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BONUS STORY PART ONE                                Take me home, delicious heart.

Author's note -

As I was getting the results of the poll last month, I noticed that people wanted a variety of things, and I hated to let anyone down. So this bonus material has several parts, and I hope I will touch on many of the things people wanted, not just the winning result. The majority of people said they wanted 'more writing/backstories' so I thought I could get more story out in an illustrated story, rather than just comic pages. (Though there will be some of those later on.) I hope you enjoy, come back for the subsequent parts! <3 Kelly



Vitus Whitestone in...


An illustrated story - drawings by Kelly Martin & Christopher Shelton, text by Kelly Martin



   The sun had just recently set, its faint glow still purple-ing the sky but it was away long enough for young vampires to feel sprightly and frisky. Jack and Vitus were holed up in the smaller bathroom on the second floor of the Sombreta estate. Jack couldn't believe his luck when Vitus agreed to let him cut his hair. In had been just a silly request, he never expected him to go for it.

    “I haven't had my hair cut in... Since I was dead?” Vitus said as Jack switched on the brand new electric razor with electric hum. “I do know it will grow back,” he continued, “same as limbs and anything else but I wonder what it feels like.”
   Jack started at the back of Vitus' head, and felt a bit of strange delight to watch the sandy hair clump up and fall away, leaving just a uniform fuzz behind.
   “Don't you ever get bored of doing it the same all the time?” he asked, curling his toes on the cold tile floor.
   “No... I didn't really 'do' it when I was alive though. I'm just not a fashion plate. Not much you can do with this unruly mane anyhow.”
   Jack chuckled, trying to fight back any strange thrill he might get from touching his friend's chilly skin.
   “Well,” he said to distract himself, “what else is a gay friend for but to style your hair and pry about your personal life. Speaking of which... You and Helen?” he noted Vitus' raised eyebrow in the mirror.
   “What about her?” he asked flatly.
   “Is she your girlfriend?”
   “Haha... No.” Vitus smiled briefly, quickly hiding his teeth, “Maybe for a week ninety years ago.”
   “Oh? Why not? You two get along well, and she's really cute.”
   “She's also a real hell-raiser. You know how she is with the 'favor' thing, well that's not the only thing she's like that about. I'm not good at standing up for myself, she'd run riot. No good for anyone.”
   “So who is your main squeeze then?” Jack raised his head back until he caught Vitus' eye in the mirror.
   “Literature.” he answered without changing expression.
   “Oh brother. Seriously? Kind of hard to make out with a book isn't it? All the paper cuts.”
   “I suppose I just haven't found a special lady yet.”
   “Ha, that's what my mom says about me.” Jack smiled.
    “I don't think you tried as hard as I did. --Still trying...”
   “Aww.. well, do any of the other Circle vamps have significant others?”
    “Not significant, but I could imagine they'd keep it a secret. Maybe I'm a romantic to imagine that.”

   “Why is that? Humans have relationships, does that change when you die?” Jack asked.
   “There's just too many complications I guess, that's not to say that no one in the Circle haven't... done other things with each other.”
   “Whoa!” Jack held Vitus' ear gingerly as he shaved around it, “Speak from experience?”
Vitus made a coy face, “As I understand, Demetri is a bit of a romantic himself. I remember he's been fond of a few lads that I'd heard of.”
   “Ugh,” Jack rolled his eyes. Figures he'd know the perfect way to end that juicy bit of conversation.
   “Anyway..." he changed the subject quickly, "I used to do Mark's hair all the time. ...You're kind of like him actually...”
   “How so?”
   “You're both masculine types, but nurturing. You know? Like the kind to nurse a baby bird to health. He'd always get on my case. Eating better, not smoking... because he cared. You do that too.”
   “I'm glad you find that helpful,” Vitus looked thoughtful, “I don't want you to think you aren't perfectly capable. I think you're better at taking care of yourself then you think.”
   “Ha, you didn't know me as a kid. Vitus would freak out if he met young Jack.”

      “Trouble maker, messy, immoral... you name it.”
Vitus chuckled softly, “I think my upright facade works a little too well. I'm not an angel, and I certainly haven't ever been one.”
   “Really now? What's the worst thing you've ever done, forgotten to pay an overdue fee at the library?”
   “I do that all the time-- but... I've done bad things before. Things I regret, certainly.”
   “Hard to imagine...” Jack paused to brush the hair out of the blades and revealed Vitus' new hairstyle for the evening.
    “...By the way, you're really not homophobic at all, are you?” Jack asked, wiping bits of fuzz off the counter.
   “I compared you to my boyfriend and you didn't scream and find a window to jump out.”
   “Why would I? Maybe I'm more progressive than today's man. The Queen's era was not as uptight as is portrayed.”
Vitus rubbed his freshly shorn head with a curious look.
   “Hm, maybe I'll tell you a little story. Let's have a sit in the parlor...”
   “Oh I love story time! Don't forget we have something to do tonight, but go on-- wait, will there be sexy parts?”
   “I hope you are old enough to handle it-- now where was I?”

   "You remind me of someone too..."


