A/N: Hello, my childvren. I vant to suck your vlad. Hah. Just kidding, I'm being silly. Well. I suppose this time, there is no excuse for my laziness. I had severe writer's block for a while and then went through an "I'm a sucky writer. I'm a sucky writer. I'm a sucky writer," stage. So, I hope that's a valid reason. Romance ensues. Enjoy, ladies, and I think there's one or two gents reading this story too. By the way, follow me on twitter if you've got one! I follow everyone back. (reprobate_) I bet no one reads these 'cause they're always so long. But I must admit, I am saddened by the lack of reviews I get, can you blame me? Oh, and check out my other poems if you like, but anyways. Please, will you guys review? :c Enjoy.
Roads were interminable. Trees whizzed by us with every mile we traveled. Conversations were scarce, and usually only consisted of Salem asking me if I was hungry, or if I needed the restroom, or some other human necessity. Three days on the road now, it'd been, that we'd slept in the cramped up car that practically forced you to curl up into a ball on the seat. Three days unknowing whether or not Christian was doing all right, whether or not he regretted telling me off now that I'd disappeared. I selfishly hoped that he did, I hoped that he felt remorseful. I wondered how Xavier was doing, if he missed me at all. I did, I missed having actual conversations with people like a parched man in the desert misses water. I missed home.
Day after day, Salem became more and more paranoid about staying at an inn. Whenever I dared to question him about his empty promises of finding us a temporary place to stay, his answer was, "Tomorrow, it's not safe now," accompanied by an apologetic smile directed right towards my heart. Even scarce stops at gas stations consisted of Salem peering around worriedly from his place in the shade. I wouldn't tolerate it any longer – it wasn't like we couldn't afford it, and I was in desperate need of a hot shower. Not only this, but I could tell this odyssey was taking a toll on Salem, too. Although he was being much more kind to me, he would never let me take the wheel when he really did look dead tired. Dark bags had formed under his eyes and he was paler than ever, and his eyes themselves were a dark swamp green, almost black – and we all know what that meant. He must have been starving.
I tousled my chaotic head of hair as we sped down the vacant side road late one night, running my fingers through the long strands in an attempt to untangle the knots, but it was no use. I was giving myself a headache trying. Salem sighed and shifted in his place on the driver's side of the car and I huffed, crossing my arms. I caught him peering at me through the corner of his eye whilst I fingered the ends of my hair, drifting off into my thoughts; but before I could really begin my daydream, Salem snapped.
"Well, what the hell do you want me to do, Alex?" He spat bitterly. My eyes widened and I glanced up at him in shock – I wasn't even complaining to him, I was keeping it to myself, being courteous of his wishes to not stop at a motel, to just keep going.
"I didn't even say anything," I replied quietly, hoping this wouldn't turn into a full on argument.
"That stupid face you keep making says more than enough," Salem retorted, louder now.
"No one's forcing you to look." I shrugged, not really in the mood to throw my wittiest comeback at him, or even speak to him for that matter. But my remark was still unintentionally sarcastic, and I knew the reason behind his grouchiness, and I was astounded that he hadn't demanded a meal yet. I sort of wanted him to. I'd thought about it for the past few days and it confused me even more so, but I really did wish Salem would bite me again. It brought about a sort of intimacy between us that I was partial to.
"You're really trying to piss me off tonight, aren't you?" He swerved over to the side of the long, deserted road so abruptly that it jostled me right from my seat, slamming me into the window painfully, but not unbearably. My dad had always told me that it was times that men acted like this that you knew whether or not they were worth keeping, but I was so masochistic that I found Salem's fury attractive, in a strange sense. A very strange sense. "I bet you're doing all this back talking shit on purpose, aren't you?"
"Please don't yell at me," was all I heard myself say. The tension in the air between us could have been cut with a knife. In the blink of an eye, I was suddenly seated awkwardly in Salem's lap, his face buried into my hair and his arms wrapped around me tightly.
