I looked down at my pale hands that were resting on my thigh as the woman front of me continued on talking. I've been sitting in her study room for about fifteen minutes and she was already making me bored out of my mind. I nodded at the all the things she said. I knew exactly what she was saying even without really listening to her because she had said them before last month.
"Now, Lady Sophia, it is important that you keep your identity hidden. I was informed that the number of underworld creatures were increased around this area."
I nodded, "I understand, Jane. And I've been pretty careful at it. And Marcus is always with me, so don't worry."
Jane smiled warmly and folded her hands front of her on the oak desk. She had her blond hair up in a french twist and her outfit was as neat as ever. She looked like my age, but she looked like she belong in the library.
I smiled back.
"Well, then our monthly meeting is over. I hope to see you well and healthy next month, my lady."
I slowly got up from the chair and nodded at her. Jane got up too.
"I will see you same time next month then." I waved and Jane bowed at me as I walked toward the door.
My big mean looking bodyguard Marcus stood by the door. His hair was dark brown and his eyes were piercing blue. His facial features were hard and he was a head taller than I was. He was also twice as big as I was and he was nothing but all muscles. He opened the door for me and I walked out from the office with him. A few minutes of navigating through the dark windowless hall ways, I found my way out to the sunny outdoor. Marcus and I walked down the busy street as I enjoyed the breezy weather. My hills made clicking noise as we walked down the sidewalk, but Marcus didn't make any sound next to me. I looked up at him and his light blue eyes met mine. A hint of smile appeared on his hard lips and I smiled back at him. That was the most I could get out of him. He was always expressionless as far as i could remember.
"Well, I'm glad I got that out of the way. Now I can forget about it until next month. I can't believe I have to do this until whatever."
"It is a small responsibility compare to what you will face later, Sophie." Marcus reminded me.
I rolled my eyes, "That's big 'if'. It may not even happen. And sometimes I feel like they are wasting their time on me."
Marcus was about to say something when my pointy hill got stuck in the cracked pavement and I tumbled over.
A strong hand caught me before I plunged my pretty little face into the pavement. I held onto Marcus as he pulled me up gently. My foot had slipped off from the shoe that was still stuck in the pavement. Marcus gracefully got down on his knee and grabbed the shoe and placed it front of my foot. I slowly held onto his hard wide shoulder as I slipped my foot back in. As I was doing this my face was blushing like fire. I was mortified. I was always so clumsy and he was always looking after me. If Marcus wasn't in my life, i probably have died or broken handful of bones in my body already.
"Thanks." I grumbled.
Marcus nodded and stood up when I found my balance. We continued to walk in silence. I was just thankful that Marcus wasn't a chatty one. But then again, he knew me well enough to know that I was embarrassed and decided to keep silent until i was ready to talk again.
It's been 20 years since I met my Marcus. And he hasn't aged a bit since the day I met him when I was 5. He was this mean looking and big when i was 5, too. He was always careful and always looking after me. I was told that Marcus was my personal bodyguard until the end of my time. He almost never left my sight as I grew up and experienced my so called human life. At first, he was known as my father when i was little. Then my uncle as I grew a little older. Then now he was known as my roommate, boyfriend, or a brother. Whatever the situation, I introduce him as whatever the title.
It was weird seeing Marcus never change while I grew up. I wondered if Marcus ever felt annoyed by the fact that he was assigned to take care of a brat like me. But he had expressed over the years that it was an honor to serve me. He became my parent when I needed him to be. He became a brother when I need him to be. He saved me countless times when I was in danger and he was always there for me when I felt lonely.
My life have been the least normal life of anyone. Ever since I can remember, I was told I was this half breed of a vampire father and a human mother. They were killed when i was only five and I only have vague memories of them. All I remember is that I was loved dearly. And turns out my father was a royal vampire of all the underworld. He was well known and highly respected. And when my parents died, there were a lot of chaos and shifting of powers. I was told that I was a second in line for the next ruler of the throne. But since I was only a half vampire and showed no sign of any supernatural ability, they decided that I was no use for the underworld. But there were handful of loyal followers of my father who believed that I would grow up and have these abilities that they all dream about. Apparently my faher was a very powerful vampire who kicked ass. And they hoped that his genes were stronger than my mother's. I keep telling them not to hope, but they were persistent.
So they assigned Marcus, a very well known vampire who knew how to kick ass as much as my father used to. When I was a child, there were several attempts on assassinating me and Marcus saved me every time. I have witnessed Marcus kill and I don't ever want to be on the wrong side. He was merciless and brutal when he was on the duty.
