat again, looking at what she hadn't, which left all the toast but one piece. "Just so you know, you can allow yourself to rest easy... You're not going to wake up with bloody holes in your neck like I did... I've never forced it upon another and I'm certainly not going to force it on you."
She drank her orange juice, not even looking in his direction. She sighed, and forced a smile onto her face, then stood and took her plate to the sink, washing it off before putting it in the dishwasher, returning to the table after. For a moment, she merely stood next to her chair, then she sank into it and finally looked over at him.
Steve continues to eat while she speaks. He hasn't cooked in a while but he has to admit this is pretty good. It can also be because he's hungry. He eats one of the pancakes and then takes a sip of orange juice. When she mentions the fact that vampires must feed, he gets a bad feeling in his bones about this. He slows down in his eating, and glances up at her. He hopes she isn't going where he thinks she's going.
Bad news, Steve. She is.
Steve looks at her for a while as she mentions the 'vegetarian' vampires, the fact that she wishes she invited him out of pure fondness, and finally the fact that she has other intentions. His worries have come true. He sets his fork down and sets a hand to his head. He knew he shouldn't have come here. He knew he shouldn't have taken this small liking to her so quickly.
As a Captain, Steve should have been smarter.
As she explains the scent of his blood, he tries to hear her out and understand. Being the type of man he is, Steve does try to see the reasoning behind others' actions. It's her nature to be this way, isn't it? It's her method of survival, despite the fact that many would consider her monstrous. However, if she drinks from Steve, not only won't he die, but he'll keep regenerating an endless supply of blood.
It'll be like the perfect treat for Mikayla.
Steve doesn't mention this though. Instead, he becomes a little surprised at the fact that she said that she isn't going to ask him to give blood. She sounds so sincere about what she says. She's not going to force him? Is this part of the reason why she looked so sad before? It confuses him. He tries to see through her and understand but he just can't.
So after the bit of silence falls, Steve takes another drink of orange juice. "Why aren't you going to ask me though?" he finally asks. "It's a different thing to force it but asking. . ." He stops there and puts the glass down. He doesn't even know if he'll agree. He just wants to know her reasoning. She doesn't look too well either. Is it because she hasn't had blood in a while?
If that's the reason. . .
Captain America can't pass up the opportunity to help someone. That's what makes this all a dilemma.
Mikayla sighed deeply, fingering the thick black braid of her hair, her eyes dull. She was counting how long it took him to get up and leave, wincing slightly when his fork was set down, as though he had set its prongs in her arm. It rather surprised her that he remained in his seat, asking that question instead of just leaving like so many others had done. For a moment, she sat mouth open with a slight 'ahh' sound coming from her, then she smiled slightly, spoke quietly. "Well... several reasons, really... It hasn't been quite two weeks, for one... I've still two days left. After two weeks I get a little grumpy... approaching the fourteenth day I get a little emaciated and moody... Also, because I... well, I don't... deserve... to feed from a man like yourself..."
She chuckled humorlessly, then sighed. "I didn't deserve to feed from Marcus, either, and you can see how well that came out... I completely ruined his life. He had a family and a promising career..."
She cleared her throat, and ran her fingers through the loose chunk of hair that served as her bangs. "Most importantly... feeding can be considered intimate. Very intimate... I... Vampyres contain a venom that... We inject it upon biting, to mask the pain. It... forces the brain to release massive amounts of endorphins until the feeding is over. If enough is used it will last for a while after, as well. It..." She looked awkwardly away, stroking her braid. "The venom turns feeding into a quite... sexual, experience..."
She started to add 'And that's why I work as a courtesan', but she kept her mouth shut. That was enough. He asked why she wasn't asking him, and she'd answered. Truthfully. She stood up again, and got a plastic freezer bag for the majority of the toast, nibbling on another piece of the french toast now that her stomach had settled a little. "And that exact reason is why I won't ask. Because no man wants to sleep with a vampyre once he learns her secret, and I couldn't in my dreams peg you as the kind of man to bed a whore. Especially not one as old as I."
