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I gazed out at the gloomy harbor, absolutely disgusted. And depressed. And angry. And so many more emotions that I just couldn’t place. Just like the grey-blue water stretching out to the horizon. You see what’s on the surface, but not what’s hidden beneath. I sighed and pulled my knees up to my chest, and stared at the barren sky as the water gently lapped at my toes, pulling the sand out from under them. I hardly noticed when someone who shouldn’t even exist by average human standards came and sat by me.
“Kasia,” he said, catching me slightly off-guard. I recovered quickly, hoping he wouldn’t notice.
“Dimetri,” I replied flatly. Dimetri sighed and ran a hand through his thick, shaggy black hair. He then gently but quickly snatched my chin. I wasn’t expecting it, and the dead-cold feel of his hands shocked me. I flinched, avoiding his beautiful emerald eyes.
“Kasia, please…” he pleaded. His voice sounded so hurt, I just couldn’t keep myself from looking at him. His eyes were large with unshed tears. It hurt me so much to see it. But I kept my face emotionless. Inside my mind, though, I was screaming. I was so upset. It was such a tragedy, even Dimetri was crying. I just couldn’t think about it. I got up and headed down the shore line, walking as quickly as the wet sand would let me. The wind whipped around me, slapping my hair into my face. I shivered and wrapped my arms around my chest, trying to keep myself warm. Dimetri was there instantly, his solid frame blocking most of the wind.
“Kasia, this isn’t your fault, and you know it.” He clamped his hand down on my shoulder, his iron grip making it impossible for me to just shrug it off. So, instead, I stopped. “You know that, right?” he asked tenderly. My chin wobbled a bit, but I held my ground.
“I know,” I started, hoping his vampire ears wouldn’t catch the tremble in my voice, “But I still feel like I contributed to his death. If I had only stayed…” My voice trailed off. My eyes started to fill with salty tears.
“Then you would have been dead too. And I would have had no one.” He smiled slightly, slipping his hand around mine. His other hand lifted my chin, forcing me to look again at his perfectly beautiful, pale white face. The face of a vampire, looking down at a human, hardly comparable in beauty. I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down, sobs racking my body. Dimetri pulled me close against him. He stroked my hair, and whispered calming words into my ear, ever so softly. His gentle, sweet voice eased my crying, but I still clung to him, afraid that if I let him go, I might fall back into my oppressing sadness. Even so, the last moments with my father played out before me, like a gruesome child’s stage play.
Hiking in the woods. Together, just the two of them. Father and daughter. It was one of the few times they had a chance to be together, and just have fun. They were collecting wildflowers for him to bring back to his lab to study and, perhaps, help ease the pain of disease in others that took her mother’s life. She was having the time of her life, until she heard it—
The growl of a hungry wolf. No not hungry, rabid. It stood in their path, stanced for attack. Her father got in front of her, pulling out a shining switchblade.
“Go,” he told her. Kasia shook her head, but her father gave her a stern look. She ran. And as she ran, she heard a noise, more horrifying than anything she ever heard. It was the high-pitched whine of the wolf, then a low growl, and a yell, then a muffled grunt. Her father. She ran harder, thinking it would save him. But then there was silence. Her father was no more.
Kasia shivered in the memory, and clung even tighter, burying her face in the cold comfort of Demitri’s body.
After what seemed like an eternity, Dimetri pried me of himself.
“I’ll take you there if you want to go,” he said softly. I nodded, not trusting my voice. He picked me up and lightly tossed me onto his back, handling me as if I only weighed a feather. He grabbed my shoes before the water had a chance to steal them, and headed towards the cemetery. I rested my chin on his shoulder, looking out at the bleak, grey sky. It wasn’t long until we reached our destination. Dimetri gently set me down next to the fresh grave. I fell down to my knees, eyes widening slightly, and lightly traced a finger over the engraving on the headstone.
“I’ll miss you, daddy…” I whispered. Dimetri knelt beside me. He put a comforting arm around my shoulders and kissed my forehead, delicately.
“Kasia, there’s something I need to ask of you,” he breathed. My head snapped up. I was almost certain what it was.
“Yes?” I asked, urging him on.
“Well, I was…thinking. Since you have no one left to care for you, we could be together now,” he went on, “Forever.”
My heart skipped a beat, I was so excited. This is what I had wanted him to ask me since I knew him. But, I was so afraid. I could hardly breathe, much less speak. Dimetri, in seeing my shock, continued on.
“We could ditch this place, disappear. I have a lot of friends in several places. We could start over.” He clasped his ice-cold hands around mine. “All you have to do is say yes.”
Dimetri smiled. “I knew it was what you wanted…” he told me, helping me to my feet and handing me my shoes. I put them on and looked up at him expectantly. He shook his head.
“Not here.” He led me to a small pine grove, then stopped and turned to me. He tilted my head up to give me a light kiss. “This might hurt a bit.” And his fangs were on my neck.
My hand was clasped into Dimetri’s, now equally as cold as his. I looked back once more at the city, my free hand tenderly grazing the bite marks on my neck. Dimetri kissed my cheek.
“The throbbing will wear off in a little bit.” He smiled and I smiled back.
“Dimetri, I have a question…” I told him. He nodded for me to go on.
“Can we run?” He grinned at me.
“I was hoping you would ask that.” He squeezed my hand and we took off, leaving the city behind us.