Events such as this one put Rurik into a rather nostalgic mood. He could remember his own father opening the manor to the other Russian nobles, all for the sake of showing off his wealth, position, and picture-perfect family. It was all a lie of course; there was nothing perfect about his family, but his father worked hard to make it appear as such from the outside. When they were all together, he and his sister had to play the parts of dutiful and accomplished children that would one day take over the family legacy. He would play piano, his sister would dance, and the guests would all coo and clap while turning a blind eye to their father’s red stare and their mother’s stifling absence. In his youth, he found such events to be torturous and dishonest, but as he abandoned his family, he found he rather enjoyed parties when he himself was not being put on display. After all, he had a taste for the finer things in life. So when the opportunity to visit the home of a famed artist came his way, he saw no reason not to indulge.
But, as he prepared for the event, he had a strange and rather unexpected inkling. Typically, when he attended gatherings such as this one, he would go with the intention of wooing a lovely lady into his bed for the evening. In general, he was successful with such conquests as nothing attracted women more than a well-dressed man with an appreciation for art and true beauty. However, on this particular night, he found himself imagining bringing a guest rather than spending the evening searching for someone utterly forgettable to warm his bed. A pair of clever blue eyes set on the face of a beautiful woman came to mind and for half a moment, he imagined entering a room with Callista on his arm. But, almost as quickly as the daring image flashed into his mind, he pushed it away. After their first encounter, Rurik couldn’t say where they stood. He had enjoyed himself immensely and believed from her reactions that Callista had as well, but they hadn’t discussed future relations. And why would they have? They had both made it clear that they were looking for instant gratification; a pleasurable fling to pass the time. Had things changed simply because they had enjoyed themselves? He couldn’t say. But Rurik was not one to rock the boat when it came to the will of a beautiful woman, so he merely continued on with his usual plan and tried to ignore the memory of Callista’s clever grin that was seemingly burned into his mind.
The event itself was much as he had expected. Well-dressed people, beautiful architecture, and classic music to tie it altogether. Unfortunately, the musician was not quite as refined in their technique as Rurik himself was and the vampire lord couldn’t help but cringe at the gross injustice done to Chopin. Still, he did his best to act like a respectable guest, doing his best to ignore the teenager’s performance and instead focus on his surroundings. The room and the surrounding art were beautiful, but it was clear that the artist thought rather highly of himself. He was no master, although there was something charming about his figures.
As Rurik moved throughout the room, he hadn’t anticipated running into someone familiar. Of course, when you were several centuries old, the possibility was always there, but he could never have anticipated which familiar face he would spot from across the room. Instantly, all of his good humor faded and an ugly snear settled in across his lips. The peasant was here. Vivienne’s peasant to be specific. Fantastic. For a moment, Rurik debated whether he should turn and leave as the resulting encounter was likely to be unpleasant, but he decided against it. If anyone should leave, it wouldn’t be Rurik. He at least fit in with this crowd where as the Romani bastard clearly did not. He simply needed a reminder.
Rurik moved through the crowd, arriving next to Eli just in time to catch his rather fitting remark about the lax nature of the event. “They certainly will. Even gypsy peasants managed to snag an invitation. How miraculous,” Rurik commented dryly, holding a half empty wine glass in one hand as he purposefully stared past Eli to further signify his inferiority. Whatever successes the other vampire had achieved in his extended life meant nothing to Rurik. He was a simply an upstart that had managed to develop a relationship with his sister. A sister who needed more than his rough manners and poor breeding to further confuse her. He may have severed his ties to Vivienne, but he still had no love for this man. A fact which his attitude made abundantly clear.
“Unless you are serving?” He prompted, offering him his glass carelessly, uncaring if he sloshed any of the liquid onto Eli’s sleeve. “A far more fitting role for someone of your class. So, more wine if you will. And if you hop to it, I might even give you a tip.” Rurik tilted his head and finally looked him in the eye, smirking with obvious distaste. “Well?”