She zipped up the bag, pushing any of the air out of it before closing it completely, then took it to the freezer and put it in. She stood there for a moment, one hand on the counter and another on her stomach, then turned around and leaned on it. Instead of a grape slushy her eyes now appeared to be containing spilt blood. She looked similar to when he'd first met her, only a little less perfect. Now she'd got herself stuck on thinking about how she'd ruined Marcus' life... persuading him to bed her after he learned her secret, then - high on her own venom - turning him upon his request. The man hadn't taken into consideration how that would affect his current life, and when he went home to his wife and son... Well, they weren't exactly welcoming to a man pale as death, blood dribbles dry on his throat and holes still healing, blood-red eyes and virgin fangs. She'd been careless and slutty... Here, she wouldn't dream of it.
Not on him. Not on the only man in a century that hadn't run from her after learning she was a blood sucker.
Not on the only man she knew would say 'no'.
"So don't you worry yourself about little old me. You just... continue. I won't be a bother to you... simply a good hostess and hopefully a good source of education and occasionally a helping chef. Just..."
Steve listens to her reasons while mindlessly eating the pancakes. When he notices that they're gone, he pauses and goes for the French toast. She still has two days left. That doesn't mean she can't go through with it. No, he doesn't know how a vampire - or Vampyre, in this case - feeding will affect him but based on what he knows of himself, his blood should be able to regenerate itself so quickly that he won't be able to turn at all. He still thinks he's the perfect specimen. . .
. . .until she keeps speaking.
Steve holds the French toast in one hand but he doesn't eat from it. He hears her go on about how she doesn't deserve to feed from him. He listens to how intimate a feeding can be. Sure, his body can battle off toxins and the like but endorphins are another thing. Most likely the experience would quadruple for him. He frowns slightly and sets the French toast down with a sigh. Is it possible for Captain America to lose his appetite, especially over the fact that a lady goes around, demeaning her value to men because it's part of her existence?
Yes, it's partly possible.
Steve sets his elbows on the table and runs his hands down his face as he tries to soak all of this information in. He has to give her credit for being honest with him, but being a 40s gentleman, he doesn't like hearing a woman speak about herself like this. After she calls herself a whore, he lowers his hands and looks at her with a displeased expression. Though he can understand that feeding from others is part of her survival, he can't understand why she can't control the urge to use her body like that. Is the feeding that powerful? If so, he can see why anyone would be afraid to hear this information. He can consider it unnatural but he won't. For one thing, he isn't completely natural either.
This is a whole lot for Steve though. He takes his plates and stands up from the table. As she speaks her last set of words, he pauses by the sink. He sets the plates down and decides to actually finish the French toast. He's not going to let it go to waste. He's closer to her now that he's by the sink and she by the counter. He doesn't look at her though. He only sighs after finishing the last bit of toast.
Don't run, she tells him. Why? Why shouldn't he just go? Steve doesn't have to stay here. Besides, what would he gain? He'll be living with a woman who should in fact be in a relationship with that Marcus fellow since they seem to be so intimate. She feeds from others and then beds them. He doesn't see any bright side to this situation. If he wants to find some purpose in the world, staying here definitely won't help him.
"Please don't call yourself by that name again," Steve tells her in reference to the 'whore' comment. He starts to wash the dishes. He's silent for another few seconds. "You might do what you do with men but that's because your natural instincts beg for it. A woman with lower morals would not have excluded me like you just did." Heck, that type of woman would have jumped at the opportunity to have Steve in the flesh. That would be a crazy thing for two reasons, one of them being. . .
. . .well, he isn't that experienced with women yet. Would he really want his first to be after a blood-thirsty woman just drank from him?
Steve shakes his head as if mentally responding to his own question. He finishes washing and dries his hands. With another sigh, he turns to finally look at her, noting her red eyes. "You're right about one thing, miss. I would deny this." He wants to help her though, although he can't see how, which is why he doesn't mention that. "Even though you asked me not to go. . .I don't know how much longer I can stay here. I still appreciate what you've done for me, and I want to repay you, though. . ..now I don't know how much I can."
Steve speaks his last words softly and lowers his eyes, almost feeling bad. What a major twist in this encounter.
Mikayla looked at him for a brief moment, then sighed and dropped her gaze, hugging herself. Yep. That was him 'leaving'. "I said 'don't run', not 'don't leave'. You're free to leave whenever you wish. You could leave right now if you thought it best for your health..." She turned around, staring outside at a live white peacock, roosted on a low iron fence. "I can't and won't guarantee that I won't call myself that again. It's what I am... My feeding does not require having sex... but I do it anyway. It makes it more tolerable, but more monstrous at the same time. I try not to. When desperate I drink blood packs, but they taste disgusting... and I'm out anyway."
