C H A P T E R
It was stale. The air was suffocating, choking. Everything around him seemed to taunt him that night. The piercing cold, the bone-white glare of the moon, the silent, mocking statuesque posture of the trees with their skeletal fingers branching up towards the velvety sky. Perfectly serene, that's what it was and yet it seemed to mock him. Ridicule him for what he was about to do.
Body desiccated and throat dry, Pietro fought hard to focus his mind to the task. His skin was yellowed pale and sickly from lack of blood. He was famished. Every sense he possessed was heightened to tempt him. Teeth jagged, eyesight sharp, ears catching that thump, thump, thumping of the anxious heartbeat his companion tried hard to pacify in failure. It almost drove him mad.
All these Dominique could only imagine. Truthfully, she felt utterly helpless. Why she was even doing this was beyond her. All those teachings she had learned to hunt and kill, where were they now? Vampires did not deserve mercy. Life was a privilege not suited for them and it was the Coven's duty to make things right.
Yet, here was Dominique in front of Notre Dame with Pietro. A fugitive. A rebel. A vampire. Her lover. Tonight he would repent. Tonight they wou-Knock! Knock! Knock!
With an aggravated sigh, the book was put down as dark brown eyes darted towards the locked door. Staring long and hard at it, another chorus of hand hitting wood drifted towards her. Blowing at an errant curl obscuring her vision, she wondered what her white blond tresses looked like now. Probably appeared like a nest that's what.
Finally standing up from her position, the teenage girl stretched languidly hoping to rid her body of the three hour tension she abused it with her reading. Her thin rimmed glasses slid low on her nose. Pushing it up unconsciously, she approached the door and opened it.
A very irate looking woman greeted her, hands akimbo and wearing a heavy frown. The blonde locks on her head were a dead give away that she was this teenager's mother. With a terse, crisp tone she inquired, "Why do you always have your door locked?"
The teenage girl shrugged making the woman even more annoyed but she eased off somewhat when she saw her daughter's attire. Bringing up her hand, she did a twirling motion with her finger and commanded, "Turn around."
With a sardonic roll of her eyes, the girl did as she was told. Of course the woman had to check the attire she wore. She was the one who had bought it in the first place. It was only sensible for her to see what her daughter looked like in it.
A blue green blouse with short puffed sleeves adorned her upper body. Vibrant colored beads decked her shoulder to shoulder neckline in fanciful waves that were pleasing to the eyes. The dip the neckline provided was too low for the teenager's liking but she knew better than to complain. Surely it would be her mother who would turn out victorious if she chose to fight her about it.
On both her wrists were numerous earthly colored bracelets with small shaded globules of painted clay that made tinkling noises when she shook her hands. There were some also on her left ankle and around her neck plunging low just below her visible cleavage. Her mother said it aimed to emphasize. It only irked her further.
Hanging precariously low on her hips exposing a good two inches of skin was a shin length vastly wavy oriental skirt that boasted hues ranging from orange to green. Acting as an accent, as told by her mother, a long silk scarf the same shade as her top was loosely tied around her waist, covering the waistband of her skirt. It too had those enchanting beads scattered about and were very pleasant to look at. To finish off her attire, faded beige sandals snuggly enveloped her feet.
Glancing up at her head, the woman frowned. "Where's the bandana?"
"I tried it on and it looked silly," answered the girl nonchalantly.
With a sigh, the woman retorted, "I guess that's all right."
"Aren't gypsies supposed to be dark haired though?" questioned the girl as she tugged at a curl that was tickling her neck.
"It doesn't matter. Get your stuff, I'll bring you there now," the woman answered and walked away.
Shaking her head in defeat, the girl grabbed at her book and thought twice about it. Her destination was a party. There was no time to read there. Tossing the novel to her bed, she picked up a pale yellow embroided messenger bag and tossed inside her cellphone, her wallet, any other female necessities and a bottle of her favorite vanilla lotion. Earlier she had swabbed some on her skin but she brought it anyway just in case.
Alethea Malloy, or plainly Lea, was not happy as she trudged down the hallway of her house. Due to a televised announcement, she was being forced by Kendra, her mother, to attend a Halloween party hosted by Shelly Gregory, daughter of a famous movie director and schoolmate to Lea.
