[Ariyah – The Elysium – Cargo Section – BoL – A]
Ariyah blinked in surprise.
“Thank you,” Ariyah tried to not deflect the compliment, as she had a habit of doing. Jasper had told her that accepting people’s compliments was the only way to build one’s self-esteem. She just hadn’t thought her work was that well-known yet, at least not within Kindred circles.
But I guess, even Kindred are normal people, with normal interests…
A line of thought that was too dangerous to consider. It was her inability to recognise the true dangers that a Kindred represented that had resulted in her hasty departure…
“Darien Carpenter, and a rose by any other name.” The other Toreador introduced himself.
The name rang a bell, and Ariyah was distracted from her train of thought as she realised why she’d been drawn to talk to this particular individual. It wasn’t just that he reminded her of the Elysium back home, but that his face was also familiar. She had seen him on the cover of magazines that Sofia brings to work.
It did not surprise her to discover that the person sitting across from her was a model, his every gesture and glance seemed primed for the camera.
“I can’t believe I didn’t recognise you earlier.” Ariyah apologised, “You’re even more stunning in person.”
She did not hesitate to express her appreciation; Ariyah truly did marvel at anyone who was themselves the art piece that gets put on display. Actors, models, dancers; performers who were actually observed by an audience as they created their art.
“That kind of pressure~ I could never imagine doing that.” Ariyah continued, “All my pieces are contemplated and brooded over for weeks! I torment myself over each colour choice and each brushstroke. I mull and chew over each piece over and over again before I let the client finally see it. You have my fullest admiration.”
In her enthusiasm, Ariyah seemed to have forgotten her earlier nerves or the discomfit bought on by the Elysium’s design aesthetics; she was more relaxed in her seat and her hands gesticulated with her words.
She even felt generous enough to allow for Darien’s claim of the Elysium having “charm”.
When the other Toreador asked her about her origins though, Ariyah paused.
It was only the slightest of pauses, and Ariyah recovered quickly.
“I guess it depends on what you call home.” Her hands folded in her lap, like birds settling down after being in flight, “I used to live in Australia when I was alive. Then I went on holidays to Portland and got…turned. I stayed there for 15 years before I moved here.”
“So, depending on your definition, home could either be half a globe away or just the next city over.” Ariyah laughed, the sound just slightly brittle.
This was the first time she had to tell that lie, and it was much harder than she’d thought. It had sounded so much more convincing when she and Marvin first worked it out. She hoped her unnatural delivery was chalked up to her being distraught over her memories of her Embrace, and not that she was just a terrible liar.