Romance and Revelations

Park Slope Studios - Brooke's Studio Apartment

The large studio apartment offers a great deal of open space. The studio has been recently renovated to include walls between the rooms, and though it's only 900 square feet seems much larger due to the open concept.

Two bedrooms can be found in the apartment, though only one is an actual bedroom. The second, which looks out onto Prospect Park, has been set up as a home office for a budding new business. Filled with filing cabinets, a computer, several calendars, extra day planners, the office manages to look both comfortable and busy at the same time. Several client clipboards hang on the wall.

French doors separate the two bedrooms from the main living area, which encompasses both a small living room and a dining nook. The living area has exposed brick wall with a fireplace. The remainder of the walls are a soft cream in color, and all the furniture is black.

The small kitchen is simple and elegant, with hardwood floors, and wooden cabinets to match. The appliances are older, but still in good working condition. There's no balcony, but there is access to the rooftop garden through a stairway that runs alongside the entrance.


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Brooke Bishop Kieran Collins

Family has gone home, and Brooke's apartment is all hers again. The new air mattress that she bought for Willy to use while he was visiting has been tucked away in the wardrobe she's got set up in the second bedroom area. Everything is once again sparkling, and clean, and it doesn't look as though there's been two older teenagers taking over her place.

To top it off, she's got the night to herself. The client she's supposed to be keeping an eye on for tabloid incidents is having a quiet evening at home with his wife and daughter, and they'll call if they need anything.

Wearing a cute little sun dress, and not much else because she's enjoying not having her air conditioner going full blast, she's got the top hits station playing on her iTunes, and is dancing around the apartment.


Nichole isn't happy that Kieran took off early tonight, and she let the four centuries old vampire know about it in no uncertain terms. He listened, amused, looked chagrin when he should and then left anyway. There's a reason that he hired such capable people: he likes that his businesses can run smoothly without him there.
Sometimes, he needs to take care of other items on his agenda; things that don't involve feeding or hunting either. Things that have him getting a scolding from his Child who showed up at his penthouse not long after sunset. He didn't dismiss her as easily as he did Nichole.
"I'll take care of it," and "You worry too much," did little to placate the woman, though Kieran isn't convinced that there is anything to worry about. At least nothing to get that riled up over.
Still, here he is, the good boyfriend, with a grocery bag in each arm, showing up on Brooke's doorstep. If asked, he'd say he has a plan.
Truthfully, as he waits to be buzzed up, the vampire is winging it.



Brooke nearly misses the sound due to the music, but as the song at the moment is something by Ke$ha the distinct buzzer sound is noticeable. Using her remote to turn the music down, she rushes over to the little wall unit. She's not expecting anyone so she's going to assume it's a delivery guy, or someone hit the wrong studio button.



Kieran grins at the confusion that he can hear in the witch's voice. Of course, she's not expecting him tonight for any reason, aside from a possible phone call later tonight as he travels between businesses. Kieran likes being surprising.
"Singing telegram for Brooke Bishop," Kieran says into the intercom. No, he didn't identify himself, but he thinks that hint of brogue that characterizes his speech might just tell her who is at her door.



Brooke actually blinks at the intercom and presses the button. She has no clue what Kieran's doing here. He's never come to Brooklyn, beyond their date at the gardens. She's actually having a bit of trouble picturing him in her apartment.

"Oh god I look like crap."

It's going to take him a little while to get to the top floor, and she rushes to the bathroom to at least brush her hair and make it look somewhat presentable. She did have it up in a messy ponytail bun.


It's not technically an invite, but the metaphysics of it all tends to think of these sorts of spaces as open. Hearing the buzzer, Kieran tests the theory and then strides inside. He goes to the elevator, and waits for it. A beautiful smile is given to a couple leaving for the evening, and then proceeds up to Brooke's apartment. Once there, he shifts the bags and knocks on the door, waiting for her to come and open it.



Brooke gives herself one more quick look in the mirror, and then pinches her cheeks. She probably should've spent a bit of time putting on makeup, but the pinch will put a bit of color in her cheeks, and she's hoping she doesn't look too awful au naturel.

Opening the door, she flashes him a quick smile. "You're a surprise," she comments with a smile. Noting the bags, she blinks at him confused and then sweeps her hand in toward the apartment. She's a bit nervous about having him here, but she never lets that show outwardly. She knows that he's out of her league, and she's almost shy to have him see the way she lives.

"Please, come in. Can I get you anything? Take your bags for you?"


Kieran keeps a schooled face, a charmingly boyish grin in place despite how easy it was to get an invitation. He would think that Regina would train her witches a bit better than that. Not complaining. Regina's oversight is his gain.
He steps over the threshold and leans down to place a light, sweet kiss on her cheek. "I'm supposed to be a surprise, luv. If you'd been expecting me, it'd hardly be any fun at all."
Lips trail to her ear and he nips playfully at the lobe. "I missed you."
Straightening up and stepping back, Kieran hoists one of the bags. "I know it's a little late for dinner, but I thought that as long as I was in the neighborhood and interrupting your night, I could spring for something along the lines of snack food."
Those blue eyes are trained on Brooke, and Kieran hasn't yet taken a moment to look around the apartment, gauging the witch's overall reaction to him being there.

Brooke would never knowingly invite a vampire into her residence. In fact, she very rarely invites men to her apartment. If she goes home with a date, it's generally to their place. Not because she's ashamed of her studio, but because she just knows better.

Kieran's arrival was a surprise. Really. What was she supposed to do? Leave him standing downstairs, and go down to meet him?

Brooke has to close her eyes at the ear nip. "You missed me," she repeats. By this point it should be obvious that she's still got no clue what he is.

"Snack food sounds lovely. Can I get you something to drink?"


"Why do I sense surprise at the notion that I missed you?" Kieran draws back to meet her eyes, his own sparkling with humor and mischief.

"Yes, I could use a drink. I bought wine. It's in one of the bags." Kieran hefts the bags in his arms. "If you'll kindly show me to your kitchen?"

Looking around, he takes in her apartment. If Brooke is looking for surprise or disdain, she'll find no sign of it on Kieran's face. He may live in rather luxurious accommodations, but Kieran has lived in a variety of places in his unlife, lower quality than even this and high quality as well. He's taking in the finer details; there's a lot to be learned about a person from their environs and Kieran is learning what he can about the witch.

"I like how you've decorated and reclaimed the space," Kieran tells her with a warm, sincere smile. "It's very much Brooke."


"Because there is?"

Brooke looks at the bags again, thinking of offering to take them in for him. Instead, she quietly leads the way to the kitchen. Still somewhat stunned that he's shown up here unannounced. Part of it is the thrill that he's missed her, and part of it is the curiosity of wondering why he's come all this way just to see her.

"It needs a little more work," she comments, much the same as she did to Siobhan the other day. "A proper office set up will be needed if business keeps going as well as it is."


"I know, I should have called first," Kieran says, looking to be a bit sheepish. He bites to the corner of his lip and gives her a half-hopeful smile. "Forgive me?"

The vampire's idea of snack is not typical as Brooke will see as he unloads the groceries. There's wine and cheese, fruit, fruit spread and peppers, vegetables, and two very nicely wrapped boxes in the blue and silver of Eclairant, marked with the restaurant's trademark logo.

"You'll see clients in your home, then?" Her home may be unfamiliar to him, but it's easy to see that Kieran is quite at home in any kitchen.


"It's a good surprise," Brooke finally says, turning to face him. Her movements are slow, and she does offer a hint of a smile. "If you weren't forgiven, you'd not be inside right now."

There is a lot of food. His idea of a snack is enough to feed her for an entire day. After staring at it all, she blinks at him. "Kieran, this is too much."


"Sometimes. More or less I do my calls from here. Tabloids. Caterers. Decoraters. Setting everything up. I generally meet clients at their home, or a restaurant of their choice. Wherever they're most comfortable."


Stopping what he's doing, Kieran walks over the witch and envelopes her in his arms. He slides them around her waist and draws her close, resting his forehead against hers.

"No, it's not too much. I'm invading your home uninvited. I'm making up for it by feeding you well, I hope. You can have left overs tomorrow. Something to snack on while working or just to mix up with your breakfast."


"All of our dates have been out. Not that I object to having the most beautiful woman in New York City on my arm, and showing you off, but I thought a nice laid back evening was overdue for us." Kieran drags a hand up her arm, to stroke her cheek and then kiss her softly. "I really should have called, and I promise that I won't sneak up on you next time. My spontaneity just gets the best of me at times."


"It's not too much? There's enough here to feed four people, let alone for two people to have as a snack," she replies with a soft laugh. "But thank you, Kieran. It's really sweet of you to see that I'm eating properly."


Brooke smiles at him, and then reaches up to touch his cheek. "I would never have taken you for the low-key kind of guy." She doesn't mind the low-key, at home, dinner, movies, relaxing kind of evenings herself. She doesn't get to have them often.

"Stop apologizing. Like I said, it's a good surprise," she softly says after the kiss. "Let me get some wine glasses, and I'll let you lay out the snack. You have full reign of my kitchen."


