I walked out of class as the bell rang and looked up from my feet as Michel called my name. I frowned towards Michel as I noticed Vladimir at his side. I quickly pulled my backpack strap further on my shoulder and then walked past them, but then realized they were following. I went outside, but stopped in the front lawn when Michel grabbed my shoulder. I turned to him with my frown returning, “Ardennes, please. Let’s talk.”
I turned to Michel and he let go of me. I crossed my arms across
my chest and looked directly to him, “I’m listening.” I hissed.
“Look, I’m sorry about what I did. I shouldn’t move that quickly.” He said and Vladimir looked at me curiously, but all of our attention was moved when Kevin stopped at my side.
“Hey Ardennes.” He said kindly and Michel hissed to him.
“Don’t talk to us, slayer.”
I quickly turned to Michel, “Don’t talk to Kevin like that!” I hissed and then turned to Kevin with a smile, “I’ll meet you over by your car, okay? Just give me a few minutes.” I said and Kevin nodded. He walked off and I turned to Michel and Vladimir.
“Why are you even speaking to that slayer? His father killed your family members.” Vladimir said to me, but I looked from him and to my feet.
“It is neither of your business what I do.”
“Of course it is my business! I’m your fiancé!” Michel yelled and I looked up to him angrily.
“I’m really starting to get annoyed with you, Michel. And I’m really starting to wonder if our engagement was a mistake.”
“What?” He yelled to me, “But we love each other!”
I frowned, “That was a long time ago that I told you I loved you, Michel, and now I’m starting to doubt my feelings towards you,” I whispered, ”I know you are fully in love with me, Michel and I know you wouldn’t try to hurt me but I don’t think I feel the same way for you anymore.”
I looked away from both of their gaze, “I need some time to think,” I announced, “I’m going to be back late tonight so don’t wait up.” I walked away quickly and found the three slayers that waited for me.
I walked into the house and quietly shut the door. Wandering till it got late had made me tired and all I wanted to do was sleep. I went upstairs and got straight into the shower. I washed my hair and then scrubbed the blackening spots all over my body until it hurt, but they would not get smaller or go away. I then gave up and got out of the shower. I slipped on a pair of long pants and a long sleeve shirt before crawling into my bed. Tyler snuggled up against me and I slept.
A meow from Tyler made me finally open my eyes, but I did not hear the words he wanted to tell me. I turned to my stomach and pulled my pillow over my head, “Go away Tyler!” I complained in a yawn and I heard him leave my room. I closed my eyes and felt sleep overcome me again, but it did not last long. I was in and out of sleep because my side suddenly started hurting more than it had before. A meow came from Tyler but I could not hear his voice again. Without lifting my pillow off my head I shoved the black fur ball away from me, “Tyler!” I whined, “Stop it!” But before I could go back to sleep I felt a cold hand touch the back of my neck. I quickly sat up and looked to Vladimir as I realized I was covered all over with sweat and was freezing, “Vladimir!” I gasped as I noticed he was staring at my face. I was blushing! I was blushing just because he had touched me!
He put his hand on my forehead and it felt odd, “Ardennes, you’re burning up. Are you feeling okay?”
“Tyler came to get me because he is worried about you.”
“Tyler?” I asked as I looked to the cat that meowed to Vladimir, but I could not hear him.
“He doesn’t think you can hear him.”
“That’s odd. Maybe your illness is blocking your hearing of him,” Vlad said and I looked away from him and to my body. I could feel that my arms were covered in drops of sweat, but the hairs on my skin were standing at end, “What are your symptoms?” Vlad asked me curiously.
“I’m freezing and sweating.” I replied quietly and he thought for a moment as he looked to his feet. He then looked to me as he sat down on the bed, at my side.
“That sounds like the symptoms of a slayer burn,” Vlad said, “Did you accidentally touch one of those slayers yesterday when you left with them?” He asked me and I quickly looked away from him.
“No.” I replied as I thought of what I had done yesterday.
“Where is it?” He asked and I looked to him.
