Forsaken Until the AM

Alona is a young hunter who finds herself caught between the love of her family and wanting to find the truth behind her birth and wanting to know why her clan detests her. Can the Vampire Prince before her help or will he be her downfall?

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9. Chapter 8

Tristan took great care as he dressed, hissing as each movement was agonizing. He looked into the mirror before him, finding his chest and shoulder tightly wrapped in gauze bandages.
Florin helped adjust the loose fitting shirt over his friend’s shoulders, as Gavin gave his Master a clear glass of deep red liquid, which Tristan consumed eagerly, the taste of iron growing bitter as it slid down his throat, making him cringe.
"What's the matter," Gavin asked, taking the glass.
"The iron seems a bit high in that batch," Tristan whispered harshly.
He smiled, "Demetri said it will taste strange for a little while. It's due to the poison still in your system."
Tristan frowned, "Alona said it was dead blood and vervain."
"Yes, we thought so when Demetri dug the bullet from your back," Florin said as he helped his Master button the shirt.
"He also said you were lucky to have made the call when you did because otherwise you wouldn't have made it through the first night." Gavin said, handing Tristan another glass.
He knocked it back, coughing harshly, his face comforting in displeasure, "It wasn't me; before I lost consciousness Alona used my phone." He smiled, "She saved my life."
"Master," Florin said, stepping away when he had finished with the buttons, "may I ask something?"
He smiled, "You want to know why Alona?"
"I'm sorry, but yes. What makes her so special? You haven't been yourself since you met her."
The man smiled, laughing softly as he placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder, "To be honest, I haven't got the slightest my friend. When she's around, I can't think properly. I feel like I've been grounded," he sat in an oversized chair. "I can't stop thinking about her. Before meeting her I didn't give a damn if I ever settled down, but now she's the only one I want to be with."
The two men looked at each other, then back at their master.
"No," Florin whispered.
"Is this really our young Master," Gavin said worried.
Florin shook his head, placing his hand to his chin, "No, I do think he's been replaced, or maybe his brain has fried from the poison."
Tristan glared at the two, throwing one of the pillows that sat on the chair, at them, "Oh shut up, the both of you."
"If it's all the same, why don't you tell her? She should really know."
He lounged back, sighing, "Because, what if she turns me away. We've only known each other for a little while, and I don't want to scare her off."
Gavin glared at him, kicking the pillow that had been thrown at him, into his master's face, "You are truly the biggest idiot I have ever known. Since when has the great Tristan Balan ever been worried about receiving a broken heart, you've been the one breaking them."
Tristan buried his face in his right hand. His friend was right, he was worried about losing Alona, as well as what she meant to him, he smiled, "And this is why I chose you three to be my closest confidants."
A knock at the door drew them from their conversation, "It's open."
The door opened to robust stature of Tristan’s father.
Tristan's friends bowed, "Good afternoon Lord Master Vali."
Tristan stood, a smile spreading over his lips, "Hello father."
The tall, burly man nodded, "Boys," his voice heavy. He looked his son over, his hazel eyes turning dark, "I see you have recovered from whatever stupidity you got yourself into."
The young man's smile grew, "Of course, I just had a bad run in with some Fallen, but all is well."
The moustache over the older man's lip barely trembled, "I see, that's all well and good. I've come to remind you that Celeste will be here tonight so you had best be present and presentable."
Tristan's face fell into his trademark scowl, "I don't see why you bothered. I've already found my wife."
Vali looked at his son sternly, "Really now, who is she, who is her family?"
Tristan smiled, "Her name is Alona, her family standing is not important, but I will say she is the most amazing woman I've ever met. She'll make you love her without even trying, unlike that moronic harpy."
He made his way from the room, stopping at the door, "I love this woman father and no matter what anyone says, I'm going to marry her."
Vali grew annoyed, "This is the first I've heard of it."
Tristan smiled, "Because I didn't want you butting in." He turned to leave, "Do me a favor father, make sure Anton will be available, he will want to meet her as well." He then walked from the room.
"Do you two have any idea what he's going on about," Vali asked the two young men still in the room.
"No master," Gavin replied, "He speaks of her often but we have never met her up until a month ago."
Vali shook his head, "I see, so this is one of his games."
"No master, he is very serious," Florin replied, "he seems to be quite taken by her. He's sent Demetri after her to ensure she makes it to the party."
