After a quick shower, I went downstairs to get a late morning breakfast. I would need all the strength I could manage. I yawned and walked over to the breakfast buffet and grabbed a plate.
“Cherie!” A familiar voice called.
I turned to where I heard my name, and saw Ryan, Jade, Mason and Cynthia. The four people whom I called my “acquaintances”. They walked over to me, and Cynthia turned me and looked at my neck. Her cat green eyes took in my bite wound with concern. She threaded her fingers through her bouncing blonde curls. “Will you let me clean this now? It’s already getting infected.”
I blinked a few times and pushed my brows together at the future doctor.
“Where’s Chaz?” Ryan asked.
I swallowed. “What do you mean where is he?”
“I mean why aren’t you with your husband?” he asked. “You two were inseparable last night.”
“We tried to stop you.” Mason said, his voice sounding as a reminder. “So if you’re upset about it now don’t blame us. We knew it was a bad idea.”
“You were there?” I asked.
Jade smirked. “Yes. You kept saying that you had to have your four best friends there for the most important moment of you life. We kept trying to tell you it was stupid but you wouldn’t listen. So we went with you to the chapel to be witnesses. I’m not surprised you don’t remember. You were both drunk off your asses.”
Cynthia had dug a first aid kit from her purse and sat me down in a chair. She began dabbing at the wound and cleaning it. I hissed out a breath when it began to burn. “I would like to point out that last night I tried very hard to stop you from letting him bite you.” she explained. “And I tried to stop you both from getting the tattoos. The deal was that I monitored both the biting and the tattoos and you let me clean them today. And you can tell your husband that I’m not afraid to hunt him down. He made me a promise and his will get infected too if he doesn’t clean it.”
That was little doctor Cynthia for you. But this was the first time she’d been like this with me. It seemed last night had brought us closer together. All of us. After she finished cleaning the wound, she put some ointment on it and then a band-aid.
“Why did I let him bite me?” I asked.
“Some stupid vampire tradition or something.” Mason said.
“Eat something.” Cynthia demanded. “I know you must be starving from both blood loss and sex. I’m going to find Chaz and then the three of us are going up to my room so I can clean the tattoos.”
“Well he doesn’t remember last night either.” I explained.
“Well too bad. You made us hug populars, claiming that it was time to ‘unify’ and become one. I deserve this. I had to hug Samuel Jones. So Chaz will just have to suck it up and remember.” She shoved the first aid kit in her purse and stormed off.
“She’s never going to let that go.” Ryan added. “You made her hug her worst enemy. She’ll never let you live it down.”
“I’m really sorry, for everything.” I sighed. “What else did I do?”
“Well the only thing we talked you out of last night was taking off your clothes until you were inside the hotel room.” Jade said and sat down next to me. She picked a cinnamon roll off my plate. “I thought it was all pretty funny. And I enjoyed hugging Darin.” she added, smiling.
One thing the four of us knew about Jade was that she had the hots for Darin.
“And I can tell you this confidently, he enjoyed it too. By the way, you’re a hero to the populars now.”
I stared at her with disbelief. “Why?”
Mason laughed. “You beat the chug record last night.”
I pushed my plate away. “I just lost my appetite.”
“You’d better eat or Cynthia will force it down your throat. She’s pretty pissed and it will take a few days for her to cool off.” Ryan said, sitting down at the table too.
Cynthia came back, with Chaz in tow, and a group of friends who followed him wherever he went. She pushed him into the chair next to me. “You need to eat or drink or whatever it is you do.” she told him.
“Yes ma’am.” he murmured.
Chaz’s friends surrounded me and smiled. “Hey Cherie, what’s up?” Darin asked. “You’re a legend.”
“So I’ve heard.”
Chaz looked confused. Jade leaned over and whispered in his ear. He smirked, then nodded.
Jade smiled at Darin. “Hey.” she said.
He grinned and walked over to her. He pulled her up out of the chair and kissed her. “Hey sexy.” he murmured.
This was just too weird.
Samuel patted my back. “Never seen a girl chug like that. I’ve got a new respect for humans.”
“I am so sorry about… well everything.”
“We’re not.” Nathan replied. He was Chaz’s closest friend. “It was a blast.”
