"Claudia!!!" Edwin called up the stairs, "the sun has been down for thirty minutes and Vincent will arrive at any moment!"

"I will be down shortly!" Claudia called back as she tried to tighten a corset around her upper body. She sighed and tossed it into a corner with four other broken ones as the laces snapped, "Curse this stone like flesh!" she growled to herself pulling her moss green gown on and walking quickly down the stairs.

"You look beautiful," Edwin smiled and kissed her cheek.

"I look fat," she replied, "I cannot wear a corset and all the other girls look so thin in theirs."

"You are not fat," her father chided softly with a slight frown on his face, "you are far more beautiful than any other girl in the kingdom."

"That she is my friend," laughed a booming voice from the doorway. There stood a mountain of a man, nearly seven feet tall with ebony curls and stormy grey eyes. His face wrinkled slightly as he smiled and just over the top of his head another mass of black curls could be seen.

Claudia's nose wrinkled and a low growl rumbled through her throat and chest as she stepped protectively in front of her father. "Claudia!" Edwin gasped placing his hands on her shoulders, "Stop that! This is my friend Vincent!"

"It is not he, it is the one behind him that the stench is coming from," Claudia snarled baring her pearly white fangs as Vincent stepped aside and his son came into view. Simon stood an even seven feet tall with his father's ebony curls and deep green eyes, he had a darker complexion than his father and his muscles threatened to tear the seems of his shirt and pants at any moment.

His large wolf-like pointed teeth were visible as her returned Claudia's snarl, his body pressed against his father's restraining arm. "Bloodsucker!" he growled at Claudia.

"Wolf creature!" she snapped back as Edwin wrapped an arm around her waist.

"Enough Simon," Vincent warned looking at his son, who took a step back but continued to growl softly. Vincent sighed turning back to look at his friend, "Edwin you did not tell me that your daughter is a vampire…"

"A what?" Edwin asked as he strained to hold his daughter back.

"A vampire, it is a term the scholars in London have given to the creatures of the night that feed on living blood," Vincent sighed again watching Edwin and Claudia struggle but keeping a wary eye on his son.

"Well she is usually very well behaved," Edwin gasped having to wrap his other arm around Claudia's waist as she tried to claw her way to Simon, "I do not know what is wrong with her!"

"It is Simon that is wrong with her, my son is what the scholars have called a lycan. He can shift into a large wolf at will and also does so when he is angry. Vampires and lycans are natural born enemies…"

"Well we have to do something about these two," Edwin groaned as he gave up trying to restrain Claudia and instead threw her over his shoulder, "I cannot carry her around for the rest of their lives."

"No of course, they will never die unless they are killed"

Suddenly Claudia stopped struggling and looked under her father's arm at Vincent, "I will never die?"

"You will die when I kill you!" Simon snapped and Claudia began to struggle against her father's hold again.

"Simon! Go and stand outside!" Vincent ordered pushing his son towards the door. Simon snarled at Claudia one last time before storming out the door and slamming it behind himself.

As soon as Simon left the house Claudia stopped struggling. "If your father sets you down will you behave yourself Claudia?" Vincent asked softly.

She hesitated for a moment before sighing in defeat and whispering, "Yes…"

Edwin set his daughter down gently on her feet but kept a firm grasp on her hand just in case. "I am sorry Father, I do not know what came over me…"

"It is not her fault Edwin," Vincent sighed, "It is in both their natures to kill the other, I do not think these living conditions will work for any of us."

"I am sorry Mr. Vincent," Claudia whispered with red tinted tears in her eyes, "I really did want you to come and live with us."

"Is there no way for them to get around their desire to slaughter each other? To rise above the natures they were given by some vengeful god?" Edwin asked sadly.

"If they both worked very hard to be civil and ignore their instincts, they might be able to over come the urge to kill each other," Vincent said more to himself than anyone else, "but it has never been done before and her control is very weak…"

"I am not weak!" Claudia snapped angrily.

"I did not say that you are weak dear child, I said that your control is weak. You father ment well when he kept you isolated these past sixteen years but in doing so he has made it impossible for you to learn to control your vampiric urges."

"How do I control myself?" Claudia asked patting her father's shoulder as he sighed.

"When I taught Simon to control himself I would do small things to anger him and told him to pay me no mind, but that took many months and we do not have that amount of time."

