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Sterling Pearce

"Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form."

0 · 734 views · located in Bellingstone, Pennsylvania

a character in “Welcome to Bellingstone”, originally authored by Scarlet Loup, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

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“I guess by now I should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone-you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.”

~Alyson Noel





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Race: Vampire

Gender: Male

Age: In reality, he is one hundred thirteen years old. He only appears to be in his mid or late twenties.

Nicknames: Sterling has no nicknames now. However, when he went by his birth name, Robert Samuels, he had quite a few. Occasionally, the coven will refer to him by his birth name or Robert, making it easier on him.

Occupation: Author

Pack/Coven Name: Dubois Coven

Rank in Pack/Coven: Vampire





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Height: Five feet, eleven inches

Weight: Roughly one hundred fifty-five pounds

Build: Slender and of average build, Sterling is leanly muscled

Hair Color: Dark brown to the point where it appears black

Eye Color: Chocolate brown flecked with hazel

Scars?: Sterling has two little, round marks on the right side of his neck. Besides that, he really has no scars. Perhaps he has a few cuts on his knees and hands from playing as a child?

Brief Written Description: Sterling Pearce stands at an average five feet, eleven inches and weighs in at only one hundred fifty-five pounds, which is quite scrawny for a man of his height and build. He's about average though, when it comes to his build, and he is leanly muscled, though it is not toned very well. He has the normal pale skin found in vampires, but he isn't as attractive as most of them are. If the vampires were the kids at a high school, he'd be the reclusive nerd and the majority would be the "in-crowd", more or less. His hair is a very dark brown and his eyes are chocolate brown with light hazel flecks in them. He has a minor amount of scars, except for those that came from the vampire that turned him.

Clothing Preference: One usually finds Sterling dressed in a variety of dress shirts in a multitude of colors, paired with a pair of well-tailored trousers or slacks. He occasionally wears a tie, but that's only when he's actually on business. He feels uncomfortable and under dressed in t-shirts. Occasionally, when he's just around his house doing nothing, he'll wear jeans and a t-shirt. He also has a pair of sunglasses he keeps with him, like most vampires.





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Skills:

* Sterling's writing is truly astounding. He has a way of creating images so vivid, one would believe they are right there with him, living in the moment. His grasp on human emotion is very helpful when it comes to his writing. His books have sold internationally in a multitude of languages, annotated, and with prefaces and introductions by other famous authors.

* One of his powers, thanks to his vampirism, is the ability to read the current thoughts of an individual to a certain extent. He must be completely focused on the person's thought and the person must also be focusing on the thought. He has a much more acute understanding of their emotions this way, too, and can quickly psychoanalyze an individual.

* Sterling's second power plays off of his first. He has a developed charisma that, in most situations, has the power to adjust a person's opinion. This power does not use any mind control. Instead, he uses knowledge already gained on a person to work their emotions the way he wants to, usually twisting the person into believing what he believes is the way to go.

* He's a talented eaves-dropper due to his ability to stay silent and look focused on another task.

Quirks:

* Sterling has a nasty habit of eaves-dropping when he shouldn't be. He likes to stay informed and up to date on the going-ons of the town.

* Though he does have a talent with words, both written and spoken, Sterling tends to be reclusive and stay in his home rather than leave and walk around town or socialize. He truly isn't one for big parties or conversations anymore. His party days are long since behind him in the twenties.

* Because he's lived under the name of Sterling Pearce for so little, as compared to Robert Samuels, Sterling still looks up when he hears "Robert" or "Rob". He even signs his name as this occasionally or forgets people are addressing him when they say Sterling. He usually shrugs it off and pretends Robert is a middle name of his he used to go by.

* Sterling also likes to stick to a pretty normal schedule or at least have a set agenda for the day. He's organized in this way, making little notes for himself on what he needs to purchase or do or who to see each day.


Likes:

* Writing

* Family and friends

* Eavesdropping

* Being alone

* Thunder and rain

* Sticking to an agenda

* Being organized

* Praise for his novels and those of Robert Samuels

* Telling stories

* Cats

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Dislikes:

* Huge crowds

* Large dogs

* His books being criticized, even if it’s constructive

* Losing a sense of normalcy

* How often he must kill to sustain his life

* Sometimes, he even dislikes still being alive while the rest of his family is not

* Dating; it usually ends in heart-break or disappointment for himself or others

* Greasy foods

* Too casual clothing including shorts, jeans, and t-shirts

* Most things electronic besides the radio and his laptop, which he only uses for writing

Fears:

* Being alone for the rest of his existence

* Losing yet another loved one

* His books being unrecognized or not appreciated by the public

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Written Description: Sterling Pearce, once a socialite in New York, is now nothing more than a reminiscent old man in an immortally young body. He tends to shy away from crowds or very large groups of people. Despite his preference to stay out of the social scene, Sterling has a way with both written and spoken words. His old books under his first name have become classics alongside the other names of the decade including Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Even though he doesn't like being around many people, he still worries about being alone and yearns for a companion of some type. His books mean the world to him, just as his only child once did. He would give absolutely anything to be reunited with her. He's even considered taking his own death in some way, but he's aware of the fact that vampires most likely have no place in any Heaven or, possibly, Hell.




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Relationship Status: Widowed once and then divorced; Sterling is not necessarily looking for a relationship since he still struggles with depression over the loss of his family. However, should someone try to get him out of his shell, he wouldn't object.

Brief History: Sterling Pearce has quite the back story, though he never likes to speak about it. He was born in October of 1899 in New York City under the name Robert Samuels. His family was a prominent one on the New York social scene; his father was a broker on Wall Street while his mother was nothing more than a pretty face that accompanied her well-to-do husband to parties. By the time Robert was born, morals were becoming looser and looser in America's upper class. He had a very normal childhood, attending an excellent school in New York. From there, he planned to enroll in World War I when it rolled around. Unfortunately, he was denied entry due to his scrawny, weak body. He was a sickly boy, despite his parents' efforts.

Robert decided instead to enroll himself in Princeton University to obtain a degree. He graduated in 1920 with a degree in journalism. By then, alcohol had been banned by the government and parties had become wilder. Though his parents disapproved of it, Rob found himself attending as many parties as possible, enjoying himself while tossing the money his father made on Wall Street around wildly. His tossing of money attracted the attention of a young, blonde haired flapper named Florence. The young flapper and the journalist quickly became an item and were wed within a year of meeting. Their love was passionate and close. Rob settled down slightly, although he still would find himself drunk at a wild party once and a while.

In 1924, the couple welcomed a baby girl into the world, naming her Lily. The young, adventurous girl became the apple of her father's eye and he dropped everything to attend to her, ceasing his partying to care for his daughter and take up writing a novel. His first hit sold countless copies. Money rolled in for the Samuels family in bucket-loads. While Rob continued writing, his wife only attended more and more parties. One night, she didn't return. Upon realizing this in the morning, Robert contacted police officers who scoured the streets of New York for hours until coming across her body, dumped in an alleyway with markings of some sort on her neck. Though he was heartbroken, Robert continued to raise Lily as she grew older.

The 1929 stock market crash took its toll even on the Samuels. Without luxury money, Americans were unable to purchase his books. He was forced to move in with his parents, who were not much better off than him. During this period, Lily became deathly ill and, despite all of his efforts and all of the money he invested in doctors, Robert was unable to save his daughter. She died at age seven.

