"Good evening," he said, as he nodded towards her briefly, then fixed her with his compelling gaze. Normally she would have laughed at such an opening. But when this guy offered that all-too-stereotyped greeting, it did not sound corny at all. It sounded, instead, exactly like what a vampire master should say.
His voice left her suddenly realizing that Bela Lugosi and Frank Langella did not begin to cover it: He looked better than David Boreanaz on his best nights, in 'Buffy' and 'Angel' combined. Sure, Angel was an awful Uncle Barnabas (which was like an Uncle Tom for vampires) but he still looked pretty hot.
"I am Count Victor Vyrdelek," he said, bowing slightly again. Despite herself, she drew back in fear as he moved forward, until he took her hand and raised it to his cold lips.
That's one of their ethnic folkways, she told herself. She had no reason to feel such strange agitation. At the same time, she noted that his collar had not left his neck while he lowered his head--the surest sign of a terrific tailor. For a girl who was used to seeing her friends wearing off-the-rack burial suits, that tailoring was a turn-on, too.
"We have seen you on the television," he said. "We know you are one of us. I have invited you to answer your questions about our mysteries." In an even lower, slower and more seductive voice, he added, "Is there anything you wish to ask a vampire master who has led the undead for six hundred years?"
"The undead, the undead," the Rockettes wannabee echoed, as she glided from one side to the other.
"I do have one thing to ask..." The visitor wondered if she should call him 'master', then remembered the American flag lapel pin on the collar of her navy blue suit. Americans did not say 'master'. 'Your excellency' seemed all right, though, so she finished her sentence that way.
"Ask what you will," he said, as the candles flickered behind him.
"Ask, ask, ask," whispered the tall, pale woman--or whatever--as her body wove in time.
"Our Ylenia was a dancer," he explained, in a rather apologetic tone.
Tiffany nodded, having figured out that much for herself.
"I can ask you whatever I wish?"
"Yes, my child, anything."
She tried not to wince at that incredibly patronizing 'my child' line.
"How many vampires do we have in Ohio?"
For a moment, he seemed stunned into silence. All four of his brides--or whatever--stared at her, motionless, obviously even more confused.
"Ohio?" he demanded.
"It's a swing state," she explained.
"Swing? You mean like the dance music?" He had cut a few rugs in his time, but that had had nothing to do with Ohio.
"It means we could carry the state for the Senator, with a few hundred vampire votes. Then he'd really owe us big time. Even bigger than he does now."
"I am afraid that I do not have that information," he answered, obviously trying to hide his growing annoyance. "It is not one of the great vampiric mysteries."
"If you don't know, then you don't," she assured him.
Still trying to salvage something from the occasion, which had kept her from a rather crucial session of the AADP (formerly the American Association of Deceased Persons), she gazed beyond him at the four brides.
"Are any of you ladies registered to vote?" she asked.