“Eat.” Cynthia ordered me, her face so serious it was funny. “Now.”
“Well most of us had fun.” Samuel replied, stepping next to Cynthia, making her tense up. Cynthia hated Samuel for two reasons. First, he broke her heart two years ago. Downright humiliated her. She never forgave him. Two, her entire family was racist against Warlocks, and she’d gone against their approval and stuck it out beside him, only for him to hurt her. So she hated Warlocks too now.
“Forget eating.” She murmured and grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the chair. “Come on Chaz.” she said and pulled me up the stairs.
“You know this is a hotel and there is an elevator.” I pointed out.
“You need to stretch out.” she replied.
Chaz followed behind us and she stopped at her room. She signaled us in. “Take off your pants, both of you.” she ordered.
“Before the first date?” Chaz joked.
“Hardy har.” she muttered back and went for her other, lunch box sized, first aid kit next to the bed.
“Why do we have to do this in the same room?” I muttered as Chaz casually and without shame unzipped his jeans and pushed them down his hips so he was standing in only his black briefs.
He tossed the jeans onto her bed and walked over to me, pressed his lips to mine gently. “Nothing I haven’t seen before.” he reminded with a smirk. He grabbed the button and slipped it open, then jerked down the zipper. I pulled away. “Why so shy suddenly?” he questioned. “You weren’t this morning.”
I threw him a sharp look. “Fuck you.”
“So you know what I’m talking about.”
I had the urge to deck him in the lip, but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. I shoved my pants down my hips then threw them aside.
“You sure showed me.” he said then rolled his eyes. “You were asking why I don’t like humans. I think it has to do with the immaturity and not being able to take a joke.”
“Shut up, both of you.” Cynthia said. She grabbed the bottom of his left brief leg and pulled it up until the tattoo was visible. She began cleaning it, and he was watching me as she did.
“You go and I’ll find you.” he said after a quiet moment.
I looked at him, then looked away. “No you won’t.” I whispered. “By the time you figure out I’m gone I’ll be too far for you to find me.”
“I’ll find you.” he repeated. “You’re not smart enough to hide for long.”
Cynthia seemed to be making an effort to pretend that she was deaf.
“I guess we’ll see won’t we?”
“You won’t make it out of this hotel.” he promised. “I guarantee it.”
“You. Are. Not. Making. Me. Go. Back.” I replied, pronouncing each word clearly. “I won’t go back to that stupid town just to be beaten by them when they find out about this.”
“You really think I’m going to let my wife stay with people like that?”
“You don’t seem to think a lot about your wife.” I snapped. “And if you think I’m staying with you then you’re very mistaken.”
“I don’t think, I know.” he replied coolly.
“You can’t force me to be happy and you can’t force me to be married to you. If you make me go back I’m filing for divorce the moment we get there.”
“What is wrong with you?” he hissed. “You’re the first girl to argue with everything I say.”
“Maybe it’s a pesky human thing or maybe it’s because you get to say everything and just expect me to do it.”
“Why do you hate vampires?” he demanded to know.
“Why do you hate humans?” I shot back.
“Because they’re so damn selfish and stubborn. Your turn.”
“I don’t hate vampires, I just hate you.” I said evenly, looking directly at him. “And I hate you because you think you can just snap your finger and everyone has to do as you say. You say I’m the immature one but you need to take a long look in the mirror pal.”
“You don’t know the first thing about me.” he snapped.
“And I don’t intend to stick around long enough to find out. Just let me leave, it‘s what I want.”
“News flash, you don’t always get what you want.”
“Why don’t you take your own advice?” I snapped.
He was obviously pissed, and probably had the urge to seriously throttle me.
“Want to hit me? Go ahead. It will make the divorce process go a whole lot faster when Cynthia witnesses that you’re an abusive sonofabitch husband.”
She finished cleaning his tattoo and walked over to me, started cleaning mine. Chaz put his jeans back on, then slowly walked over to me. “I will never hit you.” he said, softly, to my surprise. “Unlike your parents I have more respect for you than that. But you’re a stubborn woman. And if you run away you’re going to get hurt, most likely killed. I’m sorry if I don’t wish that on you. I don’t hate humans, and I don’t hate you. I just get irritated because they never listen or accept help when they most need to.
