Hey everyone! I am SO sorry for this late update! Life has been busy for me! I sub now (since I can't find a teaching job anywhere) and I pretty much work every day and come home and help my mom cook every night and I see my grandmother and my boyfriend every weekend. So needless to say, I am a VERY busy person (though, I wouldn't really have it any other way!) which means I have little to no time to really write now!

I also had my story "Play Ball" plagiarized over on wattpad a few weeks ago. This is a site that I post on already and so someone over there was kind of enough to let me know. To say I was pissed was an understatement... I was FURIOUS. The story has since been removed, but let me be very clear to anyone reading this who has any idea to steal any of my stuff: DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. Write your own stuff. And, if anyone steals this story (which is my baby, by the way), you better be prepared to be harassed by me for months. I do not take kindly be people taking my stuff and I will not just report you to the site for plagiarism... I will instead, sic all my fans from the various sites I post on on you and watch you crash and burn!

Sorry about that... just wanted to get that warning out there since the next person that copies me isn't going to get off as easy as the first girl did!

Anyway, this chapter is longer than normal because I wanted to give you guys something for being so patient with me! Honestly, I really don't like this chapter that much. I pretty much only like the ending because I think it's pretty awesome, but I know I had to give you guys something!

Thank you to my reviewers: Gamergirl19951, Monica, Heth, insomiac895, Kiss The Stars With Me, Legenda, Love in All Forms, Midnight Writer2012, vampireprincess003, 4evermediatorlover2010, Ajretsesimiies, Tezzah and Shadowkiller176!

Here is chapter 26 (finally!), Enjoy:

I was left speechless for several moments. Whatever the call had been about, I hadn't expect that at all. All I could do was stare at him for several long moments as I tried to digest what he had just told me.

"What?"

The four-letter word was the only thing I could think to say to that.

"You heard me."

"Isn't the King a little busy to worry about some trial right now?" I asked, I was actually proud that I was able to form a coherent sentence this time. When he didn't give me an answer, I continued, "Isn't he busy trying to take over the world?" I asked, hoping that that question would actually get me an answer.

Tristan shrugged, "Not really," he said, "The world is almost completely ours anyway, so he does have the time to focus on this. Especially when one of the ones on trial disrespected him. The King is not one to tolerate that kind of behavior."

Well, of course not… he was royalty and royalty tended to have this psychotic superiority complex and their heads way too far up their assess.

Tristan narrowed his eyes, "If I were you Jessica, I would avoid thinking those kinds of thoughts around the King. They'll do nothing but get you into serious trouble."

I opened my mouth to point out that, as far as I knew, he was the only vampire who could read my mind, but he started explaining before I could even get a word out, "My mark protects you and your mind from the average vampire, but the King isn't an average vampire. If he wants to read your mind, he can and it won't take much for him to do so. And if he hears you thinking such bad things about him… well, let's just say, it won't be good for you. I happen to like it when you think bad things about me and other people; it's rather endearing and sometimes entertaining, but I can guarantee that he will not share those same feelings about it."

"Fine, I'll try."

"You will do more than try, Jessica. You will do. There's not much I can do to protect you if you piss off the King."

"Fine, I'll do the best that I can then. Does that sound better?" I asked, "I'm not used to being around people who can read my mind whenever they damn well please so forgive me if I'm not an expert at keeping my thoughts nice about someone." I glared at him, "They're supposed to be private, so I really shouldn't have to worry about someone being about to know them, you know."

"I'm just trying to protect you, Jessica," Tristan explained, "The last thing I want to happen is for you to think something that gets you into trouble"

"Oh, well isn't that sweet… you're worried about me," I spat out.

"I'm worried because I care. I don't want you to die and that will likely be what happens if you think or say the wrong thing around the wrong vampire. That's the last thing I want."

I didn't like the fact that he was so close to my face. Sometime during our conversation, he had placed his hands on the wall behind my head, successfully boxing me in. It made me feel a bit claustrophobic to be so close to him, but I couldn't force myself to make him move.

We stared at each other for a long intense moment. I alternated between staring at his eyes and his lips; every time my eyes would move back down to linger over his mouth, the knowing smirk that his lips had formed only grew.

Almost unconsciously, I licked my lips. He mimicked my actions only seconds later. And it was that motion was enough to get me make a move on him for the first time.