"Then what do we do?" Edwin asked reaching up to stroke Claudia's hair, "I want her to be able to have friends and not be in danger of killing them."

"How about a bribe? Claudia Rose, what do you want more than anything else on this earth?" Vincent asked with a small secret smile.

"For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of galloping through the fields on my very own large, black stallion," Claudia's voice had a soft tint to its tone as a lazy smile softened her angelic marble features.

"If you can live with me son for six months I will take you to the market and buy you the hose of your choice," Vincent offered and smiled when Claudia's jaw dropped, "that is not a very lady like face Miss Claudia." He chuckled and she snapped her mouth shut.

"What will you offer Simon?" Edwin asked.

"If Simon succeeds I will tell him he can take a mate, if he fails…" Vincent paused looking at Claudia.

"If he kills me…" she whispered with a slight shiver.

"Then I will kill myself." Vincent stated simply.

"No!" Claudia cried.

"And if you fail Claudia, then I shall kill myself," Edwin put in.

Claudia's tears were tinted with blood as they rolled down her snowy cheeks. Edwin was used to this but Vincent stared in shock, his eyes wide and his mouth open slightly, "I thought blood tears were nothing but a myth…"

"Do not cry my love," Edwin soothed pulling her frigid body into his embrace, "I will not die unless you kill Simon, you just keep that in your mind when we bring back into the house."

A loud snarl was heard from outside the door and Vincent sighed, "He has caught the scent of your blood, Simon come in here but control yourself."

The door swung open and Simon slowly crossed the thresh hold, his massive body shaking with his effort to control himself. As Claudia's form stiffened in her father's arms Vincent turned to his son, "Edwin and I have a bargain for you and Claudia."

"And what exactly is that?" Simon asked roughly, trying to force his gaze from Claudia to his father.

"If you can live with Claudia for six months I will allow you to take a mate…"

"And if I kill her?"

"Then I will kill myself."

Simon's emerald eyes snapped to his father's granite ones, "What have you promised her?"

"A horse," Vincent laughed running a hand through his mass of curls.

"How very like a woman to want nothing more significant than a horse," Simon chuckled sounding almost identical to his father.

"How can you let them threaten to kill themselves?!" Claudia cried out loud as more tears slid down her face and neck.

"Simple, all I have to do is keep myself from slaughtering you and I will get a mate. He is in no danger of dying."

"You are confident in yourself and so you are willing to let him place his life in our hands simply for something you want? What kind of son are you!?"

"Calm yourself Bloodsucker," Simon sneered, "your precious Edwin will be in no danger." Vincent and Edwin exchanged worried looks while their children were too busy arguing to notice.

Claudia stomped her foot, cracking the wooden flood boards, and pulled herself from her father's embrace as gently as possible. "You, Wolf creature, are a monster of immeasurable cruelty!" she cried and ran up the stairs at a speed neither Edwin nor Vincent could see.

Simon tensed and had to fight back his desire to chase her, not noticing that the desire to kill wasn't actually there, "Definitely a woman, highly emotional."

"You have upset my daughter," Edwin snapped, "I expect you to apologize and cease insulting her at once!"

Simon glared at Edwin and opened his mouth to retort but Vincent cut in, "He is right my boy. We will be living here for at least the next half a year, try to be civil."

"You cannot be serious Father! You want me to go upstairs and beg forgiveness from a bloodsucker?"

"Stop that this instant Simon!" Vincent snapped, "I do not want to hear you call her that or insult her in any way ever again!"

Simon grumbled softly to himself and stomped slowly up the stairs, "Oh Bloodsucker…" he called to quiet for their fathers to hear downstairs, "Where are you?"

"What do you want?" Claudia snapped from behind her closed bedroom door.

"I need to speak to you…"

Claudia slowly opened her bedroom door and stepped into the hallway, her face streaked with red-ish tear tracks, "Speak…"

"I want to apologize for upsetting you and insulting you," he growled.

"Tell your father that I thank him for his thought but I do no want you to apologize unless you mean it," she snarled back.

"If they ask I did apologize, you simply refused to accept it and forgive me," he yawned trying to hide the growl that rumbled through his chest.

"I can hear you growling Wolf creature," she whispered angrily, "remember I am not as deaf as the humans."

"You have advanced hearing like the lycans?" he asked slightly surprised.

