To my reviewers:

Krista: I still await that art you promised me. :)
FairHelena: Mademoiselle, you have full permission to beat me senseless for my lack of updates. :)
i-wish-it-was-make-believe: Why thankyou.
PurpleHaze: Happy endings are always the best. I enjoy them - it always leaves me with a sense of...elation? lol.
starrynight04: I actually wasn't too happy with my results. But oh well.
Vampgurl99: Oooh! so many questions! let's see if I can answer any...Why doesn't Nicholas question the vampire covens coming after him? Because Nicholas just really, honest-to-God doesn't give a damn. lol. Why doesn't he also question the time that all of those creatures got into the mansion? Hm. Clarify this one. do you mean why doesn't he question how, or why doesn't he question it at all? What attacked Emma that night that Nicholas was with the woman Viviene? Another vampire from one of those nasty bastard covens. Has Nicholas ever questioned why he has that many fangs and that not everyone is like he is? Actually, other vampires do possess 3 sets of fangs. And even if it were unusual, Nicholas would never question it -- he wouldn't care. Just as he doesn't care about why there are nasty vamps after him. Does he understand that some vampires have more gifts than some? He knows this at some level -- all vampires do. Just as as we know that some people are born into wealth and with talent, Vampires are all different. From the powers they possess to how they use them. However, he never really went into the details. Again, it's because he doesn't really care. (hm...he doesn't care about much does he? lol) When you write the chapters in Diadre's POV, is someone reading them or are you just trying to give a glimspe into what happened to her? That is open to interpretation. However, the answer is the latter. Is there more to her journal or is that where it ends? I don't know yet. lol. Anyway. hope i answered these questions to your liking!
m1schi3vous: Jacques has had many lovers. :)
LadyL:uck: Thank you.
Liz: I'm guessing I dont' ge my sweets? :( sowwy
druidshadow: Thanks.
tainted-blood3033: Me and spelling were never friends. lol. Thank you for your lovely comments. :) Much appreciated.
Cooties: hehe. thanks. i'm glad you enjoyed it.
meimi minamino: Sorry i took so long.
rOuge: :) it's fine. thanks for your lovely comment. I really really appreciated it.

My sincerest apologies everybody for the complete utter lack of updates. I've been...suffering from some major writer's block. Hopefully it's gone by now...

Chapter Twelve

William and the rest of the other vampires looked up when Emma entered the parlor the following night. They looked at Emma curiously. There was something different about her. Nicholas was the only one who didn't notice anything different.

William, there is something…strange about Emma tonight, don't you think? Monique asked her brother telepathically.

William nodded in reply.

I wonder what… Monique didn't finish, as they both saw the marks on her neck at the same time.

Monique gasped.

"Monique, is there anything the matter?" Emma asked, worriedly.

William, you need to talk to Nicholas. I will have a word with Emma. Monique told her brother as she stood.

"Emma, could you please follow me into the next room?" Monique asked.

William asked the same thing of Nicholas. Monique led Emma to the library while William led Nicholas to the hall.

"What's wrong, Monique?" Emma asked, as soon as Monique closed the door.

"When did this happen?" Monique asked looking pointedly at the bite marks – her usually calm demeanor slipping. If Nicholas had hurt her –

"Last night." Emma said, bashfully. "I asked him to."

Monique looked at Emma, bewildered. "You asked him to Mark you?!"

Emma looked at Monique. "I asked him to drink from me because … Mark me? What do you mean?" She asked.

Monique stared at the marks at Emma's neck and shook her head.

"Marked her?!" Nicholas cried.

William regarded his Son with amusement.

"Yes, you have marked her. I don't care to know whatever reason you two have for drinking from her in the first place, but, I doubt very much you meant to Mark her. Unless, of course, you two –" William raised an eyebrow.

"What! NO! I did not touch her last night, aside from…But Mark her? How did that happen?"

William shrugged.

"Your guess is as good as mine, Nicholas. You better hope you didn't hurt her too much. Marking someone hurts a good deal."

"No, it didn't hurt at all, Monique." Emma answered.

Monique looked at her, utterly shocked.

"Emma, did you and Nicholas engage in…any…thing, last night? Apart from him drinking from you?" Monique inquired.

Emma looked at her, confused. "What do you mean?"

"I mean…" Monique looked at Emma. No, she decided. They couldn't have.

She waved her question away and paced the room.

"Monique, what does it mean, if he's…'Marked' me?" Emma asked.

William regarded Nicholas silently.