"I'm an extremely adaptable kind of guy," Kieran grins at her. He taps a kiss to her nose and then releases her. "You do know that giving me free reign of your kitchen is almost the equivalent of dirty talk and foreplay?" He gives her a teasing wink and then proceeds to wander a bit, looking through drawers and cupboards. Just looking for what he needs, rather than asking her a million questions, and intuiting where things might be once he's figured out the general layout and her approach to things.
"If it's a good surprise, then I may have to arrange more good surprises in the future." Kieran talks as he finds a cutting board and a cheese plate and lays them out on the counter. He glances back over his shoulder at Brooke, "I have to be honest. I've been thinking about you all day."

"So I'm noticing." Wiggling her nose like Samantha from Bewitched, she laughs. "If I'd known it was that easy, I'd have invited you to my kitchen long before now." Brooke moves to the hutch and removes two wine glasses. Setting them on the counter, she pulls open a drawer and extracts the corkscrew. Popping open the wine, she pours two glasses, and then hops herself up onto the counter beside them.

She wants to watch him work.

"All of your surprises thus far have been good ones, Kieran." At his words, she blushes. Lifting the glass of wine, she takes a small sip to taste it and then stares at him. "You have?"


The nose wiggle is cute, all the more so given Kieran's knowledge of what she is. The vampire laughs. "Oh, I am that easy. But let's keep it our secret. I do have a reputation."
He finds a cheese slicer in her drawer and gives her a point for kitchen outfitting. Not many people keep those on hand, and he likes that she does. Sliding the wedge of brie over toward him, Kieran easily slits the wrap and freeing the cheese, lays it on the board and begins cutting. "Yes, I have." The slices are quick, but not inhumanly so, just professionally so, and precise and nearly equal. "Does it surprise you that I think about you during the course of the day?"

"Of course it does," Brooke replies easily. "I just can see myself thinking about you, but not the other way around." Primarily because she knows he's busy with three businesses, and has other things to do in a day rather than waste time thinking of her.

"Why do you think I wouldn't be surprised by it?"


"Because that's what we're supposed to do, isn't it?" Kieran flashes her a boyish grin and gives a lift of his brows. "Think about each other? I'm pretty sure that it's in the boyfriend-girlfriend manual." He's casually charming and flirtatious even though they've been out numerous times and most of those dates have ended with a good, long fun snog, though nothing as crazy intense as their second date.
Kieran is proceeding slowly and carefully, even more so after learning of Brooke's status as a witch. His game has changed ever so slightly, though he still agrees that the witch does serve the purposes for his human facade. Respectable girlfriend, but not with too many ties to upper society. Moldable, with hints of submissiveness that Kieran keeps poking out but hasn't openly explored.
Plus … witch. He does have penchant for witches; he might even go so far to admit that there might be a touch of fondness there for the woman.
At least if Regina and her old crones try to cut him off at the balls, he can say he's upheld the letter of 'do no harm.'

"Have we reached the point where I need to be opening that manual?" They've had quite a few dates, and spent a good deal of time together, but they've not had that discussion yet. As to where they stand. As to whether this is a relationship or they're still just casually dating.

Slipping off the counter, she wanders behind him. Arms wrap around his waist, and she murmurs, "I'd like it. I do like that you're considering me your girlfriend."


Kieran tilts his head as though he's considering the question. His forehead furrows a bit as he frowns attractively, and he continues to cut the cheese. Once done, he opens the jar containing peach pepper sauce that he spoons over the sliced brie. "Normally, you'd add the sauce first, for presentation, but I figure we'll jump right in with the eating."
The vampire grabs the box of crackers and opens it as well, arranging the crackers neatly around the brie. He has noticed her behind him, and it's only as he finishes that he looks back over his shoulder and twists to kiss the top of her head. "It might have slipped your notice, but you're the only lady on my arm lately."
Kieran turns fluidly and loops arms around her waist, "Should I ask you officially?"

"Sauce first, then slice." Brooke commits that to memory, though she's not asked him for the instruction. She's never actually served brie with a peach pepper sauce, so it is a good piece of advice for if she ever does.

"It may have. I haven't exactly been keeping tabs on you twenty-four seven, you realize." Smiling at him, she slides one hand a little lower for just a second, then back up.

"If you're making it official, likely," she teases.


"Well I certainly haven't had cozy drinks with any executives at Nash Aerotek." He's teasing. She called him after the story ran and explained everything. Brooke didn't owe him an explanation, all things considered, but even before Serafine's scolding that article made him think that it may well be time that he stepped things up.
Dipping his head, Kieran catches her mouth in a light, fleeting kiss on the tail end of his tease. He returns the favor, sliding his hand down to her backside and squeezing. He's wearing a contemplative and playful half-smirk as the kiss breaks and blue eyes lock on blue. "A'right then. Brooke Bishop, would you officially be my girlfriend?"

"Good lord, we happened to run into each other in Times Square. Do you understand now why I hate the tabloids?" Rolling her eyes, Brooke laughs. She has explained things to Kieran. He won't know that she's figured out the reason she's mentoring Siobhan Knight is because she was caught in public with a sorcerer. As far as she was concerned it was just a glass of wine.



"So I really don't have to call the bloke out, challenge him to a duel and what not?" Kieran's eyes twinkle as he asks the question. The good humor is there, but Kieran has wondered what sort of witch Brooke may be. He knows of the Nash Dynasty, and though not all of them are sorcerers, just as not all of RINC's employees are, the ones in positions of power and control are typically sorcerers. He did quick research, and probably knows more about Brooke's 'friend' than she does.
"Yes, I do see why, but is it really so bad? I find the stories and speculation amusing."
"Good," Kieran fakes a sigh of relief, still smiling at her. Another quick kiss is stolen and then he's reaching around and presenting her with the plate of cheese and crackers. "Go on and put that wherever we'll be snacking. I'll get started on the fruit."


"Definitely not. In fact, you were there when I was introduced to him. At the Shakespeare Gala? He was sitting at a table of people I'm acquainted with." Were she not involved with Kieran, there could be possibility there with Rhett. She could see it when they were talking and flirting, that she was getting along just fine with the man.

"Speculation is amusing, however, being in the story and set up with so many men is rather frustrating."

Taking the plate, she laughs. "Right away. I'll be back for the wine."


Kieran remembers. He has a sharp and shrewd memory, given his position and what he is. He feigns fogginess for a few moments, frowning and then nodding his head. "The Aussie and the Broadway bloke?" Because, that seems the most pertinent thing that the typical person would recall. He did pay a bit of attention when he heard the name 'Knight' because that was a scandal that even the vampires are aware of; disinherited and blacklisted or not, Knight is still the sorcerer of a powerful Dynasty even if they are overseas.

"Then I suppose on our next outing, I will have to make it abundantly clear to the roaming papparazzi that you are solely attached to one man."

Kieran watches her head away with a smile and turns to begin chopping the fruit.


Brooke is honestly about to reply that she's friends with the dancer, but she figures that his assessment is good enough. "Dr. Knight, and Samuel Donovan, yes. I've done work on a few of Samuel's productions." Opening night parties, cast parties, hundredth showing parties. So it's not as though it's an untruth.

It's silly, but she feels like a schoolgirl that's just been asked to go 'steady' for the first time. She's happy that she's heading away with the plate of cheese, because otherwise she'd be blushing and feel the need to kiss him.

Picking up the few magazines on her coffee table, she sets them into a rack at the side of the end table, and sets the cheese down. As promised, she returns for the wine and the glasses.


"Oh yes, Miss Donovan's father," Kieran intones as though the pieces are falling into place for him. "Pretty girl. She reminds me of my - " Daughter, four centuries dead. "Cousin back home. Something about the eyes." That truly is the reason the young woman got his attention when he interviewed her. It might well be the reason he agreed with hiring her.

Kieran is working his way through neatly halfing strawberries when Brooke returns. He pauses to reach for his own wine glass and take a sip, then resumes his work. "You haven't asked what's in the Eclairant boxes." They're sitting neatly on the counter, stacked atop one another. She can see all of the other food except for what's in the boxes.


"She is a rather pretty girl." Then again, with parents like Samuel Donovan and his wife, it'd be hard for her not to be pretty. "She does have unusual eyes. They almost remind me of yours." She could see that the girl would remind him of his cousin. Easily.

Brooke glances at the boxes and smiles. "I assumed that was part of the surprise."


"So what's in the boxes?"


"Unusual eyes?" Kieran blinks at Brooke and lifts a brow. "That's a description I haven't heard before." He winks to let her know he's making fun of her choice of words, but that they don't bother him. He's quite aware that his eyes are unique and unusual in their coloring.

"I'm the surprise." A wolfish grin is tossed in her direction, and Kieran moves onto slicing kiwi.

"Dessert. One is a lemon tart with strawberry and apricot topping, the other is a a decadent chocolate cake made with three different chocolates, white, dark and milk, which must also be drizzled with warm chocolate syrup before serving." Beat. "The kitchen likes to call it 'Chocolate Orgasm.' "


"Striking. Uncommon in the paleness of their color. Unusual," Brooke explains. She's not embarrassed to have posed it the way she did. The man does have unusual eyes. She should know. She stares into them often enough.

"Yes, you are."


"Oh god, that sounds incredibly decadent. Delicious too." Licking her lips, she smiles at him. "I think I've died and gone to heaven. Chocolate delivery as a surprise? Marry me."

The last two words are entirely a joke.


"Also, I've heard that they're one of my best features." Kieran playfully bats his long, dark lashes in her direction and turns back to the fruit plate. Blueberries and fresh raspberries are added to the strawberry and kiwi as garnishment and topping.

