Chapter Five

Charlotte stormed out of the bedroom and pass Darrell who, instead of taking her back to her room followed her down the stairs. "Milady, what do you think you're doing? Please return back to you quarters." Charlotte ignored him, she wanted to talk to the count and she wasn't waiting for him or his permission to allow her out of her room. She's been listening to the message that Darrell relay to her regarding what she should do. She was told that she was going to get the rest of the week to rest and get her energy back; Charlotte hadn't thought that the count was serious about getting the rest of the week to rest. It wasn't like she was sick or injured. She just lost a lot of energy to due to something that she didn't even know she could summon. She was done talking about Darrell who didn't seem to have any results that she wanted. "Milady, please." Darrell begged.

"What's the problem here?" The count asked, suddenly at the bottom of the staircase.

"N…..Nothing Milord-" Darrell began to stuttered.

"Yes. I was looking for you." Charlotte said.

"Looking for me?" He repeated, "Because you miss me?" His lip spread into a wide smile.

Charlotte stopped midway on the stair. "No I don't miss you."

"I was planning to see you tonight, I know I haven't visited you, but I'm not sure you'd like me to visit you in your quarters or did you?"

"Let's get straight to the point. I don't see why I have to rest in my quarters for the rest of the week." Charlotte said.

"Is that so?" He said right next to her ear, she could feel his breath on her neck making her realized that he had somehow gotten behind her without her seeing or sensing him until now. He leaned his chin resting on her shoulder. His skin was soft and cool as the wind on a fresh winter day. "I think that because you've gotten some rest now you look so much prettier and fresher. Therefore more rest for you will definitely bring you to the level of my other fiancées, I mean you are here for me, right?"

"Please stop with this act." She said and tried to get away from him. She didn't know why he kept coming onto her even when she expressed the fact that she didn't want to marry him at all. To create space between her and him, she stepped forward and found herself be pulled forward.

Everything happened to slowly, she saw the path she was going to take once gravity pulled her into the steps head first, and then how she was going to roll on until she hit the floor of the stairway. She saw how Darrelle was about to jump from the corner of her eyes when she felt his cold arm wrapped around her waist, twisting them both in air and drawing his body under hers. She could feel his marble rock chest against the small of her back, his other arm wrapped around her shoulder.

They landed on the floor with a thud and a groan from the count. She winced at his groan, feeling ashamed of what she did. She didn't even understand why he did that, for all she would have done was let herself fall to learn a lesson in being aware of her surroundings. When she felt his grip on her loosened, she turned on her stomach to see him. He looked like he was in pain and she bet that he was in pain because the noise that came with their landing didn't sound that good. "Are you hurt?" He asked his eyes half opened. She just nodded, waiting for his eyes to adjust. She couldn't believe that even though he jumped to cover for her, he beat her to asking if she was alright when he should worry about his own condition.

"Are you okay?" She asked then she turned to Darrell, "Darrell, go get Gregory!" Then she turned back to him and said, "Did you break something?" She studied his unmoving limbs and couldn't tell if he was breathing so she laid her head against his naked chest and listened for a heartbeat, there was none. His heart wasn't beating, he was going to die. Don't die! She said to herself, if only she didn't try to get away from him she wouldn't have fallen and he would have jump to protect her. It was all her fault, she didn't like the count, but she didn't want him to die because of her. She didn't want him to die on the first time he finally opened his island to outsiders.

"Did you find my heart beat yet?" Came his voice after a couple long minutes of her listening for his heart beat.

"No I can't hear them." She replied, still trying to find the pulse.

"Well, don't be surprised, if you don't hear it." He replied back. Charlotte paused in her haste and then looked up at the count and saw him staring at her, up on his elbow. "I am a vampire, the only time you'll hear this heart of mine beat is when I'm drinking." He explained and then winked at her. Charlotte tried to scramble away from him, but he rolled her onto her back and stare down at her. "Did you really forget that I was a vampire and that I was going to die? You're so adorable."

"Get off of me." she managed to say as she tried to twist and turn to break his grip on her arms. She couldn't believe that she actually thought that he was going to die. "No I didn't." She denied, since it seemed that he was still waiting for her to say more.

"Sure, but I do recall all of your thoughts just a minute ago." He mentioned. "I recall 'Don't die!', how you shouldn't have tried to get away from me. "

"I thought you were a respectable and modest man?" She exclaimed as she tore free from his grip and started swinging at him. She remembered the exact word of one of his villagers when she met them on the way to his mansion the first day she got on the island.

