She was not sure what woke her, but she suddenly felt as if she wasn't alone in her bedroom. She opened her eyes and looked around slowly. He sat in her favorite overstuffed chair in the corner, near the sliding glass doors that led out to the balcony. She pulled her blanket up to her chin, staring at the mysterious man. His eyes glowed, strangely, unnaturally. She wanted to look away but could not force her gaze from his eyes. He stared back at her, a sad expression on his face, but said nothing.
"Who, who are you?" She finally managed, her voice no more than whisper.
"It doesn't matter right now." He said softly. "You can relax. I will not hurt you."
She instantly felt an inner calm take over. She thought she could smell roses.
"Why are you in my room?" She asked.
He seemed to consider the question for a moment.
"The truth will only frighten you right now."
"Are you going to kill me?"
"I told you, I would not hurt you."
"Then why are you here?"
He sighed, glancing out the glass doors.
"I waited too long to wake you and I don't have time to talk. I'll be back tomorrow night. Will you wait up for me?"
She opened her mouth to respond, but fell silent when he stood and walked over to her.
"Tomorrow, around midnight I should think. Sleep now." He waved his hand before her face and she instantly fell into a deep sleep. He leaned down to kiss her forehead before disappearing out the doors to the balcony. She woke the next morning feeling like she'd slept the best sleep of her life. Her Golden Retriever puppy was on the bed, licking her face. She smiled, scratching him behind the ear.
"Good morning to you too."
He jumped off the bed and sat down in the doorway to the bedroom. Wagging his tail expectantly.
"Do you need to go outside?" She asked. His ears perked up in response to the word "outside."
"Well give me a minute." She said, slipping out of bed. After using the bathroom and pulling her long black hair into a messy bun, she followed the anxious dog down the stairs and to the back door of her town house. She opened the door and let him out into the yard. While he took care of his business she started a pot of coffee and poured some food and fresh water into the dog's bowls, remembering the strange dream she'd had the night before. The man in her room, his eyes, the smell of roses, but something about it just didn't feel like a dream...
"A man in my bedroom in the middle of the night?" She said, opening to door to let the dog back in. "Chandler Bing! Come here puppy!" She called to him. She had named him after the character on the show Friends. He came bounding over, tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. "Was there a man here last night? Did you let someone in?" He ignored her, going straight for his food. All day she thought about the mysterious man from her dream.
She returned home from work late, sighing in relief as she kicked her shoes off and dropped her bag at her feet. Chandler came running to greet her as she checked her messages on the answering machine.
"Hey honey, it's me." Her best friend Angie's voice came through. "Its almost 9, shouldn't you be home from work already? I know you... you're hurting, but that's no excuse to work yourself to death, okay? I'm worried about you Jay. Call me so we can talk. I love you."
She smiled; Angie had always been there for her.
"Jaylin, its Robert Carva. I just wanted to double check that everything transferred to your account without any trouble. If you could check that and get back to me I'd really appreciate it."
She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath to steady her emotions. That was her father's attorney. The "everything" he talked about was the inheritance and insurance money she received after the accident... had it really been almost a month since she lost nearly everyone she loved? Chandler licked her hand, sensing his owner's sadness.
"Oh I'm okay puppy." She knelt down to hug him. Normally a hyperactive puppy he sat still for her. "At least I still have you." She kissed the top of his head before standing back up. "And there's no reason to cry, right? Can't change a thing."
After eating a late dinner, Jaylin made her way upstairs to her room and the master bathroom. Chandler settled into his doggy bed in the far corner of the room. She started the bath and poured in some sweet smelling bubbles. After turning the dimmer down on the light, she lit some candles and undressed. She slowly slid down into the hot, soapy water and allowed herself to relax. A candle-lit bubble bath was exactly what she had needed. She nearly fell asleep, but the water became too cold and she stepped out to dry off. She wrapped the fluffy towel around her self and clipped her hair up before walking back into her bedroom. To her surprise, the man from her dream stood just inside the sliding glass doors. The dog slept in his bed, uncharacteristically oblivious to the intruder.
"I'm sorry. I'm early." He said in his smooth, quiet voice. She remembered his promise to return at midnight. The clock on her nightstand said 11:27.
"You, you weren't a dream?"