"There is a reason it's called the chocolate orgasm," Kieran laughs at Brooke's reaction to the chocolate cake. He thought that would be a winner.

"Is that all it takes?" The vampire asks, still grinning. "I've been going about this courting thing all wrong, then." He presses the plate to Brooke's hand. "Take this out and I'll bring the delicious desserts."


"They are."

Brooke disappears with the wine and glasses, then comes back quickly. Smiling at him, she nods. "I can see that. It's almost too evil to contemplate eating."


"Yes. The promise to keep me happily sedated on copious amounts of chocolate is all it takes." Taking the plate as she's handed it, she walks it toward the main room and sets it down beside the cheese. This time, she waits out there. Wondering at all the food.


Kieran finds small plates and forks, and carrying the boxes, balanced neatly on top of the plates, and the glass of wine in his other hand. He sets the food booty on the table and settles down beside Brooke. Licking his lips, Kieran takes a long swallow of the wine.

"Did your siblings enjoy their time here?"


"As much as two nineteen year olds can in the city, with three adults hovering around them." It's true. Between herself, Briget and her parents, the twins were very rarely left alone.

"How was your holiday?"


"Oh, come on, you stifled them. Teenagers need a little bit of rope to hang themselves with." Yes, Kieran would be and has been an absolutely terrible influence on the newly barely legal set before.

"Relaxing," Kieran gives her a lazy smile, stretching an arm across the back of the couch. "Sera and I hung about and watched the fireworks from the rooftop of the penthouse." There were also several warm, delicious human bodies and a good deal of absinthe and an illicit drug or two in the mix, but Kieran is not revealing that for obvious reasons.


"Which you're going to have to come see someday."


"I hardly stifled them. I made sure that they weren't getting themsevles into trouble." I.E. She didn't let them go wander into the Undercity on their own, "They were allowed to go out clubbing if they wanted to. They just didn't want to bother. The few clubs that weren't 21-plus, just weren't what they were looking for either."

"Sounds like fun. I took everyone out on a cruise during the fireworks. It was nice enough." A bit crowded, but nice enough. A novelty compared to what they're used to.

"Are you inviting me back to your place, Mr. Collins?"


"Part of being nineteen is getting into trouble," Kieran points out, chuckling. He might not have been that age and been human for a very long time, but he's been around that age set and he employs a few at his various businesses. He knows.

"I've done the cruise before. I prefer the rooftop view." Among other things.

"Possibly," Kieran traces his fingertips over her shoulder. "If you're a very good girl."


"Not for them. They're really not the trouble type." Brooke remembers being that age and first getting to the city. She got up to quite a bit of trouble. It was different though, being as how she was entirely on her own with just a little help from a few people in the coven.

"I think I would've prefered something more intimate if I'm being honest. But they enjoyed themselves, and that was the whole point of inviting them out here for the holiday."

Brooke shivers at his touch, and slowly moistens her lips. "I think I can manage that."


"Didn't your parents get lucky, then? Teenagers that aren't the trouble type."
Noting the shiver, Kieran leans to the side and presses his lips to her temple in a lingering kiss. He draws back slowly, and motions toward the food. "Go on and eat. I didn't bring it for it to look pretty. That's your job."


"With those two, they did."

Brooke was in her fair share of trouble in the day. She wasn't exactly an easy teen. Not overly rebellious though. Just wanting to have more freedom than her parents offered.

Staring at him, she nods. Reaching forward, she plucks a raspberry from the plate of fruit and pops it into her mouth.


"Yes, I think we've had this discussion. They weren't so lucky with you, right?"
Kieran follows Brooke's example and picks up a neatly halfed strawberry. He pops it in his mouth, chews and swallows and then picks up another. This one, however, is lifted to Brooke's lips and gently smoothed around it.


"Not exactly, no." Brooke grins, leaning back against the couch. As the strawberry touches her lips, she parts them. Closing her eyes, she nips delicately into the strawberry, allowing the juices to drip for a moment before she thinks to grab a tissue from the box behind her and catch them. Better that than sticky strawberry juice on her couch.

"Mmm. Delicious and ripe," she says, peeking her eyes open after she chews the little piece she's eaten.


"Only the best," Kieran murmurs. He pops a few blueberries, then places another strawberry in her mouth. It's one of Kieran's little pleasures: watching others eat. It's likely one of the reasons he's chosen to be a chef in several of his incarnations.

The other strawberry is eaten in much the same manner. Slowly. Savoring every bite. When it's done, Brooke snakes her tongue out to catch a bit of the juice at the corner of her lip. Reaching forward, she takes up a piece of the fruit and offers it to him.

"What color would be best for me to wear to Kostas' party?"

There is something of half-lazy, half-hungry smile on Kieran's lips as he watches her savor the strawberry. As she does, he reaches out, trailing a finger gently along her collarbone, down to the hollow between her breasts, then back up again. With a smirk, the vampire leans in and delicately licks at the corner of her mouth, before drawing back.
"I liked that gold dress you were wearing when we first met. I think gold would be perfect for you."
He opens his mouth to accept the strawberry and nips at her finger tips.

The shiver is hard to hide this time. Brooke's entire body reacts to the touch, and the tease of his fingers against her warm skin. As he licks the corner of her mouth, she closes her eyes again, with a slight purr sound.

"Gold it is then." That's what she'd been planning on, really. The dress is quite lovely, and while it's not they type that screams sexy, it is the type that hangs off every curve in a very flattering manner.


Kieran adores the way the witch reacts to his touch. She's not the first woman to respond in such an encouraghing and sensual manner, but he never gets tired of seeing it or hearing it. It's all the better when he's not used his other abilities to induce such a thing.
"You must really enjoy those strawberries," Kieran whispers, pressing his mouth close to her ear. This time, he offers her a piece of kiwi, nipping at her ear as he does so.

Brooke nips onto the kiwi as it's offered as well. "They're delicious," she answers. More or less, she'd agree with much of anything at this point. His little game may be designed to tease, and she may be reacting to it extremely well. that doesn't mean that something's not going on that she wants to find out about.

Wrracking her brain for what it might be, she reaches out to touch the side of his cheek. "You are bound to spoil me."


"Mmm-huh," Kieran agrees. He turns his face to catch her fingers in a kiss, and then playfully sucks the tip of one between his lips. His free hand trails over her cheek, then lifting her chin, Kieran draws her in for a slow, long exploratory kiss. His tongue teases past her lips, and once allowed entry he's stroking hers with his. The kiss is open, tongue touching and chasing away the taste of kiwi and strawberry as though he's never kissed her before and he wants to learn her mouth anew.


The kiss takes the witch by surprise. Not in the way that she's not expecting it, because she is with the way his fingers are trailing over her cheek. In the way that it's both familiar and new at the same time. Brooke melts into the kiss, setting her hand to the back of his neck. Body shifting a little closer to him, her other hand rests upon his thigh.

When she finally has to draw back to catch her breath, she's staring at him.

Tracing her lips with her tongue, she can still taste him there. "Christ…"


"No," Kieran purrs, his mouth trailing lightly along her jaw and then lingering with lips just above her pulse point. "That's just me." The hand holding her chin shifts and his fingers trace the front of her throat, over her shoulder and tease beneath the strap of her sundress. The vampire wraps lips around the pulse poing, suckling gently for a moment. He likes the feeling of the blood pounding beneath his lips, likes the way it makes the fangs itch to protrude.
Drawing back with a faint sigh, Kieran kisses up her cheek to the corner of her mouth and then leans back. He flashes her a grin. "You make me want to forget all about the snacks and dessert, you know that, yeah?"

Breathing a little heavy from the kiss, and the teasing of his lips along her jaw to her throat, the witch sighs. "It… is." Her breathing hitches, and her body shudders from the teasing. She's fairly certain that he's going to leave a little love bite on her neck, and she doesn't even care.

"I do?"


"I have no idea how I can distract you from such delectable and delicious treats."


"Just by being you, luv." Kieran kisses the tip of her nose.
His eyes brighten suddenly and he grins at her with mischeif. "Oh, I almost forgot." Then he's bounding up from the couch and heading back into the kitchen. One bag isn't completely empty and when he returns he has four DVDs in hand.
"You said that you enjoy spending a quiet evening at home watcing movies. I wasn't sure what you liked, so I just randomly grabbed a few things."

"You forgot?"

Brooke blinks when he gets up so fast from the couch. It's really surprising to see him move that way and come back with movies. Smiling, she laughs. "I did say that. I'm surprised that you remembered that." Settling back on the couch, she grabs another piece of fruit and pops it into her mouth.

"I'm not at all movie fussy. Surprise me?"


"I told you that you were distracting." Closing his eyes, Kieran shuffles the DVDs and then plucks one out of the pile. He makes his way to the DVD player and puts in the movie, then returns to the couch. He doesn't settle in comfortably yet, however, instead opening one of the decadent dessert boxes. The chocolate dessert is cut in half, placed on one plate, and Brooke is handed a fork. The handsome vampire picks up the other fork. "It's rich. I thought we could … bloody hell, woman, you really are distracting."
Kieran rises again, and with a promise to be right back, makes his way back into the kitchen with the chocolate dessert plate in hand. He calls over his shoulder, "Pause that when the movie starts."


Brooke laughs at his response, and turns a smile on him. "I don't think I'm distracting at all. I think you've just got a one track mind," she tells him playfully. Not that she's complaining about his one track mind. It's actually kind of cute that he seems so distracted.

