I stayed in my room the remainder of the day, deciding against going to find something to eat and instead picking off a few travel snacks that I always kept stashed in my desk drawer. After sunset came and it was starting to get dark did I finally start to hear movement in the hallways. Obviously my Dad thought it safe enough to allow students out of their rooms.
After a quick shower I was just throwing on a clean pair of clothes when I heard a tapping at my door.
"Lorie." A voice rang out, and instantly I smiled. "Lorie, you git, let me in."
It was Emilia, I hadn't seen her in at least a week because she was visiting her parents outside of London.
I didn't bother to open the door, knowing fully that she would barge in at any second. And, just as I predicted my door opened and she waltzed in.
Other than Felix, Emilia was the closest friend I had. We practically grew up together, both coming to Eldridge during the same month ten years ago.
She was always very pushy, something that took a lot of getting used to. She told things as they were and never sugarcoated anything. If someone had the misfortune of getting on her bad side then they were bound to be getting a few scrapes. Basically she took no guff off of anyone.
Most boys at the school loved her, not because she was gorgeous, but because of her strong will and confidence. But she was pretty in a unique sort of way. Her hair was a dark auburn, cut short into a pixie style. Her eyes a bright and vibrant green. She wasn't tall, barely reaching five foot two, and her cheeks were full. Everyone had always teased her to looking similar to a chipmunk, but it didn't matter. She was so full of life and happy that no jokes or rude remarks could ever hurt her.
"Well, it's about bloody time." She said, putting her hands on her wide hips. "I was about to start ranting and raving if you hadn't of answered me."
"What are you talking about?" I asked. I honestly was confused this time.
"Do you know how to answer your damned mobile?" She huffed. "I've been trying to call you since yesterday morning, but of course you decided to ignore it. I tried texting since I know how much you loathe calls, and you ignored those as well." He eyes fell down to the crumpled mess of clothes I had "borrowed" from her room. "And this is the thanks I get for allowing you access to my closet whenever you need it. What in the world did you do to my clothes, hm?"
"Emilia. I'm sorry. I'll pay you back for the clothes, but some things went down yesterday..."
"Oh, I know all about it." She interrupted, grinning. "Just thought I would give you a hard time is all. Felix filled me in on everything once I got back."
"Everything? What exactly is everything?"
"Well as much as he could tell me I suppose. He told me he was attacked in town and you saved him. Then you disappeared. I got the rest of the details from the rumors floating about the school. Everyone is saying that you were held captive at Mikel Van Burens. Is that true?"
I pulled my hair down from the towel wrapped on my head.
"Well, held captive might be a rough way of putting it. I wasn't exactly held captive seeing is that he let me go this morning."
Her green eyes widened in shock.
"Then it's true? You saw him? You spoke to him? Good grief, Lorie- I have to have every single detail. Tell me!"
"There's nothing to tell, really." I flopped down on my bed and she sat beside me. "The two men who were with the vampire I killed dragged me back to his place wanting me to be punished, Mikel wouldn't do it, blah blah blah, I spent the night and this morning he had one of his goons drive me home. The end."
She scowled at me, crinkling up her cute button nose.
"That cannot be all. There has to be more. You're holding out on me, now tell me the truth. What else happened?"
"Nothing. I swear. Nothing at all. And yeah, I know- That sound strange, but... Nothing happened. As you can clearly see, I'm still hole, I wasn't bitten, attacked or turned. I'm perfectly well."
She inspected me up and down, not looking convinced.
"Well the least you can do is tell me what the blaggard looks like? Was he hideous and grotesque like the drawing Kristian totes around? Or was he more fitting to the drawing the Felix conjured up?" She trailed off. "Come to think of it, I haven't even seen that drawing yet."
I ran a brush through my hair, for some odd reason feeling my face turn red at this conversation.
"He looks more like the drawing Felix made, but don't get me wrong, the drawing didn't do him justice."
"So he's handsome then?" She giggled maliciously at the thought. "Oh, I figured he would be dashing. He would have to be. And to think you're the lucky lady who got to spend the night in his home. I'm jealous."
