Within the Northern vicinity of the city, the wealthy gather behind meticulously trimmed hedges and high-class architecture. The pristine streets are paved with stone and the storefronts are brightly lit and inviting - for the right clientele. In the North, every establishment is eager to cater to the rich and the wealthy. Many such places are used to the sometimes peculiar requests of the otherworldly but here there is little that money cannot buy - whether it happens to be illegal or merely involves looking the other way. Vampires and Dark Hunters are often found upon these Northern streets, their long lives often contributing to their sizable wealth which allows them the luxuries that the North provides.
The VooDoo Room
The newly opened Eternity is an expensive fine dining restaurant nestled high upon the hills of the North - providing it a breathtaking view of the city below. The award-winning chefs at Eternity collaborate directly with local farmers and producers to source the freshest ingredients for its ever-changing menu. The staff at Eternity pride themselves on serving each customer's unique dietary needs - from the vampiric to the mortal races. Reservations are strongly encouraged as Eternity is frequently booked to capacity.
Located in the heart of the North, the Voodoo Room is the spirits lover's destination of choice in Sacrosanct. The Voodoo room is a craft cocktail bar that aims to provide an eclectic and exotic atmosphere. Nestled among the William Morris wallpaper, gold, and wood, you will find a new kind of neighborhood cocktail bar. One where hospitality and skill work in concert. With intoxicating liquors and a voodoo vibe, the Voodoo room will keep you coming back for more. Guided by the mantra of providing a one of a kind, high-end experience, the Voodoo Room's mixologists meet the highest standards with a fantastically themed selection of cocktails and specials.
Dark, Gothic, and thoroughly theatrical, the Witchery is a place to indulge yourself with it's lavish, theatrical suites. Whatever room you choose, you'll find glamor, indulgence, and luxury. From the Vestry to the Library and the Armory, the suites of the Witchery are nothing short of sensually romantic. A stay at the Witchery is not complete without dining in the rich baroque surroundings of the original oak-paneled hotel or among the elegant candle-lit charms of the Secret Garden. Whether you stay or dine, The Witchery is an unforgettably magical experience.
Five days. That's how long it'd been since last the fae woman had made her back from Hawethorn Village to the colonial-style home nestled away in the small suburban neighborhood skirting the southern district of the city. She tries not to let the memories of that morning and the evening before pushing their way to the forefront of her thoughts, entirely aware that fair-skinned cheeks would surely flush and her heart which was slow and steady at the moment would be sent aflutter within her chest all over again. I can't believe I kissed him!... Sitting there on the edge of her bed, Lani rubs her face with slender hands, as if it would help relieve the disbelief that very much lingered even after she'd practically locked herself away, refusing to visit the eastern district of Sacrosanct so that she might have the smallest sliver of a chance to recover from, well, everything. And, as she'd expected, Ellie had wanted to know all of it. The blue-eyed blonde remembers leaving that voicemail on the huntress's phone as Lani walked home that morning, grateful for the exertion, and yet having found little comfort in it. It wasn't until the woman with honey-blonde hair and eyes that glittered like early morning frost that the fae woman had nearly been assaulted with an array of questions."Where were you?! I was so close to calling the police station and filing a missing persons report", Ellie had said then, walking into the living room where Lani had been sitting and very nearly plopping down in the spot next to the blue-eyed blonde on the couch.
It had crossed the fae's mind to fabricate some sort of story, but she'd never lied to her friend before, and she hadn't any desire to start."Well... I was job hunting, but then I ran into Andras at the bistro I applied at. He invited me -", she'd started saying only to be interrupted by a gasp of surprise and excitement, those very emotions bright within the huntress's gaze."OH. MY. GOSH!", Ellie had exclaimed, practically wiggling as she giggled girlishly, a sudden mischievous look falling over the woman as she eyed Lani."Well, no wonder you didn't come home last night", she'd said then, her tone entirely suggestive, sending the fae woman shaking her head, trying to hide the warmth that had threatened to color her cheeks yet again."No, no, no, it was nothing like that! I just... we had dinner, I drank too much wine... and he took me -", Lani had begun to explain, but Ellie had simply waved her hand dismissively before getting up and moving towards the kitchen."It's okay, Lani, you don't need to explain yourself to me. I won't pry. Even if i desperately want to!", she had interrupted, giggling again as she beams a bright smile."I'm just happy to hear that you actually talked to him. It's about time you did, really", the huntress had said, and yet, that knowing look on Ellie's face before she'd begun rummaging around in the cupboards for something to cook told Lani that nothing she said or did would ever convince her friend that it had been a casual "catching up" dinner.
