Cover

Chapter 1

The day my life changed was the day that Mrs. Gerald’s replacement was introduced.

His name is Adrian Masters. Mr. Masters. He has long, black hair, a pale complexion and brilliant turquoise eyes. He has high cheekbones and full lips. He's overdressed for school in a black suit that looks to be from the 20s. Well I guess it would have been considered casual wear then. He has eyeliner applied tastefully around his eyes and maybe even some eyeshadow. He's obviously goth, and pulls it off. He's totally no where near my taste of guys though, but oddly I find him absolutely gorgeous.

"Ew, who dressed him? His grandpa?" Clari, my best friend says in disgust, nudging me with her arm. I look at her to see her turned around looking at Jace, her on again and off again boyfriend.

"He could at least wear some color," I sneer, hearing some chuckles around me.

A pale, black nailed hand lands on my desk with a loud smack.

"Do you have a problem with my wardrobe, Ms...?" Even his voice is gorgeous!

"I think your clothes are fine. If we were in the mid-20s and someone had died," I reply, looking up to meet his gaze. I see surprise briefly flicker before they seem to harden. Damn those eyes are gorgeous. I hold out my hand. "Anastasia Blut, call me Ana."

He ignores my hand, "Keep your comments to yourself, Ms. Blut." He moves away from my desk and moves to address the class.

"I am Adrian Masters. You are to call me Mr. Masters. I will not respond to anything else. Your first assignment is to read a short story from your textbooks and answer the review questions, due before you leave." He turns and walks to the desk. Sitting down, propping his feet up on the desk and opening a book.

I open my english book and scan the index for something interesting. There's an Edgar Allan Poe story and I choose that, since I have most of his work memorized. The story is the Black Cat, which just happens to be my favorite. Without bothering to read the story, I quickly write the answers on a piece of paper and look up to see Mr. Masters looking in my direction. Surely he isn't looking at me? His eyes meet mine and I gulp. Yep, he was looking at me. We stare at eachother for a while before he clears his throat, frowning.

"Is there a reason you're not working, Ms. Blut?"

"Uh, no sir."

"Then get to work." He picks up his book again. I squint my eyes trying to see the title of the book. It looks a little blurry, but I think it says 'E.A.Poe.'

He's reading Poe? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, it's kind of obvious that he'd like him. His eyes move back to mine, and I blush, looking at my paper.

"You're already done?" Clari gasps.

"Yeah, Poe is the textbook."

She sighs, "That's totally cheating!" Clari knows I love Poe.

"Ladies? Is there a problem?"

"Yeah! Ana already finished her assignment!" Clari whines.

I scowl at her.

"Is that so, Ana?" I nod. "Then read Poe's the Black Cat and answer those questions."

I blush. "I already did." He glares at me, then goes back to reading his book.

The bell rings, signifying the end of class and everybody jumps up, eager to get to lunch, I'm almost out the door when Mr. Masters calls my name. What could he want from me?

I approach his desk as the last student files out.

"How did you know this suit is mid-20s?" He asks me, sounding genuinely confused. I frown. Why does it matter?

"Is it really that surprising that I'm smart, Mr. Masters?"

"Actually, yes, it is. What kind of cheerleader admires old styles and has memorized Poe?"

That's mildly insulting. “Just because I'm a cheerleader I can't be smart?"

He flashes a heart stopping smile. "No. Cheerleaders can be smart, but not the blonde, head cheerleader."

I cross my arms. "Did you make me stay so you could insult me?"

"Basically, yeah."

"I'm leaving. I have to meet the girls in the gym," I turn and leave the room, ignoring the look he gives me. He seemed almost angry that I took it upon myself to leave. Oh well. I head to the gym. There's a new routine we need to learn.

After school, Jace calls me. Clari has left him again and he wants to take me clubbing. I agree to let him pick me up at 8. I instantly start to get ready, showering and doing my hair and makeup.  

The doorbell rings just as I'm finishing my lip gloss. I've straightened my hair and applied simple eyeliner. My dress is a sparkly halter dress that reaches about mid-thigh. I pull on black fishnets with garters and heeled, black boots. I grab my clutch with my extra makeup in it and head downstairs. I open the door. Jace smiles when he sees me.

"Wow, Ana. You look great!" He pulls me into his arms and kisses me. I kiss him back, snaking my arms around his neck. Yes, I know I'm kissing my best friend's boyfriend, I don't care. Jace and I have been hooking up wayyy before they started getting together.

Jace pulls away and takes my hand, leading me to the car.

At the club we easily get past the bouncer. We head straight to the bar and I instantly down whatever the bartender gives me. The room is swimming nicely as I make my way to the dancefloor. Jace presses up close and I start grinding into him, pressing my lips to his. I feel hands on my back as Jace stops moving and stares behind me. I turn to see Mr. Masters right behind me. His hands slide around to my front and pull me close. I tilt my head to the side as he starts kissing and sucking on my neck. I moan and my eyes drift shut. Moving with the music, I continue grinding myself to the mass of a body behind me.

"Come, Anastasia. Let us go somewhere private," Mr. Masters voice purrs. I find myself nodding as he takes my hand and pulls me through the crowd towards the back. He opens a door and leads me up some stairs.

We enter a dark room and Mr. Masters stops, turning and pulling me close at the same time. I look up at him, meeting his turquoise eyes.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" I ask, sliding my hands over his chest. I note he's wearing a simple black t-shirt now.

His eyes flash red, then go back to turquoise. Must be a trick of the light, "Don't worry, you won't remember any of this," his voice is husky. He covers my hands in his, and moves close.I breath in his scent as he slowly lowers his head.

Suddenly there's a sharp pain as he takes a fistful of my hair and pulls my head back, exposing my neck to him. Tears cloud my vision at the awkward angle. He smiles evilly, revealing two long fangs on either side of his mouth. No no no. This is just a dream. No its a hallucination from all the alcohol.

His eyes glow a bright red as he brings his towards my neck. After a sharp pain, fire shoots through my body. I scream in agony as I literally feel him sucking on my neck. Everything goes black.

Chapter 2

My alarm is screaming at me and I'm slapping it, pain shooting through my head. Oh. My. God. How much did I drink last night? Bright red eyes flash through my head. What the? I climb out of bed and head to the shower, my head spinning. I turn the water on cold, and slowly undress myself. I moan as the water hits my back. I run my hands through my hair, making sure it gets wet, my hand touches part of my neck and I gasp in pain. What the fuck? I wipe the fog off the in-shower mirror and get a look at my neck. There's a giant bruise. How'd that get there? What happened last night? I remember going to the club with Jace. I remember getting plastered and I remember dancing. After that... nothing. Wait. Red eyes?

After my shower I get ready for school, making sure to wear a scarf to cover the bruise. I don't know where it came from, I really don't know how I'd explain it to other people.  I have no idea how I'm going to explain it to the other girls on the team.

At school, I go straight to my first class, German. I don't like it, languages aren't my thing. It goes by slowly, and I catch myself falling asleep several times. My hand would slide and hit the bruise on my neck and wake me up. I make sure to cozy up to my 'nerd pet'. His name is Mark and he's acing German. I flirt with him enough to keep him flustered and he does my German homework. I think he notices my hangover though, because about halfway through class he gives me a chocolate bar, saying it'll keep my energy up. I thank him and take my time eating it. The fact that I eat it at all may surprise you, but I'm not the typical cheerleader. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm the head bitch and everyone knows it, but I don't always get NASTY like I could.

After German is English, Mr. Masters' class. Just thinking about it makes the red eyes flash through my mind. I really wish I knew what those meant. The bell rings, causing my head to want to explode. I groan and stand up. Jace and Clari meet me in the hall, they seem to be back together.

"Are you okay Ana? You look.. awful," Clari ask, looping her arm through mine. Jace loops his arm through my other arm.

"I have a killer headache," I say, letting them pull me to class.

"You disappeared last night," Jace informs me.

"All I remember is dancing with you. The rest is a blank."

Clari stops walking, pulling me to a stop, then Jace.

"You two went clubbing!?" She exclaims, loudly. I wince. Damn headache.

"We always go clubbing together when me and you split," Jace says, like its the most obvious thing in the world. Which, it kind of is. I mean, everyone sees us there. I groan. My fucking head hurts.

"Come on lets get to class." We start walking again.

As the class room draws near my heart starts to speed up, and not in the cute, nervous way. For some reason my body is going in "flight" mode. What has me scared? Jace opens the door for us and I look up.

Mr. Masters is sitting at the desk, feet propped up and an evil looking smirk on his face. My feet glue themselves to the ground at the smile. Every cell inside of me is screaming for me to run. My heart is beating fast in my chest.

Jace and Clari pull on my hands, trying to get me into the classroom. I try to take a step, but fear has me paralyzed. My palms are sweaty.

Mr. Masters frowns.

"Is there a problem, Ms. Blut?" That voice. I remember hearing it last night..

"Did I see you last night? At the club?" I ask, surprised at how quiet my voice is.

His eyes seem to flash red. But that isn't possible. It had to be the light or something.

Suddenly my headache increases and I double over in pain.

"Ana!" Jace exclaims, I hear the panic in his voice. I take a deep slow breath. The pain increases and I bite my lip. I. Will. Not. Scream.

"Move, boy." Mr. Masters pushes Jace out of the way. I feel cold hands on me, then I get picked up. The pain instantly dissipates.

"What are you going to do?" Clari asks. I feel a hand on my forehead.

"I'm taking her to the nurse," Mr. Masters' voice. Something tells me that’s a lie. The pain returns full force and I clench my teeth. I feel Mr. Masters start walking.

"Put... me... down.." I manage between clenched teeth.

Shut up. I hear his voice in my head.

No. Put. Me. Down. I hiss back. At least, I think I hissed back. It’s hard to tell if I said it outloud.

Dammit woman, you’re causing me problems. Just shut up.

I grind my teeth against the pain. I still refuse to scream.

You’re quieter than most while changing. His voice is distant, like at the end of a tunnel.

Scheisse! Ana don’t black out.

Just because he told me not to, I let myself black out.

 

Chapter 3

Fire. Fire seems to be coursing through my veins. I don’t scream like I’m tempted to. I can’t remember why, but I know I don’t want to. That’s all I can remember. It hurts, I can’t stop the tears I feel falling. The darkness is creeping back, I succumb to it, thankful.

Chapter 4

The first thing I become aware of is a smell. There’s a pungent aroma of sweat. It’s so strong that I instantly gag. After a few moments, the smell becomes slightly less disgusting and I open my eyes. I instantly close them when a light above me blinds me.

There’s a slight pressure in my side from something hitting me.

“I know you’re awake. Get up, you need to shower, then I need to teach you to hunt.” I don’t recognize the voice. I open my eyes, blinking them several times. Something about the way things look is different.. although I can’t seem to put my finger on what.

A face enters my line of sight and I gasp. Mr. Masters. I sit up and scoot away from him. I’m both afraid to see him upon waking, and for some reason excited to see him.

“Look, I know you’re confused right now, possibly a little scared, but you need to shower. You stink.”

I blink. Well that was rude. I look down, now noticing that I’m unclothed, but a thin sheet is draped over me. I quickly pull it up to cover myself.

“What happened?” I ask. Well, I think I asked. The voice that came out is more... smooth? Musical? Than mine.

He sighs.

“How many times do I have to tell you? Go shower.” I narrow my eyes at him. I passed out, went through an unbelievable amount of pain, and woke  up naked with my English teacher. I deserve a fucking answer.

He must somehow know what I’m thinking because he reaches towards me and takes a handful of my hair in his fist. He pulls and I’m surprised that I don’t feel it at all. He pulls harder and I’m pulled from the bed. He starts to drag me towards a door. I reach up and grab his wrist, intending to attempt to pry his hand open, but I feel it crush beneath my fingers. He sucks in a breath and throws me to the floor.

Forgetting that I’m naked, I stand up and face him, hands on my hips. “What the fuck is going on?”

"You've Turned. Ill explain further after you shower." He meets my glare. He points towards the door. "Down the hall first door on the right. There's already a towel and robe in there. I nod and head towards the bathroom.

After my shower,  I put on the robe. It has a distinct smell of... cotton,  which makes sense,  and .. lilacs. I’m not sure who it belongs to, but it's humongous on me. The sleeves are too long and the fabric practically wraps around me twice. I find a brush on the counter next to the sink, the black hairs in it tells me its Mr, Masters'.  I run it through my hair a few times, detangling mine and making sure a few strands of my golden hair stays on it. I set it back down and look into the mirror. Something’s different....OH! My eyes! They were brown. Now they’re a turquoise that matches Mr. Masters’. What in God’s name is going on? Eyes just don’t change color for no reason. My skin tone seems to be more even than it was.. And I’m not even wearing makeup. And now that I think about it, my hair seems thicker.. healthier than it was.. And the color isn’t even golden anymore.. it’s closer to a platinum, almost white color.

There’s a banging on the door. “Come on, Blut! We’re running out of time and I do not want to get stuck with a hungry Newborn all day.”

What an ass. Can’t he see I’m on the verge of freaking out? Of course not, Ana. There’s a door between you. I sigh and and turn to open the door, but something catches my attention in the mirror. The bruise on my neck is completely gone, and now looks like I was bitten by a vampire. I freeze. Wait...

I throw open the door, intending to rip Mr. Masters a new one, but freeze again when I rip the door from its hinges. Oops.

“Dammit woman, quit breaking my stuff!” Mr. Masters appears in front of me. He grips my shoulders and roughly directs me towards the room I came out of.

“You turned me into a fucking Vampire!” I accuse, stopping in my tracks. He attempts to push me, but I stand my ground. I guess being a Newborn makes me stronger than him?

“I didn’t do it on purpose. Move! You need to get dressed, we’re going out.”

“No.”

He freezes. “No?” He acts like no one has ever said no to him before.

“No. I’m not doing anything until I get an explanation. What is going on?”

His eyes go red. This time it doesn’t scare me. I’ve already accepted the fact he’s a Vampire.

He pulls me to him, burying his face in my neck and taking a deep breath, then pushes me away again.

“Blood. That’s what’s going on. I couldn’t resist your blood. My bite turned you. Now you need blood. Satisfied? Come on, I found something for you to wear.”  

I let him lead me back into the bedroom I was in originally, I instantly notice that bed has been stripped and remade. Laying on it is a gown. It’s black,with red throughout it, has a corset bodice and the skirt touches the floor. It has long sleeves that billow out at the ends. It looks old, but I can’t date it.

“Goth much?” I ask, turning to look him.

“With your new skin tone, you’ll find black brings out the little color you have. Put it on, I’ll help with the corset.”

I pick up the dress and realize the corset isn’t connected, it just lays over the fabric of the gown. Without the corset, the gown has a babydoll neckline and has some kind of intricate embroidery along the border. It laces up in the back. I put it on and present my back to Mr. Masters. He quickly laces up the dress, pulling it slightly tighter than necessary. I hesitate in putting the corset on.

“Do I have to wear the corset?” I ask him, turning around to face him. His frown deepens when he looks me over. He mumbles something that sounds like “looks just like her.” He said it quietly, so I assume I wasn’t meant to hear it.

“Yes, you must wear it.” I frown. For a second there I almost thought I saw some kind of emotion on his face. But I must have imagined it. I hold the corset up to my chest while he does it up in the back.

I don’t wear corsets, so it’s awkward to breath with it on.

“You’re dead, you don’t need to breath,” He states, going to the vanity next to the closet. He opens a drawer and pulls out what appears to be a makeup bag.

"Come here." I do as he says and sit in the chair.  He applies makeup to my face, adding a little more color to my cheeks and does my eyes a little darker than what I'd normally do.

"Pay attention,  I'll only do this once. You're dead, so you skin has very little pigmentation.  Use foundations and bases to give yourself color,  but don't overdo it on your face, or any exposed skin of your body may not match. Use blacks to hide the sunkenness of your eyes when you're Thirsty." Thirsty? What does he..? A sudden pain in my stomach makes me double over. The pain spreads through my whole body and my throat starts to burn.

"Scheisse! Come on Anastasia,  you need to feed." I take his outstretched hand and let him lead me. The rest of the night passes in a blur of sensations and sights I didn't know existed.

Chapter 5

I wake up in the same room as before. Although this time it's not to someone hitting me in the side demanding I open my eyes at once. Instead,  there's an arm wrapped tightly around my bare waist. A quick glance down tell me I'm not naked, that the oversized shirt I wore to bed has just ridden up. I attempt to turn my head to see who's beside, surely Mr. Masters wouldn't want to cuddle with me like this, but am unable to identify the person. His face is buried in my neck, and although I can't feel his breath, I am sure he's inhaling my scent.

"Well this is sure a sight I never expected to see."

I jump, startled by the sudden stranger standing at the foot of the bed.

Mr. Masters mumbles something and pulls me closer to him, pressing me into his chest.

"Who are you?" I ask, not all that frightened anymore. It’ll take a lot to frighten me now that I'm dead. Well, Undead.

The stranger laughs. "Of course you wouldn't know me, darling. But you're in bed with my mate. And I'm not so sure I like you touching him."

"Technically he's touching me. And he made me sleep here." I shrug. "Fighting him won't get me answers."

She tilts her head to the side, smirking. That's when I notice how similar we look. Actually,  minus the black hair, she could be my identical twin. How... odd. Is this what he meant by I "look just like her"?

"I believe it was, my dear. Now tell me, who are you? And why are you here with my Aiden?"