"There isn't a need to be. You're getting all worked up over nothing. It wasn't like a page torn out of an erotic novel. He didn't ravish me on black satin sheets. It was more terrifying then anything else. Even though nothing happened, it was just the thought."
She held her hand up in my face as her eyes drifted off towards the ceiling.
"Don't take this away from me. At least let me have my fantasies, hm?"
"It's kind of disturbing that your fantasy would involve me."
"Oh, hush. You know very well what I mean. I always imagined Mikel to be this wonderfully adorable man, the type that would sweep you off your feet and charm the knickers off of you."
I rolled my eyes at the thought, even though she was probably right about that. Somehow I could see Mikel having that ability.
After a good minute with her hand in my face she finally tore her eyes away from the ceiling and let out a sigh.
"Alright. That's done. Now back to reality. I'm glad that nothing happened to you, Lorie. Honestly I don't know what I would have done if you or Felix had been killed. I would be lost."
"I'm just glad that it's over and done with. I don't know why Mikel decided to be so lenient with me, but... Well, I just got lucky I suppose."
"Has Percivel been up to see you yet?"
"No. I haven't seen him around the last couple days. I think he's been stuck down in the vault sorting through documents and artifacts."
"I'm surprised that he hasn't at least come to see if you're alright. Do you remember what happened when you fell and hit your head last year? He was pacing outside your room for two days convinced that you were going to slip into a coma or some nonsense like that."
That made me cringe slightly. It wasn't something I liked to think about, let alone talk about, but Perci had a crush on me. Although if I was going to go by what Emilia and Felix claimed, he was in love with me. I didn't think much of it because we had known each other since we were children, and I had always looked at him as nothing but a good friend. Luckily though Perci had never actually admitted his feelings out loud, and I hoped he never would. The last thing I wanted was for our friendship to be ruined.
"He'll get around to coming up here when he's not so busy. Kristian has been working him like a pack mule lately, forcing duties on him that he doesn't want to do himself. I wouldn't even be surprised if Perci has left the vaults over the last couple days, he might not have even heard what happened."
"That's hard to believe." Emilia slid off the bed. "When it comes to you, darling- Percivel knows everything." She winked at me and headed to the door. "Listen, I have some 'studying' to do before the weekend quiz," Instantly I knew that studying pertained to getting into some boys pants, "but after that why don't you and I, and the boys if Felix is feeling up to it, go into town and have a day, hm? It should be fun, we haven't done it in so long."
"Sounds good. I know I could use a little distraction from everything that's been happening."
She grinned at me, revealing the slight gap in her two front teeth, then left my room after waving goodbye.
A week went by and Dad finally lifted the lock down on the school. Everyone went back to their normal routines which consisted of studying, training and quizzes. Before long it seemed that no one even remembered what happened to Felix and I during the carnival. But that was perfectly fine with me. I hated having to tell my story over and over again to an awestruck student that was waiting for this tale of mayhem and violence. Besides, I hardly figured that Felix was as enamored with what happened as everyone else was. He had only just been released from the infirmary and was quickly recovering. Besides the bandage that he still wore on his neck, you wouldn't even know that he had been attacked at all. But he was always a resilient type of guy and would snap back almost instantly no matter what the circumstance.
Myself however, couldn't let my mind go from what happened. I kept reliving it practically every second of the day, and at night when I would try to sleep, there were dreams and flashes cursing the darkness. But not from what you might think. I didn't see Felix being attacked over and over, I didn't see myself stabbing that vampire and killing him. No, the dreams that wouldn't fade from my memory was the very first instant I set eyes on Mikel. His face just kept dancing through my mind, teasing me and mocking me somehow. Almost like he was laughing and taunting me because I had no way of taking him down. While I was at his house he had the upper hand and I was completely useless. Even so, I couldn't help but ask myself that if I actually had my weapons and the opportunity to kill him, would I have even done it at all?
