“Yes of course, Caspian, come right in.” I said as fluently as I could muster.
He came in with a hard thud on the floor when he stepped two feet away from the door.
“What can I do for you?” I offered politely. “I expect it’s something urgent since you’ve come to my room passed midnight.”
He was silent for I while. Then when he rehearsed his entry, he spoke softly. “I came to say that the Serbian Clan thanks you for the hospitality you’ve provided us.”
I cocked my head to one side. “The Serbian Clan?”
“I suppose Fern hasn’t explained that—but that’s not why I came here.”
I gave him a tender smile, and for the fist time, it was an honest one. “Caspian, you don’t need to thank me for anything, I understand, really I do. You want Andy safe, I’ll provide that.”
“That’s what I came to tell you.”
I forced on my face a worried expression. “Is there something wrong with Andy?”
“I’m afraid there is . . .”
I waited patiently; sliding my book to the edge of my bed.
“In all the years I spent with her, I have never seen her more upset.” He said; an arm angled behind his neck.
“We’re all upset Caspian, surely even you feel that way.”
He hadn’t seemed to pay attention to a single word I’d said. “Look Ms. Vagrant—”
“Call me Jan.” I quickly said.
“Alright, Jan . . . Andy has been trying to get to you for weeks. She really is trying to know you for the better good. I know this may sound strange coming from a stranger but—”
With the blink of an eye, I shifted my body to face his and placed my finger over his lips. “Shh,” I whispered. “Ian, I know I’m not the nicest person in the world, and I should have been punished for that a million times over.”
“But—” he stammered.
“I know what you’ve come to request and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable by asking for it. You want me to open myself to Andy, am I right?”
He nodded; slow to be considered vampire.
“Well I’ll tell you what Ian, if that’s what you want me to do, then I’ll do it.”
“Why?” he whispered.
A smile bloomed against my lips and it felt so blissful at the same instant. “Don’t fret about it; I’ll take care of it.”
And with another kind smile, I pressed my lips against his cheek. “Though,” I whispered in his ear. “If you or Andy ever betrays me, I will gladly slaughter you in your sleep.”
The moment I had said the final syllable, he flinched away from my reach, and gave me that familiar glare. There was so much hate in his eyes; there was so much fear in them as well. I knew well that this was my normal behavior towards male vampires, but I wasn’t sure why I felt a deep pain of gilt and a jerk in my tongue; trying to take those words back.
But with a hairline away, it was too late. Through the face of his eyes it was clearly visible that he hated who I was. I didn’t want that philosophy against me. Not with him.
I knew now that I was standing alone in this room. Despite every furniture, it was empty to me.
Empty. I thought to myself. Empty it shall remain until God has released me from my penalty.
“How was the hunting trip, Serena?” I said this, knowing that a few meters away from the house, she would be able to hear me. While I waited for her response, I dumped our mail onto the counter.
“Fine,” she muttered. “A few deer played nice, but I found no bear.”
The front door opened.
“You have to loose some to get some Serena, remember that.”
“The humans probably already caught the bear that killed those hikers, shit.” She cursed.
“You’ll get her next time,” I murmured.
“What’s the update?”
“Nothing really, ’xcept Fern will start with Andy and me today.”
I didn’t know if she had paid attention, when I had rotated to look back at her, she was already seated over the counter fumbling through the mail.
She was muttering name after name. “Sangrina High, Direct TV, Bank of America, overdue bill, Sangrina District Office, Harvard University, Arizona State University, Wells Fargo, Dish, Walmart Customer Service,” She paused for a while in thought then continued on. “Century Link, Kmart, Sangrina Health Center, Alec Serbia, water bill, Sangrina Public Library, Radiosha—”
“What did you say?!” I unwarily exclaimed.
She lifted the envelope to my face without hesitation. “Don’t worry, the water bill isn’t overdue ye—”
“No, no before that.” I demanded.
She scrabbled through her most recent envelopes. “Uh, Alec Serbia?”
I nodded; rushing to the kitchen counter with the speed of lighting. “That’s from Alec, give it here.”
