Providence by Night – Lovesong (Interlude)

Welcome to Providence by Night, the continuing recounting of our tabletop Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle. Providence by Night is a low-powered, “street-level” game featuring a group of very new vampires adjusting to unlife in Providence and the vampiric condition. You can read all of the sessions so far on the main Providence by Night page.

In addition to full tabletop sessions with 3-4 players (plus the Storyteller), our game involves some one-on-one sessions and email exchanges. These are used to play out events involving only one of the main characters. Today’s interlude features Beth, whose mortal entanglements can sometimes get a little much to play out in a full session. In this interlude, Beth reconnects with an old flame from her mortal days, deals with a breach of trust by her niece (a student at the same university where Beth teaches), and is confronted by a vampiric intrusion into her mortal affairs.

Interlude – Lovesong – January 27, 2015

The following evening the blizzard continued to cover Providence in snow and ice. Helpfully, it also covered the recent collision and bullet damage to Beth’s sedan. Beth blushed life into her dead flesh and had almost finished getting ready when the doorbell rang. Beth answered the door, one golden earring on and the other in hand. Her niece, Rina, entered and stood cold in the kitchen, snow melting to puddles around her. The young woman with the bright pink-and-blue hair wore a backpack stuffed with textbooks and an expensive laptop. Rina reported that there were electrical problems on campus, and that her dorm’s heater had gone out.

Noting that Beth was dressed up, Rina insinuated that her aunt had special plans, but promised not to be a bother. She and her friend “T” just had to work on an earth sciences group project, but the dorms were too cold. After confirming with Brown that there were heating problems with the dorms, Beth agreed that Rina and T could stay while Beth was out. Beth asked if the two girls needed anything to eat and Rina reported that T was already picking up Chinese – which was convenient, given the general lack of food that Beth kept around the rowhouse. While waiting for T to arrive, Rina set up her laptop and Beth popped into her basement haven, ingesting two bags of whole blood from her emergency supply to take as much of the edge off as possible – she needed tonight to go well.

Soon, Beth spotted an intrepid ride-sharing car that had braved the ill weather to bring Tracy from her work at the hospital. Beth bid farewell to Rina and slipped out the front door. Beth joined Tracy in the back of the car, which whisked them off to the Cable Car Cinema, where Beth had reserved tickets on one of the theater’s two-seater couches for a showing of Still Alice. Out of her voluminous black winter coat, Tracy looked as stunning to Beth as she always had. Beth pretended to eat popcorn as Tracy cozied up under her arm.

Afterwards, the two ventured through the cold to a closed nearby ice rink, where – with no one on duty – they helped themselves to pairs of skates. The snow-covered rink was almost unusable, but the two had fun attempting a few laps. Tracy fell, then pulled Beth down too when the Kindred tried to help her up. Laughing, the two eventually moved to a bench to change out of the appropriated skates. Tracy noticed something in the distance, but the pair was quick to dismiss it.

Tracy grew quiet for a minute, then started with the big questions. Was Beth still with that British guy? Beth had not been “with” her missing sire in the way Tracy meant, but Beth could hardly explain that to her old flame, and settled for assuring Tracy that he was gone. “Did you love him?” Beth’s answer – “no” – was quick and hard.

“It’s just … we weren’t apart for more than few months and he just moved in with you!” Tracy’s words, displaying her obvious pain, stung Beth. Tracy was right. The most recent iteration of their long-term relationship from Beth’s mortal years had ended because Beth was too focused on her work and hadn’t made enough time for Tracy. Beth knew the way things ended between them had been her fault. Beth also knew that what had come after was not her fault, but she could hardly explain her embrace and the changes that had been forced on her life by her sire. So she said nothing. “It’s not fair!” Tracy continued. “You look exactly like the woman I loved ten years ago. But … different, somehow.” Tracy buried her face in her hands. “What’s wrong with me?” Beth clasped Tracy’s hands, assuring her that there was nothing wrong with her.

Eventually, their time on the bench ended, and Beth walked Tracy home. Beth made her way back to her own home, and hear loud music playing. Approaching the rowhouse, Beth noticed that all of the lights were on and that an extensive collection of footprints led up to the front door. Entering her home, Beth’s lips pressed firmly together as she noticed stacks of cheap beer cans and red plastic cups littering the floor. In her living room, a closet door had been removed from its hinges and rested on a smaller table with triangles of cups on one end and ping-pong balls on the other. Beth unplugged her stereo, finally attracting the attention of the mass of drunken students. Slowly beginning to understand the situation, they began to trickle out of the house, but Rina was not among them. Looking elsewhere on the ground floor, Beth noticed a pile of blankets in the dining room, wrapped around her niece and T (short for Theresa, it turned out) and a college-aged boy. The three began to embarrassingly fumble for clothing, and Beth and Rina were eventually left alone in the room.

Having cleared out the first floor, Beth waited until Rina had finished getting dressed before taking her niece up the stairs to help evict the remaining guests from the house. As Beth and her troublesome niece ascended the stairs, a litany of giggles and moans came from Beth’s bedroom (not that Beth actually slept there anymore). Beth threw open the door to see four figures on her bed in various states of undress – three young men, one with bite marks covering his chest, and one familiar female form in an expensive black corset and pigtails. Rina gasped in shock and retreated, a quick exit Beth was grateful for.

“Beth!” exclaimed Allison, wiping a trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth. “Great party!  Come join us.  I’ve brought plenty to share!” Beth was furious at the Toreador’s intrusion into her home and demanded Allison leave. As if in explanation, Allison revealed that she thought Beth’s lot had their Domain down near Washington Park, and that Toreador Primogen Marie-Claire had said that Brown and its environs were free game since Rupert Cartwright, Beth’s sire, had departed. Beth anger remained her own, but she was irate, and her shouts were eventually enough to convince the Toreador to go. Allison huffed before leading her living snack-pack out of the house, leaving behind a trail of clothing and empty beer cans.

Beth attempted to get the truth of the matter from Rina, who claimed that “things just escalated, and before long, were out of her control” and that she had “hoped to have everyone gone and everything cleaned up before Beth returned from her date”. Beth sees right through her niece’s hogwash and calls her on it, emphasizing the severe violation of trust. Rina responds with a plaintive cry about how she was such a screw-up. And Beth called her on that, too – Rina wasn’t a screw-up, but playing one wasn’t going to get her any sympathy. Rina helped Beth clean the room and reinstall the door in its proper place.

But more pressing that her niece’s mortal indiscretions was Allison’s presence and the information she had divulged. She worried that Allison might know Beth and Rina were related. And Beth had learned that, despite her efforts to enlist Caoimhe’s assistance on the subject, her mortal claim to her home near campus was simply not recognized by Kindred society. Something needed to change.

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