The heart-broken Robert took to walking the once-magical streets of New York alone until one evening when a figure followed him toward his home. Robert turned down an alleyway, without thinking, and was cornered by the figure who flung himself at the weaker author. Rob fought back valiantly which only impressed the figure who smirked broadly as he stuck sharp fangs into the pale flesh of Robert's neck. A few moments elapsed, during which Robert felt the life ebb out of him. Just as he felt he was to die, the figure stood up and hurried off, wiping his lips. When he awoke the next morning, it was in his bed at his parents' home. He couldn't remember feeling alive...but, at the same time, he felt dead and like half of a man.

It took years for Rob to realize what he was but, by the time the Depression ended, he'd joined up with a coven that treated him like family, even as his actual family passed away. His books began to become popular again and he was able to build up more and more money while keeping his youthful looks, thanks to his vampirism. Robert married again in 1945, but the marriage ended soon after he discovered she'd been cheating on him. The couple had no children.

Robert spent the next decades alone, except for his coven. When rumors about his "unaging" self began to appear, he had his death feigned and began to go under a new name, Sterling Pearce. Sterling Pearce's books, though oddly similar in style to Robert Samuels's books, sold very well, too. In 2006, when fame became too much, Sterling moved out to Bellingstone, hearing it was a town especially for supernatural creatures. He's lived there since, writing novels and being a quiet part of the town. He has never recovered from the death of his precious Lily.

So begins...

Sterling Pearce's Story

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Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Lily's stilettos clapped against the damp sidewalk lightly at first and then quicker and quicker as she raced along in the dead of the night. She was running, running from something she simply could not put one of her perfectly manicured, porcelain white fingers on. Everything had simply come crashing down around her, though. The guilt overwhelmed her, threatening to drive her absolute mad like it had her father. Why? Why her? Had she really deserved any of it? As another wave of tears began to rise in her throat, catching, her already bruised big toe caught the edge of the sidewalk and she pitched forward with a sharp cry and a whimper of pa...

"Horsefeathers!" Sterling sat on the porch, outside of the tall, Victorian style home he had owned for the past seven years since he'd first moved into town. Legs up on an ottoman, he sat in a rocking chair with the laptop in his lap, of course. Groaning, he leaned his head back and stared at the awning above him, pushing the chair back and forth to rock himself as he gripped either side of the laptop.

He had dealt with his fair share of writer's block before. Hell, he remembered sitting around in a room with Fitzgerald and Hemingway as the two drank and muttered about the accursed period of no inspiration they each suffered. Now, of course, the new wave of authors had given it a name. It was a stupid name, granted, but even he had decided to use it. Looking forward finally, he squinted his eyes and peered off toward the horizon. The way his house was positioned, it gave him an absolute gorgeous view of the sunset each night. By that time, the sun was sinking closer to the tree line, casting a brilliant show of light in the sky in all different tints and shades of red and orange, pink and yellow. Sterling sighed and set the laptop aside as he stood up. Legs nearly giving out, since he'd been there for hours now, he stretched and started inside. Perhaps he needed a drink?

In a few minutes, he reemerged on to his porch with a thin glass of some beer, or something like that. He wasn't really picky at all with his alcohol anymore. If it had bite and it took away the edge, he liked it. Then again, he never could manage to get drunk anymore. God, what he would give to be drunk just once more. But, even though he once drank enough to give alcohol poisoning to an elephant, the author still had his wits about him. He walked forward and leaned against the railing at the head of the porch, looking out on the street as a few small groups, along with some individuals, wandered aimlessly. Why wasn't he one of them? Even the rest of his coven was more social than him. He, Sterling Pearce, who had once been Robert Samuels and one of the biggest partiers of his time...before Lily was born.

He shook his head slowly as he pushed the black-tinted sunglasses further up the bridge of his nose with a thumb. No, he wouldn't think of such things now...he couldn't bear to. Instead, he turned on the old radio that sat a top a coffee table and settled back into the rocking chair as a wave of old 1920s jazz and swing music enveloped him. Behind the sunglasses, his eyelids drooped and he gave a content sigh. Perhaps, if he drowned out the sound of chatter and modern car noises, he could pretend that once again he was in the 20s, dancing alongside Florence or running after Lily through the house. Anything. Anything would be perfect...anything but being here and being alone.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Axel Jaeger Wolff Character Portrait: Leanna Romero Character Portrait: Caroline King Character Portrait: Samuel Xavier Pierce Character Portrait: Isabella Gabrielle Clarke Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Nikolai Lannister Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Caro moved behind him, wrapping her arms securly around his waist, her face resting softly on his shoulder. Sam felt her place a soft kiss on his shoulder blade, and a smile broke out onto his face, despite the situation. She had always had that effect on him, even from the first moment they met. Something she said, or an expression she made, anything could bring a smile to his face. She was completely infectious. “I’m gonna go and check on Aunt Nettie first, I don’t like the idea of her being out in that cabin by herself.” He sighed, knowing she wasn't the damsel in distress he often wished she was. She was strong and determined. His eyebrows furrowed, but her next words calmed his worries. “Once I get her we’ll go straight to the diner, I promise.” He turned to face her, hands moving to gently cup her face.

"Okay, my love," he said, leaning forward and placing a small kiss on her forehead. "I'll see you soon." He wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her tightly for a few moments. He released her and walked out from behind the bar to the front door, grabbing the handle and pulling it open. He turned around once more to get a glimpse of her, giving her one last smile and a wave. Then he was standing on the sidewalk outside, and he turned to head back to the diner. He jogged the entire way back, nervous about the news he had received. Unlike most of his pack, all Sam wished for was peace. He didn't want to believe it was just a vampire going on a rampage killing humans. Hell, it could have been a hunter attempting to kill them and it was only self defense. Until all the facts were straight, he wasn't going to make any assumptions.

It didn't take him long to reach the diner, and he threw the door open, entering into the overwhelming smell of delicious food. His eyes scanned the building, washing over the many patrons. No one looked particularly frightened. Perhaps news of the death hadn't traveled throughout the town yet. He forced himself to appear relaxed, before locating Axel and making his way towards the man. Surprisingly, he was talking to a woman Sam had never even seen before. Yet she was oozing sex appeal and seemed to be making all the right moves. Although Axel's back was to him, he could read the Alpha's body language. He was obviously attracted to her, and his demeanor was flirtatious in nature.

The sight made him pause. Perhaps Axel wouldn't be so upset to find out about Sam and Caroline after all. Hell, Axel was in a 'relationship' of sorts, yet here he was openly flirting with another woman in plain sight. He made a note in the back of his mind to attempt to talk to Axel about his predicament. Perhaps his best friend would be more understanding than Sam feared. Realizing he had stopped walking, and was just standing a few steps from the door, he forced his legs to move over to the counter.

More shocking than Axel flirting with another woman was the fact that Leanna was still present in the diner, only feet away from the scene. Hell, Sam thought Axel was slightly more smooth than that. He felt truly sorry for Leanna, knowing how much she actually craved love. She didn't exactly have the best history, and Sam faintly wondered if Axel had ever truly tried to love Leanna. He assumed not.

