Chapter 1: Alliance
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill
Vampires are stupid. Okay, more like idiots. They think no one will catch them feeding and stop them. That's why they're idiots. Do you know why they're stupid? Because they don't expect vampire hunters like me, Antoinette Drake, to rain on their artery party. Ha. Welcome to Manhattan, New York. This place can be quite dangerous. And I don't just mean with thugs, muggers and prostitutes; I mean with vampires. Not to mention werewolves, witches or warlocks, necromancers and much, much more. Okay, just kidding. Those are the only major groups in the entire state. Maybe even the country.
"Toni!" Ethan. Ethan Frazer's my best friend. My best human friend among the hunters in this sector, that is. My other friend is Clary Thompson, who is actually second-in-command to the biggest asshole of 'em all: Stephen Church. He just so happens to be the leader of the Order's son. Doesn't help me one bit. Ugh. I turned around slowly, careful not to slam into anyone while in the crowd. They were all waiting for the newest nightclub, The Wolfsbane Rubies, to open. Like New York needs another nightclub. This one was special, though. First, it was run by werewolves. It was supernaturals only, so this crowd, I notice now, must've been full of supernatural beings. That or they were wannabes, just waiting to get bitten or scratched or cursed. None sounded exciting to me. I made my way to Ethan, and when I reached him, I hugged him. The sinister energy that surrounded me in that crowd, not to mention the body sweat (Ever heard of deodorant?), was suffocating. I breathed in deeply and looked up at my friend (Even in 1-inch boots, he was still taller than me, huh), "What are you doing here, Ethan?"
"What's it look like I'm doing? I'm filling in for you tonight." Wait, what?
"Why? You obviously haven't looked in a mirror lately," he muttered, playing with his brown-black hair, "You haven't slept in days, Toni. You've been working your ass off this whole week. Don't you think you need a break?" No. I didn't. But I didn't answer. The reason I hadn't slept in days was because of my sleep pattern…which consisted of nightmares, daymares (Yeah, I get those), and the occasional and annoying interruption of the phone ringing. It was always Clary, Hannah Bellz, Stephen, or Micah Kane. Micah…I looked away, "I don't need sleep, Frazer."
"Yes, you do, Drake."
"You look like you're about to collapse," Ethan pointed out. I clutched my forehead. Well, my legs felt at the point of buckling. Maybe he was right.
"Fine," I let out a sigh, "Have fun. But I'm not going to sleep."
"Not with lives on the line," I persisted and walked away, done with the conversation. As I walked toward my house, I had some serious vertigo. Damn figures. I can't hunt vampires in this state. It's a wonder I thought I could do it tonight. Ethan was right; I needed sleep. But I couldn't do that when every time I closed my eyes, I saw my little sister, Liz. I just couldn't. I shook my head, dismissing the thoughts, and continued on until I reached my house. Guess who was there? My new vampire 'partner,' Henri Sinclair. I was kinda in love with him but, well, it's…complicated.
"What, Henri?" I didn't look at him as I closed and locked the door behind me. I didn't waste time acting like I was happy to see him, but deep inside, I was basking in his presence like a servant in front of his king. But it was the Mark talking. Henri blamed my feelings for him on the Mark. Ha. Yeah, right.
"A vampire just entered the city. A rogue." He didn't need to elaborate. I got it.
"And you want me to…take care of them?" I was already dressed in my uniform: a sleeveless black top under a long trench coat. On the bottom, I wore black skin-tight jeans and knee-high black boots. In the inside pockets of the coat, I had all my weapons: my trustworthy stake, a vial of holy water, a baggie of crushed wolfsbane, a gun with silver bullets (For extreme situations only), and two silver daggers (Also for extreme situations). I clasped the blessed cross I almost never wear on, and buttoned the coat to hide it. Henri watched me from his seat on the couch, silently observing. I let out a huff of air and turned to him, "Well?"