She looked at her reflection in the countertop, then in the water. She concentrated hard, and her eyes returned to their normal coloring, with no hint of red at all. It made her look even more tired. "Know that you're welcome here if you ever again need shelter, though I won't blame you if don't come back. If I had the option to leave and let the vampyre in me finally perish, I would. It's not fun having to willingly act the part of a wh-... courtesan, for 558 years, given a few decades' respite every now and then when lucky enough to find a husband. But the only cure to vampyrism is death, and I've tried almost every cause there is, but it doesn't work. Silver cross? I'm wearing one right now. Water?"
She turned on the faucet, and stuck her hand in. There was an explosion of steam, then a hiss and sizzle. She pulled it back out. It was burnt pretty badly, black where the stream had hit directly, but was already healing. "I've swam in holy water, sun-bathed naked in the sun. I've been staked, clubbed, stoned, drowned, shot, decapitated... Everything but fire." She let a chuckle escape. "I could ask you to do that as recompense. Also... if you're ever offered true immortality or invincibility, decline. It drives you insane after three or four centuries, watching loved ones die again and again each time you try and start over."
Maybe she was manic-depressive. Moments before she was on the verge of tears, and now, a semi-smile was on her face, watching the bird outside wail for a mate. She looked at Steve, then back out. "It's for the better you pushed me away... a good blood, like a good drug, is addicting. I would end up asking every time, and maybe hurt Massa when unable to get it." When. Not if. She knew that had it gone her way, she would have gotten it only once or twice. "And apparently my venom is addicting as well, but I can understand why."
Because it made you feel good. She knew it was bad to get humans addicted. But she couldn't control that, and refused to feed without it.
"Also, I don't want you to worry about repaying me. I offered mostly out of fondness, but I wronged you by my other reason. If anything, I owe you, for wasting your time and for you not immediately running. It's a pity you won't be staying long, but at least you didn't flee in the middle of breakfast. That would have... sucked, for lack of a better word."
She turned, and walked to the door, then stopped and turned back. "Before I make myself scarce so I can't make things worse, do you have any other questions you would like me to answer?"
Mikayla stood there, keeping her eyes blue, her thin fingers gripping the door frame for support, ready to turn and continue to her study if had no more.
Steve frowns and lets out a soft groan when she says that she can't guarantee she won't call herself a whore again. He then sighs lightly and leans back against the counter while crossing his arms. He stares toward the table for some time as she continues speaking. What she tells him isn't pleasing in the least. It is pretty monstrous but that's just the act. As far as Mikayla as an individual. . .he just can't see her as monstrous. Otherwise, she would have tried to kill him or do anything other.
As she continues, Steve manages to lift his gaze and point it in her direction. A small feeling of sorrow manages to pass through him. This woman goes through various periods of pain. He immediately connects with the fact that she's lost so many people she's cared about because she's outlived them. He lost his comrades because, well. . .in a way, he outlived them too. The fact that he can relate to that causes him to see her actions differently. She didn't ask for this. It's her method of survival, although he still can't get over how horrendous it is.
Once she starts to mention that death is the only answer, Steve feels the morbidity rise within the kitchen. He glances away again and has trouble believing that there is no way for her to permanently die. Perhaps fire really is the trick, but he won't try it on her, even if she begged him. He doesn't believe that any being can live forever. There's always a way for something to die. It would otherwise upset the balance of the planet. He doesn't think on that too long because the image of her burning and reducing to ashes is too much of a strong one.
With the rest of her words, Steve wants to say so many things. Mikayla is used to these types of responses from people - the responses of fear and rejection. She's been used to them for centuries now. She's lived this life of bleakness for too long. Even if someone were to accept her, she would outlive them and she'd lose them. He would never think of gaining immortality. His lengthy longevity is enough as it is.
When Mikayla walks to the door, Steve watches her. He lets out another soft sigh and gets off the counter. He doesn't answer her question. He just stares at her for a minute, his eyes soft and non-judgemental. He studies her momentarily. Then when he's close enough, he reaches forward and wraps an arm around her in a light embrace. Even for a woman that takes in repulsive activities, Steve senses something deep down within her - and it's that reason why he gives her this touch of comfort.