"I can hear the villagers snoring even from here," she smirked obviously very proud of herself.

"Your hearing is as sharp as my own," Simon grumbled to himself.

"Perhaps sharper," Claudia grinned and unknowingly flashed her fangs at him.

He grimaced slightly and shook his head from left to right, "If I could not smell you and if I was unaware of what you truly are you would be the most beautiful creature I have ever met."

"I do not know whether I should take that as a compliment or an insult," Claudia almost chuckled as she pondered this thought.

"It is both a compliment and an insult," Simon sighed heavily as he shifted his weight and leaned his large frame against the wall.

"Well if you did not carry the stench of the Wolf creatures, and if you were not a beast of immeasurable cruelty I would swoon at the mere sight of you," Claudia shot back in a teasing tone.

"You are the strangest girl I have ever met," Simon mumbled with another shake of his head, "you cry red tears that stir my hunger, you allow your father to over power you though we both know you could snap him in half and you worry that you are fat though anyone with eyes can see that you are stunning."

"My tears stir your hunger because they are tainted with my blood, 'vampires' are deeply connected to our emotional side. When you harm a vampire emotionally it is just like harming us physically and our blood is spilled by it. I allow my father to over power me because he is a man and my elder so it would shame him not to be able to do so. Finally I am fat for I cannot wear a corset, my flesh of stone will not allow it," Claudia sighed at the last thought.

Suddenly Simon jumped forward and wrapped his massive hands around her waist, his fingers touching around her back and his thumbs just under her navel. "I can circle your waist with my hands while you are not wearing a corset, I cannot do that with most girls that are wearing one…"

Claudia stiffened involuntarily as Simon touched her, her small hands became marble fists and she bit down hard on her bottom lip to control herself. It was at that moment that Edwin and Vincent came to the top of the stairs and spotted Claudia and Simon.

"Let her go you fool!" Edwin cried racing towards them, "You tempt her beyond her control!"

By the time Edwin reached the two Simon had let go of Claudia and was leaning against his spot on the wall again, his chest heaving as he realize exactly what he had almost caused. Claudia was trembling from head to toe, her eyes firmly shut and her claws digging into her own hands. Her razor sharp fangs nearly pierced her lip as Edwin wrapped his arms around her glaring at Simon all he wile.

"Calm yourself Edwin," Vincent said in a soothing tone as he stopped beside his son, "that was an excellent start to them being able to live in harmony together. I do believe I almost heard dear Claudia laugh a moment ago."

"I am fine Father," Claudia whispered taking in a deep breath and smiling at Edwin sweetly, "Vincent is right, I did nearly laugh and it is a good beginning but I think I shall spend the rest of the evening in my room."

"You have not even fed yet!" Edwin protested, his gaze softening as he turned from Simon to Claudia.

"Leave her be Edwin," Vincent ordered softly, "she know better than us what is best for her."

"If that is what you truly wish to do, my Rose, than I will not force you do otherwise," Edwin said, his tone holding a note of defeat in it.

"Thank you Father," Claudia smiled at him and turned back to her room. Her mismatched eyes were focused solely on Simon as she quietly shut her bedroom door.

"Simon," Vincent said with a hand on his son's shoulder, "I think you should avoid touching her or invading her personal space. Her control is still much weaker than your own, and I think she may be physically stronger than you…"

"What?!" Simon snapped, "She is not stronger than I! She is tiny next to my size!"

"You know that every day since your gift matured you have gotten a little stronger?"

"Yes Father…"

"I think that it has been the same for her but her gift has been there since the day of her birth, if not longer. Her strength has had more time to grow than your own."

"You cannot be serious Father! Her strength cannot be more than mine!"

"Enough Simon! You are acting like a child," Vincent snapped, "if she is stronger than you that is fine, it is simply the way of nature!"

"She is not natural!!!" Simon roared.

"Neither are you!!!!" Vincent roared back while Edwin shrank nervously back against Claudia's bedroom door.

"STOP FIGHTING!!!!" Claudia screamed from behind the door.

The three men turned to look at the door and Edwin's jaw dropped as the sound of breaking glass could be heard from inside her room.

"Claudia!" Edwin screamed throwing open the bedroom door. Vincent and Edwin burst into the room, looking for the source of the sound. Vincent saw it first; Claudia's bedroom window was broken.