"What?" he asked, a smile forming on his lips. Oh, God, he was…amazingly handsome. His long black hair still fell into his completely black eyes. When he smiled at me, the fangs came out, almost automatically I wonder if he had practiced that, or it was just natural. Either way, it gave him a seductive look; a look every girl my age would die for. It's unfair.
"Don't you want to tell me what exactly I'm looking for? Some kind of physical description maybe? Hell, even gender would certainly help." Sleep deprived. That's what I am; no doubt about that. So much so that I sound cocky, sarcastic, and bitter all at once. Oh, and bitchy. Can't forget bitchy. Not good. I waved a hand at him, "Oh, never mind. I'll just look for a vampire who's breaking the rules and sucking on some poor victim."
"You do that."
"Am I going alone?" I asked, turning to face that smirk head on. Henri was still spread out on the couch, posing for me. Well, it wouldn't work. It wouldn't work…
"Antoinette, are you alright? You look exhausted." That's what I hear.
"No need for sarcasm."
"So glad you noticed," I replied under my breath. That's it; I'm leaving. I opened the front door. Before I could take a step, hands snatched the sleeves of the trench coat, and I was pulled off the ground. Great. Give Henri an advantage to catch me. Thanks a lot, Order. The way he held me wasn't painful, just annoying.
"Let go of me, Henri," I growled, swinging my feet. The hands let go of me abruptly and my boots clicked as they landed safely on the ground. In front of me was a car; a car I'd never seen before. It was a deep red Mustang convertible with black interior. From where I stood, I could tell that the interior was leather. It looked all new and clean.
"What the Hell is that?"
"Uh…a car," Henri chuckled at my expression. I looked at felt dumbfounded.
"That's no car, I know that," I whispered and moved toward the Mustang. I may not be a car expert (I don't even know what brand of van Ethan drives), but I know a beauty when I see one. I touched the paint job with wide eyes. I was like a kid with a shiny, new toy.
"What happened to your limo? Too obvious?" Why would Henri ride in that limousine, when he could have this chick magnet instead?
"The limo's fine, thank you very much," Henri gestured to the Mustang with a sweep of his hand, "This car, Antoinette, isn't mine."
"Well, who does it belong to?"
"You." Whoa. Didn't see that coming.
"W-why would you get me a car?" Henri put a hand on my left shoulder, dangerously close to the Mark, "It's almost your birthday, isn't it?" Crap, I forgot. My eighteenth birthday was November 18th, and that was in a week. I'd been so focused on working that I forgot my own birthday. Huh.
"So you got me a car." Nice. Real grateful, my mind grumbled. I rolled my eyes at that. May I remind you that he's a vampire?! A dangerous one at…
"Toni?" I was leaning against him. Uh…How in the Hell did I get into this position, pressed up against Henri? I don't know. I lifted my head, "Oh, sorry."
"It's okay." I stopped myself from blushing. No, I wouldn't get distracted. Not with a rogue on the prowl tonight. Let's get down to business. I pursed my lips, "Okay. Now where can I find that rogue vampire?"
"The Wolfsbane Rubies." Oh.
"Really?" Henri nodded, "Yeah, it's all the rage, you know?"
"So, I need to go back to that stinkin' club?" I just came back from there.
"Well," Henri reasoned plainly, "You do have a car now."
"Aren't you coming with me?"
"Of course I am." Why? I opened the car door. The car smelled like new car. Mmm.
"How much did this cost anyway?"
"Money isn't an obstacle for me." That's right. Henri Sinclair was filthy, and bloody, rich. He ran a club, after all. Well, a club that was now shut down. But some generous benefactor (Most likely Gavin or my uncle) must've still been funding his large…uh, pay. I climbed into the driver's seat. The keys were placed into the ignition.
"What happens when we get there? Won't there be a ton of people there?" Henri chuckled softly, "Unless you consider supernatural beings a problem, you'll be fine."
"And what exactly will I be doing?" My stomach was tense with anticipation. I hated him when he was like this.
"Just drive," he muttered and closed his eyes as I pulled out, toward the new club, The Wolfsbane Rubies. Oh, joy. I was in for a long and crazy night.