Chapter One: Vampire
It's not easy being a dhampir. The vampires shun you from society because you're half-human. And the humans shun you from society because you're half-vampire. But I guess it's not that bad. Obviously, it's not as bad as it was however many years ago when dhampirs did practically nothing. Now what do we do? We act as mediators between the humans and vampires. Typical, isn't it? Maybe.
I always did wonder what my life as a dhampir meant. Or maybe just life in general. It's been a question that has existed for years. And yet, it seems like we never find out why we we are here. Maybe we never will. I don't know. What I do know is that I'm a dhampir. For a reason. I have power. For a reason. That much said, I can't complain, because some people don't have power at all. Some don't try to find it. That's their loss. They don't know what they're missing out on.
I sighed. Here I go with my over thinking again. It was usually my biggest problem. Justin, my partner, says that I shouldn't think too much. I concur, but I can't do anything about it. It's just who I am.
"Huh?" I looked up to see Justin's attentive green eyes looking down at me. "What?"
"You're thinking again." He stood up to his full height as his gaze pierced mine. "Your brain is going to explode someday."
Justin scoffed, and then said, "Come on. It's time for school. If we don't go, we'll be late."
I nodded and reluctantly got up.
Classes were abysmal as usual. Sometimes I marvel at how I am able to balance school life with this other life of mine. Being a vampire hunter in the Hunter's Blade doesn't call for just missions subduing "insatiable vamps," but practicing with our given weapons and being taught strategies and whatnot. It's because of this other life of mine that I don't really have the time to do volunteer work or other extracurricular activities. I bet I could do a sport, like maybe basketball or soccer. But it definitely wouldn't be very comfortable explaining my strength and speed when I have to keep the fact that vampires and dhampirs exist quiet.
Justin isn't allowed to do any sports either, or anything that stands out too much, for that matter. The leader of the Hunter's Blade, Stephen, claims it's to "protect our true identities." Unfortunately for Stevie, Justin already stands out at school. His looks and physique from training alone make him popular with the girls. It's something that is very very annoying to deal with, along with consistent badgering from my classmates of, "Audrey, are you going out with him?" "Aren't you his girlfriend?"
"No," I would answer bluntly.
The look of delight that crossed their faces would never fail to amuse me.
"Does that mean...?"
Ahh, but the squeals following that were unbearable. Of course, it depends on how loud they swoon and fan girl over him, but this is seriously one of the times that I regret having enhanced senses from being half-vampire. God, I swear my ears are going to need replacing one day.
It doesn't exactly help that quite a few of the guys at our school are jealous of the attention Justin gets, too. They'd usually ask me anything that could make him look bad. Anything to tell the girls. I don't blame them. I admit that Justin's popularity is a pain, but he's my partner, so I've pretty much gotten used to it. So, technically, I don't have much to censure about him. I even lost track of how many times a girl asked Justin out. I think it started when he was in sixth grade. Which would be... five years ago? Yeah. We've known each other for six years, so that sounds right.
I ate lunch with my friend Jennifer, just like every school day. Justin usually sits with a gaggle of boys and girls, most of them from the "popular" clique. At school, he doesn't really pay much attention to me. Not that I care. Okay, maybe I do. But just a little bit. It's his choice who he wants to sit with. But still, we're partners. Ugh, men.
"Audrey, are you okay?" Jenny asked in a soft voice.
I blinked. "Yeah," I smiled at her. "Just thinking again."
"About Justin?" she asked.
My heart stopped. "Uh... not really."
Jenny smiled at me brightly. "Stop lying, Audrey. I saw you looking at him."
I rolled my eyes. "It's not like that. Seriously, how many times do Ihave to tell you this? I don't like him that way. We just... know each other. That's all."
"But he's hanging out with all the stuck-up popular snobs?"
I sighed. "Do we have to talk about this again? Besides, you're the one that likes Justin that way. Not me."
Jenny hung her head and pouted. "I know. But he never pays attention to me. So I've pretty much given up already."
She looked up, her fair cheeks tinged pink. "It's true!"
"Keep telling yourself that, Jen," I smirked. She looked away.
Jenny's always been insecure about herself, something I don't understand at all. She's pretty, in the cute and innocent way. With her soft blond hair, naturally pink lips and bright blue eyes, the first time I saw her, I could've sworn she was an angel. If she was a vampire, or even a dhampir, she would definitely be one heck of a beauty.
Maybe the main reason she hasn't found a boyfriend yet is because I've been picky with the guys who would approach her. I made a mental note to myself to keep away from her when she was with anyone.
"Do you want to go to the library with me today?" Jenny asked me after school. The two of us would usually walk to the library near our school and work on homework, but today I had practice, and Stephen said there would be a meeting with the rest of the organization as well.
"Sorry, I've got to help my uncle with the shop," I lied. In Jenny's eyes, my parents and "Uncle Stephen" ran a shop that sold weapons, and I worked there with them. It was somewhat true. But, for obvious reasons, I couldn't tell her who I truly was. It hurt. But I had to keep her safe. She was my only human friend.
"Oh." She looked crestfallen. "Okay. I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Yeah, I'll see you. Bye."
She waved, and then left.
"Her blood does smell pretty good," said a voice behind me. I shrugged in response.
"We should head back, Sir Justin," I said.
"Haven't I told you to stop calling me that?" he asked, irritated, as he walked up beside me and we made our way back home.
"I can't help it. It's really annoying how you talk to me as soon as school ends but practically ignore me over the course of the day. What's with that?"
Justin laughed. "It's nothing personal, Audrey. They just don't know how to approach you."
Suddenly, I felt his large hand seize my wrist and pull me towards him. When I looked up at him, his face was surprisingly close to mine.
"If you want, I can officially introduce you and Jenny," Justin murmured. "You can eat with us."
"Now you say we can."
"You never brought up the topic."
"I don't want fake friends."
"They're just people to hang out with, that's all."
Before I opened my mouth, a familiar scent blew in my direction. I froze, as did Justin. I felt my teeth instinctively elongate into points as distaste coursed through me.
Whirling around, with Justin's hand still around my wrist, I stared at the tall young man standing before us. My eyes widened as my heart pounded at the sight of the handsome man. His thick, dark hair waved about in the breeze as his deep blue eyes glinted at us. A pleasant smile pulled at his mouth. Despite his good looks, I felt my lip curl as a growl threatened to burst from my throat.