"Edwin!" he cried racing to the window, where he could just make out a figure in a green dress running towards the forest. As Edwin reached his side Vincent turned to talk to his son, "Simon go after…" He looked around slightly confused, not being able to find his son.

"Vincent! He's there!" Edwin whispered, pointing out the window.

Vincent turned back and saw his son racing across the field after Claudia, his long legs carrying him over the distance in half the time Claudia needed. "Be careful!" Vincent screamed out the window to his son, "She's very upset and most likely not in control of herself! She must be back by sunrise!"

Simon could just see the tails of Claudia's gown disappearing into the forest and he lengthened his stride to ensure that he wouldn't lose sight of her. The darkness of the forest enveloped him like the dearly missed arms of a long absent lover, the trees blocking out most of the moon and starlight. There was just enough light for Simon to see Claudia weaving in and out of the trees ahead of him like an animal gone wild.

Instead of wasting his energy by weaving through the trees like Claudia, Simon simply ran in the general direction that she was headed. He was quickly gaining ground on her and by the time she reached the clearing, in the center of the forest, Simon was right behind her. He reached out and grabbed the back of her skirts, right where the swell of her bottom could be seen with each step.

Claudia was jerked to a stop as Simon grabbed her skirts and fell violently to her knees. She looked back at him, her face contorted into a monstrous snarl and her fangs bared viciously.

"Get your hands off me Wolf Creature!" she growled, her claws digging into the ground.

"No Claudia," he snapped trying to suppress a growl, "I will not allow you to run off and harm some innocent person or yourself!"

"Let me up!" she screamed, turning to claw at the hand wrapped in her skirts.

"If I let you stand will you promise not to run?" he asked, his voice a little softer this time.

"Yes!" she snapped pulling ruthlessly at his iron-gripped hand.

"Promise me Claudia Rose!" he ordered sharply.

She paused, trying to think of a way to do as he asked without actually promising anything. Simon could see that she was trying to think of a way out of the situation and released his hold on her skirts, only to wrap the fingers of his massive right hand around her fragile looking upper left arm.

He pulled her to her feet and grinned, "There. Now you are up and you cannot run…"

Claudia closed her lips over her fangs and tried to look normal, for her, but Simon could still see the lines on her face that told him that her monstrous vampire blood was still in control.

"You are afraid of me Wolf Creature," Claudia purred with a smirk on her face, "your father says I am stronger than you, and now I terrify you…"

"I am not afraid of you, or anything else, Claudia" Simon snarled as his grip tightened on her arm, "and I will not allow you to provoke me into a fight. Our fathers' lives rest in our hands, remember?" Her features softened at the mention of her father and her mouth turned up slightly at the corners.

"I am going to let you go now," Simon whispered, "but if you run I will chase you and this will begin all over again."

He slowly released his grip on her arm and allowed his hand to fall to his side. Simon kept his body tense and ready in case she suddenly decided to bolt, but she didn't. Claudia stood on the balls of her feet, poised for flight, but she was too curious about what was about to happen to move.

"Thank you," he sighed, "for not running. I sincerely do not like the thoughts that race through my mind while I am chasing you."

"I suppose they are similar to the thoughts that pushed their way into my mind when you grabbed the back of my skirts," Claudia sighed back, her voice still low and raspy but closer to her usual melodious tone.

"Forgive me, but you must understand that I had to stop you," Simon said, nearly chuckling as he remembered where he had grabbed her.

"Yes, well I would not have run if you and your father had not been fighting. I could smell the lycan blood racing through your veins as you became angry at him," she sighed yet again, pushing one delicate hand through the tangled mass of chestnut hair on top of her head.

"I admit that was poor judgment on our part," Simon whispered watching her hand, "would you like some help with that?"

"Yes, but I do not know any women that I could go to for help, especially not at this hour…"

"Allow me," he offered, slowly stepping behind her. Simon grasped Claudia's wrist gently and put her hand back down by her side before gently beginning to pull her tangles apart.

"How do you know how to do this?" Claudia asked, trying to distract herself from the feel of his fingers on her scalp.

"My baby sister used to get the worst tangles in her hair and my father was absolutely useless at getting rid of them." Claudia could hear the note of sadness in Simon's voice as he spoke of his sister.

"Where is she now?"

"She died nearly two years ago," he whispered as his fingers stopped in her hair.

