His Past (Part I)
T/B: French Vocabulary at the very end of the chapter
“Lucius!” came Mr. Courbet’s voice from downstairs, “The carriage is waiting, we are going to be late! The Roi de France will be most displeased if any of his guests show a bit of tardiness.”
“I am coming mon père!” replied Lucius from upstairs.
Lucius hurried downstairs and followed his father out of their mansion. They boarded the waiting carriage that immediately took off for their destination, Châteux de Versailles. They had been invited to a masquerade ball hosted by King Louis XVI.
On the way, Mr. Courbet fixed Lucius’s shirt and collar. Due to the rush to get ready, Lucius did not have time to reprimand the servants for their sloppiness nor did he have time to have one last check in the mirror. All that mattered to both father and son was, they had to look good. Not to look good for the King of France, but to look good to attract and seduce women.
“Remember mon fils,” Mr. Courbet whispered to Lucius. “Once your eyes are on ta proie, approach her slowly. Make eye contact with her and coax her into trusting you. Once she has fallen for your deception, lead her away when the opportunity shows itself. Whisper empty words of love into her ears and then bite her neck! And remember, once your thirst is satisfied, wipe away her memories. Every single one of it!”
“Oui, mon père,” replied Lucius as he licked his lips. “It is indeed fortunate that King Louis XVI thinks so highly of you. If he did not, we would never have gotten ourselves invitations to his parties.”
Both father and son quickly fixed their masks onto their faces when they saw the carriage passing through the gates of Châteux de Versailles. Alighting from the carriage, Mr. Courbet showed the staff their invitations and were permitted entry into the palace.
“Masquerade balls are the most fascinating,” Mr. Courbet whispered to his son as they entered the ballroom. “You never know who you meet or dance with and a lot of things can happen.”
The ballroom was crowded with guests. Beneath the masks, Lucius could tell which of the young ladies had recently made their debut to polite society. As a vampire, his senses were greater than that of a normal human.
“Innocent and naïve,” murmured Lucius. “The ones with less experience in polite society are easy to prey on.”
Glancing around the ballroom, Lucius spotted his father already being surrounded by a group of women. Some of them were single and some already married. Should his father end up deflowering an unmarried woman, or wantonly embrace a married woman, they would be humiliated. That’s why they had to wipe the memories of the women who they preyed upon.
“Who shall be ma proie tonight?” said Lucius who was starting to feel hungry for blood.
He glanced around the ballroom, gazing at all the young women present. There was a lot of choices, but none of them seemed to have caught his interest so far. It was not long until a certain young woman caught his eye. She had positioned herself up against the wall, away from the crowd.
“Is she not used to polite society?” he wondered.
Lucius made his way over to the young woman and cleared his throat to get her attention. She looked up in surprise as Lucius extended a hand towards her.
“Would you care to have one dance with me, Mademoiselle?” he asked.
“Oui, Monsieur,” replied the young woman.
The young woman allowed Lucius to escort her onto the dance floor. Joining the other dancers during the music interval, Lucius bowed while his partner curtseyed. As the music started again, the pair moved into an embrace and began to dance.
“I am afraid I do not dance so gracefully,” said the young woman nervously. “So forgive me if I accidentally step on your foot.”
“C’est bon,” Lucius replied. “This is a masked ball so even if you make a mistake, no one will know who you are. Just follow my lead.”
“Oui, Monsieur.” said the young woman timidly.
Lucius guided her effortlessly across the dance floor, skilfully covering up the mistakes she almost made. Now all he had to do was wait for an opportunity to escort her out of the ballroom. He glanced about his surroundings and saw no sight of his father. Mr. Courbet must have found his prey and was already feasting on her elsewhere.
“Pardonne-moi, Monsieur,” interrupted the young woman. “I know it is impolite to question one’s identity, but I cannot help but notice how gorgeous your eyes are. I wish to see beneath your mask.”
“Bien sȗr, Mademoiselle,” replied Lucius. “let us depart once the music ends.”
A great opportunity that Lucius could not miss. When he heard the music slowly coming to an end, he guided the young woman towards an opening in the crowd. Once the music ended, they exchanged bows and curtsies before Lucius whisked her away from the ballroom.
He led her to the Versailles Gardens and French Cloisters. The dark clouds were blanketing the moon and no one was there, making it a perfect setting to feast on fresh human blood.
“Now that we are alone,” spoke the young woman. “will you let me see what lies beneath your mask?”
“Only if you show me yours in return.” replied Lucius.
The young woman nodded as Lucius carefully removed his mask to reveal his face.