That was what disturbed me the most because I honestly couldn't give an answer to that question. To me, killing someone who hadn't harmed me in the slightest seemed cruel and unnecessary. My Father and every other Hunter in the world would argue with that continuously. They would say over and over again that killing Mikel would put an end to all the violence. Every other vampire that had been sired from him, would die. Which would mean that even those that had been turned by ones that he turned, would die- Resulting in an entire race of beings being completely decimated. To me, that just didn't sound fair because my Dad admitted himself that there were good vampires out there. Some that didn't want to live violent lives and tried to be as normal as possible. So, would it be fair to end their existence simply because there were a few unruly ones out there? No, it didn't seem fair to me.
I don't know how I managed to think so much differently than my Father and every other Hunter. I don't know what it was that made me sympathize with them and want to spare their lives. God only knows that the bastard who bit Felix didn't feel the same, neither did the remaining two who dragged me back to Mikel's. If it had been up to them I probably would have died for killing Gibson. They would have sucked me dry and cast my corpse into a back alley somewhere and not gave it a second thought afterwards. While I didn't believe that they were all that bad, it was the fact that there was more bad than good when it came to their race. So, actually feeling pity for ending their existence was not only stupid on my part, it was just plain dangerous. Of course I had never actually admitted that, except to Mikel himself.
And that was shocking all in itself. Normally when someone is in a situation like that they would lie and say what they figured the other person wanted to hear. The disturbing part? I didn't lie. I told the truth. I actually admitted to him that I didn't believe all vampires deserved to die, I felt that they had earned the right to be here. I'm sure that was probably pretty stupid of me to say out loud, but if I had said anything different who knows what Mikel would have done in return.
I tried to take my mind off of everything as I attempted to style my hair. Emilia had insisted that we take a day off of studying and classes and go into town. What she had planned I wasn't sure but if I had to guess it would be nothing but shopping, eating and running around aimlessly. When it came to Emilia the one thing you could always count on was emptying your wallet of what little cash you might have had. But, I guess I didn't mind. I didn't go out much, and I had nothing else to spend my allowance on, so why not?
As I ran a flat iron through my hair, I heard a knock at the door. Knowing instantly it was going to be Felix I called out to enter.
He stepped in, noticing me standing in the bathroom.
"You're not ready yet?"
"Almost. I had an issue with the shower head popping off so I'm running a little late."
He moved to the bathroom entrance and nudged me.
"Take a look at this." He said, pointing to the area of his neck where he was bitten. "You can't even see the scar."
I barely cast a glance at the faint fang marks left behind in his skin.
"Well you're lucky then that you don't have to parade around sporting a mouth full of teeth as a scar."
"I guess. At least people will stop asking me questions now. But I kind of liked the idea of a scar. It would show that I survived an attack, maybe everyone would take me seriously."
"You're a freak."
He scowled at my reply as he watched me apply a coat or two of mascara.
"So..." His tone had changed. "It took Emilia finally having to tell me what the hell happened to you after I was bit... Why didn't you tell me you were with him?"
My hand paused slightly as I attempted to line my eyes.
"It must have slipped my mind."
"Bull. You just didn't want to tell me. Why not?"
"Didn't want to freak you out I guess."
"Why would that freak me out? Do you realize how big this is? Finally someone has actually seen this dick-hole. It's going to make things so much easier when it comes to classes and Hunting."
"No it won't." I replied, snapping the lid back on my eyeliner. "Because even though I might have seen his face and spoken to him, I didn't get to see where he lived."
"That'll happen eventually. We have a lead now. It's only a matter of time before someone figures out where he keeps himself hidden."
I dusted the apples of my cheeks with a little blush before zipping my makeup bag.
"Listen. The last thing I want to talk about today is Mikel. I want to take my mind off things, so... Don't bring him up anymore, ok?
He lowered his eyes to the floor and nodded.
"Yeah, sorry. I didn't even think that it might still be bothering you."
"I just want to forget the whole thing ever happened. The only thing that people have been saying to me for the last week is "finally we can kill him". I don't want to hear anymore."
"Ok, ok. I get it. Let's just get going, Emilia and Perci are waiting outside."
I left the bathroom and slipped on a pair of boots before grabbing my jacket and following Felix out into the hall. It took a few minutes squeezing past other students and professors to descend four flights of stairs, so when we finally hit the front door and found Emilia and Perci waiting at one of the schools vehicles, I knew she was going to bite our heads off.
