Yes, back with more vampires. It’s just about a big old holiday here in the US, so I’m not gonna be around, but I’ll leave dude here to entertain you. Gianni Fiorenza is the first of the big bad vampires in my upcoming series, The Family, which starts with Liam late this summer.
It’s hard to pick a defining characteristic for G since, according to him, he has so many excellent ones from which to choose. (Modesty not among them, not-so-incidentally.) G’s been with me for over a decade now, though, and I can honestly say that he appeared after one long night catching Frank Langella as Dracula while hanging out at my parents’ on a long weekend. I said, “Hey, now that is what a vampire should be!” and then there he was–apparently forever.
To be fair, he apparently haunts my friends’ dreams too. But that’s another story.
Bearing that in mind, I’ll go with Gianni’s charm as a defining characteristic. There’s a movement to have vampires look on the outside as they do on the inside. I like that idea very much*, but I’m not too into in writing it–a book you can judge by its cover isn’t quite as interesting to me. No, for nature to provide a vampire with a charming cover seems an appropriate adaptation. Well, except in G’s case, it’s not really natural: he doesn’t believe in ugly vampires, so the causality goes the other way.
Also another story. My point is that G gets away with saying things no one really should. Like expressing too much interest in his roommate’s moods. Because he’s totally a Creepy Old Man–whether he looks it or not.
“It’s called being moody.” Not only was this weird as hell, but I wasn’t following why it was interesting. Especially to his smooth, cosmopolitan self, devoid of all the insecurities and stupidity native to normal twenty-year-olds. “Awfully observant over the last three days, huh?”
“I’m never halfway interested in anything,” Gianni said. “If it’s not worth being very interested in, it’s not worth the trouble.”
I could get uncomfortable and prickly and question this bizarre logic. And then he could leave. And then I’d have to go back up to the room alone.
Instead I asked, “What about you?”
“What about me?”
Hard to know where to start, really. “Well, you told me you were a liar.”
“I’m too good at it not to want to do it all the time.”
How did he say things like that and not make me want to hit him?
But that’s just the surface stuff, before Liam the Brilliant (note: please imagine my voice dripping with irony there) notices, oh hey, dude’s totally undead. Once that’s evident, it becomes clear the charm isn’t just natural talent, but also something a little more, er, supernatural.
Vague spoiler alert here, but if you know Dracula, you’ll figure this bit out long before Liam does. (Note: Liam… sorta knows Dracula, but it’s been a while. He’s just dumb.):
I asked, “How’d you do it, that thing at the party? Telepathy?”
“In a way. It’s my particular vampiric gift to be able to make people think they’re seeing and feeling things that aren’t real. Does wonders for my popularity,” Gianni said.
Seriously, trying so hard not to laugh. This should not be funny. “Like you need it.” A pause. “Gift.”
“Yours will come. Give it time.”
Yeah, so, I could hardly deal with the telepathy. Back to the main issue, thanks. “So, you went into my head and made me all…” I made a few gestures there, mostly in the crotch area.
He gave me this infernal, knowing look. “You didn’t need much help.”
Okay, that was not my fault. He knew goddamn well he was like good porn. “I wonder why.”
“Because I set you up like the professional I am.”
“Because you’re a dick.”
“Isn’t it marvelous?”
Yes, it fucking was, but I’d be goddamned if I was going to say it.
I know, I know, I’m making him out to be a shallow dickhead. But that’s okay, because that’s what he wants you to think. When shit gets real, it becomes apparent what’s really going on in that pretty head of his. But until then, yeah. It’s allllll about the charm.
Did I mention G was changed in 1931–the year Browning’s Dracula hit the silver screen? Well, it’s not why he has those powers, but hey. Fun vampire facts? Or something. Yeah.
Okay, so I don’t have a pro drawing of G. Ummm, here’s a sketch I did of an AU Gianni, hence his weird clothes. That’ll have to do. Sorry. There’s a reason I elected not to go to art school.
Gianni Fiorenza: Prettier Than You
*Except for the times when it’s a shameless kneejerk of the horror lover in an attempt to seem anti-paranormal romance. Dude, get over it. Sex can be scary too. (Like we didn’t already know…)