Welcome to my story! You may have read a copy of this posted a long time ago. This is the new and improved story! I worked very hard to bring this story to life, and I will continue to improve it as I can. Suggestions are much appreciated! As well as reviews, as I am a sucker for a compliment! Ya'll inspire me! Anyway, please enjoy!

I: Empire of the Vampire


This one was beautiful, stunningly so. The way she walked with her hands clasped around the sleeves of her shirt, and the little smile on her face as she glanced at the homeless musicians of the train station. It was a partially windy day, her dark brown hair was blowing across her face as she tried to keep it back. The clouds had started to grow thicker, making the day dark and dreary enough to block out the sunlight.

Pulling her coat around her as if to hide herself, she walked into the elevator with a few other people. Completely clueless to the man standing not even a foot behind her, his hands clenched at his sides as he took in of her purely intoxicating scent. It wasn't the smell of sweet flowers that had him on edge, it was her, a scent that only her body could create. The very rhythm of her blood as it pumped through her veins was like a bell tolling in wait.

Slinking back behind a few other people, he watched as she entered to train and took a seat. Following behind her he entered the other side of the train, his eyes hooked on her as he leaned back against the glass panel behind him. It was obvious she was pure, innocent, there wasn't a feature about her that said otherwise.

Chancing a glance around the train, she rested her eyes only briefly on the man watching her, yet she was too distracted to notice his interest. Silently, he stood watching her from the opposite end of the train, his silvery eyes reflecting his interest in her, if only she had looked up and really seen him.

Perhaps it was his long years of living that made him think so fondly of the sweet little human sitting across the train cart from him, but then again, maybe the feeling so long forgotten in his chest, was a sign of something more.

It took rather less than a moment for the vampire to realize he wouldn't be able to just let her go. How often was it that a vampire came across a human so uniquely quelling? Humans can look aside, and walk all over people with a worthiness far greater then their own but it was up to a creature so intuitive as a vampire to see people, humans, as they really are.

For centuries vampires lived in and out of human society, preying and protecting. It was writ in the laws of the vampire code that humanity aught to be preserved. Watching is what they did, cunning and elusive the vampire nation kept their secrecy while protecting humanity from their own destruction. Darker times were up ahead, vampires were in turmoil across North America. A new power had arisen, fueled by cruelty and judgment. For the first time vampires would have to fight against humans, to protect themselves, and to protect the species they had watched over throughout time.

It was his duty as a vampire to watch over the sweet girl sitting only a few seats from him, or at least he could convince himself that it was his responsibility as an excuse to get closer to her.

Chapter One

She ran as fast as she could, her legs just didn't seem to run fast enough. Stretching them as far as she could she almost felt she'd be able to move faster if she dropped to her hands and knees and crawled.

Looking behind her she noticed her pursuer was getting closer, and ran into a nearby abandoned building. Probably not the brightest idea but if you can't outrun someone, might as well try hiding from them or outsmarting them. What other choice was there?

Everything seemed to blur, the surroundings changing before her eyes until she was stuck in a room with no windows or doors to leave from, four brick walls around her and a roof at least twelve feet high. Completely trapped, her eyes like that of a deer staring into headlights, looked backed at the man who had been following her.

Leaning against once of the walls, his soulful eyes stared back into hers, "I won't hurt you little girl."

She felt her whole body shake at the sound of his voice, "Don't come any closer!"

Backing away the young girl tripped and fell to her knees, her fearful eyes looking up at the man before her. It was too dark to make out any of his features, yet Ciara could hear that his breathing had grown shallow, and his eyes, his eyes seemed to glow red.

"You cut yourself," he said faintly, his hand covering his face, "you should be more careful..."

Ciara awoke to the darkness of her room and a familiar feeling on her mind. It had become a regularity in her life, waking from a dream so vivid she was unable to go back to sleep again. As a sensitive person dreams had always plagued her, but recently things had gotten a bit out of control. Perhaps it was the piles of supernatural thrillers and paranormal romance novels overflowing from the small shelf above her bed, or maybe the red paint she had used to cover her bedroom walls had finally gone and done it, made her mad. Either way, Ciara wast left once again staring blankly at the wall at 5 in the morning, with goosebumps all over her body, and as wide awake as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice water upon her.

