Keira gazed in the mirror calmly as she reached up to adjust the lapel of her blazer. Her dark brown hair was cut off just below her pale ears, and her eyes were a deep, mesmerizing blue. The woman's pale face looked soft to the touch, though it was a bit angular. She looked to be about twenty-five. Over her eyes was a deep purple-blue mask with just a hint of glitter. Protruding from either side of the mask were tiny bat wings; the membranes were a bright, blood red.

She wore a dark red buttoned shirt that was obviously tailored to fit her slender, feminine form snugly. Over that was an oil-black blazer that was equally as tight as her shirt. A black tie, dress pants, and shoes clad the rest of her form. A high-collared deep red cape completed her outfit.

The woman admired her own lean form in the mirror once more, before deciding that she looked presentable. With a slight nod to herself, she calmly left the bathroom, her expression carefully schooled into vague disinterest.

She silently strolled into the main room, where there were considerably more people gathered. All the men were in suits, while the women wore dresses; Keira was the only woman who was wearing a suit. For good reason, too, or at least in her mind – the male outfit kept any men away, while showing women that she was available for... effeminate company. Everyone in the large room wore masks.

The Masquerade came only once a year, on Halloween. It was intended to give adults something to do as the children went door-to-door. Keira had been coming to the Masquerade for many years now; she hadn't missed one since she started coming. She had found that there were many women at these gatherings that were curious about Keira – often curious enough to allow themselves to be taken home by her.

The only bad thing about her situation was those who knew her, knew how she had mastered the art of seduction and how she never did release the women she stole away from the Masquerade with...

Keira boredly wandered to the refreshments table on one side of the room. She had to fight from smirking at the odd looks she got from many of the people. She could feel the glares aimed at her, though, from the people who knew what she did. Oddly enough, most of the people who glared at her wore similar masks, with dark colors and a splash of red. Hers was by far the most intricate, though.

The young woman took a full cup at random, not particularly caring what it was. It would all taste like ash to her, anyways. She took a sip and tried very hard not to grimace at the taste. As she took idle sips from the plastic cup, Keira wandered around the perimeter of the hall, her calculating gaze flitting about with vague curiosity. After several moments of gazing around the room, she paused.

Just coming in – alone, Keira noticed with a slight smirk – was a girl who looked to be only slightly younger than herself. Her blonde hair fell to the middle of her back in soft waves. Her smooth, white skin was dotted with barely-visible freckles. She wore a white "toga" (it looked more like a tank-top from the waist up) that fell only a few inches above her knees. The back of the dress was open, but gold laces crisscrossed over it in a style similar to a bodice. A short, golden stola was draped over one of her pale shoulders. A pair of sandals that laced up to her knees and a simple, white mask over her eyes, finished her Grecian-styled costume. Keira watched the girl with interest in her blue eyes. She decided then and there that the girl would be hers before daybreak.

Anessa – the girl who was just entering the enormous hall – was unaware that she was being watched. She was, however, feeling a bit shy at being here by herself. She hadn't ever come to the Masquerade before – she had only just turned twenty-one a few months ago, so she hadn't ever been able to attend the event. Her older friends had told her that she would have a good time at the annual dance, and so she had decided to come, even though neither of them would be able to attend this year.

Her soft, hazel eyes went around the room a bit nervously. When her gaze fell on an odd-looking female, though, Anessa paused. The woman was watching her calmly, looking rather out-of-place, since she was in a suit. Briefly, she wondered what the odd brunette was supposed to be dressed as, but then she saw the cape. Ah. Vampire.

The woman dressed as a vampire caught her gaze; she offered Anessa a playful, borderline seductive smirk, before turning away with a slight flourish of her cape. Anessa watched her, a touch bemused, as she calmly wandered out the side door and into the garden. Her curiosity, however, got the better of her, and she slowly went to the door that the odd woman had exited.

Keira smirked inwardly when she heard the tentative steps of a woman coming outside shortly behind her. That slight smirk she'd sent the girl was one of her 'tricks of the trade,' so to speak. She had learned that that particular look made women curious; they wanted to know who she was, after that, and why she was smiling at them. Keira silently glanced over her shoulder. It was, indeed, the blonde woman she'd smiled at.