I had only initiated a kiss once and that had been a disaster, so I really had no idea what I was doing when my lips met his. Though, it didn't take me very long to realize what I was doing. However, when I tried to fox it – namely, when I tried to pull away – he grabbed hold of my face to keep me from moving my head even an inch away.

I couldn't even fight him since his lips were too soft and irresistible. I groaned as he deepened the kiss and his tongue ended up partially in my mouth. My arms wrapped around him to pull him closer and I could feel him do the same. That made our bodies flush against each other. I moved my hands up to rest on his shoulders as we shifted slightly so that I was now that one holding him up against the wall. I vaguely wondered why he all of a sudden let me do such a thing, but I promptly forgot that thought as his tongue (which was still in my mouth) started to distract me again.

After a few more minutes, I had to pull away. Not really because I wanted to, but because I really needed air.

I stared at him for a few moments before I found my voice, "I shouldn't have done that."

"Why not?"

Well, that was a stupid question.

"Because it's wrong." I said.

"How can a simple kiss be wrong?" he asked, innocently.

I glared at him, "Don't be a smartass," I spat, "its wrong when it's you I'm kissing." I jerked away from him which was made easier because he had let me push him up against the wall. I stepped back from him, completely out of his reach.

"It –"

I interrupted him, quickly changing the subject before it got too uncomfortable for me. I really had no reason as to why initiating a kiss with him was so wrong, but I didn't want him to know that.

"And, I just find it so obnoxious that all of a sudden you're so fucking worried about me and my wellbeing. I don't remember you really caring a few days ago."

"I've cared about your actions around other vampires from the very beginning Jessica. Remember, I've warned you about it before."

"Funny," I said, "I don't remember that conversation."

He looked annoyed, "I told you that I could handle that mouth and attitude of yours because I found it to be rather cute, but I know most others of my kind would not be so inclined to think that. They would be more inclined to ripe out your throat."

"Um… ew. That's just nasty."

"That's the truth."

"Well, the truth is disgusting then," I said, "And, so are you."

He chuckled and I glared.

"Come now, Jessica, you don't mean that."

"Yes, I do," I said, "As certain as I am breathing, I am sure that you're a disgusting bastard. And, as long as I am living and breathing, I will continue to think that."

"Really now?" he asked, "I guess I'll have to stop your breathing then."

He smirked at me.

I narrowed my eyes at him, "You better keep those fangs of yours where I can clearly see them," I said, "I told you before… I don't want to be like you."

"Who said anything about biting and changing you?" he asked, "There are other ways to take your breath away that don't involve biting you, you know."

My eyes widened, "What –"

I didn't even have time to get the question out before he was closing the distance between us and his lips were on mine. I groaned at the feel of his lips caressing mine. He chuckled against my mouth and with his whole body flush against my own, I could feel the vibrations in his chest and it made me shiver almost uncontrollably.

He deepened the kiss considerably and I found myself retuning it and before I even knew what I was doing, I was letting him push me backwards until I was laying flat against the wall with his body flush up against mine.

I ripped my mouth away from his for air, "Get. Off. Me." I spat, trying to push him away but it was seriously like shoving at a brick wall, "You're so heavy, I can barely breathe."

"Are you sure that's why you're so breathless?" he muttered against my lips; half-lidded eyes staring me down and making me very uncomfortable, "I'm not even putting that much weight on you."

He had a point there, but I wasn't about to admit it.

"Well, it's certainly not because you kissed me." I said, "Your kisses suck."

He chuckled again, "You're not a very good liar, Jessica."

"No," I spat, "I would just be completely disgusted with myself if I actually admitted to having any sort of feelings for you after what you did to me. It's just easier this way."

A slow grin spread over his face just as I realized what I had pretty much just admitted, but he spoke before I could make any sort of attempt to cover up what I said, "Well, like my sister said, Jessica, you can't help who you're attracted to."

"Yea, maybe not… but I sure as hell can fight it."

"Of course you can," he said, 'But, I doubt you really want to in this case, do you?"

I wasn't even going to go there.

"Get. Off. Me." I ordered again, remembering that he was still uncomfortably shoved up against me, making it hard for me to get a lungful of air in.

"Not until you answer my question."

I rolled my eyes, "Look, if you want me to admit anything to you, that's not going to happen." I said, "At least not now." I added, "Now, if you would kindly get the hell off of me so I can breathe normally before I pass out that would just be wonderful."