"I'm not going to push you away," Steve whispers. Then he lets her go and proceeds to exit the kitchen.
There is a lot to think about.
It wasn't only outliving them that separated Mikayla from her loved ones. She'd had three husbands, grand total. The first two she'd been with for roughly seventy years a piece. The third... well, only thirty years. Why such a difference? Like Marcus, he'd asked her to turn him, never wanting to leave her. She was very conscious during the administration, and didn't give too much of the proper venom so that he wouldn't turn to quickly... forgetting that he suffered from heart problems. When the venom reached it, it simply ceased to beat. That was when she decided to never again turn someone...
She stiffened. Not because of that, but because of the light embrace given. She was not expecting that, not after everything she just said. She watched him leave, his words replaying in her mind, then shook her head. He already had, in a way. Not in the sense that distance was forming, but more a physical sense... setting a 'boundary' stopping at about a foot from his neck, wrists, and anywhere else her fangs could get. But it was for the best...
For a while, she sat in the quiet of the kitchen... well, stood rather. Her room suddenly felt unappealing... so she went outside and across the grounds to the stable. She only had three horses, but had a five-stall stable... wasn't big, but the grounds she owned wasn't large enough to sustain more than the three and not make her open the garden for feeding grounds as well. The animals helped calm her, especially her horse, Golden Gate Majesty, a fine golden palomino draft horse. She used him only for pleasure riding. She looked toward the house - toward the rooms. The nineteen empty rooms and Steve's room had their massive windows facing the back yard, which was where the sun was most of the day.
For a while, she led Golden Gate Majesty a while, talking to him. Then she leapt up onto his bare back and took off toward the town for something. She was gone for several hours, and when she came back it was with a cooler... so the contents were obvious. She made her way toward her room, stopping outside his for a while... then she stuck a paper with a piece of tape to it. Using her control of shadows, she had them form another on the inside of the door, so that no matter where he was - inside or out of the room - he'd see it when he approached the door. On it, in pretty, tight, slanted writing, it said 'Lunch is there if you haven't eaten'.
Then she went in her room, and sat on her bed with the cooler, pulling a blood baggie out so she could sate her thirst, thinking. She wasn't being that good of a hostess... She'd have to try harder. She changed into something more comfortable - her loose silken night clothes - and sat in bed, staring outside, feeling her skin start to heat and sting where the sun hit it, as it slowly got sunburnt. Then she pulled the tube out of the baggie, stuck the hole between her lips, and started drinking. It was slow work, but after a baggie and a half - with a quarter of the full amount having run down her chin.. though she cleaned almost all of it up - she was full and pretty and energetic-looking again, her skin once again holding that healthy glow... it was bright pink, though, and hurt to move.
She pressed the button on the intercom next to her bed, the one for Leonardo. "Leo?"
"Could you be a dear and bring me cold, damp towels and so aloe vera? Also, check to see if Steve's wardrobe has clothes in it... if it doesn't, locate and have some of Marcus' old clothes washed. They'll fit... if he doesn't want those and doesn't have any of his own, inform me."
She'd do it herself but her skin was mad at her. But it made her feel a little better now that she was at least trying to take care of her guest...
Steve climbs the steps, his thoughts never leaving him. Mikayla had filled his head with so much. The thoughts form into a whirlwind, twisting and twisting around until he doesn't know what to make of his current situation. He pauses at the top of steps and looks back as if in hopes to see her behind him. He sighs and continues on to his room, closing the door behind him once he steps in.
This is a strange situation for the former Captain America. Never would his comrades have believed that he would be in a large estate with a Vampyre. He should be in the military or out in the fields, helping someone. Maybe, in a twisted sort of way, he is helping someone. It's a bizarre way of thinking but the longer he dwells on it, the more he starts to consider the thought.
Laying in bed, Steve crosses his hands behind his head and goes through his options. He can leave and forget this whole ideal and find a military base who can help him return to his roots. Or he can stay. Anyone might ask what good reason is there to stay. If he leaves, he knows for a fact that Mikayla will be on his mind. She's affected him in a way that he can't really explain. It's not because of what she is. . .well, it's partly because of that. Realistically he should be afraid of her and he shouldn't want to get near her again.
Yet there's this certain humanity in her that Steve can't deny.