"Oh Simon," Claudia gasped, "I am truly sorry to hear that such a tragedy has befallen you and your father."

He remained silent as his fingers started to gently pull at her tangles again, and Claudia sighed, "My mother died two years ago as well, on the fourteenth anniversary of my birth."

Silence fell upon them as they both lost themselves in memories of their departed loved ones. Claudia could still remember the way her mother had been before the insanity had over come her. The way the moonlight had shone through her golden hair, and how her royal blue eyes had sparkled when she laughed. The way her scent had drifted over Claudia's senses as she woke her daughter once the sun had set could still bring a small trace of a smile to Claudia's lips.

"Claudia," Simon whispered breaking into her memories.

"Yes Simon?" she turned her head so she could see him out of the corner of her eye while still giving him access to her hair.

"I know that your beautiful chestnut hair came from Edwin, because he has the same hair, but I noticed that his eyes are green so where did you get that unusual feature from? Your mother perhaps?"

Claudia frowned softly as she thought this question over very carefully. After a few moments of silence she finally answered, "I may have gotten my left eye from Mama, she had beautiful royal blue eyes, but I have not a clue as to where my lavender eye came from. I have never met anyone with eyes like that, have you?"

"I have been traveling with my father now for a year and a half, but in all that time we have not come across any with eyes like you. Though we have come across a fair few of your kind… vampires that is."

Claudia's face seemed to light up with excitement and her mismatched eyes sparkled in the little moonlight that shone through the trees. "Tell me about them," she begged jumping slightly as she spoke, "Oh please tell me about them! I have never met anyone like me before!"

"I do not think you want to hear about them Rose," Simon sighed, "they are not very good company, and you would be hearing about them from a lycan's point of view, their swore enemy remember?"

"I do not care!" Claudia gasped unaffected by his negative tone, "I must hear about them, I simply must!"

"Alright if you insist," he whispered turning his back to her, "they are monsters. They hunt in territory that belongs to my kind; they leave bloodless corpses everywhere they go. Vampires have no morals, they seemed to have forgotten what it was like to be human and do not care whom the person is that they are feeding from. They use their fangs on those that are too weak to defend to fight them off, and they are constantly searching for someone that they call the prophecy child."

"But you must understand that we, like you, must feed to live. You cannot fault them for that Simon, I am sure that I am the only animal feeder on the planet and to be honest even I prefer human blood." Claudia whispered suddenly very defensive of her kind, feeling more attached to these distant shadowy figures then ever before.

"They are killing children Rose! They say that the untainted, pure blood of a child tastes sweeter! And now you are defending them!" Simon snapped spinning around to look at her.

"They kill children?" she gasped, pressing one hand to her heaving chest and the other to her gapping mouth.

"I told you that you did not want to hear what I had to say about your kind, Rose," he sighed and walked to stand behind her again. His hands went back to her hair as she tried to wrap her brain around the fact that she was a monster.

"Why do you call me Rose instead of Claudia?" she asked, determined to distract herself now.

Simon's hands paused again as he debated silently whether or not to tell her the truth, "Well the name Claudia makes me think of a prim and proper lady, which you are not, and the name Rose makes me think of a beautiful flower with dangerous thorns, which you are." He chuckled softly as he said this and watched a light pink blush creep over the back of her neck.

"I can be the perfect example of a lady when I want to be!" she gasped at his words, trying to remember the last time she had acted like a lady.

"I am sure you can," Simon chuckled again, though it didn't sound like he believed her.

"I can…" Claudia whispered, slightly hurt just before they both fell into silence again.

Suddenly Claudia had remembered when she was seven years old and her aunt, uncle and two cousins had moved into the house for a few weeks. She remembered that her mother had told Aunt Clair that Claudia was sick and after the first week Clair had become suspicious. Claudia could just recall hearing them argue late one night….

"Tell me the truth Beth," Clair had snapped, "tell me what is going on with that child of yours! And do not try to tell me that she is sick! I have seen her playing outside after you think the rest of us are asleep!"

"She is sick Clair!" Elizabeth had snapped back, "She has a monstrous disease and she can not be out in sunlight, it hurts her!"