Taking the fork, she eyes the chocolate dessert. She's about to slice her fork into it when he's jumping up again.

"What? How did I distract you this time?"

Shaking her head, she reaches for the remote control. Rather than pausing the movie, she just lets it sit at the menu screen.


In the kitchen, Kieran locates the chocolate sauce. He warms it in the microwave, not his preferred method, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Once it's warm, it's drizzled over the cake and he returns to the living area. "Forgot the chocolate sauce."
"Not this time," Kieran explains. "I was still distracted from earlier when I went to get the movies out of the kitchen. My intention was to take the cake with me." He settles back on the couch, and holds out the plate to her, allowing her to take the first bite.

"Decadent," she says again as he returns with the drizzled cake. Brooke closes her eyes as she slides the fork into the cake. It's just a small bite, but she takes it and savors it completely. Only when it's done does she murmur, "I can see how this cake got its name."

With the first bite having been taken, she presses the play button and the movie starts up on the television.

"Damn. I've got amazing super powers if I was distracting you that long."


Kieran watches her eat the cake and grins, quite pleased at her reaction. He is vain and can be quite prideful in many things, and his talent in the kitchen is one of those things. Of course, Kieran hasn't revealed that he made the cake, only that it's from Eclairant, so it could by any of his chefs. It is his recipe, but he's not usually the one making it.
Once she's done, Kieran takes a bite of his own, and leans back comfortably on the couch, his leg pressing against hers. "You are an amazing woman."
"What was that statement about a one-track mind? How is my mind one-track?"

Brooke waits until he takes a bite of the cake before she lets her fork press into the moistness once more. Scooping up another small bite, she savors this as much as she did the first. It's a good thing she doesn't have access to desserts like this often, or her hips would be regretting it.

"And you are good for my self confidence."


"Just that I think you're set on making me feel good."


"Is that a crime? Making you feel good?" Kieran takes another bite of the cake. He hasn't really turned his attention to the movie yet, more focused on the conversation with the witch by his side. He knows that he's going to either have to up his game on this, or back off completely and Kieran is still at a loss of which direction to go in. If he keeps this up … well, there'll be hell to pay if he doesn't handle it carefully. With Kostas' Ball coming up, it could go pear shaped quite easily and in no time at all.
"I'm only speaking the truth. You're an amazing beautiful woman." Kieran grins cheekily. "You look good on my arm, too."

"Definitely not. I like it." After a third bite of the cake, Brooke sets her fork onto the coffee table. Drawing her legs up under her, she curls herself against him a little. She's facing the movie though she's more focused on the conversation still.

"Why do I sense a 'but', there?"

There obviously has to be one. He's shown up out of the blue with enough food to feed an army. Movies. Saying all the right things.


Kieran takes a final bite, and then sets the plate and his fork aside. He slides his arm around Brooke's shoulder and draws her into his side, tilting his head down to kiss the top of her head. "I don't know why you hear a 'but' in there. Do you suffer from auditory hallucinations?"

"I didn't say 'hear', I said sense," Brooke replies. Tilting her head up, she sighs. "It's just been my general experience that when I guy goes out of the way to surprise a girl, there's a 'but' somewhere in there."

Brooke glances toward the television for a few moments, letting out a chuckle at what she sees on the screen. "If there's not, I'm sorry. It may just be my paranoia, what with my sister's ex back in town, and the tabloid article and all."


"Gabriel is your sister's ex?" Kieran seems to be surprised by that, though he had began to suspect something of the sort, given the things he's been hearing and have had reported back to him. Surprise is part of his human face, and in this case, there's no reason to hold it back. "I thought that there was some awkwardness there between them at the book signing …" Kieran shrugs his shoulders.
He stares at the screen a few minutes, but isn't watching. Just timing. "He seems … a little young to be your sister's ex, no offense to Bridget. He's what? Thirty? He'd have just been out of school when he left New York, right?"
Oh, Kieran isn't an idiot. He's not trying to raise more questions about Gabriel, but he is feeling Brooke out to see how much she might or might not suspect about the young vampire.
"You are paranoid, luv." Kieran kisses her forehead. "I missed you. I wanted to see you. Is that so hard to believe?"

"Thirty-seven," Brooke answers. "He gave her some story about getting plastic surgery for a client so that they'd stay with him." Which seems totally bogus to her, and while she knows that there's magic that could hide age, she doesn't think the man would keep it up for twelve years.
"She was seeing him around the same time I was seeing Bryn Blackwell."

Brooke's got Gabriel figured out, or at least she thinks she does. What with her sister's information and all. "I don't doubt that he's back here to find out about his mother's murder, but that happened weeks ago, and you'd think he'd have found something by now if he were at all a good lawyer."

Biting her lip, she nods. "Yes, I suppose it is."


"You don't buy it?" Kieran asks with a tilt of his head. "It is the West coast. Maybe not California, but there seems to be a different standard out there." Bloody idiot, he could have invested in stage makeup. How hard is that? Then again, it all smarts of a stupid neophyte who's not fully adjusted who wants to be found out. Which wouldn't be a horrible thing with the lack of rampant villagers and pitchforks, stakes and torches and the joys of glamour, except that Gabriel was Coven and his ex still is.
Kieran chuckles at her assertion. "I think you're confusing lawyer with detective, luv. His job starts when they catch the killer and bring them to the courtroom."
"Whoa." Kieran sits up a little and draws back to look at her. "What sorts of blokes have you been dating?"

"I don't buy it. Even the best plastic surgeon isn't going to do work on a twenty-five year old man to keep him looking twenty-five. It's ludicrous. West coast or not, it's just not viable that he's not showing any signs of aging." Brooke frowns a little, then shrugs. "Besides, from what Bridget's said, it's like he's stalking her. At least showing up at her workplace in the evenings when she's generally closed but still working on outfits."

Plus, Regina's not happy that he's back. While she won't act harshly because she's allowing the whole grieving process, that's not going to last forever. He was banned, or excommunicated, or whatever they want to call it for using darker sorcerer magic.

"Perhaps, but a good lawyer could get the case files and have access to certain things that would expedite what he's looking for."


"I don't normally tend to date, or if I do it's never anything serious."


"Mmhnh," Kieran says thoughtfully. He pretends to mull it over, and then looks at her. Blue eyes wide with earnestness and curiosity. "If it's not plastic surgery, what is it, then? Traded his soul for eternal youth? Made a deal with the tricky fae folk?" It's hard to tell whether he's being serious and believes those things or if he's taking the humorous approach because he doesn't believe in supernatural influences and sees what normal mortals see and expect to see.
"Maybe he's not a good lawyer?"
Kieran sighs and trails his fingers down her arm, pulling her against him again. He chuckles lightly. "That's it, then, you found me out. I came over here to get you into bed. My master plan is to loosen your inhibitions with chocolate, and then have my way with you, leaving you so blissfully sated that no other man will ever compare."

"I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it's either that or one hell of a magic t— plastic surgeon." Brooke clears her throat and picks up the plate of chocolate cake again. Taking another bite, she savors it slowly. Trying not to say anything for a few minutes.

"There's that. He may be a horrible lawyer. All I know is that he's upsetting Bridget."

Setting the plate down quickly before she drops the cake on him, Brooke laughs when he pulls her tight against him. "Do you think it's working?"


Kieran is curious to know why neither sister has reported it to Regina, but that's not a question he can ask. One thing he can sense is that Brooke might have an inkling of what Gabriel Howe is, and that might not be a good thing for Gabriel. Not that Kieran has any investment in the neophyte, but it could get sticky for the Hecanthenos if the Coven thinks that they have proof of their recruitment policies. Regina would be so much easier to placate if she didn't know who Kieran was, and he hasn't brought Sera out in the open yet because, at least with the Coven, she's still the ace up his sleeve. His go-to when he needs to hit the unsuspecting.
"At the risk of maybe alarming you a little, I do know a lot of people, Brooke. One or two of those people might be willing to have a few strong words with Gabriel to leave your sister alone." Namely whichever of the brutes Kieran sends after Gabriel, unless he goes himself and plays the gentleman's role first. So many paths to take. He offers it as Brooke's human boyfriend, but it will happen no matter what she says.
He tickles his hand over her hip and then slides fingers up her arm. "I don't know. You tell me. Is it working? Are you putty in my hands, ready to beg for me to carry you off to bed?"


Brooke won't say anything to Regina until she has proof. It's one thing to inform the Matriarch that Gabriel Howe is back in the city. It's another thing entirely to go to the woman with tall tales, and presumptions. The last thing she wants to do is gain Regina's ire if she's completely and totally wrong in her assessment.

She has no idea what Bridget has told though.

"If it gets bad, I'll keep that in mind. I suggested a restraining order." The legal route first, and barring that? She really won't care if a guy who's bothering her sister winds up with a few bruises.

Laughing, she shakes her head. "No, not yet. Do I look like pliable putty?"


"Legal route. Yeah, I should have thought of that, but, sometimes the more direct ways are just better." It's a catch-22 at the moment. If she that he was affliated with the supernatural world at least, the good boyfriend would put her in touch with the Priory to mediate. As it is, they're stuck with common channels.
"No, you really don't look quite pliable yet." Kieran sighs heavily. "I must be losing my touch." It should be clear by now that his main focus is not getting Brooke into bed, though he thinks that might be advantageous if he plays it right. Mostly, Kieran is still sitting on that fence.

