Author's Note: (music from the heavens) I have completed my SAT and let me tell you it was… long. It wasn't particularly hard or easy, but it was long. I thought my eyes were going to melt by the end.
Beginning announcement… my official beta-reader for all of this is medieval-rogue, who has an excellent story up here called 'The Three Powers,' which I highly recommend to everyone.
And now to the sequel to Bad Blood… (new readers: if you don't want to read BB, any info you need will be summarized, or at least I'll include everything I think you need to know)
We were waiting for the sky to fall.
But, in the meantime, Jamnis Menai and I were celebrating my twentieth birthday. I was washing glasses and he had his arms wrapped around my waist, trying to coax me into leaving the dishes for later. It was May twenty-third, we'd been dating for six months now, just about. "Lover," he murmured, nipping my earlobe. "Let's leave this for later," he said, rubbing my thigh through my jeans.
Jamnis is tall, over six feet of lean muscle. He has short, thick, black hair, and blue eyes that are bright when he's happy and dark when he doesn't want me to know what he's thinking. He's also got the pale complexion of someone who's only tanned in moonlight for two thousand years.
I kept my hands under the stream of hot water. "There must be a week's worth of glasses in here, Jam," I said, glancing at him over my shoulder. He grunted and nuzzled my neck, making me shiver. "Come on, all you use is glasses… how hard is it to clean them out when you're done?" I was spoiling him, washing the wineglasses for him, but it felt good to have his arms around me like this. It was so… normal.
When you date a vampire, you pray for normal.
Mixed in among the glasses were a few empty bottles of Scarlet Syrup, the most popular brand of commercial blood on the market. "You really need to start recycling," I said, wiping my hands on a dishrag. I did notice that mixed in with all of the AB negative labels (my blood type) were some type O. Jamnis hated that flavor. "Have company lately?" I asked.
"Some… associates," he murmured.
"Human?" I asked, turning around.
The latest health craze had to do with all the vitamins packed into commercial blood, and there was a movement of people who bought bottles of Scarlet Syrup for themselves. They'd be better off buying HydroBlood, the cheapest brand on the market. It was a little known fact that Scarlet Syrup mixed in donor blood, real blood, to keep every bottle tasting different.
"No," Jamnis said, his fingers moving to work at the buttons on my jacket. "Eirene may be opening up a new branch of Hell," he said, referencing a chain of night clubs. "Avery assigned me to look into new partners," he said, sighing.
Eirene Kelly and Avery Morgan were both vampires, part of Jamnis's bloodline. Avery and Jamnis worked at Hell, managing and working with customer relations. From what I'd seen of her, Eirene was just wild. I think she decorated all of the clubs and worked on special events.
"I guess these aren't your type of people?" I asked, hopping up on the counter. Jamnis shrugged and slid my jacket down my arms, his mind on other things. I tapped his chin, making him look away from the detailing on my chocolate-colored cami. "Are you paying any attention to me?"
He raised an eyebrow. "This isn't paying attention to you?" he murmured, sliding his hands around my waist. His eyes flicked up and down, making me blush. "I like the skirt you always wear with this…"
I crossed my legs. "We're watching a meteor shower, Jam. Outside. I'd freeze in a skirt," I said.
"Mmm…" He looked over his shoulder as the phone rang. Sighing, he stepped back and walked over to the cradle on the wall, picking up the phone and saying his name by way of greeting. For a moment, he was silent, and then his fingers tightened around the phone. "Now?" he asked, glancing at me. "I have company," he growled.
I slid off the counter and walked into the living room, holding back a groan. Every time Jamnis and I had something special planned, we got interrupted. We should just start unplugging the phones when I came over. It was so aggravating to drive the twenty minutes out here from Rosen University and have to spend half the night listening to him talk business.
The house was nice, though. I sat down on the couch and kicked off my shoes, so I could pull my legs up underneath myself. The house had four stories, two aboveground and two under. The backyard was a landscaped field and forest, and the front yard was so big I couldn't see the road from the front steps. And I hadn't thought it was in him, but Jamnis had decorated the place nicely.