Instead of interrupting Axel in his pursuits, he approached Leanna instead. He would try to comfort her, or perhaps just distract her from the sight of Axel and the mysterious woman. He didn't know why, but he had a soft spot in his heart for Leanna. Perhaps it was because he knew how his best friend really was, and the fact that Leanna deserved to be happy. Like he and Caroline were. She probably deserved better than him, if he was truly honest with himself. Of course he loved his best friend, but he could also admit Axel's faults better than the Alpha could himself.

When he was next to Leanna, he finally recognized the man standing before her. Albrecht, Axel's older brother, and the previous Alpha of the Wolff pack. He and Leanna had been engaged, once. Hell, he had probably just walked into a more awkward situation than interrupting Axel and the brunette. Damn. Well, he'd have to play it off as not awkward. "Ho-ly shit," he said, emphasizing the two syllables of the word holy. "Albrecht, it's been a long time, man." He held out his hand, in hopes Albrecht would shake it.





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Gabby's maker took the lead, and she followed next to him. Their entire walk was in silence, and she wished she could hear his thoughts. He was entirely unreadable, something that was already beginning to irk her beyond belief. After gaining all of her vampiric abilities, and living even her short life so far, she had gained a particular ability to be able to know how someone was feeling, almost know what they were thinking. Yet this man was complete mystery. And his personality was so completely all over the place that she had a hard time even understanding what sort of man he was. Sure, he appeared charming and suave, yet she had a faint suspicion that was only because he wanted her to see that side of him.

Before long, they had reached the outskirts of town, and without realizing she sucked in a huge breath at the appearance of a building that appeared as if it was from a fairy tale. An astounding four story building that probably had more rooms than Gabby had ever seen in her life. She stopped in her tracks, in awe of everything her eyes were taking in. "No way..." she whispered, shaking her head in disbelief. "Welcome home my sweet," Nikolai spoke, but she couldn't take her eyes away from the building in front of her. Home... he had said, and the word struck her heart with a sharp pain. She hadn't felt at home anywhere since she had been turned. It didn't even need to be a place, no person had made her feel like family.

"Everything that is mine, is yours." His arm swept out in an elegant motion, gesturing to the large property before the pair of them. She walked in front of him, up the steps leading to the front door. Upon opening it, she was once again struck with the feeling of awe. Luxuriousness hit her squarely in the face. Everything was dark, from the deep brown wood to the burgundy carpets. And it was all bathed in a dull, yellow glow. She took a few steps inside, yet it all felt suffocating to her. How would she ever be able to call this place home? It felt like a museum, not a house. Certainly not a home. She had only been inside the house for a few moments, yet she found herself backstepping out onto the porch. She gulped in large breaths of the cool air, even though her lungs didn't need even an ounce of it.

Her brain finally started to process everything she had been through the past few hours. This was absolutely insane. She had known this man for only a speck of her life, and she was following him blindly. She knew nothing about him, besides the fact that he had made her. And now she was going to foolishly go live with him straight away? She had been raised to have more sense than what she was currently portraying. "I need to take a walk," she said, almost breathlessly. "I just need to think about everything. Please..." she said, before turning and walking down the steps out to the street once more.

Once out of sight of the mansion, she began to relax, the tension almost melting away. She had no idea where her legs were taking her, but she let them lead her anyway. Was she supposed to trust this stranger, just because he had made her? She wasn't completely sure. After walking for what seemed like an endless amount of time, she stopped and looked up at her surroundings. She was standing among many large Victorian-style houses in the residential area of Bellingstone. The sight made her cringe slightly, since they somewhat reminded her of the mansion she had just ran away from.

After many moments, she realized there was a figure sitting out on the porches of one of the houses. It took her even longer to realize she recognized the face. She was surely acting more like a human than vampire right now. Her mind was moving at a snail's pace. She approached the man, even though she had no real reason. "Sterling, hey.." she said, and she realized her voice was quavering slightly. She honestly didn't know much about the man before her. He tended to stick to himself, only leaving his house on brief occasions. They were in the same coven, yet had only had perhaps a handful of conversations. He was interesting and mysterious, yet in a completely different way than Nikolai. "Can I join you... or are you busy?"

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Character Portrait: Isabella Gabrielle Clarke Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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He was just on the verge of sleep, getting to the point where his breathing had relaxed almost completely despite the thoughts that had earlier plagued his mind. He could have sworn he fell asleep for a few heartbeats but the sound of footsteps woke him. Behind the dark sunglasses, Sterling's eyelids snapped open and he lifted his head to look down the street toward the sound of footsteps.

A figure moved along the street slowly and then suddenly stopped to look around at her surroundings. The author slowly laid one of his legs over the other as he sat there. Besides this, however, he was absolutely still. In a way, he'd sort of perfected this ability to blend in without drawing much attention at all. For a while, he actually believed this person would overlook him as most people, including his coven, did. Apparently, though, the darkness that was engulfing the small town didn't help much.

The figure noticed him after a while and she started toward him. By then, with the sun going down, Sterling lifted the sunglasses off of his face and set them down on the side table beside his drink. "Sterling, hey..." she said. Almost instantly, he both recognized the voice and the fact that her voice was shaky. It was Isabella, right? Just seconds later, before greeting her, he remembered an incident in which she'd yelled at another for calling her by her first name. What was her middle name...? Oh, of course.

"Hello, Gabby," he replied smoothly, though his voice retained its usual semi-emotionless tone. Slowly, he shook his head in response to her. "Oh, no I'm not busy at all...just, y'know, writing a bit and drinking." He gripped the arms of the chair and walked over toward the radio, which still played some old jazz music at relatively loud volume as compared to the quietness of the street. Sterling stood there for a while against the railing just watching her approach the house. Suddenly, he seemed to realize he should saw something. "Sorry, I don't usually get visitors here...do you want to go inside or do you want a drink or...?" He trailed off and shoved his hands into the pockets of his khakis a bit awkwardly. If he had any blood really flowing through his veins, he would have flushed brightly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabella Gabrielle Clarke Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Not only was Gabby's visit unexpected, it was also greatly appreciated and Sterling certainly couldn't have been more grateful the female vampire had decided to stop by his old Victorian estate. It got lonely at times and there were many days when the empty halls and rooms haunted him. He wanted so desperately to hear the squeals of Lily again as she rushed through the house, toys in her hands. He tended to scold the girl at times like these, angry she was disrupting his writing and she'd sulk for a few hours until Sterling- or Robert, as he was known back then- went to comfort her. If he'd known he would lose her, perhaps he would have never grown angry at her.

Again, he thought back to Gabby and how she'd followed him inside after they'd talked for a while. It came as a surprise, as he usually never had anyone inside. Still, his house was in pristine condition, as if he'd been expecting company. He constantly kept it that way, though, just in case. They talked, just like any coven members normally would, and by the time she'd left Sterling couldn't help but grin almost ear to ear.

The morning after, he was still in a very cheery mood and decided that it gave him a wonderful excuse to wander outside of his home, his comfort zone, and stroll around Bellingstone. For a while, he was able to occupy himself by weaving in and out of stores. Nothing, besides a few books, caught his eye so he continued his walk, moving further away from town. Eventually, he found himself outside of town, walking along a dirt and gravel pathway that he knew he'd never set foot on. Why should he have, really? The only time the author left town was to hunt and, even then, he was only journeying out into the woods to hunt down a few animals he would suck dry. There were times when he thought it would be best to simply starve himself. That way, he would die and wouldn't have to deal any longer with this painful existence he led.