"I'm sorry, I'm on edge, please don't think of me as a monster," He murmured. Ever since that night I told him what I thought of him, he was even more sensitive about how I saw him. This had been the first time he'd slipped up on his affectionate demeanor, but even now, immediately, he was trying to make it up to me. "Please,"
I somehow managed to wrap my arms around his neck and pull myself into a more comfortable position. I wasn't sure where my courage was coming from, or where all these daring moves were coming from either, but I sat up on my knees and pulled my hair out of the way of my neck, tilting my head to the side. Salem just stared at me in the darkness.
"Go ahead," I told him, offering my throat to him. "Bite me," I managed a small smile at my pun, but I was tired too, and the happiness came and went quickly, like a surge.
"W-what?" Salem stuttered, lips quivering. He never stuttered. "No, I can't, I'm too thirsty and I'll take too much," He rambled, trying to move me away from him at the same time, but even I could tell it was a weak attempt.
"Nothing a glass orange juice and a few sugar cookies can't fix. Really, I'm offering it to you," I urged Salem to take even the smallest drop, just to hold him over. His anger was becoming too much for me, and I was already far too overwhelmed as it was. He wet his lips, letting them fall open as he contemplated the answer we both already knew. I proved to be right when he broke the silence in the vehicle with his next few words.
"If…If you insist." He said, and I clenched my eyes shut, expecting him to jump right into it, but instead, Salem's hand moved to cradle my cheek, and ever so slowly, I could sense he was closing the distance between our faces. I knew what he was doing, and I wanted it so badly. I knew where he was going with this, and I just left my eyes closed, preparing myself for what was about to happen. My heart was beating a mile a minute and I was sure he could hear it – I could have sworn I heard that snide, breathy chuckle I hadn't heard in more than forty-eight hours. I waited for Salem to kiss me, and when he did, I found I wasn't prepared at all.
Salem's lips touched mine like they were clouds – soft, cool. His lips had made contact with mine before, but it was against my will, and it was never like this; never with all these strange, misleading feelings attached. The first kiss was just that – the smallest of pecks upon my lips, like a friendly 'thank you' kiss, nothing more. I opened my eyes to find his were already open, gazing at me with a small smile on his face. I didn't know what to do – was I to return the smile? That was probably the more rational thing to do, and I tried to, but my body had other ideas.
I thought about it for a minute; whether or not Salem might have wanted that kiss to mean more, much like I did. I didn't think about it long enough, that's for sure, but I know that I suddenly felt like the most fearless person in the entire universe as I captured Salem's lips in a less friendly, more 'I want you,' sort of kiss. Not only was it time for me to find out what on earth I felt for him, but it was also the perfect time to find out whether or not this love was requited. This was all so right and so wrong at the same time – here I had this gorgeous, powerful boy sitting before me, but I had someone whose feelings I knew were real waiting back at home – wherever home was, I didn't even know anymore. But Salem had told me we could never go back, anyway…
I was frightened by my gutsy decision when I didn't feel Salem kissing me back immediately what with his vampire reflexes and all, but soon enough, his kisses were just as shameless as mine. Our lips moved in perfect synchronization as our mouths collided over and over again. The kisses we shared were long and sweet and slow and drugging. He was a drug; that was it. Whenever I left him I just came crawling back for more – I was physically dependent on him for my life, and as I'd recently found out, I was becoming psychologically attached to him too.
One of Salem's hands still cradled my face, and the other came round to tangle itself in my hair. I didn't know what to do; all I could do was finger the buttons on the outside of his jacket while we kissed. I made an attempt to deepen our moment by swiping my tongue over his bottom lip, but Salem's mouth stilled altogether, and he pushed me away. The god-awful feeling of rejection began to fill the vacant places of my chest almost immediately after that.
"Ah, none of that," Salem told me, his eyes warning. He opened his mouth to show me his teeth, instantly reminding me of how sharp his canines were and that it was nothing personal.
"Oh," I replied, embarrassed at having forgotten. I'd forgotten he wasn't exceedingly human for a few moments. I averted my eyes from Salem's still dark, yet smoldering gaze, suddenly finding a flickering streetlight much more interesting than it should have been."Right,"
"Trust me, I want to," Salem bit his lip momentarily, trying his best to suppress a smirk. My heart skipped a beat at his words and I swallowed hard, not knowing what to say. I was happy when he changed the subject, nevertheless. "Does your offer still stand?"