"I usually don't pry into the mind of humans, but if they are casting it out like an announcer, what I am suppose to do?" he answered as grabbed both of her wrists. "Block them?"

"It's not my fault that you surprise me like that. This ought to teach you a lesson around surprising me like that. It's your fault!" She told him, staring at his unfazed, playful eyes. She could tell that he was enjoying this, although why? She didn't understand why. Even if he was a vampire, everyone was prone to pain, especial vampires.

"Admit it. You wanted me alive." He said in a tone that of a teacher making a student realized how wrong she was.

"Why?" She asked. "Why is it so important?"

"It's the nicest thought you've ever had of me." He pointed out.

"I thought you didn't read minds?" She asked.

"I don't, but if you broadcast them, what am I do to?" He told her. "So admit it and I'll let you go."

"Gregory, there-"

"Darrell what are you trying to set up here?" Gregory interrupted as they turned their backs on Charlotte and the Count.

Charlotte felt a little embarrassed having those two witness her being under him. "Get off of me!" she demanded, trying to break free from his grip. She looked and saw that he wasn't going to budge without her saying it. "Fine, I wanted you to live." She said. He smiled and like said he got on his two feet. "But only because if you did die, I wouldn't get that money!" she said and dashed up the stairs.

"Charlotte, you're finally out of your room?" Hannah chimed as Charlotte ran passed her to her quarters, making her come to a halt.

"Yeah. Aren't you guys out somewhere?" Charlotte asked breathlessly.

"Nope. We were released from the devil so that we can prep for tonight." Hannah replied and then laughed when Charlotte's eyes grew big hearing Hannah, the good witch call the count the devil. "I was just kidding, although you seemed a little happy. You're so adorable. Come on, let's get ready together!" Hannah said and before she could decline, Hannah was dragging her to Hannah's room.

"So how do you like your dresses? I really like mine…but which one should I wear?" Hannah asked as she held both of them in her arms. They were really big, poufy dresses; one was a light, pastel pink while the other was a golden. Charlotte wondered if she got the same big dresses and color. After all he did give them the gifts; it wouldn't be surprising if it was the same things. "What do you Charlotte, the pink one or the golden one?" Hannah asked.

"Um…Which one do you want to wear?" Charlotte answered, unsure; she wasn't use to having any ask her what they should wear.

"Which one do you think looks better on me tonight, pink or gold?" Hannah asked.

"What's your favorite color of the two?" Charlotte asked.

"I like the pink one better." Hannah replied and then looked up at Charlotte with a smile, "I know, I'll wear the pink one tonight. Thanks, Charlotte; you're such a great co-fiancée!" Hannah said and then started to strip.

"What are you doing?" Charlotte asked, feeling embarrassed as she saw Hannah's bare, milk silk-like skin.

"What do you mean? We're both ladies here aren't we?" She smiled.

Charlotte stare at her, Hannah had such a great frame, although Hannah didn't have curves as the vampires, Hannah had a tiny, slender body that her high school peers would definitely date. When she realized that she was staring, she looked down at her feet.

"All done, how do I look?" Hannah asked.

Charlotte looked up and just sighed, Hannah was so very beautiful. She stood tall and slender in the poufy full dress; it was almost as if the dress was wearing her. The pink dress had long sleeve that covered her slim arms. A pink bodice wrapped around her hourglass waist accentuating her tiny waist. The jewelries that she wore, must have been part of the gifts as well because they matched the dress, the heart shape soft pink crystal around her neck and the matching heart earrings.

Charlotte watched Hannah get ready, putting on makeup, although in Charlotte's opinion, Hannah didn't need makeup at all. Hannah braided her long straight hair and then turned to Charlotte. "Alright, I'm done, let's go to your room and get you dressed!" Hannah said, as Charlotte's upper arm was gripped and she was pulled out of Hannah's room towards her.

Charlotte wanted to decline, but she was too late. They were in her room already. "What colors are your dresses like?" Hannah asked as she eyed the box that was stashed in the corner where Charlotte found them when she came to her room after declining to accept the gift and unwilling to bring them to her room. Charlotte was going to tell Hannah that she had no clue as to how her dresses were because she hadn't even touch the box. "Charlotte they're so pretty! A deep royal purple and a bright red one, they're just as big as mine too. Please wear the purple one!" Hannah gasped. "It'll bring out your pretty eyes!"