"I suppose that will do for now, considering that we do have other matters to attend to, but I guess it doesn't matter anyway… since you and I both know how you really feel." He gave me his trademark knowing smirk before he finally moved off of me and I was able to breathe normally and move as far away from him as I could get which wasn't very far since his arms were placed on the wall behind me right above my shoulders; successfully trapping me between them.

Once I had caught my breathe enough to speak, I immediately changed the subject back to what we had been talking about before; namely, the fact that the Vampire King had time to run a trial like this during the vampire takeover. I had a hard time believing that the world had almost completely fallen. It had only been a couple of days; maybe a week or two. There was just no way vampires, no matter how much faster or stronger they were compared to humans could win that fast. There's no way nearly seven billion people could have fallen that quickly.

I looked at him, disbelievingly, "There's just no way that vampires were able to work that fast," I said, "It's just not possible."

He smirked at me, "You are completely naïve."

"And, you're a complete asshole," I spat, "Now that we have established the obvious… I will repeat myself. I don't believe you; not for one single second. You have certainly given me no reasons to believe anything that you say, so you really shouldn't be surprised that I don't."

I glared at him as he just continued to smirk at me, "Well, if you don't believe me then I guess I'll have to show you," before I could move or even utter a protest, he grabbed my arm and began pulling me from the room, "We have two hours before we have to be at the trial, so we have time for this."

"I can walk myself, you know." I said, "I don't like being dragged around like a sack of potatoes."

He ignored me. He was obviously too busy focusing his attention on wherever he was taking me, so I wondered whether he had even heard me to begin with. He pulled me down the stairs and into the living room, but when he tried to sit me down on the same sofa that he had molested me on, I promptly refused.

Tristan didn't comment when I instead sat on the loveseat next to the sofa (after working a few seconds to wrench my hand from his grip); which was a bit surprising… I had expected him to play the stupid card and to pretend like he didn't know what the problem was. Maybe he wasn't such an ignorant jerk as I thought he was.

I knew he heard that particular thought because his mouth twitched into a smirk for a second.

I glared at him, "Stay out of my head," I ordered; I was really starting to feel like a broken record with that phrase; it was getting annoying, to be honest, "Are you sure that we have time for this anyway?" I asked, "Don't we have to get to that trial?" I would hate to be late to that thing; I doubt the Vampire King was very nice to those who were tardy. So, I wanted to be very clear that we wouldn't be running late because of this.

"Oh, don't worry… we got time. Like I said, the trial won't start for a few hours and it won't take us very long to get to it anyway."

I didn't really care that it was a few hours away or that it wouldn't take us too long to travel to. All I cared about was that creepy little grin he was giving me; he clearly knew something about our travel arrangements that I didn't and I had this nagging little feeling that I wasn't going to like them.

I watched as Tristan grabbed a remote from the end table and pressed a button; I jumped when a panel on the far wall began sliding back to reveal a large, flat screen television. The sight surprised me since owning a television seemed so… normal. It was something that I couldn't see a vampire having since it was hard to picture them sitting down and watching anything on it. Imagining Tristan sitting down to watch television just seemed… wrong.

He pressed another button and the screen instantly came to life and what met my eyes was worse than what I had seen the last time. I didn't think that was possible since last time was pretty bad with all the bodies lying everywhere. This time, there were still bodies everywhere, but unlike last time, the scene was much grosser with blood pretty much everywhere. It was seriously like a sea of red. There were hundreds, probably thousands of bodies; all lying in awkward positions, with mouths gaping open in a silent scream. Some of them had their throat or hearts completely ripped out and some weren't even recognizable as humans since most of the limbs had been ripped off; including the head.

"That is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen." I spat, "That is just…" I trailed off; I couldn't even form words expressing my horror.

However, I didn't think it could have gotten any worse, but I was very wrong. After a few seconds of seeing the mutilated bodies of a couple of thousands people, the images changed to video of the murder of hundreds people. This was much worse than the pictures of the dead bodies since it was one thing to just see the dead bodies, but it was completely different to watch innocent people die; their only crime was apparently being human since I saw no distinction between the people who were ruthlessly murdered on the screen

"That's just sick." I said.