      Vitus Mathias Whitestone was the sixth in line for the family business. It wasn't a hard life, but it was one of little expectation. That was both good and bad, it allowed him freedom, but he lacked the discipline that his older brothers had ground into their souls. He fancied himself an artist, a modest talent that was encouraged by appreciative school teachers and sisters. While young men of the era were allowed to travel and do as they please, there came a certain age that they were supposed to set to having a family. That undefined age seemed closer and closer, but Vitus never wanted the day to arrive.

      Years in university passed, with the changing of major every chance he could. From two years of general studies, to less than a year in philosophy, Vitus declared himself an art major, and there he remained.
      Sadly those years spent in books had not helped his artistic skills any, and he found himself mediocre and ignored, and without the drive to improve himself to reach the top.

      It was easy to be envious of those whose talent was more apparent.
        Henry Schneider was a 3rd year art student, well regarded for being sociable and kind. Of course, well regarded among the scant female students for other reasons as well. Vitus was quick to deride this fellow in his mind. He was short and frail with pathetic grades. His family was poor and he was always struggling to make the marks to keep his scholarship. He dressed flamboyantly and seemed a bit of an eccentric, who was he trying to impress?

They never spoke.

     At a student art show that fall, they did speak for the first time.  
      Vitus saw Henry approaching with a friendly smile, and his insides turned, wonder what snide remark may be coming.
      “Oh wonderful!” Henry said, gesturing to Vitus' rough painting, “That is such a difficult pose. You are very brave for including this piece.”
      It was silly flattery, there were two other versions of the same pose by different artists. Vitus was surprised that the compliment came towards his art, and accepted it blindly.
      “You might try working on the composition next time, this edge is a bit--” Henry noted Vitus' curling lip and quickly changed tracks, “--but this leg, the foreshortening is fantastic!”
To Vitus' dismay, Henry seemed to take a liking to him. It did offer its benefits however, Henry ran in a glamorous circle, and it was always useful to be seen with a popular student. It felt good to have what even he considered to be prosaic studies complimented, even if it did ring a bit false.  


      One evening Henry introduced Vitus to his friends, inviting him to their salon at a local café. Vitus packed his porfolio along, hoping to get a chance to show his drawings. In the corner of the dim cigar-fogged café, a painting was displayed lit by an electric light. An avant-garde painting, the type that would not go over well with their professors. Henry's painting, the talk of the salon.

    Noodle-y rubbish, Vitus thought, why waste your talents on that continental foolishness?
The salon members wanted to discuss the new painting, but Henry saw Vitus' pouting, and gestured to the young man.
      “Vitus is a very promising artist!” he announced, “He's only first year in the department, I was much worse than he is when I started. Imagine how good he will become!”
   Vitus was surprised, but happy to receive the ensuing attention. Henry smiled, placing a hand on Vitus' back as he led the glowing critique of his portfolio.

      Henry took any chance to meet Vitus privately. Asking him his opinions on philosophical matters. Could one really believe in a just god? What was his take on the direction of culture?

      He listened intently, nodding his head and occasionally shaking it in wonderment.
      “How could you know all this? I would never come up with such an eloquent rebuttal. This is why you're top of the class, Dandelion!”
      Vitus would groan at the cutesy nickname, and feign modesty. He was, in actuality, the top of the class; the highest academic grades in the art department. It wasn't a difficult task, most students spent time painting rather than studying. It was obvious that he was not top of the class in any other respect.

(Apologies to Eakins)

      Henry's friends were quite bohemian for Glenland, the more wealthy members frequently traveling to the continent, and even the poor ones stole away when they could.

    Vitus felt a part of the group, though he didn't care to think of what his role was. He'd stopped bringing along his portfolio. While his opinions were occasionally solicited, he was not an intellectual leader. Yet, he was always invited, and his company made many glad. Some attendees in particular...

   “Dandelion, you are such a charmer! How did you get so robust? What foods do you eat? I'll never eat anything else!”    Henry teasingly brushed Vitus' chest and bobbed a little too closely in the cool water. Vitus smiled awkwardly and tried to blush his way out of the situation. He had a good idea what the teasing implied, but pretended that he didn't.

    It became harder to get Vitus alone.

    Henry stole a moment of his time, meeting in a corner of the drawing room. He leaned awkwardly on a shelf of mahl-sticks, turning his head coyly as he spoke his well-practiced proposal.

     “I'm working on a new painting that's very challenging. It's very important to me that it be the most beautiful possible, and the main figure most of all. --So, I wondered if you could possibly model for me, since you are... so, um, beautiful--”

     Another student approached, “Yes! Oh Vitus would be the perfect model for my painting too!” “What a brilliant idea Henry!” said another.

   So Vitus became the model for the salon. Henry grudgingly shared him.

     Vitus was surprised how quickly he was able to overcome his initial bashfulness. The artists were quick with admiration and reminders of his beauty. Perhaps he came to believe it himself.      The painters scratched away at their canvasses, happy for Vitus' image to grace their art and perhaps improve their own standing. One artist was frozen, brush in hand, transfixed.
     Vitus recognized that face, the same he'd worn around that mesmerizingly voluptuous schoolteacher when he was a boy.
     What could he do? It was too late to say anything now, without Henry's approval what chance did he had to stay with the bohemians?



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