A/N: Please, tell me if you liked it, didn't like it. I really want to know what you think no matter how harsh.
I'm All Yours… and Yours?
I never thought then when I walked down the aisle that I'd feel so torn. It wasn't like the love that I read in stories of all those paperback novels that I stashed under my bed. But I supposed that I wasn't like the girls in those stories. Vampire. Marriage wasn't about "love" per say, but about keeping our bloodline alive.
They never asked me how this made me feel to be strapped into this dress all for the sake of breeding stronger vampires. They never wandered what this was like to be caught between two powerful forces, and I could only sit back and watch it all play out. It was my life and I had no say. Spells had me bound to the both of them.
But he asked.
As I went to his side, his eyes red like the fires of our own hell that thrived inside of us, he asked me, "Could you ever learn to love me?"
And I wondered in that moment if I could.
I woke to the searing burn on my cheek and yanked the covers over my head to shield my unprotected skin from the brutal sunlight. Beneath the covers I crawled to the end of my massive bed and tumbled onto the cold, maple floors. The drapes hadn't been closed all the way and light was piercing the darkness of my chambers.
Staying in the shadows, I maneuvered my way over to the window and pushed the drapes a little further to seal myself in the blackness again. The rings on the metal rod made a scraping noise that bothered my sensitive ears.
I pressed the back of my cool hand to my cheek. By no surprise my wound had already healed. Being vampire had its advantages, but I supposed that never being without these "advantages" made me take them for granted. Yes, my burns would heal at lightning speed, but something as natural as the sun caused my wounds.
"Even mortals get sunburn from time to time," Mother always said whenever I complained about being covered from head-to-toe. "You're more refined so you more delicate."
I was fortunate, my elders weren't even capable of stepping out into pure sunlight, but the Morose bloodline had become tainted by a mortal eons ego. The children then on were only mildly allergic to direct sunlight; we only needed a thin layer over our skin to keep from burning. However, we were also much weaker than purebloods when it came to power.
After the first half-breed's birth, it was forbidden for any Morose to "lie with mortals". It was one law that was fairly easy to keep considering that I was born in raised in La Dona, a city for vampires and kept secret by our mortal pets that we kept on staff to create a friendly, welcoming, "normal" visage for anyone who passed through.
I crossed the floor to the door, feeling the change in texture under my feet when it went from wood to soft carpet. I flipped up the switch on the wall, and the antique sconces on my walls brightened to remove the shadow from my deeply painted purple walls with their silver pinstripes. A large, rod iron canopy bed centered the room, not touching any wall. The domed ceiling was painted in a blackish-blue night sky that was speckled with stars kissed with moonlight. The rest of my furniture was white, French antiques that had been handed down from my great grandmother that was still in a cottage in Scotland, living out her life in "the old way".
The far wall was lined with mirrors and a ballet bar from when I danced as a child, and it made my stately room appear that much larger. I hated looking at it. It was a constant reminder that I wasn't like the other girls that populated the planet, the ones that could admire the warmth of the sun without staying under a shadow, the ones that could be whatever they aspired to be.
My life, in particular, had many restrictions because I was the only daughter of my father's children. For that only reason had my brothers been married to our cousins or daughters of Siege and Haven families. Currently, I would've been betrothed to my brother, Brenan, if he hadn't married two months before my parents had conceived me. Though my father was greatly disappointed in the terrible timing, Brenan was glad he didn't have to wait another eighteen years for a mate (not that held look that much different. Males stopped aging in their late twenties to their early thirties, while females stayed frozen a few years sooner).
Unlike mortals, it was very customary to be wed within your line. It kept the bloodline from weakening. We also didn't have to the concern that most mortals had of "abnormalities" in our offspring. Our babies, after all these years, were never born less than perfect.
There were but four vampire families total: Morose, Siege, Haven, and Prowl. From there, it branched out creating thousands of children. A small part of Siege and Haven resided in La Dona, where we lived under the "new order". It was a fancy term for us not feeding directly from mortals. Just because we were bred from demons didn't mean we had to act as such, and here in La Dona, we didn't. Our mortal pets drew blood often to keep us nourished, and we'd never sink our fangs into them. In all my life, I hadn't even tasted a drop of naturally warmed blood.
