A/N: Welcome back old readers and welcome new readers!!
It is not *necessary* to have read book 1 to read this one. The main characters are *not* the same. However, if you have read Book 1, you will be more familiar with the universe, the bad guys and you might make better deductions as to what is coming ;)
Her eighteenth birthday.
The one Bethanie had been waiting for her entire life.
It was here, it was finally here.
She had set an alarm for midnight precisely, not wanting to miss that moment. Plus, at the clock of midnight? Exactly like in the fairytales. Excitement bubbled inside of her, giving her steps an extra pep and bounce as she headed for the window.
The world was asleep but she was wide awake.
She hopped past her mirror, taking a quick glance. She smoothened her blond bangs that were sticking in every direction. Bed hair much, and ran her fingers through the rest of her locks.
As Bethanie ran her index fingers beneath her chocolate eyes, she couldn’t help but notice dark circles had tainted her skin. She would need rest. No one would see her now but he would soon.
Once she was done with her inspection, she headed to the left, and then Bethanie gripped the latches of her bedroom windows, opening them. A breeze of cold air slipped inside and she inhaled deeply.
This was it.
She was finally eighteen years old. Today - as soon as her parents would wake up…
She would find out who her soulmate was.
The one person on this earth who was made for her.
She bit her bottom lip, holding back a giggle. She had waited years and years to fall in love, spending this time in her family’s home, waiting to be matched to her soulmate. She lifted her left hand, pinching her cheek.
Was it real?
Bethanie had spent the last months counting down the days until her birthday. Now that she was an adult, she could be reunited with her other half. She was blessed; not many people were given this opportunity.
Not everyone had a soulmate.
Only carriers and supernaturals. God had made the world that way.
Normal humans lived in ignorance, not knowing the wonderful world and entities that walked amongst them. In the same way, carriers did not live such a simple life. They knew, they learned.
To be prepared for this gift.
A perfect match. Two souls to create perfection. He left a way they could be found and reunited. Some could find their soulmates from all creatures, and others like her were tied to a species.
Before, being a specific carrier helped. It was easier to narrow it down and track down your soulmate. Now? Now they had Genecorp which facilitated every carrier’s life.
Every day, she was grateful that Genecorp could assist her in her quest. Before, it was a struggle - a painful one - but now?
Their mission was to bring soulmates together.
Her family was cherished by God. Filled with carriers, and true love.
From the moment she was born, Bethanie learned about the fairytales that would be her life. A love more real than anything else. A prince waiting for her. A life of perfection. A life she had to be grateful for.
After all, not all of her siblings were blessed like her.
No, out of six, she was the only one who had the honor of being a carrier. It was a burden in itself. To know that she would experience this wonderful life while they would live as simple, normal humans.
If Bethanie could change their lives and transform them, she would. But she could not. Of course, it led to differences. She had to be kept healthy, strong, and favored. More food, more treatments. More gifts.
Unlike her, they mingled with other humans, keeping the secret, but living amongst them. They had to keep up the pretense while she remained here. Her parents guarded her well-being, ensuring she would not get injured. She could not. God had chosen her and she could not risk her fate.
Even now, as she leaned over the window, she had to be careful.
Yet, she could not help herself. What if he was out there? Waiting for her? Her soulmate preferred the night to the day. He was after all a vampire. Bethanie had spent a lot of time attempting to reverse her cycle, to help her get used to the night.
She never could.
However, as she stood there, the moon shining high, the coldness of the night wrapping around her… She knew she could do it. It hardly mattered. All the hardships, all the struggles; they would vanish the instant she would meet him.
She knew this. She had been told this.
Her entire life she had learned, and educated herself in order to be ready for her soulmate. She was prepared for this. There were no wavering doubts in her heart, no fear throbbing in her blood.
This was it.
Every day, every year - it had been for this.
Bethanie leaned away from the window, shutting it closed as she spun around to face Katherine, her personal maid. Katherine had a frown on her face as she rushed to her side, gripping her shoulders.
“Are you alright?”
She pressed her palm to her cheek, inspecting her body temperature. “Miss Phillips, you are cold as ice! Are you trying to get sick before the big day?”
Katherine had been with her since she was a child. Sometimes, she saw her more often than she saw her mother. “Kathy, I’ll be fine.”
“No, you will not,” she replied in a stern voice. “You have waited eighteen long years for this, Miss. Do you truly wish to report this important moment simply because of a cold?”
Bethanie tilted her head to the side. “I do not think my soulmate would refuse to meet with me because I have a cold, Kathy. He is a vampire. Human diseases will not affect him.”
“You must be healthy and ready for him.”
“He is my soulmate. I know he is filled with anticipation, just as I am.”
Katherine let her thumb brush up under her eyes, her glance softening. “I simply wish the best for you, Miss.”
Bethanie clasped her hand over hers, clutching at Katherine’s fingers. “I know, and I will dearly miss you when I am gone.”
After their meeting, they would have a wedding. Bound together for all of eternity. Well, her eternity. Unlike her soulmate, she did not possess eternal life. Who knew how long he had waited for her already? Her life would be but a glimpse into his, but it would be his chance at love, at reuniting himself with his other half.
