Alexis stood looking at herself in the full length mirror. Her skin, although she worked out in her garden for hours at a time, didn't hold the tan she thought she had. No, she had watched it wash away down the drain during the hot shower she had taken. Even though she bathed regularly, those had been quick. The water was too cold to giver herself a proper scrubbing.
Her hair, that she thought was a dark brown, was actually a much lighter shade. Her eyes scanned over her reflection. This was the first time she had ever seen herself in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Marisol, the female the Nikolas had sent with her had told her she needed to put more meat on her bones.
Sighing, she lifted her shirt to just under the curve of her breasts. Her eyes filled with tears at the sight. She could see her ribs. Her hip bones we're protruding slightly and even though she wore a belt she could tell it was struggling to keep her pants up.
Mark had been bringing both her brother and herself enough meat that they wouldn't go hungry, and her garden should have been enough to keep her belly full. With the amount of food she had, she should have never looked like this, but she did. After making sure her brother had his share of food, and had gone to bed with a full stomach, Alexis would bring the left overs plus more to the surrounding families. She had made sure to only eat what would keep her going, nothing more. Glancing up, her whole body stiffened. Her hands were frozen with her shirt held up.
Nikolas stood the the doorway, his eyes narrowed and his fists clenched at his sides. She could almost see the anger pouring off of him and it took everything she had to make her hands drop her shirt.
Everything happened so fast. One minute he was across the room looking at her through the mirror and the next he was behind her, stopping the shirt from falling.
"You've been starving yourself?" He spoke through clenched teeth, and she could hear the fury seeping from his words.
"I haven't. I just don't eat more than I need." She tried defending herself but the look on his face told her that nothing she said would calm him.
He lifted his left hand, reaching for her and she held her breath, waiting for the moment his hand touched her flesh. She was terrified, was he going to hurt her?
Her trailed the tips of his fingers down along her ribs and shivered. The coolness of his skin was so different from the heat that poured from her. Her eyes stayed locked onto his fingers as they slowly glided up and down her ribs, and if she wasn't watching she would have thought she was imagining the touch.
Alexis jumped slightly when he ran his nose over the curve of her neck, inhaling deeply. "You smell exquisite, my love."
Her eyes met his in the mirror, but not before catching a hint of sharp fangs protruding from his top lip as he bit the lower. His eyes dropped down and she let out a slow breath.
"You never truly answered me Alexis. Do you know what this place is? Do you know what you have walked into?" Nikolas continued to brush his fingers over her skin, causing goosebumps to appear. A smile appeared as he trailed his lips lightly over her shoulder and up her neck, before nibbling right behind her ear.
Alexis couldn't help the slight gasp that left her at the feeling. Never in her life had she ever felt anything like it before, but she knew she had to keep her mind sharp. She heard how they were able to manipulate the energy around their unexpected prey, making them do and feel things they normally wouldn't.
"Well," she began as she licked her dry lips. "To sum it all up, this place is like a brothel. I give you my body, for as long as you require. As payment, you help save my brother. You'll give me the medication he needs to save his life."
Nikolas hummed as he nibbled his way back down towards her shoulder. She could feel the slight scrape if his fangs against her tender skin and prayed that he wouldn't bite to deep.
"I never thought of it that way." Nikolas spoke, snaking his hand around her exposed stomach and tugging her against him. "We help each other. There are three, how should I say, categories. We have females who volunteer to become feeders for a time and we grant them a request. We have volunteers come whose blood we use towards helping make the medication needed to treat those that are sick. Those volunteers have to go through extensive testing because not all blood can be used, you see."
Alexis nodded before swallowing hard, "and the last?" She watched his reflection as he continued to trail his lips over her skin.
Nikolas paused for a moment before he continued to pepper her skin with kisses. His free hand snaked down her arm and his thumb rubbed the slightly raised scar on it. She furrowed her brows at his touch. It had been a complete mystery as to how she got it, one she would never have the opportunity to learn. That secret had died with her parents.
"The third, is usually very hard to get into. Only those that are special can make the cut. One that we'll discuss at a later time, but one I am hoping you will agree to."
Alexis blinked as he slowly lifted his face from her neck. There was a slight curve to his lips as he eyed it and took a slow step back. "Finish getting ready, and I'll be back to bring you to get something to eat. We'll talk about it then."
He was out of the room before she could speak, her mind in a million different directions. What did he want her to agree to that he couldn't tell her yet?
She lifted her gaze, her jaw dropping. She was surprised it didn't hit the floor. Her eyes narrowed and she could feel her body heating up as the anger boiled through her veins.
Dark purple mark littered the skin of her neck. Shifting her shirt slightly she could see the trail he left leading to her shoulder. The sizes ranged from small to large. Never in her life had she every had this happen to her before.
Turning on her heel she made to grab the make-up she saw sitting on the table when she was brought into this room. She had never worn it but she would try, except she wouldn't get the chance. The table sat completely empty. Not a trace of the make-up anywhere.
Not caring that she hadn't fully finished getting ready, Alexis stomped, barefoot, out of the room in a pair of pants and the loose fitting shirt she had on. Pulling her hair up into a messy bun, she prepared to find Nikolas and give him a piece of her mind.
Her eyes zeroed in on him and her feet quickly carried her over to him. She didn't care that he was in the middle of speaking with someone. All she cared about to ripping into him for littering her body with bruises.
Grabbing him by the arm, Alexis gave a quick pull. The look on his face would have been priceless if she weren't so mad. "Who the hell do you think you are? What were you thinking?"
Two deep chuckles sounded from beside her and Alexis slowly turned her head towards the sound. Two men, that looked to be in their late teens to early twenties stood starting at her. One with shaggy dark blonde hair and piercing green eyes smiled devilishly at her as he eyed her neck, while the other with his inky black hair and blue, almost gray eyes stared at her silently. The corner of his lips lifted before he turned towards Nikolas.
Alexis scrunched her eyebrows, they we're speaking in a language she knew nothing about. Looking quickly at Nikolas she was startled to see his attention was on her.