"Milady," my pet, Adei, called as he entered my room. He had a glass of blood and a saucer with half a grapefruit on top, sprinkled lightly with sugar.
"Stop calling me that," I whined as I took the glass from his hand. Since my sixteenth birthday, he greeted me as "Milady".
"Your dad makes me, Ember," he reminded me. He was already dressed in his street clothes, made up of sagging blue jeans and an oversized black and grey sweater. If you ask me, it covered up too much of that darkly tanned skin of his. Everyone I knew was so pale, but Adei was warm in both touch and sight.
He noticed the bruise on my cheek and sighed, "Did I not shut the drapes all the way."
I clasped a thick, metal collar around my neck that was made to fit my neck exactly and left not even a little skin to peek through. I lingered a little closer to him to feel that natural heat that his skin emitted and that lush flavor that wafted the air whenever he entered my room. I'd always want, my mother and father and brothers assured me of that, but I had to be stronger than my cravings.
"You must've been in a hurry to meet that secret lover of yours," I teased as I took a chomp out of the grapefruit and disappeared into my closet.
Adei grimaced and didn't say a word.
Father never understood why I was so insistent on keeping Adei around after we'd gotten older, (it wasn't appropriate) but I could be standing not wearing a stitch of clothing and a big smile and Adei would look right passed me.
I pulled on my white stockings and white school uniform. Everything was always white; it reflected light, although my fierce, colorless hair was genetic.
"Did you hear?" Adei asked from beyond the wall.
"Hear what?" I asked him as I sat on a black, velvet covered ottoman and tightened my white ankle boots. I stood up and straightened my skirt before tying my long, straight, white hair back with a black ribbon.
"Someone's moving into Black Manor."
My eyes bulged in their sockets as I rushed out of the closet. "Who?"
He shrugged. "Dunno. Didn't some massacre happen there like a million years ago?"
"It was in nineteen-thirteen," I said in correction the way we were taught in school. "Two members of the Prowl family wiped out thirty from the other families."
"Only two?" he gasped giddily. "Wow."
I glowered at him. "All Prowl's know is blood and violence. That's why they've been banned from La Dona."
"Heavy. Those must be some mutant vamps."
I rolled my eyes and pulled on my pure white gloves that fit snuggly to my hands. "They're purebloods. They have no limitation other than sunlight."
"They're banned, right?" he asked as he opened the door for me that led out into the hall. Portraits of my male ancestors all hung honorably on the walls. All were well lit like art in a museum.
"Why are you so bitter then? You've never met one of them."
I spun on my toes and he staggered to a halt to not crash into me. I said matter-of-factly, "Because they're monsters." I was raised to hate them for killing my own. I turned back around and started walking again, mumbling to myself, "They're all the same."
Adei grabbed an umbrella from the stand and opened it up before we stepped outside. Even the hose on my skin was enough screening for my sensitive skin. Still, I wore the highest SPF on the market.
We walked down the wide streets lined with little shops and boutiques of variety. All the signs were in an old world script that made them a little hard to read, but they ranged from pubs to candy stores to specialty clothing stores. They were run by our humans, our pets, who had kept our secret for centuries.
With the star printed umbrella blocking the sky, we strolled the four blocks to La Dona High School, a school for reformed vampire children. Night condemned vampires (which were rare if they weren't descendents of Prowl) were usually homeschooled; only a few of that kind resided in La Dona and were mostly Havens.
"I'll be here to pick you up," Adei said once he got me inside and handing me the umbrella. He was still mortal; so, he had to go to a real school in the city that neighbored La Dona. I wondered what it was like there. "I better hurry or I'll miss the bus."
"Have fun," I called to him as I waved.
He rolled his eyes. School was never fun for him or for me. Maybe if we switched lives we'd find it a tad bit more interesting. "Bye Ember!"
I sighed and went to my locker to grab my books for my first class. Amory was my best friend (of my kind I guess you could say), a descendent of Siege, but her immediate family went by the name "Anderson" (most families had to change their last names, but you always knew what stock you came from). She had cut her hair short, too short like a boy's. It was red and curled naturally, and I could imagine that it was a pain to straighten every morning. The white jacket she wore was open and the button up was unevenly buttoned as some kind of disheveled style that I didn't understand. She was the kind that wanted to start a trend and tried everything to get it there. But how could you start a trend when you changed it up before someone could grasp it?