Lani would have been alright simply accepting that the honey-blonde huntress would refuse to believe that there was nothing there. The fae woman honestly wasn't even entirely certain herself what it might have meant or if she was just reading too far into things, and yet... she couldn't help remembering that very pull towards the fae man, the way it had felt so... natural.
However, she's hardly had time to really process everything. The day after her conversation with Ellie regarding her whereabouts, she'd received a call from her mother... It had started off rather normal, the older woman telling Lani about how the fae woman's father was doing, that they'd recently gone to a potluck her firm had put together a few days ago."Speaking of which, that's why I'm calling", Ruth had said, those words having causing Lani to frowning ever so slightly in confusion."I was speaking with one of the new accountants there who'd recently moved back to Willowhaven, and it turns out that he has a college friend by the name of Michael who's going to be Sacrosanct on business. I gave your phone number to Devin and asked that he pass it on to Michael so that you two could go on a date", the older woman had explained then, her voice bright as it always was. It had been in that moment where Lani felt her heart stop entirely."Mom!? A blind date?! I don't exactly have time for that kind of thing", the fae woman responded, her words having been spoken in exasperation. It wasn't that Lani didn't have time, especially since it wasn't as though she needed to go job hunting anymore... but she definitely wasn't keen on a date, especially a blind one. She couldn't even remember the last time she'd been on a date... since she still didn't quite count the dinner that she'd shared with Andras as a date.
Ruth had sighed softly into the phone then."Lamb, it's just one date. Besides I'm worried about you. I know you have Ellie there, and that's great, but you never know... you might like him. He sounds like a charming young man", the older woman had insisted, a gentleness in her voice that told Lani what she already knew... Ever since she'd returned home in the broken mess that she'd been three years ago, her parents had always looked at her with gentle concern, and it had only grown upon her decision to move back to Sacrosanct with Ellie. Her parents had always had the best intentions, and so, it had been hard for the fae woman to be upset with her mother. She wanted to tell her that she'd sort of already met someone, but then, she'd also known that her mother would have launched into a thousand questions, and Lani was fairly certain that telling the older woman it was Andras would probably not be the best idea."Okay, mom. But I'm only going on the one date. And no more surprises like this, okay? I want to get settled in more and get a job before anything else", she'd answered, a clear surrender in her words. Her mother had been pleased, and the two of them had continued talking about Willowhaven, her father's business, all the little things that would have comforted the fae woman typically... but she had been entirely consumed by the anxiety and uncertainty of what the following days would bring. Ever since she'd left the city and returned home, the absolute last thing she'd wanted was to think of seeing anyone. And now, that was true even more so.
The text had come the same evening she and her mother had talked on the phone... 'Hey, this is Mike. I made reservations at Eternity for us Friday at 5:00pm. Looking forward to seeing you'... Well, it couldn't be said that he didn't know about some of the classier places in the city. At least it wasn't a bar or pub or something, Lani so inclined to avoid drinking for a while yet.