On the other hand, though, he'd heard stories that vampires were condemned with neither Heaven nor Hell. This idea concerned him greatly, for all he wanted was to be with his wife and child again, who were most certainly in a heaven of some sort. He stopped suddenly as he found himself in the driveway of a decent sized, cabin-style home. It was one he didn't recognize until he saw the cop car in the driveway, along with the pick-up truck. It was obviously Bellingstone's lovely (he used the term loosely) sheriff, for he'd seen the man in the same truck countless times around the town.

He was going to turn and go back the way he'd come, but he couldn't help but notice the toys scattered on the front yard of the home. Some of them looked pointless and odd, but he easily noticed the jump rope and a bicycle, for his own daughter had had them too. The thought made him frown, his stomach turning at the thought. His own yard had once been littered with objects just like these...not anymore, though.

He hadn't been aware the sheriff had children, but he was never really out and about, was he? Awkwardly, he took a few steps toward the toys and the house, just to look at them closer as if doing so could create the illusion that they belonged to his daughter and not some random child he'd never met before.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sebastian Harding Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Image"Wanna go see if there's a note?" Annelise asked hopefully, more for her sake than Leigh's, the little girl thought. Leighton sighed heavily, her tiny chest heaving as if breathing were some greatly complicated task all of a sudden. "No...I was just a-wonderin' if I could go outside and play. Sebby always lets me out first thing in the morning on the condition that I let him know before I go." She explained, speaking in only half truths. Annelise was seemingly just a bit distraught, and while Leighton normally would have attempted comforting her, she had her own inner wars to wage today; both ladies upset over the same man for very different reasons. "So...since I let you know, that means I can go right? You're a grown up. I'll be seeing you Lisey!" She chimmed, her voice jumping a few octaves in her excitement as she completely disregarded whether or not Annelise was being permissive and sprinted for the front door. In her haste she opted to forgo changing out of her warm white long-john pajamas and simply slipped on her pink rain boots and pulled on her puffy overcoat that Seb joked made her look like a pink michelin man. Leighton wasn't sure what a michelin was but since the guy looked like a giant marshmellow, she imagined there had to be some relation.

As she tugged the heavy wooden door closed behind her, effectively, in her mind, blocking Annelise from being able to make her come back inside, she drew her coat closer to her body, as if girding herself for war with winter. Leighton glanced upward at the tree leaves that drooped the burden of their dead predecessors and pounds of snowfall, a profusion of washed out colors melting against a gray sky, and grinned. Anytime she was feeling particularly ill at ease, some fun in the snow usually cheered her right up.

"I AM THE WINTER PRINCESS! FROST AND SNOW BEND TO MY POWA!" She shrilled, her voice ringing through the silent still air like tiny sliver bells as she lept from the porch onto the snow blanketed ground in a single bound. She then, without dusting away the snow flakes that had lodged themselves in her golden hair or plastered themselves to her long lashes in the fall, raced forward to locate her pink bicycle with the silver tassles that hung off of the handle bars. "Where is my icey chari-choree-chahairle--where is my ice carriage!?" She demanded of no one in particular, unable to recall the word Chariot.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sebastian Harding Character Portrait: Ariana Kaye Character Portrait: Isabella Gabrielle Clarke Character Portrait: Jeremy Donovan Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Nikolai Lannister Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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ImageThe faint sound of music tickled Ariana's ears, but she didn't know where it was coming from. She attempted to tune it out, but it didn't work. After a few seconds, her eye shot open suddenly, realizing the tone. She reached out for her phone, checking the screen. It was a number she didn't recognize. She almost put the phone back on the nightstand when the thought hit her. Jeremy. Immediately, she swiped her finger across the screen, hoping that she would hear his voice on the other end. "Hello?" she answered, and felt butterflies in her stomach when his voice hit her ears. She had no idea why she was so excited, but a smile broke out on her face upon hearing him ask her out on a date later that evening. She accepted quickly. He seemed to have gotten himself together slightly more than the previous day, but he still sounded nervous. She just found that part of him adorable. They had to hang up after she heard a string of barks in the background of the phone, and reluctantly she hit the end button.

She honestly had no idea who she had turned into. Ariana, who was an exotic dancer and somewhat of a player, was having butterflies talking to a nineteen year old rookie cop on the phone. This wasn't like her at all. But she took it as a sign that she truly liked him, and decided to quit dwelling on that fact. She snapped herself out of being a thirteen year old with her first crush, and got herself out of bed and to the bathroom. She groaned looking in the mirror, her bedhead outrageous. A shower tamed her unruly locks, and she reentered her room to brush her hair out and switch on the small television. 'Breaking News' the screen read, and she listened intently as the newswoman spoke. Apparently, there had been a death behind the sheriff's office, but they weren't giving out any details or a name for the deceased. She thought back to the day before.

The previous evening had been quite strange for Ariana. She had been at Sebastian's house, attempting to find out what exactly had transpired behind the sheriff's station earlier that day. However, nobody else seemed to be willing to discuss it. Which... let's face it, was strange. They were Hunters, for crying out loud. Any supernatural death, which she assumed it was since Seb had attempted to call the group together, should be their top priority. However, everyone else seemed too preoccupied to care. After Rick practically ignored her, she had left the house, deciding to just go home. Upon walking outside, she had been faced with the rather awkward scene of Sebastian kissing Annelise. So much for him letting her down easy. She quickly left the scene before they had noticed, which would have made it even more awkward. The rest of her night had been rather uneventful, spending the time alone in her lower floor apartment. She had eventually just passed out after watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory on television.

With the news not revealing anything new, she changed the channel to a random cooking show that would just be noise while she got ready. She stuck to putting on a pair of purple sweatpants with a plain black t-shirt. She threw her hair up in a bun, and grabbed her purse to head out the door. She had a shift to cover at work that afternoon. Bellingstone may have been a small town, but it wasn't without the similarities to big cities. The strip club sat on the outskirts of the town, and she made it there only minutes before she was supposed to go on.

ImageShe entered through the backstage door and immediately found her table. She threw on a pink, curly wig and a black skimpy outfit before taking the stage. Ariana wouldn't say she loved her job... but she didn't hate it either. She had to admit it was nice getting all the attention from the crowd. Although the floor was pretty scarce during the afternoons. Only the regulars were ever there. Either way, she did her routine exactly the same as if it had been a full house. She received cheers and whoops and claps from the patrons before exiting the stage. Most people believed her job wasn't a profession, but she had been doing it for years, and couldn't really imagine herself doing anything else. For a moment she thought about Jeremy, wondering if he would even like her after finding out what she did for a living. Perhaps she would just leave that little detail out for the night.

After finishing, she had to rush home in time for her date. She let her hair down and straightened it, giving it a nice shine. She changed, putting on an outfit that was stylish enough, but not too dressy. With one last look in the mirror, and a nod of approval, she walked into the living room to see bright lights shining through the window. He must be there. She peeked out of her curtains and saw the squad car parked just outside of her apartment. She couldn't help it, and a smile broke out onto her face. She twisted the knob to her apartment door and shut it behind her, locking it afterwards. She walked towards the police car, her black heeled boots crunching in the rocks in front of her building. She approached the cruiser, and opened the passenger door, peeking her head inside. "Hey," she said simply. "I don't have to sit in the back, do I?" she asked, a smirk on her face.