She can read my mind? Cool. I wonder if I can read minds.."I'm Anastasia Blut. I'm Mr. Masters' student. Im here because I went clubbing with my bestie's bf and got bit by this asshole. The next day I turned and he took me hunting last night after I woke up. I’m not sure how I got here exactly,  I think I feel asleep after feeding.."

Her smirk fades. "He turned you? Impossible. A human hasn't been successfully turned in almost 5 centuries."

Mr. Masters groans beside me. "That better be my Anastasia talking to herself, and not you, Elizabeth."

She freezes, any signs of hospitality gone from her features.

She looks at me. "You little tramp! How dare you take my Adrian from me!"

I shrink away from her, maybe I can be frightened...

Mr. Masters sits up and glances at me briefly before appearing in front of Elizabeth.

"Relax, Elizabethia. I was only joking."

She growls.

"Who is she Ady?' She's pouting at him now. I groan. Great.  Not only have I been thrown into a world where vampires, and god knows what else, actually exist, but I have to deal with a jealous girlfriend. I climb off the bed, letting out a yawn. Who knew Vampires need sleep?

"She's my protégé. I accidentally turned her."

"She looks just like me, Ady. Are you trying to replace me?" It's almost embarrassing watching her bat her eyes at him and look all innocent.

"Her looks are purely coincidental, I swear." She pulls him into her arms, I look away. Im not sure why, but seeing him in another woman’s arms infuriates me.

I brush past them and head towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Mr. Masters asks me.

I touch the doorknob. "To take a shower. Wanna join me, Ady?" I hear a growl and suddenly time slows down. I turn around in normal speed as Elizabeth is lunging at me in slow motion. Instead of sidestepping her, like I probably should, I grip her outstretched claw and flip her over me, making her hit the top of the doorframe hard and go through the door. Time speeds back up as I release her hand. Woah. Talk about the matrix. I look at Aiden, hoping he'll know what happened. His expression is blank, like always, but I think I see surprise flicker through his eyes briefly. I turn and look at the shocked Vampiress on the floor.

"How did you do that?" She asks, awe in her voice.

I shrug. "All this is new to me." I step over her and head to the bathroom, praying to god I don't rip the door off its hinges again.

A hand stops me from closing the door. I look up to see Mr. Masters. He brushes past me and into the bathroom, I watch him, curious. What is he doing?

After watching him walk from the doorway, to the toilet on the far side of the room and back I realise he’s pacing. I move to stand in his way, but he just walks around me. I grab his arm. He attempts to pull away, but fails. His eyes meet mine and I’m surprised to see they’re not glowing. Usually they start to glow when I initiate contact with him.

“Why are you pacing?” I ask him. He shakes his head.

She can hear. Speak through our bond.

We have a bond?

I am your Maker. We share that bond.

Oh. Why are you pacing, sir?

It’s that woman. I can’t stand her.

That’s odd.. She called him her mate. That generally requires equal feelings on both parts.

She considers me her mate. At one time, I thought she was mine.. but she’s not.

Oh. Well, she seemed pretty possessive. Can you not get rid of her?

He shakes his head. She's too insistent. I’ve tried everything. Who would have guessed, the mean Mr. Masters has a stalker problem.

Really? Want me to help?

You want to help me? After I've been nothing but an ass to you?

I shrug. I'm a nice person, sir.

How do you plan on helping?

Before I agree to help, I want you to promise to answer my questions once she's gone. Okay?

He nods.

Okay. We'll get rid of her by pretending you have a new girl. Although it’ll have to be someone who can take her.. from what I saw out there she'll get violent.

She's an Elder. Few are stronger than her. That's why she was surprised when you moved faster than her.

"Well I guess that leaves one option, hon. We make it official about us."

He stares at me for a second then nods. "Okay."

You'll have to get a little physical with me if we want her to believe us.

I tilt my head to the side. I didn't really think about that. A little touching and kissing never hurt anyone, right?

All the acting will be on you. She knows me as an unemotional creature.

But wouldn't it be more convincing if you show some emotion towards me? It’d prove to her its real if I get what she never did.

He thinks a bit, then nods. "Come here." I do as he says and step into his open arms. He pulls me close, then surprises me by gripping my hair and pulling my head back, exposing my neck.

"Don't move." He commands before leaning forwards and sinking his teeth in my neck. I gasp at the sharp pain, but relax into his arms as a warm feeling spreads throughout my body. The warmth slowly starts to gain heat and I find myself moaning, pressing myself to him. He grunts and pulls away, not even bothering with closing the wound, it’ll heal itself. A hand on the back of my head pushes me forward, pressing my face into his neck. "Bite." What? He wants me to bite him? I breath in through my nose, taking in his scent. Without thinking about it much, I open my mouth and sink my teeth into him. He grunts, but is otherwise silent. I moan when his blood hits my tongue. He tastes.. delicious. His hands moves from holding my head to him to holding me firmly against him. I continue swallowing mouthfuls of his blood, revelling in the unfamiliar rush. His arms tighten, and I hear him moan. I freeze. He’s Mr. Masters, he’s not supposed to show any reactions. I start to pull away, but he stops me.

“Keep going.” I obey, unable to hold back the shudder as his hands travel down my back and to my bottom. He tugs on my leg and I jump up to wrap both around him. He takes a few steps and I feel my back hit something hard. A tug of my hair rips me from his neck and I meet his eyes, licking my lips. He growls and smashes his lips to mine. In the few seconds it takes me to get over my surprise one of his hands has gone under my shirt. Just as I start to kiss him back,  he's ripped from my arms. I easily stop myself from falling on my ass and blink a few times.

"You told me she wasn't my replacement!" Elizabeth screeches. She has her arms around Mr. Masters and is glaring at me.

Mr. Masters attempts to break free but is unable. I smile and step closer. I wrap my fingers around her wrist and pull. Mr. Masters escapes as Elizabeth screams in pain from her broken wrist.

"From what I was told, there's no replacing happening." Time slows down again as she lunges at me. I consider just stepping aside, but Mr. Masters is right behind me. I let her get within inches of clawing my face before knocking her outstretched arm aside and hitting my palm to the center of her chest. She crumples to the floor almost instantly. She appears to be unconscious. Time speeds up as I feel arms encircle my waist.

"She'll be out for hours after that." If she's unable to see, why is he being all touchy? I pull away and step over the Vampiress.

"Time for my questions?"

He nods and pushes past me. I follow him to a room I haven't been in yet. It's a living room with a couch, a recliner chair and a TV.  I sit down on the couch as he sits in the chair.

"Before you start asking questions, I'm going to tell you a brief history.

"Vampyres, with a y, have been around longer than humans. They're born, not created, and tend to live longer than the Turned. I was born, but several centuries after humans came around.

"Before we had humans to feed from, we'd feed from each other. Now biting another Vampyre, of either kind, is considered an intimate act.

"When humans first came around, Turned Vampires came into existence. Vampyres weren't killing their prey, and at that time, the venom from a single bite would turn the human.

"Eventually it became common practice to fully drain their victims. Thus cutting back the amount of Vampires Turned.

"After several thousand years, it was discovered that humans could no longer be turned. That's why Elizabeth was surprised to learn you were Turned. And before you ask, no. I do not know why you did." He looks at me expectantly.

"Why did you bite me? There were a lot of people at the club."

He shrugs. "I just couldn't resist you. I followed you home, then to the club. Your blood smelled, still smells, very...intoxicating."

I tilt my head to the side. "Technically it's not my blood anymore."

"No, but once it's running through your veins it takes on your scent and taste."

"How come my hair and eyes changed colors?"

"Eyes change to the color of the Maker's. I'm not sure about your hair. You're... different. As a Newborn, it's understandable why you're so strong,  but not how you moved so fast. Nor how you instinctively knew to hit Elizabeth in the chest."

Great, so I'm a freak in the Vampire world.

"What about school? My family?"

"At the moment you're parents are out of town, they were given the message that you went to the hospital,  but will be fine in a few days. The school, and your friends also think that you're in the hospital. You'll go back to school in a few days, once I'm certain you won't attack anyone. Since you're 18, you'll be moving out of your parent's house and moving in here with me."

"What if I don't want to live here with you?"

"You have no choice, as my protégé you are my responsibility."

"Why did you kiss me?"

He makes a slight movement, almost like a flinch. Maybe he was hoping I wouldn't ask? "I told you, biting another Vampire is an intimate thing."

"Even so, it could have just been left at the bite."

"I may technically be dead, Ana, but I'm still a man. Can you really blame me for getting carried away when a half naked woman looks at me the way you did after the way you were grinding on me..?"

I frown, he's blaming me? He bit me, knowing what it'd do to me.

"You knew what it'd do to me. Why did you do it if you knew you couldn't control yourself?"

"Elizabeth was never allowed to bite me." Oh, I see. It was just meant as 'proof' to Elizabeth.

"Don't act so disgusted,  Ms. Blut. I warned you it'd have to get physical for her to believe it."

Disgusted? I kissed him back. Would I have done that if I thought he was disgusting? Hell, I wouldn't have even gone with him at the club if I thought that.

I stand up, march towards him, slap him across the face, and run to the doorway using vampiric speed. I turn back,

"And I'm only half naked, sir, because I don't have any clothes here because you've kidnapped me." I leave the room, going back to the bedroom I woke up in. My dramatic exit is ruined by the fact I have no where to go. I collapse on the bed and stare at the ceiling, waiting for him to follow me. I may not know him very well, but I highly doubt he'll let me get away with hitting him.

"The first time you injured me, I let it slide. You weren't aware of your strength yet. I let it go when you broke the bathroom door, I even ignored it when you threw Liz through the bedroom door." He pauses, I sit up and meet his gaze. "This time you hit me in the face, with the intent to hurt me. I will not let that slide." His intention is to intimidate me. If I were smart, I’d let it, but he’s already ‘killed’ me. What more could he do?

He smiles, as if he knows what I’m thinking. He suddenly appears right in front of me. I gulp at his sudden proximity. His hand on my shoulder pushes me backwards so that I’m laying down. He pulls my hands above my head and moves so that he’s hovering above me. He studies me for a few moments, then leans down and presses his lips to mine. I don’t kiss him back right away. I’m confused as to what he has planned. He continues kissing me, so I give in, kissing him back. I easily tug my hands free and wrap my arms around him. He growls and pulls away. He puts my hands back above my head.

“Keep them there or I’ll stop.” I nod to show I understand. He starts kissing me again, this time pressing himself to me. He moves to start kissing on my neck, making me bite my lip to keep from moaning out loud. He doesn’t bite, instead he sucks on it, bringing blood to the surface. I turn my hands over and grab a fistful of the blankets. I want to touch him. He’s still sucking on my neck as he slowly slides a hand over my stomach. I shiver and arch into him. He pushes my shirt up and pulls it over my head, leaving me completely naked. He kisses his way from my neck and down, trailing his fangs along my skin. I moan, biting my lip and squeezing my fists shut.

He smiles up at me and takes my nipple in his mouth, rolling the other between his forefinger and thumb. He presses the tips of his fangs to my nipple and I gasp. He bites me and I am instantly overcome with so much pleasure that I almost orgasm then. I whimper when he pulls away and looks at me, a scary twinkle in his eye.

“What do you want, baby?”  I just stare at him, he knows what I want.

He trails his hand down my tummy and I feel him touch me. I bite back a moan and arch into him.

“Do you want me to touch you here?” I nod, tilting my hips up to try to get him to touch me again.

He touches me, sliding a finger around before sliding it in. I gasp and my hands move to his shoulders. He freezes and I move them back. He kisses me again and starts to move his hand. I don’t hold back the moan this time. He smiles, a genuine smile and pulls away completely. I watch as he stands up and walks through the broken door.

“W-what are you doing?” I ask, confused. Wasn’t he just..?

“I’m punishing you, Ms. Blut.” He disappears from view, then reappears with the unconscious Elizabeth in his arms. He disappears again. I hear a door open and close, then he goes back into the bathroom.  After a few moments I hear the shower running. Well that was.. unexpected. I groan once it dawns on me that his 'punishment' is to get me all worked up and leave me that way.

A thought occurs to me. Jace. When either of us gets struck with the sudden urge to have some fun we generally call each other.  Although I'm almost positive Mr. Masters took my phone. Oh well, I'll just show up.

But first I need clothes. I pick up the giant tee I was wearing and put it on. After some rummaging through Mr. Master's drawers, I find a pair of sweatpants I put them on, rolling up the pant legs since they're too long. Even though its been cold out, I don't need shoes.

I pause. The water is still running.  Good. I tiptoe past the bathroom and head to where I assume the door is. I open it, step through,  and close it as quietly as possible. Hey, Mr. Masters lives in an apartment building.  I turn down the hall where the smell of iron tells me the elevator is. I go down the stairs next to it, using my vampiric speed.

Chapter 6

I get to Jace's house in no time. I throw a small rock at his window, fist pumping the air when I don't break the glass.

"Jace!" I call as the window opens.

"Hang on, Ana, I'll unlock the door."

"No need, I'll climb up." I quickly judge the distance between his second story room and the tree. There's a good two feet between the branch needed and the window. A difficult jump for a human, a piece of cake for a Vampire. I climb the tree for the mere sake of appearances. I could probably jump from the ground to his window, the tree isn't technically needed.

Once inside, I instantly pull Jace to me and kiss him. He kisses me back.

"Why didn't you call?" He asks, pulling his shirt off.

"Forgot my phone at home." I take my clothes off, waiting impatiently for him.

He pauses. "You sound different. Wait, aren't you supposed to be in the hospital?"

"I'll explain later, right now I need you." Something tells me that Mr. Masters will show up anytime to take me back. He nods and takes the rest of his clothes off. He steps forward and wraps his arms around my waist, pulling me close and kissing me. He directs me to the bed and I lay back, letting him pin me down. We don’t take any time to fool around, just get right to business. I wrap my legs around him giving him better access. As I get closer and closer to coming, I’m suddenly drawn to the scent of his blood, which is pumping quickly through his veins. Without thinking about it much, I flip us over, taking control. He seems to have no problem with it. I lean forward, pressing a kiss to his neck. He moans. His neck is one of his sweet spots. I open my mouth and sink my teeth in. He moans loudly and seems to go into a frenzy. I keep control by timing my swallows with our movements. He comes and I can taste it in his blood. The taste is so.. amazing that I can’t stop. He stills and I continue swallowing mouthfuls.

Suddenly I’m ripped away and slammed to the floor.

“Stupid girl. Are you trying to kill him?” I blink up at Mr. Masters.

“Of course not, sir. But you should taste him.”

He slaps me. “Snap out of it. He’s unconscious. You took too much.” He climbs off of me and moves to hover over Jace. He takes his pulse, muttering something that sounds like “Stupid girl.” I lay down. I feel so good right now.

“Of course you do. You’re high.” I sit up to look at him.

“Really?”

“Yes, sex releases endorphins that are addictive to us. It gives us the equivalent of a high.” I watch as he brings his wrist to his lips and bites it. I watch as his blood drips into Jace’s open mouth.

“There. That should heal him. He’ll have a headache, but he won’t remember this at all tomorrow. Get your clothes. We’re leaving.” I stand up and get dressed. Mr. Masters grabs me by the arm and he drags me to the window. He throws me out and I land on my feet easily. He lands beside me and grips my arm again.

“You don’t have to drag me, sir.” I say, pulling my arm free.

He takes it again, squeezing harder. I clench my teeth in pain.

“I am thoroughly pissed right now, Ana. Don’t test me.”

I shrug. “If you wouldn’t have gotten me so worked up and left I wouldn’t have gone to Jace.”

He freezes, pulling me to a stop. “Do you even care that you almost killed him?”

“I knew you wouldn’t let me.”

He snorts. “I almost did.”

“But you didn’t, and you fixed my mistake.”

He blinks. “I won’t always be here to fix it, Ana. I’m only here until the end of the year.”

“That’s 3 months, sir.”

“Exactly.” He takes my hand this time, instead of gripping my arm, and pulls me beside him.

“We’re going to your old house to get some of your things.”

He watches me pack my hair supplies, makeup, and any clothes he deems worthy. To his disapproval, I make sure to grab Seraphina, my stuffed white tiger.

We drop my stuff at the apartment, then go hunting. Although, after Jace I really have no need to. It’s as I’m watching Mr. Masters feed I realize I never really got my satisfaction. Looks like I got my ‘punishment’ anyway. His smirk tells me that he is aware of this.

Chapter 7

This time when I open my eyes, I am fully aware of how I got into Mr. Masters’ bed and that it is, in fact, Mr. Masters wrapped around me. I even remember the argument that ensued before bed. I had just changed into my pjs, a red cami and short shorts that have the school logo on them, and was making my way towards the bed with Seraphina in tow. He stopped me, demanding I put the toy away. I refused and he threatened to kick me out of his bed, which I shrugged and turned to go to the guest room I suspected was through the door I had yet to go through. He followed me, and after I opened the door and started to take a step in, he grabbed me around the waist and literally dragged me back to his room. I fell asleep clutching Seraphina to my chest with my back to Mr. Masters.

I’m not surprised I wake up to have him clutching me to his chest like I was holding Sera last night. I’m not even surprised that the tiger doesn’t seem to be in bed with us. What surprises me is the fact that he’s awake. I turn slightly to look at him, I didn’t get the chance to observe him yesterday, and his eyes are open and he’s watching me. The hardness in his eyes isn’t present and he actually seems .. caring?

“Are you watching me sleep?” I whisper, I’m not sure why, it just came out as a whisper.