“I know that you lie when you can’t look at me while answering, so tell me where it is.” He said and quickly scooted away from him and to the other end of my bed.
“I’m fine!” I protested and quickly got off my bed. I went around it and to the door, but was stopped when Vlad grabbed my arm. He wrapped his arms around my waist and picked me up off of the ground, “Let go of me!” I yelled as I tried to pull away, but he threw me onto my bed and pinned down my arms and legs before I could escape.
“There is no one at the house to help you other than me, Arden,” He said and then looked to Tyler. Tyler trotted out of the room and Vlad looked back to me, “Now where is it?”
I felt tears run down my face and turned my head away from him, “Let go of me.” I whispered in a cry.
Suddenly I felt Vladimir kiss a spot on my neck near my jaw. I felt his tongue move against my skin and I felt a hot flash go through my body, “Why won’t you tell me?”
“Because I did something I should not have,” I whispered, “I had sex with Kevin. Yesterday afternoon. I was so mad at Michel and was so angry that I could not tell you what I needed to that I just gave into temptation.”
“Tell me what?” Vlad asked.
“I couldn’t tell you that I love you more than Michel and that you have stolen my heart,” I whispered and then felt Vlad let go of me. I sat up on my bed and watched Vlad go to the door of my room, “I’m so sorry.” I whispered as his hand went towards the doorknob, but froze when I heard my door lock. I looked up to Vlad as he turned down the lights in the room and then came back to me, “What?”
Vladimir’s hand caressed my cheek and he kissed me. He leaned into me and I leaned backwards. He lay on me as I lay on my bed and we kissed more, “I know you would never do anything to intentionally hurt me, Arden. And even though I am mad that you had sex with Kevin I can’t get over you telling me you loved me,” He kissed the side of my neck, “Last time we were like this my mother interrupted us before I could tell you I love you. After Michel woke up I did not want to interfere so I stayed away, but now I won’t stop. I am not going to let you get away from me again before I can prove how much I love you.”
“Vladimir…” I whispered as tears of joy started down my face.
“You trust me right?” He asked with a smile and I nodded.
“I trust you more than anyone else.” I whispered and he started kissing my neck again. He took off my shirt and kissed everywhere instead of just the blackened areas like he was supposed to. I realized this was really happening and loved it.
I quickened my steps as I felt someone watching me. I quickly turned a corner and then turned the next one in hopes of loosing whoever was giving me this feeling. I stopped when someone walked towards me from the alley ahead. I froze as a young man I had never seen before came up too close to me, “You look lost, baby.”
“No. I’m not.” I said as I turned to the right and started to walk off, but the guy grabbed my wrist.
“Hey. I didn’t say you could leave,” The man hissed and I froze when his other hand went to the side of my neck. His cold fingers caressed my skin and I heard him laugh, “I’m glad you have still left your neck untainted for me, dear Ardennes. I was afraid one of those vampires would get to you before I found you again,” He licked the side of my neck and I felt paralyzed, “Now I want you to go back to Michel and stop the engagement. If you do that for me, my dear, then I will let you go on with your life and not interfere. You must also meet with me every night to satisfy my needs or your precious little brother will die,” He let go of my wrist and wrapped his arms around my waist, “Do we have a deal, my love?” He whispered into my ear and a tear trickle down my face.
“Yes,” I whispered and then felt a sharp stab to my neck. I gasped as my body wanted to double over, but the man kept me from moving, “Ulrick.” I gasped and he let go of me. I sat on the ground since I was weak and he smiled as he knelt in front of me.
“Good. You remember me,” He said and then kissed my forehead, “Until tomorrow, my beautiful Ardennes.” He whispered and then walked away. Tears poured down my face as I set my hand over the holes in my neck and felt them close. Once I had calmed down and had gained enough strength to get up I slowly made my way back to the Hale house. When I walked in I heard Vladimir and Michel turn to me, but I could not look to them. I kept my eyes to my feet and quickly walked past them. I went upstairs and to my room. Tyler came over to me as I lay on my side on the bed and meowed to me.
What is it sister? You seem upset.