He walked into the room, shirt unbuttoned and phone nowhere in sight. "The machine will pick any other calls," he said, sinking down next to me. I smiled and snuggled up to him, making him laugh. We kissed and he pulled me into his lap. "Have you registered for summer classes?" he asked, while I slid my arms around his shoulders.
That was an unexpected turn in conversation. "No," I said, frowning.
"Don't," he murmured, kissing me again. His hand was on the back of my head, keeping our mouths pressed together, so there was no use fighting the kiss. I relaxed and parted my lips for him.
When he pulled back, though, he had some explaining to do. He gently started kneading my hips, eyes dark and unfocused. Finally, he just said: "Move in with me for the summer."
I stared at him. "What?"
He smiled, showing off his fangs. "Move in with me, Lover," he murmured. "You don't need to take summer classes this year," he said. Last year, I had, but that was because I hadn't had the option of going home. I'd kind of run off to school without letting my family knowing where I was headed. I'd visited them this last Christmas, though, and patched things up with my father, twin sister Ariadne, and little brother Michael. My mother was still… chilly.
But she'd always been like that.
"And besides," Jamnis said, tilting his head to one side. "Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to worry about time?"
My face was warm. "W-what?"
"I'll let that sink in," he murmured, raising an eyebrow. "In the meantime…" He scooped me up and started carrying me down the hall. I yelped, startled, and tightened my grip on his shoulders. He laughed, gliding down the steps to the lowest level of the basement, a security-hyped light-proof bunker. "We have an hour until the meteor shower starts, and I'd like to enjoy it."
He kicked open the door to his bedroom. He probably would've spent the hour exhausting me…
…if someone hadn't already been in the bed.
He froze in the doorway, his face going totally blank. A woman was lounging on his bed, propped up against his pillows, legs stretched out along the mattress, with long brown hair that reached to her elbows. It only made her skin look paler.
This chick was a vampire.
She had on a sleeveless black dress with thigh-high slits up the sides and a low-cut neck. "Who's that?" she asked, staring at me, brown eyes flickering. "What's she doing here?" Then her frown disappeared. "Did you bring her to share?" she asked, crawling up the bed. She was wearing black stilettos.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Jamnis croaked, slowly setting me down. He kept an arm around my waist to stop me from charging over to the bed swinging a lamp. The woman pursed her red lips into a pout and bowed her head, so her hair slid into her face. "Kat," Jamnis barked. "Why are you here?"
She traced a circle in the dark green bedspread and thought for a moment. "So… this girl isn't for me?"
Sighing, she flung herself back on the pillows, adjusting her dress so the slits left her legs bare. "I came to visit, Jamnis. I thought you'd be happy," she said, running her hand through her hair. I was shaking, almost out of confusion. I wasn't sure which one of the vamps deserved a slap more. "After all… we haven't seen each other in so long," she said, pursing her lips into a pout again.
Jamnis considered all of that for a moment. "Get the hell out of here, Kat," he said, pulling me out of the doorway. "Get out, Kat," he said, when the woman didn't budge. "Go get a hotel room or see if Eirene will take you in. I doubt it, after what you did to her."
"That was an honest mistake. How was I supposed to know she was keeping that a secret from Gavin?" she asked.
Gavin Morgan, Avery Morgan's biological son, was sire to Eirene, Avery, and Jamnis, among some other vampires I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting. Gavin lived about nine hours southward, in a town called Ashburgh. My family lived there, too, and that's where I grew up. Gavin and my twin sister Ariadne were currently living together. Through some complicated, secretive scientific measures, Gavin and Ariadne had just had a baby boy… Aidan Avery Morgan, named after Gavin's dad of course.
"At what point were any of us not keeping secrets from Gavin?" Jamnis asked, looking down at me. He seemed edgy, and his fangs were still extended. Staring at him, something connected in the back of my head.