"I do not believe that Elizabeth! There is no such illness! You forget that I am married to a doctor and of course we have discussed this thoroughly! We both think that you are being selfish, and jealous and isolating that girl because you do not want to share her! It is not healthy and we must insist that you stop at once. Frankly we cannot believe that Edwin has allowed you to do this, he seemed like such a grounded man…"

"I would love to see my daughter running and playing with her cousins like a normal child but unless you wish to wake your children up now then it is not possible," Elizabeth whispered.

"If you do not stop this little game you are playing we will be forced to take that child from you…" Clair had threatened.

It was at this point that Claudia had run into the room and wrapped her arms around her mother's legs, "No!" she cried, "You cannot take me from Mama and Daddy! I love them!"

"You listen here child," Clair had snapped, "If you are not being raised properly you must be taken and looked after by people that can raise you right."

"Look at my daughter Clair! Look at her pale skin and abnormal eyes! Look closely at this little angel and tell me that she is not sick!" Elizabeth whispered as tears fell from her eyes onto Claudia's head. Clair had knelt down to inspect Claudia and after a few seconds she looked up at her sister with deeply sad eyes.

"Forgive me Beth, I see now that she is a very ill child. How awful for you to have to live with…"

"Do not ever threaten to take my child from me again," Elizabeth snapped suddenly angry again, "you have no idea of what Edwin and I go though for her."

Claudia hiccupped softly as she tried to hold her tears back and Elizabeth smiled down at her, "Go and play my Sweet, I will call you into the house when it is time for bed."

Claudia had played outside all night long and gone to sleep, in the now crapped hope chest, just before the sun rose. Sometime during that day Aunt Clair, Uncle Joseph and their sons, Nathanial and Jacob, had left, and Claudia had not seen them since.

Once again it was the sound of Simon's voice that pulled Claudia out of her memories, "I have another question…"

"Well ask it then," Claudia smiled softly as she felt his fingers still gently pulling at her hair.

"Why is there a bed in your room? I noticed it when Edwin threw your door open but I was under the impression that you, like every other vampire, had to sleep where the sun could not reach you. I thought its rays were deadly to your kind…"

Claudia chuckled softly at his question, "The sun's rays are just as deadly to I as they are to the rest of my kind. If I were to remain where the light could reach me during the day then I would be burned alive in a matter of moments. As for the bed, it is simply for show… I actually sleep under it. Father has built a box underneath, between the floorboards and the bottom of the mattress. The box is very much like a coffin and it is rather cozy."

It took a couple minutes for Simon to fully understand what she had said but once it hit him his chiseled features held a look of great shock. "You sleep in a coffin?" he gasped.

"Yes Simon," she laughed feeling his hands still in her hair. Suddenly the breeze blew the scent of two humans towards them and Claudia stiffened, her nostrils flaring to take in the scent.

"Clam yourself Rose," Simon whispered in her ear as he dropped his hands to her shoulders, "It is nothing more than a couple of humans going for a stroll through the forest." As she began to tremble and growl it finally dawned on him, "You did not feed tonight!"

His mind began to race, trying to think of a way to get Claudia out of there without putting the humans in danger or bringing them any harm. As the humans came into sight Simon spun Claudia so that she was facing him and wrapped his arms tightly around her, forcing her face into his chest.

With her face pressed to Simon's chest Claudia could not smell the humans, her senses were filled with the man holding her close to his overly warm body. The only other man that had ever been allowed to hold her had been her father, and the two smelled nothing alike. Edwin had smelled old and clean, the scent of the barn usually clinging slightly to his clothes, while Simon' scent held a youthful aroma and the stench of the road. Claudia had to concentrate to be able to find his actual scent under the stench of the Lycans but once she found it she was surprised to realize that she liked it.

Simon's heart thundered against her cheek as the human male called, "oh, excuse us. We did not mean to interrupt…"

He turned his wife to lead her away out of the forest and whispered something into her ear, making her giggle. The sound of the male's voice had distracted Claudia from Simon's scent and suddenly her vampire blood was in control again. She began to struggle against Simon's hold on her, being controlled by her hunger for the blood pumping through the humans' veins.

The woman heard the struggling behind them and turned to look, before crying out, "Jonathan! What is he doing to her?"

"You there!" he screamed stepping away from his wife and towards Simon, "Unhand that girl!!!"