As i grew a little older, I begged the counsel to let me have a real life. As far as anyone could tell, i was a normal human girl. I get hurt and I bleed. I don't crave blood and I can eat normal food, unlike the normal vampires who can't eat solid food and only survive on blood. I was thirteen when I told them I wanted to have a normal life outside of their protected mansion. It took me two years for them to agree with me and ever since then, I was living in the city with Marcus. We moved several times when we couldn't hide the fact that Marcus wasn't aging from the eyes of our neighbors.
But for the last ten years have been pretty peaceful. Of course, I had to check in with the counsel every month and Marcus had to brief them over the phone every week. And I had to keep my identity in secret for my safety reasons. I was just known as Sophia. My last name was never revealed and I always used a fake last name, Smith. Marcus was the only one who called me Sophie. I didn't let anyone else call my name like that. Marcus and I have our love and hate relationship. Well, I do. For Marcus, I think it's just a job. As for me, there were times when I got really irritated when he wouldn't let me do certain things. Like dating boys. He usually scared the crap out of the boys who tried to go out with me. Just one look from Marcus sent all of them running the other way or pee in their pants. And I screamed and yelled at Marcus for that. And he would just stand over me with his arms crossed with expressionless face. He was just doing his job but it irritated the hell out of me. Over the years, I found my loophole and managed to date several guys without Marcus in the presence. Whenever he found out, I had a hell to pay for. But now, I'm a healthy twenty five year old woman and I made sure he knew that I was an adult and I can date whoever I wanted. He learned to give me my own space and protected me from a distance whenever I was on a date.
Although there were a few incidents where I was in deep trouble with some guys I was dating and needed Marcus' help. Marcus made sure they couldn't function for the next few weeks after what they tried to do to me. I was just thankful that he didn't kill them like those assassins.
I sighed and came back to reality. We were almost home. The counselor's meeting place was only a half hour away from my place. Of course, their real lair was this huge mansion in the country. I don't miss that place. All I remember was being so lonely while there were so many around me. All of them were so pale and had the eyes that experienced so much. As far as I could remember, the youngest vampire I met was one hundred years old. Jane was five hundred years old. As for Marcus, he was almost thousand years old. I was told my father was fifteen hundred years old before he was killed.
"Sophie?" Marcus stopped me from passing our town home.
"Oh sorry." I followed Marcus up the stairs and watched him unlock the door. He held the door open for me and I walked in. I turned off the security alarm within a couple of seconds. Then I hung my trench coat on the wall hanger and heard Marcus do the same. I went into the kitchen and looked through the fridge to see if I could eat anything. I pushed aside the dark liquid container that was Marcus' food supply. I shuddered whenever I saw those. He had the option of hunting for real warm blood in the street. It was forbidden to kill the victims and Marcus only hunted a few times a year. He told me he could live off with those donated supplies pretty well. He didn't have to feed everyday. I only see him drink the blood about once a week. But there were a couple of times when I noticed him slip out in the middle of the night. I offered my blood once and I would never forget his face when I told him. He looked like I had slapped him. He was so offended that he refused to come any closer than he had to for a whole week. At first I thought that he was offended because my blood wasn't good enough, but I realized later that he would never harm me, let alone take my blood. He was sworn to protect me, not take from me.
I took out a yogurt and opened the cap. I licked the yogurt that was left on the cap and grabbed a small spoon. I ate my strawberry yogurt as I watched Marcus do the routine check up in the house in incredible speed. He always makes sure to check every room and closet whenever we come home. Even though i keep telling him that the security alarm will go off if someone tried to break in, he wouldn't listen. He had the super sonic hearing of a vampire, too, but he always had to check everything.
I curled up on the couch and turned on the t.v. and saw that one of the movies that I liked was on. In the corner of my eyes, I saw Marcus come back from the check up. I patted the seat next to me and he sat down. I quickly leaned on his hard shoulder as I watched the movie and ate my yogurt. He was my personal big teddy bear when he let it. There were a couple of times when i fell asleep drooling on his shirt. But he never complained about it.
"Oh yeah, my college friend Christina is getting married next month. I have to go to her wedding."
"Where is it?" He asked.
"It's only an hour away from here. You are going as my boyfriend."
"Good." He said. It was always easier to watch over me when he was with the crowd. Thankfully, Christina had met Marcus only once and I had introduced Marcus as my boyfriend that time.
"So what are you doing today?" He asked.