Though Ciara had to admit, the feelings she was consumed by after first waking from a dream weren't all that negative. The reason she couldn't get back to sleep was simply that her dreams were usually so vivid, with such an amount of feeling dwelling there, that Ciara couldn't just wake and turn over to return to sleeping. It also wasn't just her dreams that gave her such a reaction, since the dreams had began a few weeks before she started to have moments where she swore someone was watching her whenever she left her house. More than ever Ciara found herself looking over her shoulder expecting to find someone but only to find nothing, and though a part of her dreaded that she'd one day catch sight of something, another part of her secretly hoped that she would.

Out of boredom Ciara checked her cell phone intending to play solitaire until morning only to notice a text message from her friend Ashe begging Ciara to join her and Maggie at a nightclub later that evening. The last thing Ciara really wanted to do on a Friday night was go to a nightclub, she would have much preferred spending the night in with a good romance novel, but despite that this time she thought it best not to refuse her friends as she had done so a bit too much lately.

Flicking on a nearby light, Ciara dragged herself out of bed and toward a mirror nearby. Staring into the mirror Ciara looked at herself with a wry expression on her face. Thick cheeks, and a hardly pointed nose, and dark brown silky hair that was just past her shoulders, and bangs that framed her face making her look even more chubbier than she was. Sighing feverishly Ciara shook herself of her self conscious feelings and flopped on the bed. Having never been to a nightclub before, Ciara wondered if she would be able to fit in, especially with an appearance she thought of as lacking, At the very least she could atone herself as having good eyebrows and a well endowed chest.

The real problem was how exactly Ciara was going to go about telling her parents where she was going. Even at 19 almost 20 years of age, Ciara had no choice but to endure living with her family because of the low wages she received from her measly job at a local furniture store. While her parents had raised her well, and provided Ciara with everything that she needed, they also raised her in their own image, expecting her to continue to follow their ideals, as well as their religion. When Ciara first told her family that she had become an atheist, her mother cried, and her father sent Ciara to her room without dinner, and at the time she had only just hit the double digit age.

Ciara quickly shoved some clothes that she presumed were more presentable for clubbing into her shoulder bag. Seeing as she had to work, Ciara figured rather then tell her parents where she was going she would save herself the hardship and just pretend she had to work late.

The night club was bursting with sound and energy as people danced and drank together. The dance floor looked as if it had become one being, everyone so worked up in the music and their movements to separate themselves from each other. It seemed beautiful, but somehow obscene at the same time. Ciara couldn't help but be fixated by the dance floor, her eyes staring in disbelieve at the erotic clothes and music. If there was one person who didn't fit into this environment it was Ciara, her attire matching that of someone about to attend church rather that a rowdy nightclub downtown. As much as her black and white summer dress was pretty, it wasn't near short or revealing enough to allow her to fit in.

Turning back to her friends, Ciara watched with open eyes as the both of them fluidly went from flirting, to touching, to dancing, as if it came as naturally to them as anything else. It seemed ironic, Ciara couldn't find a man for herself, yet her two dimwitted friends had the chance for more than one. They both had been seeing more than one guy for as long as Ciara could remember, neither of them able to remain in a single lifestyle for longer then a week or two at a time. Yet here was sweet little Ciara, still single, and still a virgin.

So far through her life Ciara had followed the bible point by point, as if it were an instruction manual for life. It's not as if she was on the dot with everything, but when it came down to it Ciara had lived a clean, and honest life. Always having been true to herself, and those around her. The nightlife of Vancouver wasn't something Ciara thought she'd ever grow accustomed to. It just wasn't her way, and she wasn't about to learn how to flaunt herself around like an animal in heat.

The burly bartender had now noticed Ciara's disdain and brought out the good quality peanuts for her to eat; he laughed to himself as Ciara eagerly began to chomp them down.

"Not having fun, I take it?" He asked.

"Nope, not at all.. .There's just not enough excitement, too bad you don't have a magician."

"We thought about getting one here, but..." He said, pausing, "the night club down the street was enough of an incentive not to do so."

"Why, do they have magicians?" Ciara asked, forsaking the peanuts to rest her head on her hand.

"No, but they have enough strange things happening, that anyone interested in magic would be less likely to come here."

"Wouldn't that be more of a reason to get a magician?"

"Not when magic involves unexplainable deaths," He said, taking the peanuts away from Ciara, "the people around here have been pretty scared of late, and those who are not scared do not come here."