She slid it to me.
The envelope was an ordinarily white piece of paper with printed address and return address. I didn’t bother to use a knife of anything, I ripped it open myself like a fox to a hen. Then, the white piece of paper lay unfolded in my hands.
I skimmed through as fast as the wind could guide my eyes. “Touché,” I hissed lightly when I had finished reading.
“What does it say?” Serena leaned diagonally to come to view the writing.
I hesitated once and shrugged, then, clearing my throat I read the letter out loud. “Darling, you would think that time could define the perception of what one would call ‘immortality’. What can I say to prove that creatures such as you will not turn against the hand from which they feed? You don’t play fair and I’ve witnessed that a thousand times over. You think Jan, that hope will be granted to those who are dead?
“I have lived long and peacefully to fully understand the fear one can only bear, and to this Jan, I grant you your peace. You have faith, do you not? Then why fall into the concept of your nature? Just keep in mind, my vixen, that there will always be prices and consequences for the decisions we make in life. You can have so much more return; you have but to want it. Sincerely yours and only yours, Alec.”
Serena, from the candy dish, grabbed a sucker and put it in her mouth. “So, we’re free then?”
I rolled my eyes. “Like I said . . . touché . . .”
“How poetic, wouldn’t you think? I only understood like half of it which makes me want to meet your hunk more discreetly.”
“It’s not that far into poetry, he’s said things like this to me in the past, long forgotten in the past.”
Serena was aggravatingly humming to herself.
I settled down my fork and threw in a few dishes into the sink. Someone began walking down the stairs. “Alright Jan, we’re ready.”
“What, right now?”
Fern appeared right behind Andy and Caspian behind her. “Now don’t be afraid here child, its nothing like you’ve ever experience before.”
“That I’ll bet on.” I assured.
Fern nodded her head once ignoring my small comment and set her props on the table. I slid a hand over the counter as I neared the table and picked up one of the two cups; plastic cups, nothing fancy or creepy. “What, no goblets?” I muttered.
“I can get you one if you desire but it will not change the effect on the spell.”
“Where are all the bat heads and crow feet?” Serena teasingly questioned like and innocent chilled.
“We will be using vampire blood today, my child.” She responded. “And don’t worry,” she winked. “no one’s getting hurt.”
“What are you going to prove?” I suggested.
Fern sighed; cleaning of a dagger with a blue cloth. “First things first, we’re going to try to see if Andy and you are by any chance and in any way related.”
“Really?” Serena exclaimed astonished. “What are you going to do?”
The moment she spoke, Caspian appeared from the front door. I winced.
Fern gave him one welcoming nod and at the same instant, answered Serena’s question. “We are going to do a little blood exchange. Andy and January will each fill a cup with a good amount of their blood, if they are not in any manner related, the bloods can simply slither their way back to their owners. It not, well, we’ll see what happens.” She chuckled.
“I don’t want hers anywhere near mine.” I suddenly interrupted her laugh. “No, I’m not just going to do this crap to see ‘what happens’ and all that shit.”
“You promised.” From the side, Ian insisted; his perception a little high.
I stopped as if to think for a sec, if it was thinking. Why all of a sudden when I could have easily backed down on my vow I wanted nothing more right now that to please this person? He was male for Christ’s sake; they mean nothing or anything to me.
“Good,” Andy said out loud. “Let it stay that way.”
I scoffed. “Coming from I’m-the-definition-of-sanity.”
She frowned at me and through the conversation of her head she pictured an image of me giving her an apology. Right, like that would ever happen.
“You know, I’m not up for anything today.” I barked; yanking from the chair my coat and cell phone.
“But the spell—” Fern insisted.
I smiled crookedly. “Tough luck.” I looked toward Serena who showed signs of disappointment. “Let’s go.”
Without a word, she slid herself off the counter and fallowed behind.
“God forbid I’m anything related to you.” I grunted on my way out.
“Where are we going?” Serena insisted once we were under the shelter of the Altima.
I flipped through a few scenarios. “You wanted to go to the party right? Well we still have a good four hours of shopping.”