{ THE BLOOD DIAMOND }

The sky was beginning to turn black from all the rainclouds and its downpour. A few times would it be illuminated, and it was only by the peals of thunder and lightning accumulating to the storm. Sitting in Jacob's Audi, watching the sky and the atmosphere fading into a gray blur as we drove into town, was more painful and frightening than it probably should have been. I started to fidget in the leather passenger's seat, growing more apprehensive of finally finding out what secret he had been keeping from me.

We drove in excruciating silence for what seemed like eternity. By that time, the trees of Sycamore Grove had been replaced by the tall skyscrapers of the city and there was more light provided by the street lamps. I didn't recognize where we were going until I saw the sophisticated architecture of the mortuary coming into view. My heart began to race, begging to burst from its ribcage confinement, and I grew even more restless. Suddenly, memories of the day of my great grandmother's funeral came flooding back into my mind, like an unstoppable movie reel.

I began running my fingers through my hair, which had become tangled and course from the rain, and my stomach began to growl in protest of the cigarette I needed. The mortuary was empty, save for a few cars probably belonging to the employees that worked there; but we didn't park at the funeral home. Instead, Jacob pulled up beside an enormous iron gate leading into a garden maze.

Now the rain had let up some, only because it hadn't reached this part of the city yet. The clouds were still dark and there were still occasional flashes of lightning, but everything was still dry, for the time being. When Jacob finally parked his Audi, I couldn't make myself move; I was frozen in my spot, staring with widened eyes at the garden that rested behind those iron gates. I felt like I was in a dream, reliving the nightmare that had plagued me since childhood.

"Come," he said softly, snapping me out of my trance.

We got out of the car and he had to coax me further to move my legs toward the entrance. It was unlocked, which was odd, and we passed through quietly. He led me through the twists and turns of the labyrinth, and all the while I pictured myself as a little girl chasing after that puppy. When we came to the open courtyard in the center of the maze, there was a great fountain in the center. He walked out to it but I stayed where I was, just like those years ago when I had watched him devour the dog.

A sudden violent gust of wind pushed me forward and I stumbled out into the open, watching him with eyes that threatened to explode from my skull. His back was facing me and his short blond hair was slightly waving; his head was bowed, and I could see that he was staring into the pooled water of the fountain. He was oddly still, like one of the many statues that decorated the vast acre of land, and I could feel his sadness emanating from his very being.

"Why are we here?" I asked. "Why this place?"

"This is where you first learned of me," he replied, his voice void of kindness. "I felt it was appropriate to refresh your memory."

I stepped closer without willing myself to do so. It seemed almost like an instinct. I kept walking, taking tentative step after step until I finally came up just behind him. He still didn't turn and acknowledge me, though.

"Look into the fountain," he continued. "And tell me what you see."

And so I did as I was told. I took another footstep and leaned over to observe the lonesome reflection staring back at me – my own. There was no one beside me; no evidence that Jacob even existed. I didn't know what to think; perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me? Maybe I've taken too many drugs and am suffering the consequences?

"What do you see?" he demanded.

"My reflection," I answered softly.

Years of learned folklore about the entities with no reflections and thus, no souls, started pouring into my mind. Tales of beings that drank blood to survive, but couldn't die unless they were successfully killed in a specific manner – in a way that required holy items such as crucifixes and rosaries and holy water and were repelled by cloves of garlic. I screwed up my face and stared at him, bemused and yet empathetic at the same time.

"Tell me what I am."

"I-I don't know. . ."

His head suddenly snapped in my direction and I found myself staring into those familiar ruby red pools that were his irises. He came so close to me that I could feel the cold of his marble flesh against my own, but I couldn't feel any breath of life within him. My heart began racing inside my chest again, threatening to fail if it had to endure any longer; but I inched even closer to him, so much so that my lips were practically on top of his.

"Yes you do. Tell me!"