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ImageGabby's conversation with Sterling was surprisingly comforting. Every emotion she had building up slowly dispersed, and she just felt an overwhelming sense of peace. He was totally unlike any vampire she had ever met. He had such an old soul, which combated her youthful one in a good way. He had points of view she had never considered, and her youthfulness was contagious around him. As the night went on, she could see him start to lighten up, smiling more and more often. She got the sense that Sterling was just as lonely as she was, and never really had anyone to spend time with. She never recalled seeing anyone in his company the few times they had met. Perhaps, even though they were opposites, they could become friends. She most certainly needed someone she trusted, especially with Nikolai now in her life. The thought of him brought bitter feelings back to her mind, but she tried to suppress them as much as possible.

Gabby found herself leaving Sterling's house much too soon. She was having one of the best times she had had in a long time. She felt almost giddy, even. She told him that she would most definitely want to see him again soon before walking out the door and onto the street. She walked home in a daze, a smile permanently fixed on her face. She was barely paying attention to where she was walking. When her feet finally stopped, she realized she was standing outside of her apartment, and she walked up to her door, entered, and flopped on the bed. She was so preoccupied with her outstanding night that she completely forgot about Nik, and fell into a peaceful sleep.

The brightness of the sun beat against her closed lids, and finally caused her to open her eyes. She winced at the bright sun, silently cursing while she pulled her deep red curtains across the window to block the sun. Throwing her arm over her eyes, she willed herself back to sleep, but to no avail. So she just lay there, eyes open and mind racing. After a minute, she realized that Nik would probably wonder where she was. "Shit," she whispered, bolting from bed and hurrying to get dressed. Their relationship was still very new, and she honestly didn't trust him. What would he think or do if he knew she had left him to spend time with someone else? Not wanting to find out the answer, she decided upon a white dress with yellow heels. She found it ironic wearing white, which was seen as the color of purity and holiness, while she was a vampire supposedly 'doomed into hell.'

She left her apartment, not knowing when she would ever return. Nik wanted her to stay at his place for good. But she was most certainly not going to give up her place until she knew for sure it was something she wanted to do. Her walk over to Nik's was quick, using her vampire speed to get her there faster than any normal person. As she stood outside the huge Victorian house, she paused. It didn't feel like home to her. While all the luxury was astounding, it felt a bit too much for her. More like a museum than a house. Either way, she had to enter and find Nik. She knocked on the door, and was surprised to see that the owner of the house answered the door. But of course, why would he do it himself when he had a houseful of servants to do it for him?

She breezed past the woman and entered the maze of the house. It still felt suffocating to her, but she had to at least attempt to get used to it. She found him in the den, surrounded by women. Blood whores, he had called them. She wasn't used to the notion of people willingly giving their blood to vampires. She had only lived off of animal blood for years, and just the smell of the women was intoxicating. However, the women didn't hang around long. As soon as she appeared in the room, the girls split as if she were a serial killer holding a chainsaw. Now that they were alone, she took a seat in one of the random chairs around the room, focusing on her maker. "Hi," was all she said, not sure what words he would want to hear. Last time she had talked about their relationship, he had recoiled instantly. So she didn't want to be too mushy, and she didn't want to piss him off either, so she decided to stay silent, avoiding his eyes after her initial greeting.



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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Sterling had begun to lose himself in the fantasy world he was creating for himself at that point. He was moving closer and closer to the toys on Sheriff Harding's lawn, not really seeming to care that this was trespassing and he'd certainly be arrested if the Sheriff was in his home, watching. Just a few yards away from the toys now, he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks, for he heard someone nearing the door on the inside of the house. Clutching his purchased books against his chest nervously, Sterling darted off around the side of the house, pressing his body up to the cabin's side.

The heavy-sounding door shut then and, against his best judgement, Sterling stole a quick glimpse around the side of the home to look and see who had left the home. At first he'd been expecting Sebastian himself, but he was absolutely shocked to see the young girl emerging. In fact, so shocked that he didn't even bother to hide himself again. She looked just like her, it was almost frightening.

The young, blonde-haired girl could have easily been his own daughter running before him. She bore such stunning resemblance to his young Lily that for a moment, he wished he could step forward and cry out to her. But, that would have been illogical. Instead, he choked back his words and shoved the back of his first in his mouth, stifling a cry. Regardless, tears were welling along the bottom lids of his chocolate brown eyes. It was her, it had to be her! Quickly, he hid himself against the wall, his chest expanding and falling rapidly from the fear. A small smile spread on his lips though.

"I AM THE WINTER PRINCESS!" Her 'battle-cry' caused Sterling to jolt out of his reverie and he almost dropped the books in his arms on to the ground below. The child leapt down into the snow, most likely some of the last snow she'd see until next winter, since it was already early April. Another peak around the building, for he had to see her again, showed the girl racing to find something. "Where is my icy chari- choree- chahairle-- where is my ice carriage?!" He let out a soft laugh at her words, watching her race around. Her words created a bittersweet memory of his daughter, running around in his yard and later his parents' yard when the Depression had hit.

It was really a stupid idea, when he thought back to it, but he was simply ecstatic and clearly not thinking straight. Before he knew what he was doing, Sterling had stepped out from behind the side of the house and walked a few paces to the bicycle he assumed she was searching for, given she was crying out about a carriage. Clutching the books with one arm, he picked the pink bike up with the other hand and held it there until she finally turned to look back the way she'd come from.

"Is this what you're looking for, dear?" he asked, eyebrow cocked slightly over his left eye. He offered a slight smile and moved toward her slightly, gesturing to the bike with a jerk of his head. "Your chariot, I presume?" She would most likely wonder who he was, given the two had never met before. "I don't want to scare you, I was just passing through the woods and...thought I'd help you find your chariot." A quick smile appeared on his lips. "You could call me Mr. Pearce, if you'd like."

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Character Portrait: Derek Hale Character Portrait: Sara YasmineJay Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Leighton whirled around at the sound of a second voice in the yard, pale hair whipping with so sudden and sharp a movement; this was not a voice she knew. There, in her line of vison stood a pallid, thin man with deep-seemingly bottomless eyes, and a shy smile. In his hands, he clutched her pink tricycle.

"Is this what you're looking for, dear? Your chariot, I presume? I don't want to scare you, I was just passing through the woods and...thought I'd help you find your chariot. You could call me Mr. Pearce, if you'd like."

ImageThe little girl flashed him a grateful and affable smile, trudging through the snow to stand before him. "Mr. Pearce? Bleh. That's really formal. You don't have a first name? A nickname? Mine's Leighton, but you can call me Leigh...." She put a tiny finger to her cheek, as if pondering. "Or prefferably Princess Leigh of the winter lands." Her smile grew, cheeky and almost teasing. Warning bells sang their haulting tune in the back of her mind-years of STRANGER DANGER and Sebby's warnings about persons of unknown intent screaming their remonstrance, but she couldn't be made to care. No one had ever tried to harm her, which only produced a certain naitivity, and that, coupled with Sterlings meek and meager appearance and tone...and she never stood a chance.

