While the X-Men launched their attack on the mansion complex on Central Park West in Manhattan, I was also in New York, maintaining a close vigil, in case they needed my help. In order to stay close while remaining discreet, I chose a convenient cover. I went on a date with Vampirella to the Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park, just a few blocks from the Club.
The beautiful Vampirella had come to the city earlier in the day with the baby demon Hotstuff. They had some rather unique experiences which you can read about here. Now I realize you might not think that Vampirella and Hotstuff could possibly be considered to be "discreet," but you can rest assured that using my mental powers to manipulate the minds of the restaurant patrons, everyone saw them like this -
Dinner was rather enjoyable. I just find Vampirella to be one of the most fascinating women that I have ever met. It's not just the drinking blood or the skimpy outfits. She really has a love of life and an optimism about the future that is quite refreshing. She filled me in quite a bit about her background, including painting a rather interesting picture of her mother, Lilith, who has left various threatening messages for me. I get the idea that her mother sees me as a threat.
During the course of our meal, Hotstuff spent much of his time leaping from table to table, taking bites of food off people's plates and then throwing the rest across the room. If I hadn't been altering people's perceptions and memories, he would have created quite a stir.
Following the dinner, Vampirella and I took a rather cozy carriage ride through Central Park. Hotstuff spent the time whispering into the horse's ear. Vampirella snuggled against me for warmth. The full moon bathed the wintry scene in a cool white glow. A light dusting of snow capped the trees and rolling hills of the park. We could have been anywhere, anytime. I held her tightly in my arms and thought that this was the only place on Earth that I wanted to be. We kissed. It was heaven.
Then a large explosion just outside the park rattled out carriage. At first I thought it was the magic of our passion. Then I realized it came from the Hellfire Club. It suddenly occured to me that I had been tuning out my X-Men. When I looked over to the Central Park West, I saw the Club mansion on fire.