Vali folded his arms over his chest, stroking his beard, a moment later, stalking out of the room.
***
Demetri found his charge sitting on the steps of the shabby warehouse where he had first seen her yelling at Tristan and the owner.
She stood as he stopped in front of her, "You must be Demetrius," she smiled, holding her hand out to him.
He nodded, taking it, "And you must be Miss Alona, I've heard a great deal about you."
She felt her cheeks grow warm, "I hope it's all been good."
He shrugged, "My Master speaks with the highest adoration."
"I...um," she smiled weakly, "That's great."
Demetri smiled, "Yes, he has an eye for seeing the best in people and it tends to lead him into trouble, he's an honorable man." He grew solemn, "Which is why it pains me to ask."
She grew uneasy, taking a step back, "O...okay."
He looked up to her, his dark blue eyes cold and fierce, "What do you hope to gain with Master Tristan? What is your relationship?"
Though his ridged stance jarred her, she felt her temper flare, "Tristan has offered to help me find my dad." She wrapped her arms around her body, her voice growing quiet, “I don't want anything."
He grimaced, "Are you certain Tristan can help you?"
"I don’t know. He told me he can and right now he’s the only one who will talk to me. When he lets me down then I’ll leave, but until that time..."
She kicked a rock, gently sending it rolling to the bike's back tire.
Demetri looked her over, sighing, "I don't know what he's doing when it comes to the things he  does, but if he has made an honest promise to help you, then what can I say against him." He held his hand out to her, "I will ensure he keeps his promise."
She slid onto the back of the bike, wrapping her arms around his stomach, "Thank you."
He nodded as he sent the motorcycle springing to life, kicking up rocks as he spun the tires and shooting off down the way he had come. 
After a short distance he spoke, his voice just loud enough to catch over the roar of the wind and engine, "Miss Alona."
"Yeah," she yelled, moving herself closer to the man's back.
"Tell me, do you yourself have any leads about your father?"
She shook her head, "Not really, the only thing I do know is that he was a Nobel from the Balan house."
The bike came to a sudden stop, spinning the back end around until the entire bike faced the way they had come. Alona wrapped herself tightly around Demetri's back, trying not to be flung off by the motion.
"You mean to tell me you're a halfling," he said in shock, his eyes wide in disbelief.
She nodded, "Yes, my mother was a human, one of the top hunters in my clan. She met my father and they had me."
Demetri grew pale as he looked down at the console of the bike, his thoughts racing, "It can't, but, no, can it." His voice was just audible to Alona as he fought desperately for his next words, "Who was your mother?"
"What; why?"
"Who was your mother? What was her name?"
Alona sat back, biting her lip, "Amelia, Amelia Schwarz, why?"
He grew paler, "Amelia. I haven't heard that name in a long time."
She grabbed the back of his finely cut jacket, her eyes wild, "You knew my mother? Do you know my father as well?"
He smiled, revving the bike, "I should; I’m his son."
"What?"
"Alona, I do believe you are my sister," he smiled.
She smiled, "Really, you're my brother?"
He nodded, smiling as he opened the throttle, spinning the bike and shooting them off into their intended direction.
***
Tristan tried desperately to stay out of the light of dying sun. He had doubled up on a strong sun block Demetri had prepared for him earlier in the week and a thick pair of sunglasses covered most of his face, but the dying rays still made his skin ache and his eyes burn and water.
He stood next to his father while Gavin and Florin whispered to each other behind them, Anton glaring at the two younger advisors as a dark colored sedan pulled into the drive, stopping in front of them.
They watched a darkly dressed, silver haired man stepped from the driver’s seat and made his way to the rear door, opening it to a finely dressed dark haired man.
"Thank you Alex," the man smiled, turning to reach into the car, "Bianca dear, we're here."
He drew out a slender, dark haired woman dressed in maroon, the earthly strands of hair cascaded down her right shoulder in the light breeze of the early evening, "Thank you dear," she whispered.
He wove her arm over his and the two ascended the stairs together while the car drove off around the house.
"Hello father," the man smiled as he held out his free hand to the taller man. 
"Adrian, my boy," Vali smiled, taking the man's hand firmly in his and clapping him heavily on the shoulder.
Tristan smiled softly to the woman before him, hugging her gently, "Hello dear sister."
She smiled, hugging him, her voice a soft whisper, "Hello little brother, and Happy Birthday."