Decades were better than nothing.
She heard some vampires died of a broken heart, which was a devastating thought. She would want her soulmate to be happy, and to live on. With their children. At least, those who would inherit from her soulmate.
Perhaps others would be carriers like herself. Some would have their father’s vampire blood. They would need someone to look after them once she was gone.
“Now, please. Go back to bed and get some rest before the big day.”
“You mean the big night,” she teased.
“In the morning, you will find out who he is. At sundown, you will meet him for the first time. Would you like to meet him with dark circles beneath your eyes and a frail body? I think not. Bed. Please.”
Only because it was Katherine.
Katherine was no longer young and she had no desire to see her sick with worries.
“Fine, I will sleep, but I will not like it.”
“I do not need you to like it, Miss,” she began as she guided her back to her bed. “I only need you to do it.”
“I will, I will.”
Bethanie lay down as Katherine covered her with a warm, pink blanket. She patted the blanket to make sure Bethanie was trapped. She smiled at the elder woman, warmth filling her chest.
She had waited eighteen years for this moment.
A few hours would not kill her.
“Miss, please. You need to stay still.”
Bethanie was trying her hardest to stay still, but none of them were helping her succeed. One person was pulling on her blond locks, passing a brush through them, another was gripping her waist, trying to help her into her dress and another was assaulting her eyelids with a makeup brush.
She did not know where to look.
But, she smiled and nodded.
She would suffer in silence.
Her mother told her, a good woman was seen, not heard. She was blessed, and she had to accept certain hardships for this reward. Her life was easier than most and the least she could do was not complicate anything for the ones who were helping her.
Bethanie fought to stay still throughout the entire ordeal. She did not yelp in pain when the woman tugged too hard on her hair. She did not frown when the bristle of the brush entered her eyelid. She did not gasp when the woman pulled so hard on her corset that she could not breathe.
She remained composed, poised, and perfect.
As she should.
It did not matter. She could focus her thoughts on other things - things like Filip.
Upon waking up, Bethanie had learned the name of her husband-to-be, her soulmate, her everything. Filip. It had arrived at her parents’ home in a large brown envelope and she had waited in anticipation as they had opened it.
There was no photo, but she did not need to see his face ahead of time.
Knowing his name was enough.
When she heard it for the first time, her heart leaped in her chest. It was soothing, like a warmth enveloping her. She could not help but wonder how this feeling would grow once their eyes would meet.
It would be everything, it would be magical.
“Bethanie, dear, are you ready?”
As her mother’s voice boomed through the room, the many assistants stepped away from her. For the first time since they began their work, Bethanie was able to catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror.
Her long hair was wrapped in a ponytail, curls bouncing from it. A soft makeup highlighted her features while they graced her with the most beautiful, puffy pink dress she had ever seen.
She felt like a princess ready to meet her prince.
Her life would soon be a fairytale.
“I am mother,” she replied as she stepped down from the stool she had been standing on.
Her mother gripped her hands, forcing her to spin slowly as her eyes inspected her. “You know, Filip is royalty. You will live in his castle, surrounded by servants and he has a fortune that will take care of you until you die.”
Bethanie did not care for these things. Yes, she had grown up in the lap of luxury, a house full of servants, and her every need was constantly met. But, she could live without all of this if it meant having her soulmate.
All this time, a piece of her had been missing and she had felt it.
Sometimes, despite her best efforts, sadness would wrap itself around her heart. She would be filled with a weight that dragged her down. Nausea, adrenaline spiking - as though she was trapped.
Of course, she was. She would only know true freedom once she was with him. She endured the horrible days, the pain, and his missing presence. All of it was because she knew that one day, it would be over.
From now on, her life would be love and happiness every single day. Such was her blessing.
“I know mother. I am grateful.”
“Yes, you should be. He will treat you well, and your siblings will benefit from it as well.”
Filip was generous - of course, he was. He had offered her family money in exchange for the loss of their daughter. She knew it was unnecessary. Her parents were thrilled that she was blessed by the Gods.
They initially refused to accept such a gift, but they were informed it would offend him and they did not want that.
Bethanie was happy to know though she would be gone, her siblings would continue to live in prosperity. There was nothing else she could want for them. Except to wish they could be carriers - but that could not be.
“I am undeserving of his generosity.”
“Nonsense, the two of you were made for each other.”
“Now, let’s hurry along. We do not wish to make our guest wait.”
Her heart stopped. “Filip is here? Already?”
“Of course, the sun set a while ago, Bethanie.”
Oh no. He had been waiting for her and she had wasted all of this time here, away from him. She had prolonged their separation. How could she lose track of time like this?
“Please, mother. Am I ready to go?”
She smiled at her. “Of course, my beautiful daughter.” Her mother leaned forward, pressing her forehead to hers. “Please, make us proud. Show us the reward for being blessed.”
Her parents were not carriers themselves. Evidently, they could produce them. A lot of Phillips could. It was in their blood. Generations of Phillips had produced carriers - less in recent years, but it was in their lineage. That was also a blessing. Not as great, but a blessing nonetheless.