“Now you see me,” said Lucius. “now let me see you.”
He carefully removed the young woman’s mask. The moment he saw her face, he gasped in awe. Ash blonde hair like spun thread, fair skin pale as porcelain, and blue eyes clear as crystals.
“Vous êtes très belle!” he quietly exclaimed, “Pardonne-moi Mademoiselle, but may I ask for your name?”
“Je’mapelle Genevieve Renouard,” replied the young woman. “et toi?”
“Lucius Courbet,” he replied back. “A name like Genevieve is so beautiful that I simply can-”
But before he could finish what he was about to say, Lucius’s heart suddenly pounded and he convulsed. He had been so enchanted by Genevieve’s beauty, that he had forgotten his purpose for attending tonight’s masquerade ball.
“Why now of all things?” he quietly muttered to himself, “I only lured her out for the sake of feasting on her blood, but why am I resisting these urges?”
Genevieve gasped in surprise when Lucius suddenly embraced her. His breathing was laboured as he opened his mouth, his fangs gleaming, eyes glowing red, ready to penetrate her skin.
“Genevieve!” came a woman’s voice, “Where are you?”
Hearing the woman’s shouts, Lucius was brought back to his senses. He slowly released Genevieve allowing her to take a few steps back from him.
“C’est ma mère!” she told him, “I have to go.”
Genevieve lifted her skirt and hurried away. Just as her figure was about to be engulfed by the darkness, Lucius shouted out to her.
“Mon chéri!” he called out to Genevieve, “If you wish to see me again, meet me at Jardin du Luxembourg. In front of the Palais du Luxembourg by the fountain at tomorrow, noon.”
As if on cue, the clouds suddenly dispersed, allowing the bright moon to shine down on Genevieve to illuminate her beauty. Giving Lucius a soft smile, she responded with a ‘Oui’ before hurrying back inside to join her mother.
“Masquerade balls truly are interesting,” murmured Lucius.
Why did he want to see Genevieve again? Did he want to know her more? Or was it because he missed his opportunity to feast on her blood? Lucius suddenly remembered how he resisted biting Genevieve, but he had yet to wonder why he did not want to attack her.
“So that’s how you met Genevieve,” said Elise.
“Yes,” said Lucius. “I was shocked when I first met you. For a brief moment, I thought you were Genevieve.”
“What happened to her?” asked Elise out of curiosity.
“It’s getting late now,” sighed Lucius as he got up from the sofa. “I’ll tell you another time. Also, be sure to be back in your room before midnight, alright?”
He began to head to the door and just as he was about to leave, he turned around and said, “Although, if peeking at couples during their privy moments is one of your hobbies, I won’t stop you.”
“Of course not!” exclaimed Elise as she flushed with embarrassment.
“Good night then,” said Lucius. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
After Lucius left the room, Elise locked the door. Flopping onto her bed, she could not help thinking about the confirmation of the vampire’s existence.
“Will I really able to live with vampires?” Elise quietly wondered to herself.
As she drifted to sleep, the thought of being forced to give up her blood, body, heart, and future to the vampires repeated in her mind. Is this a sign of my womanhood? She thought.
Meanwhile, Lucius returned to his room and slumped onto his bed. Glancing at the portrait miniature, he let out a big sigh.
“What should I do Genevieve?” he quietly asked, “I feel like I’m betraying you by spending time with that girl. But it’s only because she resembles you.”
At that moment, Lucius’s heart pounded and he convulsed. Curling up on the bedsheets, Lucius clutched his chest. His eyes glowed red and his fangs dug into his lower lip, causing blood to trickle down his chin. Taking out his pill box, he handpicked and ingested one of the tablets, but this time, the pain took longer to subside.
How can this be happening? He thought, Is this what father meant when he said my pills are beginning to become less effective? That’s nonsense! It’s probably his method to get me back to the old-fashioned way. Whether he is right or not, I’ll just have to modify these tablets. I don’t want to hurt her…
Roi de France - King of France
Mon père - My father
Mon fils - My son
Châteux de Versailles - House of Versailles
Ta/Ma proie - Your/My prey
Mademoiselle - Miss
Monsieur - Mr.
Oui - Yes
Pardonne-moi - Forgive me
C’est bon - It’s good
Bien sȗr - Of course
Et toi? - And you?
Vous êtes très belle - You are very beautiful
C’est ma mère - That’s my mother
Mon chéri - My dear
Jardin du Luxembourg - Luxembourg Gardens
Palais du Luxembourg - Luxembourg Palace