"Well, what's done is done. The Mark will wear off, after a month. Perhaps longer, if…the emotions involved were especially powerful."

Nicholas looked back at William, grimly.

"Come now, Nicholas…your feelings for her are strong. You could never have helped yourself. You would have marked her no matter how lightly you bit her. It is sort of unbelievable however, that you marked her without having engaged in any intercourse…"

Nicholas stopped pacing and stared at William.

"I did not touch her." Nicholas said, his lips a thin straight line.

"I believe you…" William said, chuckling.

The two men went back into the parlor, waiting for the women to reemerge. Nicholas wondered how Emma was reacting to this.

"Vampires often Mark their possessions, Emma, a way to show everyone what is theirs. I do not know if Nicholas Marked you inadvertently or not, but, since you felt no pain, this is a sign you don't mind being his."

Emma blushed.

"So…Other vampires will know that…That I am his?" Emma asked timidly.

"Not just vampires. Humans can sense it to a certain degree. If any man approaches you now, they will subconsciously note the Mark and turn away. For vampires this is to a much greater degree. Especially since you are Marked by Nicholas. Most vampires of our community fear him. I doubt anyone will try to make an advance towards you."

Emma stared at the floor for a while.

"Is it permanent?" Emma asked.

"No. It will wear off after a month or maybe more…Unless he Marks you again and again, in which case, yes, it will be permanent." Monique answered.

Emma shuffled her feet, her hand coming up to touch the wounds at her neck.

"How does one…Mark somebody?" Emma asked.

Monique let out a breath. "Usually, during intercourse –" Emma's eyes widened before Monique continued, "Mates Mark each other to show possession and surrender to each other. Marking someone is usually painful to the other party unless they are fully willing to receive the Mark. I don't know any other way of Marking someone without having any intercourse first. In order to Mark someone, the biter should be in a subliminal state of mind. This of course, happens during intercourse and rarely happens otherwise."

"Why would Nicholas Mark me?" She wondered, now blushing furiously.

Monique could not reply to her. They left the library together and reentered the parlor.

Nicholas looked up as Emma entered. By vampire lore and law, she was his. She was practically his wife. At least, till the Mark wears off. She sat at her usual spot on the rug by the fire and avoided looking at anyone, particularly Nicholas. Eloise sat besides Emma and whispered something into Emma's ear which made Emma blush.

"Hm. He may not be your Nicholas, but, you definitely are his now, oui?" Eloise whispered.

Emma put her fingertips to her mouth, trying to hide a smile, her ears burning.

"It was a mistake." She replied to Eloise.

"Ah. Mistakes. Everything is a Mistake, oui? Really, Emma. You ought to open your eyes. Not everything is a Mistake. Maybe an accident but not a Mistake."

Emma walked besides Nicholas, silent. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. How was he supposed to apologize for something he was hardly sorry for? He watched as she unconsciously touched her neck. Was that a smile he saw on her lips? He wondered, as she turned her head away from him, obscuring his view of her face.

"Emma, I…don't know how that happened." Nicholas started, feeling idiotic.

She glanced up at him and wondered if he regretted it.

"But…until the Mark wears off…" Nicholas continued, not knowing what it was exactly that he was trying to say.

"I am yours." Emma said, quietly.

Nicholas stopped walking then. They were in a dark alley, at the heart of Oldare. He turned his head to look at Emma who was looking up at him, her eyes sparkling in the darkness. He nodded.

"Yes. You are mine." Nicholas said, more to test the sound of it on his tongue than to affirm it.

Nicholas walked closer to Emma, till their bodies just touched.

"W-what does it mean, Nicholas, to be yours?" She asked unsteadily.

"It means," said Nicholas as he brushed a strand of hair away from her face. "It means you are to do what I want you to do."

A strange twinkle appeared in Emma's eyes. Was that mischievousness he saw?

"Oh? And what would you have me do?" Emma asked.

If he hadn't been a vampire, he wouldn't have noticed the smile playing on her lips. He suppressed a groan at the thought of the many things he wanted her to do.

Instead of answering her, Emma felt him put his arms around her and take off. They soared through the air and in a moment, they were in Lion Street.

"I would have you choose a gown from one of these shops. Any gown and it is yours. For your ball." Nicholas said, gesturing to the many boutiques available to them.

"Oh. You wish for me to spend your money." Emma said, feigning realization. "Oh, silly me, here I was, thinking you'd have me do more…interesting things."