I was quiet for some time, and then silently nodded my head. I felt a sharp pang of an emotion I couldn't exactly describe as Salem's lips hunted over my neck for the best spot to sink his teeth into. He paused, mulling over something for a second or two before placing a soft kiss to the area, and then puncturing my skin with his daunting teeth.
"I don't smell him anywhere," Matthew whined to Vincent, who was still obstinately rushing around and smelling random surroundings, comparing every scent to the blanket he'd stolen from the girl's house. "Vince, I don't think he stopped at all."
"Obviously they didn't," Vincent muttered under his breath. What a knucklehead, he thought. He couldn't wait to get rid of Matthew and his annoying foreign mate, Valerie. Ironically enough, Matthew had told Vincent she was from Romania, and sure, she was hot, but Vincent had his eyes on a much better prize – one that allowed him to win more than once. "That girl, he was smart to take her," Vincent continued to think out loud, lowly, to himself.
He didn't like his job. He didn't like to have fellow vampires die at his hands, but rules were rules. They weren't his rules anyway. Matthew was supposed to be useful in this mission, as he'd let it slip that Salem was going to return to him when he found his mate (Vincent wasn't stupid, he knew what was going on between Salem and the girl). Having been Salem's best friend, brother, mainstay, and confidant, Salem would be easily lured in to the trap – Matthew was still in the dark about the double standards of the plan itself, anyway. He was still completely unknowing that he would be the key bait leading to his old friends' death.
Now, after searching for another fifteen minutes for a hint of their scent to know which direction they were going, Vincent was getting pissed off. Matthew was only lolling about with his exotic beauty, flirting shamelessly while Vince did all the work. He was just about to head on over to them and break them apart when he spotted a somewhat familiar object lying on the side of the road. The roads were dimly lit at this obscene hour, but this little accessory didn't escape his practiced eyesight or his proficient memory. It was purple, and the screen was shattered and broken but he could still make out the name that was poorly carved into the plastic, the letters only confirming his suspicions.
Vincent picked up the ruined cell phone and headed down the long and winding road, leaving Matthew and his mate behind. He figured they'd catch up later.
"We're checking out at the crack of dawn, so I suggest you go ahead and shower," Salem told me as he unlocked the door to a hotel room. Finally, after he was well rested and no longer hungry, he allowed me the luxury of a place to stay for the night. The pimply kid in the lobby was reluctant to rent a room out to us at first, saying we'd "had to have a reservation beforehand," but a flash of Salem's white teeth and a dagger-like glint in his now bright green eyes had the boy hastily staggering to fetch a keycard for a room. He handed us the key and pointed towards the elevator, but not before muttering a snide remark under his breath as we walked away, Salem's hand resting on the small of my back. "I suppose it isn't illegal unless you get caught," was what he said, and if I heard it, Salem did. Salem chortled in return, looking to me and saying, "If I had a nickel for every time I heard that," I grimaced, and Salem only laughed again, "Just kidding,"
The air was warm inside the room – I'd always loved hotel rooms. I clicked on the lights, brightening up the room, and surveyed my surroundings. It was medium sized, small hanging lamps and colorful paintings adorning the walls. Two big armchairs sat next to a round table where a telephone and complimentary notepad were located, along with a phone book. An armoire that most probably contained a television was placed opposite the one bed which had two nightstands on either side of the headboard.
Salem must have seen the worry in my eyes. "Don't worry, I'm sleeping on the floor." He told me reassuringly. The anxiousness my eyes held was misinterpreted as worry. Shrugging off his coat, he stretched his arms above his head before running a hand through his unkempt chestnut hair.
"No, you take the bed," I insisted. "I'll sleep on the floor – you need the rest more than I do anyway."
"I don't think I'll even be able to sleep tonight, that meal was such an energy booster," he explained, and I frowned. I thought it was something more, but it was only another serving of food for him. I hoped he hadn't seen my expression, but he did, and he ignored it, grabbing my duffel bag from the floor and placing it on the small luggage rack that was next to the armoire. "You were the one who was complaining about being cramped up in the car anyway,"
"It's big enough for the both of us." I told him daringly, and his tongue darted out to moisten his bottom lip.