He blinks and I can literally see his walls go back up. He scoffs, shoving me away from. I’m still groggy and I don’t manage to keep myself from falling off the bed.

“You jerkface!” I exclaim jumping to my feet and glaring at him.

He snorts. “Jerkface, really?”

I continue to glare.

He doesn’t notice, instead he’s taking his time stretching. I can’t help but admire the little amount of skin exposed from his shirt riding up. He has a nice tummy.

“Stop checking me out. Ms. Blut.” I feel blood rush to my face.  

“I was not!” His smirk tells me he sees through my lie.

"Get dressed. Today we’re start your training. "

"Training?"

“Yes. You need to learn to control yourself around humans.”

For training he takes me to the mall, which is full of all kinds of creatures. I can instantly tell the humans apart by their scent, which seems to surprise Mr. Masters. There’s a few scents that I don’t recognize though. Mr. Masters refuses to tell me what they are. I assume they’re some other creatures.

I do really well, for a Newborn. I only try to attack one person and Mr. Masters informed it was because the person was Fae, some Elders can't even resist the Fae. Their blood is supposed to be really sweet and calls to us.

Training continues for two more days with no further incidents. Well, not until around the lunch rush, when a group of Vampires enter the over crowded food court where we're sitting. They come straight to us.

I can't help but be mildly intimidated at the three powerful strangers in front of me.

"We originally came to greet you, Adrian, and Elizabeth" the trio say in unison. Well that just adds to the creepy factor. They turn to me.

"You are not Elizabeth."

Adrian opens his mouth to say something, but I beat him to it. He glares at me.

"No, I am not the charming Elizabeth." I stand up and offer my hand. "I am Anastasia Blut, a Newborn."

The trio freezes, glances at Mr. Masters, then the middle Vamp, the shortest, steps forward slightly.

“Hello Anastasia, I’m Marco.” He shakes my hand. There’s a visible spark, I jump and attempt to pull my hand away, but Marco’s grip is too strong. He’s looking curiously at our joined hands. After a few moments, the Vamp next to Marco steps forward and pries Marco’s hand away. Only to replace it with his own. This time the spark is even bigger and I feel it radiate through me all the way down to my toes. A third hand takes my hand and we both jump back with a hiss. The spark occurs before we even touched this time. And it wasn’t comfortable, like the others’, this one actually burned.

“What are you?” The trio say in unison.

I arch my eyebrow. “I could say the same for you three. That whole talking thing is creepy.”

“We are Vampyre, born.” Marco says, smiling at me. “More specifically we are Marco.” I frown.

“All three of you?”

“In a way, yes.” The one who shook my hand second says. I tilt my head in confusion. What does that mean? And how does that explain why they keep doing the creepy speaking thing?

“What he means, Ana, is that he is Marco, the Vampyre King,” Mr. Masters, says. I’m still confused.

“The King has a tremendous amount of power, so much, that it can’t be contained in one vessel. That’s why there is three of them, but they act as one. They are literally one person in three bodies.”

I don’t fully believe that. Surely they have to have some kind of individuality between them. Why else would the sparks be different for each one. Something about me reacted to something about them. Movement catches my eye and I look down to see a small child cowering behind the middle Marco’s legs.

“Who’s the kid?” I ask, meeting the middle Marco’s eyes. They widen as he glances down.

“You can see her?”

I just stare at him. Of course I see her, she’s right there. Suddenly the air around me gets really warm and there’s a giant flash of light. When I’m able to see again I instantly notice I’m not at the mall anymore. I look around. There’s a bunch of  green trees surrounding the small clearing I’m in. Mr. Masters is standing behind me, not looking the least bit surprised.

“You really need to learn to shut your mouth, idiot. Not only have you disrespected the King by not addressing him as is fit, but you’ve assaulted them with your abilities. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have you executed.”

“Executed?!? For doing something I was unaware I was doing?” I exclaim.

“Adrian be quiet. Quit scaring the girl.” The creepy triple voice says. I whip around to see Marco.

“I really meant no offense sir!” I hear Mr. Masters sigh. What did I do now?

Marco chuckles. I don’t hold back the shudder. Three different voices chuckling in the same monotone way is creepy.

“What are you?” the middle Marco asks.

“I told you, I’m a Newborn.”

“Yes. But you’re too... powerful for a typical Newborn. When were you born?” The second one asks. Are they talking separately to keep from creeping me out?”

“Born? My birthday is October 31st, 1995, why?”

“95? When did you die?” The third Marco asks. That’s the first thing he’s said.

“Uh.. 4 days ago I think?”

Marco looks mildly confused. “And how did you die?”

“Mr. Master’s fed from me at a club, I changed the next day.”

The birds in the background go silent, and the small breeze freezes and all three pairs of Marco’s eyes narrow at me. I gulp.

“You’re a turned Vampire?” There’s a hint of surprise in his voice.

“You’re the second person to be surprised about that.”

“How is that possible?” All 3 Marcos hiss, turning to Mr. Masters.

Mr. Masters bows his head. “I do not know sire. I just fed like I normally do, and she Turned the next day. I had to wipe the entire school’s memories.”

Marco turns back to me. “So I assume you have no clue about why we sparked?”

“No sir. But if it makes you feel any better I threw Elizabeth through a door, and knocked her out with one hit without knowing how I did it.”

“How would knowing you beat up my sister make me feel better?” He’s using the creepy voice again. I shudder.

“Stop that. I refuse to believe the three of you are exactly the same. If you were the sparks would have all been the same.” I ignore the fact that Elizabeth is their sister. She attacked me both times, I did nothing wrong.

All three of them look surprised. Does everyone just go along with this? The idea is absurd.

Mr. Masters hisses and I’m suddenly grabbed by the hair and thrown to the ground. “How dare you talk to the King like that!” I feel a hard kick to the stomach.

“Adrian. Enough. She is uneducated. She means no fault.” The middle Marco says. He walks towards me, all three, and three sets of hands pick me up from the ground and sets me on my feet. The sparks occur, but they ignore it. Keeping two sets of hands on my arms and one pair on my waist. I look up to see the three of them surrounding me. The child is clutching my leg.

Marco follows my gaze.

“No one but us should be able to see her.” I ignore him, instead I hold my hand out the child.

“Hi, my name is Ana. Who are you?” Since no one answered my question, I’ll just ask her myself.

She smiles hesitantly, looking at each Marco.

“I’m Lyna.” She unwinds herself from my legs and takes my hand, using it to pull herself up and I pick her up and set her my hip.

“It’s nice to meet you Lyna. Since the Marcos seem too shocked to tell me, why don’t you explain all this to me? Why can’t anyone see you? And why can I?”

She smiles and wraps her arms around my neck. “No one can see me because I’m special, Ana. I’m a Spectre Vampyre. Only people with the Sight can see me, but only people who are meant to be related to me can feel me. Marco is my dad. And you’re going to be my new mommy.” She smiles really big at all the Marcos.

I almost drop the girl in my shock. Although she’s seems to be only 2 or 3 she’s really well spoken and smart. I’m so confused.

“Oh? Marco is your father? Which one?” She laughs and points at the middle one. The one who spoke to me first.

“He’s the one who sired me, but they’re all my dad.” How does that work? I don’t ask Lyna, it’s probably too much of an adult question. “What’s a Spectre Vampyre?” I ask instead.

“Spectre Vampyres are the most powerful kind of Vampyre, other than the King of course. They are completely invisible to people. Only the parents and ones with the Sight are able to see them. They’re basically Vampyre Ghosts that aren’t dead.” The third Marco says. I groan. Great, more freakiness to add to this whole adventure.

I look at the three Marcos. They are all looking at the child in my arms. “What did she mean?” I ask, hoping they understand what I’m asking.

“I have no idea,” The answer comes in the creepy voice. I turn to look at the Marco who talked to me first. He seems to be the most willing to talk on his own.

“There has to be a reason she said it.”

“She’s a child, Anastasia. Children always say the weirdest things.”

“I know because I saw it happening, Mom.”

Marco looks at her, then holds his hands out. She sighs, but allows him to take her.

They stare at eachother and something tells me they’re having some kind of conversation. I turn around a few times, starting to feel claustrophobic. Marco and Lyna are still talking mentally so I push past the closest Marco and leave the circle.  

What is going on? I couldn’t hear you guys talking.

Marco, the one who talked to me first, has a kid that’s a Spectre Vampyre. I can see her, which is supposed to be impossible. Lyna says she ‘saw’ me being her new mom.

Mr. Masters lets out a growl and I suddenly find myself clutched to his chest. I can’t see anything, but I can easily hear the hiss the trio lets out. What now?

“Ana is mine. I don’t know why that child thinks otherwise but I created Ana. She is my responsibility and my mate. Not yours, sire.”

What the fuck? Mate? I thought Elizabeth..

“Don’t be ridiculous, Adrian. Elizabeth is your mate, not this freakish look alike.” The creepy voice is back. I fight back the shudder and pull away from Mr. Masters. He tries to pull me back, but I don’t let him. Marco called me a freak! How dare he insult me like that!

“No. Elizabeth was never mine. But Ana is. We’ve shared blood.”

“If she’s truly your mate, then why does she not wear your mark?”

“I’m not his mate!” I exclaim, cutting off whatever Mr. Masters was about to say. “I can’t even stand the asshole! The only reason I’m with him now is because I can’t survive on my own.”

Mr. Masters growls and lifts his hands. It didn’t look threatening to me, but it must have to Marco, because he hisses and tackles him.

“Just look at my neck, sire. She doesn’t have my mark because I have hers.” Really? He bears my mark? The tallest Marco, the one whose shock burned me, grips Mr. Masters hair and jerks his head back, exposing his neck on the side I bit yesterday. I move closer, so close that I’m leaning over the Marcos to get a good look. There is really is a mark on his neck. Its just teeth marks, but they’re black, making it look like a tattoo. Just seeing it invokes a weird feeling in my gut. Did I seriously do that?

Marco hisses again, but moves off of Mr. Masters and stands up. He takes a few steps back.

“I think we have a problem, brother.” Three hands are held up to reveal a tattoo that starts at the ‘third’ Marco’s wrist  and continues over ‘middle’ Marco and to the ‘second’. It’s a lightning bolt that has a heavy black outline and a different color for each Marco. Middle Marco’s is blue, ‘second’ Marco’s is green, and ‘third’ Marco’s is red. I look at them, then look up at their faces. They’re unreadable, I then turn to look at Mr. Masters. Now that I’ve known him for several days I can tell that under that seemingly apathetic exterior, he’s actually furious. I’m not exactly sure what those marks mean, I can’t have four mates. Can I?

“You’re not supposed to..”

“And it’s 2 mates. They’re all the same person.”

“THEY ARE THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE!” I exclaim, making everyone flinch. I take a deep breath. "If the three of you really are the same person then why do your marks differ from each other?" Middle Marco tilts his head to the side.

"Good point. We'll consider what you keep saying. " He looks at his brothers. “But for now, just accept me for me. And tell us which one you claim. Me, or him.” He’s speaking in just the one voice now. I’m thankful for the consideration. I look between Mr. Masters, and the Marcos. I have to choose?

"Yes, although you've managed to somehow mark both of us, you need to choose one," Marco says. He smirks. "And remember, I am king. Adrian is just one of my many subjects."

I can't choose between them. I barely know any of them. Mr. Masters made me like this, and although he's been nothing but a complete ass to me, he’s kind of grown on me.. And I just met the Marcos today...

“I can’t choose. I barely know any of you.” I look down, slightly ashamed. I’ve always been bad at making important decisions. “Sorry..”

“Don’t apologize, Anastasia. It’s completely understandable. You need to get to know me.” Middle Marco steps close and tilts my face up. “Would a month be reasonable time to get to know me?”

A month? I have to get to know all of them in a month? He notices my expression.

“Okay, two months, nothing more.” His hand cups my cheek, I turn my face slightly into it, breathing in his scent. Mr. Masters growls.  “Where are you staying?” Marco’s nostrils flare, but he otherwise ignores the other male.

“With Mr. Masters. He’s training me to be around Humans.”

He turns to Mr. Masters. “You’re her Mate, and yet she still calls you Mr. Masters. Why is that?”

Mr. Masters narrows his eyes. “He’s my English teacher. It’s a habit, Marco.”

He glances at me, but continues to look at Mr. Masters.

“She was unaware of our mate status until today. She hasn’t had any reason to call me anything else.” Mr. Masters says, sounding angry. I never realized I could call him Adrian. I just assumed he’d get mad..

“Why would him getting mad be of importance?” third Marco asks me. His eyes going dark.

I don’t reply. Something tells me that they wouldn’t like how mean Mr. Masters has been. I think of how violent he’s been... and of course of his ‘punishment’.. then how he treated me when he dragged me away from Jace...

Marco’s nostrils flare and he narrows his eyes at Mr. Masters. “He’s hurt you?” I look up at him, how? Oh right. They can read my mind...Before I have a chance to say anything to defend Mr. Masters, all three Marco’s have launched themselves at him again. That’s not a fair fight at all! Not that I want them fighting, but still. Three against one?

“Marco! Stop!” I exclaim. I get ignored. Mr. Masters is putting up a good fight, but he’s no match for the three bodies attacking him.  

I step as close to them as I can without getting hit. How can I stop this? I obviously can’t pull all three Marcos off at once.. I know! I’ll pull Mr. Masters away from them. The problem with that is he’s underneath the others...

“Marco stop!” I grab the closest arm, it belongs to ‘middle’ Marco. He glances at me, and attempts to pull his arm from me. He can’t. I’m stronger than him. He’s obviously surprised and the other Marcos turn to look at me. Mr. Masters uses their distraction to land a few punches. I pull on the arm and tug middle Marco away and push him aside. “Stay.” I command as I grab both the other Marcos and shove them towards him. I turn to Mr. Masters. His nose is bleeding, and his face is covered in bruises. It almost looks like one solid bruise. I don’t say anything to him, just hold my hand out to help him up. He blinks at it, but takes it. I pull him up and look him up and down. His clothes cover any other bruises he may have. I meet his eyes and see anger in them. He’s furious. I’m not exactly sure what he’s mad at, so I just turn to the Marcos, placing my hand on Mr. Masters’ arm.

“I’m not exactly sure why you felt the need to attack him. But I’m disappointed in you. Three against one? He didn’t stand a fucking chance! Even if you truly are one person in three bodies, it’s completely unfair to all attack at once!” I turn to Mr. Masters.

“How do we get out of here, Adrian?” He nods towards the guys. I turn and glare. There’s a flash of light again and when I can see again we’re at Mr. Masters place

Chapter 8

Mr. Master’s knees buckle as he collapses. I easily catch him, and pick him up. I can’t tell if he’s conscious or not, but I take him to his bedroom. I lay him on the bed, and decide to look him over. He’s unconscious He’s obviously more hurt than he showed in front of Marco. I undress him, leaving only his boxers on, to see the full extent of his injuries. It’s bad. He’s a solid bruise! Obviously Marco did something other than just punch him. Maybe has some kind of power? The bits of skin that aren’t bruised look really pale. Paler than is usual. Since he was on the ground for the beating I assume there’s probably dirt all over him. I don’t think he can catch anything, but I better wash his injuries just in case. A sponge bath might hurt though, so I decide to fill the tub and bathe him.

It’s a simple task to go run the water, making it hot, because his skin is so cold, and to carry him in there. I hesitate before putting him the water. I should probably take his boxers off. But that would mean seeing his... Just the sight of his chest manages to stun me, I can’t imagine what would happen if I see his mini-me.

“Gods be damned woman just put me down and I’ll do it myself!” I drop him in surprise. He groans when he hits the floor.

“What the hell, Ana?” He starts to slowly stand up.

“I didn’t know you were awake..” I watch as he dips his finger in the water, testing it. He nods in approval before dropping his boxers and stepping into the tub. I gasp and avert my eyes. I hear him grunt and the water splash.

“Don’t just stand there! Either help me, or get out.” I look at him to see him attempting to run the washcloth over his bruises. He’s obviously in a lot of pain.

I sigh and kneel beside the tub. I take the rag and proceed to wash him, hiding my embarrassment. He leans back and sighs.

After he’s mostly clean, I run my hand over the mark on his neck. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I ask in a whisper. He opens his eyes and looks at me. The usual hardness has returned now that the bruises are starting to heal.

“I don’t need a Mate, Anastasia. Elizabeth thinks she’s mine and look how that turned out.”

I freeze and meet his eyes. “So you just weren’t going to tell me?” I try to hide the hurt, but he can probably sense it. He just stares at me. I look away, deciding to study the tile on the floor instead. If he didn’t want me, then why did he react the way he did about Marco? I don’t understand... And if he knows he’s my Mate then why would he be so mean..? Well I guess the meanness could be because he’s trying to hide what he really feels.. but if he doesn’t want me..

“If you don’t want me, why didn’t you just let the Marcos have me. It would have saved you from the beating..” my voice is quiet I can barely hear it. But I know he heard me because I hear the water as he moves and he pull my chin up so I’m looking at him.

“I can’t see my Mate with someone else. It infuriated me. You’re mine.”

I refuse to look him in the eye. “You can’t claim me if you don’t want me.”

He growls. I flinch, but don’t move away. His hand moves from holding my chin up to grabbing my throat as he pulls me towards him. I wasn’t expecting him to attempt to move me so I’m in the water with him before I try to get away.

He stops me with a hand on my hip. His other hand is still at my throat pulling my face closer to his.