"Hey Ember, have you noticed anything weird around here?" Amory asked as her red eyes darted about and sniffed the air.
I looked about and peered into the classrooms with open doors. Thick drapes were pulled over all the window, not a crack of natural light was coming through from the barely tinted glass (a thin layer of tint that's all most of us needed). The rooms were only slightly darker than they normally were, but anything out of the ordinary was annoying enough to be noticeable.
"The windows," I murmured, nodding towards the class across from where we were standing.
"Yeah, you're right. How strange?" she breathed, somewhat seduced by the unusual gesture.
I shrugged, "Maybe we're having a speaker."
"A pureblood?" she almost gasped. She might've been excited by that idea. Purebloods were attractive to all of us naturally. Their movement was so alien to even us like we were put in slow motion because their stride was so fast. And their magic, I'd only heard the tales of how they could wrap your mind around their fingers and make you their playthings.
How luscious… and depraved all at the same time.
We chattered on about the mystery of the covered windows as we went to our first period class, American History (and American Vampire History). Our professor, Armaan, was also my twenty-seven year old cousin and… my fiancé. He was tall and suave; his hair was bleached as mine was and his eyes shined an identical shade of red. He was all around gentleman. At school he was my professor and at home, whether it be his or mine, he was my husband-to-be.
We got along fairly well since I'd been promised to him on the day of my birth, sworn in blood making this bind unbreakable. Betrothals and engagements were to us, very, very different things. Betrothals were oath conceived in magic that would only bring death if broken, whereas an engagement left you with some freedom of choice. Something I never knew. I would marry this man, and I had my entire to, not adjust really, but except it.
A collar was fastened to his neck like mine. It was symbolic vampire tradition for us to never be bitten by anyone by anyone other than our mate. This was more crucial than virginity! Elders would look the other way if it was known that you'd become pregnant by someone else as long as they weren't human. Bitten females wouldn't even be considered for marriage by any respectable vampire, and males that shared their blood with someone else could lose right to their mate's altogether. And (so I heard) there was no greater pleasure in all the worlds than the sharing of blood which only made this that much harder.
The only vampires that went against this code were Prowl. Brothers, sisters, cousins, they'd all share bites and nibbles. I couldn't even imagine it and shuddered at the thought.
"Eighty-seven!" Amory chanted when Armaan gave her test back from Friday.
He rolled his eyes when he handed me mine. "Ember," he said gruffly.
Sixty-five. I groaned and slouched in my chair. Why was this the class I was failing, genuinely failing?
"Maybe you need a tutoring session with the 'professor'," Amory giggled, eyeing Armaan suggestively. It wasn't strange. Every girl in my class was fawning over Armaan, and wouldn't mind being the one to warm his bed on chilly nights. He probably wouldn't mind, and since he was a eleven years older than me, I wasn't naive to the fact that he kept the company of woman while I played with dolls.
Perhaps that was something Prowls did do differently. It was told that unfaithful mates had the right to be killed just for the other spouse to move on to someone more dependable. I couldn't fathom how odd those creatures were. But it was only gossip.
"That's enough," Armaan said. "Page one thirty-five by the way."
"Yes sir," we sighed together.
Armaan was about to move past us to hand out the other tests, when I turned around in my seat. "Dom—" I started before I caught his narrowed eyes. I swallowed—"Professor?"
"Yes, Ember? Well done," he said when he handed Marcus, who sat directly behind Amory, his test.
"Why are there curtains over all the windows?"
He disguised his sneer with an uncomfortable grin. "Out of town guests," he said grimly to me and raised his voice for the rest of my classmates to hear, "I expect all of you to be on your best behavior. We are all hosts."
"So, they must be the leeches?" Damien snickered.
Armaan cracked a genuine smile. "Save it. Now, I want all of you to turn in your books to page one thirty-five."
A/N: Please don't forget to post a review and tell me what you think. This is one that I'm not sure whether I should continue perusing so a little feedback would be appreciated.