After hearing what's got Phillida upset, Margo and Drea agree that Andres is making a serious mistake by asking Carley to be his bride and queen.
"Why do you take this as a personal insult? He is seeding his wild oats...."
"Wild oats? Is that what you think this is about? You old fool! Wild oats, my ass...."
"Madam, your guests are here are requested," the Tweedle Twin said quietly.
"Yes, thank you."
Phillida turned her back on Heinrich, ignoring him as unimportant. A look of pure loathing filled his face, which he did nothing to conceal from Kirk and Margo. Even the Tweedle Twin said nothing to Phillida as she continued to rant and pace. Heinrich and the twin had not been dismissed, nor had Kirk and Margo. They weren't in a position to do much but wait. Anything else risked incurring Phillida's full wrath, and none of them wanted that. The silence, punctuated by her cursing, grew long.
Hoping to avoid a tongue lashing, Kirk cleared his throat quietly. Phillida looked up, surprised to see him. A sort of smile flickered across her lips and faded
"Kirk, darling. How good to see you." She held out her hands to him, kissing his cheeks when he took her chilly fingers in his.
Shocked by such a friendly greeting, he merely smiled. Margo nudged him and he spoke haltingly.
"Lovely—to uh, see you—too, Phillida. You look radiant this evening."
At least he was able to say this his honestly. She did look very beautiful. She was dressed in a beaded gown of the palest gold, so light a hue, it looked white until the light struck it. The beads were silver, gold and vivid red depending upon the angle from which they were viewed. Her dark hair was pulled into an elegant knot at the back of her neck and her head was spangled with jewels that matched the bead work. Her makeup was, as always, perfect, her complexion cold, but flawless. She was, without doubt, the most beautiful woman Kirk knew. Her beauty left him cold, for she was as cruel as she was gorgeous.
"That is a magnificent gown," Margo said, coming up beside Kirk. "You look devastating, Philly."
She got an equally surprising greeting from the vampire Council leader. Phillida clung to Margo's hands desperately.
"What am I going to do?"
"About what? Andres?" Kirk wanted to laugh, but something about Phillida's demeanor held him in check. "It will pass, Philly. It always does."
"No. This time he is serious, Kirk. He means to make her his bride. He is planning an engagement party to be held next week. They are to be wed in a month. On my birthday! And you can ask how I find this a personal rebuke?" she addressed Heinrich over her shoulder.
"I was not privy to that inf....."
"Shut up, you idiot! Go away! When I want your sniveling, I'll send for you." She waved her hand impatiently at him.
Heinrich bowed and left, the look of loathing again in place as soon as Phillida's back was turned. Kirk frowned at him, shaking his head very slightly as Margo diverted Phillida's attention, asking about her gown. They chatted about it for a moment. Kirk took the opportunity to indicate to Heinrich he wished to speak to him later. Although not close friends, they were not enemies either. Heinrich was also a major power on the Council and someone in authority needed to know about the trouble he and Drea were having.
"You may go, Petrov. I shall be fine with Kirk and Margo."
"I shall be right outside, Mistress."
He nodded, closing the door behind him. Phillida paced, though Margo tried repeatedly to distract her and get her to sit down. She alternated between cursing and weeping. Kirk finally stepped in front of her, halting her mid-stride.
"Phillida, dear, I have never seen you so upset. You must calm down or you will make yourself ill. Come, sit beside me and tell us all about it. Perhaps we can talk some sense into Andres."
"Everyone has tried!"
"Not us," Margo said.
"Why are you being so nice? You hate me! Both of you! Are you working for him?" She grew suddenly suspicious.
"Don't be silly," Margo interrupted her new rant. "We knew nothing of this when we arrived here. We are completely in shock. As to why we're being nice, I don't know. I hate to see anyone as upset as you are. Perhaps it is because I have been badly hurt in my life that I have such sympathy with you. I do know how you feel, Phillida."
The other woman took her hands, holding desperately. "It will do no good, but I shall tell you what I know of their meeting and subsequent courtship. Strange things have been happening in our community of late. Disappearances of some of our members led Andres to go out and investigate personally. Several of our members have pets who are models at the same agency as that girl." She said this with such loathing, Kirk recoiled slightly from her.
"He started going to their parties, hoping to find a lead. Several of our people disappeared after attending the nightly soirees. At first, it was all business. Then he met her—and it all changed. She's a complete ninny, a girl with no morals. Do you know she slept with him the first night they met?"
© 2019 Dellani Oakes