His face fell, "Will you please not call me that, I'm thirty-three for the love of heaven."
"Now, now, little brother, don't be so uptight," Adrian smiled, slapping his brother's shoulder.
Tristan bit his lip as agonizing pain tore through his shoulders. "Whatever," he said, forcing a smile.
As they spoke, another sedan pulled into the drive, the driver following the same process as the last as he opened the door to another dark haired man, his hair reaching to the shoulders of his finely cut dark suit. He too reached in to draw out a slender, dark haired woman in violet, her tresses braided loosely.
"Marius, dear, please be careful," she said sincerely, her voice gentle, "You still haven't recovered from your fall."
"Yes my pet," he replied with a smile, taking her by the hand.
Adrian snickered, calling out to them, "Did our little Marius have another accident Bernadette?"
Marius rolled his eyes, "It was nothing compared to the kick to the head you received from that stallion two years ago. Who knew my dear older brother had the skull of a grape."
The two men shook hand, punching each other firmly on the shoulders.
Tristan smiled, hugging the woman before him, "Hello Berdy."
"Tristan, darling," she smiled, hugging him tightly, "happy birthday."
"Thank you dear sister."
"So Little brother, have you found a wife yet or are you going to continue taking our wives,” Adrian said as he watched his and Marius’ wife coo over the younger man.
Marius smiled, "Yes, I do grow tired of my sweet wife ignoring me and coddling over you."
Tristan rolled his eyes, smiling as the ladies linked their arms through his, "It is sad isn't it, such a great burden that I shoulder the dashing looks and talents that seem to have overlooked you both. Don't worry though, I won't let you down."
"You boys hush now," Bernadette smiled, "we're aloud to dote on him, he is the youngest after all and compared to you fuddy-duddies, he's more entertaining."
The two women smiled as they drew him down to their level, kissing his cheeks.
"Awe ladies," he laughed, "I bush, though you really shouldn't pick on the aged."
"Aged, huh," Adrian sneered.
"Adrian, I do believe it's well past time since the youth was put back into his place," Marius mocked.
"Yes dear brother, long pasted due."
Tristan laughed, knowing what was in store. It was the same every year on his birthday, but his body wasn't into receiving such sentiment.
He was about to head into the house when a silver sedan tore into the drive, kicking up rocks and dust as it slid to a stop.
"Oh no," he groaned, his stomach sinking as it fell ill.
The car had barely made its stop when the back door flew open to release a slender blonde.
Tristan cringed at the shrill voice that called out to him, "Tristan dear, I've come for your birthday."
"Oh no," Bernadette cringed, stepping between Tristan and the newest arrival, Bianca following suit.
"Why is she here," Adrian scowled.
"Father invited her," Adrian whispered as he backed toward the front door.
The woman wore a royal blue evening gown, gold covering every limb as her honey hair danced around a golden tiara inlayed with dark blue crystals.
"You're joking," Marius replied with equal annoyance.
They watched the woman hug their father tightly, "Hello dear father."
Vali smiled, though clearly annoyed with her inability to calm herself, "Hello Celeste, where is your father?"
Her face fell, "Father had business to attend to, but he said he would be here for the wedding."
Tristan's siblings let out silent gasps.
"She's not serious," Bernadette hissed.
"Very," Tristan growled. "Father feels it's time I settle down. I've done my best to avoid the topic, but it seems he's tired of waiting."
"Brother, you can't be serious," Bianca whispered.
Tristan smiled, "I plan to settle down, but not with her. I don't want to give too much away until tonight, but I've met someone, and I think she will get everyone's approval."
"What, really," they nearly cried.
Tristan nodded, a shy smile crossing his lips.
The sound of a motorcycle caught their attention, making his smile grow as it roared to the side of the house.
He let out a sigh of relief, "Thank god she made it safely."
"Who was that with Demetri," Bernadette asked.
"My future."
Adrian smiled, "I do believe our baby brother is in love struck."
Tristan shook his head, silencing them, "Don't say a word please. I love this girl, but I'm afraid she will turn me away when she finds what she's looking for."
He nearly lost his balance as a weight slammed into his back, making him hiss.
"Tristan my love," Celeste cried into his ear. "I knew you loved me."
He pried the woman from his neck, "Hello Celeste."
She smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck when he turned to look at her, "Hello my dearest husband."
She tried to kiss him, but again he removed her, "Celeste I must apologize, but I have a matter of utmost importance to attend to."