But, I spoke too soon since what was shown next was even worse than that; something that I didn't think was even possible. I was watching, what looked to be an auction of some kind. There was a stage, a man at a podium; who was very clearly a vampire since he flashed his fangs any chance he got. It looked very normal until the auctioned item was brought on stage and it wasn't an item at all, but a person; a red-headed young woman who was very naked and obviously terrified. Luckily, the sound was muted, so I didn't have to listen to her obvious cries of terror or the auctioneer as he began to yell at what could only be numbers to the crowd. I shuddered at the hungry looks that flashed across the mostly male audience member's faces at the girl's obvious discomfort. I had to close my eyes as the auctioneer started openly molesting the poor girl in front of the large crowd. It was enough to make me want to throw up. I had to force the bile back down my throat.

"Just think, Jessica," Tristan said quietly, "If you weren't with me; that would be your fate. See what I saved you from?" he asked.

I turned to glare at him, "Gee… thanks." I spat sarcastically, "I feel so blessed to be stuck with you instead of one of those other sick fucks."

Tristan gave me this look of pure annoyance.

"What?" I asked, "Well… I am."I spat, "At least I wasn't auctioned off like my poor mother was or that poor girl!" I gestured to the television, not daring to turn my head to look since I was afraid I may actually lose it if I caught so much as a glance.

"And, I honestly didn't think you could get much sicker than murdering innocent people on television, but seeing that just proved me wrong" I said, "We aren't cattle that you can just auction off to the highest bidder, you know."

"Well, something needs to be done with the humans that aren't killed." I jumped at the sound of his voice right by my ear. I had been so engrossed in trying to avoid looking at him and the televisions that he had managed to move to sit next to me without me even noticing.

I tried to move away but the arm of the loveseat prevented me from being very successful in getting away from him. In fact, the only thing that came from that was the sharp pain the arm of the chair gave me when I tried to lean away from him.

Tristan completely ignored my discomfort as he continued to talk, his mouth only inches from my face, "The human race can't be trusted to be on its own; you have to be contained and controlled. This planet is already in disarray and it's all thanks to humans and how you've been treating it."

"That can't be only reason vampires wanted to take over the planet." I said, "I can't see vampires really caring all that much for the environment. What do you care about global warming and all of that stuff? You can survive in practically anything, so even if the Earth was 200 degrees you would still be here."

"Of course not and yes, we would still be here in that case, but you won't be… there lies the problem. If our food source dies out then we die too and that's just not an ideal situation at all. So as you can see, we need to take over this Earth so we can fix some of the damage you humans have recklessly caused with your constant improvements to make your lives better before it's too late to do so," he grinned at me. "But, of course you are right about our reasoning; there is definitely more than just the environmental issues. Vampires are naturally superior to humans; you are our prey, after all and therefore, we should be in control since we hunt you and not the other way around," he explained, "Why should you be allowed to be in control when you aren't at the top of the food chain, hmm?" he asked.

"Um… because humans were here first."

He snorted, "That may very well be the case, but that doesn't change the fact that vampires are better than humans and should be treated as such."

"You are so arrogant; it's disgusting." I said, "I actually don't even know what's worse… the fact that you have this serious God complex or the fact that you're words and antics aren't making me like or trust you any more than I already do."

"You needed to see what was going on in the outside world, Jessica." he said.

"Yes, I probably did, but you didn't have to be so callous about it," I said, moving my head away from him which was still way too close for comfort, but that proved unsuccessful.

I narrowed my eyes at him, "Get away from me."

In a move that surprised me completely, he actually did move away from me for once, I was so shocked that all I could do was watch him as he got up and sat back down on the sofa he had sat on when we had first come in.

He gestured towards the television screen, which was still showing the auction, but this time it was a different female; this one was a blonde. "As you can see, everything is pretty much under control now, so the King has time to devote to this trial."

"Can you turn that off, please?" I asked, "I'd rather not see anymore... it's making me sick. I just hope –"

I abruptly stopped talking; I didn't want him to know what my biggest fear was. I should have known that he would hear it loud and clear in my head.

"You have nothing to worry about, Jessica," he said, "I would never allow you go through that. You'll be safe here."

There was a part of me that believed his words, but another part, was screaming that he still couldn't be trusted. But, that part of me; the part that didn't trust him, was slowly shrinking away and that alone pissed me off.

"How exactly is this trial going to work anyway?" I asked; deciding that it would be better to ignore my current trust issues with him and just get onto more important matters.