It's so hard to mentally explain that he doesn't want to think on it anymore. Instead, he lies on his side and finds himself starting to fall asleep. He drifts off for a few moments as the note appears on his door. Who knows how much longer he'll stay? Who knows what will end up happening between them? Any accident can happen. Any hostility can arise.
But Steve's altruistic heart keeps him from leaving. He sleeps for a couple moments longer and opens his eyes some time later. He turns over in bed when he thinks he heard something. Seems to be something outside. He notices the note on his door. Quickly getting out of bed, he goes over to read it. A small smile graces his features. He's not so hungry yet but he knows exactly where to go when his stomach asks for sustenance.
Steve can't help but feel that Mikayla is ashamed to be around him. It makes him feel partially guilty. Why else would she rarely see him during his entire stay here? It had been a couple of days and. . .and he had only seen her twice.
Mikayla was quick to apply the aloe and towels upon receiving them, and her skin was quick to thank her by healing faster. Afterward, when it no longer hurt to move, she got up and headed toward Steve's room.
Leonardo knocked on his door, then entered, gaze lowered respectfully. "Milady wishes to know if you've a wardrobe, Master Rogers..." He shuffled in and over to the armoire on the wall, then gripped the handles and pulled it open. Had Mikayla left the rooms uncleaned, several generations of moths would have flown out. The elderly man faced Steve. "Do you keep them somewhere else or do you have none?"
Mikayla's voice sounded from the open door. "If not we can always ride out to a bigger city and get some for you. It'd be no hassle, and would give me time to make up for being a horrible hostess."
She leaned against the doorway, still in her silk slip. Her skin was still a little pink, but she was full and curvy again. "Plus, you can't be in Italy and never ride through the country. Most beautiful place on Earth, in my opinion. Not just Italia's country, I bet, but seeing as I've never been outside of Italia I can't say." She was quiet for a second, then smiled. "But you would know, wouldn't you? What is it like outside of Italia? Where do you hail from, if I may ask, and how did you get yourself here? A momentary pause, then, "Sorry... too many too fast."
A faint pink touched her cheeks, bringing more life to her face. However, it was quite obvious pink was /not/ her color.
"... If you don't want to go shopping we could always just ride."
Steve moves back to the bed and sits down at the side. He sighs softly and starts to think of something when the knock arrives on his door. Thinking it's Mikayla, he reaches for his white T-shirt only to see Leonardo enter. He smiles a little and sets the shirt down. He greets the man and then thinks over what he hears. He does have a few clothes. They were in there the day he got here.
But Steve's wanted new ones since these clothes don't feel exactly right to him. It's not that they don't fit his form. It's that, in his mind, he's still a 40s man, so laugh or not, he's comfortable in his 'old man' clothes. "I do have a few," he answers as he stands from the bed. "They might be able to last me another week." He doesn't mention the fact that they're not his type because he doesn't want to seem rude.
That's when Steve hears Mikayla's voice. He looks toward the doorway and instantly grabs the T-shirt, placing it on and lowly apologizing for his indecent appearance. When he looks back at her, he notices what she's wearing and turns away as a gentleman. He does feel a soft blush on his face and he attempts to hide it. He can't lie though. She's absolutely stunning and most likely any man would love to view her in her nightwear. As a man from his era though, he knows it isn't right to stare, regardless if she's the one who came to his room instead of the other way around.
Steve smiles a little to what he hears. He wants to let her know that he isn't uncomfortable in her presence. He's only treating her with respect. He turns to look at her but his eyes stay on her face. "Most beautiful place on Earth? Well, then how can I say no?" He chuckles a little and then turns away at her questions. Now he's reminded again of his situation. This isn't the reality he's used to.
This is the reality away from Peggy. . .
Steve sighs lightly and tries not to let the thought of her get to him. His feelings for her are still there justifiably. To him, it feels like it's only been a number of days that he hasn't seen her. He glances toward Leonardo's direction for no particular reason and answers, "It's a whole different world entirely." He means that in more ways than one. "I'm from the United States originally. New York to be exact." Though he has no idea how the current New York would look right now. It would probably be so strange to him.
Steve turns his head to look at her. He doesn't exactly answer her last question yet. He only smiles a bit. "I think shopping would be just fine." Besides, it would give him more time with her. Ever since he's met her, he's been curious about her and that hasn't stopped yet. . .
Not even after the morbid breakfast conversation.