He would have asked her what she defined as 'interesting' but she laughed in such an innocent way, he thought that asking her would have been crude. Emma smiled one last mischievous smile before reverting to her former self.

"Nicholas, I couldn't." Emma whispered, staring at the dresses. "The dresses here are so…so…opulent! I could never wear any of these…I've told you before. They're too grand. And…You've given me enough already. I couldn't possibly ask for more."

But as Emma said this, she saw a dress that wasn't dripping with diamonds and rubies. It was by far, the simplest dress on the street but it was beautiful. It was an off-white gown, with a white petticoat underneath, embroidered with a fine gold thread and pearls. The bodice was plain but the stomacher was elaborately decorated with lace trimmings and gold thread. Emma loved it instantly. But as her eyes traveled upwards, her smile faded and she looked at the dress hopelessly, thinking it a shame she could never wear it.

Nicholas had seen the look on her face when she spotted the gown. He smiled to himself. He had come here earlier and had seen it himself, thinking it would look wonderful on Emma. He did ask them to make a few alterations to it and paid a hefty sum so they would put it at the window and yet not sell it. But then, her smile faded. He looked back at the dress, searching for the part of it she did not approve of.

"Is there something wrong?" Nicholas asked.

Emma looked up at him and smiled.

"For a moment there, Nicholas, I thought I found the perfect gown."

Nicholas looked up at the gown.

"What is wrong with it?"

Emma walked towards the window, and looked at it. She put a hand on the glass and traced the neckline with a finger.

"I cannot wear something like that, Nicholas. It is too revealing."

Emma felt Nicholas put a hand to her waist. She wondered if he noticed and wondered if he just felt the shudder go through her. He bent down to whisper into her ear, his eyes still on the gown.

"Too revealing or will reveal too much?" Nicholas asked.

Emma let out a breath, the air in front of her fogging up from the cold. October months were cold here.

Emma shifted uncomfortably at the question, finding herself suddenly nestled against Nicholas and surprised at how they fit together perfectly.

"The first one." Emma said.

Even though she wasn't looking at him, she knew Nicholas was looking at her with a slight smile on his face. She knew he didn't believe her.

"Why don't we go inside, and you can try it on. Then we can see just how 'revealing' it is?" He suggested.

Emma looked at the dress longingly and finally, after some hesitation, nodded.

Emma loved it. She twirled in front of the mirror again and again. It felt so lovely on her skin. Nicholas was waiting downstairs for her, the shopkeeper having offered his upstairs apartment for her convenience. Emma walked closer to the tall pier glass and stared at her upper body. The gown was an off-the-shoulder one, the sleeves detachable, so that only a four inch wide strip of beautifully decorated material served as sleeves. Nicholas had insisted she try it on without the sleeves. She knew she would feel very exposed without them, but tried the dress anyway without them for Nicholas. She had not shown him how she looked yet and she doubted she would ever. Her scars seemed to glow in the dark. She put a hand at the scars at her chest, and neck, then her fingers found the four bite marks that Nicholas had left there the other night.

The flesh around the marks was still tender but as Emma touched them, she felt she could still feel Nicholas's lips there…He was so tender with her. Then, she remembered herself and stood back to regard her image once more. She loved the dress, but her scars showed far too much.

Nicholas looked up when he heard Emma coming down the stairs. He was disappointed when he saw she was not wearing the gown.

"Well?" Nicholas asked.

Emma shook her head. Nicholas looked at her, upset she did not like it. He knew she would look ravishing in it. But, if she did not like it, then he certainly would not force her to take it. Perhaps there was another gown she might like better. But when he watched her give back the dress to the dressmaker, she looked so sad and knew she was regretting it.

"Are you sure you don't want it?" Nicholas asked her.

Emma nodded hesitantly. Nicholas looked up at the dressmaker, a bent old man who was regarding Emma in a way that made Nicholas's blood boil.

"We'll take it." He said.

Emma looked up at him.

"What? No! Nicholas. It's…I can't wear it. It…My…" Emma stammered, putting a hand on his arm.

The dressmaker looked between the two, wondering who to listen to. He spied a heavy-looking money pouch at Nicholas's hip and decided to listen to him. He proceeded to fold the dress.

"Do you have a shawl to go with the gown? The Mademoiselle thinks it too revealing."

Emma's eyes brightened at this. The man nodded and produced a shear gauze shawl that Emma thought would look lovely with the gown. She could tuck it into her bodice and it would look like it were part of the dress.