There's knowledge of the Priory, and just who is heading it up most of the time these days. Brooke didn't take that route, simply because she knows her sister's feelings on Bryn. To have him mediate things between she and Gabriel, when he was the cause of them not being together to begin with just really wouldn't go over well.
"Or the cake was just so orgasmic I don't really need to go to bed with a guy right now?"


"What you're telling me then is that I'm too good in the kitchen but not nearly good enough with the seduction?" It's all said with a touch of teasing and good humor, because the vampire is clearly not trying to seduce the witch. He knows how to get under her skin with a few touches and kisses, and he's not doing it at the moment.

Truthfully, Kieran is enjoying the back and forth banter as much as he was enjoying the rooting and fishing conversation. He enjoys Brooke's company, something that does sometimes happen with the rare few humans he meets. Some of them are interesting and worth the investment. Brooke was, at least, for the whole girlfriend on the arm thing. It's simply that things are a bit more complicated now.

Though the witch is hardly aware of that.


It's true. Brooke is entirely unaware of any complications that there could possibly be in their relationship. Beyond the 'age' thing. He is a few years younger than her, and she knows that it may sometimes be an issue. But she enjoys spending time with him, and while her sister keeps telling her that things are too perfect, she figures it's about time she had some 'perfect' in her life in the relationship department.

"I don't know. Maybe if you mixed the two. Cooked a fabulous dinner, topped it off with this amazing cake," she says, indicating the divine chocolate on the plate, "With the right words and kisses…"


"I'll keep that in mind," Kieran says, stroking his fingers up and down her arm as he hugs her close. "Good meal, great dessert and sweet nothings whispered in your ear."

Leaning down, he nips playfully at her ear, "Maybe I should practice?"


A tremble runs through Brooke's body at the ear nip and she shifts herself just a little closer to Kieran. "Careful. A girl could get used to being completely pampered like that."


"I don't think a man like you needs the practice."


"That's the idea." Kieran's words caress her ear, fingers dancing over her arm. "To pamper and spoil you and keep you hopelessly interested in and attracted to me."

He chuckles, a low throaty sound and drops a kiss behind her ear. "If I don't practice, I might get rusty."


"You know that's not necessary, right?" Brooke's words are soft, and her eyes are closed. Sure there's a movie playing, and it's one she's not watched before, but she's heavily distracted by the man beside her.

"I'm already hopless around you."

Brooke squirms a bit at the kiss behind her ear, and whispers something that comes out sounding like, "Who's the distraction now…"


"Mmm," Kieran draws his lips over the shell of her ear and softly presses lips to her cheek. "Maybe I should stop that, then?"

Drawing back, he leans back against the couch. His attention turns to the movie, but he does give the witch a squeeze, drawing her close against him.


Shivering, she exhales a slow breath. Licking her lips, she nods. "Maybe." She's not telling him to stop, but neither is she telling him to continue.

Reaching forward, she takes up her wine glass. The remainder of what's in the glass is swallowed quickly. The empty glass set back on the table.

"Maybe not."


Contrary to whatever Brooke might be thinking, Kieran did not come here for a 'booty call.' He came to test the waters with Brooke and figure out how to proceed from here.

"So very indecisive, Miss Bishop."

That being said, he kisses her temple and focuses his attention on the movie.


"Completely indecisive." There's little point in arguing with him over it. It's one of those nights where she doesn't want to commit to anything. Instead, going with the flow of the evening.

"I guess that means you're in charge of the evening."


"I like being in charge," Kieran chuckles. He tucks the witch in close, and says nothing more, watching the movie.


"I know you do."

It's an acknowledgement of the fact that he seems to be at ease giving orders, and expecting them to follow through.

Brooke bites her lip, quietly watching the movie for a few minutes.

"Are you planning on spending the night?"


Kieran peers down at her, just watching her for a few moments. He rubs his thumb over her bare upper arm, and dips his head to brush lips across her temple.

"Would you rather I didn't?" It's not exactly a 'yes,' but it's more of a 'yes' than it is a 'no.'



Brooke tilts her head to glance at him, then bites her lip. "I just figured you wouldn't want to after that night at Purgatory. Especially not at my apartment."


The vampire frowns. "Why … why would you think that?"


"Exactly why would what happened at Purgatory make me not want to spend the night? Logically, it should make me want to spend the night more." He's been a student of humans and their rational and behavior for four centuries. There are still times when Kieran can't make sense of them. This is one of those times.


"We've been together nearly two months, and you've not tried anything since." Brooke knows that she's not made a move either, at least not past traditional heavy making out at the end of a date.

"Do you want to stay the night?"


"You haven't either," Kieran feels the need to point out. "It's the twenty-first century. You are allowed."

He brings his hand up to trace her cheek. "I've just been taking things slowly. Making sure that this is what we both want. I've been getting to know you, Brooke, instead of just trying to get into your knickers and shag you."

Frankly, Kieran could have done that fairly easily with any number of women.

"I would love to stay the night." Beat. "So long as you're not offended when I have to sneak out early in the morning. I have a business meeting very early tomorrow."


"I know I haven't." Brooke blushes as he points that out, and then draws away from him. Shifting her weight so she can face him, she laughs. "I was taking my cues from you. Hell, you likely could've taken me home after the second date."

Staring suddenly at her bare feet, she nods. "Is it what you want, Kieran? I don't want to push anything."

Blinking, she laughs. "No, I won't be offended. Unless you don't call me afterward. Then I might get a tad upset."


"Yes, but would you have respected yourself in the morning or even been comfortable enough to keep seeing me if I had?" Kieran lifts her chin with his fingers and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, blue eyes watching her earnestly.

"You're hardly pushing. I think you've done a fine example of not pushing," Kieran chuckles, pressing his forehead to hers. "I promise to call you afterward."

This time when he kisses her there is nothing playful or sweet about it, it's full of desire and hunger, a slow seductive drawing out meant to promise an evening of wickedness and satisfaction.

As the kiss breaks, he speaks softly against her mouth. "Tell me. Tell me you want me to stay the night, Brooke."


"Probably not," she answers honestly. There's something about the way he tucks the hair behind her ear, the way his eyes keep with hers that has her feeling shy.

The kiss sparks something in her. She doesn't leap at him, but the slowness, the desire that's felt in it has her spine tingling. A warmth pools up in her center. When the kiss finally breaks, Brooke gasps and runs her tongue over her lip.

"I want you to stay the night, Kieran. Please?"


"Then I'll gladly stay," Kieran replies simply. Right before he's joining his mouth to hers again, this kiss no more urgent than the first, but somehow filled with a good deal more suggestive passion. One hand cups her cheek, his tongue delving the depths of her mouth, the other locks around the back of her head, holding her steady as he kisses her in a far more intimate fashion than he ever has before.

It's some time later, the too much food long forgotten, and the living room left behind when they are in any condition to talk again. They're bodies are wound together on Brooke's bed, slowly coming down from the pleasure and activity they've shared.

"There is so much about me that you don't know, Brooke." Kieran draws a finger tip along her collar bone, blue eyes locked to hers. "I'm a man of mystery." His tone is light, teasing. The smile on his face languid and relaxed.

"And you are a fascinating woman."


"You are at that."

Brooke did do the sensible internet age thing, and Googled him after the surprise at Purgatory. She likely should have done it before then. It all tells pretty much the same story he told her though. So at least his public image is intact, and not at all mysterious.

"How do you figure that I'm so fascinating, hmm?"


Kieran winks at her. "Have you met you?"

He stretches out on his side, continuing to move his fingers over her body. Light, caressing strokes. Shoulders, sides, abdomen. Avoiding any sensitive areas … for now. "I have a confession."

Blue eyes lock to hers, holding her gaze. "You're going to stay calm and not freak out about this." As he speaks, there's a shift in the tone of his voice. It's subtle, but it there. A lilting that makes one want to listen to what he's saying. It's a pleasurable sound, either the soothing dulcet tones of comfort of the sensual caress of a lover. He weaves a glamour behind the words, his touches consistent. Affectionate. Soothing. "All right?"


"I think it'd be quite the conundrum to meet myself, so no?"

Brooke grins, stretching out beneath his soft caresses. It's comforting almost. A connection that's keeping them together despite the fact that they've finished fooling around.

"Please don't tell me that you're married." She's run into men like that before, and she doesn't particularly like them.

There's a bit of a struggle within her. She wants to pull her eyes away from him, but she can't. "Alright. I'll stay calm."


"That's my girl," Kieran says and leans in to press a kiss to her forehead.


"I'm not married." He tangles and combs his fingers through her hair. Traces the curve of her shoulder. "I'm a vampire."


"It's a very good thing you're not married, all things considered."

Brooke's body tenses at the pronouncement of what he is. Though her body is tense, her demeanor appears to still be calm. She's not freaking out at all.

"Is that all? Your big secret?"


"That's it."

Kieran withdraws his hand, watching her carefully. He might have played a bit unfairly, not allowing her to react the way she wants, but he's protecting himself.

"Tell me something, Brooke?" Kieran continues to lie calmly beside her, "Have I ever hurt you or done anything that would lead you to believe that I mean to bring you physical harm?"


"So you're a vampire."

Brooke can hear that, she can understand that, but she can't react the way she might normally have. Good for him, at the very least.