She looked up at him curiously, but smiled, "Alright dear, I'll see you later." She blew him a kiss which he dodged smoothly, bowing.
He turned to walk into the manor until he reached the stairs, racing up them three at a time, stumbling as he leapt to the last step then racing down the corridor to the guest wing, stopping when Demetri grabbed him, dragging him into a nearby room.
"How is she," he asked, not the slightest out of breath. "Is Alona ok?"
"She’s fine," Demetri replied, looking annoyed.
Tristan fell against a nearby wall in relief, "Thank goodness."
Demetri glared at him, "So when we're you going to tell us."
"Tonight, I wanted to make sure my hunch was right before I just brought some girl home to meet the family."
Oh yes, Miss Alona is so much more than some girl," Demetri replied. "You have done some pretty stupid things as of late Tristan.”
He began to pace, running a hand through his deep red hair.
"When you became infatuated with a hunter, you crossed the line, but now I come to find out this hunter is also my," his voice trailed off as his pacing grew in speed.
Tristan smiled, "She is your sister my friend, I am positive of that. She is Anton and Amelia's daughter."
Demetri smiled, sitting on the vacant bed, "I have a little sister. Father is going to lose his mind."
Tristan smiled, "She is the most amazing thing to walk this earth and she was wasting away in that hell."
Demetri nodded, "If we had known she existed, Father would have done everything to get her back. She doesn't belong with them; she's needed here, with her real family."
Tristan nodded, "Yes, but her brother, Blake, has her under his thumb and went so far as to collar her."
For the first time since Tristan had met the red head, his anger flared, "What, how could he possibly do such a thing?"
Tristan sighed, leaning against the wall again, "Beats me, but we need to find a way to take that choker off of her, but when it's touched she gets hurt."
Demetri frowned, "That power is hard to come by. It'll be difficult to find unless you have some kind of key."
"There has to be a way, until she is free of that house, she can never be free to live. I love her too much to lose her."
Demetri glared up at him, "Yes, I think you will be waiting awhile until you get any approval from father and I, with the track record you have, we won’t make it easy."
Tristan smiled, "Get a sister for half a day, and already you're the over protective big brother."
A familiar voice drew their attention to the hallway, cutting their conversation short, "I don't see why I can't stay in the main wing. I'm the future Mistress here."
"My Lady it's just a formality," another female voice followed, "Until the two of you are married, you must follow the Lord's wishes."
There was an ear ringing crack, followed by the sound of something hitting the floor.
Tristen pressed himself against the wall as Demetri stuck his head out of the door, finding a dark haired woman at Celeste's feet.
"Did I ask you to speak," the blonde hissed, her arm extended.
The woman hung her head, blood creeping from her lips, "No, My Lady."
"I didn't think so; shut your mouth until you are given an order."
"Yes, my Lady."
The two women spotted Demetri as he left the room, locking the door behind him.
"You there, tell me something," Celeste hissed, placing the back of her hand over her nose.
He rolled his eyes, "Yes, how may I help you Lady Celeste?"
"What is that horrible smell, it's ruining my composure."
Demetri knew what she was referring to, biting his tongue as Alona's human scent drifted through the hall, "I'm sorry Miss, but all I can smell is the stench of whatever it is that you call perfume."
Tristan bit his lip as he listened from the other side of the door.
"How dare you," the woman hissed, drawing her hand back.
Demetri caught the hand that flew at him, dropping it as he drew out a handkerchief to clean his fingers, "I do apologize, but only the master of the house may strike a servant and as I recall, you are no master here."
The woman hissed, "How dare you, Tristan will hear of this. How dare you lay a hand on a Nobel Lady."
He turned, "I'm sorry, but I see no lady, let alone a Nobel one, now if you'll excuse me, Master Tristan is in need of me." He then disappeared around the corner.
Tristan waited to hear the slam of a far off door before coming from his hiding place behind the door, his anger building. He had grown tired of the woman's venomous attitude many years ago when he had watched her beat a servant simply because they had set a table with the wrong color roses, now she was out to lay hands on his closest friends.
He grew worried as he made his way through the hall, stopping when he came to Alona's room; the sound of running water drawing his attention. He rolled his head against the hard wood, taking a deep breath, "If only you had come into my life soon. We wouldn't have to worry about that wretched witch."
He pushed away from the door, making his way back to his father to finish greeting the arriving guests.

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