"Oh…okay." Charlotte said, walking to where Hannah sat around the boxed gifts.

"Hm…what color should we use for your eyes?" Hannah asked, as she stared at Charlotte walking towards her. "Where's your make-up?"

"I didn't pack any. I don't use them." Charlotte answered.

"I'll be right back then." She said and disappeared out into the hall.

Charlotte looked at the dress and then closed the doors of her bedroom. She changed into the dress, not understanding why she did. Once she had it on, she noticed that it was a little different from Hannah's dress. This royal purple dress was just as long as Hannah's, but it wasn't as poufy as Hannah's. This dress had a square neckline, and short sleeves, there was a little white ribbon just above her waist. She tied it up and heard the knock on the door. It was Hannah with her makeup. Hannah told her to close her eyes and Charlotte closed her eyes, trusting Hannah.

They were supposed to be enemies since they were suppose to compete with each other, but it didn't feel like she was with an enemy. It felt nice, Charlotte felt that Hannah couldn't do her harm; Hannah was one of those girls who just draw people to her. She felt like Hannah was a friend here, on the island. When she was lonely, Hannah seemed to find her and take her off her feet.

There was another knock and then Charlotte heard Hannah say, "Gabe, hold on, I'm almost done." And then she heard Hannah sigh, "Alright, I'm done. Put the dress and the jewelries on and just let your hair down. It's pretty the way it is. Well I gotta go before Gabe breaks in; it's part of his duty." Hannah explained and then left her room.

Charlotte put the jewelries on and heard a knock and was about to ask who it was when Darrell's voice said, "Milady, the dinner is about to start. I'm to escort you."

Charlotte left with Darrell who took her down stairs out into the courtyard, which had been turned into a lighted banquet hall. There were some tents up in the courtyard, many different color flags decorated on the tent. There were white lights everywhere, many people seated, many people just talking amongst themselves.

"Ah, and there is the last of my fiancées, the lovely Lady Kestral Hearthwood." Came the count's voice as it drew nearer until he grasped her wrist. "Why don't you come join us, Lady Kestral." He suggested with a smile and led her into a tent. Inside the tent were ladies and gentlemen well dressed up, there were ribbons hung from all around the tent, torches everywhere. Many men were dressed in suits, swallowtail suits. Ladies were dressed in big ball gowns, hair were curled and half up or all down. Each had their own little signature hair accessories. Charlotte wondered if these were people of the island or people from outside of his island too. "These are outsiders who are part of the Nightworld. They wish to be exposed to my island as well." Charlotte glared at him and was about to ask him how he knew what she was thinking when he added, "You're not the first person who would ask the question tonight."

"Where are the others?" Charlotte asked as she continued to observe her surroundings.

"They're with their clans." He replied back. Charlotte halted, looking around; maybe her aunt or her mother or those people are here too. Maybe they came too to see how she was doing too.

"Where's mine?" Charlotte asked, feeling a dark knot in her stomach.

"I believe I haven't seen any of the dark witches and I know everyone who is here." Count told her and then turned around as a group was forming behind him. It looked like he was immediately engaged in a conversation with all these

Charlotte bit her lips from expressing anything that might make her even sadder. She knew that they wouldn't come, they didn't accept her yet what was she still doing here for them? Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing. She forced a smile on her face and stepped away from the count and the crowd that surrounded him. Everyone was meeting with others they care about and miss, even Darrell wasn't around, everyone except for her. She felt bad for herself, but she wouldn't let it show on the surface. It wasn't like Charlotte grew up surrounded by these people; she grew up with her mother and aunt. She would be okay.

Charlotte glanced around and saw someone with long beautiful dark hair; it reminded her of her mother. She couldn't help herself so when she saw the lady heading for the table for drinks, she headed there too. Maybe it was her mother or someone who would know her mother. She stared at the back of the lady, thinking about her own mother. If her mother was standing she'd be a little shorter than this lady. She knew that her mother's hair was this long, but never really got to see it because she always had it braided and wrapped around her mother's head. She was just about to reach the lady when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Charlotte turned to look and saw that it was the count there.

"Where are you disappearing too?" He asked.

"I was getting a drink." Charlotte said.

"You're in the wrong area then, this is only for nightworlders." He told her and then continued, " For you, it'd would over there. Let's go get you something to drink."

"No, it's alright, I'm not thirsty anymore." Charlotte told him as he led her back to where they were. "Where are you taking me?" Charlotte asked.