The corners of his mouth turned up slightly. "Not hardly. Again, I apologize for being early. Please, get dressed and I'll explain everything." She stared at him for a moment, mesmerized by his glowing eyes, vaguely aware that something wasn't right.
"I will not hurt you Jaylin. I swear that to you. You don't need to fear me. Your dog is not at all disturbed by my presence." He gestured towards the sleeping dog.
It didn't make sense. Why wasn't Chandler jumping on him? How did he get into her room a second night without being let in? Who was he? How did he know her name? Why did she feel like he was safe? He was a stranger, in her bedroom. She was naked. Her head swam with her thoughts and suddenly she felt light headed. The room around her began to spin and then it went black.
"Jaylin, wake up." A gentle voice whispered. Fingertips brushed her cheek. Her eyes fluttered open and focused on the man leaning over her. His blonde hair was about chin length and combed back out of his face. His strange eyes, she saw now, were icy blue and incredibly intense. She felt calm, not at all fearful. She smelled the scent of roses again, but still couldn't think of where it came from. "How are you feeling?" He asked.
"My head hurts." She said.
"I'm sorry." He touched his hand to her forehead. "I didn't mean to frighten you earlier." Her headache immediately went away. The scent of roses seemed stronger.
"Who are you?" She repeated her question from the night before.
"My name is Kenyon."
She felt oddly satisfied with that little bit of knowledge.
"What do you want from me?"
He leaned his face closer to hers until their lips nearly touched.
"I want to own you." He whispered, sending a chill down her spine. He pressed his lips to hers before she could react, the rose smell becoming intense. He leaned his body down on hers and held her arms at her sides to keep her from fighting. She tried at first, but a gentle voice in her head told her to calm down, that everything would be all right. She stopped struggling when she realized the voice was his. The kiss, she also realized, was soft and kind, not forceful. A small part of her brain screamed for her to fight the warm, safe feeling that came along with the smell of the roses, to fight his voice in her head. 'I won't hurt you Jaylin,' it told her, 'if you let me take you, you will never have to worry about anything, ever. You will be royalty among my people. You will be loved and cared for.' The part of her that protested became weaker and weaker as Kenyon intensified the kiss. He released one of her hands and tangled his fingers in her long black hair. 'Please let me have you.' He begged in her head. He released her other hand and pulled the blankets down away from her chest. 'I have to have you.' He kissed her again, pulling her body against his. Then he kissed his way along her jaw and to her neck, burying his face against her skin. His tongue flitted across the spot just beneath her jawbone where her pulse could be felt.
"Please," He whispered out loud, his voice husky and full of lust, "You have to say it; you have to give me permission."
"No, I don't understand." She whispered. He growled in frustration, moving away from her. She quickly pulled the blankets back up around her.
"How could you understand? No one's ever told you. No one wants you to know." He paced around the room.
"I...I'm sorry." She said, unsure of why she even felt that way.
"There's a whole world you don't know about! A whole society hidden within and behind the one you know! Why should I think that maybe you would understand what I want from you?"
Suddenly he was on top of her, holding her body to the bed. She screamed in surprise, all feelings of safety gone. He leaned his face down to her neck, again licking the spot where her pulse could be felt.
"I should just take you." He said against her neck. "It would be quick, painless. By the time you realized what was happening, your body would be numb. Or I could just turn you, and you'd be mine anyway. But I can't do that. It's not that simple." He looked into her frightened brown eyes. "You're the one. I'm sure of it. You have to give me permission or I'll never be allowed to keep you. You have to say yes!" He sounded almost desperate.
"I'm sorry." She cried, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I'll do anything you ask. Please don't hurt me."
He sighed, getting off of her. "I'm not going to hurt you! Don't be scared. I don't want you to fear me." He waved his hand over her face and she felt somewhat better, though not completely safe. He sat beside her on the bed. "I just need you to allow me to take you. I need you to give me permission to make you mine." The angry man that had just been yelling at her was replaced with the kind man that had apologized for showing up early. "You'll be given everything your heart desires. You'll never have to work again. Everything that troubles your mind will be taken care of. All you have to do is tell me that I can take you. I promise you that as long as you're mine no harm will come to you. "
"You promise you won't hurt me?"
