Goddamn woman! Why the hell does she ask so many damn questions? I wanted to tell her everything I could, but it would destroy you. Despite wanting to spend more time with her, I couldn’t. I needed to distance myself. If I was set to be coronated king, consorting with my slave wouldn’t be tolerated.
When I entered my office, I saw my brother sitting on my chair, feet up on the desk. “The fuck do you want, Zander?” I roared.
“I’m simply here to tell you we received a call today about your future wife.” He had a smug expression on his face. Kicking his teeth in would give me so much pleasure.
“What about her?” I asked through clenched teeth.
His smile grew even wider. “Your darling betrothed is on her way here with her parents. She’ll be here in two days.” He stood up, walking to the front of the desk. “I guess that means you won’t be needing Marnie anymore. Mind if I take her off your hands?”
Grabbing him, I threw him down on the desk. “You will not lay a filthy finger on her. Do you understand me, you son of a bitch?” I growled.
Ripping himself from my grip, he glared at me. “Silas, you’re going to have to give her up eventually. She’s a human, and you’ll be married. There’s nothing you can do about it,” he sneered. Zander roughly brushed by me, leaving the office.
A sadness gripped my heart. I knew he was right. Marnie couldn’t be mine. That was a harsh truth. The only way I could be king was to marry another noble, and it was my duty. Something that had been decided from the moment I was born. Last thing I wanted though was for Zander to get his greedy hands on her. She wouldn’t last long if he did.
The very idea that I needed to marry something of nobility to become king was such an archaic idea. Just thinking about it pissed me off. I’ve only ever met the girl once, and frankly, I saw right through her. Her father was one of the higher-ranking officials in the country and he just wanted to increase his land holdings, by strengthening his name through marriage. Regardless of his intentions, this marriage for benefit made me sick to my stomach.
Perhaps there’s a way for me to escape this obligation.
After the prince left me in his bed, I grabbed one of his shirts and ventured back to my own room. All the sensations I was still feeling were absolutely incredible. He wasn’t touching me anymore, but I could still him all over me bringing the sleeve to my nose, I inhaled his masculine scent. Little sparks of heat were erupting all over my skin, making my heart flutter.
Stepping into the shower, I let the warm water wash over me, feeling like a completely different person. Not like a slave. But that wasn’t the reality.
For the entirety of my human life, I had been a slave; never knowing the pleasures of being a real person. I always had to do something else, for someone other than myself. In truth, that didn’t particularly change, but for some reason, I felt something akin to happiness.
Drying off, I looked in the mirror. Mentally slapping myself, my reflection was enough to tell me that this was too good to be true. Pigment in my skin. No fangs. Air flowed through my lungs. Snap out of it, Marnie. He’ll never want you. All I am is easy pickings and a convenient snatch once in awhile.
Sometime later, boredom took over, so I decided to go down to see my family. It was still light outside, making my journey infinitely easier.
I recalled my mental floorplan, following it to the creaky stairs. Tiptoeing quietly, old habits die hard.
Making my way down the stairs, Raquel and Theresa were bustling about preparing their dinner, telling each other what they were cutting and where it went. Pausing behind the door, I smiled, remembering the days and the arguments over whose idea was the better one. The tickle fights that would ensue over what dessert we should prepare, always ending in Raquel disciplining us.
Pushing the door open, I stood there for a moment waiting for them to see me. Grace was the first. “Marnie!” she exclaimed.
Running into my arms, she nearly knocked me off my feet. “Oh, hi, sweetheart,” I replied, squeezing her tightly. “Have you been behaving?” Letting go of me she quickly gave me a big smile nodding her head. “Good girl.”
Raquel and Theresa threw themselves at me, squeezing the life out of me. “Oh baby, are you, all right?” Raquel asked, genuine concern in her tone.
“She’s a slave to a prince, Raquel. Of course, she isn’t,” Theresa sniped.
Rolling my eyes, I walked between the women, sitting on a stool. “Yes, I’m fine,” I finally said. They both looked at each other, then to me. “The prince has been…well, he’s been decent actually.” Both their jaws dropped at the same time.
“What?” they said in unison.
Giggling at their synchronized reaction, they continued to look at me strangely. “At first, he wasn’t so nice. But something seems to be different in him now. He’s been rather…pleasant.” I chose my words carefully, lest I incur Raquel’s wrath.
Grace showed me a confused expression at my statement. “How can he be good? He’s a vampire, and vampires are stinky.” Her voice was music to my ears, and her description made me laugh out loud.
“Well, most of them are, sweetie. This one…isn’t so bad.” I sighed deeply. “There’s something about him.”
Heavy silence ensued for a few brief moments. I could feel eyes boring into me, making me highly uncomfortable.
Suddenly, their squeals roused me from my thoughts. When I looked up, I saw Alina hugging Raquel, Grace, and Theresa. She looked pale, weak. Undoubtedly, Zander had been treating her roughly.
“Oh my god, Alina!” Running into her arms, I hugged her tightly.
I hadn’t seen her since the vampire ball, and she looked even worse since then. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure how long it had been. But I knew it had been too long. Pulling her back, I looked at her neck. “Oh god, Alina. What does he do to you?”
She looked down at her feet, almost ashamed. “Zander is cruel.” Her lower lip quivered, tears welling up in her eyes.
Raquel came up behind Alina, stroking her hair to calm her down. “Sshh, it’s alright, honey.”
Taking her face between my palms, I looked her straight in the eye. “We don’t have to discuss it. Why don’t we eat?” I hoped changing the subject would ease her anxiety.
She gave me a weak smile. “Just like old times,” she whispered.
Pulling out stool, I smiled at her, “Just like old times,” I repeated.
After we consumed a hearty meal, we left everyone going back to our respective rooms, arm in arm, however in silence. I wished so badly that I could take Alina away from Zander. He was draining the life out of her, and it was heartbreaking. She was my best friend always full of life. Now, she was a fraction of her old self.
Arriving at her room, Alina uncurled herself from my arm. “I’m scared, Marnie,” she muttered.
“I know, honey.” I was at a loss for words. “I’m going to see what I can do.”
Her eyes lit up. “Really?”
Shrugging, I didn’t want to give her false hope. “I don’t know, sweetie. I’ll try something.” Trying to be as reassuring as possible, I couldn’t believe my own words.
Parting ways, I heard sobs from the other side of her door.
Hearing her cries made me let loose a few tears as I continued on. However, I also knew who I needed to converse with, if I wanted Alina’s freedom.