I don’t mind being married to you, in fact I always liked you. You’re smart, even though you don’t think you are. You’re gorgeous, even though you obviously don’t see it. You’re a good person, but you don’t know it. And now I know why. Because of those damn parents. So I won’t tell you then. But I’m asking, pleading you, please don’t run away. I promise I’ll never let them hurt you again. I can protect you from them.
But if you run away from me, there’s nothing I can do.”
Cynthia had stopped cleaning, and was looking up now, not pretending to be deaf anymore.
“You have to hate humans.” I whispered. “Why else would you avoid us like we’re the plague?”
He smirked. “I’m half vampire. I call it staying away from temptation. Just look at your neck. I’m going to have blood lust for a month. You’re lucky I didn’t kill you last night. I was terrified when I realized what I had done. And I’d had sex with you. Don’t you know what vampires are like when they have sex? They’re lust for blood is the strongest then. You are very fortunate to be alive right now. I guess I have very good control even when I’m drunk.”
“Are we done fighting?” I asked.
He full out smiled now. “I doubt it.”
I smiled a little back. “True.”
“You have to be hungry, I know I am.” He muttered. “I’d better go find…breakfast. For us both. Thank you Cynthia.”
She waved a hand at him. “Thank you for letting me be myself. Doctor stuff soothes me, and after being around Samuel, I needed it.”
He smiled at her then walked to the door and left the room.
Cynthia grinned. “You know, I didn’t believe it, not until now.”
I looked at her. “Believe what?
“The rumors. I’d heard a little of this and a little of that, but I just didn’t believe it. There was talk going around that he had a crush on you.”
I gave her a dry look. “He’s just trying to be nice so I won’t divorce him and make his daddy mad.”
“Not true. You know, if he could control himself from killing you last night, he probably wasn’t as drunk as we all thought he was. I don’t think he’s really worried about what his father thinks. I think he wants to be married to you.”
I rolled my eyes. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Maybe not.” She finished cleaning then threw away the used sanitary wipes. “I think he was telling the truth. And I think when you said you wanted a divorce it pissed him off. You don’t really know him, and us humans just assumed that he hated us. But he never said he did.”
“He threatened to rape me this morning.”
“Idle threats.” she said. “He’d never do it. He likes you, Cherie. I can tell.”
“Well as long as we’re exchanging thoughts like these, I think it’s time you forgave Samuel.”
Her face fell. “Why should I? He doesn’t deserve it.”
“That’s why they say ‘forgiveness is divine’. If you don’t forgive him the hate is just going to grow, and that’s not good for you.”
She sighed. “I’ll think about it if you’ll think about maybe staying with Chaz. I knew your parents weren’t the greatest, and I figured the bruises were from them, but you would never talk about it. Maybe instead of looking at it as an omen or in the way, you can look at this marriage as another way out. And you don’t have to try to stay alive every night and fight for food this way. I really think Chaz will take care of you and protect you. You know, if you had asked, I would have helped you.”
I looked at her, then looked down. “I didn’t think we were really friends.” I explained quietly.
“Well that’s a shame, because I did. So do Ryan, Jade and Mason. We just never tried to push you. We were waiting for you to ask. But maybe you are the person who needs to be pushed on some things.” she picked my jeans up off the floor and handed them to me. “And if you decide not to run away, the first thing you and I are doing is going shopping when we get back. Your taste is fine, and I love it, but you need more clothes.” She fingered the holes in my pants. She looked at me with a serious expression. “I won’t ever let them hurt you again either. Never. And if you just ask, you they’ll say the same thing.”
I pulled on the holey jeans. “I’m used to keeping to myself.”
“But you don’t have to.” she breathed. “Can’t you see we love you? Doesn’t six years together let you know that we’re way past being friends? I thought of you as a sister. It kind of hurts that you don’t think of me that way.”
“I’m sorry. I never knew.”
“Well you do now.” She hugged me. “I’ll walk you back to your room. You could use some rest. I’ll tell Chaz where you are.”
I nodded and let go as she did. “Thanks, for everything.”
She smiled. “No problem. What are sisters for anyway?”