Ciara paused to think of an appropriate reply, but the bartender had already walked away to serve paying customers. The burly, yet somehow gentle bartender had definitely sparked her interest in this nearby nightclub, and Ciara was determined to figure out just what caused everyone to be so afraid. People died every day in the city, what was so different about another death at a nightclub? In the age where drugs and alcohol are prominent, death wasn't rare.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but Ciara knew that satisfaction had brought the cat back.

"Ashe, let's get out of here, there's a new night club I'm interested in going to." Ciara said, standing up in hopes that her friends would be persuaded to follow her, but Ashe was reluctant to do anything in Ciara's interest, which was per-usual. Ciara always let her curiosity get the best of her, and Ashe knew that only too well.

"Where is this place you want to go to?" Ashe asked, followed by a comment from Maggie, "every time you think of somewhere to go we end up having one of those adventures, where in the end we are fighting with each other."

"It's just down the road, and as for our adventures don't you bother saying they weren't any fun, we've all learned a lot from the things we've done." Ciara said, earnestly.

"Oh really? What exactly did we learn from that old abandoned house, or the graveyard, or what about the asylum?" Ashe pressed, "your idea of a good time is our idea of insanity." She said, crossing her arms across her chest.

"Ashe, there's no need to be so harsh." Maggie interrupted, "we choose to go along with her, and surely we can't blame her for our decisions."

"I don't blame her for what we've done, I'm merely trying to suggest that perhaps Ciara isn't entirely normal in the things she likes to do, and I'm not about to follow her into another adventure of stupidity."

Ciara jumped in, "look, it's not like I'm trying to get you to go to another abandoned building, I'm only asking that you come with me to another nightclub, for this one bores me."

"She's right, Ashe." Maggie said.

"Fine, we'll go." Ashe said, through gritted teeth. She turned around on her right heel, and stormed off to get her car.

Ciara stared after the skinny blond as she walked out the door; her cheeks had now risen to a light red in anger. Ashe and her had always seemed to be arguing for various different reasons; they were so unlike each other, Maggie, the long haired brunette, usually ended up being the centerfold of the argument because she always tried to stop the fighting.

It was strange how three people not at all alike could still be friends, of course, Ciara's friends could always bring out her bitterness.

Headlights shot through the darkened road of the run-down, industrial area as Ashe drove her red Honda into an abandoned parking lot. Several other cars were already parked inside the crooked, warn lines on the pavement, and the red Honda was about to join them. With a sharp swing of the steering wheel, Ashe swerved into one of the remaining parking spaces.

"Well, this is it." She said, looking at Ciara.

Ciara had thought the nightclub would have been hard to find, but it stood out in this part of town. The only light in a four-block radius protruded from a neon sign, hanging limply from the building of what was a failed American business attempt to bring meat factories across the border to Canada. The neon sign read, 'Los Nachatus.'

The streets surrounding the nightclub were desolate, and it was obvious few people ventured to this part of town, only but a few hobos who likely stayed only because the train tracks were nearby, and unmonitored.

"Let's go," Ciara said, climbing out the backseat of the car.

Ashe gave a nervous glance down at the keys still grasped in the ignition, and momentarily she thought about leaving Ciara to her own defenses, but with the closing of Maggie's door, she decided to go along. Ripping the keys from her car, Ashe threw them in her purse, opened the door, and got out.

"So, what is it about this place that attracted you to it, Ciara?" Maggie asked, just as Ashe had caught up to them.

"Oh I don't know," Ciara replied, stopping to look back at her friends. "Ashe, do you think you and Maggie can persuade those bouncers to let me in?" She asked, glancing at the two men standing at the main doors, "they look tough, and I haven't got any ID."

"I don't think it should be a problem." Maggie said, walking up to them.

One of the bouncers came forward, and stopped Maggie from entering the front doors. He pushed his large hand out before his extremely large body, but he did not speak. Maggie stepped back, uncomfortable with his hand being so close to her. The bouncer looked at Maggie with cruel, dark eyes; he then turned to look at Ciara. His eyes lingered on her for a moment before he spoke.

"You can't enter," he said simply.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous!" Ashe said, stepping forward.

There was no lenience in his voice, "you need to leave; none of you are welcome here."

"Not welcome, why the hell not?" Maggie piped up, angrily stepping towards the bouncer.

"My job is not to explain why you cannot enter; it is to stop you from doing so," the bouncer replied, pressing his hand against Maggie's upper chest, "you would be wise to listen to me."