"Well I see at least you put some effort into your image today." Emilia said, glaring at me. "Felix, as usual you are a total disappointment."
"Stuff it." He snapped back. "I don't care what I look like."
"Apparently." She hopped in the drivers side.
Perci gave me half a glance and a small smile before rounding the side of the car and opening the door for me.
I suppose he was considered good looking. Even though he was almost twenty there was a childlike quality about his face that I just couldn't get past. His dark hair was always kept shoulder length, his eyes were a pale shade of gray. He was tall and lanky and most of the time he was dressed in clothes that resembled people from the beaches in Florida. In the summer time he lived in cargo shorts with bright colored t-shirts, paired with flip flops.
"Thanks." I muttered, jumping into the passenger side beside Emilia while Perci and Felix hopped in the back. "So, where are we off to today?"
"First and foremost." Emilia started. "I'm starving, we're going to grab a bite to eat and then maybe hit the shops downtown. I'm aching to buy a new summer dress."
"Still trying to impress that Professor from Italy?" Perci asked, chuckling.
"You shut up." Emilia retorted jerking the steering wheel and making the car swerve and throw gravel. "He's nearly thirty five, don't you think that's a little too old for me?"
"Maybe in a way." I answered. "But he's good looking and I wouldn't blame you for having a crush on him."
"He is handsome isn't he? It's pretty horrible of me though to fancy a man so old. I haven't even turned twenty."
"You know centuries ago such an age difference wouldn't have mattered. Fifteen year old girls were married off to men in their sixties." Felix chimed in.
"That's just disgusting." Emilia said, cringing. "Can you imagine? A young girl like that getting frisky with someone old enough to be her Grandfather?" She gagged. "I don't think I could stomach it."
"Well, I don't think that Professor Marino is that old yet. He's still relatively young, and what's pretty interesting is that I think he has eyes for you too." I said, which instantly made her blush.
"Well, who knows what will happen."
"Ugh. I already know." Perci went on. "Within a month, after you've humped each other into oblivion, you'll grow bored of the relationship and then pretend it never happened."
Emilia glared at him through the rear view mirror.
"I swear I will pull this car over and leave your battered body lying in a gully somewhere if you speak like that again." She returned her attention to the road ahead. "Besides. Even if that were to happen, what's wrong with it? It's not as if I'm looking to get married."
"Yeah, just leave her alone." I defended. "It's not like any of us are getting any action to brag about."
No one could argue with that. Emilia was the only one that was pretty "socially" active. I honestly didn't think there was one boy at the school she hadn't known very personally, excluding Felix and Perci. You wouldn't think to look at her that she would have been so popular. But it was just in her nature I guess.
"Now if we can just find someone for Lorie to get on- Maybe the topic will be off of me for once." She added.
"No thanks." I quickly snapped back, not able to ignore the way Perci was watching me through the rear view mirror. "I'm perfectly content with the way things are right now."
"That's a crock of bull." Felix said. "Your last date was last year, and with that kid from the library. He couldn't have been that exciting."
"What I do on my own time is no bodies business but my own."
"Or, who she does." Emilia added with a giggle.
"That too." I tried to focus on the buildings whizzing by the car as my face burned red. "So where are we going to eat?"
Catching on that I wanted a change of subject, Emilia began to think out loud naming restaurant after restaurant while my mind began to wander. It was always a touchy subject with me when it came to my love life. Mainly because I didn't have much of one. I suppose I was the type of person that didn't want to jump from man to man, having one night stands and whatever else came with it. My thoughts were to just find that one special person, the one that would capture your heart and never let it go, and until I found that someone, meaningless flings just wouldn't cut it. Somehow I had a feeling that I was going to end up a withered old woman and still be alone. But I had ideals and standards, which from what I had been told was a good thing to have. I wasn't willing to settle for just ok, I wanted perfect. No, I don't mean as far as looks go, I meant personality and the way the man would treat me. As far as I was concerned he could be as ugly as a horses behind but if he was a good and kind man, that was perfect to me.