"I don't feel like arguing with you, so since you want me to sleep with you so badly, I will," he said, the continued on as he realized how wrongly he'd worded the sentence. "Not in that sense, unless…"
"No, Salem." I rolled my eyes, and he smirked.
"Your eyes are going to fall out if you keep doing that," I responded by rolling them a second time. I headed over to the bag and unzipped it, grabbing all the things I needed for my shower including my pajamas for afterwards.
"You're not going to run off anywhere, right?" I asked him. Salem smiled, flopping back onto the king sized bed, his legs hanging off the end as he watched me.
"If you're worried about the boogey-man, look no further. I'm standing right here." He said playfully. I laughed at that, taking it as a no, he wasn't going to leave. And with that, I headed into the luxurious bathroom, turning on the water so it would be hot when I got in. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and scared myself half to death – I couldn't even begin to describe how disheveled I looked. I decided I would ignore my reflection, and soon enough I hopped into the steaming shower, letting the hot water work out all the knots from my back. I must have used half a bottle of shampoo and conditioner – there was no way I was ever going three days without a shower willingly ever again.
When I was done with my shower, I wrapped myself up in two fluffy towels – one for my hair, the other for my body, and just sat on top of the closed toilet, pondering. Now that Salem and I were both clear on our feelings toward one another, what happened next? He couldn't really ask me out or anything – these feelings couldn't become anything, because of his immortal state. It would be stupid to pursue them. I would grow old and die. And I wasn't sure I could handle becoming like him, even if he was the only thing I wanted out of life anymore. I could live forever if I wanted to; he was so sadistic that I was sure he wouldn't mind changing me into a vampire.
Our first ever decent conversation from my kitchen back at home reran itself through my head, when we discussed the mate thing and that nonexistent mood he'd supposedly set beforehand. And then to the night weeks later, when he apologized to my semi-conscious state for being stuck with him as his mate. I knew that if anything at all was going to come of us, we had to set things straight – but not now, it was too naïve of us to think about things like that when we were running for our lives.
A knock on the bathroom door brought me from my reverie. "Alex?" Salem said my name almost worriedly. "Are you all right in there?"
"Ah, yeah! I'm fine, just, uh, shaving my legs!" My face flamed when I said those words – that was probably the most embarrassing lie I could have thought of.
"Oh." Salem responded. "Okay."
With that, I quickly dressed, and then ran my fingers through my hair since I was too lazy to brush it out – it looked weird when I brushed it properly anyway. I squeezed the water out of it one last time before hanging the towels where they could dry and using the small handheld dryer for a moment, then heading out to where Salem was. He sat on the bed, legs crossed, one hand holding his chin and the other tracing the patterns on the duvet. He reminded me of a little boy. He looked up when I came in.
"You smell nice," was all he said. He could smell me from across the room, even? And a compliment at that – what was the world coming to? The devil was probably sitting in front of a heater down in hell, and any moment now a pig would be flying like a bird outside the window. It was such a drastic change to have him not insulting me all the time – but it was a nice change.
"Thanks, I guess." I replied, standing awkwardly in the doorway.
"Come lay down with me," he insisted, and without having to think about it, I padded over to the bed, climbing on to the side opposite him, and laying down as far away from him as I could. He wasn't having it. Salem's arm snaked around my waist and he pulled my body flush against his – I tried to ignore how well we fit together – and his lips were at my ear. "What's all this funny business?" he asked jokingly.
I smiled despite the fact all my musing had put a damper on my joyous mood. "I'm so tired," I announced to no one in particular.
"Go to sleep," Salem urged, resting his chin on my shoulder. "I'll be here the whole night," My heart swelled when he said that. Salem was born in a time when chivalry was still alive and well, so it was only natural for him to have a perfect, gentlemanly side behind all those layers of hostility and antagonism.
We lay there in silence for a while until I decided I wasn't going to be able to fall asleep with my mind racing like this. "Salem?" I said his name quietly.
"Hm?" he huffed out, but it was an answer nonetheless.