Leighton gingerly reached up and took the trike from his cold grasp and set it on the ground before clammering atop the seat to stand eye to eye with him and extending her hand to shake. "What do you have there, books?" She asked, leaning forward ever so slightly on the seat to try to catch a glimpse of the thick texts tucked beneath his arm. Her curious doll-like features were reminescent of a Rembrandt painting, light-in-the-darkness, all-present glow juxtaposed against the washed out colors of winter. "Is that wher eyou learned such big words like Chariot?"



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Derek climbed into his car and sat heavily in the driver’s seat as he sucked in a breath and wilted, resting his forehead against the steering wheel. He still wasn't one hundred percent sure where their relationship stood and what staying with her ment for his survival in Bellingstone, but regardless, he couldn't help being what ever she needed, molding himself to fit her desideratum. In fact, Sara had needed him in that very moment, called him to pick her up-[i]wanted[i/] him to pick her up he amended as she could have called anyone, and dammit if he wouldn't come running.

Derek Hale was a confined individual, locked up in a steel box. When he let a little vulnerability or emotion show, it was carefully measured and then delivered. He was self aware in a way that was both admirable but damaging to himself. It was also safe; and safe was what worked. Safe was what kept him functioning even when everything bottomed out and he had nothing left to lose.

And then Sara waltzed right into his life, housing Derek's soul like she had a right to, like she had no idea she'd instantly become home for this man.

Just over the course of the couple of days he had come to know her, when Derek wan't paying attention, Sara would brush her fingertips along top of his hand and take his tension away and Derek would just smile, none the wiser. Later he was always annoyed with himself because he was in such a damn good mood and he couldn't figure out how it had happened. He was being childish but he didn't care. He wanted to mope and he was good at brooding. He was always good at guilt and ugly things...

The drive to her work was a long and tedious one, the lone wolf not so much as touching the radio dial. They had been salting the roads in the town which put Derek directly behind a big, painfully slow salt-truck as it spilt its contents on the street and placed him a good ten minutes behind his designated time of pick up. It was all he could do to stiffle and anxious growl. He didn't like leaving her out there waitng and alone.

ImageAt last, as he whipped into the bar parkinglot-the place a flurry with activity as patrons staggered out into the streets to vehicles they were not really in a state to operate- Derek spotted Sara's car, hood propped up, smoke billowing out. Not a good sign. He quickly parked and lopped out, coming just a few feet away before it hit him. The scent. Like a wall of musk and ferality. Sara's own wolfy smell-warm and inviting-and a strangers; another wolf's, and not just any wolf-an alpha wolf. There was always a way to tell, if you were particularly versed in scenting, you'd notice all sorts of tiny details that added up to a sum of rank. And if you weren't then catching sight of the man was more than enough to glean that surmation. It was enough to have the hairs on the back of Derek's neck standing on end, bristling at the challenge.

"If you need a ride back home or something, I could always give you one. Not to sound creepy or anything, y'know, just being neighborly. I'd be willing to offer any other help you need, really."

ImageDerek could feel his fangs grow in his mouth, involuntarily, threatened. He choked them back, running his tongue over the sharp edges until the returned to blunt and dull human teeth before he closed the final few feet of space. "She doesn't. Sara." He growled, alerting the pair to his presence. His voice was hard, guttural, matching the skyrocketing of his pulse. And though he had wrangled control over his fangs, he couldn't manage the eyes--so blown, there was only a rim of ice around pools of black.

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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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It was certainly much easier to see the girl's features from where Sterling stood now. She was a small thing, making it near impossible to guess her age. However, he placed it somewhere in the early years of schooling, maybe. Her hair was thin, but a light, sandy blonde that movie stars would have killed for. Her cyan eyes fixed on him, looking him over as he did to her. Both were obviously quite surprised by the presence of the other, especially the girl, of course. He was just surprised he'd gone ahead and mustered up the courage to speak to her.
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He blinked his dark brown eyes quickly, watching her as she smiled. He, in turn, gave a shaky sort of smile that conveyed his unease. Perhaps this wasn't the best idea. Perhaps he should run off now before the Sheriff came out with a gun or something to shoot him. She trudged over before he could leave though and it made him feel almost like he was stuck in the snowy yard, unable to flee.


"Mr. Pearce? Bleh. That's really formal. You don't have a first name? A nickname? Mine's Leighton, but you can call me Leigh...Or preferably Princess Leigh of the winter lands."
Sterling gave a nod, taking this request into consideration.

"Well, Princess Leigh of the Winter Lands," he began, playing along with her fantasy. "It is most certainly an honor to make your acquaintance. Um...of course I have a first name." He smirked back at her in amusement alongside her. "It's Sterling. Sterling Pearce." He was quiet then, forcing back a blush of embarrassment until Leighton's much warmer hand reached up and brushed against his. Instinctively, he let go quickly of the trike and let her take it.

"Sorry..." he mumbled, sort of scuffing his foot against the ground as he looked down at the shoes.

"What do you have there? Books?" Sterling slowly looked up, brow furrowed at her due to how close her voice suddenly sounded. He blinked in surprise at first, seeing her hand so close before his face. Slowly, he accepted it in his own clammy, chilled hand and looked down to see how one Earth she'd gotten up there. Suddenly, he removed his hand from hers and dropped his books so he could fall to his knees and hold the trike in place, afraid she would fall.

"That's not really an ideal perch..." he mumbled, looking back up at her so now she was the taller of the two. "Erm...yes. They're books." Suddenly, he gathered them up and pulled them toward his chest like a child might with books that took a fall in a school hallway. Leighton peered forward, trying to read the covers of his books. Sterling, panicking, held the trike harder in place. He exclaimed, "Oh, please don't fall!"

Looking up at her in worry, he couldn't help but notice how similar her appearance was to his Lily. In fact, if he hadn't known better, he would have said this was his little girl and not some child he'd met suddenly in the yard of a town Sheriff. Right now, he could have stood and hugged her tightly to his chest alongside his books. How he missed his little girl...what wouldn't he give to have her back before him? But, in a way, perhaps she was just before him now. Leighton could have been a carbon copy of his Lily, even. The thought caused his stomach to knot and a frown to form on his face. He missed her so much...

"Is that where you learned such big words like 'chariot'?"

"W-what?" he stammered, blinking his eyes back into focus as she spoke. "O-oh...yes, this is where I learned words like that. Well, these and school, of course..." He let out a nervous laugh and slowly stood up again, still holding a foot against the wheel of the bicycle to keep it in place.

"Well...I...um...you should...I should probably go," he said, his words coming out in a rush as if he were stumbling. "Must be weird having a strange man in your yard..." Another nervous laugh passed through his lips and he hugged the books even tighter, his knuckles turning white.

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Character Portrait: Sebastian Harding Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Annelise timidly accepted Leighton's claims of what she was allowed to do, biting her lip as the little blonde scurried out into the snow. She sighed, walking away and back into the kitchen as she held her head in her hands. Slumping down at the table, she tried to eat some more of the breakfast Sebastian had made, only managing to swallow a few pieces of bacon before she pulled out her phone. She sniffed softly as she felt her eyes start to well up with tears, wiping them away hastily in case Leighton came back in.