"Now, do you still not want it?" Nicholas asked, grinning.

Emma was speechless.

Nicholas turned his attention back at the old man, who had the dress neatly packaged in a box and had folded the shawl to go inside with it. Nicholas brought out his money pouch.

"Not so fast, sir. I'm not selling this dress just yet."

Nicholas straightened, Emma still holding on to his arm, looking at the man, confused.

"Why is that?" Nicholas asked.

"This gown is part of a set; I am not letting it go without the other items! I won't be able to sell the other items otherwise and unless you buy the other items..."

Nicholas let out an exasperated breath.

"What other items?"

"Undergarments of course." The man said.

Emma instantly colored. It was not proper for a man to buy a woman undergarments unless they were married. Nicholas saw this instantly and was about to negotiate with the man but was suddenly silenced when Emma spoke.

"May we see them?" She whispered.

Nicholas looked at her, curious. He watched as her fingers of her left hand traveled up to her neck and touch something there, gently. His heart swelled as he saw a small smile play on her lips and she blushed lightly, not knowing he was watching.

He wondered what she was thinking, as she rubbed the four small holes at her neck. Her hand fell back down slowly when the man arrived. He took no notice of the man and leaned on a display case. He watched Emma look down at the items the man had placed on the glass top display case. Nicholas watched her eyes glitter and he saw a hint of glee as she examined the pieces. Then, a small shadow passed over her face and he heard her ask for the price. He looked at the man then and shook his head. He did not want her to know how much he would be paying. Emma looked at Nicholas, about to object but he gave her a look and she closed her mouth.

Her eyes were back on the display case and ever so often, every time he heard the man say something about corsets and slips, Emma's hand would travel up to her neck but stop in midair and fall back down, as if she was catching herself in time. He smiled at her fondly whenever she colored and finally, she stiffened when she realized he was watching her and looked up at him.

"Nicholas…what are you looking at?" Emma asked.

He shook his head and turned his attention to the undergarments on the display case.

The slip was made of a light material that was almost see-through; the corset was of the latest fashion, which would give Emma a very long waist. He stared at it with distaste. Women were not meant to be bound. Especially not Emma. There were silk stockings that he thought would look wonderful on Emma. They were thigh-high and came with a garter belt. He was dangerously close to imagining Emma in them. He quickly stopped thinking of them, for if he did... He looked up.

"Alright. We'll take everything except for the corset." Nicholas said.

The old man shook his head and Emma felt Nicholas stiffen next to her. She put a hand on his arm again; weary of what he might do next.

"Monsieur, I will not sell the gown unless you take the corset as well." The old man said.

"Non. I will not buy the corset from you." Nicholas said, coldly, his gaze piercing the man.

Emma wondered how the dressmaker could stand it.

Nicholas was ready to rip off the man's head when he felt Emma's small hand come to rest on his arm. He took in a deep breath and dropped his pouch on the table. There was enough money in there to buy the whole shop. The man's eyes widened at the sight of so much gold; quickly, he parceled the rest of the items – excluding the corset – and handed them to Nicholas gleefully, telling him to come again.

"Nicholas! That was ludicrous!" Emma cried, as they exited the shop, the parcel tucked beneath one of Nicholas's arms.

"What was, mademoiselle?" Nicholas said, slowing down in his pace so Emma could catch up.

"That! You paid so much money! Nicholas, he hardly deserved it!"

Nicholas stopped then and turned to look at her.

"No, he didn't. But you do." Nicholas said, lifting her chin so he could look at her fully. "You only deserve the best and more."

Emma blushed and tried to turn away, but he didn't let her, his gentle hold on her chin unrelenting.

"You spoil me, Nicholas." She breathed, as he stared into her eyes.

"Hm. Only when you allow me to," he smiled.

He leaned over and Emma's heart began to race. Oh please, kiss me…Kiss me…She pleaded to him in her head. Yes…please…

Nicholas leaned closer and closer, his target: Emma's beautiful lips. Then, Nicholas tensed, his eyes flaring open. Emma looked up at him, suddenly terrified.

Emma looked up at Nicholas's eyes, which had suddenly turned a feral gold. She let out a shuddering breath and watched as Nicholas turned sharply around. She heard him hiss at something in the darkness in the alley behind them. He grabbed hold of her and took off.

When they landed back near the mansion, Nicholas was still tense and looking around with his fiery gold eyes.

"Nicholas?" she whispered, afraid to speak to him.