“You do not have place to tell me what I can and can’t do.” He pulls me closer and I collapse onto him. It’s awkward. He’s completely naked and I’m fully dressed. He grunts in pain. My clothes are completely soaked. He grunts a little and I attempt to lift myself up, off his bruised body, but he won’t have it. Instead he wraps his legs around me to keep me in place. Since I can’t get up, I focus on holding myself completely still. I open my eyes and meet his. He’s watching me curiously.

“You really don’t want to be in here with me?”

I rip out of his hands pull away slightly, looking at all his bruises. “You’re hurt.”

He snorts. “So?”

“So, I don’t want to hurt you further.” And besides that I really don’t want to be in the tub with him right now. He’s an ass and has no right to me or my body. I pull away from him, literally muscling his legs from around me. I use my speed to get out of the tub.

“You do not get the privilege of doing anything that may be in your head. You’ve rejected me as your Mate. I’m not exactly sure of what being Mates means, but I’m sure that isn’t part of it. If you don’t want me then why the hell am I here? I could have gone with the Marcos. At least they seemed nice. I’ve known you for only a few days and you’ve been nothing but an ass to me. You fucking killed me! And yet, I’m still here. I still chose to not just walk out of here and leave you. I even agreed to help you get rid of Elizabeth. When Marco attacked you, I defended you. I brought you home and attempted to take care of you. Does that mean nothing to you? Does the fact that I practically chose you over a King mean nothing?” I wipe my eyes, mildly surprised to see red smears on them. I cry blood? Well that’s just fucking great. I had no intention of saying all that, but I did. And I can’t take it back. He’s staring at me, his face unreadable. I don’t meet his eyes and decide I don’t want to look at him anymore. I walk out of the bathroom, dripping water. I quickly strip myself and head to the drawer Mr. Masters put some of my clothes in. I pull out underwear, sweatpants, and a hoodie. I don’t feel like putting in an effort to look nice. There’s no point.

I put on the clothes and walk around the bed. Not seeing what I’m looking for, I drop to my hands and knees and look under the bed. Seraphina, my tiger, is there. I stretch a little and grab her. I then decide that I want to sleep. Crying as a Human always wore me out, I’m not that surprised that crying as a Vampire wears me out too. I stare at Mr. Masters’ bed. If I sleep there, he’ll think that I’ve forgiven him. And I haven’t. I turn on my heel and take two steps before Mr. Masters appears in the doorway with a towel wrapped around his waist. I freeze. Crap. I was hoping I’d get to the other room. I instantly notice that the bruises have turned the icky yellow color that they normally turn after several days. I clutch Sera in my hands and watch as he looks me up and down before meeting me eyes.

“Where are you going?”

“The other bedroom.” I reply, mentally refusing to look away.

He tilts his head to the side. “Why?”

“Because I’m not sleeping in that bed with you.” I attempt to walk around him, but he refuses to move. The doorway is completely blocked. I sigh. Why can’t he ever just cooperate with me?

“We need to talk.” He states, crossing his arms and leaning against the doorjam.

I shake my head. “No. I’m done talking.”

I knock him out of the way and go to the spare bedroom. I close the door behind me and turn the lock. If he really wants in he can just break through the door. But I seriously hope he’ll leave me alone. I don’t want to have to beat him up, much. Well, I’m not completely opposed to the idea. I collapse on the bed, ignoring the faint stabs in my stomach. I haven’t fed today.

After a few moments, he knocks on the door.

“Ana, we need to talk.”

“I don’t want to talk.”

“Then don’t. Just listen.”

“I’m not interested. Go away.” I tense, expecting him to come in anyway. After a few minutes I hear him sigh and then the door to his room closes. My stomach lets out a weird gurgle sound and I curl up in a ball, preparing myself for the pain. Mr. Masters said that as a Newborn I need to feed every night. But eventually it’ll turn into once a week, then every 2 weeks, and later to feeding once a month.

The pain hits and I bite my lip. I didn’t cry out during the change. I can handle this. I repeat that to myself as I wrap my arms around my waist. Stupid Adrian. Stupid Marco. Stupid Vampires. Stupid everything.

The pain increases and I clench my eyes shut and squeeze my hands into fists. Everything around me disappears as it becomes only me and the pain.

Distantly I hear a smash and a curse, but I can’t make myself focus on it. This pain is excruciating. I let the coming darkness take me.

Chapter 9

When I become aware of my surroundings, I am in someone’s arms, leaning forward, away from the person, with my mouth on something that is producing the liquid that I need. I open my eyes and release the unconscious stranger and turn in the person’s arms. I already know from the way he tensed slightly once he realized I was awake that it’s Adrian.

I sigh. “Don’t think this means you’re forgiven Adrian.” I wrap my arms around him and bury my face in his neck. His arms tighten slightly, but that’s the only response I get. I open my eyes and realize my face is by my mark on him. I stretch forward and press a kiss to it. He shudders.

“You could have died,” he says quietly.

I pull away and look at him. “I’m already dead, remember? You’re the one who killed me.”

“No, I mean for good. Ana, you’re a Newborn. You have to feed everyday. Your body is still adapting to the change. If you don’t feed, allowing your body to regenerate it’s energy, your body will shut down and you’ll die for good.”

I tilt my head to the side and stare at him. He almost seems to care..

He groans. “You’re such an idiot.” I frown.

“Insulting me is not going to make forgive you for being an ass. “ I start to climb out of his arms, but they tighten around me.

“You.. don’t get it, Ana.”  I tilt my head to the side, confused. What don’t I get? “Ana.. I do care.”

“Really? You sure have a funny way of showing it.”

He snorts. “I don’t do.. feelings. Or. displays of them.”

“Freaking out at Marco was a display of feelings.”

“No. That was instincts. You’re my Mate. I won’t see you with another man.”

“You didn’t attack Jace.”

“That’s different. He’s food. And you needed to learn a lesson.”

I meet his eyes. He’s looks a little nervous. Why? Is he....afraid I’ll reject him? He shouldn’t be. He’s already technically rejected me. There’s no need for me to reject him.

“Quit being an idiot, Ana.”

“Quit being an ass, Adrian.”

He smiles. A real smile. It’s brief. I’m almost doubting I saw it, but I believe he actually smiled.

“You should smile more often,” I announce, snuggling up to him again.

His arms tighten around me even more. “You should call me Adrian more often.”

“Do you really want me to?”  He’s silent. I already know what he’d say anyway. ‘I wouldn’t have said to if I didn’t, idiot.’

“Ana..”

“Hmm...?”

“We need to get back to the apartment.” I pull away, standing up. I look down at the unconscious Human. I didn’t kill him, did I?

“No, he’ll be fine after he sleeps. He’ll wake up thinking he has a horrible hangover.”

 

 

Back at the apartment, I head to the spare room, intending to grab Sera.

“You’re still not going to sleep with me?” Mr. Masters asks quietly. He actually sounds.. disappointed?

“I am still technically mad at you, Adrian.”

He’s silent as I stand with my back to him, hand on the doorknob.

“It does matter, Ana.” What matters?

“It does matter that you’re here.” Woah. That’s feelings.  I turn around to face him.

He looks shocked. Like he didn’t expect to say that. I know I didn’t expect him to say that.

He’s watching me, waiting for a response. Without thinking about it I use vampiric speed and launch myself at him, jumping up and wrapping my legs around him. His arms go around my bottom to hold me up. I lean towards him and press my lips to him. I pull away quickly, equally shocked at my actions as I was about his words. He looks shocked too. He recovers before me and reaches a hand up. He pulls my face closer and kisses me. I kiss him back. He takes a few steps, then I feel my back hit something soft. The bed? He must have used vampire speed. One of his hands moves across my stomach, causing me to shiver. He breaks the kiss and starts kissing my neck. He sucks on the spot he usually bites and I moan. I feel his hands slide under my shirt, touching my bare tummy. I move my hands from the back of his hair and slide them down his chest. I can see his muscles tense under his shirt. I want to see his chest up close. I was too focused on not hurting him earlier. He seems to sense my want as he pulls away just enough to take it off. I bite my lip as I explore his his muscles with my hands. I make sure not to press too hard. He’s still bruised. He moans and presses his lips to mine again. His hands travel up and cup my breasts through my bra. I reach behind me and unhook it. Aiden pulls my shirt off and I throw my bra aside. He starts kissing down my neck and to my chest. He starts sucking on my nipple and I moan when one of his fangs touches it. My hands tangle in his hair and hold him to me as my legs wrap around him, holding his close so I can grind my lower half into him. He disappears and reappears by the door. I blink and sit up so I can look at him.

“We can’t do anything yet.”

I blink. “What?”

“Sex completes the Mating Bond. We have to wait until you make your decision.”

Decision? Oh. The Marcos. All this Mate thing is doing is causing unneeded drama. Why am I the one to get pulled into this mess?

“Way to ruin the mood, sir.” He smiles half-heartedly and walks towards the bed.

“As much as it.. pains me.. I can’t just steal you from my King.”

“Speaking of King. What’s your relationship with the Marcos? You seemed pretty friendly before the ‘me’ drama showed up.”

“Marco is my little brother.” If the Marcos are Mr. Masters’ brothers, and Elizabeth is the Marcos’ sister.. Wouldn’t that make Elizabeth Mr. Masters’ sister? I voice my question.

“No. She was adopted into the family.” Oh. Good. Incest is totally not cool.

“Wait. You’re Royalty?”

“Technically speaking, yes. Enough questions. Time for sleep.” I start to climb off the bed. He watches me, looking vulnerable and slightly rejected.

“Cool your jets Adrian. I’m just getting Sera.”

He visibly winces. I shoot him a smile, as I pick up my shirt. I walk out the door, pulling it over my head.. I return to see he’s changed into his sleep clothes, which just so happens to be boxers. I pause and take the opportunity to examine his body. I’ve been around him for several days and he still manages to take my breath away.

He turns from folding the blankets down and watches me. I smile at him.

“You’re still an ass, Adrian.”  

He shrugs.  "And you're still an idiot." I watch him climb into the bed, then move around to the other side. I lay down like I normally do, beside him with my back to him. He surprises me by wrapping his arm around me and pulling me close. I feel him kiss my neck, then lay his head down. I turn around so that I can lay my head on his chest.

Chapter 10

Mr. Masters wakes me up earlier than usual.

"Get up, we're going to school today." I feel him throw something at me. I keep my eyes closed.

"Do I have to?" I whine.

He sighs loudly. "I guess not. Ill just tell the cheer team to elect a new captain.."

I bolt upright.  My girls need me. I’m in the shower before Mr. Masters can say another word.

He lays out my clothes on the bed, a loose black shirt, the corset from before, and a long black skirt. I stare at it.

“People are going to notice my change of style,” I say, still looking at the outfit. Before this, I would have never wore so much black at once. When I don’t get a response, I look up to see Mr. Masters watching me. “What am to tell people? Why was I in the hospital? Why has so much of my appearance changed?”

“You were sick. Major illnesses can cause changes in hair and eye colors. Just don’t answer questions, it’ll bug them, but they’ll get over it.”

“Clari and Jace will expect a real answer.”

"Don't give them one." I blink at him.

"You really have no concept of friends do you? I never keep anything from them."

"Tell them whatever you want, just not the truth." He motions me to him, I hesitantly approach him. He motions to the box that I brought with all my makeup. I open it to see it empty. Where's all my makeup?

"Not that one idiot, mine" I ignore him calling me an idiot and reach for his.  I open it to see that he's combined my makeup with his, doubling the amount he had originally.

I apply my makeup and we head to school. Turns out, Mr. Masters has a car. He informs me how I need to be careful when touching any humans, and to come to him if my Thirst starts to get unmanageable. Being around so many humans may trigger it at random times.

I'm nervous. But not because I'm scared I'll attack someone. I'm worried about how people will receive my new 'look".

I'm swarmed with questions right away. I answer them without actually answering them, and somehow manage to avoid running into Clari and Jace.

Everything goes without a hitch until German class. I get called on to translate a sentence. I haven't been at school for two weeks and I have no idea what to do.

The answer comes when I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I shock everyone,  myself included,  by actually getting it correct!

Idiot. You shouldn't use our bond to cheat. Now everyone's going to think you're actually smart. Mr.Masters says in my head. I assume it's through the bond.

I used our bond? Im getting used to him calling me an idiot. It doesn't bother me anymore. Much.

Yes. I'm fluent in many languages. You pulled the information from me.

Clari and Jace are waiting for me at the door.

"Woah, chika, you get a makeover from the darkside?" Clari asks, looping her arm through mine.

"I like it. You look hot," Jace says, looping his arm on my other side. Clari reaches over and slaps his arm.

"Hello-o girlfriend is right here." Their casual banter makes me smile. I didn't realize I missed them so much.

"So how are you?" Jace asks me. I shrug.

"I'm better than I was." It technically isn't a lie.

"Did you know that the sub, Mr, Masters, has been out too?" Clari informs me. Of course, I already know. "His replacement was terrible."

We reach Mr. Masters' classroom and walk through the door. Jace and Clari drag me to a stop in the doorway.

"What a coincidence.  He’s back the same day you are." Jace says wistfully. I look up and meet Mr. Masters' eyes. They flash down to Jace's arm and back to me. I see a little glow. I visualize myself sticking my tongue out at him and watch in satisfaction when his fists ball up. I take my seat.

The next eventful thing that happens is at lunch. Im sitting at our table, watching Jace and Clari eat when I get a cold chill. I turn towards the doors in time to see them open and a familiar trio walks in. I hear Clari gasp, and Jace breathes "oh no." If I were still human I wouldn’t have heard him.

I literally have to fight to keep myself from jumping up and tackling the Marcos.

They pause and sweep their gaze over the room. Several girls, wannabe cheerleaders, approach them. I can't help but laugh at the disgusted look on the Marcos' face. I stand up and take my time walking towards them. Its really hard to not use my vampiric speed.

I push past the girls, more have joined the group ogling over the new guys. I stretch up lay my hand on Middle Marco's cheek. I hold it there for a few seconds then put a hand on both of the other two's cheeks.

"Why are you guys here?" I ask. They smile at the same time.

"We go here now," middle Marco says. I tilt my head to the side. Aren't they a little too old to be high school?

They laugh. I look down, but don't see Lyna.

"Lyna is at daycare." Daycare? How does that work if no one can see her?

Middle Marco clears his throat and looks at the crowd surrounding us.

I shoo everyone away. "Back off, they're mine." They tilt their heads to the side, at the same time. It’s as if they’re saying “We’re yours?” Kind of creepy...

I take Middle Marcos hand and pull them to the table I was sitting at.

"This is Clari and Jace, my best friends. Guys, these are.." What do I call them?

"I'm Blake," Middle Marco introduces himself. Second Marco raises his hand slightly.

"I'm Blaine."

"And I'm Blaire."

"Ana, how do you know the Vampyre King?" Jace asks, not bothering to acknowledge the guys. The four of us freeze.

He blinks. Then realizes what he said. "Oh!" He stands up, and bows. "I'm Jace Van Helsing. It's an honor, your highness."

The Marcos hiss and I'm suddenly flung behind them.

Jace laughs. “Calm down, sir. I’m not in that part of the family. Trust me, if I was I would never had allowed Mr. Masters to feed from Ana.”

I move around the Marcos. “Jace, why didn’t you tell me?” I let my gaze flash towards Clari.

“So you are part of the Van Helsing Clan?” Blake asks.

“Yes. I am a Witch. Clari is one too. But she’s from another clan.”

“Why didn’t you guys tell me?” I ask, feeling betrayed.

“Why didn’t you tell us you Turned?” Clari asks, looking angry.

I didn’t tell them because Mr. Masters told me not too.. Jace smiles knowingly.

“To answer your previous question, Witch.” The three Marco’s hold their hands out, showing their marks.

Jace gasps and grabs Blake’s hand to pull it close and examine it.

“You’re mated to the King?” Clari asks me. I blush and look around. Everyone is staring at us. We must be quite the sight.

"Let's go to Adrian's room and talk."

"But Adrian will be there," Blaine whines. Jace laughs, finding it funny that the Vampyre King is whining like child. I look at Jace.

"Trust me babe, this is nothing. Just wait until you hear the whole story."

All three Marcos stiffen and let out a faint hiss.

"Chill your jets, guys. I just call him that. There's nothing between us."

"Anymore." Clari coughs. We start heading towards Mr. Masters' room.

"Oh! I forgive you for almost killing me, Ana. Next time warn me before you bite though."

Clari gasps. "YOU ALMOST KILLED JACE?!"

"Yes. I was overwhelmed and lost control.  Adrian fixed it though."

By now we're at the door to Mr. Master' classroom.  I don't knock. I just open the door and walk in. All 6 of us freeze at we see.

"I didn't know you had a twin," Clari whispers, nudging my side. I barely hear her. Instead my growl fills the air.

Blake's arms wrap around my waist just as I lunge. I easily break free. Elizabeth turns, a triumphant smirk on her face,  just in time for my fist to connect to her jaw. I grab her hair, which I notice is now platinum like mine, and drag her off my man.

"How many times do I have to tell you to leave my man alone?!" I screech, dragging her in a circle by her hair. She doesn't look scared. She manages to wiggle away, only to lunge at me. Time slows down and I hit her in the chest again. She collapses. Everyone, including the Marcos, stare at me in shock. I'm still furious. I turn around and look at Adrian. He's picking at his nails.

"How dare you! After all that happened yesterday?" I fight the tears I know should be coming.

He just stares at me blankly. Why isn't he saying anything? He looks pointedly past me, at our audience. Of course. Arguing with me is feelings. He won't display them in front of the others. I turn around. "Marcos, Clari, Jace, I know we came here to talk, but it's going to have to be delayed. Come by the apartment later."