Honestly, she had much preferred staying home tonight owing to the fact that she was almost done reading the latest of her purchase, a novel titled The Covenant. The small battered down bookstore she frequented had numerous odd collections. One of them was the vampire romance Lea was almost done with. Any genre she was very interested in but lately vampire stories had attracted her. The humble collection of books in her room had few of those, which was probably why she enjoyed reading them so much.
Finally outside of their house, Lea sighed as she found her mother already in their car. Suddenly, she was anxious. Lea was by no means a recluse. It was just that, the thought of a party, something so large scale as that with hundreds of people invited, it intimidated her.
Still, with Kendra's resolute expression, Lea knew she had no choice but to go. With heavy trepidation, she got on the passenger's side of the car and the vehicle was off.
They were asked to dress for the occasion. People were garbed in mock red skins as devils or rickety clothes as witches and the like. Many thought better and had on movie character costumes in light of their hosts, star studded Shelly Gregory and her father the director. Still, there were a great number who still went as they liked.
Poorly made-up clowns, princes with their princesses, the Harlequin inspired, Romeos and Juliets, preppy cheerleaders, football-padded athletes, Japanese school girls, Victorian divas, barely clothed angels, stolen school mascots, Barbies personified, enchanted fairies, white fabric ghosts, naughty nurses, bad boy wannabes, and whatever more anybody could think of.
Still, with all of that, he still just wore an all black outfit, from his shirt down to his steel toe combat boots. It was simple enough and nobody bothered to comment on it. Not even about the sheathed knives attached to his thick belt or the vial pouch tied to his right thigh. This was, after all, a Halloween party.
A small, thin chain was hooked on one of his belt loops on his left hip and it curved delicately towards his back pocket. On all his fingers except the one between his pinky and middle on his left hand, there were assorted rings. Some even had three to one finger. Around his right wrist there was a black leather band with elaborate spiral designs done in silver.
As if inspired by his color motif, the hair on his head was jet-black and irritatingly long. He had thought of cutting the tendrils before coming here but a persistent red head had stopped him from doing it. So now his mid-back length hair was merely tied very loosely somewhere along his shoulder blades causing a few mutinous strands some freedom to frame his face.
When asked what he thought about it, he growled and said he looked like some Goth pretty boy to which the red head had replied that, that was in fact what she was aiming for when she lent him all the jewelry. It was the least he could do, she insisted, since he was steadfast in not wearing a costume.
The battle was lost, the victor rejoiced, and here he stood watching teenagers to the middle-aged mingle with each other through the loud blaring of fast-beat music. Pushing himself off the wall he had been leaning on, he trudged along the thick crowd and kept a thorough watch of his surroundings.
Soon. Soon it would start.
Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, he made a beeline towards one corner of the room and furrowed his eyebrows in annoyance as he approached two of his acquaintances. One, the reason of his current appearance. The other, her beau.
"…don't like it?" he heard the red head ask with a pout.
The man with her tugged at the long dark braid she had on her back. "Is it hair dye?"
With a bright smile, she replied, "It's a wig, honey."
"Good." That was all he said as he circled his hand around her waist and glanced around. The boy watching them wasn't surprised. She went as Lara Croft tonight and those short shorts attracted quite a number. Not to mention her big bust area. She loved making her lover possessive.
The woman was named Katharina. She preferred being called Tanya though. Her companion meanwhile was called Michael. The attire he wore was consistent with a pirate's. The two were inseparable and for a brief moment, the boy watching them remembered how the couple met. He scoffed at the memory.
As if hearing him, Tanya glanced towards his direction and gave him a calculating gaze. "Tobias, where have you been?"
"Far from you, obviously," he said with a sigh. Michael raised an eyebrow at him in question about his slightly irritated tone. To answer him, Tobias continued, "It's a slow night. Nothing's happened yet."
Shrugging, Michael replied, "All we can really do is wait. I'm a bit wary though. Denny came."
Tobias already knew this and he wasn't happy to hear the information again. Even Tanya looked perturbed. They let the subject drop and the three continued to eye the people thoroughly.
Feeling that they should cover more space, Tanya, Michael, and Tobias split up and pushed through the dancing bodies. It was going to be a tiring night. The number of people here was just overwhelming. How would they ever manage?
