Chapter 1: Bother

"Come on Ella, time to get up," The oh-so familiar voice called.

Ella rolled away from the person sitting on the edge of her bed. Maybe he'd take the hint.

No luck. "We have work to do," The smooth voice reminded her, the lips that spoke the words only centimetres from her ear.

Pulling her covers over her head in an effort to block him out, Ella replied "You mean you have work to do."

Alex laughed. "You're on the council too."

Ella sat up at this. "Only because you made me. I'm not even a vampire. I shouldn't be on the council." The memories of how she'd ended up on the vampire council were still vivid in her mind, as it'd only been slightly over a week since it'd happened.

--------------------

"Amaya has the keys and will be releasing all captives as soon as she can. After that she'll probably show up here," Alex told the council.

The ten vampires exchanged looks. Finally, Galen, the second oldest vampire in existence Ella found out later, stood up. "Then I'm done here."

Following his lead, the remaining nine council members all stood up and walked off the dais that held the council table and chairs. "You're all quitting?" Alex asked in disbelief.

The brown-haired Deirdre nodded. "We've lived in fear for the past three hundred years. None of us wants to risk it happening again. We're leaving."

"But what about the council? If you all leave there won't be a council."

Galen paused at this. "You're right. I nominate Donovan here as new council leader."

"Seconded," Both Zeki and Faith called at the same time.

"Passed," the other seven chorused.

"There you go. You're the new council leader. Elect a council and fix everything up. You're the only one who existed outside the council's control and fought against us. You're perfect for the job," Galen told Alex before leaving, the rest of the, now, ex-councillors following.

"I…What?"

Ella laughed from where she sat at the back of the room, Alex was still refusing to let her stand on her own, and called "You're now the council leader. That's just too funny!"

Turning around to glare at her, Alex had suddenly smirked. "And you're now a member of the council."

"Oh no I'm not. I'm not a vampire so I can't be on the council."

"Actually there's no rule that says non-vampires can't be members," Bredon had added, grinning wickedly.

"Oh you're on as well Bredon. I need someone who actually knows how the old council operated."

The black-haired vampire shrugged. "Sure."

"I'm not doing it," Ella cried, glaring at Alex.

"You don't have a choice. Any of the rest of you interested?" Alex asked, turning to the rest of his friends.

Theron shuddered. "Too much work."

"Boring," Kayne said, stretching his arms over his head.

"No thank you," Ilana answered.

Aiden shook his head. "I have enough stuff to do as it is."

"How come they get a choice?" Ella demanded.

"Because I don't need them on the council the way I need you and Bredon."

"I'm going to get you for this," She muttered, causing Alex to laugh.

--------------------

"I still haven't forgiven you for this," Ella told Alex as she kicked her covers up. Then she caught sight of her clock. "It's seven in the morning! Why on earth are you waking me up so early? I don't have class until two!"

"We have interviews to conduct, remember?"

"Why do I even bother going to them? I don't know a thing about the councils and what I know about vampires could fill one page of a book."

"More like two," Alex replied grinning. "But that's good. It means you have a fresh view to things. Besides you're good at getting people to act naturally."

Muttering uncomplimentary things about Alex, Ella went to go take a shower. "Peek and die," Ella told Alex.

Chuckling, the vampire stayed where he was. The one time he had peeked she'd thrown a bar of soap at his head. It was worth it though, Alex thought, grinning to himself as he waited for her to finish.

Her hair wrapped in a purple towel, Ella came out wearing her pyjamas, skin still wet. "Wear something nice. You need to at least pretend to be respectable for the interviewees."

Ella made a rude gesture in Alex's direction before digging through her drawers for clothes. Suddenly she felt arms wrap themselves around her waist as Alex pressed his lips against her neck. "You taste good," He whispered in her ear before continuing to lightly run his tongue up her neck, collecting the water, making Ella shiver.

She flushed. "I have to get dressed."

"I could help."

Now well and truly red, Ella shook her head. "I can do it myself."

Chuckling, Alex drew her into a kiss before releasing her. "Alright but hurry up or I will come and help you."

Ella ran around the corner to change, making Alex smile. In a matter of minutes he heard the blow-dryer start up, the signal that it was now safe for him to move. Leaning against the wall, Alex watched as Ella ran through her morning routine, blowing her hair dry, putting on what make-up she wore and brushing her teeth. He enjoyed watching her; it made him remember all the good things in life.

"Alright, I'm ready," She announced. Alex looked her up and down. A deep orange v-necked shirt with wide sleeves paired with tight charcoal pants made her look gorgeous, and in Alex's mind, delicious.

"You know I love you, right?"

Again Ella blushed. "I know," she said, standing on her tiptoes to give him a quick kiss. "I love you too."

The vampire smiled softly at her before scooping her up into his arms. "Let's go then."

"Put me down!"

"No."

"I'm serious Alexander, put me down. I can walk just fine."

"You know the doctor told you not to do anything strenuous for the next two weeks," Alex said, grabbing her purse before opening the door.

Ella began kicking her legs. "Walking is not strenuous."

He sighed and put her down. "Fine but slightest hint of a wobble or dizziness and I carry you."

"Fine."

Alex slipped an arm around her waist to support her, earning him a dirty look but Ella didn't protest. He'd ignore her even if she did. Their walk across campus was quiet for once, seven thirty being far too early for any student to actually be up and about. Especially on a Monday. After Alex helped her into the car, Ella making a face but saying nothing, they headed into town and the building that had been turned into the temporary headquarters for the vampire council.

"So how many people are we interviewing today?"

"Two. One of them, Collan, has quite a bit of experience with the previous council. Raihan, the other candidate, has no experience to speak of but that's not such a bad thing for us."

"Are the others going to be there too?"

" Everyone except Theron. Oh and the cat. He said he'd be damned if he was getting up this early. The others should be there now. Bredon's still in Ottawa conducting more preliminary interviews. He'll send us the ones who pass."

"There better not be that many. I don't want to do this anymore then I have to."

Alex chuckled as he parked his car outside the small building that had once been a learning centre. "Let's go then."

Ella sighed and followed Alex inside. The waiting room was painted a light blue with plain wooden benches pressed against opposite walls. A large grey carpet covered the white tiles that made up the floor. Ilana was there waiting for them, holding two folders stuffed with papers. "Here are their files," The dryad said, handing them to Alex.

"When I said I wanted information on them I didn't mean their life's story!" He replied, staring at all the papers.

Ilana grinned. "Too bad. There in rooms three and six."

"Well might as well get this over with. Ella…" Only now did Alex realize that Ella was gone.

"Damn it! She's run off. Will you and the others find her? I'm going to try and get through these papers before I have to meet with the candidates. When you catch her remind her of what the doctor said."

The dryad chuckled. "We'll find her. She's probably inside somewhere, hiding. Have fun with the reports."

"Oh thank you," Alex replied sarcastically heading into the first room which he'd converted into his office. He flumped down into the blue armchair he's had brought in, dropping the folders onto the large desk in front of him. I sometimes think Ella's the smarter of the two of us, he thought as he began to shift through all the papers he had.

----------------------Author's Note:--------------------

Because I'm going to be revising Charm, I'm going to be writing this in keeping with any revisions I've already made or am planning on making. I apologize for any confusion this will cause and I'll do my best to let you know of any changes made. Thank you for being patient with me.