All too soon, Friday afternoon arrives. "So.. remind me again why you're going on this blind date again?", Ellie queries, sitting on the edge of the bed in Lani's room as the fae woman searches half-heartedly through her wardrobe for something decent enough for the fancy establishment her dreaded blind date would be taking place at."Because I told my mom I would", Lani replies as she eyes a pair of jeans and soft baby blue blouse. No, too casual..."But what about Andras?", Ellie asks, causing the fae woman's heart to flutter before she's able to calm it again."What about him?", the blue-eyed blonde asks in turn, putting back the blouse and jeans, not taking her attention away from the array of less-than-fancy clothes that filled her walk-in closet. Why did she even care what she wore? Maybe she'd even be told that she was underdressed, and the date would just have to be cancelled. That hardly seemed like a bad thing..."I thought you two were going to fix things. Besides, blind dates hardly ever work out. You don't even want to go, it's pretty obvious", the huntress says, gently petting the tortoiseshell cat loafed beside her. A soft sigh escapes the Lani, hardly able to argue about the fact that she really didn't want to go through with this. But it would be rude to back out now, reservations at Eternity were hard to get, and she'd been entirely surprised that this guy was able to pull it off in only a matter of two days. Usually, one would have to make reservations weeks ahead of time.
"It was just dinner, Ellie. We never said anything about 'fixing' things. He just offered me a job, that's all", she replies casually, knowing that while she was telling the truth, there were definitely some details she'd been careful to leave at. For now, at least. She still hadn't made heads or tails of the whole thing, and she still wasn't even entirely sure what had or hadn't been said. Outside those moments the fae man had so delighted in sharing with her."That's what you think. I'm still not convinced, though", the huntress says in an almost sing-song voice, that gentle tease all too easily suggesting that there was something more going on. This time, Lani doesn't say anything for fear that she'd just encourage the honey-blonde woman to ask more questions, instead moving further into the closet, baby blue eyes suddenly seeing that dust-covered box sitting beside achingly familiar black heels. She pauses for a moment, baby blue eyes softening before the fae woman picks up the box and removed the lid to reveal the camera and the strapless black dress. It had been three years since she'd worn that dress... Pushing away the wistfulness that flickers across her gaze, Lani moves out of the closest, setting the box down and pulling the dress out."Oooh! I don't remember that dress! It's gorgeous!", Ellie exclaims, eyes of early morning frost widening as Lani moves to stand in front of the large mirror, holding it against her slender frame, remembering all too well the day that Andras had bought it for her along with the heels.
It's not like I have anything else to wear that would work... She hopes that the honey-blonde woman doesn't see the ghost of memories that seem to flicker across baby blue eyes as she looks at her reflection, hardly having to try and imagine how she'd look in it. Truthfully, she didn't have anything else that would really fit with the refined atmosphere of Eternity. What was the harm?
Deciding then that she didn't really have much choice, Lani retrieves the heels as well and steps into her bathroom to change."Do you need a ride to this little affair. Just because I don't think you should go doesn't mean I won't drive you there", Ellie says then from the bedroom as she continues to shower Chika in affection while the fae woman slips into the dress."No, but thanks. I'm just gonna get a cab", she answers as she steps back into the bedroom, the expression of approval on Ellie's face shown in the huntress's smile."Alright, if you insist. But don't let this guy try any funny stuff or else I'm gonna have to find Andras and tell him", the huntress replies with a cheeky smile, her words matching the mischievous look she gives the fae woman before standing up from the bed and departing from the bedroom. Trying to ignore the small leap her heart does at the mention of the fae man, Lani moves to her nightstand, retrieving the small black wallet and her phone before leaving the room and exiting from the house. Finally, she takes a steadying breath before calling for a cab and waiting in front of her home. It's just one little date. Everything will be fine, she says silently to herself. All she had to do was go to the restaurant, meet this guy, have dinner with him, and make some light conversation the best she could. It wasn't like the fae woman should feel obligated to spend an entire evening with this stranger. Besides, if this did get to be too much, all she had to do was make an excuse and leave. How hard could it really be?
