I was beginning to regret taking a paycut in exchange for my sister’s spot on Blood and Bishops. I’d been excited when the show was picked up for a full season, but now…
Now I was subjected to her crude ad-libbing in all our shared scenes, in which she instructed me to shove all manner of medical instruments, chess pieces, and cadaver parts up my anal cavity.
I also struggled with chess itself. For my character, Roland Redgrave, chess was both a tool and, as a last resort, a weapon. But I couldn’t immerse myself deeply enough in the game, especially not with certain…distractions.
I should’ve fought for the role of Lord Harrington Bishop. But how could I have known…? And now I was sentenced to hours of watching my goddess in his arms or on his lap… I thought the script relied far too much on cheap sexual thrills for an attempted ratings boost.
I hoped we might discuss the acting trade or the show itself off-set, but no matter how artfully I posed against a wall or statue, she never noticed me. But seeing her absorbed in a world of her own, a world closed to all others, was appealing on its own.
Still, I wondered…what would she say, if I spoke to her first? Would she be annoyed? Repulsed? Wary? She had the right to be all three.
So I let her be. If she wanted, she could acknowledge me.
I needed to focus on my chess training regardless. And then there was the matter of my mother…no. She’d want me to focus on work. On acting.
So I tried to get into character–what sort of man would enjoy the machinations of a lengthy game of chess? If I altered my glamour, maybe my mindset would follow.
Yes, Dr. Puck seemed like a natural chess player. And the new coat of paint seemed to help me with my game as well…
…And then my sister ruined my immersion by interrupting. I’d almost forgotten I was wearing another man’s face.
I don’t know why I decided to go along with it, rather than revealing myself immediately. Maybe it was because this was the first time she’d voluntarily spoken to me off-set. Or maybe it was because she immediately apologized for offering sexual favors to our therapist in the past. (Something to discuss with Dr. Puck during our next session.)
Would she only speak to me if she thought I was someone else? Could this be the only way to bond as a brother and sister should?
Unfortunately, improvisation wasn’t my strong suit; I was an actor, tasked with bringing even the most pedestrian scripts to life. Still, I was able to convince her of my false identity, thanks to my sheer talent.
I hadn’t known she’d thought all those things about me. I hadn’t known what she thought of me at all, and now I almost regretted it.
But if I could help her see the truth about her unnecessarily maligned elder brother…
I could only try. What other opportunity would I ever possibly have?
I was equally surprised when my other sibling initiated conversation. I was prepared to treat him as I would any other director, but he sought me out when we weren’t filming–and offered unsolicited advice.
Were it on any other subject but my goddess, I might have dismissed it outright. I never needed assistance with women.
But she…she lived in a world closed to mere mortals, a world to which I desperately wanted the key.
But I still couldn’t bring myself to approach the gates of that world. Why? I’d had countless women worship the ground I stood on–many of whom I’d taken on that very same ground.
In this case, it was best to keep my distance; as select few (or more than a few) of my attractive fans learned, some people were meant to be worshipped from afar…
What did you call a daydream at night?
I sprang away from the column I so handsomely leaned against. “Yes?” Please don’t ask me where the bathroom is…
“Hamlet won’t be in the next episode,” she said, “so all of my scenes will be with you or my pet were-leopard instead. I was wondering if you’d like to run lines together…?”
“…Ah, yes. That seems prudent.” My heart was racing. Thank you, Hamlet Richardson, for abandoning a third-rate show in its time of need in favor of your film career.
“I know the entire castle like it’s the back of my favorite vampire novel,” she said. “I found the perfect place to practice.”
What could I do but follow?
And what sort of person had a secret set of stairs leading from the kitchen into a basement?
My goddess hadn’t lied; she did seem incredibly familiar with the layout of the castle. It was difficult to keep up.
She led me into…some sort of holding cell. Strange, but appropriate. One of the scenes in the next episode involved Lady Octavia Bishop taking Roland Redgrave hostage while her husband was out hunting for food.
“This is where the evil vampire lord keeps his prisoners,” she told me.
“Naturally.” It was natural for a vampire lord to do such a thing, wasn’t it? It wouldn’t do to have prisoners escaping.
But in this particular scene, I was her prisoner…
I begged for my release, while she coldly played chess, deaf to my pleas.
But more important than my release was my desire for her to know me again, as she once had, before Lord Harrington ever turned her and claimed her as his wife. She was meant to be mine. How could she have forgotten…?
I was shocked when afterward, she took me by the hand, her slim, pale fingers interlacing with mine.
“I could sense every bit of your painful longing and suppressed passion in your performance,” she said. “I feel like you really understand the material–and you make it seem so real.”
“I…I try to… I’m an actor.”
“I hope I can learn a lot more from you. Eheheh…”
“I…I’d be happy to teach you everything that I know.”
She tugged on my hand. “Can I ask for more of your romantic expertise?”
I swallowed. “Of course.”
She led me down the hall to to a bookcase–one that gave way when she jostled a particular tome. Very peculiar–both the hidden door and her incredible knowledge of this place.
I followed her down yet another dimly lit hall, our footsteps echoing against the stone. At last, we arrived at a heavy, old wooden door, one that swung open to reveal a very interesting bedroom–one with chains dangling from the ceiling above the bed and countless candles littering the floor.
“This is my favorite room in the entire castle,” she announced, heading deeper inside. “The cruel vampire lord’s hidden chamber…”
“Your–your favorite?” With another glance around, it quickly became apparent what such a room was used for…
Before I could stop her, she made for a pillory surrounded by mirrors and secured herself inside. …My goddess certainly knew her way around ancient punishment devices.
She tested the strength of its bonds, her hands moving within their confinements. “Would a vampire lord use this to restrain a nubile human maiden or abducted funeral parlor employee, do you think?”
A white-hot thrill shot through me, the pull of the forbidden… “The neck access…is less than ideal for a vampire to feed from his victim, I believe.”
“Hmm…I wonder what he’d use it for, then.”
I coughed. “I…I can think of a few things.”
She raised her head to look at me. “Will you tell me? I need all the dark, terrible inspiration I can get for my writing.”
“…It would be my pleasure.”
I made a mental note to have my assistant secure my brother’s number as soon as possible; I suspected I’d need a great deal of further advice.