No Use Crying Over Spilt Blood

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Portal Keepers Book 2 (The sequel to 'Would You Like Brains With That?').
Danira travels back to the Realm of the Undead to stop humans being used as blood-slaves.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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29. Baron Christian Lamont

 

      His next words were not what I expected.

      “What the hell are you doing here?” his musical voice was anxious and his eyes were wide in alarm.

      I opened and closed my mouth, unable to speak. “I... It’s nice to see you too.” I mumbled disgruntled once I had found my voice.

      Jet's eyes narrowed upon seeing the collar around my neck. “Were you taken?”

      “No, I came here to stop the Vampire Lords and find Ridge, but I’m a blood-slave now. Have you seen him? Have you seen Ridge?”

      Surely if Ridge was in the Realm of the Undead then he would have popped in to see Jet? They were good friends after all.

      “I... no I haven’t.” Jet told me.

      I had the feeling that he was hiding something from me. Was the thing that Jayden and Bertie didn’t want me to know the same as what Jet was hiding?

      “Who is your master? Does he hurt you?”

      “He's called Ferriday, and no he doesn’t hurt me.”

      Jet relaxed at that, but grabbed my arm. “I need to get you away from here.” he muttered, eyes flickering down the corridor. “You shouldn’t be here in the Realm of the Undead, it’s not safe.”

      “I can’t go.” I protested. “I have to find Ridge and stop the Vampire Lords.”

      Jet released me and his expression was pained. “Ridge wouldn’t want you to be here.”

       I could hear a big fanfare from the huge orchestra on the stage in the ballroom. It was starting.

      “I've got to go, sorry.”

      Hurrying down the corridor after picking up my stake, I returned to Ferriday's side. Jet had followed me and Bertie moved closer to me protectively.

      “He's a friend.” I whispered.

      Leila heard me and shook her head in amazement. “How many people do you know?”

      “Please, Danira.” Jet hissed insistently. “You need to leave.”

      Aurelia appeared on the stage and waited for the room to fall silent. “Welcome everyone to the Lamont estate! I’m so glad that you could all come to this event.” her voice was a smooth as silk and I was certain that her eyes hovered briefly on me. “No doubt you are all wondering where Christian is. Well as usual he wanted to make a big entrance. So here he is the host of this magnificent ball, Baron Christian Lamont.”

      All the vampires, ghosts and mummies in the room started clapping, but Jet placed his hand on my shoulder as if to hold me back. A moment later I saw why.

      A bat swooped down to the stage and transformed into a familiar tall, dark and handsome vampire who bowed and grinned at the applause.

      It was Ridge.   

      My heart skipped a beat and I felt myself smiling. Relief flooded me. I had finally found him. I made to run to him, but Jet’s restraining hand stopped me. Then doubt swirled in my gut. What was he doing on the stage? Why was he acting as if he was Baron Lamont the host of this ball? But more importantly why was he slipping an arm around Aurelia? Confused, I listened as Ridge’s wonderful voice resounded around the room.

      “Welcome ladies and gentleman, as you no doubt know I have been gone for a while, so this soirée is a welcome back celebration. I must thank the divine Aurelia here for taking care of you all while I finished off my meal.” laughter filled the room and I felt sick. “Please enjoy your evening.”

      There was more applause and I watched in horror as Ridge pulled Aurelia into his arms before kissing her.

      “No,” I whispered tears streaming down my face.

      Spinning around I grabbed Jet by the collar, my hands shaking. “What’s happened? That’s not Ridge, it can’t be...”

      Jet’s eyes were full of sympathy and he gently led me to the edge of the room as the orchestra started playing a melancholic melody. “He’s been like that since he came back nearly two months ago. He’s not Ridge anymore, Danira, he’s back to being Baron Christian Lamont.”

      “Is that his real name?” I asked, refraining from sobbing which was all I wanted to do right then. Grief whirled around my body like a hurricane.