The smell was acrid too. Smoke, sweat, thick perfume, musky cologne, strong alcohol. It made Tobias' nose itch. In a situation like this where he didn't really have a choice, what else could he do but ignore them? Along the way though, he caught a scent that made him stop.
Vanilla. When Tobias was still a child, he remembered trespassing in their neighbor's garden since his older siblings always loved to tease him to tears. There was a spot there that he sat on for hours. It was where the vanilla grew and he even at times picked flowers and put them in-between a handkerchief he brought along with him. Later on he would smell it once he got home. His siblings went as far as to say that he was addicted to it.
Which was why, as he caught a faint scent of it in this rowdy crowd, Tobias couldn't help but follow the trail it was coming from. The sight of him, all six feet, two inches of him sniffing the air was an odd vision to behold. Nobody gave him any notice so it was fine.
If Tanya and Michael had the guts to flirt around during a mission like this, Tobias believed that he too could slack off just for a few minutes. Well, why not? He had been working his ass off risking his life hadn't he? He deserved a few moments of his own time to indulge in doing whatever he wanted. Even if tracking down some elusive vanilla scent was what he planned on getting done.
Thinking it through, one might consider this action particularly weird. Wholeheartedly, Tobias agreed to that notion. Even he was curious as to why vanilla seemed so enticing to him. It wasn't even that nice, the smell. At least, that's what one of his sisters told him. Vanilla was so dull and plain. One minute you were catching it in the air and the next it was gone. Not even leaving a trace that it was there. It was too inadequate, too vague, or even too ordinary. Why would he like something like that?
The answer was simple. He just did.
Craning his neck to see over the heads of some conversing teenagers, Tobias saw a flash of pale blonde hair. Feeling curious he maneuvered his way towards that direction the scent was coming from and when an opening was granted him through a group of people, he balanced himself on one foot and put his hands in his pants pockets.
With tilted head he watched the teenage girl with open curiosity. The curls on her head were thick and reached just past her shoulders. For some reason, she looked momentarily confused but upon placing something inside her bag, all made sense again it seemed.
No doubt about it. The vanilla was coming from her. Tobias was sure of it as he caught the fragrance when he stepped closer to her. When she started to walk away, he followed her trail. Since he hadn't seen her face earlier, Tobias strode to her side a few feet away and eyed her features.
Brown eyes, and elegant facial profile. These days they considered that the average look. To Tobias, he thought she was very pretty. What with her button nose and slightly flushed cheeks, the girl was pleasing to look at. Then, his eyes trailed to her mouth. It was very rosy and aesthetically glossed making it ever so lustrous. Unconsciously, Tobias licked his lips and momentarily felt like some perverted stalker. Still, he followed her anyway.
Now, he was trailing behind her. The sway of her hips made him smile. If he was right, she was dressed as a gypsy. If that was the case, the way she walked did her costume justice. He noticed that the skirt she wore clung low and exposed some skin. The dimples on her lower back made Tobias want to touch her bared creamy tan.
Catching a man that was staring at her, Tobias gave him a heavy scowl. The person was startled at his glare and looked away. Tobias then glanced back at her and walked on.
Meanwhile, Lea was growing irritated. The music was just too loud, the drinks too strong, and the people too lecherous. She had been groped one too many times for her liking and it was aggravating her. All she wanted was some peace and quiet but in a place like this that was just impossible.
Seeing an opened doorway to the side, Lea marched towards it and found herself in a very crowded hallway. Couples making out, friends sharing drinks, and gossiping cliques surrounded the area. The scene made her displeased. Seeing another door though, Lea determinedly entered through it and closed the passageway once she was in the other side.
An empty corridor greeted her. The place was dimply lit and Lea thought that the place was off limits but she was too curious to care. Surely other people had passed through here before she did. With that thought in mind, she walked on.
A few feet away there was an open archway and Lea didn't waste time as she went towards that direction. From how slippery the floor was, she knew they were made of marble. The lack of light though didn't permit her to see just how grand the room really looked like.
Spotting a couple heavily groping each other in the corner, Lea hastily made a detour and found herself entering through another set of double doors just like the one in the main lobby earlier where the main entrance to the mansion was located.
