Empress to Impress (A Vampire Novel)

I was coming home from Ashlyn Derbot's party late that night. I pulled out my iPod and began scrolling through music. A 'Death Cab for Cutie' song blared through my headphones, drowning out all other sound.
I turned the corner of Davis St., the street lamps the only light. A chill crept up my spine and I pulled my old leather jacket tighter around me. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end with the eerie feeling that I was being watched. I tried to shrug it off, but didn't let my guard down. I wasn't doing a very good job when I ran into a man that I didn't see coming. I dropped my iPod.

"Sorry, man. My bad," I apologized, picking up my tech.

"No harm done," he wiped his very expensive looking coat. I glanced up at him, seeing he was about five years older than me.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Lucinda. You?"

"Wesley Maddox III."

"Ha, you sound like royalty or something," I teased.

"I am," he smirked.

"What?" He slammed me into a tree.

"So pretty." he nibbled.

"Stop!"

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1. Chapter 1: Early Days

Pilgrim Mill 7:45 p.m. September 6, 2002

The afternoon light was slowly burning out, but that didn't stop me from covering my eyes as I was walking down the street to none other than Keith Miller's house. I wasn't particularly excited for this biology project, or the fact that this blockhead jock was my assigned partner. Not to mention that I've become more skittish around people...

I ring his doorbell, but there is mo answer. Stomping my foot impatiently, I wait until a few minutes later before peeking through the window and ringing again.

"Keith," I call, banging on the door loudly. Yet still, no one comes.

Ugh, what a dunce, I think to myself as I am becoming increasingly pissed.

"Keith, you low-life! Open this door you good for nothing piece of--"

The sound of wood splitting crackles through the air as I slam my fist into the door.

"Not again," I groan, picking the long, thin splinters from my hand.

"Chill out! I'm coming," I hear a muffled voice from the other side of the door. Keith opens the door, reeking of alcohol and stumbling as he did so. "Woah," he takes in the look of the door, "did you do that?" He points to the fist-sized hole, giving me a perplexed look.

"What? No," I lie, stepping inside.

"Hmmm, okay," he says between hiccups.

"My God," I inspect him, "Are you drunk?"

"Just a bit," he smiles and hiccups again. I can feel myself fuming.

"Dammit, Keith!" As my temper rises, I feel the blood rushing to my head beginning to cause a raging headache.

"Luci, your eyes are red."

"What?" I practically growl.

"They aren't blue anymore. They're, like, dark red."

"Shit." Muttering under my breath, I try to avert my eyes, but my pulsating anger won't allow me.

"You're just imagining things, you drunkard. Why do you have to get drunk tonight of all nights? On a night you knew I would be here?"

"I started drinking because you would be," he laughs.

"Ugh," I try to keep from snarling. Keith stumbles to the couch, talking to himself in whispers. I go to stand in front of him, tapping my foot impatiently. The malicious anger inside of me is nearly unbearable. "Do you have anything to say for yourself?" I scold him.

"Yes, actually," he suddenly sounds completely sober, which catches me by surprise.

"Well?" I prod.

"You're really pretty."

"Excuse me?" I raise a skeptical eyebrow.

"Beautiful...sexy even," he looks me over somewhat hungrily. Blushing, I look down at myself as well; I sure don't seem sexy to me. All I'm wearing are some old, ripped jeans and my 'Ramones' T-shirt. That's when I notice that Keith is starting to sweat profusely.

"Are you feeling all right?" I question hesitantly. He hastily takes my hand, pulling me into his lap.

"W-What are you doing?" my earlier confidence has fleeted.

"I never realized how much I've wanted you until now." I can feel his hot breath against my ear, tickling the sensitive skin where it meets my neck.

"Keith," I protest, trying to get up. Instead of letting me go, he wraps his arms tightly around my waist.

"Your hair is so long and soft. Black as a raven's wing..." He pulls me to him so that my chest is flush against his.

"I'm very uncomfortable right now." I feel my face burning in embarrassment.

"Then relax," he speaks softly.

"I can't. Not with your...body pressing up against me like that." I'm now aware of every one of his muscles, especially the one protruding into my behind. "I didn't know you liked me."

"Me neither, but now for some odd reason I'm craving you," he kisses the spot just below my left ear.

"Stop," I plead. He gets closer to my jugular, and to my... mark.

"I can't," he kisses lower and lower on my neck.

"I'm warning you," I give a breathless caution, "cut it out."

"C'mon now," he smirks, "what's the big...deal..." trailing off, he removes the strands of hair covering my neck.

"What the hell happened?" his eyes widen.

"Get away from me!" I stomp on his foot.

"Ow! Luci! You broke my foot!"

"Oh my gosh, Keith, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to."

"Ah," he winces, "I think it's shattered. How'd you manage that?"

"I don't know. This strength just happens sometimes." I admit.

"So you really did break the door," he laughs.

"Yes." I lower my head in humiliation.

"That's a real turn-on," he leans into me again.

"Is that all you can think about?" I scowl.

"Yes," he replies desperately. He begins to touch me again. "Kiss me."

"No."

"But I need it," he tugs on my top.

"No!" tears begin to stream down my face. "Not again." I push Keith as hard as I can. He and the couch both flip over.

"What the hell, Luci?" he's obviously upset with me, and I've probably cracked a few ribs of his. I don't really care; it isn't my fault.

"I warned you. I told you to stop," my voice is shaky and my body starts to tremble.

"You didn't have to try to fucking kill me!"

"I wasn't. I don't want to hurt anyone. Err...I wouldn't hurt anyone."

"Really? Because you broke my foot and now I'm stuck between my wall and the couch. I could've been crushed!"

"I didn't mean to! You were going to assault me. What else was I supposed to do?"

"Well you know what you can do? Get out of my house." As much as I want to leave, we really have to get this project done.

"Look, Keith, I--"

"Get out."

"But--"

"Now!" he demands harshly. I don't understand. Why is he doing this? Why is this my fault?

"Leave, Luci. Don't come back either."

I suck in a shaky breath. Isn't this what everyone has been wanting from me anyways?

"Fine. You can tell everyone that I ran away."

"You better get going then," he manages force the sofa off of himself.

I walk out of the still-open fron door and force myself not to run or cry. Keith is right: I could've really hurt him, and I did. I hadn't really tried stopping him at first. Maybe I am to blame after all...

 

~O~

 

"Breaking News: Eighteen-year-old Lucinda Everly was reported missing last night after being seen walking away from this suburban household. Residents say Lucinda only stayed here a brief time and quickly left. Several say this could possibly be due to drug involvement."

Keith watched as Lucinda's mom appeared on screen.

"Mrs. Everly, what do you have to say to this?"

"My daughter has never done drugs. She may be on the obstinate side, but she's still a good girl. Baby, where ever you are, stay safe."

"Here is a recent photo of the girl. If you see her, please--"

He shut off the television; he couldn't bear looking at Luci's distraught mother. He held his head in his hands. He was never really fond of Lucinda, but he never wanted to run her out of town, either. Now, her entire family was devastated and it was all his fault. Not only had he upset her, but he yelled at her for no reason. In fact, he couldn't even remember what happened. Stepping outside, he was greeted by the media.

"Are you Keith Miller?"

"Yeah."

"Do you know where Lucinda might be?"

"She ran away," he sighed deeply, "she's gone."

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