"No, of course you haven't. You treat me with respect. In fact if you weren't a vampire, I'd say you were actually fond of me."


"Yes, I'm a vampire," Kieran repeats the words like it's a weather comment or he's deciding on which pair of socks to wear for the evening. He's still stretched out, relaxed even, but he is keeping a careful distance from her. He hasn't left the bed, and there's nothing holding her there, but he's carefully navigating the waters.

"Does what I am negate the possibility of being genuinely fond of you?"


"Vampires view humans in the same manner humans view pets," Brooke replies. She does know a little about them, or has at least read things in the grimoires.

"It doesn't negate the possibility, but the only fondness you would feel for me would be how I feel for a puppy."


"And you know this because?"

Kieran rolls out of bed and moves toward his discarded pants. He fully expects her to come around and toss him out of her apartment. Kieran also hasn't decided if he's going to let her recall this revelation or not. Right now, however, he could use another glass of wine.

She could too, whether she knows it or not.

"How many vampires, beyond Kostas, are you acquainted with? That statement is the equivalent of me saying that all Irishmen are angry drunkards."


"Most of us are though, so maybe that's a bad comparison."

He slips on his pants and gives her a fond smile. "That's the witch schooling coming out. We're all blood sucking fiends who use humans for own gain. What you lot seem to forget is that we need you. We can't exist without you. There have been more than a few humans in my very long existence that have been true friends and companions to me."




"Not a single one," Brooke replies. She only knows Kostas, and she knows that he's bad news. Playing nice is the most important thing she can do with that man.

Watching him get dressed, she pouts a little. She would much rather he come back to bed.

"The what?" Suddenly sitting upright, she's got a pillow in front of her body. She starts reaching for some clothing, but instead grabs the robe on the back of her headboard. Throwing it on, she pulls it tight around her and stares at him.

"How did you know that?"


Kieran watches her tie on the robe and sighs with disappointment. It really is a shame for her to cover up all that lovely flesh. Flesh that he was only recently appreciating in the most carnal and intimate way possible.

"I asked." No he's not saying whom it is that he asked. "After you were so … shall we say, uncomfortable in front of Kostas at the signing, and yet you didn't seem to have the same reaction to me. I asked around, to find out what you knew and how you knew it."

He zips up the pants but leaves them unbuttoned. Passes on the shirt. Tilts his head as he considers her in the bed. "I honestly had no idea that you were one of Regina's when I started seeing you."


"Kostas has a way of making anyone feel uncomfortable." Brooke is still staring at him as though he did something wrong.

"Who did you ask? Why would that have made you ask? Why was it important for you to find out what I knew?" She's not raising her voice. In fact, she's still fairly calm, all things considered.

"Do you honestly think I would tell the Coven that I am dating a vampire?"


"Because you don't get as old as I am without being a little paranoid," Kieran tells her with that familiar half-smirk in place.

"I have my sources, just as you have yours. I'm sure Regina and the - " Old bitty crones " - Elders have a perfectly good list of all the active and important vampires in the city. Yes, they might have known if they sent you in to get close."

It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Kieran rakes his hand through his hair, "It was important because I wanted to know if I needed to worry about you coming at me with a stake when my guard is down."


"Do I need to worry about you coming at me with a stake, Brooke?"


"If they do, I'm obviously not privy to it," Brooke points out. Really, she's only been told about Kostas, and only because he hired her to do some work for him a few times.

"Why would they send me in to get close? Sera mentioned you, she's the one who introduced us. That had nothing to do with the Coven, and if it did, why would I have told Sera that I didn't want to meet you?"

Frowning, she tries to wrap her head around that, and then blinks.

"I don't think so. Not at the moment."


Kieran sighs heavily. Crossing back to the bed, he perches on the opposite side from Brooke. He reaches out, seemingly to touch her hand and then changes his mind, pulling his hand back. "But you're angry with me. Even though I'm being completely honest and upfront with you right now."

Holding up a hand, he stops her from speaking immediately. "You can't blame me for not telling you what I was before now, Brooke. You didn't exactly advertise what you are either."


"I'm not angry. I can understand your reasoning."

Brooke huffles a little, and then shakes her head. "I'm hurt and confused. I don't understand what you want from me. I honestly don't know what to do about this entire situation, Kieran. I'm fairly certain that dating a vampire is one of those unforgivable things in the Coven, right up there along with dating a sorcerer, or sorcerer magic, which is why Gabriel Howe got cast out in the first place."


The vampire does reach out this time and strokes his fingers along the back of her hand. That's it. One single, simple touch before withdrawing.

"I wanted to be honest with you," Kieran says earnestly. "I honestly never expected things to go this far, and I never expected to start to get this serious about you. If I'd known from the start that you were with the Coven …" The vampire trails off with a sigh. He wouldn't have done a damn thing differently and he knows it, but he's not going to admit to that.

"Howe was my other flag," Kieran says in a confessional tone. "His … affiliation with the Coven and familiarity with your sister triggered a few alarms in my head." He's not confirming that Gabriel Howe is a vampire, only that his previous association with the Coven is known among the vampires.

Pursing his lips, the vampire is thoughtful for a moment. "I don't know what to do, Brooke. I simply felt that it wasn't fair to you to maintain this charade any longer."


"Gabriel Howe is a vampire."

It's not so hard for Brooke to believe that now, as she was already leaning in that direction.

How hypocritical is it of me to tell Bridget to stay away from Gabriel due to what we thought he was, and for me to continue to date a vampire?

"You didn't expect to sleep with me." That's the way the witch takes his words. Amusingly, she's still entirely calm through all of this. "How serious have things gotten, Kieran? It's not as though you've asked me to marry you."


"I would think, considering that you are apparently far older than I thought, that you'd have a better idea of what to do. I'm the one that risks losing her family, her Coven."


Again, Kieran doesn't confirm it nor does he deny it. Whatever annoyances Howe may have caused and however much Kieran might be cross with him for disobeying orders - Again, pot, kettle, black - he does have a responsibility to the vampires of New York City. Gabriel hasn't been so entirely stupid yet as to deserve to be tossed at the mercy of his mistakes.


"I've slept with a good many women, Brooke." It's not said to be cruel, merely to be honest. "Whether or not I slept with you has little to do with how seriously I'm invested in this relationship. However, from where I'm sitting, I'm serious enough that I'm more than willing to reveal myself to you rather than just ending things and moving on."

Kieran reaches out and tentatively strokes his fingers over her cheek, "Because I like you, Brooke. You're not just another fling to me."


"I can't tell you what to do. Your rules and the rules of your Coven are different from my rules. I can tell you what I want and what I hope, and in my perfect world, you continue to see me. You pretend that you have no idea what I am until it's exposed otherwise, and I'll take the brunt of that fallout."


"Do you do that often? End things and move on?" Brooke is honestly curious. She's well aware that he's had numerous women on his arm, simply because she does read the tabloids. "You like me." The witch takes a deep breath, trying to come to terms with that. A vampire likes her. It's a difficult thing to wrap her head around.

"In my perfect world, life would hardly be this complicated," she retorts. Sighing, she closes her eyes.

"I could really use that glass of wine now."



Catching her hand in his, Kieran places a light kiss to the back of it. "I don't like to get serious or attached. It complicates things. It's easier to have fun and I don't have to work so hard to hide what I am." He also makes them forget anything that they might question.

"You find that so difficult to believe, don't you?" He squeezes her hand. "You're not a puppy. I've had puppies. I don't feel for you what I feel for a puppy."

He slides off the bed, "As you wish." Kieran leaves the bedroom and goes off in search of the abandoned bottle of wine. He's giving Brooke time to think things over, and takes his time pouring two glasses of wine before returning to the bedroom.


"Then why hide what you are? A lot of younger women would like that. They all want their own vampire after the Twilight craze." Brooke has heard of it, refuses to see it, but it's really hard to not know what it is these days.

"I honestly do find that difficult to believe." Beat. "What do you feel for me then?"

Before she receives an answer, he's off to pour them some wine. It gives her a moment to breathe, and she's not at all certain what to do at this point. She does (or did) like him before the revelation, and not all of what he's done for her was an act. She's sure of that.

But to risk losing her family, her Coven… possibly her life?

Well that's a difficult thing to come to terms with.


Kieran returns with the two glasses of wine. One is presented to Brooke with a smile, and he takes the other one, perching again on the side of the bed. The witch isn't running from his closeness or his touch, but she's not encouraging it either.

"One. A lot of younger women want the angst ridden, teen drama supposed romance that is Edward and Bella," Kieran explains. "The closeness that Twilight shares with reality is about the same as Harry Potter shares with your spell casting. The difference being that Harry Potter is at least well written and isn't an author shameless catering to her own inner twelve year old fantasies."

Kieran takes a sip of the wine. "Anne Rice was probably one of the better informed. There are rumors that she interviewed vampires and then took creative license." It's Kieran being Kieran, no pretense, throwing off the odd bit of randomness because he can.

"Reason two: The under twenty-five set is fun so long as they are in the bed and keeping their mouths shut. It gets old and boring and I tend to suggest that they don't speak unless spoken to and only on Kieran approved topics." Good for a snack, good for a shag, sometimes both together. "I happen to have a preference for women who are more focused and settled."


"Why do you find that hard to believe? Have I given you any reason to not believe it?"


