Around and around I paced in the cell that bastard had locked me inside of. Lock me up and throw away the key, I thought to myself. With my hands balled into fists behind my back, I bent my head back and plotted the ways that I could escape this dungeon.
I’d known that Durand was crazy, but I didn’t expect his feverish temper to drive him this far. What had I done that had been so horrible? Nothing, I can promise you that. All I wanted was the see the parents that had given me this life that he’d stolen away from me. I missed my younger brother who was probably ransacking my room, searching for clues as to why I was gone.
Aspen… Little Aspen Jace, the boy who wouldn’t have been alive if it wasn’t for me. I’d promised him that I’d always be there for him, but look at me now. I was trapped beneath some rich guy’s mansion. What would I do to save him now if he jumped in front of another car on his dirt bike?
My body leaned up against the iron bars, and I rested my head upon them. Gazing up at the long set of stone stairs that would led to another mysterious hallway, I bit down on my lip.
Durand was true to bring me food that first night he’d locked me down here, and he was the next. I’d wound up spending a total of… seventy-two hours down here. Durand had explained how much he wanted me back up on the surface with him and his brothers who were beginning to question where I was, but when I asked if he would let me see my family, the answer was still no. As long as he told me no, I would be happy to spend time down here by myself. I didn’t need his company no matter how lovely and endearing it was to have him around me whispering deadly compliments and delivering fiery hot kisses.
If he thought that he was stubborn, he would see it from a true blue Roesia. My family was notorious for their bullheaded nature. It’d been passed down to each female from my father’s side, and I was the next in line to be delivered that strength. My aunt had been horribly stubborn, running it straight through five marriages. Yeah, if he thought he was bad, he should meet my Aunt Madeline.
I slumped down to the cold floor and felt something warm and soft meet my bare skin. Reaching beneath my bottom, I prodded the soft pillow that Durand had delivered to me. Trying to win me over with comfort was he? Ha! Never in a thousand years vampire. I don’t care how sexy you are; you can’t make me like you.
A sound made my attentions scatter to the sight of Felix appearing in my cell. He gave me a smug grin and wondered, “Are you ready to make the deal, Naomi?”
My arms crossed beneath my breasts as I glowered at the sight of his hand in the darkness between us. “I just might be,” I hissed but made no movement to grip his hand. “Put that thing away before it gets bitten off.”
The man slipped his hands into his pockets then turned to slide down beside me. “The pillow was actually something I gave you,” he explained with another wicked grin.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, “now I know why it should burn.”
The vampire beamed towards the stone ceiling. “You really are charming. I hope you know, but that won’t help you in getting away from my brother. Face it, Naomi. You need me. I’m the only person that can help you and get away with it. All you have to say is yes.”
“Then sign me up, leech! Let me out of here!” I felt something cold on my arm, and my heart felt like it was going to fall straight out through the bottom of my shoes.
Suddenly, we were standing in front of the alley where I’d first met Liza as a vampire at. The ice cold vampire pulled my hand up to his lips and kissed them. After that, he was nothing more than a breeze in the wind. His voice chimed, “Keep your eyes open, Naomi. There’s no telling when something could go bump in the night.”
Rolling my eyes, I was suddenly staring into the many curious faces of people around me. Although it was spring, it was still too cold to be wearing a skimpy skirt and body flaunting blouse. I probably looked like a well-paid stripper to all these people.
Although the cold was nothing to me, I still covered my bare arms with my hands and feigned the chill of the night air. Biting on the inside of my lip, I kept my eyes away from the lights of the cars and headed towards the streets that I knew would take me towards my family.
Right now, Dad would be at the hospital since they’d changed him to night shift. Mom would probably be sitting up with Aspen, attempting to help him with his geometry homework. Hopefully, I could meet up with them before they went to bed, but I had no idea how long the walk would be since I’d always been driving from the dorm when I wanted to go to the house.
Nervous, I used my inhuman speed to swipe a coat off of a female that looked to be about my size and slipped it on. She didn’t look like she needed the extra material anyway. She had some… attractive man adoring everything she did.
I thought back to Durand. Why was I thinking of him right now? How many times do I have to tell myself? We didn’t do anything for me to get this attached. Yes, he’d taken me shopping. Yes, he’d played the piano for me. Yes, he’d delivered unto me some of the best, hottest, and most unforgettable kisses I’d ever tasted, but we’d never done anything.
Mentally, I slapped myself to get my head back into the game. I was here to find my family, and I was going to find them. No male would ever make me turn away from my family. Mom and Dad will always be there for me. A man could leave me. Durand could leave me. He’d locked me up for three days in his dungeon then claimed that he loved me. The audacity!
My parents had picked me up one night after some guy had put some kind of drunk in my drink and tried to rape me. They had believed my story and didn’t think I was just on some high and trying to avoid getting in trouble. I had the best parents in the world, but I wasn’t the best daughter. They could have punished me similar to what Durand had done, but they didn’t. That made them on a whole other level than what Durand’s version of love was.