"Maggie forget it, let's just go home." Ciara said, grabbing Maggie from her coat collar to pull her backwards into the street. The bouncers were obviously not going to let them in, and pissing them off wasn't going to make things any better. With a frustrated glance at Ashe, she forcefully urged Maggie back to the car.

"This was an extremely stupid idea on my part," Ciara began, "Ashe, get the car started."

"Yeah, okay." Ashe replied, thankful to be finally leaving. The two bouncers were still staring after them, and it was making both Ashe, and Ciara feel very uncomfortable. Maggie was always the stupid one of the three, she cared more about her pride then she cared of her safety, her idiocy was present now, as she clumsily tried to get back to the bouncers to give them a piece of her

"Maggie, for Christ sake, stop it!" Ashe said, trying to find the keys that she dropped, while she had been fumbling for them in her purse.

With a gleeful yelp, she found them and quickly opened the car. Ciara jumped into the backseat with Maggie, and urged Ashe to hurry up and start the car. With a loud rumble, the old Honda sprang to life, and Ashe backed it into reverse. A piercing crack sound echoed through the misty night, as she nervously backed into another car.

"Shit," Ashe groaned, swinging the steering wheel so the car was forced to take a deep swerve. With a frustrated slam on the gas, the car took off through the parking lot, and over the curb.

Running, running, why was she always gad damned running?

The wind is blowing so strongly it is painful and the heavy rain tastes intensely of the fear escaping her breath. So cold, and just can't fun fast enough...Again, she could feel it, a presence watching her. Running as if backwards, slowly, ever so slowly, a darkened house appeared in the distance.

There was no door, no hinges for a door, nothing. No windows, at least no glass in the windows, glass was strewn across the lawn. Nowhere to hide. Even inside, no cupboards, no closet doors, no bathroom doors, nothing but open space.

Then, but right there, a hole in the wall so very suddenly appeared...exasperated, desperate, she climbed inside. Dark, so very dark and freezing cold and then the faint presence of heat, light, coming from the other side of the hole in the wall.

It was a candle, obviously a candle blowing candidly in the distance. As if swaying back and forth, the flame flickered as the cold breeze faded in the distance. This room had doors, many, many, doors, all of which were locked. The roof, so much higher than before, the room, so much more exquisite, not at all run down and disowned.

Then, oh god, right then...the candle moved closer, in a fashion a candle could not do by itself. As it came closer, it grew dimmer, until the room finally went dark, pitch dark. Yet, there was heat, a strong sense of warmth and security coming from who knows where...

The candle hit the floor loudly, but despite the silence there was most definitely something, someone, coming closer...arms enclosing around her, pulling her nearer.

"You can run but you can't hide from me, sweet girl, these arms I have around you are the only thing to keep away the cold."

Ciara shook her head, desperately trying to forget the dream she had during her lunch at work as she took a few moments of shut-eye. Clearly spending 2 days with little to no sleep had a very negative effect on her work, and of all days to be tired Ciara ended up half asleep trying to make it through the busiest day of the week, Saturday. When the end of the work day finally came, and it was dark again, despite her tiredness, Ciara all but ran to the skytrain station nearby.

While waiting for the train to arrive, Ciara was distracted with musing over her dreams once again. It hadn't been all that long since the dreams started, despite that there had already been a huge impact on her life. There was very little Ciara could do, drugs hadn't worked, no measure of yoga, of before bed type of relaxations had done anything to stop the dreams. There was this one night where she had even managed to gode her dad out of some of his super strong sleep medications, which only helped to make her dreams seem more vivid and have her wake even more confused than normal.

Ciara shook her head, backing away to make room for a few passerbys. It wasn't as if she considered the dreams nightmares, for the most part as much as the dreams were frightening in that she was always running away from something, usually there was always a part of her that longed just as much to be found as she did to get away. The delima the dreams creating wasn't simply because she was having them, that part was fine, it was that they just never seemed to leave her, and Ciara faintly worried that perhaps the dreams would never go away. Would she one day not be able to tell the difference between reality and a dream if her dreams continued to feel so real?

The train pulled up, a loud ding-ding echoing across the platform as the doors swooshed open. The sound was enough to pull Ciara away from her thoughts. Taking a seat at the last cart on the train, she pulled out her Ipod and prepared to wait the 40 minute ride until she would be able to get off. There was no denying it, Ciara was still tired even from her nap at work, rather than force herself to stay awake in fear of missing her stop, she set the alarm on her phone to wake her incase she fell asleep.