Through there, she saw that the place had a warm glow from the crystal chandelier hanging atop the ceiling. It took a moment for her to comprehend what the room was but once she registered the shelves full of books inside, Lea hastily approached one and checked the spines of the publications.
"Wow," she said quietly, as if afraid she'd disturb the place.
The Gregory's had an amazing collection and Lea saw that a great number of them were autobiographies of legendary actors. There were also a lot of film documentaries there. Most of which were hard bound. In another shelf, movie scripts cluttered the place. Some, Lea didn't even know. Then, the novels. The sight of which made her smile.
Finally, she had something she could do. Scanning at the titles, the majority she hadn't even heard of, Lea wondered if it was possible for her to pilfer from this place. Laughing quietly, she reprimanded herself for even thinking of that.
Not seeing anything interesting from the top of the shelf, Lea rested her hands on her knees as she bent down to check on the other books. That was how Tobias saw her. Back arched and bent. A seducing posture that made him tilt his head and study the curves she presented him.
The woman before him was unawares and Tobias liked it like that. He thought that if she just curved one of her knees a little forward and arched her back just a little more, she would kill him there in an instant. But, as it was, the view made his blood boil. There was nothing more gorgeous than a girl who didn't even try.
Leaning on the side of the other door, Tobias finally decided to speak up, "This place isn't open to guests you know."
Lea squeaked in surprise and straightened, much to Tobias' disappointment. "Um," she said quickly. "I was just looking around." Then, gaining her senses back, she looked suspiciously at him. "Who are you anyway?"
"This is my cousin's house," he explained keeping in mind that nobody was supposed to know about their presence here. Tobias felt bad about lying though. A first for him.
A blush adorned her cheeks in embarrassment. "I was just looking around," she mumbled in guilt. He thought it was really cute.
Shrugging his shoulders, Tobias entered the room and approached her. "No harm done. It's dangerous though to walk around here alone. You should have known better."
Dangerous? How? "What are you talking about?"
Now just two feet away from her, he stopped and stood eyeing her curiously. "Any guy could take advantage of you here. What if you were followed?"
Tobias was surprised at himself. He was actually, genuinely concerned about her. Not about being attacked by one of them but by being molested by some strange, nutty guy. What an oddity.
Lea felt apprehensive at that and though this man before her looked nothing but kind, she couldn't help the anxiety that crept through her bones. "Right," she muttered and then trailed off. "Well…"
Sensing her discomfort, he brushed away some annoying strands covering his vision and reached for her hand. Lea was too surprised at his action to pull away. Holding her left wrist gently, he traced a random drawing on her palm and held her gaze with his own. "I'm not going to hurt you."
Though it should have made her feel uncomfortable, Lea felt more at ease instead and wondered if he was doing that to her skin to distract her. If he was, then he succeeded.
A haunting royal blue. That was the color of his eyes. Lea knew it was rude to stare but she couldn't help it. A blush adorned her cheeks as she realized just how handsome he was. For a guy with hair that long he sure pulled it off remarkably well. He was gorgeous.
Though his features weren't chiseled into firm angles one might find in an attractive male, there was still a certain masculinity in his face that Lea could only describe as aristocratic. High, solid eyebrows and a perfect slanted nose. Lips lightly tinted a natural fair color; they looked particularly inviting whenever he spoke. To top it off, his pale complexion did him justice.
To look that good and not get mauled by the women at the party, how did he ever manage it? Or, maybe he already had many encounters before he went to Lea. Maybe he was thinking she would be his next. Maybe that was why he was here with her, alone in the library.
But, those thoughts blanked out when Lea grew aware that he was still tracing some patterns on her palm. Finally pulling at her wrist, Tobias let her go and took a step back away from her. That vanilla scent was starting to drive him crazy.
"A gypsy?" Tobias asked just to break the silence that started to buzz in his ear. Glancing down at her outfit, he willed himself not to stare at the v her neckline was hinting at.
Nodding her head, Lea tugged at her bag and pulled it from her side to cover the exposed skin below her navel. For a guy this good-looking, she felt highly self-conscious in his presence. She didn't even know that the act of modesty she portrayed pleased him.
"Yeah," she answered. "It was my mother's idea." Thinking quickly about what to say next, she added, "How about you? What are you supposed to be?"
