The Vampire

"Thirst tells you when to go, where to go, how to go and even who to go with... This is the most exciting and scary time in any vampire's existence, and it's where I'll begin my story."

Cia craves for blood in the streets of New York, under cover of the darkness she's forced to live in. She's perfectly clear on what she is and how she must take care of her own needs. And to help her, she has her Mentor, the grumpy Lacien. The two of them exist together, do everything together, and it's driving Cia crazy. Until she meets a human, who seems to pop up out of nowhere, knowing all there is to know about what she is and how she manages to remain undead.

And for a while, everything's good. Until things start twisting in directions Cia had never foreseen, which forces her to reconsider everything.

WARNING: Due to request of some readers, there is no age line. However, the story does contain certain elements that younger readers might consider offensive.

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7. The Guests

 

When I returned to the apartment in Brooklyn, it became clear to me that Lacien wasn’t alone. The smell of other vampires was everywhere. I recognized the sweet scent of roses I hadn’t realized I knew. Taking the stairs two steps at a time, I quickly and quietly reached my destination, grateful for the fact that I didn’t have to face Lacien alone right now. He would have a fit when he realized what I had been doing the entire night. Talking to that human boy he didn’t like, dangerous company or not.

“… but I told that fat old king to mind his own business, or I would harm him for sure,” Aitor was saying as I opened the door and entered through the hallway.

“It is true,” Cécile said dreamily, her voice faint with pleasure and admiration.

The living room was still dark, and the daylight hadn’t broken over the horizon just yet. But I could still see plenty of the scenario. Aitor, the man who knew Lacien from centuries earlier, was standing in the middle of the room, gesturing as he spoke, and his two followers were seated against the southern wall, watching him with large, red eyes. Both bore a stunningly innocent beauty in their plain clothes.

Before Aitor, in his usual armchair, sat Lacien, who looked nothing like he usually did. He was wearing black clothes as usual, and his hair was the same casual tangle of ivory black. But his eyes seemed to shine brighter, and they were locked firmly on Aitor’s face and body. His shoulders were tense, even though he was trying to look relaxed with his right leg drawn up to his chest and his arms resting on the knee.

I wondered if Aitor, Cécile or Louie noticed how alert Lacien was. If they did, they didn’t show it.

Suddenly, his eyes swept to mine, and I stopped my attempt at removing my shoes. Instead I placed both feet on the floor and straightened up, standing as tall as I dared.

“Did you kill him?” was all Lacien asked, but I didn’t need any clues as to who he was talking about.

“No,” I answered coolly.

Without a response he rose from his seat, elegant and tall as he was, and crossed the floorboards in a few long strides. His limp had disappeared, I noted, glad for him, yet a little too afraid to smile about it. When he stopped in front of me, I didn’t see it coming before it had already happened.

The back of his hand connected with my cheek and forced my head to the side, and I could feel it stinging as the blood leapt through my veins to the place where I would probably have a bruise. I reached up to touch it, but there was nothing to feel.

“Have you heard nothing of what I said?” he whispered as he pulled back. “You stupid child.”

I wanted to protest, to defend myself, to explain to him why I hadn’t just dragged Aleksander off and killed him right away. But I had a feeling it would be unwise in the company of our three guests. Instead, I found myself saying,

“The sun is coming up. You had better leave now, if you don’t want to get caught here.”

My words were directed at Aitor and his friends, and the siblings rose from their sitting positions and joined their Mentor. Aitor looked me over with a soft smile before nodding and snapping into motion. He swept over the floor quickly and glided past Lacien and me in the doorframe, followed closely by Louie and Cécile.

Cécile offered me a friendly, admiring smile as she went by, only to turn her back on me. Aitor showed the two out before turning back to me and Lacien. He looked genuinely worried.

“Cia, if you would like to, you shall be more than welcome to join us. Be our guest tonight,” he offered mildly.

I glanced at Lacien, uncertain, and was startled to find him staring with a sort of dead expression on his face.