He shrugged, "I haven't been to too many and the last one was way back in the 1800s," it was kind of scary to think he was really that old. What the hell was wrong with me falling in love with a guy who should very well be a very dead and a decomposed corpse by now? The idea of Tristan being just that didn't sit well with me, but it didn't make me find him repulsive as I would have thought it would. Seriously, what the hell was wrong with me?

I could tell Tristan had heard my thoughts because he grinned at me before he continued speaking, "Unless it's changed, which I doubt, it'll be a lot like how a human trial is run."

"Oh… so we're below you in all aspects but our judicial system?" I asked, "It's kind of weird that vampires would have any sort of judicial system in place since you all seem to hate human so much and think yourself so much higher than us… why the hell do you have a system so similar to ours?"

"I don't know… we just do," He shrugged, "There'll be a judge; that's the King, of course and sometimes lawyers, but I doubt that Annabelle or Christophe will get a lawyer since that's up to the discretion of the King and after all that they've done, he probably doesn't think they deserve one. Lastly, there's a couple of witness, especially in this kind of case when a vampire is being charged for harming a human."

"I'm surprised you all give a crap about little old human me."

"This isn't about you, Jessica, this is about how they stole another vampire's property and tried to remove the mark that marked you as mine."

I arched my eyebrows "Excuse me?" I asked, a bit shocked at his words, "I am not your property!" I spat, "Fuck what the government says. This should be about what they did to me, a human being who has feelings and not about what they did to your "property". I don't belong to anyone."

"Sorry, but that's how it is and you better not make a fuss about it Jessica in front of the King or it won't end pretty for you."

"Fine, I'll keep my mouth shut around others, but I'm not going to keep it shut around you."

"Of course you won't," he said, "Though, you should know that you don't have to worry about being considered my property for much longer."

What the hell did that mean?

I decided to ignore that statement since I really didn't want to deal with it at the moment. "So, am I going to have to testify just like in human trials?" I asked.

"Probably."

It took me a second to realize that we were actually having a pretty decent conversation that didn't involve me yelling or saying something too rude or sarcastic.

"Yes, I think I like this side of you better; much more agreeable." Tristan agreed with my thoughts.

"I wish I could read your thoughts then you'll get a taste of what it's like and realize that it's just not nice. At all."

"The only way that would happen would be if you became like me."

"I don't want to be like you," I glared at him.

"Not yet you don't."

"Um…how about not ever?" I asked.

"When you're close to death, Jessica, you may just change your mind about that." he said, "Being a vampire is definitely better than dying young."

"That's what you think," I said, "And, I thought you didn't even like what you are? Since it was forced on you by your brother?" I asked.

"I grew to like it. It's –"

"That's nice." I interrupted, "I don't really want you to describe that kind of stuff to me. I just ate lunch and I would rather not lose it."

Tristan turned off the television (thank God, it was getting hard to not look at the screen every once in awhile) and pressed the button to close the panel that hid the thing.

"It's time us to get ready which means you have to change. That is not suitable for this occasion at all." he eyed my jeans and t-shirt with open disdain. Well, that's rude.

"Well, what do you suggest I wear then?" I asked, "Excuse me for not knowing the proper attire to wear to this thing; it's not like I've ever been to one of these things to actually know what to wear."

"I asked Cindy to lay something out for you on the bed." he said.

"Gee, thanks. It better not be anything inappropriate."

"Don't worry, it's perfectly appropriate."

I had my suspicions about whether that was true or not based on what he had previously picked out for me to wear.

"Uh-huh; I'll be the judge of that." I said, "I'm not wearing it if I don't feel comfortable in it. If I'm going to be around a bunch of vampires for the next couple of hours, I don't want to wear anything that gives easy access to my neck."

He was quiet for a few seconds and it looked like he was having an internal battle about my request. I guess a part of him wasn't willing to give me such a freedom, but the more logical part of him appeared to win the argument since he nodded his consent after a few seconds (something that was quite shocking, to be honest). "If you don't like it then I'll let you pick out something else; as long as I get to approve it before we leave. I don't want you wearing anything the King won't like. The last thing we want is him getting pissed at you for not dressing correctly when he's already peeved at Annabelle and Christophe for being such morons and going against his most basic orders."

Well, I agreed with him there, "Yea, fine."

I still couldn't believe how civil this conversation had turned.

He glanced down at his watch, "We need to be there in about an hour, so hurry up and get ready so we can go."

I didn't hesitate to leave the room; mostly because I was afraid if I stayed in there much longer I would do something crazy… namely, kiss him again. It was seriously getting harder and harder to control that impulse.

