Aric was glad to be home, a place where, for the most part, he could be himself and not 'the heir'.
With Liberty trailing behind him he walked down the hall of the second floor towards his rooms. Opening the door he saw Henry, his closest friend, rushing to and fro pulling garments out of boxes hastily.
"Ah, Henry," he called, dropping Liberty's leash to embrace his friend, "I'm glad to see you've come through as always."
"Well," Henry replied, dabbing at his sweat brow, "you're just lucky that your new pet and Josephine wear the same size or you would have been out of luck."
"Ah Josephine,"Aric sighed, looking dejected. "How is my erstwhile betrothed?"
"She's going through lovers faster than a speeding hooker," his companion replied, shaking his head.
"If I went through men half as fast as my sister does I would need more than vampiric immunity to keep the venereal diseases away," he added, laughing heartily at his own joke.
Aric laughed with him, relaxing in the company of his oldest companion.
"And everyone wondered why I broke it off with her," he replied, shaking his own head. "You'd think I would have been enough for her carnal appetite, but no, she opened her legs faster than a two dollar harlot in Amsterdam."
Both men dissolved into raucous laughter completely forgetting Liberty in their jovial banter.
Taking off his overcoat, Aric finally noticed his shamefaced, disheveled pet lingering by the door.
"Oh," he said, clearing his throat with a cough. "Liberty, this is Henry. Henry this is my new pet Liberty."
"Liberty?" Henry asked, his expression souring, "did you name her or did her parents just hate her?"
"Liberty is her given name," Aric said, moving to stand next to her, unclipping the leash, but leaving the collar on.
"Well," Henry sighed, looking her up and down, "I guess I have something that will do for her."
Taking her hand without warning, he led her into the center of the room.
Turning away from her, he began picking through the piles of clothes, holding up each piece in front of her.
Some of these he tossed back into the empty boxes, others he set side to look at again.
By the time he was done, Liberty couldn't remember what half of the pieces had even looked like.
"Well," Henry sighed, looking at the small mountain of clothes he deemed worthy of her, "there's probably way too much in there for her to ever wear, but if my sister is too stupid to listen to my advice, then it serves her right to let a pet wear them instead."
"Thank you my friend," Aric said, embracing his friend once more. "Would you like to join me for a meal?"
"No, but thank you," his companion replied, stacking boxes together, "I need to get back. I had the most delicious slave picked out for tonight, and if I don't return soon Josephine will get him."
"Very well," Aric replied, opening the door for the other vampire. "Enjoy your evening."
"Oh," Henry replied with a wicked smile, "I will."
Closing the door behind his friend, Aric turned to look back a Liberty.
"What do you think of your presents?" he asked, indicating the pile of clothes Henry had left.
When she didn't reply, he pushed himself off the door and moved to stand in front of her.
"Liberty," he said, lifting her face to look into her eyes, "when that door is closed, and it's just you and I, you can speak without needing my permission.
"Now," he said, turning her head with his finger to look at the clothes, "do you like your presents?"
"Yes," she said, stunned at the wealth of clothes that sat there.