“I don’t want to talk about it, Tyler. Please just let me sleep.” I whispered to him and he lay down next to me. I gently brushed him as I slowly fell asleep with the confidence that Tyler would not be killed.
I had not talked to anyone all day because of my pain, but I still forced myself to sneak out of the Hale house and go back to where I had been attacked yesterday. The young man walked up to me when I showed up and smiled. He grabbed both of my hands and quickly pulled me to him. His fangs pierced my neck and I winced. Yesterday he had just drank for a few minutes, but today he did not stop for a long time. When he did I fell to the ground again and he quickly left. I slowly made my way back to the Hale house, but was shocked when I saw the light on in the front of the house. I slowly walked over to the light and realized Vladimir was sitting on the front porch with Tyler. They both looked to me when I opened the front gate and it creaked. Tyler hopped from Vladimir’s arms and waited for me as I walked over to them. I sat down near Vlad and Tyler crawled onto me. He put his two front paws on my shoulders and licked my face. He then pulled away and looked directly to me with a meow.
You were crying. He informed.
“Why did you leave so late at night? It’s already been two hours since I noticed you had left.” Vladimir said and I looked away from him.
“It’s nothing.” I replied quietly and then scratched Tyler’s ears. I have to work on the way I show myself from now on. They are concerned for me.
I walked into the alley at midnight two nights from the day I met Ulrick again, but became frightened when I could not find him. I waited for an hour or so and then became terrified. Ulrick must have backed out of our deal! He has probably already killed Tyler and the Hale family while I was gone! This is what he has been planning! To make me get away from them long enough for him to kill Tyler! Maybe I’m not too late! I started running and did not stop until I got to the house of the Hale’s. “Tyler! Tyler!” I yelled through the sleeping house as I ran upstairs. Vladimir and Michel ran from their rooms since their parents and sister were out of town as I sprinted past them. I threw open my door and ran to Tyler’s small home. I looked in and two yellow eyes looked up to me. Tyler meowed.
What is it, Ardennes?
I dropped to my knees and finally started crying. I pulled Tyler to me and squeezed him to my chest, “Thank god! I’m not too late!” I cried as I held him tighter than before. I then pulled him from me so that he was looking to my face, “I have to find a safe place for you.” I thought out loud, but looked up when Michel put his hand on my shoulder.
“What are you talking about, Ardennes?” He asked me with concern and I quickly looked away. I felt a deadly presence and turned to the door of my room. I set down Tyler and quickly ran over to Ulrick.
“What are you doing here?” Vladimir demanded in a hiss and Ulrick laughed. He set his hand on my face and looked to me.
“Sorry to frighten you in such a way, my darling.” Ulrick apologized, but I smacked his hand away from my face.
“Don’t touch me!” I hissed and everyone seemed to stop breathing by how quiet the room became, “The deal is off, Ulrick!”
“You were planning to come kill Tyler and the Hale family tonight weren’t you?” I demanded, “But I got here before you thought I would and now you are too late! I will not let you use me to kill people!”
“Don’t talk to me like that!” He hissed and before I could block my face he slapped me. I fell to the ground and hit the floor with power. I quickly looked up to Ulrick, but froze when a gunshot went off. Blood started down Ulrick’s arm as he hissed and turned to someone, “Damn it!” He yelled and then sprinted off. I heard him run out of the home and slam the door. Dimitri ran past Mr. Dean and to my side. He knelt at my side and just watched me in shock. Mr. Dean came into the room also.
“Ardennes, we need to get you out of here.” He demanded but I pushed him away from me. I quickly stood up and ran out of the room, but was stopped in my attempt by the firm grasp of Mr. Dean’s gloved hands.
“Don’t follow him, Ardennes,” He whispered and then pulled me closer. One hand left my arm and pulled my hair from my neck, “He has taken too much blood, Ardennes. You should not be standing.”
I slapped his hands from me, “If I don’t go after him he will kill someone else!” I yelled, “I may have Tyler safe, but what about Faith! What about Henry and Kevin! What about the other Hale’s! They are all in danger! I have to stop him!”