I made it back into my bedroom with little problems. I didn't really like following orders again, but I didn't think this kind of summons by the King could be ignored. I had only met him once and in that short period, he really did scare me. So, I was going to have to go to this stupid thing even though I really didn't want to.

The dress that was left on my bed actually wasn't that bad. It was a deep red color, which didn't surprise since Tristan seemed to like me in that color. I was kind of surprised that the thought of him picking out a dress color simply because he liked the color on me didn't completely disgust me like it would have a few days ago.

I stripped and pulled the dress over my head; it fell just below my knee and had a halter neckline that was still conservative and covered most of my neck. It also came with a matching red jacket that I could use to cover even more of my neck, which I really liked. The material was soft to the touch and it had to be one of the nicest things I had ever worn and so I knew it wasn't mine to begin with. Though, the fact that I didn't recognize it already tipped me off about that. God only knows how much Tristan had to pay for this since I doubt clothing was easy to find based on what was going on in the world right now.

I wasn't much of a dress wearer, but I actually really liked this dress. It was comfortable and it flattered me without being too slutty. I began twirling in front of the mirror like a little girl just to feel the skirt lift up and spin around me.

"Are you done yet?" I voice suddenly asked from the doorway.

I was so shocked to hear Tristan's voice that I stopped and knocked myself off balance. I began to teeter dangerously to the floor, but before I could face plant on the floor and embarrass myself further a pair of hands caught me and settled me firmly back on me feet, "Whoa, be careful." Tristan whispered in my ear, "You ready?"

"Yea, I guess."

"I know you don't want to go to this anymore than I do Jessica, but you should know that we can't just ignore any summons from the King no matter how much we want to."

"I know; I'm already aware that you can't just ignore anything the King says. I'm not stupid; I know it's not a good idea to ignore anything he requests of you." I said, "Can we go now? The sooner we get there the sooner this will be over." I said, suddenly remembered that I didn't even know where we were going. I mentioned that.

"New York." was his answer.

"What? How far away is that?" I asked, unsure of where we were right now.

"It's about three hours away."

I stared at him, confused, "But I thought you told me that it wouldn't take that long to get there."

"That's because it won't.'

Well, now I was really confused. "So, how are we going to get there?"

"Haven't you wondered how I could move so fast? Didn't you ever wonder how I was able to literally be in one place one second and not be there a second later?"

"Well, yea… but I thought you were just that fast."

"Vampires do have heightened speed of course, but we do have another form of travel that is even faster."

I just stared blankly at him.

"Teleportation." he said simply.

"You mean like what they did in Star Trek?"

"Yes, except without the actual transporter. All I have to do is think about my destination and I'm there."

"What about me?" I asked, "You don't expect me to feel comfortable traveling like that? What if my particles don't reassemble properly when I land? What if I land without an arm or something?"

"Jessica, there's no way that'll happen," he said, "I can assure you that you will arrive with all the limbs that you left with."

I stared suspiciously at him.

"Trust me," he said, "Humans have traveled by it and they've all ended up just fine. We do need to go and there is no other way we can reach the place by car. This is the only way we can travel."

I just continue to stare at him; not really knowing what to do here. There was a part of me that wanted to take a risk and just go and do it, but there was another part of me that was truly terrified that traveling in such a matter could really do some sort of damage. Against better judgment, the former part won that argument. My curiosity was sometimes bigger than it should be.

"Okay, fine… but if I come out of this all screwed up, I blame you."

He chuckled, "Wrap your arms around me as tight as you can hold on and whatever you do, do not let go or even loosen your grip; I could lose you along the way. It may be a good idea to close your eyes; this could make you a bit dizzy."

I followed his instructions; gripping him so tight that if he had been human, I probably would have at least strained a rib or two. I leaned my head against his shoulder, realizing too late that for the first time, I was actually trusting him with something as important to me as my life.

What the hell was wrong with me?

I wasn't ready to trust this man after all he had done to me, but it was hard not to when he was acting completely different from the man that had taken me a few weeks ago. I know that that man wouldn't have given me the option to even think about traveling this way; he would have just grabbed me and told me to hang on without getting so much as an "okay" from me.

I stopped thinking then mostly because I suddenly felt weightless, like I was floating and I didn't dare do anything except hold onto Tristan and hope for the best. I squeezed my eye shut as tightly as I could at the strange feeling had overtaken me so suddenly, but it was really just as fast ending as it was starting.