"To spend time with me of course, where else?" He told her without a glance back to see her expression. "You haven't learned to dance yet? Why don't I teach you, just follow me." He suggested and dragged her into the dance floor, where there were others dancing.

"Shouldn't you meet with your future in laws?" Charlotte asked, being swayed into the dancing crowd. She tried to follow him and as she bumped into people around her and trip on her own feet. "Look, this isn't for me. I can't dance like this." Charlotte brushed him off and let go of his hand.

"Come on Charlotte, I'll teach you. I'm a good teacher." He told her gently and then took her hands again. "Just follow me." He said. She did as she said and was surprised that it wasn't that hard to dance with him. She realized that he wasn't that bad. He was a count, but he didn't act like one. He not only danced with her, but he also danced with his people, the little girls, the mothers, and the servants. She didn't know that they were in the section of the party that was for his people until he told her that all these people knew him and that they are from the village. Although he wasn't smiling, it looked like the people enjoyed themselves.

"Charlotte!" came Hannah's voice from somewhere behind her. She let go of her partner and saw Hannah squeezing through with Gabe behind her. "So this is where you were. Why are you here, why weren't you at the other side with all the other nightworlders? We were looking all over for you!" Hannah exclaimed out of breathe.

"Hannah, take a deep breath." Gabe told her, letting her lean against him.

"What were you guys looking for me for?" Charlotte asked staring at Hannah who was leaning against Gabe, catching her breath. Charlotte wondered if they were running around looking for him. Charlotte stared at the two and wondered if there was more to their relationship. Gabe was always after Hannah and around Hannah, it's only his job to follow and be around her, but sometimes it seemed like there was more between the two than what they were supposed to be. This was one of those situations where it seemed like they were more than just guard and master.

"Your mother was here, she was looking for you, but she couldn't find you so we decided to help. What time is it?" She suddenly asked.

"It's midnight." Gabe answered.

"Oh no, Quick, Charlotte, we have to get to the deck!" Hannah said and grabbed her wrist. "She's leaving at midnight. If we get to the deck now, you guys can probably see each other for a bit!"

Charlotte broke from Hannah's grip and ran headed towards the deck. She couldn't believe that her mother was here, she cared. What about her illness? Was she better now? Charlotte wondered if her aunt came with her mother, if so, why she didn't come find Charlotte. So many questions were running through her head as she made her way around the crowd, surprised that she was even able to run around without running into anyone.

Charlotte tore through the pathway as she heard the sound of horns and then saw small balls of flames aligned down the path to the decks. She saw the small figures of people untying the ropes that held the ship from drifting off into the night sea. She tripped as she crossed the gate that would lead to the decks and fell forward onto the ground.

"Charlotte, are you alright? Slow down."

"I don't have time to slow down." She muttered and forced her leg to stand up on its own. She ran down the path and onto the deck as the ship just pass the last of the deck. "Mother!" she cried out as the ship traveled further away. She saw a figure on the ship turned to watch her and even though she couldn't see the face of the person, her mind told her to swim to the ship and get on the ship. She was about to jump when someone grabbed her around her waist and pulled her back from the edge of the deck.

"What do you think you're doing?" the Count asked her, turning her to face him.

She stared at him; he was out of breath, and staring at her sternly. Then she remembered what he told her earlier, "I believe I haven't seen any of the dark witches and I know everyone who is here." He lied to her. He kept her from even seeing her mother. If she was by the nightworld side, she would have met her mother. The reason that the count took her there was to keep her from meeting up with her mother, no wondered Hannah had asked her why she was by his people and not the nightworld. He knew that her mother was here and to keep her from meeting her mother, he hid her there. She was naïve enough to let him take her there.

"What does it look like I'm going?" She asked.

"Trying to get yourself killed." He replied.

"Why were you so different and nice to me….that's what I was wondering tonight." She began, "But now I see it. I see why you suddenly change and taught me to dance. Why you kept me over there and why you didn't want to meet you other future in laws. It was just so you could keep me from my family, wasn't it? You knew they were here, you knew they would look for you and you hid me well. I didn't even know you were hiding me." She said, bursting into tears. "Is it fun to watch me cry?" She added and then just started to punch him in the chest; it was the part of him that was closets to her. She tried to hit as hard as she could, her hand started to hurt from hitting him. She couldn't believe him, there was a reason to like him and he took it away with this. "I hate you!" She screamed as she pounded on him one last time and then broke his grip on her and headed back to her quarters. She couldn't forgive him.