“I have already hidden all of them, Ardennes. They are all safe. But you can’t follow Ulrick.” He said sternly and I felt my body weaken. Dimitri came over to me and picked me up. He brought me into my room and sat me on my bed next to Tyler who crawled into my lap. Tyler meowed towards Mr. Dean but I was too weak to hear him.
“Tyler asks how much of his sister’s blood has been taken by that evil creature.” Vladimir told Mr. Dean who sighed.
“I’d guess around 80 percent.”
“What!” Michel yelled as he looked towards me, but I looked down to Tyler who looked to Mr. Dean as he meowed.
“Tyler asks if there is anything you can do to help Ardennes.” Vladimir said quietly as he kept his gaze at Tyler.
“I do not have it with me, but my sons have something that will help.”
“Then what are we waiting for!” Vladimir hissed to Mr. Dean who frowned at the young vampire.
“Keep your tone in check, Mr. Hale. I am doing you a large favor right now that I do not need to do.” Mr. Dean hissed, but when I stood I could feel both of their anger turn to shame.
“We need to get everyone else to wherever your have hidden the others as soon as possible. Ulrick is still close.”
“How close?” Mr. Dean asked sternly and I glanced at him.
“You are bonded to that man by blood now, Ardennes. You can tell how close he is.” Mr. Dean explained and I thought for a moment. An image of Ulrick flashed in my mind before I felt an eerie feeling.
“He is almost a mile to the southeast.” I whispered and he nodded.
“Mr. Hale, please carry Ardennes to my car. I will drive all of you to the shelter.” Mr. Dean said and Vladimir walked closer to me but I moved further from him.
“No. I want to walk.” I hissed and Vladimir seemed concerned. I slowly picked up Tyler and then went to Mr. Dean’s side. He led us all outside to his car and I sat in the front seat. The three men sat in the back as Tyler sat in my lap and Mr. Dean drove. He drove the car a few miles north from town until we reached an office building. We all got out when the car stopped and then followed Mr. Dean inside. We went down 12 flights of stairs till we reached a locked door. Mr. Dean opened it with a set of keys for the 6 locks and then opened the door. Before I could go inside Faith jumped at me. She hugged me tightly and sobbed on my shoulder.
“You’re alive!” She cried as she squeezed me tighter.
“Faith…” I whispered sadly, but was surprised when Mr. Dean pushed both of us closer to the door.
“You two can talk inside. It’s not safe out here.” He retorted and the two of us went into a large room of white walls. There were 11 beds and a kitchen, but nothing else. I saw Mr. and Mrs. Hale, Dahlia, Kevin, and Henry. Faith pulled me to one of the beds and sat at my side, but our attention was brought to Mr. Dean.
“Kevin! Henry! Get everything we’ve got on feeder bites! Quickly!” He hissed and Faith turned to me with fear on her face and heart.
“Feeder bite?” She whispered in a shaking tone, “You’ve been bitten by that man?” I looked away from Faith and towards Mr. Dean who signaled for me to come to his side. I did so and he used his gloved right hand to tilt my head to the side. He examined my bite marks more closely.
“He’s about ten miles out of town now,” I whispered to Mr. Dean, “He is going to find the rest of his kind. He will then bring them back with him to kill all of you and then kill me. They want what happened 70 years ago to repeat so that they will become powerful enough to take over the hunters and vampires. He believes that my blood has become more than he imagined and that it will help them since it is mixed with vampires and hunters now.”
“Hunter and vampire blood?” He asked in a whisper as one of his sons handed him something he set over my wounds, “That is all we need. If he gets a hold of all your blood we will perish.”
I looked to the floor, “He is going to kill all of us either way. Ulrick is more powerful than last time and so is my blood. With the amount of my blood he holds right now he could take over the whole country.”
“If you knew that then why didn’t you stop him?” Mr. Dean frowned.