"What are we now?" I asked, drawing my words out cautiously and adding punctuation where it was unnecessary.
"Friends?" he laughed quietly after a moment of silence, his breaths fanning out over my neck and causing me to shudder. "That would be a huge step already."
The idea of friends was more than appealing to me. The occasional banter was okay, but now it wouldn't be trench warfare every time we spoke to each other. It was nice.
"Friends, then…" I trailed off.
"Why, is there a chance that…" he swallowed. "You want to be something more?"
"It's negligible; a friend is good for always if that's what you want though," I replied, a smile in my voice. I truly didn't mind in the slightest bit that we were just friends. If this was how we would be as friends, I really, truly did not mind. We didn't have to put a label on out status for no one to see – we already knew just by glancing at each other, who we really were inside and what we loved and who we wanted and what our deepest secrets consisted of.
"I don't mind either," he told me, and I could hear the smirk in his voice. "But what we did tonight, let's not make it a habit, I can easily find someone else to drink from – you shouldn't have to suffer through it."
"It was just a sort of last resort thing." I explained carefully. "You looked like you were dying." He said nothing to this. "I mean, like…" Now I'd gone and done it. I couldn't find the words to explain myself any further than that.
"You don't have to elaborate; I know what you're trying to say."
"I watched the news while you were in the shower." Salem stated, and I tensed. His hand ran up my arm, trying to calm me down.
"And?" I urged him to continue with what he was saying when he kept quiet.
"They're looking for you, the police." He told me, and I felt my heart drop to my stomach. "Now we have to make sure you aren't seen when we stop at gas stations and convenience stores, just to be safe."
"Who reported me missing?" I asked wearily. I was pretty sure I already knew, but I just needed that confirmation. That horrible, dreadful confirmation.
Salem reluctantly answered my question. "Christian did," he began, sighing. "They had an interview with him,"
"What did he say?"
"He said he'd told you off earlier that day, but regretted it and tried to call you late that night, and the line was completely unavailable – since I crushed your phone, sorry about that – and he tried again and again, but still it never even rang once. So, he went over to your apartment to find the place trashed and all your stuff gone three days later, and issued an alert to the police that you'd disappeared."
"My place is trashed?" I asked cynically.
"I told you they'd look for you. You'd be dead by now had you stayed behind." He explained it like it wasn't a big deal, but it felt like a ton of bricks had been dropped on me. The air around us was hushed after that – the only sound that could be hard was that of the thermostat clicking on and off after a number of minutes.
"Thank you," I whispered at last.
"Taking me with you," I explained. "I was resentful about it at first, but now I realize how serious this really is. I thought you were exaggerating, but everything you said is the truth, and even though I had to sacrifice a lot to stay alive, I'm oddly okay with it." Because I've got you, I added mentally.
Salem laughed breathily against my nape again. "I'm glad I brought you. No one deserves to die so young," he was obviously referring to himself – I sensed the sadness in his voice, "And I've been lonely most of my years anyway, so it's nice to have some company, especially when they're as fun to mess with as you are."
I smacked his arm playfully, and he only laughed, continuing with a mysterious remark. "I have to confess something, sometime."
"Why not now?" I questioned.
"I don't know, it's too much for you to handle right now, I think." He clarified further, "It'll change things."
I was pretty sure I knew what he was talking about; I knew what he was hinting at because he'd mentioned it before, on the night of the thunderstorm. He wanted to find a way to put it in plain words that we were soul mates, meant for one another. It was hard to believe and I scoffed at the idea at first, but us bonding closer together had really justified everything all at once. Not only this, but our attitude change had brought along the clarification that we really were a match made from heaven – or maybe even hell. I'd like to believe it was from heaven, but it was nonsensical to – once again, this wasn't Twilight; vampires were damned and they were the work of Satan himself, no matter they were good or bad.
I was about to okay his decision, but he spoke before I had the chance to. "Actually, I take that back – I think it's better if you know now, I can't leave you in the dark."
My breath hitched, and he carried on, gentle pressing me over so I was lying on my back and could turn my head to see his face. My eyes had adjusted to the dark by now and I could see his silhouette and his flawless features perfectly in the dark.