The car finally turned down one of the main roads in the city which was lined with shops and places to eat. Emilia cursed up and down at trying to find a place to park, finally settling with a spot beside a bank which wasn't meant for anyone but customers. We piled out of the car and started down the street, dodging pedestrians and tourists.
When I came to England ten years ago I didn't think I would ever adjust to living out of the states, but after a couple years I grew to love it here and I couldn't see myself leaving it. After a while I didn't even miss my old friends anymore. I still wrote them, at least for the first few years but of course after a while you lose contact with people as they get involved in their own lives and I had no idea what they were doing anymore. All I do know is that I had to leave out why my Father and I had decided to move to England in the first place. The lie I had to tell my friends was that Dad had gotten a job offer that was too good to pass up. Something in the restaurant business. Before my Dad was heavily involved in the life of being a Hunter he had gone to Culinary school and trained in Asian and French cuisine. Which explained my love for ethnic food.
I knew though that whenever I would go to the city with Emilia and the others that we were either going to a pizza joint, or someplace that served good burgers. When she started for the door of a popular pizza place, I wasn't at all surprised. I didn't mind it though, it wasn't exactly the first thing I would pick out, but it certainly was better than burgers.
We stepped inside and immediately took our usual booth which was positioned in a back corner away from the door. I slid in first and Emilia was quick to dart beside me, knowing that I wouldn't want Perci sitting next to me. He showed his disgust with that action with a scowl before sitting across from me and then Felix beside him.
We waited a good ten minutes before someone came over and took our order. Just as usual Emilia ordered a cider, and one for me also. Felix stuck with water while Perci chose beer. Once our drinks came the only thing we did was sit in silence.
The restaurant was louder and busier than usual. Every table was crammed full, and more people were piling in the door every five minutes it seemed. When our pizza finally came everyone dug in and we demolished it within thirty minutes. After two more ciders we paid the tab and left.
Emilia led the way with Perci beside her while Felix and I lagged behind. We window shopped for a while before Emilia found a boutique she wanted to explore.
I waited outside with Felix and Perci while she took her time trying on dresses and other things.
"We should just ditch her." Felix said, sneering.
"She probably wouldn't even notice we were gone." Perci added.
"Once she realized that there wouldn't be anyone here to help her carry her bags then she would notice." I said.
"That's probably the only reason why she wanted us to tag along. We're her servants." Felix finished.
Now silent, everyone seemed to be lost in their own thoughts as we watched the dozens of people flood down the sidewalks. It was exhausting enough having to follow Emilia to every shop she came across, but watching everyone else scatter around like ants made it worse. By the time she had bought out every store I was certain, she finally decided to take a short break by grabbing a drink at a small pub we passed.
We moved to the bar, which was crowded. There were only two bar-stools left so for the time being the boys let us have them while they stood off to the side and waited for a table to clear. I wasn't in the mood for more alcohol so only ordered a club soda. Emilia immediately started flirting with a young man beside her and somehow managed to coerce him into buying our drinks. How she always managed something like that I would never know. It was like she had some sort of super power that only worked on men.
"A table's clear." I heard Felix call out. I turned just enough on the stool to notice him waving us over.
"You coming?" I asked Emilia, but she barely heard me. She was too busy nuzzling up to the guy beside her.
I slid off of the stool, grabbing my drink and tried to head to the table but was slammed into by another customer. My club soda splashed all over my blouse and jacket, leaving a giant obnoxious wet spot. I barely had the chance to get angry over it before I felt something slip into my palm and a voice said.
"I'm sorry, excuse me, Miss."
For a moment I wasn't sure what happened, but when I finally tore my eyes off my shirt and noticed a man walking towards the door, I suddenly went stiff.
He glanced over his shoulder for only a short second, brandishing a charming smile that could make any womans heart melt.
It was Mikel.
He walked out of the pub and eventually disappeared in the crowded street before I finally realized that he had put something in my hand.
As discreetly as possible I unclenched my fingers, seeing it was a neatly folded piece of paper. Before anyone could spot me I turned my back towards the bar and opened it, noticing it was a note which read...
If you can spare a moment, meet me at Broddericks.