"Just go!" Simon growled as he struggled to keep Claudia within his grasp. On one hand he was thanking her for not feeding, as it made her weaker and somewhat easier to handle, but on the other hand he was cursing her for not feeding, because they wouldn't be in this mess if she had.

"Not until you unhand that poor girl!" Jonathan stepped closer still and slowly drew a pistol from the waist of his pants, "Do not make me use this, I am an excellent marksman."

"Jonathan…" his wife whispered, "Is that not Edwin Tardoe's recluse daughter Claudia? I thought she was supposed to be deathly ill and insane?" She shrieked as Simon growled in pain when Claudia bit him. He shoved Claudia away from him, clasping a hand to the small bleeding wound on his collarbone and growling softly.

Jonathan jumped forward to pull Claudia against his chest, while she smirked at Simon and wrapped her arms around Jonathan's waist. Simon's eyes flashed angrily as he snapped, "Get away from her, Meat!"

"Rebecca, take the girl so I may deal with this scoundrel," Jonathan's voice wavered as he tried to pull Claudia's arms from around his waist.

"Come child," Rebecca soothed, pulling gently on Claudia's shoulders, "you are safe, come away now…"

"She will not let go until she has finished with him," Simon sighed as he paced before Jonathan, "I suggest you run now woman, or share your husband's fate…"

"Let go girl!" Jonathan yelled as Claudia began to growl and nuzzle the human's neck. Simon could see that she was looking for a vein and he snarled again.

Jonathan's next words were lost in a pain filled scream as Claudia found a vein and quickly sank her fangs into the flesh. She practically purred as the warm, sweet, thick liquid hit her tongue and flowed down her throat. Rebecca shrieked again and started pounding her fleshy fists against Claudia's stone like back.

As Simon watched a drop of blood trickle down Claudia's chin a growl rumbled through his chest. He continued to pace as he tried to think of something to do. He knew that if he touched her now, or even went near her, he would have an epic battle on his hands but the scent of the blood was driving him mad.

Suddenly Claudia finished with Jonathan and dropped him to the ground, turning to grin sadistically at Rebecca. She licked the last drops of blood off her lips as Rebecca's scream once again rang through the forest and she began to back away from Claudia. Just as Claudia was about to pounce on Rebecca, Simon tackled Claudia and screamed, "Damn it woman! Run for your life!"

Rebecca scrambled out of the clearing as Claudia's marble fist connected with Simon's cheek, "Get off me Wolf Creature!"

"Not until you calm down BloodSucker!" he snapped pinning her arms above her head with one massive had and rubbing his cheek with the other as he settled down to sit on her stomach.

"You are the greatest nuisance I have ever met in my entire life!"

"You are not alone in that thought," Simon half growled, half chuckled back while still rubbing his cheek, "You do not hit like a girl. Rose was a great name for you, you dangerous beauty…"

Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, Claudia's face momentarily relaxed before her eyes widened with fear. "Simon, the sun!"

Simon cursed under his breath and glanced around, his mind racing for a safe place for her to sleep. He knew that the house was too far and the sunlight would penetrate the forest easier than the moonlight. If only he knew the area better he might be able to think of a cave or nearby hunter's shack to hide her in, but all he could see was the clearing and the forest.

"The ground…" Claudia croaked groggily.

"What?!" he gasped.

"Bury me! Far away from where the sun's deadly rays can find me, deep inside mother Earth's embrace"

"No!"

"Then you sentence me to burn to death before your very eyes, we both know it is too far to carry me home…"

Simon sighed in defeat and jumped off Claudia, landing a few feet away and beginning to dig. He glanced to the East every few seconds as his massive hands tore quickly into the damp earth. He made a neat, easy to move pile of dirt beside the hole while using both hands to dig like a dog. Simon didn't care if his clothes were filthy and soaked just so long as he got Claudia safely under ground in time.

Finally, when he decided it was deep enough, Simon raced back to Claudia and gathered her into his arms as the sun reached the top of the trees. She whimpered softly wrapping her arms weakly around his neck and fighting to keep her eyes open. Blisters began appearing on her flawless skin, turning it to a revolting brown colour and producing a sickening stench. Simon carried Claudia to the hole and gently laid her on the bottom. She could see a tear that started in his eye and roll down his cheek, unnoticed to him, as he started to quickly push the dirt on top of her. Claudia closed her eyes, slowed her breathing and heart, and slept, unafraid of being found by anyone.