"This is going to be a lot to take in, but I'll start from the beginning," he told me, and I heard his voice shake slightly. "Do you remember our first real conversation; the first one that wasn't an argument nor a stupid one – when I told you about myself?" he asked.
I merely nodded.
"Then surely you remember me telling you about…" he swallowed and I could hear the gulp. Salem took in a breath and exhaled the next words. "Mates."
"What about it?" I asked dumbly, as if I didn't already know.
"The mate I told you about – the one who turned out not to be mine," he spoke slowly, as if to allow my mind to process all these details he was giving me. "She turned out to be my best and only friend's mate – Matthew."
Inside, I was going crazy, dying to tell him about how I'd met Matthew and how he was in on the plan to kill Salem and I, but I couldn't form the words and now was not the time. Soon I would force myself to, however, since Salem had briefly and gruffly mentioned that we were headed "to see an old friend" of his – and this was perceptibly the said Matthew. On the outside, all I could do was nod solemnly.
"You'd think I'd be upset about that – she really was gorgeous, and ironically enough she was from Romania," he laughed nervously, maybe making an attempt to lighten the mood between us. "But I just wasn't; I let her go with a smile and Matthew and I remained the best of friends. In the midst of my running away and becoming a rogue, after the incident," Salem only called the crime he committed an incident, and refused to elaborate on it any further than that. I respected his wishes, as I was unsure whether or not I even wanted to know. "We promised something to each other, and that was that I'd return to him when I found my true… mate."
Calm is the only word I can think of that really described the atmosphere at that point.
"What I'm trying to say is, we're going to Matthew, because after thirty years of searching and searching, I've finally found you."
My breath caught in my throat. "All… all those times, I thought you hated me, and when you impersonated my brother –"
"I was just going crazy with jealousy. I came along to make sure he didn't try anything. And – and when he kissed you, I just –"
"You could have told me sooner, in that case," I retorted.
"You wouldn't have accepted it," He countered. And I knew he was right.
The silence between us was becoming unbearable now, and he must have sensed it too, because he was the one to interrupt the serenity of the room.
"I don't even know if it's appropriate, but I'm really dying to kiss you right now." He stated quickly, so that I even had some trouble making out the words. "No pun intended." He added quickly.
"Then kiss me," was all I could say. So he did.
Salem's lips crashed into mine desperately, frantically molding his cooler mouth to mine. The kisses weren't sweet like they were in the car, they were more needy and urgent, but still zealous at the same time. Salem changed his position so that he was effortlessly holding himself above me, his legs on one side of me. Our chests brushed up against one another because of our heavy breathing, and although this heated moment was so, so different from what it had been like in the confined plot of the driver's seat, it was so much more open and just plain better.
We kissed for several minutes – or something like that, I couldn't keep track – and each minute was better than the first. My now dry hair was probably an untamable mess because of his hands running through it time after time, as was his. We broke apart, me practically gasping for air, but Salem didn't need that much so he only smirked, observably satisfied with himself.
"I take it you're okay with this?" he asked smugly.
"More than okay," I replied, and mentally slapped myself in the face when I noticed him full on grinning. "It's just so different – what about you, are you okay with fate's choice?"
He smiled to himself, averting his gaze from my own momentarily as he shook his head, like someone does when someone says something that's just utterly absurd. His green orbs locked back with mine before he gave me the best answer I could have ever imagined.
"Anyone would be downright stupid to have a problem with being stuck with you."
A/N:Well, there you have it. I'd call it a filler but it's sort of a turning point for the entire story... Anyway, summer's coming up soon so I'll have more free time on my hands to write more meaningful and thought out chapters, I love you guys for reading! Don't forget to check out my other stuff and follow me on twitter, I'll surely follow you back (reprobate_) AND TALK TO ME PEOPLE. I'M SO LONELY AND I LOVE CONVERSATIONS. I reply to all my reviews unless I get one really late and just go blah about it. Thanks so much for reading again, guys, I really do appreciate it. xxxx
Shout out to Laila who's always badgering me to get a chapter up and encouraged me to continue writing this story when I really wanted to quit it. Love you! x