Taking the glass, Brooke gives it a whole second before she tips it back and downs as much of the wine as possible in one gulp.

"I haven't watched any of those films. They hold no interest to me." She has watched Harry Potter, but simply because that was a brilliant piece by Warner Bros. Studios. "Actually, Harry Potter isn't that far off. Excluding the wizarding school, of course. We do need a verbal and somatic component to spell casting, though we hardly use wands these days," she jokes.

"Of course you haven't. I just have difficulty thinking that a man like you, a vampire like you could be even remotely interested in a woman who grew up in the country and is obviously outclassed."


Kieran chuckles softly, shaking his head. "Why do I find it so easy to picture a twelve year old Brooke waving a wand at a feather and chanting 'wingardium leviosa'? " His eyes twinkle a bit and he rests a hand lightly on her knee.

"I've been everything from a noble lord in a king's court to a stable boy and a farm hand. I find a beautiful, country born and raised woman as appealing as an upper class society girl. More so, because you're not fake. You're down to earth and you're real."


"Because it's entirely plausible?" Brooke is certain that somewhere down the ancestry, there was a time when wands were used. Hence the stories of Merlin.

"How old are you?"

Staring at him, she lifts her chin in a defiant manner. "How do you know I'm not fake?"


The vampire takes a small drink of the wine and chuckles warmly at her defiance. Giving her knee a squeeze, he says. "Brooke, luv, it was a compliment."


"I know because I've spent a long time watching people, and you are just as wonderful beneath the surface as you appear to be."

Another drink is taken and he regards her over the rim of the glass. "Do you really want to know how old I am?"


Downing the remainder of the wine, Brooke sets the glass aside and exhales a sigh. "You're not just saying that to placate me and keep me from freaking out, are you?"

There's a pause, and she nods. She's a little more relaxed now than she was when he first mentioned what she was.

"I would, yes."


"Do I need to placate you and keep you from freaking out?" Kieran asks quietly. Of course, he's already done that. He's trying to gauge now whether it's safe to let her retain this knowledge or if he needs to remove this conversation from her memory. It will change the whole dynamic of their relationship, if they have a relationship after this, and that too will be a deciding factor.

"I typically say four hundred because it's a nice round number, but technically, I'm 399."


"So quite a bit older than I am," Brooke says, not exactly certain how she feels about it.

"I don't know how you can't. All things considered, aren't you afraid I'll expose you to the Coven, and tell them that you were using me?" She knows that he wasn't because if that's all it was, she wouldn't be remembering all of those dates. "Though it may be best if you did something to keep me from remembering all of this until after Kostas' party. If I know and Regina sees us together…"


"Yes, if you want to be technical about it. Though I'd be hard pressed to find anyone I'm not a quite a bit older than whom isn't a vampire," Kieran points out.

"What would I be using you for? Companionship?" Kieran smiles charmingly and then sobers. "You could hardly expose me Brooke. Regina and the Elders know who I am."

He finishes the wine and sighs. "Granted, I'm not exactly Regina's favorite person." He does have a tendency to rub people the wrong way, and Regina is so strong willed Kieran hasn't been able to resist pushing her buttons. Add in the fact that is he is a vampire, and a member of Kostas court and a known playboy and womanizer, facets that he's touted proudly before Regina, it's no wonder the Coven matriarch is not overly impressed with him.

"I could." The thought of it amuses Kieran. Taking away Brooke's memory, at her request and then showing up with one of Regina's witches on his arm. What a wonderful way to further annoy Regina and the Elders.


"Is Sera one of your companions?"

Brooke is just honestly curious about that. She wants to know if Sera is aware that her best friend is a vampire, and then realizes that if Kieran is nearly four hundred years old, and the pair spent summers together…

"Sera's a vampire too. Either that, or she looks really damned good for her age, seeing as the two of you spent summers together as children."

Falling silent momentarily, she frowns. "But if they are aware of who you are, why have none of them mentioned it to me? Surely someone has seen the tabloid articles." Hell, her own mother saw the pictures from the Mardi Gras party and said nothing. That just leads her to more confusion.


"Yes, she is. Has been." Kieran frowns a bit as though he's truly trying to figure out how to define the relationship. In a way he is. "We're close. She means a lot to me."

Kieran gives nothing away. He's chosen to out himself. He's not going to out his Child. It's not his place and she'll never let him hear the end of it if he does. He quirks a brow, feigning surprise and then chuckles. "How on earth did you make that leap?"

"Brooke." Kieran sets the wine glass aside, shaking his head. "Sera is a writer and a bloody damn good one at that. You know this. She's a prolific story teller. I knew her when she was younger, yes." That's not a lie. Sera was younger chronologically speaking when he met her and turned her. "Creating a past together was fun." Not a lie, either, considering that Kieran quite enjoys it when they sit down and reinvent themselves.

"Before you ask, yes, she does know what I am."

Kieran lifts himself gracefully over her body and stretches out beside her. He leans against the head board and tucks his hands behind his head. "I can't hazard a guess, luv. Maybe they're simply looking to give me enough rope to hang myself with." After all, they are supposed to steer clear of Regina's witches.


"You've known her a long time, and if you were spending summers together… it's not difficult to make that leap." Brooke lifts her shoulders in a shrug. "I know she's a writer. She happens to be my favorite author. I've read everything that she's ever written. In fact I'm fairly certain I was half in love with the character she created using you as a base, before I ever met you."

A frown touches her face again, and she rubs her hands over her forehead.

"Maybe, but I doubt it. I should ask her why she hasn't said anything."


"Yes, but you seem to be missing my point." Kieran nudges her with his shoulder. "You're assuming that the stories you've heard weren't a fabricated history. I never knew Sera when I was a teenager. Since the day I've met her, I've always been the same apparent age that I am now."


"I was a vampire when I met her and charmed my way into her life."

Not a word of a lie is there either. Of course, it was approximately a century and three quarters ago, and Sera called him out on what he was almost immediately. He frowns at the mention of Sera's book character. "I'm still not sure why she did that."

Kieran rakes fingers through his hair. "I wouldn't be so certain. It'd be an opportunity to point out to Kostas how little control he has over his vampires and how much I like to buck the system."


"I don't like being used, no matter the purpose of it." Brooke has that slightly defiant look in her eyes again, but the moment passes quickly. She's upset with not being told, if they did see the tabloid articles. Granted she's figuring that most of the Elders know the vampires by name, and not by sight with the exception of Regina.

"Most authors write what they know. She knew you. Both as a friend and as a lover. It's quite likely that she did it simply because she could write about it most easily."


"I really don't know why, if anyone recognized me. I've only ever met with Regina personally."

Kieran pauses and smirks. "We didn't hit it off."


"If she has seen the tabloids, I'd think she would have been warning you as far away from me as possible."


"I don't see how anyone wouldn't like you. You're absolutely charming. You've got an amazing smile, and those eyes…" Brooke blushes as she realizes what she's doing, and clears her throat.

"Are you saying I should stay away from you? We don't have to go together to the ball. I know you asked, but I can show up alone if necessary."


Kieran gives her a slow, decadent grin at the compliment. He leans in and kisses her cheek, more for a testing of the waters still, but it is a soft, sweet kiss. "Plenty of people would say that you don't need to inflate my ego anymore than it is."

He draws back and shrugs. "Because I'm something of a dick. I might have gone out of my way to push all of Regina's buttons." Because he could.

"No, I'm saying that I know how you lot feel about my kind, and they would be telling you to steer clear. I'm not dangerous to you, Brooke." Kieran lifts her hand and kisses it lightly. "I want to show up at that ball with you on my arm dressed beautifully in a stunning gold dress. What do you want to do, luv?"


"I'm not trying to inflate your ego. I'm being honest. If you are a dick, I've not seen that side of you. You've not done anything to hurt me, and you haven't been pushing any of my buttons." Likely a good thing, considering the conversation now. If he had attempted to push her buttons, her stubborn will would have fought through the glamour and he'd not be kissing her on the cheek.

"Honestly, they have more issues with sorcerers, and I dated one for years. Hell, he was the first guy I fooled around with too. Granted, I'm sure Regina won't exactly be pleased to condone to my involvement with a vampire, and I'm positive she'll ban me from the Coven at that point, or perhaps even the city."


"I've already got my dress, and I'd hate for it to go to waste."


"That's because I haven't had any reason to show it to you," Kieran flashes her an impish grin. "Sera says that I have control issues where I just have to show that I'm the big bad vamp sometimes. I wouldn't say she's wrong."

"Blackwell?" It's a careful inquiry. Brooke did admit to it, but throwing Bryn's name out there is tipping Kieran's hand a bit more. It means that he's a lot more informed of the goings on in the city than your average vampire.


Kieran trails a finger down her arm. "It would be a disaster for it to go to waste. At this short notice, my 'go to standby date' is already spoken for as well."


"I hope you never have reason to show it to me, Kieran. I happen to like the human facade quite a bit." Brooke blows out a puff of hair and settles herself more comfortably back onto the bed finally.

"Yes. I told you that already."


"Though I didn't tell you he was a sorcerer. You're very good at finding out information, it seems. I'll have to be careful what I say around you."


"So you still want me to attend the ball with you? Are you certain Regina won't just destroy you when you walk in with me on your arm?"


"You don't push me, luv." Kieran taps her gently on the nose. "When I get shoved, I tend to shove back. It's a horrible habit that's gotten me into quite a bit of trouble."