The Marcos are back to being the 'one person' again.

"I will not leave you alone with him. All he does is hurt you, Ana." I close my eyes and reach a hand up to massage my temples. Drama always gives me a headache.

"Just go. I'll be fine. I'm stronger than you, I'm sure I can take him if need be."

"I didn't mean physically, Anastasia." No shit.

"Marco. Go. I need to have a serious talk with your brother and he won't talk with you here."

He doesn’t want to, but he sighs and nods anyway. Once we’re alone, I cross my arms and watch Mr. Masters. He glances down at Elizabeth.

“She tricked me..” He mumbles. I don’t say anything. It’ll take a lot more than a ‘she tricked me’ to make me forgive him for this one. He was getting pretty hot and heavy with Elizabeth when we walked in. He claims to care, keeps feeding me his bullshit, then going and destroying any confidence in us I have. If he doesn’t come up with a reasonable excuse I’m leaving. Actually, I might just leave anyway.

“She pretended to be you..” He says, finally meeting my eyes.

I snort. “I’m pretty sure we’re nothing alike, Mr. Masters. If you truly care like you claim you’d know the difference between me, your Mate, and someone who just looks like her.”

“She came in here, called me Mr. Masters, the exact same way you do, and threw herself at me. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that it may have not been you.”

I growl. As logical as his excuse sounds, I can’t help think that somewhere, deep down, he knew that it wasn’t me. I feel something on my cheek. I wipe it off with the back of my hand. Great, more bloody tears.

“You’re right. I suspected it wasn’t you, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think Elizabeth would stoop as low as that. I’m.. sorry. I know our relationship is virtually non-existent. And I keep fucking up what we do have. Maybe you should just choose Marco. At least he won’t make you cry everyday.”

Woah. I’m sure my jaw is dropped. Mr. Masters actually opened up. He’s never said so much about feelings before.

“Are you really Adrian?” I ask, wiping my face again. That doesn’t seem like something Mr. Masters would say.

He smiles faintly and I notice how wet his eyes look. Is he about to cry? This cannot be the man I’ve spent the last week with.

“Believe it or not this really is me.” I don’t know what it is about you, but ever since you stormed out of my classroom that first time, I’ve been slowly changing.

He spoke through our bond. It really is Adrian. The bell ending lunch rings.

Liquid fills my eyes and falls down my cheeks. I launch myself at him, leaping over the still unconscious Elizabeth. Adrian stood up during his little dialogue and I jump on him, wrapping my legs around his waist and crushing my lips to his. The force of my almost tackle makes him fall back into his chair. I’m now straddling him so I take the opportunity to feel his chest. He starts to  purr as I untuck his shirt and slide my hands over his chest. I trace his muscles with my fingertips. I start to slide my fingers under his waistband, but he pushes me away. I fall on my butt.

“Oops.” He stands up and offers his hand. The bastard pushed me onto the floor! I refuse his hand and pick myself up off the ground.

“What the hell was that for?” I demand.

“Any further and I would have lost it.”

The door is locked, so students are probably waiting by the door to be let in. Luckily, the little window on the door is covered so no one can see inside.

“Go home, Ana. I’ll tell the office you aren’t recovered enough to stay the entire day yet.”

I look down at Elizabeth. “Take her with you. Just dump her somewhere, she’ll wake up eventually.” I nod and bend down to pick her up. Her scent instantly catches my attention.

“How the hell did she get my scent?” I ask, throwing her over my shoulder.

“She’s wearing your clothes.”

“Oh.”

“Go through the window, I don’t feel like wiping any minds today.” He opens the window for me.

I look up at him. I stretch up and kiss him. “Thank you for opening up to me, Adrian.”

He doesn’t say anything, just stares at me blankly. I’m beginning to understand that he goes blank to hide what he’s really feeling. I climb out the window, easily landing the 2 story drop. I turn and wave then take off, using my Vampiric speed.

I drop Elizabeth in an alley somewhere on my way to the apartment. I didn’t really know the area so I can’t say exactly where.

Chapter 11

The Marcos are waiting for me at the door to the apartment.

He smirks at me. "So, how'd it go? Get the apology you wanted? Or did he just sit there and stare while you freaked out on him?"

I growl. I understand that he feels the need to belittle his competition. But I personally don't like trash talking. It just seem childish.

"If you really want to know, sire,  he apologized. After he explained how Elizabeth tricked him into thinking she was me. Little words were exchanged between them. He's a guy and I can't blame him for thinking with his dick. Of course, once I choose him he'll have to control that." I open the door and go to the living room, and practically throw myself in the couch.

"Your sister on the other hand needs to stay away. I can't guarantee how I'll react the next time I see her and I don't want to cause even more problems." I look up to see the three Marcos fuming in the doorway.

"You've already decided on him?"  He's literally starting to shake. Oh shit. He's angry. I take a page from Adrian's book and keep my face blank. Unfortunately,  it's probably the wrong decision. The Marcos growl as one and lunge at me. Im in too much shock to move out of the way in time. Blake grabs my hair and pulls my head roughly backwards.

"Do you like it when men are horrible to you?" He's using the creepy 3 way voice. A hand goes to my waist, squeezing way too hard. I wince in pain. "Do you like to be in pain?" All this is minor stuff and he knows it. I some how manage to look him in the eye. They harden and the next thing I know,  he's looming over me. My face hurts in three places. One for each of their fists.

I let out a warning growl as I touch my face. He actually fucking punched me. A close fisted punch. Time slows down as I jump up and punch Blake in the face, he stumbles away in slow motion and I jump up, roundhouse kicking Blaine and turning to Blaire. He’s the only one who seems to be moving in normal time. The other two are still in slow-motion mode. I still manage to kick him hard enough to knock him over. Time speeds up again and I look down at the three guys.

“Three on one? Again?” They appear to be shocked. I would be too, if I were them. Even Adrian couldn’t beat them. “And for your information, Marco, Adrian may be mean to me. He may even be a little rough, but he has never purposely tried to beat me. Even when he thought I deserved it.” I turn around to see Jace and Clari standing in the doorway, jaws dropped. I freeze. What all did they see?

“I’m glad you can protect yourself, Ana. But if I find out either Adrian or Marco ever touch you like that again, I will kick some ass.” Jace says, narrowing his eyes at the Marcos.

“Don’t bother dear. The Marcos here will never lay a hand on me again. Will you?” I meet Blake’s eyes. He nods, looking away.

“Jace isn’t worried about Marco, Ana. He only reacted like that because he’s jealous.” Clari says.

“He’s not just jealous, Clari. He’s furious, and in pain. His Mate is seeing another guy.” Jace turns to me. “How are you able to do that? All the newly Mated Vamps I’ve seen are constantly all over each other for the first few months.”

I shrug. “Adrian is my Mate too. And we haven’t sealed the bond yet.”

“Do you bear his mark?”

I shake my head, “No. He wears mine.”

“I don’t believe you,” Clari announces, moving to help the Marco’s off the ground. “You just want to stir up drama. You always want to stir up drama.”

I stare at her. “What are you talking about?”

“You. You’re head cheerleader, you can get anyone and what do you do? You go after my Jace. You get the hottest teacher in school and make him compete with his brother. Can you be any more selfish? Can’t you see what’s obviously in front of you? Can’t you see how much you hurt the people around you? No wonder Mr. Masters is so mean to you! It’s probably Karma.”

I’m not constantly hurting people. Am I? I mean, yes I was seeing Jace behind Clari’s back, kind of. But we only hooked up occasionally. It wasn’t like he was dating me on the side.. I try my hardest to be nice to people, even the ones who may not deserve it. And Adrian isn’t mine. Well, technically he is. But he doesn’t seem to want to be mine.. And the Marcos. I never chose to be Mated to them. Hell, at this point, I don’t even care that I’m mated to them. Does that make me selfish? To not want the drama that having 4 Mates causes? I feel tears start to swell.

“Oh look, here comes the waterworks.” Why is she being so mean? I thought she was my best friend..

“No, Ana. The only reason I’ve stuck around is because of Jace. He’s your assigned Guardian and has to be your friend. It’s his job to do whatever you want.”

Jace is only my friend because it’s his job? Does that mean that he didn’t want any of what we’ve had? I look at Jace for confirmation. He looks at the floor. That’s all I need to know. I turn around with the intention of running out the door, but run into something hard instead. Hands on my shoulders keep me from falling over.

“Ana, you’re crying and I’m not the cause. What’s wrong? Why are there bruises on your face?” Adrian pulls me close. I bury my face in his neck.

“She doesn’t like the truth,” Clari informs him, sounding smug. I wrap my arms around Adrians neck, finding comfort in his scent.

His arms tighten a little. “What truth?”

I answer him before Clari says something else mean. “That I’m a selfish bitch whose best friends don’t even like her.” I literally feel Adrian’s demeanor change as his presence fills my mind. I feel him going through my memories of what exactly was said. I can’t pick up anything from him. But I think he’s angry.

“You ignorant little girl,” Adrian says. I wince. I know he’s talking to Clari but he’s using the mean voice he used to use when making fun of me. “You truly have no idea what you’re talking about. Anastasia has no choice who her Mates are. They were predetermined before she was even born. Even her decision of who she will choose is predetermined.

“The Guardian title you’ve given Jace does not mean he has to do whatever she wants. He doesn’t even have to know her. He chose to meet her. He chose to get close. And he chose to have sex with her. If you’d pay attention, and actually listen to your boyfriend, you’d know that they only hooked up when you left him. And that’s ignoring the fact that they’ve been hooking up years before you came along. If anything. You’re stealing her Jace.

“Jace, stand up for yourself. Don’t stand there and let your girlfriend tear your lover apart. Ana is going through a lot already, she doesn’t need to deal with the loss of both of her best friends. And Marco, little brother, how dare you lay your hands on a woman. She already has me fucking things up and abusing her. She needs you to be the kind, understanding man, err, men, of her dreams. I don’t know what you were thinking, but do you seriously think hitting her is okay? You’re lucky she’s strong, brother. You wouldn’t want to have to deal with me if you seriously hurt her.” Adrian finishes his rant. I pull away enough to look up at him.

“Adrian.. “ I whisper.

“I know, Ana. I meant it when I said you’re changing me,” he whispers back. “Now go and wash your face, idiot. You really need to stop crying so much. It’s getting annoying.” I smile and nod. I quickly glance at the Marcos. All three of them are staring at Adrian looking incredulous. I start to leave the room, but stop and turn back to Adrian. I stretch up and push his head to the side and pull the collar of his shirt down, revealing my mark. I hear Clari gasp. I leave the room and go to our bedroom. I say ours because it’s basically mine now. I get clothes, one of his large t-shirts and a comfy pair of jeans. The only other place I’ll be going tonight is out to Hunt. It doesn’t really matter what I look like for that.

Just as I’m about to shut the bathroom door a hand stops it. I turn around to see Jace. He looks torn.

“Ana, don’t believe her. She’s just jealous because you get Marco. She’s dreamed about him for years, literally. Mr. Masters is right, I didn’t have to be your friend. Everything that has happened between us was mutual. I promise.” I stare at him. Is he telling the truth?

Use your bond with him. Adrian’s voice says in my head. Do I have a bond with Jace?

If he’s really your appointed Guardian, then yes you do. How do I find it? How do you find ours? I don’t ‘find’ it. I just think towards him. I focus on Jace.

Are you telling me the truth Jace? He smiles.

I didn’t know you’re telepathic. Yes, Ana, I’m telling you the truth. I feel myself get pulled into his head. He shows me all kinds of things, from the moment we first met when we were little, to the moment it was revealed who his Assignment was. I see a few of the times we’ve hung out, the first time we kissed, the first time we hooked up. He even shows me when I bit him. He wasn’t as gone as Adrian thought. he heard every word. I pull away from his mind and meet his eyes. He’s smiling.

"See? I’m not lying to you Ana.”

I can’t stop myself. I hug him. He instantly hugs me back, grunting when I squeeze a little too hard.

“We have a lot to talk about. Go shower, I’ll be here.”

I take my shower, taking care to scrub my face. I don’t know if Vampires can get pimples, but I don’t want to find out.

Chapter 12

I go back into the living room to see Clari curled up next to Jace on the couch. I think she’s asleep. The Marcos are sitting on the floor in the corner, looking miserable. Adrian is sitting on the other side of Jace with a space between them. I assume I’m supposed to sit there. I look at the Marcos. Blake meets my eyes.

I feel a foreign presence enter my head. I start to try to push it out, but it I stop myself.

Marco?

Don’t let Adrian know I’m talking to you. Go sit down.  

No. The only Vamp I’m willing to take orders from is Adrian. And that's only sometimes.

Okay. I want to apologize. I shouldn’t have acted like that.

Damn right you shouldn’t have.

I’m sorry. I’d understand if you’re mad at me. It wasn’t very... regal of me.

Honey I could care less how regal you look. I honestly don’t care that you’re King. My problem with you right now is that you punched me. In the face. All three of you. At the same time.

I concentrate on the feeling of him in my head and push him out. I sit down between Adrian and Jace.

“What’s a Guardian?” I ask, getting comfortable by turning and placing my feet on Jace’s lap. I lay back onto Adrian. I feel him start to run his fingers through my hair.

“Answering that requires me telling you about my Clan.” Jace answers, pushing the sleeping Clari off him a little.

“Brother take her to the guest room and tuck her in,” Adrian orders. I smile as Jace watches slack-jawed as the Marcos do as Adrian said.

“Anytime now Jace.”

“Right. Well.. I’m part of the Van Helsing Clan. We’re the oldest Clan, or Coven, of Witches. Some time hundreds of years ago some Vamp pissed one of us off. His name was Abraham, and he was the basis of Bram Stoker’s character of the name. Well this vamp that pissed off Abe refused to pay for what Abe felt was stolen and long story short Abe became the first  Slayer. He never got the particular Vamp he was looking for, so he just went about killing any he ran across.”

“I’m good at disappearing,” Adrian says with a smirk. The Marco’s come back and sit in their corner.

Jace blinks in surprise. “You’re the one Abe was after?”

Adrian stares at him. He doesn’t like repeating himself.

“What did you supposedly take?” I ask him.

“I had just died, so I had trouble controlling myself. I attacked and killed his lover. I tried to apologize but he wouldn’t hear me.”

“Anyway, he managed to bring his entire family, Clan doesn’t necessarily mean family, to his cause and they formed a small army to hunt Vampyres. I’m not exactly sure how many he had.. but there were a decent amount of people.”

“Abraham’s first army consisted of around 150 people, both men and women. It was pitiful and once they became a nuisance they were easily disposed of.”

“Right. Well the Van Helsings who didn’t want to hunt vamps actually became friends with the King of that time. This caused Abraham and his followers to split from the Clan and strike out on their own. Now Slayers aren’t just Van Helsings. There’s Witches from all kinds of Clans and even some normal Humans.”

“And other creatures that don’t like us.”

“When the Van Helsings became friends with the King, they made a deal with him. The Vampyres wouldn’t attack the ‘good’ Helsings and they in return would appoint Guardians to their important people. Guardians protect one person for the majority of their lives. Some guard from a distance and some get to know their charge. The only requirements are that the charge must stay alive, or Undead, and they can’t fall in love with them.”

“From what you showed Ana earlier, you were appointed her at a very young age. But Ana isn’t a Born Vamp, so how was she important then?” Adrian asks, voicing the question that was starting to form in my own head.

Jace shrugs. “I’m not sure. The Crone never told me. She just showed me Ana, and told me if I failed, then I’d be severely punished.”

“Do you think the Crone knows?”

“Grandma knows just about everything.”

I yawn.

“Hey Marco, where’s Lyna?” I ask Marco, looking at him.

“At my mother’s. Why?”

“I was just wondering. You said something about a daycare.. and I was confused..”

“Who’s Lyna?” Jace asks.

“Blake’s daughter.” I reply, yawning again.

Adrian’s hands still. “Go to bed.”

I shake my head. “I don’t want to. Besides, I haven’t Hunted yet.”

“Let’s go.”

“Now?”

Silence. I sigh and climb off the couch. “How long until I don’t have to feed every night?”

“I don’t know. You’re the first Turned in centuries. It’s different for you than for a Born.”

I look at Jace. “Go ahead dear. I need to be getting home anyway. I’ll take Clari with me.”

“Nonsense. Go sleep in the guestroom with Clari.” Adrian turns to the Marcos. “When was the last time you Hunted?”

Marco doesn’t answer.

“Come with us.”

“May I borrow your phone to call grandma?” Jace asks.

"You don't have a cell?" Adrian asks.

"I do, but grandma has her phone rigged.  Only landlines can call her from outside the compound."

“It’s in the kitchen. Help yourself to anything in there. There’s not much.”

Jace goes to make his phone call and the Vamps, myself included, go Hunting.

Chapter 13

“Mommy! Mommy! Wake up!” A child’s voice says as I feel something land on my chest. I open my eyes to see an excited Lyna bouncing on me.

“I’m awake!” I say, attempting to hold the child still. She giggles and takes my hands, clapping them together.

“Shh. Lyna we don’t want to wake up your Uncle.” I move Lyna off me and unwind Adrian’s arm from around my waist. He grunts and pulls me closer.

“I don’t want to get up yet,” he murmurs.

“Then don’t but I need to”  I move his arm again and roll away before he grabs me again. He sits up and blinks at the little girl sitting next to him.

“Hi Uncle Ady,” Lyna says in her cheerful voice.