I felt the ground suddenly under my feet and after I was sure that we were at our destination (and Tristan had confirmed it) I opened my eyes warily. I was shocked to see that our surroundings had completed changed. The bedroom had disappeared and we were not standing outside in the cool night (I was now very happy to have the little jacket to keep my arms warm) in front of what must have been a courthouse if the bell tower and sign above the columned entrance gave any indication of that.

I let go of Tristan and stood still, taking in all of my new surroundings; I was able to take note of the buildings surrounding the courthouse in front of us and the trees that were sparsely spread around the building before Tristan lead me inside. I was surprised to see how busy it was on the inside based on how dead it looked on the outside. We passed at least ten people – or vampires – before we made it to our destination. The door to the room was actually opened before Tristan could even open it himself and a male vampire who had dark brown hair and scary looking green eyes and who emanated so much power it was downright scary stood in the doorway. His eyes were narrowed in obvious annoyance.

"Well, it's about time," he said, "His Majesty has been waiting ten minutes for you. He would like to get this trial over with as soon as possible. He has more important matters to attend to."

"Yes, of course. I apologize for the delay."

The other vampire turned on his heel and headed back into the room, holding the door for us to follow him inside what turned out to be a typical courtroom with a judge's bench, witness stand, jury box (which was empty), tables for both for the plaintiff and defendant were there as well, but there was no one at either one yet. Even though the area in front of the bar separating the room was empty of people, the area behind it where people who watched the trial sat was bustling with people, mostly vampires. I had a feeling that I was probably the only human in the room. A thought that didn't sit well with me at all. I felt like I was the only lamb at a lion convention.

A hush came over the room as we came in and all eyes were on me. Some faces held looks of concern while others held looks of pure contempt and anger. I really didn't like the people who were sending me the latter looks. Honestly, they made me feel even more like a piece of meat than I already felt.

The only thing keeping me from saying something smart and rather rude to them was Tristan's grip on my hand. I turned to look at him and he shook his head subtly. I sighed, wanting nothing more than to tell everyone that if they wanted a picture, it would last longer, but I didn't dare. Instead, I found myself wondering why there were so many people in the room since I hadn't expected so many people to really care about this

"Everyone wants to see what the King will do to Annabelle and Christophe for what they've done. It's been so long since someone was stupid enough to break one of his rules that we all want to see if his punishment will be the same or different to match the changing time." Tristan explained; his mouth inches from my ear.

"What about my father?" I asked; after what he had apparently wanted to do with me when I was a child and how he acted when I was actually with him, I found myself hoping that he got the same punishment as the other two.

"I don't know; no one can even find him. He was out of the house by the time I got there."

I didn't like the sound of that. I didn't like the idea of him being able to roam around freely after what he had done.

Tristan squeezed my hand again, "Don't worry, Jessica. He'll be found; the King has many ways of finding a vampire no matter how good he is at hiding."

His words comforted me a little bit.

"I'll let the King know you're here so we can get this over with." the other vampire said; I had completely forgotten he was there. I watched as he turned on his heel and left us standing by one of the tables in front of the judge's bench. I guess he trusted us to sit down on our own, which we did a few seconds after he had disappeared. I was happy to note that as we did so, the noise level in the room began to rise once more. At least the people in the room seemed to lose interest in us.

As Tristan sat down to my left, he continued to hold my hand (and I was rather surprised that I didn't mind at all). We waited in silence, I was a bit nauseous, to be honest. I really didn't want to meet the King again; last time he had scared the crap out of me.

I was thankful that he didn't leave us to our thoughts for very long since the longer I sat there, the more wary I got. He entered the room through a side door, wearing the typical black robe of a judge. At least he wasn't wearing the wig; that would have just been too much. There was a hushed silence in the room as he entered and got himself settled behind the bench. Just like the last time I met him, there was nothing but power leaking off him in waves. This was a very scary man; and I never wanted to piss him off.

"If everyone would take their seats we could get started." The King noted; pausing to allow people to do just that. There was some rustling as people got settled before there was dead silence, "Everyone knows why we're here, so I won't even get into that. Bring out the accused."

Well, he really was in a hurry to get this over with. That was good because I was on the same boat as him.