Maybe I should try and talk to him..? Annelise asked herself silently, her finger trembling over the CALL button before she backed out of the window and went to surf the internet, to try and distract herself as much as she could being stuck in his house. She tried to tell herself, that if she didn't have to watch Leighton, she would leave and hold up her promise from last night. Maybe she would leave town and start somewhere new, or maybe she'd just stay here and become a hermit. Her mind wandered, infecting her with a fear of how hollow her life would be without Sebastian. What if she met someone abusive? What if she was killed by some filthy dog? The brunette trembled, slamming her phone down on the table and walking over to the window by the front yard to check on Leighton. Annelise put on the most convincing smile she could muster and peeked out into the toy-scattered snow, her eyes darting around calmly, not even registering the man in front of Leighton. She had almost called out to the small girl before she finally realized Sterling. Just looking at him made her stomach drop. He didn't look like he had the intention of hurting Leighton, but why would he make it so obvious if he did?

Her instincts told her to bolt outside and grab Leighton, but what if the man saw her and took that as an opportunity to grab Leigh? She had a hunch, everything he did screaming NOT HUMAN, but she didn't want to assume wrong. All she knew was that he should not have been there either way. Trembling, Annelise hobbled over to the kitchen table again, her limp hand somehow picking up her phone and calling Sebastian. He would answer wouldn't he? Why wouldn't he assume the worst? He.. He would never assume she was just calling about last night.. right?

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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Leighton started giggling at the sight of seeing Sterling so frazzled by her precarious perching, it was positively hilarious. "I'm not gonna fall, I know how to stand!" She huffed out in between laughs. "You're not weird, you're nice....You remind me of Daddy."

The little girl grew somber in an instant at the mere mention of her father. "He liked books a lot too. He was always teaching me new words." She smiled sadly up at him, her large green eyes holding unfathomable depths before the light found it's way back into those emeralds-Gems sparkling with that same good humor after a only moments passing.

ImageLeigh playfully swatted at his chest, another giggle bursting forth. "He ALSO didn't like me to stand on top of things, gettin' all upset like I was gonna get hurt. When will everyone learn that I am the Winter Princess, and Princesses don't fa-" The little girls words were cut short by a tiny pink rain boot slipping on the wet seat with a squeak, sending her tumbling into Sterlings stiff arms, books hitting the ground. "Whoops." She said breathily. "Guess I still got some Princess practice I gotta do." Stray blonde curls plastered themselves to her weather wetted brow, the longest ones tickling her pink nose.

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Character Portrait: Sebastian Harding Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Annelise's stomach settled the second she heard Sebastian's voice, her initial worries fading away. Now the only ones that took over were the thoughts of how he might respond. What if he got angry at her for not pulling Leighton inside right away? Moving back to the living room and watching far enough away from the window so she couldn't be spotted, she started to explain.

"Th-There's a man.. In the front yard with Leighton." She began bluntly, her weak voice being enough to give away how horrified she was that her suspicions of the stranger were correct. "I can see them right now.. But I-I'm afraid if I go out there he'll grab her, and I don't...." She trailed off, her eyes flashing with a mixture of fear and hatred as Leighton continued to talk with Sterling and hit him on the chest playfully. "I don't think.. He's human." The brunette squeaked, her knees growing weak and forcing her to sit on the couch. She didn't want to sound stupid, but she was so afraid she had no idea what else to ask. "Wh-What should I do?" She whimpered softly, tears welling in her eyes as she kept a close eye on the pair.

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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Sterling, despite her laughing, was still on edge as he looked up at Leighton, balanced precariously upon the seat of her bicycle.

"I know how to walk and yet I still stumble," he countered, grumbling the words lightly. She really should get down from there...what if she were to fall here? Would he go tell the Sheriff who, he assumed, was inside perhaps watching this exchange?

"You're not weird, you're nice...you remind me of Daddy." Sterling's brow furrowed slightly, confused. Was Sheriff Harding really that nice of a father? He, of course, still assumed the man was the girl's father, as no information had risen to tell him otherwise...for now.

"Well, thank you," he replied, a blush rising on his cheeks. "Not often I receive compliments like that." He gave a quick, sort of awkward laugh and looked down to hide this reddening of his cheeks. Soon, though, the color blanched from his cheeks as she continued, beginning to refer to her father in the past tense which he knew even a child wouldn't do unless...

Sterling looked up at her, instantly frowning as he noticed the somberness of her expression. Her bright green eyes were striking, emerald in color and in shine. For a while, he was lost in the thought, but then gave a quick smile as she gave a quick laugh. He would have given a "sorry" or some sort of sympathy had she not suddenly grown cheerful. Her sadness reminded him of his own daughter's sadness in her last days when she knew she was dying, when he was helpless. The last thing he wanted to do was upset her again and relive that horrible, gut-wrenching feeling.

She continued on like nothing had happened and, just as she said her father hadn't liked her up on top of high objects, she toppled forward into his arms. Instinctively, Sterling had opened his arms to catch her and the books toppled down on to the moist ground. Though they had just been bought, it seemed as if he could not have cared less. His knees bent slightly to take on her weight, due to his surprise.

Gingerly, the vampire set Leighton down on the grass, gazing down at her with sadness in his eyes. "You know, you remind me of my daughter..." he said softly after a while, deciding he might as well mention it. "She's...well, she died." He gave a frown, fighting back a wave of sadness that had washed over him almost completely.

He was not sure what caused him to, but he glanced briefly toward the window, which revealed a young woman who was frantically on the phone. His brow furrowed deeply and he let his arms go lax so that Leighton slid out of them and on to the ground below. The woman on the phone was watching him closely with wide eyes. What on Earth...? Was she calling the cops? It must have been at least a little odd to see a man such as him out on your yard. Deciding this was his cue, he suddenly dove down to pick up his books and brush them off.

"I should be going..." he murmured, holding his books close once he'd gathered them up. But, on that note, he really didn't want to leave her either. For the first time in ages, he felt as if he had his daughter back...and he certainly could not lose that feeling again, no matter what. But, how would he go about doing that...? "You...uh...you could tag along if you'd like." He knew his offer would most likely be in vain but, hell, it was worth a shot.

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Character Portrait: Sebastian Harding Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Annelise Laustsen Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Image"No!" She cried out, suddenly stricken with longing. "I don't want you to go...I want you to teach me some words from your books." She peered passed her new found friend to the house, catching her lower lip between her baby teeth before dragging her verdant eyes back to his.

She weighed nothing, but Sterling would feel the tenacity of her grip as she took his hand in her own. Little Leighton appeared delicate as a diamond can look delicate when preyed upon by the light, but like a diamond, she was anything but.

"I'd like to tag along...if that's okay?" Her underdeveloped mind reasoned that because he was an adult, it would be more than allowed for her to accompany him; after all had Sebby not left her with Anne? Same difference right? The breeze gusted and lifted her hair off the back of her neck, her golden hair tangling around her face, and her eyes wide and filled with myriad fragments of color and mirth. She was afraid of nothing.

"Let's go."

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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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"No!" cried the voice behind him. Surprise would have hardly conveyed the thoughts that raced through Sterling's mind. Flabbergasted, perhaps, would have been a better term. Didn't children these days know not to walk off with a strange man? Hell, the girl had just met him and she was entrusting him to not hurt her or harm her. Granted, he had no such intentions, but what if he had?

