He didn't remember how he ended up in the conversation exactly, but he had been standing at the bar behind two coeds for about 20 minutes, waiting to get up and order his Hennessy on ice. They were leaning on the bar, laughing and drinking lemon drop martinis. They didn't appear to see him, and as he was about to lean in and interrupt, the brunette put her hand on his arm and tugged. She needed him to settle a disagreement with her friend. He turned to see the friend and was struck with her beauty. At best she could be 21, 22. She had the skin and hair of a Raphael painting. He had always been a sucker for the paler than ivory, blue-green eyed and amber haired women. She laughed and sparkled at his jokes, he couldn't believe it. When her friend went to the ladies's room, he leaned in closer and took a moment to compliment her.
"I should tell you, miss, I don't normally like spend my time with young women. Their opinions are usually so..... unformed.... they don't know much of the world. Yet you, I find your conversation so tantalizing. You are clearly more intelligent than most of the college girls these days." Leo held her gaze after he finished, bringing the cognac to his lips, slowly sipping. The glass was not the usual cut crystal he preferred, it was the cheap thin glass of New York night clubs, the kind that got broken on a nightly basis. Her eyes opened a little wider, she was falling for this? Girls still fell for this line? An old adage said to treat the smart ones like they are beauty queens, and treat the beauty queens like they are geniuses.
"Cerie, my name's Cerie. That was my roommate Katie." He put down the cognac and took her hand in his, bringing it to his lips, brushing gently.
"Leo, Leo Wellesley."
"What do you do, Leo?"
"I am a poet. You might have read some of my work recently in the New York Times." She shook her head, and then he worried. Shit, what if she tries to find my byline? She'll find out how old I am.... "But I use another name, for privacy purposes, of course." He'd have to figure out one of the obscure writers on there, in case she remembered in the morning. Hah, if she remembered him at all. "I don't mean to be too forward, I had planned for an early evening home, but I am enjoying this conversation so much I would like to keep talking to you. " He tipped his head in the direction of the girls' room, her roommate was talking to a guy, if talking these days mean making out against a wall. "Your friend seems a bit... tied up." Cerie seemed to hesitate. "I'll be a gentleman, my dear." She smiled wide, revealing her perfect teeth. She had the face of a fashion model.
They stepped out of Club 69, and Leo waved down a town car that was waiting outside. He introduced his driver, and made a mumbled request for a pitstop before heading to his penthouse. The car stopped outside of a Walgreen's, and the driver went in. He emerged a few minutes later with a small brown paper bag and two bottles of Evian. Leo opened one of the water bottles and poured some into a glass that was sitting in the arm rest, handing it to Cerie.
"Here, you must be parched from talking at the club." Cerie seemed impressed by his attention to details and fine manners. The young men these days had nothing on his lady killer skills. The city swished by in a blaze and blur of lights and sirens and honking cars. A soft rain was coming down, just enough to mist everything. They arrived at his building in Park Slope. Soon they were in the elevator heading up to his top floor apartment. It was one of those buildings few people entered because of the layers of doormen and lobbies and private guards. She marveled at the marble floor and fleur de lis motif of the lobby, the painted gold molding. There was no waiting list to get in this building, as the owners would keep the apartments in their family estates for generations. Arriving at the top floor, he put his key in the elevator lock, and the back panel slid open to reveal his foyer. He opened the carved wooden door, and she walked in. Cerie looked around with awe and wonder.
Leo went to freshen up and change to a softer jacket, while she looked around the salon. The shelves were lined with antique tomes, exquisite objet d'art, fine paintings, carved crystal and framed photographs. He returned to see her lifting up a picture and looking closely. It was a photo taken of him when he was younger, with one of his best friends. She looked at it quizzically, trying to make out the face of the other man, then his, and then looked at him and put it down. Fortunately she didn't recognize the other man, a celebrity. He had recently been in the news for his failing health, and about to celebrate his 80th anniversary as a bonafide Hollywood icon. There would been a gala next month celebrating his life on stage and screen, Leo invited to attend.
"Wow," she said as he strolled up to her and put his hands around her waist, brushing his lips against her soft white neck. Oooh, his eyes had been on that neck all night, he couldn't wait to get a taste of it. "You look great for..." she hesitated, " for .... fifty?" Oh good, she thinks I am fifty!
"Fifty two, but close. Thank you my dear, for the compliment. I work hard to take care of myself." And it showed. He had the broad shoulders of a man in his twenties, trim waist and a full head of wavy hair. "I hope the age difference doesn't bother you much, I don't feel a day over 30." And he didn't, since he had been initiated to the Longevity Club right about then. About 60 years ago.