Ciara eyed the train wearily, her eyes settling upon a few individuals she would feel uncomfortable falling asleep near. Though her larger concern was not getting groped, or touched or such things, her appearance didn't entirely warrant that behavior, at least in her opinion. Though Ciara did worry for her belongings, and nonchalantly tried to stuff her purse behind her so that her weight alone would be able to protect if from theifs. There was no way anyone would be able to lift her above average weight to take her purse without her noticing, right?

The ride wasn't that eventful, despite the fact someone ended up vomiting all over themselves somewhere between Metro Town, and Columbia station. Ciara noticed this simply because the sound of their dry heaving and retching was so loud it woke her. Half the train had emptied, the other half were all sitting on seats as far away as possible from the vomiter. Wiggling her nose distastefully, Ciara chose to look the other way and pretend the whole thing hadn't happened.

Ciara made it to Surrey Central Station safe and sound, and purse in hand. People seem to find that feat remarkable for some reason, despite the fact Ciara had done so daily for more than a year now. People from downtown Vancouver thought Surrey was dangerous and best avoided, and people from Surrey thought the same about Vancouver.

Wearily, Ciara eyed the three flights of concrete stairs everyone was taking to get down to the bus depot and sighed. Eyes catching sight of an elderly fellow waiting for the elevator, she shrugged, and chose to wait with him. Working hard all day, Ciara thought, at least warranted her some laziness, besides that the stairs were three stories high, that was three stories higher than she would have been okay with.

A mother and daughter pair entered the elevator with them, and Ciara momentarily wished she had forced herself to take the stairs. The kid was shrieking like some kind of dying bird or something equally as god awful and the mother just stood there and let the girl have her tantrum. Whatever little patience Ciara remained with after a full working day would have pounced forth from her mouth had she been more of a courageous girl, but as she locked eyes with the mother Ciara merely smiled. When the elevator stopped and the doors opened, Ciara rushed out of the elevator as if it had been on fire. There was a full line waiting for her bus already, a good sign since the bus obviously hadn't arrived already.

A strange feeling crept up Ciara's neck, as her hair stood on end and goosebumps covered her body. There it was again, that feeling she kept getting as if someone was watching her and even though Ciara could feel someone looking at her, she never noticed the eyes of the man standing only a few meters behind her.

Shrugging, Ciara boarded her bus when it arrived, her ivory summer dress swaying out behind her as she dared one last glance behind her before choosing a seat to sit on. The man watching her smirked faintly in the darkness, he liked that she was looking for him, but he knew that she would only see him, if he wanted to be seen. In the end, what would she think if she did catch sight of him?

It was a nice thought, that perhaps she would think of him as someone attractive. A smile might be too much-could a vampire really expect this sort of behavior from his potential prey? Regardless, after having watched her for even such a short while, his vampiric eyes so in tune with the darkness could no longer deny himself the pleasure of seeing her again and again. Did this alone make him a terrible creature? Humans wake to watch the sunrise, an expression of bliss on their faces as the gentle rays of light dance against their skin. For someone who'd lived centuries dowsed in blood and the disparity of an eternal darkness, was it so wrong to desire to admire something? It wasn't a twisted perception, his adoration of her had little to do with the flesh of her body but the very essence and beauty of her soul. To him, in her own special way, she was slice of sunlight, a spec of beauty against the backdrop of black velvet.

With a whoosh of air the figure of the vampire disappeared, his body first, his essence last. No one marveled at the beauty of his escapade, for no one was there to see, lest of all would he have allowed them to see it. Vampires were solitary creatures by nature. A city and a half away, the vampire reappeared, this time in the confines of his own residence. A sigh passed his mouth, light and heavy at the same time. There was a tone of sadness hiding behind his eyes as he surveyed his home, it felt cold and empty.

Languidly, his eyes darted from the living room to the calender behind him. It was Saturday. A slight smile appeared on his lips. It was, after all, his current favorite day of the week.

Aghast, a stranger approached Ciara, his mouth curled into a perverted smile.

"Thats a pretty little doggie you've got there sweetie," he said smoothly, his hand reaching forward, "but not quite as pretty as you...why don't you join me for a game of hide and seek in the forest?"

Ciara shook her head feverishly, "I'd rather not."