Sterling shook the thought off as he peered over his shoulder quickly to see Leighton, biting down lightly on her lower lip as her emerald hues locked with his chocolate brown ones. He gave a look of confliction and then turned again to start off toward his home. No...no, he couldn't do this. It was wrong to lead a child away from their home, to pose as a friend when he failed to even make friends in his own age group. He knew that as soon as the sheriff caught wind of this, he'd certainly find himself under at least one, if not more, charge.

His hand was grabbed, however, and held on to with whatever strength the compact little girl could muster. Tenaciously, she clung to his hand and pulled with quite surprising strength for a girl of her age. He could have pulled his hand free, clear out of her grip, but such a thing would have been horrible to do. His parental instincts began to show and he stopped to crouch down in front of the girl, at eye level with her now.

"I'd like to tag along...if that's okay?" Even if it hadn't been okay, Sterling would have agreed.

"Yes," he murmured, a smile spreading across his lips as he nodded his head slowly but surely. "Yes, that would certainly be okay." Should he tell her to ask her guardian? The idea seemed good, but Sterling knew no adult i their right mind would let a man like him run off with a girl this young. So, instead, he decided to ignore the watching figure at the window. Besides, what harm was he doing in all honestly?

Slowly, he rose from his crouch and beckoned for the child to follow him as he pushed his one hand into the depths of his pockets and gathered his books with the other. Their walk was quite silent, for Sterling wasn't sure how to begin a conversation with the child. Finally, though, as they stepped on to the porch of his large home, Sterling decided to start one.

"So, do you have a favorite book?" he decided upon first. In his eyes, it was a neutral question that wouldn't seem weird or nosy. They entered and Sterling closed the door behind but left it unlocked, feeling he might frighten the child further...though, she didn't seem scared in the first place. "You...uh...you could take your jacket off if you want." He pointed quickly at an ancient looking coat rack he'd taken after his parents' death. In fact, most of the furniture was dated in the house. Though he thought modern decor was interesting, it just felt weird when he tried it once in an old place of his. The old fashioned decorations made him feel more at home and comfortable. There was an odd, extreme cleanliness about the place too. Despite his reclusive ways, Sterling hadn't once let the house fall into shambles. A speck of dust would soon meet its end in this home, it seemed. "Oh, and your shoes can go there too..."


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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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"Yes, that would certainly be okay." The offer to run away with the book man was too tempting to not take up. Sterling was older than Leigh, but he was smallish, not very threatening; he was a kind man, too, from what Leighton could garner, and he’d given her no reason to fear him. The relative weakness of her little body didn't frighten her, and though this stranger could harm her, she didn't worry about inviting the possibility.

He lead her away from the sanctuary of her snow laden yard down the side walk in silence, and Leighton took that opportunity to study his face-his cavernous eyes, deep and dark like some cave that needed to be explored, before she eventually grew bored and began skipping so that the sloshy snow underfoot splashed up her pajama bottoms. It sent chills racing up her legs. None too soon, they arrived at his home. It was quaint, like something from a story book and it made her smile. A scary or dangerous man wouldn't have so sweet a house, right? She thought idly and before she could pass through the threshold behind Sterling, he piped up, startling her to the point of nearly jumping out of her boots. Not because he was scary, she reminded herself, but because he had been so quiet, she hadn't expected him to talk.

"So, do you have a favorite book?"

ImageLeighton stopped directly in the open doorway and looked up at him. "My daddy used to read me The Velveteen Rabbit. I really liked that one." She replied with a meek smile, eyes looking past him to scan the innards of the cozy edifice. The warmth inside hit her like she had run smack into a brick wall of clement and rubbed at her frost bitten nose and her rosy cheeks evoking a contented sigh.

"You...uh...you could take your jacket off if you want." He started nervously as he gestured to a rack just behind her before adding "Oh, and your shoes can go there too..."

"Thank yah, thank yah." Leighton replied in a silly caricature of her own voice before stooping down to peel off her rain boots and her 'Michelin Man' pink puffer. "What's your favorite book?" She pried, eyes focused on the task before her, not paying him any head; unaware that her flushed skin and her exposed body that had worked up a mild sweat in her coat on the walk up there had created a scent that was very sweet to a vampire-a sanguisuge like Sterling. Temptation was a bitch.

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Character Portrait: Leighton Harding Character Portrait: Sterling Pearce
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Sterling slowly shrugged off his own jacket, letting it fall off of his shoulders before he slipped it off and turned to hang it on the rack. As he hung the fleece garment on a peg, Sterling looked down at the young girl who had stopped suddenly in the doorway to his home, still looking like a giant, pink marshmallow in her own coat.

"My daddy used to read me The Velveteen Rabbit. I really liked that one." The smile that had been plastered on his lips faltered for a second, then two, as he heard the title. It brought back memories that were bitter, yet sweet. They were memories he had tried to shove into the depths of his mind shortly after Lily's death. It had worked, obviously, but he had not buried them deep enough for now nostalgia overtook him and he pressed his lips together tightly and forced another smile, this one not as genuine as the first.
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"I know that book," he spoke softly, as if saying it too loudly would cause his voice to shatter like a glass pane. "I used to read that to my daughter years and years ago." He gave a more genuine grin now as memories came back to him. "I'm sure that was one of her favorite books, too." He crouched to untie his shoes as her eyes scanned the house. He hoped it wasn't overwhelming to her.

"What's your favorite book?" Her voice soft rang through the front hall suddenly and Sterling jolted in surprise. His eyes turned toward her, meeting her at eye level now because he was on one knee. She had, meanwhile, begun to remove the layers of clothing she'd bundled up in before running outside. The scent of human sweat was instantly recognized by Sterling. His nose, sharpened by his vampirism, would have been sensitive to pick up on much less. Therefore, the scent was overwhelming, causing him to swallow nervously as his gut fluttered with worry. No, he couldn't feed off of this girl...she was too young. He'd either kill her or...

Sterling couldn't believe he was thinking of it, but now it was just too good of an idea to ignore. He wasn't thinking straight in the first place, thanks to the rough resurfacing of memories. She looked so much like his own daughter, gone for years now. Yet, the child would inevitably grow up, as all children do. But, what if she was a vampire? Then, she would not only be a child forever, but she would also never die as his own daughter had. And, how peculiar was it that she had no father and he had no daughter? It was destiny. He had to. Temptation was a bitch. It pushed people to do things they would not normally do. Sterling certainly would regret it later, but right now, all he could think of was his daughter and how much this young girl acted like her.

"My favorite book? Probably One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." He stopped, still kneeling though he'd removed his shoes, and pondered the question. "I did love The Great Gatsby, though. Fitzgerald was a wonderful author and a wonderful man." He gave a quick nod and a smile. "I'm sure you'd love those books-- if you enjoy to read, I have many books you would probably want to read." He reluctantly stood up and the smell of her flesh became less intense.

"Would you like something to eat or drink?" he asked curiously, head cocking innocently. One of his two powers, the ability to affect another person's opinions and thoughts through charisma, was helpful in such a situation. It was a horrible thing to do, a deed he would probably regret, but he prayed that he'd either be able to convince her that vampirism was good, or turn her into a vampire while she was unaware. Either way, he would be getting exactly what he wanted-- a daughter that would never die or leave him.