      “Yes. When I first saw him I asked where you were but he didn’t recognise your name.”

      “How could this happen?” I cried distraught.

      “I’m sorry Danira, but I don’t know.”

      “Maybe he will recognise me when he sees me?” I suggested hopefully, watching as Ridge helped Aurelia off the stage. “He can’t be gone. How could he be gone?”

      I rushed forwards through the crowd, coming to a stop about a metre from where Ridge and Aurelia were talking to a vampire and mummy. The sight of him, and so close to me, made my heart fill with joy. I had to resist the urge to reach out and touch him.

      “What do you think you’re doing?” a voice growled at my ear.

      I turned to see Jet. “He’ll recognise me.” I hissed, moving my eyes back to Ridge who was smiling. “You’ll see,”

      Unable to contain myself any longer I stepped forwards only to have Jet drag me backwards. But too late; Ridge had spotted us.

      “Is this your blood-slave?” he asked, his dark eyes narrowing on me.

      I waited for recognition to fill his eyes and for them to soften but they didn’t.

      “No it isn’t.” Jet replied calmly.

      Ridge chuckled. “You naughty boy. You’ve met Aurelia before haven’t you?”

      Hearing her name, the blonde goddess-like vampire glided over to us. “Darling?” she asked, placing a hand on Ridge’s arm.

      I gritted my teeth as anger flared within me. Aurelia’s brown eyes became amused when she recognised me.

      “Aurelia this is Jet, an old friend.” Ridge said introducing them.

      I kept my eyes on Ridge, willing him to recognise me.

      Aurelia smiled, holding out a perfect hand. “It is a pleasure to see you again, Jet. Christian never stops singing your praises.”

      Jet kissed the back of her hand.

      “We must be going, Jet. You have to come back soon so we can party like we did in the old days.” Ridge laughed.

      Jet nodded stiffly and Ridge and Aurelia strode away.

      “Wait!” I cried, reaching out a hand towards him.

      Tears filled my eyes and Ridge slowly turned around. His dark eyes narrowed into a glare.

      “I can see why her owner didn’t mind you taking her away.” he spat in disgust.

      My loving, caring Ridge was gone, replaced by a monster.

     

      Sat on my bed I could hear the others talking about me in the kitchen.

      “Maybe we should send her back home?” Jayden suggested.

      Gritting my teeth I continued sharpening the piece of wood in my hand.

      “That might be best.” Ferriday agreed.

      Leila sounded hesitant. “So that was her boyfriend?”

      “Yes,” Jet answered. “For some reason he has gone back to his less... restrained life. Christian is nothing like Ridge.”

      “He has two personalities?” Aidan asked.

      I heard Jet heave a sigh. He probably wished that he had never met me.

      “No, back when he first became a vampire, Ridge went by his real name, Baron Christian Lamont. He was impulsive and did whatever he wanted. But he realised the error of his ways and wanted to change his life, so he became Ridge.”

      Their voices became hushed and I examined the pointed tip of the wood. Yep that was sharp enough. I added it to the small pile of stakes beside me.

      There was a knock on the door and Leila popped her head inside. “Hey, are you okay?” seeing that I wasn't bawling my eyes out like she had expected, she walked over to me. “Are those what I think they are?”

      Picking up a new piece of wood, I said. “If you’re thinking that they are for killing vampires, then you would be right.”

      “Why are you making stakes?” she asked, sitting down next to me. “Aren't you like heartbroken?”

      “Of course I am, but people have different ways of dealing with grief, Leila. I'm not going to be one of those girls that stop giving a damn about everything the moment the love of their life leaves.”

      She was shocked and clearly taken aback. “I guess not.”

      I wasn't a girly girl. I never had been. I had been raised in an environment where girly girls didn't last long. I wasn't about to waste my time mourning for Ridge by lying around and doing nothing. I was planning on mourning in a different way. I was on the warpath. 

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