“You’re Lyna?” He asks She responds with an enthusiastic nod. “How old are you?”

“I’m 5.”

Adrian seems to think for a few seconds.

“Who’s your mother?”

“Ana, silly.”

“No. Who birthed you?”

She shrugs. Losing interest in Adrian she turns to me. “Daddy said that if you agree, we can get ice cream!”

I’m still mad at the Marco’s. They should know better than to use their daughter to butter me up.

“Okay. I’ll take you to get ice cream. Just let me get dressed first.” She lets out an excited squeal and runs out the room. I assume to go tell ‘daddy’.

“You look like you’ve never seen your niece before, Adrian.” I say, stretching and heading for the dresser.

“That’s because I haven’t.”  

I freeze and look at him. “How?”

“I’m not.. accepted in the Society. I haven’t seen my brother in 200 years.”

I turn back to the dresser and pull out a pair of my jeans and a bra. I open another drawer and pull out one of Adrian’s black button-ups.

“Why aren’t you accepted, Adrian?” Normally I’d be shy changing in front of a guy, but Adrian has already seen me naked, so I slip my pants off and put the jeans on. Adrian is silent as I pull my shirt over my head. I get my bra on and an arm through a sleeve before I feel cool hands on my waist. As a human, I would have jumped in surprise. As a Vampire my posture just stiffens slightly before relaxing into him.

His hands slide up my stomach and cup my breasts. A warm, tingly sensations radiate from his touch.

“You’re such an idiot,” he breathes in my ear. I shiver, feeling his breath on me. He leans down slightly and kisses my neck, right where he bites me. I lean on to him and tilt my head to the side. I drop the shirt and turn around, placing my hands on his bare chest.

“What did I do this time?” I ask, breathing in his scent.

“You know how hard it is to control myself, and yet you deliberately take your clothes off in front of me.”

I smile. So he is affected by me! I stretch up and press my lips to his. His arms tighten around me and I press myself to him. My hands snake around his neck and tangle in his hair. I nibble on his lip and he moans. His hands move down my back and to my hips, pressing his lower half to me. I can literally feel him pressing into me. I push him backwards, towards the bed. He falls over and I move so that I’m on top of him. I get an idea. I grab his hands and hold them above his head. His eyes flash red. I smile at him, “Keep them there.” He growls. I growl back and start kissing his neck. I make my way downwards, taking time to suck on each of his nipples. His body jerks a little, but he otherwise shows no reaction.  I reach the waistline of his boxers and lick along the band, dipping my tongue under it slightly. He shudders again and I feel his arm muscles tense as he balls a pillow in his fists. I look up at him as I slide my fingers under the waistband and pull it down. His eyes are clenched shut. His hips shift up to allow his boxers to be removed. He’s now completely naked. I know it’s technically not the first time I’ve seen him naked, but I didn’t pay attention last time. I take his partially stiff member in my hand, mildly surprised that my fingers barely touch. I look up at him again. I can’t believe he’s letting me do this. I kiss his thigh, then take him in my mouth. He lets me go on for a little while before pulling me up and kissing me.

“Why’d you stop me?” I ask, when he moves to kiss my neck. He flips us over and pins my arms above my head again. He presses his forehead against mine and clenches his eyes shut. What is he doing?

After a few moments he opens his eyes. They’re bright red.

“You’re killing me, Anastasia.” He groans and moves off me, picking up his boxers and appearing on the other side of the room. He throws the shirt at me. I put it on and watch him slip on his robe.

“What’s wrong, sir?” I ask.

He just blinks at me. I smirk. “Well, sir, I have a 5 year old to take to get ice-cream. I’ll be back shortly.” Time slows down and I turn in time to catch whatever he just threw at me. Everything returns to normal and I look at what’s in my hand. My mobile phone.

“Our bond would be quicker, but my number is in there if you need me." I nod and leave.

Chapter 14

Its only when we're halfway to the ice cream parlor that I realize people won't be able to see Lyna. How can she eat ice cream in a public place if no one can see her?

"Don't worry, one of the perks in having the King as her father is she's really powerful. She has the ability to temporarily make herself visible,” Marco informs me.

“This mind reading thing is annoying. Is there a way to keep you out of my head?” I ask him.

“Yes, but I’m not telling you how.”

I glare at Blake. Lyna lets out a squeal, announcing our arrival at the ice cream place. I decide that I am not going to talk to any of the Marcos for the rest of this little adventure. I’m still technically mad at them for hitting me. I know he gave Lyna the idea for this so we could be alone. He’s probably still mad because it seems like I’m choosing Adrian. Which to be honest, I am. I chose Adrian when I stopped the Marcos from beating him too badly.

I can tell he’s still in my head because his whole posture stiffens. All three of them let out a low growl. It’s quiet enough that only I, and possibly Lyna, can hear it. My plan to ignore him fails when I get an idea.

“Can I eat ice cream?” I ask him.

He smiles sadly. “Yes. But it’ll taste weird.”

I can get ice cream! I let out a squeal and join Lyna at the counter. I probably moved just a little too fast, but people will just assume I’m a fast runner. I can’t decide between chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, and banana. The Marcos are finding my indecision hilarious. He tells me just to get all three. I do, still excited that I can actually eat it.

We find a booth and have just sat down, Lyna sitting next to me, on the outside and the Marcos on the other side of the table. I’m just about to take my first bite of the mint chocolate chip when a small child approaches our table. He looks nervous as he glances at the Marcos, then me, then settles his eyes on Lyna.

“Hi, I’m Billy,” he says, smiling shyly. The Marcos tense and I turn my head slightly to get a look of the little boy. He looks like a typical 4 or 5 year old.

“Nice to meet you, Billy, I’m Lyna.”

The boy opens his mouth to say something, but is interrupted when a woman hurries over.

“Billy! What have I told you about talking to strangers?” She says, grabbing his arm. She looks at me, then the Marcos. “Sorry about this. This kid talks to everything.”

Blaire smiles at her and I hear her quick intake of breath.

“You look familiar, do I know you?” She asks. Wow. What a line. I almost snort, but stop myself. I don’t want to be rude. My almost snort brought her scent to me. I tense up. She’s not a Vamp. But she’s not Human either.

“Depends, Milady. How much do you know about Vampyres?”

I literally see the recognition flash in her eyes. “You’re.. the King, right? Said to be one person three bodies?”

They nod as one. This time I do snort. I can’t help it. I still find the whole ‘one person three bodies’ thing utterly ridiculous. The woman turns her gaze to me.

“I don’t recognize you..”

I smile. “Of course not. I just Turned a few days ago. No one knows me yet.” Her smile fades, replaced with confusion. “I’m Anastasia, Mate to the Kings and their brother Adrian.” Her jaw drops.

“Ana! Don’t be rude,” the Marcos chide me in their three-way voice.

“How the hell am I being rude? All I did was introduce myself.”

Blaine growls. “You’ve been hanging around Adrian too much. You seem to have lost your manners.”

I shrug and decide I want to eat my ice cream. I take a bite of the mint chocolate chip and instantly decide that I don’t like it. What a shame, it was always my favorite.

“I’m sorry about Ana, Miss. She’s new to the whole ‘polite’ thing.”

I nearly choke on my spoonful of banana ice cream.

“I thought I was being polite. I didn’t growl or anything when she gave you that hungry look.”

I see the woman blush, but she doesn’t try to sneak away or anything. She seems to be interested in our argument.

The Marcos tilt their heads to the side. “You were jealous?”

“Of course I was jealous. You’re my Mates.” I turn to look at the woman, she averts her eyes. “Don’t worry sweetheart. I still have to choose between these idiots and Adrian. I technically have no claim on them yet.”

“How can you talk to the King like that? Nona says the Royals don’t tolerate insolence,” Billy asks. Now that I noticed the woman's scent, I notice he carries it too, just fainter.

I lean towards him slightly. “Here’s a little secret, Billy. Mates get special treatment.” I feel something hit my head. I turn to see all the Marcos smiling at me. Something runs down the back of my neck. I look down to see my ice cream bowl empty.

“You! How dare you waste ice cream!” I exclaim, causing everyone to laugh. I scoot over in the bench, pulling Lyna with me. “Have a seat, Lady-who-has-not-introduced-herself.” I say. She smiles.

“My name is Sera.” She says, ushering Billy into the seat.

“If you don’t mind me asking, Sera, what are you?”

She smiles. “I’m a Witch.” I look at Blake.

“Jace doesn’t smell like that.”

“Jace who?” Sera asks.

“Jace Van Helsing. He’s my Guardian.” She smiles.

“He doesn’t smell like me because mother has masked his scent. Things wouldn’t have progressed like they did if the one who bit you knew you were there with a Witch.”

I stare at her, slack-jawed. “You know Jace?”

She laughs. “Yes, I know Jace. I birthed him.”

“Holy shit! You’re his mother?”

She starts to say something but stops when a generic ringtone fills the air. It’s my phone. Adrian must have changed the ringtone. It’s Jace calling me.

“You’ll never guess who I’m sitting here at the ice cream parlor with,” I say right away.

“Okay. Then tell me who?”

I put the phone on speaker and tell Sera to say something.

“Why is your Charge here and you’re not?”

“Mother! What are you doing there?”

“I was taking your son to get ice cream.”

Jace has a son?

“Wait. Billy belongs to Jace?” I exclaim shocked.

“I’ll explain later, Ana. You need to get home. I think Adrian is about to kill Clari and I’m not strong enough to stop him.”

I sigh. Damn drama. “Okay, I’ll be right there.” I look at the Marcos. “You guys stay here, talk, hook up, whatever. Just don’t tell me if anything happens.”  I’m let out of the booth and I leave the parlor, ignoring the strange looks I’m getting from people. Yes, I know there’s ice cream on my head. They don’t need to stare.

Chapter 15

I walk into the living room to see Adrian holding Clari to the wall by her throat.

“What is going on?” I ask, walking up behind him and laying my hand on his shoulder. The muscles beneath my hand relax a little.

“I’m tired of listening to her complain about you.”

Aww. He’s defending me.

“Release her, Adrian. It may have all been a scam, but she was still my best friend.”

He doesn’t listen to me. Clari’s face is turning blue. I’m not sure how much time she has left. I step around Adrian and easily pry his hand from her. She collapses, gasping for breath.

Adrian blinks when I look at him.

“What the hell is on your head?”

“One of your brothers thought it’d be funny to dump my ice cream on me.” His mouth twitches. I resist the urge to hit his arm. I glare at him instead.

“If I go take a shower, will you leave Clari alone?”

He just stares. I take that as a no. I sigh. “Fine. Then you’re standing in the bathroom while I shower.”

He shakes his head. “I won’t touch the Witch. You go shower.”

“Promise?” He nods. “Good. I’m going to wear a pair of your sweatpants.”

“You have your own.”

“I know. But I like yours.”

I go to the bedroom to get clothes, then head to the bathroom. My shower is quick. I don’t want to risk Clari’s life. I know Adrian would seriously hurt her if she pisses him off again. My brush has joined Adrian’s on the counter, yet another thing that makes it obvious I’ve claimed this space as mine. I brush my wet hair and put the brush down. I turn to leave but stop when a pain shoots through my chest. It hurts, almost as bad as when I turned. It came on so quickly I can’t help but cry out as I fall to the floor clutching my chest. It lasts a few moments then stops. Something is wrong with one of the Marcos.

The door bursts open and Adrian kneels beside me. I feel him invade my mind.

“It’s Marco, but I don’t know which one,” I say, standing up. He nods and takes my hand. We take off running, using vampiric speed. I’m faster than Adrian so I’m practically dragging him back to the ice cream parlor. I’m almost there when I get a bad feeling. Something is terribly wrong.

There’s yellow tape around the parlor. Several policemen are keeping the crowd at a distance.

“What happened?” I ask a bystander.

“Some lunatic shot this guy. Poor fellow. I think he was here with his brothers and kid.”

I feel the little color I have drain from my face.

“Is he okay?”

“Dunno.”

I start shoving people out of the way. Once at the tape, a policeman tries to stop me but I easily get past him. The ambulance isn’t here yet, so whoever was shot is still going to be inside.

Chapter 16

 

I make it inside but don’t get far before Lyna attaches herself to my leg. Tears streaming down her face. The sight of her upset brings me to tears. I don’t let them fall. Not yet. I need to know which one and if he’s alright. With the police officer yelling at me to get back, Lyna on my hip, and Adrian following close behind I step farther into the parlor, heading to where there’s a small crowd of uniformed officers. I push my way forward.

“No!” I breath, falling to my knees next to the Marco. I touch his face. He doesn’t move.

“He’s dead, miss.” A man says next to me. I ignore him.

I slap the Marco’s face. “Blake dammit, wake up.” Nothing happens. Something inside breaks and I know there’s tears streaming down my face.

Arms pull me away. I turn and bury my face into Adrian’s chest.

He’s gone, Ana.

“No he’s not! He’s a fucking Vampyre, he’s can’t be dead!”

He can’t be gone. I just met him. He’s my Mate. He can’t be gone. He can’t be. I pull away from Adrian and turn back to Blake. I crawl towards him and lay my hand on his chest. I close my eyes and try to sense something. Anything. I get nothing. Nothing but an overwhelming sense of loss. I open my eyes and meet Blake’s glazed ones.

“Ma’am, we’re going to have to ask you to step back. The paramedics are here.”

I ignore him and touch Marco’s face again. It’s already cold. Well, he was cold before. Vamps are cold, but not this cold.

“Ma’am, please.”

“Can’t you see she’s in shock? Give her a minute, Joe,” Another unfamiliar voice says.

Ana, he’s gone. Let them take him.

Adrian’s right. I lean forward and close Blake’s eyes, then press my lips to his. I wipe my face. I don’t want them seeing the blood tears. They’d think something is wrong with me. I stand up and turn away, looking for the other Marcos. I find them off to the side, looking dazed and in shock. Lyna is holding each of their hands. I slowly walk to them. I pick Lyna up and walk into their arms. They both step in close, their arms tight around me. If I feel like this, I can’t imagine what they feel. Losing their brother, their triplet, the third piece of their puzzle.

After a few moments, I feel Adrian nearby.

“What happened?” He sounds calm, like he usually does. Does he not feel anything? I pull away from the two Marcos and look at him. His mouth is pulled tight and his face is blank. Yes, he’s upset too.

“We were just sitting here, talking with Sera. Lyna was talking to Billy and the next thing I know Sera had a gun. She aimed it at Blake and pulled the trigger. Both her and Billy disappeared into thin air,” the monotone voice sounds different with only the 2 of them.

Sera did this? Jace’s mom? I let out a growl. How could he? I may not have had any intention of choosing him, but he’s still my Mate. Why didn’t he tell me she was going to attack?

I pull away completely and head towards the door. Several cops try to stop me, but I ignore them.

Chapter 17

 

Without thinking much about it I use the bond with Jace to quickly find his location. He’s at the apartment, tending to Clari. Running there will take too long. I want vengeance now. My body starts to tingle. I get the urge to close my eyes and to stop running. I listen to it. When I open my eyes I’m standing in the living room. Woah. Did I just teleport?

Ana! Calm down he didn’t know.

Bullshit. She’s his mother. I hear movement and turn to see Jace in the doorway.

“What’s wrong, Ana?”

I resist the urge to jump him. It’s hard. He should have warned me his mother would attack. I would have never left them alone with her.

“Blake is dead,” I say, not hiding my anger from him.

“He’s a Vamp. Of course he’s dead,” Jace replies, looking confused.

“No. He’s dead. For good.” I take a deep breath. I’m starting to shake. “Your mother killed him!”

He pales as he realizes how angry I am. I slowly start walking towards him. He backs away, throwing his hands up.

“I don’t know what’s going through your mind right now. But I had nothing to do with it. I swear!”

I feel some kind of energy form around him. I’m getting closer, deliberately scaring him now. But I don’t care. Blake is gone and it’s his fault. He should have warned me against his mother!

I start to lift my hand, still moving slowly, with the intention of hitting him, but I get stopped. Blaire is standing in front of me. I attempt to move him aside but arms wrap around me from behind. I let out a growl and kick out, trying to break free. I do, but another pair of arms stop me.

“Let go of me!” I shriek. I don’t like this. Can’t they see that it’s Jace’s fault?

“It’s not Jace’s fault. He has no control over his mother.” That’s Blaire’s voice. How can it not be Jace’s fault? He knew his mother, better than I did, and he didn’t warn us. Blake could still be here!

“He hasn’t talked to his mother in about a month, Ana. She left the clan. It’s not his fault.”

I stop struggling. The anger is gone. Without the anger clouding my thoughts, I can think clearly. It’s not Jace’s fault. Especially if what Blaine said is true. I burst into tears again. Arms wrap around me. A deep breath tells me it’s Jace.

“I’m sorry..” I whisper. He doesn’t say anything. After a few moments, I pull away.

“Why didn’t you tell me you have a son?” I attempt to move to a different subject.

“It’s a long story. But to put it simply, I can be stupid.”

“Whose his mom?”

“She’s gone. She stayed long enough to have him, then she left. Haven’t seen or heard from her since.”

“Oh..”

“Yeah. And mother took him with her when she left. She said she was going to visit family and hasn’t been back. I had no idea to she was visiting that side of the family...”

I turn my head, looking for Adrian. I know he’s bound to be upset, even if he doesn’t show it. Blake was his brother. Just as our eyes lock the front door bursts open. I don’t even have to look to know who it is.