Coolly, I looked at this newcomer. "Why don't I get you something to drink?" I asked, eliciting a sharp, suspicious look from my boyfriend. I smoothed out my shirt and cleared my throat. "What type do you like?" I asked.
"O positive," she said, smiling at me.
I laughed half-heartedly, while pushing Jamnis's hand off my hip. "I should've known. Just like the bottles in the sink, right, Jamnis?" I said, pivoting and stomping out of the room. Associates my ass, I thought, nails digging into my palms. I was at the top of the stairs before Jamnis's arms were around me. "Let me go," I hissed.
"It's not what you think," he said, kissing my neck. It didn't produce the shiver he was searching for. "She--I didn't know she was even here." He kissed my neck again, making sure I felt his fangs, but I still refused to shiver for the bastard. "Kat and I… we are… old acquaintances, Dana, Lover," he said, pulling me against him. "I haven't seen her in three hundred years, Lover."
"Could you be any more obvious, Jamnis?" Kat's high voice asked. "You think if you call her 'Lover' enough she won't be angry?" I felt Jamnis lean on me a little and knew Kat had pressed herself into him. Shuddering, I pushed away from them both and kept walking towards the kitchen. If I only had my own damn car, I could've just left!
Standing in the middle of the kitchen, I looked around and trembled. No way was I really fixing that bitch a drink. I shut my eyes and swallowed hard. When I opened my eyes again, 'that bitch' was standing in front of me. "Well, aren't you a sight?" she asked, looking me up and down. We were the same height. "Jamnis sure has a type, doesn't he?" she asked, draping her thin arms around my shoulders.
I had never met anyone I could've described as 'lithe.' But then again, I'd never met anyone I'd wanted to stab, either. "What're you doing?" I asked, pushing at her arms.
She tossed her head back and laughed. It made her face light up, and if her nails hadn't dug into my shoulders just then I would've said she was pretty. "Hey, Jamnis, don't we look nice together?" she asked, crushing me against her. I glanced over my shoulder to see Jamnis standing in the kitchen doorway, a strange look on his face. Kat grinned at me, her fangs glinting in the light. "Both his girls together, ain't it cute?"
"Jamnis--" I said, startling him out of his stupor.
He scowled and ran a hand through his hair, shutting his eyes for a moment. "Kat, let go of her. Dana, come here," he ordered, holding out his hand. I huffed and pulled out a chair when Kat loosed her grip on me. Jamnis popped up behind me and started massaging my neck, his fingers finding my pulse in no time. He relaxed a little; feeling my pulse always did that to him. "You really do look nice in that, you know," he murmured in my ear.
"You haven't said anything about my dress," Kat whined.
"You've never looked sluttier, my girl," Jamnis drawled, gently rolling his thumbs on my neck. I twisted in his grip but he didn't get the message. "Dana, stop squirming," he murmured, tightening his grip for a moment. I froze and he gently slid the thin straps of my cami off my shoulders, chuckling at the small tan line. "You've been out in the sun lately," he said, hands rubbing my arms.
My face was dark red. Jamnis was acting like we were alone; his hands had moved from my arms to my sides and he was kissing my shoulders, keeping me from lifting my straps back up. "Stop it," I said, trying to lean away from him.
"You really should have worn that skirt," he said, sighing into my ear. I couldn't keep from shivering. "But when you move in, that won't be a problem…"
Kat was suddenly kneeling on the table in front of me, her hands on my shoulders, her head tilted up to look into Jamnis's eyes. "Move in with you?" she said, her nails almost drawing blood. "You're asking her to move in with you? And you just told me I couldn't! You said it'd be a hassle!" She let go of one of my shoulders and grabbed Jamnis's collar, drawing him down. "I'd be a hell of a lot less hassle than a human," she sneered.
"Kat, Dana is mine. You will not use that tone when you talk about her," Jamnis said, not faltering in his massage for a moment. The woman let go of me and leaned back on her haunches, looking strangely young with her skirt piled over her legs. She titled her head to one side and rubbed her neck, aggravated. "Kat, leave," Jamnis said.