"Hi," the girl greeted Keira shyly, smiling a little.

"Good evening," the brunette returned calmly. "Enjoying the Masquerade?" She took a sip from the cup and tried not to make a face at the taste of ash in her mouth.

"I don't know, I just got here," the young woman admitted. "I was going to come with my friends, but they couldn't make it."

"That is a shame," Keira remarked sympathetically.

"Yeah, but I guess it's okay," she sighed reluctantly. "Oh! I'm Anessa, by the way," she introduced herself, holding a hand out.

"A lovely name for a Siren such as yourself," Keira mused with a slight smile. She took Anessa's hand in her own and brought it up to her lips, barely brushing a kiss over her knuckles. Anessa blushed a little; she wasn't entirely sure why. "My name is Keira."

"Nice to meet you," Anessa managed, shyly taking her hand back. She brushed some of her hair out of her face, giving herself more time to recover from... whatever that was. "I'm kinda surprised you guessed my costume," she admitted, her own light blue eyes wandering over the gardens that covered the grounds around the porch they were standing on. "Most everyone else just assumed I was some random Greek."

"I fancy myself a bit of a scholar," Keira replied, amusement dancing in her gaze. "I've found that my favorite subjects of history are ancient Greece and Rome. I don't suppose I would be much of a historian if I couldn't differentiate between a Siren and, ah... some random Greek, would I?"

Anessa laughed a little. "I suppose not." Her gaze flickered back to the 'vampire' for a moment. Keira absently sipped at her cup and grimaced a little at the taste. "What are you drinking?" Anessa asked curiously, wondering why she would drink something if she didn't like it.

"I'm not entirely sure," Keira mused, raising the transparent cup to look at the reddish liquid inside it. "It certainly isn't as sweet as what I'm used to. And I'm not much of a connoisseur, myself." She offered the cup to Anessa, who took it hesitantly. Briefly, she wondered if the drink was spiked, but she recalled that Keira had been drinking from it earlier, and she appeared to be perfectly sober.

Anessa took a small sip before returning it. "I'm not entirely sure what you're used to, but it tastes perfectly fine to me," she replied honestly.

Keira merely shrugged. "Perhaps I'm just spoiled," she remarked with a casual wave of the hand.

Anessa raised a playful brow. "Spoiled? You seem pretty down-to-earth to me," she informed the 'vampire,' leaning against the wooden banister. With a small jump, she pulled herself up to sit on it and found herself about to fall off.

"Don't fall," Keira cautioned, putting one hand on the small of the girl's back to keep her steady. Anessa's eyes widened at the sharp jolt the minor contact sent through her. She colored a little and nodded.

"I didn't," she pointed out with a slight grin.

"You almost did." Anessa shrugged, conceding the point. "Have you ever been to the Masquerade before?" Keira asked casually.

Anessa shook her head. "No, I just turned 21, so I haven't been able to come before," she replied, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

"Have you ever danced with a girl before?" Anessa looked up at Keira, surprised. The woman was simply watching her carefully, evidently trying not to offend her.

A slow smile spread over her lips. Why not? She's the only one who bothered to speak to me, and it's not like I came here with anyone. "No, I can't say that I have."

Keira smirked slightly, tilting her head a fraction of a degree. Anessa gazed into her dark blue eyes. They were almost hypnotizing... "What say we change that?" the brunette offered, holding out a spidery hand, palm-up.

Anessa's slight smile grew. "I'd like that," she admitted softly, placing her own delicate hand in Keira's. She slid off the banister, to the 'vampire's' soft warning of "Careful." "I didn't fall that time," she remarked teasingly.

"So I saw," Keira returned dryly, placing her now-empty cup in a nearby trash can. She gently led the younger girl back into the building. Anessa would never have guessed that the friendly woman had quite effectively charmed her with her gentle, almost seductive manner, that Keira was currently keeping her almost violent desire locked away... for now.

A/N: For those who watch my account, I'll be updating Singer and Le LoupGarou soon. :]