|Matters of Necessity
Though the sound was extremely low, at the lowest level his ears could detect, he could still hear her sighing. After all these years, like all the others, she was suddenly upset and annoyed over doing these matters of necessity. And this quirk could only signify the beginning of the end of their relationship.
He wondered why this always happened. Until recently, Lana seemed to genuinely enjoy doing this for him. After all, she always nagged him to look his best, didn't she? Why shouldn't she be as proud of his appearance as he was? Did not the couple exist as reflections of one another and their lifestyle?
But her attitude had obviously changed. The others had and now she was, too. Sadly, he regretted that; Lana was the best of all of them. But if she'd forgotten that this was a matter of necessity, he would have to deal with her.
"Dear," he said as sweetly as possible, "You're pressing the razor too hard against my skin."
"Sorry, but I'm finished, anyway," Lana sighed and rinsed the instrument in the hot water bowl.
"That's quite alright," he answered, carefully controlling the lilt in his voice. He watched her, so small and pretty with the long black hair, skin as white as porcelain and those piercing blue eyes that first attracted him so long ago, "I appreciate your doing this for me."
"Well, I'm tired of it," Lana said. "I feel like your lackey -- a valet – rather than your partner."
“Some things cannot be avoided," he told her. "I believe the current slang expression is: ‘it comes with the territory’."
"You are a Count!" she said. "You could easily afford to hire someone to shave and dress and comb your hair.
"Yes, Dear," he said, "But, no, Dear. I know the costs wouldn't be prohibitive ... however, the explanations would be ... so complex."
"Still, I don't think that I, a Countess, should have to do this."
"You know that you must. Else how shall I maintain my appearance? After all, don't I do the same basic favors for you? Who combs and designs your hair? Why I do! These are matters of necessity for our … lifestyle. So, what is really bothering you?" he asked the question, but already knew the answer.
"I'm tired of this life, this monotonous existence. I miss my family. My friends," she whined. "I want to go out and do normal activities. By myself! I'm going out and … I'm tired of these walls. I want a change."
"I see," the Count said, standing and wiping the lather from his face with the towel. He thought about the matter for a moment, then decided that this, too, was a matter of necessity. "Yes, you are correct. It is time for a change."
The Count grabbed her, jerked her head crudely to the side to expose the carotid artery, and sank his fangs into the cool, smooth neck. Lana was too startled by the swiftness of his movements to fight him off.
After ending the relationship of a century and a half, the Count passed the great mirror in the hall. His clothes looked perfect. He touched his hair and every strand seemed to be in place. However, without a reflection, he could not really know if his hair had been mussed during the struggle, or if she had missed a few whiskers on his face. And tonight he wanted to really look his best. Finding a replacement had become another matter of necessity.