"Vampire," he replied in complete authenticity as if he was really one himself.
Intrigued, Lea couldn't stop the grin that appeared on her lips. "Vampire?" she questioned dubiously. "When do vampires wear all black outfits and keep knives in their belts?"
Smirking at her, he said, "I was too lazy to wear tights and ruffles."
Bubbling laughter escaped her lips and Tobias liked the sound he heard. It made him smile. Then, he inquired, "Why? Don't I look like a vampire to you?"
Tobias knew he was treading on dangerous ground but he pursued the topic anyway. It was Halloween. It was safe enough.
Cocking her head to the side, Lea squinted at him hard. "I guess. I mean, you look . . ." she trailed off before she could say anything more and blushed.
Chuckling at her expression, Tobias tried to fill in the blanks. "Handsome enough to be considered as one? Is that it?"
Frowning at him in disapproval, she scoffed. "Don't be so arrogant."
He grinned at her charmingly and Lea found herself speechless. She heard him speak. "Tobias."
Glancing up at him with a questioning stare, he elaborated further. "Tobias Mordikai. That's my name."
Never before had he done this and he wondered why he was introducing himself to a stranger he followed just because she smelled wonderful. Once she introduced herself though, he was contented.
"Alethea Malloy. People call me Lea though."
"Alethea," he rolled it around his tongue as if savoring the name. Lea didn't know how to react to that. "I'd rather call you that if you don't mind."
"Sure," she replied after a few seconds of registering what he said. "I guess you could if you want to."
Tobias took a step towards her and inhaled the vanilla scent furtively and just as he thought it smelled so addicting, he caught an underlying odor that made him stiffen in alarm.
No, it couldn't be. Without warning, Tobias held on to her upper arm and pulled her close. Lea yelped in panic and tried to push him away but his other hand held firmly to her waist. Burying his face in her neck, she blushed hard and sputtered in uncertainty at whatever he was doing.
Then, just as she thought he was acting odd, Lea distinctly heard him take in a deep breath. Furrowing her eyebrows in bewilderment, she glanced at him but only saw long tendrils of jet-black hair. Did he just smell her? If he did, she didn't know if she should be offended or not.
Footfalls coming from outside the door made Tobias jerk away from her and glance at the opened entry. Lea too looked but nobody was there. She felt the hand on her upper arm tighten slightly and watched when Tobias turned to her with a heavy frown.
"What did you drink?" he asked almost frantic. Lea was about to answer him but ended up gaping instead. Gone were his royal blue eyes and were replaced with a blue hue so pale they almost looked white. She tensed. How did he do that?
"What did you drink?" he asked again, this time with such gravity Lea just had to answer him.
"I don't know," she stammered. "Some guy, a waiter I think, he gave me a shot glass. That's all. I swear."
Tobias cussed and reached for his back pocket. From there, he pulled out a pocket watch and read out the time, "Eleven forty-three. Damn it."
"Tobias," Lea braved and her voice seemed to only make him more apprehensive. "Is something wrong?"
He grabbed a small glass vial from his pouch and broke off the top. It reminded Lea of those tiny glass bottles doctors sometimes asked their patients to take. Turning to her, Tobias handed her the vial.
Lea looked incredulously at him. "You can't be se-"
"Drink it!" he cut her off and she shut her mouth. She was starting to get anxious and she frowned at Tobias.
Taking from him the vial, Lea hesitated and drank the liquid inside in one gulp. Once done, she grimaced at the sickly bitter taste it presented to her tongue. That didn't get rid of the fear gnawing at her gut though. Feeling so confused and frightened at Tobias' sudden strange actions, Lea felt tears come but she willed them to stop. What else could she do? She was alone here with this stranger ordering her around. She had the right to be scared.
Seeing her glassy eyes, Tobias felt like a prick. Caressing her cheek with his free hand, he let his thumb rub softly on her skin. "I'm sorry."
Now he was touching her? Lea didn't know what he was even sorry about. Feeling him tug at her wrist, Tobias led her out of the library and looked around cautiously before hurriedly going on their way.
Common sense made Lea protest but he was just too strong. Before they could even go far, Tobias stopped and looked back. Glancing up at him, Lea saw that he was glaring at something behind her. Taking a look over her shoulder, she noticed someone standing in the middle of the hallway and he was distinctly looking at her. Hollow and fanatical gaze. It gave her goosebumps.