Quickly I crumpled the paper in my fist and casually dropped it to the floor. It didn't take long for it to get kicked under the bar and vanish.
The only thing I could do was stand there trying my best to swallow a knot in my throat. Why would he want me to meet him? And what's more, why was I even for a second contemplating doing it?
Broddericks was a small book store just down the street. Generally it was quiet, not very busy, with a cozy little cafe held in the back that served tea and pastries. It might have been quiet but there was still enough people inside to provide a good amount of witnesses should Mikel have some sort of violent intentions for me. But, that wouldn't make much sense now would it? He had me at his house, if he wanted me dead he could have done it there, why would he wait a week and then decide to off me in some bookstore?
Now the question remained of how I was going to get away from everyone and make it to that bookstore to meet him? They wouldn't let me go without a dozen questions. Felix wouldn't let me go alone after what had happened a week ago. The only chance I had of escaping was if I sneaked away when they weren't looking. Which is what I was going to do.
Even though it was a stupid thing for me to do, I needed to know why he wanted to meet me. Call me crazy but I found him fascinating, albeit slightly terrifying at the same time. Still, it wasn't everyday that I met someone as interesting as him, and I wanted to take advantage of it. Besides, maybe he had a good reason to want to talk to me? Highly doubtful, but you never know.
I glanced at the table, noticing Felix and Perci preoccupied by ogling two giggling women at the table beside them, and since Emilia was still hanging all over the man at the bar, I knew I could sneak out without them noticing. Before anyone saw me I slipped past a line of customers and out the door, darting down the street a good block or so before finally slowing my pace. Once I was out of site of the pub I finally stopped completely, out of breath.
For a moment I regretted ever leaving them behind, knowing what would happen if my Dad found out what I was doing. If he knew that I had went to meet Mikel willingly, there was no telling what he would do. But I could be sure it would be along the lines of locking me in my room and never allowing me out again. I was going against every law or rule being a Hunter stood for. You don't go traipsing around with a vampire, you pull a weapon and kill them instead. But today that wasn't an option, I left the school without bringing a weapon with me.
Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed my friends hadn't caught on that I deserted them, so I kept going. Broddericks wasn't far, maybe another block or so away so I wanted to get in there, talk to Mikel and then hopefully get back to the pub before Emilia and the others left. I didn't figure it would take them long to notice I was gone, and chances were within ten minutes each one would be texting or calling me.
When I found myself standing outside the bookstores door, my heart had suddenly started pounding. The feeling of anxiety and nerves pressed down on me like a heavy boulder. My mind was spinning and I actually felt my stomach turning flips.
This was ridiculous! What was I thinking? Just a week ago I was cursing this man up and down for what happened and now I was actually stooping to going and meeting him secretly? A man I barely knew, a vampire no less. The vampire. This just settled it. I had definitely lost my mind.
I pushed the door open and heard a tiny bell jingle. Inside was quiet, only one or two people were standing in the tightly crammed isles lined with books and magazines. Neither of them were Mikel, so I continued past the front doors and through a side isle squeezing past a teenager who was looking at comic books.
In the back of the store was the cafe, there was only two small round tables, and on either side of the room a comfortable armchair. Mikel was sitting in one of them, sipping at a cup of tea and casually flipping through the pages of a book. He must have sensed me because he lowered the book and gave a short glance from over his shoulder.
"I was wondering if you would come." He said nonchalantly, looking to have more interest in his tea than myself standing there.
"Well considering you took the time to actually run into me on purpose, risking being seen by my friends, I figured this had to be good."
He lowered the book he held and finally stood.
"I'm not worried about being spotted by the people who accompany you. They wouldn't know me if they saw me anyhow."
"Don't underestimate them. They aren't stupid."
He only smiled, then motioned to one of the empty tables.
"Come. Sit down, I wanted to speak with you." He sat down first, bringing up the tea to his lips as he watched me.
I scooted into the chair in front of him, denying anything to drink when he asked me.
"What's this about?"
He leaned forward and rested his elbows on the table, and yet again I caught myself gawking at him. How he managed to appear so calm and normal was a miracle I was certain. His gray jacket gapped slightly on his chest and past that I could see in the inner pocket was a pair of sunglasses.