"A little bit of grocery shopping and laundry. And then maybe go out for running later." I said. My food supply was running short and I had to do some shopping for next week. I like to pack my lunch for work.
I have a job at the administration office. It was something that I was good at, instead of something I really enjoyed. Being organized and being able to control the situation was something I was good at. I planned everything and executed well. But outside of work, I was clumsy and always awkward.
Honestly, I didn't have to work for a living. My parents had a lot of money that I could pass it to my own future children. But I wanted to live that normal life that everyone lives in. I wanted to have a good job and earn a living and experience a normal life. That was all I could ask for. Soon or later, I may have to go back to the mansion where my parents used to live. Eventually, I would have to face those loyal followers' disappointed eyes when they realize that I was just a normal girl.
And maybe they will turn their back on me. In some ways, that would feel like a freedom that I always dreamed about. But in other ways, I fear for losing Marcus. He was my security blanket in many ways. He's been in my life for 20 years and it would crush me if they decided that I would no longer need a bodyguard since I am no special. I looked up at my bodyguard who happens to be the only person in my life that was constant. He looked down at me with those piercing blue eyes.
"What is it?" he asked.
I knew that he knew. He could read me like a book. He could see the fear in my eyes. He could read my thoughts without reading my mind. I heard some vampires could read minds. But Marcus couldn't. But he was extremely good at reading my body language. And right now, he could see my expression. The older I get and I realize that I am no different than anyone else in human standard, I panic sometimes, even though it makes me feel so liberated. I hated to admit it, but I loved Marcus. I could never allow myself to think it that way though. He was off limits. He was just doing his job. So I bury those feelings deep inside until I truly believe that it was just a childish affection.
Marcus kissed me on the forehead. And that was all it took. I sighed and let go of all those fears. He would kiss me on the forehead to sooth me ever since I was a little girl. I remember the time when I was almost killed if it wasn't for Marcus. I remember shaking and screaming and crying. I remember being terrified. I was only seven years old. I just had witnessed Marcus kill for the first time front of me. I knew he didn't have any choice. He wouldn't have killed front of me if he had a choice. But the situation was pretty bad and at the end, I watched Marcus slaughter the bastards who tried to kill me. He stood still as the blood dripped from his hands. It wasn't his. he didn't even break a skin. His eyes were so cold and so detached that I thought maybe he would kill me, too. I watched in horror and tried to run away from him. He gently wiped the blood on his pants and started to come toward me. I screamed and kicked and scratched but his firm hands lifted me up. He was a man of very few words and I had only heard him speak handful of times for those last two years together. But that day, he held me so gently and cooed me. He kissed my forehead and whispered soothing words to me as he watched me calm down from the traumatic experience. He said he was sorry for coming so late. He promised that it will never happen again. He promised me that he will never leave out of my sight. And he kept that promise for the last 20 years. I did go through rebellious stage of the teenage life. I resisted Marcus and tried every loophole to be alone. But in the end, he was always besides me, protecting me. And I am grateful for it.
After the quick grocery shopping, I changed into my workout clothes. I put on my sneakers and stretched. It was dark outside and the weather was cool. I loved the spring season. And the city was so lively even after dark at this time of the year.
"Are you joining me or are you keeping distance?" I asked as I continued on stretching my legs. By the front door.
Marcus was still dressed in his jeans and dark shirt. He looked like he was in his late twenties.
"I will keep watch." He said.
I knew jogging with me was a joke. He can run faster than a car if he wanted to. And it would make him feel silly trying to keep his speed with me.
"Okay." I said and got up and walked out. I saw Marcus locking the door behind him. It was dark outside and it would be easier for him to keep a track of me in the dark.
I jogged about 5 blocks and then walked and then started jogging again. I wasn't a great runner but I told myself that I should jog at least 3 times a week. I passed by the bakery that I liked to go to and smelled the delicious bakes. I sighed and kept on running. I was glad that I didn't bring any money with me, otherwise I would be walking down the street with eclair in my mouth instead of jogging.
I felt like I was jogging forever, but when I looked at my watch, it's been only fifteen minutes. I entered the popular park area where there were live music and other joggers and people who just sit on the bench and enjoy the weather. Suddenly, I felt something. A heavy impact on my chest and the weird smell that made me stop. It smelled really sweet but I cringed my nose from it. There was something disturbing about it. My arms were covered in goose bumps and I looked around.
'What the hell?' I thought. Then a few yards away, I found my source.