Coiling her hand around her dog's leash, Ciara backed away from the stranger, her heart pounding in her chest as she looked across the park, only to see nothing but blankness. The only light nearby was the park lamp above her head. It was at this point that Ciara's tiredness shone through, had it been any other night Ciara would have avoided anyone suspicious, but being far too tired for that Ciara had carelessly walked her way right into danger. Since Ciara barely had time to spend with her dog, she had fought through her tiredness knowing that the border collie needed to get some exorcizing, and they always took nice, long walks on Saturday nights.

The man smiled openly, stepping into the light that currently spawned rays of protection to both Ciara and her dog. It was as if the street lamp was a safe place –or was- until Ciara ended up sharing the light with the stranger. Compared to the darkness surrounding her, this time Ciara could actually see the possible rapist, and found she wanted to choke.

The scent around him was that of a rusty old box mixed with the taste of metal on the air. Ciara swore to herself as he backed her onto the light post and licked her cheek, a chuckle escaping his lips. "You're so sweet, i'm just going to eat you all up."

Ciara could hardly breath. The man before her had the appearance of a very drug-bent mafia man, long leather trench coat, dark eyes, greasy hair and...taps? Ciara mentally slapped herself. There were weird looking metal things on his wrists, covered by dirtied handkerchiefs. Honestly, Ciara couldn't think of a better explanation then to assume he had faucets on his wrists that tapped directed into his blood stream-obviously couldn't be for real, must be some sort of gothic attire.

"Please let me go," Ciara said, trying to sound stern but it came out in more of a plea.

Meika seemed to catch on to the threat, a low rumbling growl coming from her mouth as her fur stood on end. Ciara tried to hush the dog, to try and keep them both from getting hurt, but the stubborn border collie had already jumped to the end of the leash and snapped at the stranger.

Trying to shrink as low down as possible as to escape the onslaught of kisses against her neck, Ciara bent her knees and started gliding down the pole only to find that seeing as she was only 5 feet high to begin with, her attempts were futile. It finally occurred to her that she was trapped, and would most likely be raped...or worse. This idea startled her, eliciting a very feminine shriek as she was pushed harder against the light pole behind her. Clearly her appearance was not revolting enough to avoid such attentions as Ciara had thought.

"You!" someone said from beyond the darkness, "let her go!"

The man snorted in response, "what makes you think I'm going to listen to you?"

"…because you don't want to piss me off!"

Something in the attackers demeanor changed. At first he seemed peeved, pissed off himself, but then as if he didn't have any other options he shook his head and backed away. The other man, Ciara's savior, eyed the attacker wearily as he sundered across the field.

"Are you alright?" he asked, turning to look back at Ciara.

Uncontrollably, Ciara gasped; the man was beautiful. Though, Ciara would have to be a bit bias towards the tall, dark, and handsome sort of man, but still, it took almost all of her concentration just to keep her jaw from dropping.

Like a deer in the headlights Ciara stared back into his bright, almost inhumanly grey eyes. Tilting his head he returned her gaze, his ebony colored hair blowing lightly in the breeze as small smile graced his thick lips. There was something definitely unique about his features, even his attire, all fitted, flowing and shiny. Full of elegance with perfectly arched eyebrows and long dark lashes- all the right things in all the right places. The very tightness of his leathery pants causing Ciara's to sigh inwardly, her eyes diverting upwards to the white dress shirt he was wearing, and to the pendant nestled around his neck.

Ciara's knees suddenly began to feel weak, and just as she went to fall to the ground the handsome man in front of her stepped forward to catch her, his long flowing coat billowing out momentarily making it appear that he had ebony colored wings. The faint feeling of his arm upon hers sent shivers across her skin that reverberated throughout her body.

"I'm sorry," Ciara replied sheepishly.

"There's no need to apologize," he responded, with a gentle smile, "I think if that man had been playing around my neck I would have elicited a very similar reaction."

"Ah..." Ciara trailed off, her voice slightly cracking, "that was kinda scary."

Standing, Ciara tried to calm herself and disguise the fact she was breathing like a rabbit having a heart attack. There was absolutely nothing ladylike or attractive about someone gasping for air. Now it was especially important that she appear beautiful, and elegant, and perfect, and a myriad of other things that raced through her self conscious brain. To her, she had to up an octave, so to speak, to make up for what she lacked in looks. Honestly, Ciara mused, what sort of man in shining armor wants to be met with a short, fat arsed girl, about to choke up a lung?

"It's alright," he said smoothly, his eyes locking with hers, "I wont let him hurt you."