"I was thinking quite a bit about what you and I spoke about. And I have to say it peaked my interest." He started.
"Which part exactly?"
His eyes seemed to trace every inch of my face before he spoke again.
"You stated that you thought it wrong to off every vampire in the world. You claimed that if we could only find a way to live peacefully, then naturally it would be a much better place to exist."
"Yeah, I said that. What about it?"
"I decided that you were absolutely right about that. In fact, it was something that I always wished were possible but considering that there are so many unruly vampires out there it would be a little hard to accomplish. So, I came up with a little idea that I wanted to run by you."
Now I leaned forward, equally trying my best to intimidate him with my stares. Not that it would have worked. I was just a normal human, a Hunter yes, but a Hunter without her weapons. So I don't think my little strategy succeeded.
"Why would you want to run this so called idea by me? You don't even know me."
"No, but I hope to get to know you. And besides, I told you that I wanted us to be friends. In answer to your question however I suppose the reason why I came to you is because your Father runs Eldridge Academy."
Instantly I felt like cursing, and if I knew it wouldn't get my arm torn off I would have started slapping him. My father and uncle were right. Mikel was trying to find a way to get his hands back on the artifact. And he was going to try and use me to do it. But for the moment I wasn't going to mention that, I wanted to see what he had planned.
"Ok, so... What's your idea?"
He seemed surprised that I didn't question his integrity straight off. Judging by the look in his eyes I could tell he was trying his best to read me somehow. To maybe sense if I was on to his schemes, or planning my own.
"Well, like I said it would be impossible for the entire world to suddenly roll over and tame themselves. But I figured that the best place to start would be between my clan, and yours. I want to create a sort of peace treaty. One that would ensure there be no further violence from the Amsel family, and I would promise that my people as well would not react with violence. If your family agrees to it, then I also promise that my people will not kill under any circumstance."
"And, you expect for my family to simply give up the life of being Hunters?"
He shook his head.
"No. I realize that this is who and what you are. And I know that there are creatures out there that refuse to abide by my rules. If they are not a part of my clan then they would not be protected by the treaty. Which means that if a Hunter should decide to end their life, I can hardly object to it."
"And you would have no problem with that at all?"
"Well I would be lying if I said that I was completely comfortable with the idea. But times now a days require beings like us to revert and evolve. We cannot simply run about the country side slaying and killing anyone we please. Not that I would want to anyhow. Unfortunately though there are many out there that don't agree with living such a calm lifestyle. While I wouldn't be happy that some of my people would have to die, I certainly wouldn't grieve for them."
Our conversation was interrupted by my pocket vibrating. He heard it, his eyes falling down to my jacket where my phone lied.
"Seems as though someone is trying to contact you." He stated.
I grabbed my phone quickly, barely scaling over the message from Emilia asking.
Where the hell did you go?
I texted back quickly.
Sorry I had to run out. I remembered that I forgot my wallet back at the pizzeria. Just go on without me and I'll catch up.
Dropping my phone back in my pocket, Mikel only smiled.
"So, what do you think of my idea?"
Skeptical, I sat back and crossed one leg over the other, trying to keep my attention off of him. It seemed that looking at him directly made it more difficult to be snarky with him.
"I think that it would be great if it could actually happen. But I think you and I both know that my Father, and every other Hunter back at Eldridge, would never agree to something like that."
"That's why I came to you, love. Because you have a level head on your shoulders, you think more clearly and openly. If I can only convince you of it, I was hoping perhaps you could somehow convince your family. Perhaps we could work together to form an agreement that both clans would be satisfied with?"
If he was telling the truth which I highly doubted he was, it would have been a nice idea. Granted one that would never be accepted by the Academy, but it was still a pleasant thought. At least we wouldn't have to worry about Mikel or his underlings anymore. We wouldn't have to go on this ridiculous man hunt anymore. Mikel wouldn't be at the top of our list anymore. And seeing is that he had evaded us for so many centuries I knew that no one would be able to actually succeed in killing him. Since that was the case, a peace treaty would be our best bet. That way we would know that he wouldn't come after us, and he would keep his people under control.
