"Back so soon? How did it go?"
Kaitlin and Leon had caught up with Josephine, the gardener they'd ran into upon arrival in 1910, back in the square. After the fiasco their meeting with Dinah Swann had ended up being, they needed someone to talk to, and she seemed like a suitable candidate.
"Not very well, I'm afraid," Kaitlin replied. "Dinah took one look at Le-- at Martin and screamed 'VAMPIRE!'. Then she kicked us both out. I think she's a nervous wreck now that she knows we're around."
The stoat nodded. "I see... actually, I've been a bit of a Dinah Swann fan myself, and that definitely sounds like her. If she thinks there's a vampire in the theater, there's no way she'll feel safe going forwards with her performance."
"But I'm not really a vampire," Leon interjected. "I just look this way because I'm part snake."
Josephine balked. "You can't be serious! That sort of species-mixing is taboo!"
Leon stumbled over his own words, trying to explain himself. Kaitlin cut in.
"My fiancé's parents were somewhat rebellious," she explained. "Let's not discuss the matter any further. Anyways, I don't suppose you have any suggestions for helping Dinah get her confidence back?"
The stoat shook her head. "I don't know what to tell you, Jennifer. She lets her beliefs guide her life. You'll never be able to convince her that you're not a vampire; once a belief is in her mind, it stays there."
Kaitlin and Leon glanced at each other in silence, visibly saddened. Josephine hesitated.
"...I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, you two. I'm sorry if I did. Here-- maybe a flower will cheer you up."
Josephine picked a single daffodil from her garden, bright yellow, and placed it in Leon's hands. He glanced at it.
"Er, thank you, Josephine, but a flower isn't really going to convince Dinah to--"
"Hold that thought!" Kaitlin declared. "I think I just had an idea."
Once more, Kaitlin stood in front of Dinah Swann's dressing room, alone this time. She could hear sobbing within.
Wow, she's really broken. Let's hope I can fix her...
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. The crying stopped, and a moment later a voice came from within.
"WHO IS IT?"
"It's Ka-- It's Jennifer, from earlier. Are you okay?"
"Go away! I don't want to talk to anyone right now!"
Kaitlin sighed. "Listen, Ms. Swann. I can't help but feel responsible for what happened to you. My fiancé and I have been dating for so long, it didn't occur to me that he would scare anyone."
The door opened, and the teary-eyed face of Dinah Swann peered out. She glanced left and right, then opened the door further to allow Kaitlin inside.
"Where IS your fiancé?"
"I had him wait outside. Why are you crying?"
"I'm at my wit's end. I can't go out on stage with confidence knowing there's a vampire in the audience ready to drain my blood, but my agent says it's too late to cancel the performance. I don't know what to do... maybe I'll run away."
"No! Don't do that. Listen: Martin is actually quite tame for a vampire. If I tell him not to harm anyone, he won't. And I've told him to keep his fangs to himself while we're at the theater."
Dinah shook her head. "Do you expect me to believe you?"
"Not particularly. That's why I brought this."
Kaitlin slipped an object out of her sleeve and handed it to the swan. It was the daffodil Josephine had given them.
"Not just any flower. It's been watered exclusively with holy water, so it serves as a vampire deterrent. As long as you've got it on your person, no vampire can harm you. I've been carrying it in case Martin goes crazy, but I think you need it more. Keep it."
"...Thank you, Jennifer. I hope it serves me well."
"It will. I promise."
As Kaitlin left the dressing room, she turned and fired off a weak energy blast towards the end of the hall. Seeing it from his hiding place, Leon recognized it as the signal they'd agreed on, and ran down the hall.
Having just inserted the daffodil into her buttonhole, Dinah Swann let out a yell of surprise as Leon burst into her room.
"YOU KNOW TOO MUCH!"
Leon pounced on Dinah and brought his fangs towards her neck... then suddenly froze up and mock-fainted.
After a long silence caused by Dinah's surprise and Leon playing dead, Kaitlin reentered the room.
"MARTIN! I told you to stay outside!"
Dinah couldn't form words as the cobra picked up her brother.
"I'm terribly sorry about what just happened," Kaitlin told the swan. "But it looks like the flower protected you. I'll give Martin some discipline; he won't try that again."
"... ... ..."
As Kaitlin left the dressing room, she saw a joyous smile form on Dinah's face.