Ciara smiled a bit, the soothing tone of his voice and the honesty present in his eyes, helping to calm her, "thank you..."

"My name is Aubrey…" he said, nodding, "and you are?"

Ciara shuffled her feet, one foot carelessly drawing circles in the dry dirt to help distract from the fact that she was making eye contact with such a beautiful man,"Ciara."

"Ciara..." Aubrey replied absently, his head tilting,"would you let me walk you home?"

Ciara nodded weakly, "okay."

It may not have been the brightest idea, which Ciara did realize, however, she figured that no one in their right mind would turn down his invitation. Be damned, even if she ended up murdered behind the local church, at least her ghost could say she had drawn the attention of an attractive man. Not that she tagged him as a murderer, in fact, though contrary to appearances, Ciara wasn't nearly as nervous as she otherwise would have been. There was something about Aubrey, something familiar that she couldn't quite put her finger on that made her feel at ease.

The streets were very busy as they crossed the road, it being one of the main roads in Surrey, and a popular bus route. A church was the only thing nearby that wasn't crowded with cars, and the roads and houses behind it looked just as desolate. A few newer houses were placed randomly between older, box like homes, which were twenty to thirty years old. Most people in Ciara's neighborhood didn't have a lot of money, and the low-income housing was all they could afford, although some people had spent a good amount of money fixing up their homes; including her parents.

"The stars are pretty," Aubrey began, breaking the silence, "don't you think?"

"Yeah," Ciara replied hesitantly, her nerves pooling somewhere in her throat as her brain rushed for a response, "I've always wanted to find a new one and name it."

"That's cool," Aubrey said, pausing, "did you ever find one?"

Ciara blushed, she could feel Aubrey's eyes upon her, "no, I never did."

Which wasn't for lack of trying. Most of her childhood had been spent in her backyard, sprawled across the usually damp lawn with her eyes to the sky. At one point her parents had even bought her one of those disastrously cheap telescopes you can buy from toy stores, which turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Yet, in the end, she never actually did manage to find a star.

"You will someday, if you keep looking." Aubrey replied, stopping for a moment, "perhaps I could help you?"

"It would probably be easier if I just bought a telescope," Ciara said quickly. That hadn't really been what she wanted to say, but the words had formed and left her before she had even considered them. A sudden realization dawned on her then, Ciara had spent the better part of her life choosing to opt out of many things for fear of what might happen if she didn't. Even now, it had become second nature to her. For a moment her imagination flared up, and she saw the image of herself and Aubrey both cuddling on a moonlit beach, the night sky as center stage.

Aubrey watched Ciara intently as they crossed a small road, not at all uncomfortable with the silence and lacking the need to respond to her immediately. There was no doubt about it, she was nervous, that was plainly obvious. Yet, he could sense she was drawn to him, which was something most men would not have noticed. Even with shy girls it is often plainly clear that they are interested, since they tend to smile a lot, and giggle, and other such things, but Ciara simple stared solidly at her shoes.

Aubrey closed his eyes, deciding not to beat around the bush, "I have a telescope, a pretty decent one, and a relative understanding of stars," he responded finally, "you are welcome to use either one at your disposal."

"You wouldn't mind?" Ciara asked, not wanting to jump at his invitation like a starving person on a piece of meat.

Aubrey smiled, wondering if she was playing hard-to-get with him or was actually concerned about imposing on him, he hoped it was the former. "I have a very good view of the stars from my house."

Ciara nodded, "okay, as long as I wouldn't be troubling you or anything..."

A laughed passed his lips, "the opposite, actually..." Aubrey replied, absently following Ciara as she walked toward a nearby driveway,"so is this your house?"

The building in front of them was the nicest in the neighborhood, even though the flowers in the front yard were dead, and there was moss growing over the overhang, and the roof. The front porch was the only part of the house that the other neighbors likely envied for it kept you dry when unlocking the front door during the rain. Yet the ceder siding, painted a disgusting brown color and on the verge of falling off, did little to make the building appealing. The fact that it was a duplex, and that the other side was in even worse condition, actually made the property more appalling since it was one of only two duplexes in the neighborhood. It was remarkably odd, Ciara's side of the building was somewhat tidy, the ceder had been cleaned on occasion, new windows, a half decently manicured lawn. Then other side was completely opposite, it was a perfect example of yin and yang in architecture if there ever was one.

"Yes, ugly right?"