Nicholas looked swiftly around before taking off again with her in his arms and landing on the balcony that lead to the room above his own. He finally looked at her then.

Nicholas felt stupid that he had not sensed the Vesceles earlier. They had been closing in around them for a good five minutes. He would have stayed to fight but Emma would have been left vulnerable.

"I am sorry, Emma, for scaring you." He whispered, leading her down to their apartments. He laid the parcels on Emma's bed.

"What was wrong, Nicholas?" She asked, picking up the parcels again and putting them in her closet.

"Vesceles," He replied.

Emma went silent afterwards.


Nicholas stared up at his ceiling. He had always meant to paint it as he did in his old bedroom, but he never did get around to doing it. He would always put it off. Nicholas was an insomniac when he was mortal and it worsened when he became a vampire, as he had more to think about. Nicholas swallowed, as he heard shrieks of pain from his mother. He would go insane one day, listening to her. Listening to his mother cry out for him. Then, he felt a tear from his eyes and was surprised. He had not cried since he was a boy and this was certainly the first time he was crying over this particular matter. He sat up and looked into his mirror; red stained his cheek from the single tear.

"Nicholas?" Emma stepped out from her room and stopped when she saw the blood on Nicholas's cheek. Had he been crying? "Nicholas?"

For a moment, Nicholas merely stared at her. She wondered what could have made him cry…

Nicholas quickly wiped the tear away from his cheek and was even more surprised when it was followed by another one. That would be the last one he would have to wipe away, he promised. But before he could wipe it away, Emma was on his bed, kneeling before him, wiping the tear gently away with her thumb.

"Nicholas," She asked, "What's wrong?"

Nicholas was speechless, confused. He did not cry. And why would he cry over his mother now?

"Nothing." He answered. But even as he said this, images of his mother flashed before his eyes and she was crying hysterically, telling him to leave, save himself…

Emma held his face in her hands, gently rubbing his cheeks with her thumbs. This was strangely nostalgic.

"Alright." Emma said.

But, as she did, he felt her leading his head down towards her. He was confused at first when suddenly, he was inches away from her neck and without thinking, he bit down.

Emma screamed. Not from the pain of the bite but…

"Nicholas! You're back!" A tall woman who looked strikingly like Nicholas said.

She ran towards Nicholas.

"Mere!" Nicholas said, happily hugging his mother.

"Where have you gone?" She asked.

"No where, Mother. No where."

Emma struggled to keep awake as images flashed before her eyes.


"NEVER mother!" Nicholas said.

Blood was flying everywhere.


Nicholas felt a knife go through him. He pulled it out.

"NO! MOTHER, YOU RUN! I'll fend them off! Please!"

"But my leg! I can't!"

Nicholas turned around. An arrow narrowly missing his head. Then, a scream.


"Nicholas!" She spluttered.

Nicholas ran towards her. He saw the knife sticking crudely out of her. He stared at it and then at his mother's face.

"Mother, I'll turn you. I'll turn, you mother!"

She shook his head.

"No. No. You go now…Nicholas…"


He bit down and sucked her till her last breath; chaos erupting around him. He did not care. He gave her his wrist to drink from. She refused for a moment before taking it.

But before her transformation was complete, a Vescele grabbed a hold of her leg, dragging her out into the sunlight.

"NO!" he screamed, as he ran towards his mother, not caring for the light.

But it was too late.

She was dust already.

Emma sobbed; her small body seemed to fall apart from the intensity of her crying. Nicholas let go of her and stared at her.

"Emma? I—" Nicholas started. But she laid a hand on his mouth and then held on to him.

He pulled her arms gently away from his neck and lay her down on the bed, where she curled up into a ball and sobbed bitterly. Nicholas suddenly didn't feel so bad anymore…It was as if Emma had taken his sadness and made them her own.

His heart broke with each sob that escaped her lips. He kissed her on her temple and kissed her wounds, to heal them. When she calmed down, he threw a blanket over her and lay on his side, facing her.

"Nicholas." Was all she could say.

He pulled her close, hurt that she was hurting as well.

He gently rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head and held her and held her.

"Shhh." He whispered as she cried against his chest.

"Nicholas." She said again.

She pushed slightly away from him and looked up at him.

She had stopped crying now and a small smile was on her lips. He opened his mouth to say something comforting but Emma took a hold of his chin and closed his mouth.

"Nicholas, everything's alright." She said simply, her turn to kiss the top of his head.

She lifted herself up so this time, it was his head against her chest. She stroked his hair and held on to him. And so they slept.