A vampire. I gasped. He was walking toward me with his eyes focused on me. Our eyes met and I shuddered. This one was a stray and he didn't know who or what I was. Usually, they would feel some kind of pull from me. If they knew who I was, they would run the other way, because seeing me, means there was Marcus near by. And no one wants to mess with Marcus unless you have a death wish.
Another realization hit me. I was able to sense him before I saw him. I frowned. That never happened to me before. I could tell when I see a vampire. They were always freakishly beautiful and so perfect. They were always graceful like a cat with the eyes of the predator. But I never felt this thing when they were near before. The young vampire, who had dirty blonde hair and amber eyes stopped dead a few yards before me. I guessed that Marcus was probably standing behind me now. I looked behind me and there he was. His cold eyes stared at the young vampire and hissed. No human can ever hear their hiss, but other vampires can hear them loud and clear. I watched the young vampire gasp and quickly turn and walk away. I sighed. It wasn't rare that I run into vampires now and then, but it was rare to have them come directly toward me. Usually the ones that meant me harm come to me like that. But this one was just reacting to the natural instinct. It was happening more often now days. I felt like I was some kind of a light that was attracting mosses.
"Thanks." I whispered to Marcus.
He nodded. He kept his focus toward the trees where the vampire disappeared. This was nothing serious but it bothered me more than anything. I stopped moving and tried to adjust to the weird feeling that was going away now. Marcus noticed me and he gently pulled me toward the bench where it was isolated from other crowds. I sat down and felt Marcus' eyes on me. He stood before me, keeping in alert just in case.
"What's going on?" He asked. I guess he could see my frown.
I tried to come up with the right words.
"Marcus, how do you know when others are near?" I asked.
He crossed his arms front of him.
"I smell them."
"What kind of smell?"
"We have distinctive smell that attracts the human. They may not smell it, but it does attract. it's our way of attracting the meal, so it's easier. Why are you asking this?"
"Do you feel anything else?" I asked.
"Other than the smell, I also feel their presence."
"Like this heavy feeling on your chest?" I asked.
Marcus' eyes widened.
"Am I right?"
He was on his knees before I knew it. He cupped my face as he asked.
"Have you felt him before you saw him?"
I nodded. I didn't know what this was. It scared the shit out of me.
"I also smelled him." I whispered.
A sigh of relief came out from Marcus' lips and he smiled slightly.
"This is a good news."
I frowned, "But I don't smell anything from you or feel you."
Marcus let go of my face and sat next to me.
"Perhaps because you are used to me."
"That's probably it." I said. then I turned to him, "Marcus, promise me you won't tell the counsel just yet."
Marcus lifted his brow, "Why? They would be happy to hear this news."
"It just happened once. Who knows? It might have been a fluke. I need to make sure before we let them know."
We got home and I went straight to the shower. I stood in the shower for a long time before stepping out. I was getting scared of what the future would bring. When I came out from the bathroom with bath towel wrapped around my head and bathrobe on, I passed by Marcus' room that was down the hall way from mine. He was looking through his files. He was always briefing about things that I didn't care for. He was on top of everything that was going on in the underworld. Then again, the guy never needed to sleep, so he had a lot of time in his hands while I slept during the night. There were a couple of times over the 20 years when he had to step out and take care of some business. But he always took me back to the mansion where I would be well protected before going out for his mission. He usually would come back a few days later. I never asked him what he did while he was away. I didn't want to know. All I did was welcome him back with a big hug.
Now I saw my big mean bodyguard and also a friend sitting on his desk, looking through reports and books.
"Anything interesting?" I asked as looked through his book shelf. He had a lot of foreign books, too. Marcus told me he was born in Italy. He spoke five different languages. Marcus didn't answer me, because my question wasn't really a question. I took off the towel from my head and patted my wet hair. I looked at the picture frame that I gave him a few years back. I was in the photo as well as Marcus. The myth about vampires can't walk in the sun and has no reflection were all lies. But in this photo, while I was smiling like a sunshine, Marcus sat next to me with no expression. I smiled at that. My dark hair that I got from my Korean mother was straight and shiny. My skin was pale from my father and I also got his green eyes and straight nose and bone structure. I could see more of my father than my mother in myself. Maybe that's why the counsels were so hopeful.
I sighed and decided to go to bed. I went over to Marcus and gave him a good night kiss on the cheek. I used to do that every night when I was a child. Then when I was a teenager, my good night kiss was replaced by a hiss or a middle finger. And now, I appreciated Marcus. And I made sure he knew that I cared for him. Marcus slightly nodded at my kiss. I smiled, "good night." and went to my bed.