"Not at all, in fact I think it is very beautiful," Aubrey said, which wasn't a lie, there was something intermittently beautiful about the destructive forces of nature, very little was attractive about pristine wood and concrete.

Ciara silently glanced down at Meika, who had started to pee on the front lawn of her house. The grass seemed to sulk after being dowsed, and would soon die. Of all times for the dog to pee, Ciara wondered, was it a personal vendetta against her from some reason?

Laughing awkwardly, Ciara turned back to Aubrey, "today she has chosen to have rather bad timing, and I think it might just be personal."

Aubrey chuckled, pleased to see Ciara had come out of her shell a little, he shrugged elegantly, "when you gotta go, you gotta go."

Ciara sighed, "I've been having some bad luck this week, must be payback for that one ladder I walked under years ago, last night even these bouncers at a club I wanted to try out wouldn't let us in, with no apparent reason either," she replied, her voice a speedy blur of words in her nervousness, but she was at least happy that she had filled silence with something. Anxiously, Ciara risked a glance at Aubrey, long enough to catch a glimpse of silky black hair, and eyes that were smiling back at her.

"Really, what nightclub was it?" Aubrey asked, having a hard time imagining Ciara anywhere near the rush and bustle of any sort of nightclub he could think of, such would be a rather entertaining sight to behold, he mused, "maybe I could get you in sometime, I'm pretty good with people."

"The Los Nachatus," Ciara responded absently, somewhat shocked that he'd understood her quick ramble, but more shocked in the mans audacity to invite her out on three different occasions in one night. Was he up to something? Ciara mentally shook her head, it's a little too earlier for considering ulterior motives, she figured.

"Oh," Aubrey muttered, a frown forming on his face, Ciara thought she noticed a shimmer of confusion in his eyes, "that wasn't a good idea."

"Why not?" Ciara asked, her anger momentarily outweighing her nervousness. If there was one thing Ciara hated, it was being told what she should or shouldn't do.

Aubrey could tell his comment had angered her, which had not been his intention, but he didn't want to see the poor girl in the next mishap or murder that was to happen in that club. The place as a den of deviants by far, one that he had on rare occasion been a part of, but even for him the Las Nachatus was beneath him. At least, all other things set aside, Ciara's anger was certainly an attractive thing, a nice change from the silence and nervousness that radiated from her early on. Perhaps it was his predatory nature, either way, Aubrey couldn't stop himself from pushing her a little more, it was like a game of cat and mouse, and Ciara made a very cute mouse indeed.

"I mean, for a sweet girl like you I wouldn't suggest it..." Aubrey replied smoothly, his voice like black silk, "you could be killed."

"I'm quite capable of taking care of myself," Ciara retorted, a red blush rising on her cheeks.

Aubrey smiled genuinely, happily noting her blush, "I just don't want to see you get hurt."

Within her disbelief, Ciara couldn't stop herself, the words had already left her lips, "really?" Which should have been blatantly obvious, because who in their right mind would want to see someone get hurt? Yet, to Ciara's sheltered mind, for some reason being told such a thing was a large compliment and completely unexpected.

"Yes," Aubrey responded quietly, a slight smirk reaching his lips as he regarded Ciara's flustered reaction to her escaped word, "why don't you have dinner with me tomorrow evening?"

"O-okay..." Ciara replied quietly, her hands nervously fiddling with Meika's leash.

"8 o'clock, then?"

"Alright," she said, "I'll be here."

"Goodnight then, Ciara," he replied, taking her hand in his, eyes peering intensely into hers, Aubrey bowed down and pressed his lips against the top of Ciara's hand, "until tomorrow."

Ciara's breath got caught in her throat as soon as his lips met her hand. There was a look in the strangers eyes, while beautiful and divine like the moon, Ciara couldn't escape the depth of his gaze. Something about the way this man was looking at her pulled her in, scaring her as much as it were soothing her. Any fear or hesitation Ciara had felt toward him evaporated, and an urge to wrap herself in the mysterious strangers arms tied itself to her. There were so many emotions present in Aubrey's eyes, it made him seem immensely knowledgeable and far older than he looked.

When his eyes closed, and Aubrey separated from her and turned away, Ciara finally let out the breath she'd been holding. A quiet chuckle met her ears, and when Ciara looked back at him Aubrey was smiling as if he knew exactly what she was feeling.

"Adieu," he spoke softly, glancing at her over his shoulder as he turned to leave.