Delilah squealed and threw up her hands in delighted excitement.
''Why yes, honey!'' she squeaked, clasping her hands together under her chin. For a second, Mr Dracula feared she was about to pirouette.
''I was the Piscataway Champion Chefette fifteen years in a row. I just lurve to cook!''
He rubbed his hands together as his tummy rumbled loudly. He stood aside and gestured into the hall with a flourish.
''Come on in, dear ladies.'' he said, ''You are most, most welcome.''
He led them into a large parlour, and bade them sit on a large tapestry-clad banquette.
They looked around, taking in the mediaeval decor, and atmosphere. Berenice hugged herself - there being rather a lot of herself to hug.
''Oh Delilah.'' she said, grinning and showing many, many dimples. ''Ain't this place just so QUAINT?''
At that moment, a voice floated down the staircase.
''Vladdy, who's there?'' On the heels of the voice came his Bride herself. ''Oh!'' she stopped, spying the two ladies seated in her parlour. The fat one looked particularly appetising.
''You didn't tell me we were expecting guests, darling one.''
She raised her well defined black eyebrows and flashed her red eyes at her spouse, flicking back one long, raven tress.
The ladies stood, each offering a hand.
''Oh, you sure are pretty, ma'am.'' said Berenice. ''I'm Berenice and this is my friend, Delilah. Pleased to make your acquaintance.''
Smeralda shook two hands, still looking at Vlad for an explanation.
''Smeralda, my love. These ladies are looking for shelter for the evening. They have offered to pay for accommodation. I will have none of it... but...'' He looked hopefully at Delilah. ''Could I ask you, dear lady, to honour us by demonstrating your culinary prowess?'' He looked round at the three women - who all looked back at him as if he were speaking in a foreign language.
Berenice laughed merrily.
''Oh!'' she chortled, her shoulders shaking. ''Del. I think the dear fellow is asking you to cook for us all!''
Delilah joined in with the merriment, and their two Undead hosts followed suit.
''Oh, it would be my pleasure, dear sir.'' said Delilah. ''My pleasure indeed. If you could just show us where we can wash up,we'll be down presently and cook up a storm for you and your good lady.'' She turned to her companion. ''Berry, you can be my sous-chef, honey.''
''I think they want to freshen up a little, dear,'' whispered Smeralda, seeing her husband's puzzlement at the idea of washing up before the meal had been prepared. ''I'll show you to one of the bedrooms. Forgive us. We do not have modern facilities, ladies. It will have to be a jug and bowl. But I believe we have some water heated, so it should not be too uncomfortable for you.''
Smeralda shepherded the two women upstairs among a fresh flurry of exclaimed ''How quaint''s, and returned to Vlad within a few minutes.
''Oh Vladdy. I'm so very glad you've changed your mind.'' she hugged him.
Vlad looked at her, bemused.
''They look absolutely mouthwatering.'' she grinned. ''Especially the plump one.''
Vlad's heart sank. How was he going to deal with this one?