I was staring at his mouth and absolutely entranced by the beautiful swell of his lips. I desired to kiss him, to have him as my own; I didn't care what he was, I just wanted him. The only thing that was swimming through my mind was how in the world I was going to get closer to Jacob Clyde.

"It doesn't matter anymore."

"Yes it does. You still want to know. I can feel your curiosity growing stronger with each passing second; soon enough it'll completely consume you."

The electricity that shocked my body was suddenly becoming much more overwhelming and unbearable than I ever imagined it could. There was this ridiculous fiery yearning inside my being as we stood there, face to face, our lips barely touching. I knew he felt the same way by the way he was staring at me so fiercely. My breaths were shaky and full of longing, and I couldn't wait anymore.

"What am I, Maya?" he purred into my ear.

"I don't know!"

And at that same moment, an explosion of thunder blasted throughout the sky as he pressed himself against me with the force of a freight train. The rain began to hammer down upon us as we slammed against one of the maze walls, our lips entwined in an impassioned series of kisses and bodies packed together. His hands groped my hips and my fingers latched onto the collar of his coat, pulling him as close to me as he could possibly go.

As my tongue entered his cold mouth, I could feel the sharp tips of his incisors but I never desired to pull away. In fact, I wanted more of him; I couldn't get enough. I was so hungry for the taste of his lips and skin and nothing was going to stop me from getting to him. I felt his face nudge mine away and he pressed his mouth against my neck, sending electric chills throughout my body. Suddenly I was being lifted from the ground, so I wrapped my legs around his torso and indulged in the ecstasy that followed each kiss.

Another peal of thunder shattered our passionate moment. I fell back to the ground against him as he released me from his grasp, breaking the kisses he was trailing on my neck. I stared up at him and him down at me, his eyes full of regret and fear. My breathing was so heavy it was almost like I had run a few miles – my heart was pounding as if I had, anyway – and grew worse as he began to walk away.

"Where are you going?" I called after him.

"I must get you home," he answered without looking back at me. "Let's go."

"Wait, Jacob –"

I entered the maze after him just as a flash of lightning exploded in the black atmosphere. I couldn't see him anywhere and I started to panic as I began running through each corner and turn like a madman.

"Jacob? Where are you?"

The downpour had reached its heaviest climax by this point, and was sheeting down like a hurricane. My vision was impaired because of this and it further increased by paranoia as I stumbled around in the accumulating mud in search of Jacob. Suddenly, something passed me and pushed me against the wall. I whirled around and saw nothing; a few seconds later, it happened again, and I almost fell to the floor.

"Jacob??" I screamed, and he reappeared directly in front of my face.

I crashed against the maze wall, staring up at him with wide eyes stinging from the salty rain as he studied me with his glowing ones. His mouth was parted wide enough to reveal his pointed incisors and he advanced on me as if he were ready to attack. I watched him helplessly, pressing my hands to his chest in attempt to keep him at a distance.

"Are you aware of what I could do to you?" he hissed.

I didn't answer him. I just stayed there, frozen and trembling in my boots and absolutely drenched to my underwear in rainwater. He pressed himself against me, his nose a centimeter away from mine and lips even closer. I was terrified of him, no doubt - but none of that mattered for some reason. I was willing to put my life on the line just to get another kiss from this guy.

"Are you aware of what I want to do to you?"

"Yes," I replied. "And I don't give a damn. Do it to me."

I smashed my mouth against his and he returned the gesture for a few seconds, then tore away from me. His eyes were inflamed like I had never seen them before, glowing so red and so bright that they practically illuminated his entire face.

"You are braver than you should be, Maya."

"It seems like you're more scared of me than I am of you."

I pushed myself from the wall and ran to him, slamming against him and stealing more kisses from his mouth. I couldn't control myself anymore – he was teasing me and I had more than enough. I don't know why it was so hard for me to restrain myself from him. Obviously it was difficult for him to do the same, because his hands were practically ripping the flesh from my stomach. It didn't last long again – he pushed me away with so much force that I literally flew a couple yards and landed in the mud.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" I barked, rising from my place on the ground.