Her rational mind weighed her choices. Tell him no and risk being raped or worse or agree to whatever it is that he wanted and hope that he'll leave her alone.
"Okay." She said softly.
"You'll let me take you?"
She nodded, frightened about what that would mean.
"You have to say it out loud. Jaylin, may I take you?"
A smile came across his face and he pulled her to him, nuzzling his face against her neck. His mouth wrapped around her pulse. She gasped in surprise when she felt him pierce the skin and begin to suck on her neck.
"You're a..." She trailed off before passing out for the second time that night.
She woke to the sun shining in through her sliding glass doors. She sat up slowly, her head throbbing, terrified that the man, no the monster, that had been there the night before was still in her room. The only company she had was Chandler, still asleep in his bed in the corner. He lifted his head when she swung her feet to the floor.
"Now you're awake." She mumbled. He came over to her, wagging his tail. She scratched his head, considering what to do next. Her other hand traveled up to the side of her neck. She felt nothing, no bumps, no holes, no blood, and no pain. Did she call the police? And tell them what? A vampire broke into her house two nights in a row and scared her into allowing him to bite her? But had he really broke in? She stood and checked the locks on the sliding glass doors. They were completely untainted and unbroken. She flipped the lock up and slid the door open. She was greeted with the normal sounds of Chicago and a wave of warm summer air. She tentatively stepped outside, Chandler on her heels. She looked around, unsure of what she expected to find. The city went on outside as it did every other day. Just a few blocks away was the heart of downtown Chicago; cars flew by, people hurried to work, everything was normal. It almost made her think she had really dreamed up Kenyon and everything the last two nights. She was under a lot of stress, and it wasn't at all uncommon to have a reoccurring dream. The phone rang, bringing her out of her thoughts. She went back inside, relocking the door. When she reached for the cordless phone on her bedside table she caught a glance of the clock. It was nearly 10:30. She was over two hours late for work. The caller-id let her know she was being missed.
"Hello?" She answered the phone.
"Ms. Shayla? This is Gina from personnel over at Shina and Darvin. Are you taking a sick day?"
"Yes, I apologize for not calling. I slept through my alarm."
"That's okay Ms. Shayla. Just so you know, you have four sick days left this year."
"Do you plan on reporting to work tomorrow?"
"Yes, I should be there."
"Okay, have a good day Ms. Shayla."
Jaylin hung up and sighed. What was she going to do? She ruled out the police. What would they do? Have her fill out a report? They might think she was crazy. Chandler rested his chin on her knee. She realized that he hadn't been let outside yet and got up to do that. She was surprised to find a black envelope on her kitchen table. She let the dog out and sat down to open the envelope. Inside was a sheet of unlined white paper folded in half. She pulled it out and read the neat handwriting:
At this time you cannot possibly comprehend what you've done for me, but I promise that soon all of your questions will be answered. I'll return to you tonight, to take you to my home, your new home. Do not fear this, or the decision that you made. I know that lack of information breeds fear and I apologize that I wasn't able to fully explain what I asked of you. Tonight you will learn that my time was limited, but you have saved me. Truly saved me. My personal assistant and body guard, Lucas, will arrive around 1 pm. He won't harm you, don't worry. He'll come with boxes and packing supplies. He's at your disposable. Pack anything you cannot live without, everything else may remain. Your home will be kept, unless you'd like otherwise. You may bring your dog. I will return at 10 pm. Please be ready to leave by 10:30. We have much to do once we get home.
Jaylin stared at the paper, her hands shaking. Chandler barked at the back door, but she didn't move to let him in. He was going to return for her? Take her away? She had to pack? She thought it was over. She thought after he'd bit her he would leave her alone. She thought about running, maybe going to stay with her aunt in Los Angeles. Surely he wouldn't find her there... but no. Something told her that he would find her. And running would only cause her more trouble. She would simply wait until he arrived at 10 and she would discuss whatever Kenyon had planned. When this Lucas arrived at 1 she would explain to him that she wouldn't require his help and he could leave. Everything would be okay. Everything would work out. Her legs gave out beneath her and she slid down the counter to the floor. As much as she wanted to believe it, she didn't think everything would be okay. What had she agreed to? What had she done? She brought her knees up to her chest and cried, ignoring the ever louder barking of Chandler at the back door.