"I know who he is and whom he works for," Kieran says. "Even if I didn't, I would have checked him out anyway once he took an interest in Sera." Or rather once his Child took an interest in the sorcerer. She may well be able to take care of herself, but that's not to say that her close ties to humanity haven't gotten her in over her head once or twice.

He bites back the urge to tell her that he welcomes the challenge. "Because however much she doesn't like me or my kind, it will be a public venue." Beat. Kieran leans his head back against the bed and rolls his gaze toward her. "The question is, how are we going to protect you?"


"That's because…" When he taps her gently on the nose, Brooke's train of thought dissipates and she wiggles it in the stereotypical Bewitched manner again.

"The Priory. It amazes me that you get so much information, and you keep it to yourself without questioning me about it. Sera seems rather taken with him." She pulls a pillow up behind her back, and glances over at him.

"I have no idea. How are we going to keep me safe?"


"Did I distract you?" Kieran chuckles. "It's very cute when you do that."

Kieran resumes trailing his finger down her arm and over her thigh. "Four hundred years old. I know how to gather information and how to use it or not use it. Knowing who's who in The Priory? Part of the job description." He blows out a slow exhalation of air. "She does because she is." It can't hurt to further seed that belief.

"I really hope he doesn't hurt her."

He walks his fingers back up her arm and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. "You can forget, until after the Ball. Then, if things do go pear shaped, you'll be completely innocent of any wrong doing."


"Yes, you did. I was going to say that's because I've slowly been falling for you. It would be stupid of me to push your buttons when I'm interested in a relationship, wouldn't it?"

Brooke nods in agreement. She does suppose that to stay alive that long, one must become very good at gathering information. It would be foolish of her to think otherwise.

"He won't." No, she doesn't know that for certain, and he does have a track record of breaking hearts, but they're not discussing her past relationships here.

"You want me to remember after the Ball? Are you certain that's a good idea? What if I freak out on you when I recall what it is you told me?" Or what if she recognizes what he is at the Ball?


That admission takes Kieran by surprise. He gives her a thoughtful look and asks very quietly, very curiously, "And now? Now that you know what I am?"

"You're not freaking out now are you?" Kieran points out. He strokes her cheek with his fingertips. "I can make it so that you remember this whole conversation when the time is right, not just the fact that I'm a vampire."

He has been doing this for a while and he is good at it.


"Now I don't know what to think. This isn't the sort of surprise I was prepared for. Married, sure. Illegitimate child somewhere? I could handle that. The fact that you're a vampire has definitely thrown me for a loop."

And yet, he's right. She's not freaking out right now. She's talking to him calmly.

"You can do that?"


"Mmm," Kieran rolls onto his side and nips at her ear. She won't be able to see his impish smile, but he's carefully monitoring her reactions as he dips his head and nuzzles at her throat. Not even the brush of lips, just the nuzzling with his nose and forehead. "But I am an incredibly handsome and sexy vampire who not too long ago gave you a mind blowing orgasm."

If she doesn't stiffen or pull away, he'll nuzzle his way to her shoulder. If he does, he'll give her space and draw back. "Yes, I can do that. As long as you don't resist or fight me."


Brooke's body reacts to him. Her mind may be having difficulty coming to terms with what he is, but her body is still responsive. He is rather sexy, there's no denying that. She wants to move away from him, but the simple nuzzling causes her to sigh, and tilt her head back baring her throat to him.

"That is true, but you are still a vampire."


"Do people generally resist and fight you?"


Kieran smiles against her skin. He hasn't altered her motivations or responses. Simply made certain she wouldn't fly off the handle and make this an ugly situation. If she wants to leave or put some distance between them, she's welcome to do so. He considers it a victory point that she's not repelled by his presence and his touch.

With more of her throat bared, Kieran licks a slow path from her collar bone to her pulse point and back down. "What does that mean to you, exactly? That I'm a vampire?" He lifts his head, though his fingers dance across her thigh. "When you say that word, tell me what it means. What you feel, what you think."


"Sometimes, if they know it's coming, yes." Kieran dips his head again and lightly kisses her collarbone. "People don't like to surrender and have their thoughts rearranged. It's a natural instinct." It's not usually a problem with overriding that instinct, however.


The man is hot. It's rather difficult to not react to him. Yes, Brooke could pull away, and act repelled, but the truth is despite his being a vampire she's still seeing a rather sexy man who's interested in her.

A slight mewl escapes as he teases at her pulse point. Licking her lips, she takes a deep breath. "Blood sucking demon." What she feels? "A horribly sexy, blood sucking demon."


"So if I don't surrender to what you want to do, I'll remember, and that would be bad for us both?"


"Pretty apt," Kieran considers. His fingers tease at the hem of her robe and then slide beneath it. His fingers play along her thigh and then higher to her hip. The mewl draws a purr from him and he suckles gently at her pulse.


"I suspect that I'll get in a wee bit of trouble, but I can handle it." Kieran works his mouth up her neck, to the underside of her jaw and then captures her mouth in a slow, leisurely kiss. "What will happen to you if Regina thinks you've been knowingly involving yourself with a vampire?"


Arching her hips toward his touch, she really wants to scream in frustration. Not because he's not touching her enough, but because she's enjoying the touch. Brooke closes her eyes, mewling again as his lips suckle over her pulse point.

"Excommunication from the Coven. Possibly asked to leave the city. Regina is more lenient than the last matriarch, but I don't know how much that leniency will allow."


"Definitely a tribunal either way." Which will be her second and reflect on her poorly.


"Correct me if I'm wrong, but … those would all be bad things?" Kieran gives the bathrobe belt a tug, pulling it open to bare her body to him. His mouth turns up in a salacious grin as blue eyes rake slowly over her body as though he's seeing it for the first time. He leans in and places a spray of kisses over the tops of her breasts.

Then he's grabbing her and rolling, pulling her over on top of him. Kieran pushes a her hair away from her face. "I would think that you want to avoid those things? The question remains, what do you want to do about this?"


"Considering that my business is here in the city, I'd really hate to be forced to leave the State." Brooke is honest about that. Her main concern, her priority is her business. She could start up again somewhere else, but questions would always arise as to why she left New York so suddenly when her business was doing well. "My family is here too." Not that any of them would speak with her again.

"Those would all be very bad things."

Brooke finds herself atop him, staring down into his oh-so-blue eyes. "I would like to avoid them, yes."


"I honestly don't know. It's a difficult question to answer with all of thirty minutes knowledge. I do like you, Kieran. I can't help wishing that you aren't as you are, but that's not going to change anything."


Licking his lips, Kieran draws her down for a kiss. It's deep and possessive, branding her mouth with his. "I'd say that you need some time to think about it, and figure things out, yeah?"

Arching up, Kieran dots kisses along her throat. "How good of an actress are you? If you're called out on being with me, can you plausibly deny that you knew anything at all about my true identity?"


Brooke swears he's doing it on purpose; claiming her in such a way to make her body ache for him, despite telling her what he is. As the kiss breaks, she stares down at him with a flushed face. "Just a little," she replies. Because she honestly does like the man. She doesn't like what he is, but she does like him.

"Possibly," she says with a soft throaty moan following it. "It wouldn't be untrue, until this evening."


"Possibly isn't going to protect you, luv." Kieran gently rolls them again, and gazes down at her. His hands are not idle, stroking skin with finger tips and an open palm. "I think we need a Plan B."

The vampire presses a kiss to her forehead, and draws back to trace her lips delicately, "You are so very beautiful, Brooke Bishop."


"I know," she replies. Brooke is good at hiding her emotions when she needs to, at least outwardly. Pretending that she's got no clue what he is? That's going to be a bit of a problem if confronted head by Regina, or when she sees him standing with Kostas.

Squeaking as he rolls them over again, she smiles up at him.

"To you, yes."


"i can't imagine that I'm the only one who sees it."

Kieran traces her cheek and smiles down at her. "You're going to have to forget, Brooke. Forget that I told you I was a vampire, forget our entire conversation after that revelation. Forget it until after the Ball and I tell you to remember it." Kieran works the glamour as he speaks, holding her gaze, fingers stroking lightly over her face. "All you're going to remember is that we were interrupted when I had to take a call."

Blue eyes scan her face, watching to see if the glamour took.


"Can't you?" Brooke smiles back at him, slowly reaching her hand up so that her fingers can touch his cheek. She's still uncertain as to whether this is still a good idea. To continue with him could mean losing everything that's important to her. But to be without him….

He has become important to her.

"I don't want to forget," she replies with a sigh. Then she nods, "I'll forget. Plausible deniability. You had to take a call." There's a bit of something in her eyes. Just a small spark of defiance for a moment.

"Where were we before you took your call?"


Kieran lowers his head and nuzzles her throat again. Slow kisses are beaded over soft, warm skin and her suckles at her pulse point, testing her reactions.

"I think we were going for round two," Kieran murmurs against her skin. "Unless you can think of a good reason not to do so?"


"Depends," Brooke breathes, fingers drifting down over his shoulder. "Have you turned your phone off now?"

There is something in the back of the witch's mind telling her to proceed with caution now, but she can't put her finger on what it is.

"If you have, then I see no reason not to. There's hours yet until you need to leave for your meeting…"

"My phone is off," Kieran assures her with a tender kiss. "I'm all yours until morning."

He'll deal with everything else after Kostas' Ball.

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