I was not some… possession to be locked up in a case and played with when my owner got bored. I was a woman. I needed to be taken care of when I wanted to be taken care of. He couldn’t keep me away from my parents.
I needed to see them. I had to see them. That was my mom and my dad. They needed to see me. They needed to know that I was alive.
Whatever Durand may have thought about me breaking my parents with my weird new strength was wrong. I wouldn’t do it because I couldn’t. I loved them. There was no way that I could hurt them.
Lost in my thoughts, I barely heard it when a set of footsteps had begun to follow me around. The only thing that had me coming right out of my daydreaming was the fact that those squeaky sneakers weren’t sneaking at all.
The delicious sent of human blood caught my nose and turned me right around to stare into the blue eyes of my blonde headed little brother. “Dude! My sister got hot!” Aspen exclaimed as he poked my forehead.
“Aspen!” I nearly screamed and smashed him to me uncontrollably. Remembering quickly about how Durand said I could crush my family, I released him and watched him hiss with a wincing smile.
Rolling his shoulder, Aspen hissed, “Woo! Somebody got strong! You join the mafia or something?” The kid picked up his skateboard that he’d dropped on the ground and just looked up at me with this excessively goofy smile on his face.
“What? Do I have something on my face?” He punched my shoulder, and I didn’t even feel it. It was nothing compared to Reule’s claws in my pant leg. So strange. Aspen’s punches used to leave bruises on my tender skin.
“Nah. I just can’t believe it was you that I was following. When you turned around, I was totally expecting some chick to blast about how I shouldn’t be following gals around. Where’ve you been, sis?” He leaned against my shoulder, pushing me down the streets.
Quickly, I tried to devise a story that would have me missing for a little over three months without answering anyone’s calls. “My phone got trashed when I was going with some of my friends down to Hanji City for their senior trip,” I explained, since most schools in Jasonville started in January and ended in December. He nodded and hopped on his skateboard to lazily push it beside me. “What are you doing outside and not at the house?”
“Some friends of mine called for me to come to the skate park, but they were doing drugs and stuff. I ditched them and wound up here to find you. Pretty cool timing. Right?” He snickered and flashed those perfectly white teeth of his.
I rubbed my arm guiltily. If only I would have been like Aspen maybe none of this would have happened to me. A voice in my head didn’t think so, but I couldn’t let pessimism drag me down.
The boy noticed my silence and stopped skating to ask, “Is that the real reason you didn’t come home? Did you get knocked up by some dude?”
I waved him off. “Stop! You sound like Mom. I’m not on drugs, and I’m not pregnant. Chill. I was just out with my friends and dropped my phone in the ocean.” I rolled my eyes, faking my nervousness at the talk of drugs.
Even as an immortal, my highs had always been something that I’d been afraid to admit to my younger brother. I wanted to protect him from my idiocy. I didn’t want him to be like me. It looked like I was doing a pretty good job.
After moments of walking, Aspen stopped skating and frowned. “Looks like I took a wrong turn. Ha. Oops.” He smacked the base of his hand against his skull then his eyes went abruptly wide. “O-Omi, l-look out!” he screamed then jumped behind me, and I gawked when my brother’s limp form flew across the sidewalk to smash against a fountain.
A hand clamped down on my shoulder like a vise, and a voice snickered, “Looks like the king let his queen out of the castle. What should we do with the pet, Iah?”
“Sell her! She’d make us a great deal of money.” A shadow appeared in front of my eyes, and I gawked at a beast with four curved horns prodding out of his head. He leaned up to my height with his clawed toes. His beady red eyes analyzed me then he reached out, took a lock of my hair, and pulled me down so that he could take a small bit of flesh from my neck. “Mmm. Tastes good. We should bottle her up and ship her to hungry people, humans even. They’d pay good money for vampire blood. It’s good for healing.”
The other monster, the one that I couldn’t see, grunted his approval of the little one’s idea. He spun me around, and I froze at the sight of him. He was the bigger version of the little ones. His entire body was caked in muscle. The monster was a giant weapon, and not like the kind that Durand was. This one screamed enemy tank. “Never seen a demon before have you, missy?” he asked as he lifted me up by my neck to carry me towards a wall of swirling black. “Well, you’ll have all sorts of fun looking at all of us after you get to our home. The only problem is that in this zoo, you’re the exhibit.”
With my legs flailing in the air, I could only scream as I saw the other one dragging my younger, unconscious brother towards the portal. Would they eat him? What would they do with a poor boy like my innocent brother? He’d never done a single thing wrong in his life.
Regret swamped my body. I wished I was back in that dungeon, waiting for Durand’s body to be my sensual feast. I wished that I never would have let Felix bring me back here. If I wouldn’t have shown up, Aspen wouldn’t be here right now. He’d be on his way home. He’d be safe, and I’d be safe. Everything would have been okay if I wouldn’t have screwed up. Felix probably planned this.