"Denny," Tobias said firmly as if in warning. Whatever was going on, Lea felt safer with Tobias' hold still on her wrist.
Not even glancing down at her, Tobias began to speak in a hushed voice, "Alethea, I want you to go back to the party. Wait for me there. I'll look for you."
Yes, she was much safer in a crowd but she didn't know that. Lea wasn't even aware as to what was going on. Still, learning from what happened earlier in the library, she didn't argue anymore and walked briskly when Tobias let go of her wrist.
Not even ten paces away, she looked back and stopped when she was greeted by an empty corridor. The hair at the back of her neck prickled in apprehension. Turning around, she ran and hoped that this was just some sick joke to entertain equally sick, sadistic people. Where the hell was Tobias and that Denny guy? How the hell could they disappear that fast? This was just insane!
Turning a corner, Lea was amazed that she seemed to have gone deeper into the mansion than she intended. Anyway, that didn't matter anymore. She was close to that open archway she had gone through earlier. Once she passed that, she'd reach the party soon enough.
As she entered the chamber where she knew the archway was supposed to be, Lea halted when she glimpsed at something from her peripheral. It was the couple earlier. Unlike last time, however, they were no longer in the middle of groping each other. Deep in her mind, Lea heard herself screaming and telling her body to just leave the two and go. But, no. Her feet seemed rooted to the marbled floor.
Squinting through the darkness, Lea could distinctly hear a female voice whimpering heavily in what she could have sworn was a frightened plea to stop. She should have left when she heard it but she didn't. So, upon seeing what was actually happening, Lea's eyes widened in shock.
From the spot Lea was standing on, she witnessed what she couldn't completely comprehend was actually happening. A man had a woman pinned to the wall and one of his hands was covering her eyes and was pushing her head back at the same time to expose her neck. The man's jaw was opened wide and from this angle, Lea knew that he was biting hard into the woman's skin. Thick blood was trailing down into her costume and Lea could've sworn he was sucking at her neck. That theory was soon proven when she watched his Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed.
Lea gasped in utter astonishment. The man's eyes looked up at her but his mouth was still on the girl's neck. After a few more mouthfuls it seemed, he finally pulled back and pushed playfully at the woman's face not even watching as her body fell motionless to the floor.
An amused smirk adorned his blood red lips as he pocketed his hands in his formal pants. The man was wearing a suit without a tie; the top two buttons of his dark maroon shirt were unfastened. Lea pleaded her body to move but it just wouldn't budge.
"You here for dessert?" he asked with a laughing tone.
That did it. Turning abruptly, Lea ran hard but she didn't even take three steps when a hand around her waist stopped her from her escape. "No!" she screamed but it was futile. Tears were now running down her face as she fought hard but the man only chuckled at her efforts.
"Stop, love," he teased. "You'll spoil the taste."
Pushing her roughly to the floor, Lea fell face down but he turned her over to let her lie on her back. She tried to call out for help but her voice was muffled when he covered her mouth with his hand. Sobbing by now, her throat felt hoarse as she cried and screamed at the same time.
Laughing, the man held at Lea's wrists with one hand and straddled her down to the floor. "Come, love. You're hurting my feelings." When she continued to sob, the man frowned at her and sighed. "You're very pretty did you know that? You'll be even more gorgeous once I'm done with you."
He leaned over Lea and didn't even care that she was still screaming when he removed his hand from her mouth. Titling her face upwards, he eyed her neck in interest and traced at a line Lea knew must have been where an artery was located.
"You'll taste divine," he whispered into her ear.
"Stop," Lea begged as she whimpered helplessly. ""Please, stop."
This time, he smiled at her and Lea didn't miss the sharpness of his canines. "Happy Halloween, sweets." With that, he dipped his head low and she passed out.
To my previous readers, hi again, and to the new ones, hello. This is a remake of a previous work of mine, Bitten. If you want to read the original it's still in my profile and for those who've already read the other one, please tell me if this is better and if I should fix something and whatnot. Obviously there are a few plot revisions simply because I wasn't contented with the other one's.
Anyway, hope this was a good first chapter.
Thanks for reading!