"I could easily kill you," he replied, turning and walking away again. "But I need you alive."

So suddenly he was acting cold and careless. I could see past his stupid façade; he was just insecure, but for what reason I was unsure. I followed him, my ego more bruised than anything, and entered his car. I didn't care how muddy and dirty I was or how that would affect his beautiful Audi.

"You're much more headstrong than I gave you credit for," he said, his tone soft. "You are indeed Cassandra Rafaeli's great granddaughter."

"No shit," I muttered sorely.

He only laughed as we pulled out of the parking lot and headed back into the storm towards my house. We drove in silence again; mostly because I was freezing cold and he had refused to turn on the heater. Only when we finally drove up to my house did I say anything to him, because by that time I had gotten over being upset with him for rejecting me.

"When are you going to tell me everything?" I asked him.

"What do you want to know?"

"What my great grandmother's death has to do with you."

"Cassandra's death has nothing and yet everything to do with me. A century ago, we had an indestructible bond – I asked her if she wanted to spend eternity with me as an immortal. Forever by my side. . .and she refused."

"Why?"

He was silent for a minute. Obviously, this was a heavy subject for him and it hurt him a great amount to think about it. I could see his red eyes becoming glossy and mirrored his sadness while he broke eye contact for those moments; but when he looked back at me, he seemed ironically content.

"She said she didn't want to live forever in hiding."

It was quiet again.

"She was only eighteen when we met, just like you. But on her twenty-second birthday, she met your great grandfather, Cavasos. Three years later she became engaged to him, and we departed ways after that. I spent the rest of her life watching her grow old with this man, raise a family, struggle through the Great Depression. . .and when she died, I felt the most terrible emptiness inside my heart.

I knew she had a granddaughter, but I never knew that she in turn had you until I spoke with her on her death bed. When I saw your face at the funeral for the first time, I could see young Cassandra in your eyes. You resembled her in every way – from the curly black hair to the olive skin and Cupid's bow lips – and I guess I grew afraid. I had gone so long without her that I was terrified of history repeating itself. She charged me with a secret: she was involved with other vampires of higher rankings. She spoke of conspiracies, the threat of war, but she was never specific. Then she told me to keep the secret from you until you were ready (she must have known you would turn out as stubborn as herself) and to protect you at all costs."

My shoulders slumped in defeat. That was it? That was the secret? My great grandmother was involved with creepy vampire cults and didn't want me to know? I turned around and started to make my way out of the car, but Jacob grabbed a hold of me and pressed his mouth into mine. When he pulled away, he stared at me with an expression that was simultaneously threatening and amorous.

"I adore you, Maya," he whispered. "I've vowed to protect you with my immortal life."

Now he was acting totally freaky. First he was throwing me around like a fanatical virgin claiming his purity promises, and then he was being as sweet as a lover to me. I wanted to be mad at him, to tell him that he needed to make up his mind already, but when I looked into his eyes all I wanted to do was. . .well, ravage him. I wanted to kiss him over and over and claim him as my own, just to feel what it would be like because he oozed amazing-in-bed vibes. My adolescent hormones reached peak levels whenever I was around him, and I knew that soon enough I wouldn't be able to control myself at all anymore.

So I leaned in again and kissed him, wrapping my arms around his neck and breathing in his metallic scent. We kissed for several minutes, which was a record time; but then he pulled away from me and bid me goodnight. He must have felt the throbbing inside me and cut me short before I reached the point of no return.

We finally departed with one last kiss, and I left his car to enter my empty house without a vocalized answer to the question I had been wondering since I met him; I have always known.

FIN


Song played: Shine by Blue Foundation

A/N:
Hello my dear friends! It has been centuries since my last update, I know. But alas - my story is finally complete! I know it seems like an unreasonable ending, but that is because this is only the first part of two books (possibly even three, depending on response). Be on the lookout; I have taken a six month hiatus, but part two should be coming out soon!