"I think that you and I working together wouldn't be possible. Because there has to be a level of trust between us, and I really don't think that would ever happen. There would always be the lingering doubt that you would go back on your word, and I'm sure that you would always be wary of Hunters. How would anything like that work if you and I couldn't even work together amicably?"
"Well, Lorelei- I for one can vouch that I would do whatever was needed to be certain you gained that trust. I'm always a man of my word, never once have I ever backed out of a deal or a promise."
"And what would you do to start building that trust, Mikel? Because it's going to require a lot of time and patience on your part. I won't instantly believe everything you say just because you claim your word is golden."
He nodded at that, then reached into his jacket, pulling out a slip of paper. He jotted something down quickly then slid the paper to me with his index finger.
"That's the address to my home. I'm giving it to you willingly because I know that deep down inside you only want what's best for your clan. In return, I expect that you not betray me by alerting your Father of this meeting, or telling him where my home is located. I think that this is the best way to start building trust, don't you?"
I could only stare at that paper with wide eyes. Something definitely wasn't right here. I tried to call him out on what I thought was a blatant lie, and he responded by giving me the address to his house? No, no... Something was clearly wrong. Why would he do that?
The address was teasing me, lingering there in front of me like a worm on a hook. He was waiting for me to take the bait, just waiting for me to take it and then agree to what he was offering. Carefully I reached over and tried to take the paper, but he quickly slid it from my grasp.
"Do you agree to this then?" He asked, his bright eyes practically burning a hole right through me. "Do you promise that you will not betray this trust by outing my home to your family?"
My strong and stiff posture was starting to break, I could feel sweat forming on my upper lip and temples. If this wasn't a joke... If he really and truly wanted to bring peace between our families then it relied solely on myself to see that deed done. I wanted that... I had wanted peace between vampires and humans since I was old enough to know what a vampire was. I never wanted to be a Hunter to begin with, I didn't want to kill anyone.
My throat had suddenly gone dry, and no amount of swallowing relieved it. Everything I had been taught at the Academy was blaring through my mind right then. My mind was telling me that this had to be a trick. You just couldn't trust a vampires words. My Father said that Mikel was cunning and persuasive, he could manipulate you to do anything he wanted. The thought of his precious artifact being somewhere in my families possession was the only thing that was halting me from telling him I agreed to this. Because if I was wrong, if he really was lying and was trying to get his item back, it would have been all my fault. But if he was actually telling the truth, I could put an end to the battle my family had been fighting for centuries. We wouldn't have to lose sleep one more night over worrying about the dreaded vampire lord.
Even though I knew there was too many risks involved, I had to accept. Because if there was even a slim chance Mikel was telling me the truth, I just had to do it.
"Alright." I finally spoke. "I promise I won't betray you."
Still, he seemed to try and read my expression. When he determined I wasn't lying to him he slid the paper back to me and I quickly snatched it up.
"I'm glad you see things my way, Lorelei." He stood from the table. "Come to my house the day after next and we'll get things started. Come alone, and be sure that you're not followed."
I nodded slightly, watching as he turned and gracefully walked his way through the isles and after hearing the door jingle, he was gone.
My heart was racing now. I clenched that paper in my hand so tightly my knuckles turned white. I could always change my mind. I hadn't looked at the address he wrote, if I didn't- I could always tell him that this wasn't a good idea. I wasn't going to trust him, there would be no peace treaty.
That thought quickly vanished as the crumpled paper practically screamed at me. Quickly I brought it up and looked at it.
The words stood out and practically smacked me in the face. It didn't take but two seconds to realize that I knew exactly where his home was located. In fact, we had driven past it on numerous occasions in the past. Just as I figured, it wasn't out side of the city but on the outskirts. Only a few miles from where I sat right now.
I couldn't believe this was happening, I halfway expected to wake up and realize that this conversation, this entire last week, had been nothing but a dream.
But it wasn't... And now I was forced to keep my word to Mikel, and if the results in the end were at all that I hoped they would be... There would finally be peace between Hunters and vampires.