He moved her over to the soft velvet couch and she asked if she could use the restroom. He smiled, hoping she was getting herself ready for a night of pleasure. Nothing made him feel more youthful than the company of a nubile young woman. Everything about them was so fresh and dewey, just breathing in their air, sipping in their juices was like drinking in life itself. Aqua vitae.
Leo took a moment to check his breath, and pop in one of the mints the driver had picked up for him at the store. He had opened the box of condoms already, and separated the foil packets into singles, slipping one into his pant pocket, one under the pillow Cerie had been leaning back on, one by his bedstand and two into the pillow cases on the bed. He didn't want to break the flow once things got started, and he wasn't sure where that would be happening. He dreamed of unzipping the flimsy little dress she used to barely cover her bouncy young body. He couldn't wait to pull off her panties and go down on her, before plucking what was left of the youthful bounty from her garden of earthly delights. Then he'd get back to that neck, that long line of delicious white neck, ooooooh... He would have to write at a poem about this for his blog.
Cerie came back into the room, looking a bit confused. Leo looked up and asked her what was wrong.
"I notice you don't have any mirrors in there, or anywhere." He didn't, they reminded him of the passing of time. And they reflected a lot of light, which could reveal things he would prefer to keep hidden.
"I made a vow a long time ago to conquer vanity, my dear. It keeps my mind on more important matters." He tried not to choke on his own lie. His appearance was fooling her for now, which was all that mattered. And his full mane of hair was part of the key. He let a few of the silvers show through, carefully coloring only some of them. He didn't want it to look too obvious. Weekly facials, laser peels every few months, testosterone replacement and total avoidance of sunshine kept his skin looking like a much younger man. His surgeon took care of the rest. Leo hadn't stepped out in daylight for years.
"Oh." She said, thinking of his words, and then smiled, coming back over to the couch. She snuggled up to him, unbuttoning his shirt and covering him with her young girl kisses, more awkward than sensual. This gave him a shiver of delight. Making out reminded him of his teenage years, so long ago. But the flappers had earned their reputation for short skirts and easy attitudes, there were girls like this in every generation. He realized she was far less experienced than most of the girls her age these days, and he slowed it down a notch.
"Here, come with me," he said and took her hand. Coyly she let him lead her to his master suite. A king size bed with carved wooden posts stood in the center, a soft spotlight shone on the insignia sewn into the middle of the quilt. The bedroom looked like something out of the Windsor family castle. Heavy brocade curtains covered the windows completely, antique chairs were upholstered with tapestry and velvet. She was the youngest thing in the room.
When he woke the next morning, she was getting up to put on one of his shirts, and pad around the apartment in her bare feet and no underwear. He was aroused just thinking of the next round of morning sex. He called her name after she had been out of the room a few minutes, and when she didn't respond, he slipped into his secret room, hidden behind the bookshelf across the bedroom. She startled him a moment later, and he was caught with the door open and a full view of his private chamber.
There were shelves and shelves of jars, and bottles, and tubes and creams and ointments and pills of every shape and color. Antioxidants, fish oils, moisturizers, labels written in obscure chinese, green bottles, pink bottles, and a vanity mirror with many combs, brushes and scissors and tweezers beneath it. Concealer and blush brushes, pencils and rouges. A line of mannikin heads stood on a shelf, with various toupees and wigs. It looked like the cosmetics department at Bergdorf Goodman. She was standing holding that picture of him and his friend, looking at with disbelief.
"I knew I recognized him." Oh, shit, what would he say. "You two knew each other back in the forties?" How would he explain this, it was too late to say that was a photo of his father. "This is Kirk Douglas. That guy's a geezer." So, even the younger ladies knew who old Kirk was. He'd have to start looking for recent high school grads. "That makes you... a...." oh, please don't say it, don't say it! He leapt to grab the picture from her hand, wondering if she would lodge some kind of complaint with the police. Of course, she was of age... it was consensual. And oh, god, how sensual that was.... "that makes you a vampire."
Oh my god. She believed in vampires. All those stupid books and movies and tv shows these days had totally infiltrated the consciousness of the young. He looked at the curtains, to make sure they were drawn, and then back at her. She wasn't scared, she wasn't screaming like the last one, who had found his driver's license. She wasn't running to put her clothes on and making threats about calling security. Instead, she put her hands on his shoulders, and leaned in and kissed him. Then she pulled back, and tilted her neck up at him. "Cool."
(Repost with editing).