The door that he had used was opened again and Christophe and Annabelle were brought in heavily chained in silver. The smell of burning flesh from where the silver touched their bare skin was heavy in the air as soon as they were inside. They were pulled to sit in the empty jury box and as they moved to get settled they both glared at me with daggers in their eyes. I held Tristan's hand so hard that had he been human I probably would have broken it. I glared right back at then since I didn't want them to see that I was really terrified.

"The accused who sit in front of us today are accused of taking another vampire's property and doing unspeakable things to her without the owner's express permission."

It took all my will power not to shout out that I wasn't anyone's property. I knew saying something like that to the Vampire King was practically suicidal. He glanced at me for a few seconds; obviously, he must have heard my thoughts, but he didn't say or do anything else about it. He turned back to the vampires.

"I will first give the accused a change to defend their actions," he explained, "What do you two have to say for yourself?" he asked, "Are these accusations brought against you true?" I was actually surprised he was going to give them a chance to defend themselves at all.

A chance they didn't take since all they did was continue to glare at me; completely ignoring him. Which was a very stupid idea in my opinion; this was not the kind of guy that you just ignored.

"Very well then since you have nothing to say then I will move on to the property in question who I know will have a lot to say." His ice blue eyes were on me at that point and I gulped slightly. He motioned with his hand and I got up and headed up towards the witness stand; realizing that all eyes were on me.

Once I was settled in the chair, I was asked to share everything that had happened to me while I was with Christophe and Annabelle. Something that was hard to do without crying. I kept my eyes on Tristan as I spoke which was probably why I didn't notice the gun pointed at me until it was too late.

There was a loud bang as it suddenly went off then the surprised screaming started. I don't know what the vampires were freaking out about; I was the only one that could actually die from such a weapon. I glanced down to see that I had been shot; that I hadn't imagined anything piercing my body. There was a small hole in my upper abdomen, but before I could duck out of the way, another one slammed into me, this one closer to my heart.

I heard a loud cackle from the jury box "I told you, Tristan. I would always have the last word." Christophe shouted, "If I can't have my Cindy then you can't have – oof"

The sound of a body landing hard on the floor was the only indication that someone had tackled him to shut him up.

Another shot rang out, but the sound of a body slamming into the floor right after made me think the gunmen had missed since I didn't feel anything slammed into me this time. Though, it may have, some parts of my body were pretty numb at the moment. It was hard for me to breathe since I think one of the bullets had nicked a lung which I knew could be fatal if not treated right away.

I was quickly losing my battle to stay conscious and as I sat there, unable to really move. I was just wondering where the hell Tristan was before strong pair of arms grabbed me and yanked me onto the floor. My head was swiftly pulled into someone's lap and someone was touching me, trying to find the bullet wounds, I suppose.

I knew it was Tristan just by the sound of his voice; he was cursing in English and that strange language that I had heard him speak, but still didn't know what it was.

"Don't you fucking die on me, Jessica." he spat, "You can heal from this. It's not that bad. You're just fine."

I very well knew that that was a lie. Someone didn't simply survive two gunshot wounds; one to the lung and another to other important organs of the body. I tried to shake my head at him and tell him that I didn't think I was going to make it, but all I could do was cough up blood.

"Fuck!"

I managed to form words the next time I tried to talk since I knew I had to tell him this before I lost consciousness completely, "How funny that this is how we first met," I said, coughing, "But, this time, I'm not afraid. In fact, I think I –"

"Shh… don't talk, Jessica," he warned, "You're only wasting energy."

It didn't matter. I knew I was dying, I could feel it in my breaths, which were getting shallower by the second.

I knew I had to tell him one last thing before I lost it completely, so going against his wishes completely I said the words that he had probably been waiting to hear for a while; words that I was too afraid to say before, but he had a right to know before I left him.

"I love you."

His eyes widened at my revelation and he started saying something back to me, but my ears had stopped working and I couldn't read lips. He smiled at me though; the first genuine smile I think I had ever seen grace his face before he cupped my face and leaned into to kiss me.

His eyes were the last thing I saw before I lost my battle and let the darkness overtake me.

Well, there it is! Sorry about the ending, but you guys know how much I love cliffhangers! This has been building for awhile (her admitting her feelings for him), so hopefully that doesn't come as a shock to anyone! :) I did proof his, but please let me know if you see any mistakes! I am going to try extremely hard to not take close to three months to update again, but with my subbing almost every day that may be hard, but I will try! So, until next time, see ya and review!