“What happened?!” Elizabeth demands. I bite my cheek. As much as I don’t want her here, she’s technically their sister. She just lost her brother.

“A Hunter got him.” The Marcos say.

“How?”

“She pretended to be a friend..” Blaine adds.

Elizabeth turns to me, her anger is etched onto her face. “I assume she was a friend of yours?”

I don’t say anything. Technically she was, even if I just met her. Elizabeth narrows her eyes but doesn’t say anything else. She turns to Adrian and runs to him. I close my eyes and bite my tongue.

“Ady, how could you let this happen? It’s her fault. You shouldn’t have Turned her.”

I hear a growl and a thud. I open my eyes to see Elizabeth on her ass on the floor. She’s looking up at Adrian, shocked.

“Anastasia is my Mate, Elizabeth. How dare you blame this on her. She had no idea her best friend's mother was a Hunter. It's just as much her fault as it is mine. Or Jace's. Or yours." He's shaking with rage. I doubt its because of me though. He's trying not to show his grief.

Elizabeth stares at him, momentarily speechless. Everyone but me is shocked by his outburst.

“Does that mean you claim me?” I ask quietly. He doesn’t respond, just blinks at me.

“I don’t believe you. She’s Marco’s Mate. Not yours. I’m yours.”

I can’t help but growl. “If he’s your Mate where’s your Mark?” I ask.

She turns and blinks at me. “What are you talking about?”

“The Mark? It proves you’re Mates.” I walk over to the Marcos and take their hands. I pull them up to show their Marks. The middle of the lightning bolt is missing. I let out a choked sob, but otherwise ignore the empty feeling in my chest.

“Blake had the middle of the bolt..” I whisper. I drop their hands and go to Adrian. I tilt his head back and pull his collar down. “This happened that day you pulled him away from me.”

Elizabeth picks herself off the ground and she goes to the Marcos. She examines their Marks. Then comes to us. I’m still holding Adrian’s shirt down and she leans in and looks at it.

“I’ve never heard of Marks..” She says, stepping away from us.

“You have, you just never paid attention to them. People were saying we belonged together since we were little. It’s understandable that you’d believe them."

"You believed them."

"For a while, but I haven't in a long time."

She frowns. ‘I wasted all this time on him...’ I hear her voice, but her lips don’t move.

“You didn’t waste your time, exactly. You just... prioritized it.”

Everyone looks at me. Elizabeth looks shocked, then angry. “How dare you read my mind! I am your Elder!”

“I read your mind?”

“She can’t control her powers yet, Miss,” Jace says.

“Who are you?”

“I am Jace Van Helsing. Ana’s Guardian.”

Elizabeth turns to the Marcos. “Why does she get a Guardian, and I don’t? She just Turned. I’m your sister!”

The Marcos hold their hands up. “Wasn’t my decision. He’s been assigned to her for years. Way longer than I’ve known her.”

“I’m sorry to bring up this subject again, but what will done as a funeral? He was part of three.. Will there be a typical Vamp service or something different because he’s King?” Jace asks.

“There will a public Celebration of Life, a Week of Mourning, and then a private ceremony for family and close friends,” Adrian says.

“And this will happen in the Vampyre Society?”

“Yes, it’ll happen throughout all the lands, but it’s be centralized near the Palace,” Elizabeth says.

I have questions, but I don’t want to voice them.

“The Celebration of Life is a day with no boundaries. Think of Mardi Gras, but with splurging Vampires. And the Week of Mourning is actually only three days of fasting and nothingness. No feeding, no eating, no sex, nothing. The only exceptions would be Newly Turned, as they have to feed every night and sometimes have difficulty controlling their sex drives,” Jace informs me. He knows me well enough to know I wouldn’t ask my questions out loud.

“When is it?” I ask.

“He died today. It’ll be in about a week, that way it’s gives people time to get to the Palace,” Elizabeth says. Her eyes narrow at me. “You can’t go. You have to be a born Vampyre to go to the Palace.”

“As Mate to the deceased, Anastasia has every right to be there. Quit being nasty. Her status is technically above yours, sister.” The voice sounds different with the just the two. I didn’t like the 3 together, but it was better than this. Both the Marcos stand up and leave the room. I have no idea where they’re going. I consider going after them, but Elizabeth beats me to it. Jace quietly leaves the room, he knows that Adrian probably needs me.

I turn to look at Adrian. His face is still blank, but I know him well enough to know that he’s just hiding his feelings. He meets my gaze and opens his arms. I walk slowly towards him, amazed that he even opened his arms.

The hug starts out for me. My face is buried in his chest, his arms are wrapped tightly around me. But it slowly turns to me comforting him. He falls to his knees, almost dragging me down with him. His arms wrapped around my waist and his face buried in my tummy. I can’t really hug him back very effectively, so I just place my hands on his shoulders. I don’t say anything, I don’t want to ruin the moment.

After a few moments, he pulls away and looks up at me. “I don’t handle losing people well...” he whispers. Oh, he’s opening up again.

I open my mouth to say something, but I’m interrupted by my phone ringing.

I look at it, its mother.

"Hello?" I answer, sitting down next to Adrian and pulling him into my lap.

"Where the hell are you young lady?! I called the hospital you were never there. What about your education? Are you trying to fuck it up?"

"Im at my apartment, mother. And at the moment I have more important things to deal with than school. One of my Mates just died."

I hear her sharp intake of breath. "Mates? Oh no. Please don't tell me you've been Turned. That can't happen. You're father will freak."

"What the fuck, mother?! You know about Vampires?"

Adrian looks at me curiously.

"Language. Of course. We're Van Helsings dear." If my heart still beat it would have stopped. Adrian hisses and appears on the other side of the room.

"Van Helsings killed my Mate, mother. Choose your next words carefully."

"I heard that Sera actually got the King. Did she kill him?"

I hang up. I don't want to hear that I'm technically a Van Helsing. My phone rings again I throw it, it hits the wall, but surprisingly it doesn't break. I turn to Adrian. My blood runs cold at the look on his face. He's not bothering to hide his feelings this time. He's thoroughly pissed.

"You bitch! I fucking trusted you. I opened up to you.” He snorts. “To think, I actually believed that you were upset.”

I stand up slowly. “What are you talking about? I am upset. My Mate just died.”

He appears in front of me. Stinging on my face tells me he hit me. I freeze, I don’t even breathe. He actually hit me.

“Don’t lie to me, woman. You’re one of them. You’ve been using me to get close to the King.”

I’m sure my jaw drops. “Adrian. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I seriously didn’t know about any of this before you came along.”

He roars and time slows down. His arm slowly raises as he goes to hit me. Again. Instead of knocking his hand aside, or getting him to the ground, I take several steps back. His missing me makes him angrier so he attempts to hit me again. I turn around and run to the bedroom. I slam the door behind me and turn the lock. It won’t keep him out for long. I ignore the tears as I quickly try to figure out what just happened. Adrian got like this after mother said we were Van Helsings. He started accusing me of faking feelings and using him to get close to the King. He’s been inside my head.. How can he think that? I hear a door slam. I collapse to the floor, attempting to hold back the sobs. After a few moments, there’s a light knock on the door. I ignore it. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t understand why Adrian is mad at me, but he hit me. He’s never actually hit me before. I never even thought he was capable of hitting me, especially after the speech he gave the Marcos.

The door crashes open and I get pulled into someone’s arms.

“What happened?” Jace asks.

“Adrian hit me..” I whisper, turning to bury my face in his neck. He let’s out a growl.

“I’ll kill the bastard.”

“He thinks I used him to get close to the Marcos...”

“Why does he think that?” Elizabeth asks.

“Mother called and informed me that we’re Van Helsings..I had no idea! But Adrian thinks I used him..”

“Once he’s had time to calm down, he’ll come back.” Blaine says, leaning against the door next to his brother.

“No. I saw the hate in his eyes. I’ve lost two people today.” I can’t stop the tears as they continue to roll down my cheeks. Blaine and Blaire push themselves from the wall and sit on the ground next to me. They pull me into their arms and away from Jace. I direct an apologetic look towards Jace. He shrugs, telling me he understands.

“Even if you’ve lost him, you still have me. “ They say in unison. I don't say it out loud,  but it's not the same. I'm closer to Aidan than them.

Chapter 18

The next few days pass in a blur. The Marcos make me pack a light suitcase and we start traveling to the Society. Which, I learned,  is actually a whole other world that you have to get to through a portal. To limit the amount of people traveling to the Society, there are only a few portals available. Unfortunately,  I'm in such a trance, from losing both Blake and Adrian, that I barely pay attention to where the boys are taking me. I am aware that Jace is able to go, even though he's not a Vampire. Elizabeth accompanies us too, but she seems to be understanding of my need to be withdrawn.

The portal takes us directly to the castle. Or the Palace, as Elizabeth called it. As soon as we arrive the Marcos get whisked away for preparations and Jace and I get shown to our quarters. Apparently being my guardian means he gets to stay by me. Our quarters consist of a large main room, with a couch, fireplace, television,  and a ginormous bookshelf, two bedrooms, with queen sized beds, a changing room/walk in closet for my room, and two restrooms complete with jacuzzi tubs and heated toilet seats. The closet is stocked with tons of dresses ranging from modern dresses seen in the Human world now, to elegant ball gowns worn in eras past.

The Celebration of Life begins and I watch from the bedroom windows as the Vampyres below dance, drink, and are just being happy. How can they do this? Someone died. They should be sitting around mourning the loss of 1/3 their King.

"The point of the Celebration is not to ignore death. But to celebrate and acknowledge that where there is death there is life. They're rejoicing in the fact that they're still alive. The Week of Mourning is when everyone will be cooped up in their rooms mourning. Marco would expect his people, his Mate, to Celebrate their own lives, then mourn him."

I turn from watching the children twirling around some kind of pole holding ribbons. Elizabeth is standing in the doorway. Here, in the Society, Vamps don't have to wear black to disguise themselves. Elizabeth is wearing a beautiful dress that looks like it was pulled directly from the Victorian era. Her waist is even several inches smaller due to a corset. She looks nice in blue.

"I am not alive. What is there to celebrate?"

"Are you acting like this because of Marco? Or is it because Adrian left?" I stay silent. I don't know the answer. "Listen to me. I'm not happy that you've stolen my Prince. But in the little bit I've seen you two together I have seen sides of Adrian that I've never seen before. You're good for him. Adrian is... difficult. He has a short temper and often times blows up over something trivial or illogical and disappears. The time he's gone is unpredictable, but he always comes back. Even if it's a few days, a decade, century,  or even a millenia.  He'll be back. So don't let his absence bother you. It's something you'll have to get used to being his Mate." With that said,  she turns and leaves the room.

I believe her. She's known Adrian longer than I have. But I saw the way he looked at me. He'll never forgive me for this 'betrayal'.

But she's right. Blake wouldn't want me moping around while everyone else is celebrating. I go to the closet and start looking through the dresses.

"I believe this gown would look lovely on you," a female voice says. I whip around to face her. Shes holding black dress. I can't see any details other than the color.

"Who are you?" I ask, weary of the stranger.

She bows. "I am Tricia, you're Lady in Waiting, my Queen."

"My what? And what did you call me?"

"As mate to the King, you're automatically Queen. I am your servant to help you with hair and clothing."

“Why aren’t you celebrating with everyone else, Tricia?” I ask, taking the gown from her and holding it up to look at. It looks like a shapeless sack.

“My job comes first, MiLady.” She chuckles and takes the dress from me. “There are underthings for this that’ll make it looks astonishing.”

Tricia dresses me in a tight corset, bloomers, and a hoop skirt. I’m nervous about the hoopskirt, but Tricia claims that I’ll get used to it the longer I wear it. She helps me put on some stiletto heels before we put on the actual gown. Once the dress is on, and all of my laces are done, the pins my hair up into some kind of elegant half-updo, and applies light makeup to my face. She was right, with the corset, and other hoops the gown looks a lot better. My waist is drawn in tight, and my chest is pushed up. I can’t help but feel.. pretty. I’ve always wished I lived in the era of corsets and hoop skirts.

I’m looking out the window at the crowds again, wondering if I’ll actually be able to have fun down there.

“I’ll go down with you, MiLady. The King and Lady Elizabeth should be down there. I’ll take you to them.”

“Thank you, Tricia. After that, please go enjoy yourself.”

She smiles. “No worries, I will.”

All talking is quickly hushed and the band trails off when I enter the field. I can literally feel the people wondering who I am.

“Anastasia, I’m glad you joined us,” The Marcos say, standing up and both holding a hand out for me. I walk carefully towards them, being cautious of my skirt. I’ve already tripped once, and I’d hate to embarrass myself in front of all these people. When I reach them, I take each of their hands and they literally pulling me up the few steps to the raised dais.

“You look lovely, Ana.” I smile and perform an awkward curtsy. “Come, join the celebrations.”

The night passes and I actually enjoy myself. I drink plenty of blood-spiked wine and hang all over both of the Marcos. Even Elizabeth manages to be nice and not ruin the good time. I get so lost in the revelries and having a good time that I don’t think of Adrian once. Not even when I got into a heavy makeout session with Blaine and Blaire had to separate us to keep us from sealing the bond.

I wake up the next morning with a killer headache. I have no idea where I am, but considering I don’t know the Palace, at all, it’s understandable. On a positive note, I’m still dressed. Kind of. The gown is gone, and I’m left wearing just the corset, bloomers and petticoats. I have no idea where the hoop skirt went either.I stretch and my hand hits something. I sit up and turn to see both Marcos. We’re laying on an enormous bed, and it’s surprisingly comfortable, considering that me, Blaine, Blaire and Elizabeth are all sprawled on it.

I yawn and stretch again. Yawning seems pointless when you don’t need to breathe, but it’s a habit I formed.

“Good morning, Ana,”  Blaire says, stretching.

“So what happens now?”

“Now, it’s three days of mourning. Most will stay cooped up in their rooms. The kitchen will be shut down and no one in the Palace will eat, drink, or have sex.”

“What about me? I still need to drink every night.”

“You’ll have access to blood at night, just enough for you to survive. If you don’t plan on staying with me during the day, just come find me here.”

“What should I do?”

“Mourn. Your mate is dead.”

“Of course.” I climb off of the bed.

“How do I get back to my rooms?”

“I can make a guard take you, or you could teleport. You did it before.” Blaine says, stretching and cuddling up to his brother. It takes me a moment to remember that I have teleported before. From the ice cream parlor to Adrian’s apartment. I don’t know how I did it though. I ask for an escort back to my room and Jace is there.

Chapter 19

 

The Week of Mourning passes slowly. I spend the day in my rooms, with Jace, either reading or sleeping. Jace, being human is allowed to eat, but only because it’s helps him keep his energy up. I’m almost glad when it comes time for the ceremony, simply because it means I get to leave my rooms for more than a quick drink. Tricia helps me dress in what she calls ‘traditional mourning attire.’ It just an under-corset pulled tight, black bloomers and petticoats and a black, modest-cut gown. My hair is left down, at my insistence, but I do wear one of those clip-on hats with the mesh veil. I even wear blacks heels, that are ridiculously tall, and black fishnet gloves that reach my elbow. I must say, I sure look the part of grieving widow.

Jace is also dressed in all black, which, I guess shouldn’t be surprising as it’s a funeral. I'm sure most will be wearing black.  Almost as soon as we’re both ready a bell starts to toll, signifying the ceremony will be starting soon. Tricia escorts us to the room where everyone is gathered. The room is darkened, and I instantly notice the smell of incense in the air. Tricia left us at the door and Jace and I enter the room solemnly. I look around the room. I can see Elizabeth, the remaining Marcos, Lyna, and some people I don’t recognize.

“Ana,” The Marcos say, offering their hands. I take them and allow him to pull me towards two of the strangers.

“These are my parents. Lord Lucus and Lady Isabelle. Mother, father, this is my Mate, Anastasia.”

“Nice to meet you Ana. It’s a shame we had to meet under these circumstances,” Lord Lucus says, holding his hand out.

I start to rise my hand, to shake his, but a sudden entrance to the room makes my back stiffen and my hand to freeze. Adrian. Both Lucus and Isabelle exchange a glance at my sudden obvious discomfort. I don’t turn to face him. I can literally feel him approaching. He stops next to me, standing on the opposite side of the Marcos. He’s standing so close I can literally feel the waves of energy coming from him. I guess it’s possible I’m just super attuned to him.

“Mother, Father,” He says to his parents, nodding at them. Wow. Some greeting.

“Adrian. What are you doing here?” Lady Isabelle asks venomously. What the hell? It was his brother who died.

“Marco is my brother, mother. Why wouldn’t I come to his funeral?”

“You haven’t been around in the past several years. I didn’t think you’d even care.”

Irritation hits me in waves. How could she say that to her son?

Still without looking at him, I shift slightly closer and take Adrian hand. With his father glaring daggers at him, and his mother practically shouting accusations at him, he needs to know someone is on his side. Even if he doesn’t deserve my support right now. As if hearing my thoughts, he pulls his hand away, but not before his parents notice.

“Adrian! How dare you mess with your brother’s mate! He’s your King!” His mother screeches, causing me to shrink away slightly. Adrian just stares at her, letting her be nasty.

I step forward and shove Adrian behind me.

“Mr. Masters is not messing with his brothers’ mate. I was his way before I met the Marcos. How dare you accuse him of such nastiness. He may seem cold, and mean on the outside, but that’s because he’s afraid of getting hurt. And after hearing the way you speak to him, the way his mother speaks to him, I can understand why.” Having said what I want, I turn away from the Marcos’ mother and guide Adrian away.