"Get out," Jamnis said, stroking my hair. "Rent a hotel room, book a plane, buy a car, whatever. Just leave. I don't want you around here, I don't want you visiting. You can use the phone if you need to, but I want you gone before midnight," he said. It was about nine-thirty then. Too generous of a deadline, if he had asked me. He didn't, of course, but then again it wasn't my house. I didn't live there.
I crossed my legs and simmered. Kat was gaping at Jamnis. I felt like ripping her fangs out. "What… what did you just say?" she asked, her lower lip quivering. "You're turning me out? After all we've been through? After all I did for you -- what about what I did for Avery?" she asked, jumping to her feet. Her head almost grazed the ceiling.
"That was over five hundred years ago! You were twelve! You had no idea what you were doing, it was a complete accident! You can't keep playing the Russia card, Kat," Jamnis snapped.
"What about the three hundred years we spent as lovers?" she yelled.
Other than the echoes of that statement, the room was very quiet.
"Intermittent pity sex does not a lover make, Kathleen," Jamnis murmured. His eyes had steeled and turned navy, and his hands were pressing hard on my shoulders. "You couldn't hang onto a man for more than six months if your life depended on it. I never should have turned you."
My jaw went slack. I looked up at Jamnis, and his eyes slid away from me, a slight frown crossing his face. This wasn't something he'd wanted me to know. His hands twisted so his fingers curled around my throat, and he pressed a point that made me shiver and shut my eyes. He chuckled softly and started rubbing my neck. "Kathleen," he said, quietly. "I need you to leave now."
"But, Jam," she said, stretching to put her hands on his shoulders. I scowled and held in a sneeze; the woman wore too much perfume. "I don't have anywhere else to stay. It'll be weeks before my hotel reservation kicks in. I couldn't find a room anywhere…" She pleaded, running her fingers through his hair. He got that weird look on his face again and I jerked away from him, leaving Kathleen free to pull Jamnis up against her. That bitch!
Shaking, I walked over to the sink and twisted the faucet on. Water running over my fingers, I slowly started to relax, but not by much. The water would keep my hands from catching fire… again. I could still feel sparks jumping in between my fingers, though.
Every powerless person has a psychic aura; they collect psychic energy and just act as a sponge. Most people just collect one type, I collect all of them. Normally my aura is dormant, but… in December, I'd had an emergency infusion of vampire blood, and… it'd turned my dormant aura active. Now, until the effects of the blood faded, I had all these stupid powers to control… like fire starting.
"Come on, Jam, please?" Kat was begging.
I bit down on my tongue, hard. That bastard! I grabbed a napkin and felt only a smidge of satisfaction as I watched it crumple into ashes in my palm.How could Jamnis not tell me about her -- he'd sired another vampire -- 'turned' another human being -- and he hadn't told me? This is something you tell a person after dating them for six months!
Kathleen's fingers were tangled up in his hair, and she was leaning on him, and her head was resting on his shoulder, baring her throat to him. His fangs were laying over his bottom lip. I turned the water on a little stronger, and winced at a spark flying from palm to palm. "I don't have anywhere else to go, Lover!"
A light bulb above my head burst.
Jamnis pulled me away from the falling glass, murmuring in my ear. "You can't let her upset you, Dana," he said, arms wrapped around me. When I turned my face to the floor, he made a frustrated noise. "Relax, Lover. Don't be so stiff," he whispered.
I stomped on his foot, which produced no effect other than making him even angrier. "She needs to leave," I hissed, glaring at him. "Either you tell her or I will!" And by 'tell' I didn't mean 'polite request.'
"Kat, get out of here, now," Jamnis growled.
"Why? Because I'm making her angry and she won't have sex with you?" Kathleen asked, swinging her legs over the side of the kitchen table. There was a grin on her face.