She climbs into the cab when it arrives."Eternity, northern district, please", she says to the driver who simply nods and begins driving through the city streets. Baby blue eyes stare absentmindedly out the window, allowing her thoughts to wander to Somnia, the snow... She wonders when she'd be going there, what Andras had in mind for her there... It had been easy to lose track of time, and when she feels the cab pull to a stop, she pulls herself out of those memories, thanks the driver as she hands him the cash for her commute, and turns to face the modern-style building, large windows illuminated by soft light. She walks through the front doors then, looking over the faces of those sitting down at their tables, talking quietly amongst themselves. She remembers the text she'd received, her obligated date telling her that he'd be wearing a red rose..."Well, well. It's been a while, Lani", a deep voice laced with intrigue and... amusement comes from behind her suddenly, startling the fae woman as she turns around, elegantly curled blonde hair swirling around bare, slender shoulders as she moves to face. Before she even sees him, she recognizes the voice from her past that she'd been so sure she wouldn't hear again. Baby blue eyes wide with surprise blink from behind dark, long lashes as they settle over the man with slicked brown hair and dark chocolate eyes. Her heart stills in her chest for a moment as she stares in clear astonishment at the chiseled face that, despite the slight stubble and workings of time and maturity, couldn't belong to any other person on this planet.
"Brayden!?", she says almost breathlessly then, and yet it was an entirely different type of breathlessness from that which she'd often spoken when Andras would say her name. There's an amused smirk there on the man's lips as he allows for his dark gaze to look over the fae woman, and she feels suddenly like she should have just worn the pants and blouse...
He watches her for a moment or two longer, as if allowing for the realization to sink into the blue-eyed blonde as she sees that red rose sitting there upon his dark grey suit jacket."I go by my middle name these days", he says with a nonchalant shrug, closing the distance between them. Lani wants nothing more than to step back, but she finds herself frozen in place, ice running through her fair skin as his hand moves to rest on her lower back, gesturing towards the empty table in one of the furthest corners of the restaurant."Shall we?", he says then, a voice that would have been smooth as satin to just about anyone but Lani. She allows him to guide her over to the table, but he hardly helps her into her seat, sitting himself down and watching all too closely as she does the same, still speechless."You look pretty damn good, Lani. 'City Class' looks better than I thought it would on you", he nearly drawls at her then, reaching for one of water glasses the quickly approaching waiter places in front of them. She blinks, hardly sure that his words were meant to be a genuine compliment."You clean up well, too", is all the fae woman can manage to reply to the man with, still trying to understand how it was that after all these years (had it been five, or maybe closer to six?), she'd be sitting at a fancy dinner table in the city with her ex-boyfriend. And, with that smug look on the man's face and his rather... expensive ensemble, it was clear that he was doing well for himself now.
He takes a drink of the water, though his gaze hardly leaves hers of baby blue, so she takes a drink of her own water to offer some sort of... hollow comfort, far from a distraction from her reeling thoughts."So, Michael, huh? Since when?", she says casually, trying to keep the shock that still lingers over her from her voice."Since I left that town in the boondocks and made something of myself. I'm an executive for Cornwall Enterprises, making the big money", Brayden answers as he leans back coolly in his chair, very nearly seeming to ravage her with his gaze."It sure looks like you're doing really well", the fae woman remarks, again attempting to cling to some sense of indifference, having to fight against the urge to shift uncomfortably in her seat, deciding to pick up the fancily decorated hardback menu so that she could place something between them other than the table."What about you? Ever manage to find someone in this city interested in your little snapshots?, he asks in turn, though Lani can tell that, again, his words are far from any genuine interest, his remark almost jabbing."No. I don't do photography anymore...", she replies simply, suddenly feeling self-conscious. It was clear that he was successful in his recent endeavors, and if he hadn't already had a huge ego from their high school days, he certainly did now... It's then that he chuckles, dragging baby blue eyes from the menu to his smug simper."Can't say I'm surprised. So, what are you, now? A barista, diner waitress maybe? You're pretty enough to get plenty of tips that would afford that dress", he remarks, lifting a brow almost expectantly. Warmth touches fair-skinned cheeks ever so subtly, but it was far from flattery. No, now she just felt... embarrassed, small and insignificant. She can feel her own distress beginning to climb, her thoughts turning to her phone and wondering if she could make it look like she'd just gotten an important text, fake something urgent so that she could get away... and yet, she doubts that he would even believe her if she tried. She'd probably make a fool of herself, just like she had all these years ago when last she had seen him.