“How dare she speak to me that way, Lucus!”

“She’s now Queen, Belle. She can speak to you anyway she pleases.”

I tune their squabbling out, and turn to Adrian. I look around, only to see people staring.

“We need to talk, Adrian. But we will not do it here, at your brother’s funeral. Come to my rooms tonight. If you don’t, I’ll hunt you down. Got it?” He just stares at me. I take that as confirmation.

I spend the rest of the evening hovering near Adrian, but not touching or talking to him, and watching as someone called a High Priestess does some kind of ‘sending away’ ritual. I refuse to cry, as my mourning is complete. I follow instructions, which is holding a lit candle and repeating what the Priestess tells us to. A fire is lit and I realize that Blake’s body is on a pyre in the center of the room, how I missed it earlier I have no idea. Once the ceremony is over, the Marcos introduce me to the others in the room. I don’t remember many names, names aren’t my thing, but I do remember their relation to my Mates, thus their relationship with me. I met several aunts, a few uncles and some cousins. Everyone present is family, apparently Blake didn’t have any friends. Once I’ve been introduced to everyone, I excuse myself and go my rooms. I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider.

But I guess I am an outsider. All of the people back there know each other, and have known eachother for years. Hundreds of years. I’m just the random Turned Human who just happened to mate to their king. Even Jace fits in better than I do. I left him talking to the Great Aunt Caral talking about the history of the Van Helsing clan.

Chapter 20

 

I enter my rooms and go directly the fire that’s already lit. I plan to sit in one of the chairs in front of them to wait for Adrian, but my plan changes when I see who's sitting in one of them.

“I’m surprised you actually showed up,” I say, sitting down on the floor in front of the fire. I don’t want to sit too far away from Adrian, but I don’t want to be too close either.

He doesn’t say anything. I’m sure that if my back wasn’t to him, he’d be giving me that blank stare again. I look over my shoulder to see just that, the stare.

“So we’re back to that?” I start to watch the fire, the dancing flames are oddly soothing.

Several minutes pass with no sound other than the crackling pop of the fireplace. I’m almost startled when Adrian says “I shouldn’t have struck you.”

“No, Adrian you shouldn’t have.”

“I was angry.”

“No, shit.”

I hear him stand up, and feel him move closer as he sits down next to me. We’re both silent for a while, watching the fire.

“You’ve been inside my head, Adrian. You’ve seen all my memories and secrets... How could you accuse me of betraying you? Of betraying the Marcos?”

“I was upset. My brother was killed.”

“And I wasn’t? He was my mate, Adrian. I literally felt him die. I lost two mates that day.”

“Ana, don’t be an idiot. You only lost one. He died.”

“And now you’re back to denying me?” I turn to face him. “What is with you? I thought we were getting somewhere. I get that you lost a brother, but I lost a Mate, and pushing away one of the few people that actually care for you will not change it.”

He blinks at me a few times. “I don’t do feelings, Ana. You know this.”

“So you’ve said, but you do do feelings. You opened up to me. Don’t pull away now.”

I move so that I’m more in front of him than beside him. I reach up and cup his cheek. “We were doing so well...”

He shrugs my hand away. “I hit you. You should be avoiding me.”

“Adrian. The Marcos hit me. And although I never expected you to, I’m okay with it. As long it won’t happen again. I could have kicked your ass, like I did the boys, but I didn’t want to. I was hoping you’d calm down if I was out of sight. But you left instead.”

I’m crying again. I swear, before Adrian showed up, I never cried this much. He sighs, and I find myself buried into his chest. His arms are wrapped around me.

“I’m not used to feeling, at all. I don’t know how to.” I think he’s trying to tell me that having actual feelings scares him. That he doesn’t know how to react, so he randomly pushes me away, or runs away. It even explains him lashing out when he was grieving.

“I forgive you for hitting me. And leaving when I needed you the most. I think I understand. You don’t know how to handle feeling things.”

He doesn’t say anything, so I just wrap my arms around him and cuddle into him. “I’ve missed you, Mr. Masters. Please don’t leave again..” His response is to tighten him embrace, I can feel him rubbing slight circles in my back. I can barely feel it, as I’m wearing a corset and the fabric is thick. I pull away just enough to look up at his face and I’m mildly surprised that he’s looking down at me. I reach up and touch his cheek again. This time he leans into it, instead of pulling away. I move my hand around to the back of his neck and pull him down.

My lips press to his and he instantly kisses me back. The kiss deepens when he maneuvers us around so that he’s pinning me down. I let out a moan as he presses the length of his body against mine. He lets out a breathy chuckle and starts kissing down my jaw and to my neck. He starts to suck on the spot where he bit me and I moan, loudly, as I grab fistfulls of his suit jacket. His teeth sink into my neck and I hear a tear as I rip my skirt to wrap my legs around him. He continues sucking from my neck and I can’t stop myself from grinding onto him. He pulls away and kisses me again. My hands slide to the buttons of his jacket and I start to unbutton them. He pulls away and throws both his jacket and his shirt somewhere behind him. I lean forward and lick his chest. He laughs and stands up, pulling me up with him. He moves behind me and undoes the stays of the gown, let’s it drop, then starts working on the laces of my corset. It takes him no time at all to get it loosened and to have it off, it’s followed by the petticoats and bloomers. Once he has me stripped completely naked, he steps back and looks me up and down. He frowns when he looks at my stomach. I’m getting ready to hit him in the face when he looks up at me.

“Have you always had that mark?” I look down, and sure enough there’s a lightning bolt on my tummy. The bottom point is just touching my belly button and it reaches up about an inch.

“No. What does it mean?” I slide my hand over it, it’s completely smooth. If I wasn’t seeing it, I wouldn’t know it was there.

“The only thing I can think of it being is a Mate Mark. Maybe it represents the deceased Marco?” Adrian says, running his thumb over it. I place my hand over his, holding it to me. His fingers splay over my tummy and his thumb stops moving. I step close and wrap my free hand around him. I bury my face in his neck, breathing in the scent that is Adrian. He pulls his hand free and pulls me close, his hands resting on my hips. He tilts his head to the side.

“Bite me, Ana.”

I look up at him, “Are you sure?” He half smiles and nods. I don’t need anymore encouragement. I kiss his Mark, then open my mouth and sink my teeth into him. He grunts and his fingertips dig into my side. I start swallowing mouthfuls of his blood, reveling in the familiar taste that is Adrian. His left hand slides down and tugs on my thigh, so I jump up and wrap my legs around him, still drinking from him.

Distantly, I hear the sound of the door opening, but I’m too engrossed in Adrian to pay attention. It’s only when he grips my hair, ranks me away from him, and throws me behind his body, do I remember that I’m completely unclothed.

“Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t expect to see you here. Where’s Ana?” Jace asks. I blush and bury my face into Adrian’s back.

“I’m back here, but uh..”

He laughs. “If you’re unclothed back there, you know I’ve seen it before. But no worries, I’m just passing through to my room. You guys may want to take it into the bedroom though, someone else could walk in.”

I can instantly tell when Jace is gone. Adrian’s whole body relaxes before he turns around and pulls me flush against him. I look up, with the intention of reading his eyes, but he presses his lips to mine. I’m beyond surprised at his passion and the aggressive way he’s claiming my mouth. I kiss him back with equal fervor and jump up, wrapping my legs around his waist again. My back hits something softish and I find myself lying horizontal on the bed. His speed will always amaze me. He kisses his way down my jaw and to my neck where he kisses the point he normally bites. I let out a moan and grip the sheets beneath me. I remember his ‘no touching’ rule from the last time. His hand slides from my hip, across my stomach, over my ribcage and to my breast where he cups and kneads it. My back arches when he slides his fangs over my chest and to my nipple where he presses the point into it.

“Adrian..” I breath as he breaks the skin and drinks from me. My whole body clenches as I orgasm. Adrian moves so that he’s hovering above me.

“I haven’t even touched you yet, idiot.” He smiles, actually smiles, down at me. I smile back, despite the blush covering my features. He kisses me again, nibbling on my bottom lip. I grip the sheets even tighter and wrap my legs around him again, ignoring how his belt digs into me. Still kissing me, one of his hand slides from cupping my jaw, past my shoulder, down my arm and to my hand. He pulls the sheets free from my death grip and guides my hand to his chest. He wants me to touch him? I flatten my hand and rub slow circles with my thumb. I slide my other hand over his chest to meet my other one and then I wrap my arms around his neck and thread my fingers through his hair. He pulls away and steps back. I watch as he removes the rest of his clothes. There’s nothing special about the way he removes them, he just does.

Once naked, he climbs back on top of me, kissing my tummy. Once hand travels downwards and a finger circles me then presses its way inside. He kisses his way back up and claims my lips again, his finger still moving. I moan into his mouth and he adds another finger. He’s winding me up and he knows it.

“Mr. Masters, please.” I beg when his lips move back to my neck. He lets out a growl and suddenly he’s pinning my wrists above me, poised to enter. He presses against me, then freezes. I open my eyes and meet his.

“We can’t...”

“Mr. Masters.”

“You haven’t made your decision yet.” He pulls away completely and sits next to me.

“Now it’s my turn to call you an idiot. Can’t you tell I’ve already chosen?” I sit up so that I can see his face. “Whose side did I run to when the Marcos beat you up? Who did I take care of and bathe after that fight? Who have I spent almost every moment of the last 3 months with?”

“Why? I don’t deserve you. I’m the outcast in my own my home. You saw how mother reacted. I’ve done nothing but hurt you. I even hit you. Why choose me?”

“I’m not sure, Mr. Masters. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent more time with you? Maybe it’s because you’re my Maker. But maybe it’s because I chose you that night in club  and was already falling for you when I met the Marcos. They never had a chance because I had already chosen to stay with you.” I’ve moved during my speech and am now sitting in front of him.

“I’m a terrible creature, Anastasia. I’ve killed countless people. My own kind despises me. I’m a monster.”

“You’re not a monster, Adrian. You’re a Vampyre.” I’ve now climbed into his lap, and I rest my hands on his chest. “And whether you accept it or not, you’re my Vampyre.” His arms wrap around me again. I meet his eyes and am greatly surprised to see tears flooding them.

“Don’t cry, baby. It’s okay.” I caress his cheek again.

He lets out a growl and I’m suddenly being pinned down, my hands above my head. He buries his face in my neck and positions himself at my entrance. His fangs sink into me at the same time he thrusts into me.

I let out a sound that’s between a grunt and a moan. My eyes roll back as he takes me in two different ways. Once of his hands move from my wrist to my ribcage as he keeps me from scooting away from his pounding into me. I’m being wound up again and my moans get louder. He pulls away from my neck and kisses me. His tongue fighting mine for dominance, then sliding over my elongated fangs. When he stops kissing me and tilts his head back, exposing his throat to me, I instantly know what he wants. I sink my teeth and all it takes is a drop of his blood hitting my tongue to send me over the edge. I scream his name in my head as I clamp around him. He lets out one last moan as he reaches his climax right after me.

He’s pulling out to lay next when he’s flung to the other side of the room.

Chapter 21

 

“WHAT THE FUCK, ADRIAN.” Elizabeth’s voice screeches. I let out an exasperated sigh and collapse backwards. Can I not get a break from this woman?

“What is your problem woman?” Adrian exclaims.

“Do you have any idea what happened to your brother when you went and fucked the harlot? You just claimed his mate. He collapsed and won’t wake up. You just killed the King!”

Adrian snorts. “He’ll recover. Get out.” Adrian stands up and starts to walk back to the bed.

“Don’t tell me what to do! Did you not hear me? YOU’VE KILLED YOUR REMAINING BROTHER.”

“All mates go into a brief coma when rejected. He’ll wake up in a few days. Now get out.”

She turns to me. “Even though you chose Adrian instead of Marco, you’re still his Mate, so you’ll still be queen. But know that no one will be happy about this. No one.” She turns and storms out of the room.

“Why are you so disliked, Adrian?” He pauses in the process of climbing onto the bed next to me.

“You really don’t want to know. I’ve... hurt a lot of people. Of several species. Before I became this emotionless.. shell.. I was full of anger. Lots of anger.”

“You’re still full of anger.”

“No. What you’ve experienced is nothing like the way I used to be. I’ve burned down villages just because I didn’t like the way the buildings were built..”

“So you burned some buildings down, no biggie those can be rebuilt.”

“I made sure every villager, and their livestock, were locked inside when I burned them.”

“Oh.”

“You don’t want to know the things I’ve done to get hated. It’ll... alter your image of me.”

“Your past may change the way I see you, but I doubt it’d be in a bad way. Knowing your past will allow me to feel closer to you, my Mate.”

He shakes his head. “No. Drop it, Ana.”

I can tell by his tone he’s being serious. So I let the topic drop, for now.

“So, what does this whole Mate thing entitle? Now that we’ve completed the bond?”

“We’re considered married in the eyes of Supernatural community.”

“Does that mean my last name is ‘Masters’ now?”

He half smiles. “Masters isn’t my real last name. It was an alias for the Humans. And you technically took my name when I Turned you.”

“Then what is my name?”

“Names are slightly different here. You have my name, but also your original, and your Clan’s, since you have Witch blood. Your name is Queen Anastasia Soleria Van Helsing Blut Aias Aischylos Alexios Ambrosios. My full name is Prince Adryano Aias Aischylos Alexios Ambrosios. It means ‘Immortally Shamed Mourning Defending Warrior”. Ambrosios is the Royal Family name.

“Your parents named you ‘immortally shamed, mourning defending warrior?”

“No. I was named Adryano Ambrosios at birth. I’ve earned the others.”

“I liked ‘Masters’ better..”

“You can take that one too. With your Human persona, if you want.”

“Will I have to go back to school?”

“Yes. You may be Immortal now, but you still need an education. We should get dressed. We need to make an appearance at Dinner. Your reputation is still decent, we mustn’t ruin it. And when we get back from Dinner, both yours and Jace’s things will get moved to my chambers.”

“How, ‘unhappy’ will the people be with me?” I ask, deliberately climbing over Adrian to get off of the bed.

“Some will scorn you, but some will understand. Multiple Mates is rare, not unheard of. No one can technically blame you for choosing me over Marco. But some will. Just be prepared for anything.” His hands slide over my hips as I move. I walk towards my closet and open the doors. What should I wear?”

“You’re both in mourning, and newly mated. You can wear virtually anything.”

“What are you going to wear?”

“I always wear black.”

“Then I’ll dress to match. Come, help me pick something.”

Adrian dresses me in a simple black dress. No bloomers, hoops, or anything fancy. There’s a corset, which is making me start to believe he has a thing for them.

Chapter 22

 

Dinner is mostly a blur. The room went silent when we entered, hand in hand, and was then quickly filled with whispers and murmers. My Vampire hearing allows me to hear what they’re saying. After hearing several “She chose him?” “The poor King, losing both his Mate and Brother,” I tune them out. Adrian and I sit next to three empty chairs. I assume the chairs are where the Marco’s are supposed to sit. On the other side of the empty chairs, sits my in-laws and next to them is Elizabeth. I’m surprised to see her all the way down there, instead of next to Adrian. Lord Lucus and Lady Isabelle barely speak to me, the little words spoken to me are a stiff congratulations. Elizabeth completely ignores us. I understand why, she feels like I stole her man, I’d ignore me too.

After dinner, we, meaning Adrian, Jace and I, retire to Adrian’s quarters, which surprisingly enough is right next to the rooms I previously occupied. Adrian and I attempt to cuddle up on the sofa to watch a movie, Adrian wouldn’t tell me the movie, but Jace’s constant ‘awing’ of our acting like a couple aggravates Adrian so he retires to our bedroom. I stay with Jace, listening to him gossip about all the Vampyres he’s met and how much fun he’s having here. Just as Jace is starting to tell me about some maid he ‘rendezvoused’ with in the kitchen pantry, Adrian comes back into the room to inform us that we’re returning to the Human Realm tomorrow and that we’re leaving early, so we should get to sleep.

Are we sneaking out? I ask Adrian as he’s leading my Guardian and I through the halls of the Palace. I haven’t seen a person since yesterday at dinner. I seriously think we’re sneaking away.

Yes.

Care to explain why?

Later. I shrug and go along with him. He probably has his reasons.

We make it to the portal before we’re stopped. The guards who are assigned to portal demand to see our paperwork, until they realize who Adrian is. Once they allow us through, it takes a long ride in a plane then a car ride that seems equally as long, to get back to Adrian’s apartment. Clari waiting outside the door and appear to have been for a while.

“Where have you been?!” She exclaims practically tackling Jace.

“I told you I had to attend the funeral.”

Adrian unlocks the door and I follow him, leaving Jace to deal with his girlfriend.

“We’re going to school tomorrow, so prepare yourself.”

“I want to take your name.”  He nods.

“We can go to the courthouse later and get legally married. Have you fed recently?”

“Why did we sneak away from the Palace?”

“Answer the question, Ana.”

“You answer the question, Adrian.”

“People were starting to say things I didn’t like, so we left.”

“That doesn’t explain why we had to sneak.”

“As Mate to the deceased, you’re supposed to have a slightly longer mourning period than the rest of us.A group of people were so offended of you ‘moving on’ so quickly, they planned on ‘teaching you a lesson.’”

“I could have protected myself, Adrian.”

“You’re my mate, I didn’t want to risk it.”

“Are you going to be making these kind of decisions often?”

“Yes. Now, lets go Hunting. We’ll stop by the courthouse afterwards.”

Imprint

Publication Date: 01-29-2014

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