I stared at Jamnis. "Gavin said vampires have to do whatever their sires say." Why wasn't she leaving, damn it? He was supposed to have absolute power over her and she wasn't leaving! I had no idea what I'd do once I stomped over to the kitchen table, but I had to figure out something if Jamnis wouldn't make her leave.
"Kathleen is flawed," Jamnis muttered, glaring at her. No shit, I thought, blood rushing to my face.
She stared pouting again and gave him a pitiful look. "Where am I going to go, Jamnis? Please let me stay with you! There's no way I can get a plane ticket for anytime soon, not all the way back to Atlanta!" She clasped her hands together in a mockery of prayer, at the same time craning her neck to one side so Jamnis got a full view of her throat.
For a minute or two, Jamnis just stared at her. I curled my fingers around his arms, head tilted back so I could see his face. If he said yes I wouldn't be responsible for my actions. "How long do you need?" he finally asked, sighing a little. Shoving at his arms did nothing; he was determined to keep me next to him.
"Four weeks?" she asked, still playing the part of the hapless traveler.
He was quiet for another few seconds. "Alright," he finally relented. Kathleen jumped off the table and skipped over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist. He shut his eyes, but smiled a little when she kissed his cheek. "Go downstairs, Kat," he murmured, stroking her shoulder. She smirked at me before disappearing.
"Thanks so much for that favor, Jamnis," I muttered, crossing my arms over my chest.
"Lover, you're overreacting," he said.
He obviously felt that was all he needed to say on the subject, because he dragged me out on the porch and dropped me on top of a wooden picnic table. He started kissing my neck and I shut my eyes, holding back tears. How could he allow her to stay with him -- after fighting it so hard before? She leans forward to let him see down her dress and he just gives in?
When his mouth opened a little, getting ready to bite me, I flinched. He stopped, leaned back, and stared at me. "You're overreacting," he said again, softly. "If your ex had asked to stay with you, you would have permitted it. Even with all the things Kathleen has done over the years, I…" He sighed. "I don't want to be like Gavin, Lover."
Gavin wasn't exactly the sire every vampire wished they had. He was cruel, twisted, and had a disturbing tendency to treat people like objects.
"Terry…" I shut my eyes and swallowed hard. Terry Finch and I had 'dated' for two weeks in high school, and Jamnis refused to refer to him by name. When we'd visited Ashburgh in December, Terry had gotten tricked into kidnapping me. It sounds ridiculous, but Terry was gullible and the trickster could be… intimidating. The man had been Eliot Fleischer, a necromancer who'd tried to kill me -- and had succeeded in killing poor Terry. "Terry wouldn't have hurt you," I protested.
"Kat is… imperfect, Lover, but… she is still enough of a vampire that she can't harm me. And since you've had my blood… she can't hurt you either. Don't be frightened of her," he said, rubbing my knee.
That didn't make me feel better. "So what happens when the effects of the blood wears off?" I asked.
He half-smiled and kissed my collarbone. "I suppose…" he murmured, "I'll just have to give you some more."
"Oh, you'd love that," I snapped. That was about as possessive as you got, that was the most intimate thing a vampire could do for a human, as far as they were concerned.
He grabbed my chin and made me lock eyes with him. "As a matter of fact," he said, "I would."
Blushing, I bit my tongue. He let go of me and went back to kissing my throat. "If you think I'm moving in while she's here," I said, desperate to stand up for something, "you've got another thing coming."
He chuckled and climbed up on the table, pushing me onto my back. "We'll just have to see about that, won't we?" he asked, straddling me. He kissed me once before searching for a spot to sink his fangs in.
Over his shoulder, I could see the night sky. I wondered how many of the stars shining down on us were dead.
But Jamnis's fangs broke through my skin just then, ripping me away from my thoughts. My blood rushed to the punctures and he drank slowly, eager to extend the feeding for as long as possible. I thought I saw Kathleen's outline in one of the windows, but the shape disappeared before I could concentrate on it.
The stars began to fall.
Author's Note: Hope you enjoyed it. Hope I can keep up with the two-week updating schedule, too.