“Thank you,” I said to Aitor. “But I will stay here. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” He closed the door behind him, and I listened until I couldn’t hear his footsteps on the staircase anymore.

Lacien was obviously doing the same, because when the sound disappeared and mixed with the rest of the sounds of Brooklyn on an early morning, he moved again. I barely had time to think before his arms were around me, hugging me tightly to his body with some force, though not enough to make me feel uncomfortable.

“Do that again and I swear I will kill you,” he said, but his voice lacked the punch it usually had.

I was too baffled to speak. Instead I just wrapped my arms around his slim body, wondering how long it would take for him to realize what he was doing. He had never hugged me before, and never spoken to me in that tone.

“I’m sorry for striking you,” he went on slowly. “It was necessary.”

“How was that in any way necessary?” My anger flared again, and I knew I would be free to defend myself now, to tell him the truth, to make him feel even worse than he had already admitted he felt.

“I have a feeling it would be bad if they suspected me of being fond of you,” explained absently, stroking a hand through my hair. “For both of us.”

“But are you?” I found myself asking, not sure whether I wanted to know the answer or not.

“Am I what?”

“Fond of me.”

He rolled his eyes and pushed me away gently.

“Is the sun likely to rise in shades of green and blue?”

I sighed. “No.”

“Well, there you have it.”

“So you still hate me?”

“Yeah.”

“Why do you hate everyone, Lacien?” I wondered aloud, trying to figure out if I was taking this conversation a little too far.

He was playing with a strand of my long, black hair, twisting it absentmindedly between his slim, white fingers. There was a solemn look on his face, a seriousness that made him hard to read, even for me.

“This world is full of cunning beings with a lust for power. And the problem is, when everybody’s like that, how do you sort out the sincere ones?” It was clearly a rhetorical question, because he quickly went on, “You can’t. And should I perchance end up stuck with people who would kill me to benefit themselves, I would rather have hated them all the while than feeling betrayed on my deathbed, so to speak.”

“So… You’re afraid of getting hurt?” I knew I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, but I couldn’t help myself.

“You could put it like that,” he confessed. “And of course there’s the eternal aspect of it. I’ll warn you only this once, Cia. Become seriously attached to someone who’s weaker than you, and you will suffer terrible losses throughout your existence.”

“Is that your experience talking right now?”

“Do you think so?” He sounded curious.

“Sort of.” I knew he wouldn’t answer me straight-forwardly, so I changed the topic just slightly. “Were you worried about me?”

He sighed loudly and took a couple of steps back. I couldn’t read his face. Red eyes were glaring at me with the fury and heat of flames in them while his pale skin revealed about as much emotion as the surface of the moon. Not a lot, I would guess, though I had never had the pleasure of going sightseeing there myself yet.

“What do you mean?” His question lacked the curiosity and surprise one would expect of it, and I realized at once that he knew perfectly well what I was talking about. Even so, he made it very clear to me that he didn’t want to discuss it any more.

“Never mind. I’ll see if I can get some sleep. Have a nice day,” I said mockingly, glancing to the window where the faint lines of the early dawn were falling on the floorboards.

He nodded slowly, saying nothing, running slim fingers through his thick, soft hair. Hair I would’ve given much to play with again, to have the chance to bury my fingers in softness and feel it on my skin as his face brushed over my body lightly in the pale light of - I shook my head abruptly and spun on the heel, heading straight for the door to my room.

“Cia,” he called out behind me.

I glanced over my shoulder. He looked strangely boyish as he stood there, slender-framed and tall in his usual casual clothing and with the dark hair tousled and falling into his ruby red eyes. His pose was kind of awkward, that of a young teenage boy who was asking a girl to prom.

However, when he spoke, his voice revealed nothing but cool calm,

“Do yourself a favor and watch that little punk of yours carefully.”

I was at a loss for words. I hadn’t expected him to be so lenient, as if he was taking my thoughts and feelings into account as well. Yet there he stood, watching me closely for a response, and I had no idea how to react. So I dragged my eyes off him and to the door of my bedroom. 

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