I pushed his gloved hands away from me and took a few steps away, “Why didn’t I stop YOU from killing part of my family, Mr. Dean! I am too scared and weak to stop anyone! Just like before! I can’t stop Ulrick and I certainly can’t stop a whole ban of feeders!” I quickly walked over to an empty bed and lay down. Tyler curled up next to me and hissed when people came close. First it was Mr. Dean, then Michel, Henry, and Vladimir. I thought through this situation but still could not find an answer. Faith walked over to me and I sat up before my brother could hiss at her. Faith sat to my side and laid cold towels upon my wound. The coldness felt good against my deep wounds, but the shot Faith put into my neck was not near pleasant. She handed the needle to Mr. Dean who handed her a band-aid. She placed it over the spot where the needle had gone into my neck and then hugged my arm.
“We’re not here to patronize you or fight, Ardennes. We are here to help and stay safe,” She whispered and I looked to the crown of her head that rested on my shoulder, “Now let’s try to heal your wounds.” She sat up and examined me.
“He did not rape me, Faith. I can assure you that what you’re imagining is nowhere near the truth. Ulrick just took my blood and kissed me.”
“He kissed you?” She whispered in a shiver.
I looked away, “Once I was weak he could’ve done anything to me, but he just kissed me. I can feel that he really loves me, but his love has gone out of control. He wants to control me and keep me for himself.”
“Then why does he take your blood?”
I looked into Faith’s marvelous brown eyes, “That is a vampire’s way to bond with someone they love and before Ulrick was a feeder, he was a vampire. This is the only way he knows how to show me his feelings.”
“But he wants to kill you! He can’t love you!”
I slightly smiled to Faith, “He knows how I feel and he wants to take me out of my misery of royalty.”
“You want to die!” Mr. Dean yelled and I looked to Tyler who hissed.
“No, but I do not want to live the way I am now. Fighting with the people I care for, lying to everyone, hurting all; that is not the way I want to live. I do not want to go back to the way I used to be, but I cannot stand what is occurring in the present.”
“What do you mean, Ardennes?” Michel asked and I slowly stood. I went over to him and put my hand out to him. He put his hand under mine and I placed my engagement ring in his palm.
“I do not love you, Michel. I may have loved you 70 years ago, but my feeling as not for you anymore.”
“Ardennes…” Michel whispered and I looked to his deep eyes.
“I’m not going to lie anymore, Michel. I don’t want to lead you on when I do not have feeling for you anymore.”
“But we were destined for each other, Ardennes!”
“I’m sorry, Michel, but we weren’t,” I whispered and then put my hand to my head, “I need some air.” I whispered and Mr. Dean tried to stop me, but Vladimir stopped him.
“I will watch her, Sir. We will not go far.” He whispered and Mr. Dean nodded slowly. I went out of the bunker and Vladimir shut the door behind us. I started up the stairs and could hear Vladimir following three steps behind. When we reached the top of the building we left and stood outside. I was surprised when Vladimir took my hand in his and then led me to the side of the building. He sat on the grass and pulled me beside him. The grass had dew on it that made my cloths damp, but I ignored it and focused upon Vladimir’s movements. He pulled me off of the ground and onto his lap. His legs were straight out and I sat with my legs bent and my calves against the grass. He lifted his head off the brick wall and kissed me. I kissed back and ended up being pulled up against Vladimir with breasts against his chest and his hands sliding up my shirt. I helped him slide my shirt off, but was surprised when he pulled me off of his lap. Within seconds I was sitting with my back against the brick wall and Vladimir upon my lap. He caressed my chest as I moaned and kissed him more. When his lips left mine I immediately ripped off the bandage on my neck and he seemed shocked.
“Clean my body of Ulrick,” I whispered, “I want every time he bit me to disappear.” With my command Vladimir kissed me once more before moving to my neck. His teeth felt hot against my skin and did not hurt when they pierced my flesh. He dank my blood as his hands caressed my body, but when he lifted away I stared into his dark eyes.
“Cleanse my blood of any that does not contain you.” He whispered as he put his neck in front of my face and pulled my head closer towards it. I bit into his skin and felt the hot flash of his blood coursing through me, “Take all of me, my love.” He whispered in a groan.