“I will mother,” she whispered, closing her eyes.
A moment passed and her mother pulled away from her. She grabbed her hand and enlaced their fingers as she pulled her along. The sound of her heels clicking against the marble floor was the only sound as they dashed down the long hallway.
“My, my. Bethanie. You are a vision.”
A smile broke on her face as her mother came to a halt. “Dr. Harper!”
There he was, the savior who had found her soulmate for her. How grateful she was for his very existence. During the past few years, as she inched closer to her eighteen birthday, Dr. Harper visited her a lot.
Sometimes to talk, other times to run tests, and take some blood samples. Bethanie could not claim to understand how the science behind this miracle worked, but she knew he was the man who made it all happen for her.
This moment, she owed it to him.
“I did not know you would be joining us,” her mother spoke with a smile.
“I would not miss this. These are the moments we live for, are they not, Jessica?”
Her mother’s smile grew as she nodded. “Of course.”
Bethanie nodded as she swallowed, her heart thundering in her chest. The anticipation was killing her. Right there, on the other side of the door was Filip. Her Filip. Her hands were clasped to her chest while she bounced off her toes, unable to stand still.
There was a tingling spreading across her limbs, forcing her stomach to flutter. She would no longer be alone, she would no longer have to stay here. She would see the world with him, and experience life in a way she never had before.
She could not wait.
Bethanie reached out for Dr. Harper’s hand and allowed him to lead her to her soulmate. The drumming of her heart overtook all the other sounds that surrounded her. She rolled her lip inside her mouth, trying to control the trembling that overtook it.
There was no need to be nervous.
It would be fine, it would be great.
Her mother hurried ahead of them and opened the large, white wooden door. Bethanie held her breath as they opened, revealing the large hallway. Everything was bright, everything was white.
Lights hung from the ceiling, illuminating the area, which had no windows. If it weren’t for the fact she was meeting Filip, she would be duped into thinking it was daytime still. There were four people in the room; Katherine and three men she did not know.
Two of them were standing sideways, allowing her to see their profiles. One had his back facing her. And he was the one she wanted.
No, she had never seen Filip, not even a photo - yet she did not need to see him to know. It was him. Short black hair, tall - so tall - and dressed nice. Black pants, a grey shirt tucked into them.
As Bethanie took her first breath in a long time, he began turning. There was a smile on his face as he made eye contact with her, his green eyes glimmering. His skin was pale - of course, it was, he was a vampire after all. Pink lips stretched even wider as he took long strides in her direction.
His jaw was bare of any hair, his eyebrows trimmed perfectly, and she noticed his features better as he closed the distance between them. His skin resembled the porcelain dolls she had in her room when she was a child. His shoulders were wide, not too wide.
“Bethanie,” he said in one breath. “It is you.”
His youthful appearance meant nothing. She knew he was much older. Bethanie had not gotten a picture, but she had gotten his file. He was not a child born out of the love between a carrier and a supernatural being.
No, he was an ancient, an original. He had spent centuries roaming the earth, waiting for her and only her.
All she had to do was wait eighteen years, and she found it exhausting. She could not imagine having waited centuries. But, there was no sense dwelling on that. She was here and he was here.
They would be together.
Her moment. It was here and it was now.
“I never thought…. I never imagined… I have waited my entire existence for you, my lady.”
There was an accent dabbing his every word, his tone soft-spoken, his mannerisms feeling out of time. Of course, Bethanie. She was a mere child compared to him. She had not experienced, seen, or felt anything yet.
It would change.
She would become a better version of herself with him by her side.
But what was that?
The rhythm of her heartbeat had transformed, a nagging feeling at the base of her spine forming. It was it, everything she waited for since the day she was born. This. She wanted this, she wished for this.
“I am blessed to have you… sir.”
He chuckled, showing pearly white teeth and a hint of fangs. “Please, Bethanie. We are soulmates, you must call me Filip. I would not have it any other way. There is nothing I wish more than to hear my name pass your red lips.”
Heat boomed at her cheeks and her glance dropped to the ground. His gaze was overwhelming and she did not think she had the confidence to uphold it. “Filip,” she uttered without too much of a stutter.
She thought the mere mention of his name would illuminate her chest. That it would make her feel like the air in her lungs was too warm, that her whole life had become complete for the first time.
The lonely nights, the tears that had filled her eyes as she had watched her siblings roam freely. All of it was for this moment, so she would never ever feel that way again.
He was real, he was in front of her. He was charming, he was polite - he was devastatingly handsome.
So why, oh why did she not feel the overwhelming sense of love she was promised? Why was she not overwhelmed by his presence?
Why did she not feel complete?
Bethanie plastered a smile on her face as she offered him a small, respectful bow. His dazzling smile never faded but her heart dropped to her stomach. She held back the tears, never letting her perfect facade crack.
She was broken. Something was wrong with her.
Bethanie would fix it - she would.
She refused to let her world fall apart. No.
She would be happy. She would be fulfilled.
Like she was supposed to be - everything else be damned.