1 - Intrigued
“...Is that her?”
Cole crouched down on the concrete roof he stood on. His squinting blue eyes pierced the darkness of the night. “She’s prettier than I expected...” Cole said.
Alexander rolled his eyes and stuffed his hands into his pockets. He kicked aimlessly at the loose rocks. “That doesn’t mean much coming from you considering you’ll screw anything that moves.”
“Fuck you, Alexander.”
Cole lowered his hands to the edge of the rooftop and gripped it before jumping effortlessly down to the next level roof. Alexander sighed with deep frustration and quickly followed after his brother. “What are you doing?” Alexander asked.
“I want a better look.”
“You don’t need a better look. She’s fine. Elijah told us to just check up on her and that’s it. Let’s go.”
Cole tore his pale blue eyes away from the girl he was watching and looked up at his brother with a sarcastic smirk. “Come now, brother. You can’t tell me you’re not the slightest bit curious.”
“Your curiosity always gets us into trouble, Cole. Now, let’s go before I lose my patience.”
Cole ignored his brother’s threat and turned to look back at the focus of his intrigue.
“Yo, get off of me! I don’t need no fucking doctor!”
“Well, good for you, asshole! I’m not a doctor, I’m an advanced nurse specialist! Now, calm the hell down otherwise you’re going to bleed out!” Kiara forcefully yet cautiously pushed a fuming and injured young Dominican boy back down on the medical bed. She strained to tear off what little material was left from his left pants leg and quickly wrapped a medical cloth around his profusely bleeding wound. She tied it tight.
“Shit!” he hissed. “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing! Just let me go, dammit!” he growled at her.
“Listen! Do you wanna keep your leg or not?” Kiara glared at him with a fiery look in her deep brown eyes.
He shrunk back a little as worry lines creased his forehead. “Damn... it’s that bad?”
“The price you pay for messin’ around with gang bangers like Diego,” she said, sterilizing his wound. She perched herself on a stool and worked quickly to stitch up his leg.
“Ayo, don’t act like you know me. You don’t know shit,” he sneered at her. “Ow!”
“Stop moving!” she snapped at him. “And I don’t need to know you to know that Diego is bad news. You mess around with him and his crew, then get used to seeing this damn hospital cause you gon’ be in it every day. You think you’re the only ass-kissing jevo to hop on Diego’s dick just to get into his good graces? I got news for you boo, ya not.”
“Yo, what the fuck kind of nurse are you?” he said, staring at her wide-eyed.
She finished stitching him up and wrapped a bandage around his leg. Sitting back on the stool she sighed deeply and looked at him. “I’m just a girl who’s tired of seeing boys like you end up in here cause you’re messing around with men who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire. You’re better than that. Better than him.”
“You don’t even know me. You don’t know what I’ve done...” He turned his head and crossed his arms defensively.
“You’re still alive aren’t you? You’re here? It’s not too late...” she said encouragingly. She watched him until he slowly turned his head back around to look at her.
“Yea... I guess you right… My name’s Miguel, but people call me Mikey.”
“Kiara,” she smiled at him.
“So, is there a reason why I couldn’t get an actual doctor to help me?”
“Oh, wow! That’s cold-blooded. I just stitched you up instead of letting you bleed to death and that’s how you thank me?” she said, feigning shock.
“Yo, chill, chill! I didn’t mean it like that. I was just wondering...” he said blushing.
“We’ve been overbooked for a while now. Between these turf wars and random attacks all over the city, the ER has been overflowing lately. So, you know... not every doctor is available. But I am an advanced specialized nurse, certified and trained for the work I do. Why? Am I not good enough?” she teased.
“Nah, you good. Thank you,” he said smiling.
She gave him a warm smile and stood up with her clipboard. “Just get some rest. I’ll check up on you in a little bit.”
“Kiara! I mean... Nurse Kiara, I can’t... I can’t stay here,” he said nervously.
She looked at him with a furrowed brow. “Why?”
“No, it’s not like that. I can’t... I’m supposed to meet with one of his boys. They’re gonna come looking for me. I can’t stay here.” She could see his body trembling with fear.
“Don’t worry, Mikey. I’ll speak with Security and make sure he doesn’t make it past our walls. Okay?” she said. He hesitated for a moment, trying to think to himself before he eventually nodded. She exited the room and rushed to the Security desk to advise them of Diego’s concerns.
“You got it,” the man at the desk said, jotting down her notes. She turned around and scanned the rest of the patients in the overly-crowded ER.
“LaFleur! Don’t just stand there! Three other people came in. More animal attacks! Go help them!” the head nurse Patricia barked.
“Yes, ma’am!” Kiara scurried over to a patient who was holding a blood-soaked towel to her neck. The woman looked deathly pale. Her eyelids lowered as she drifted in and out of consciousness. “What happened to this woman?” Kiara asked the paramedic who dropped her off at the ER.
“I-I don’t know. Some kind of animal attack, I think. There’s been a lot of those lately,” the paramedic said nervously as he wrung his hands.
Kiara carefully peeled the towel away from the woman’s neck and analyzed the wound. “What kind of animal does this?” she said more to herself. She quickly hooked up the IV and an authorized blood bag. “Can you tell me how many fingers I’m holding up?” Kiara asked the woman. When the woman failed to answer, Kiara used a small flashlight to look into her eyes. She could see they were significantly dilated.
“Alright, ma’am. Just rest for now. Do you know who or what did this to you?” she asked. The woman struggled to speak before her eyes widened and she pointed to the window behind her. Kiara quickly turned around and briefly saw the figure of a man quickly disappear. “Who was that?” Kiara asked.
“What?” the paramedic asked, looking out the window. Kiara dropped her clipboard on the table and sprinted across the Emergency Room. She rushed to the exit, pushing the doors open, the paramedic at her heels. “What is it?” he asked. “Did you see someone?”
Kiara looked around the empty parking lot but saw no one. “I don’t know... I thought I...” She took out her small flashlight and pointed it towards the parking lot. Taking a few steps forward, she turned the corner but still found no one.
“Nurse... whatever your name is... perhaps we should just go back inside? I thi-”
She heard a loud shout and turned to the paramedic just in time to see his body violently thrown against the wall of the hospital. A hulking figure towered over him before pouncing on him with such ferocious violence. Kiara didn’t understand what she was looking at. The paramedic let out a bloodcurdling scream that forced her to snap out of it. She immediately lunged at the figure in defense of the paramedic. But before she could reach him, it extended an arm that sent her flying. She landed hard on her back, hitting her head against the wall.
“Ooh...” she groaned in agony as she slowly lifted her head off of the ground. She struggled to open her eyes when she saw the figure mauling the paramedic on the floor. An instinctive gasp escaped her lips causing the figure to look in her direction. She couldn’t tell what it was, but the blood-red eyes sent a sharp cold shiver through her body as her heart began to race. The figure stalked towards her as she struggled to crawl backward, searching for something to hit it with.
“Help! Somebody, please help me!” she screamed. She turned around and crawled on her knees before getting up to run. She took but a few steps before the figure slammed her into a car. The loud throbbing in her head made her eyes roll back. She could sense the creature towering over her. Her eyes were closed for fear of seeing its horrifying red eyes again.
Suddenly, she felt a quick, harsh wind above her and heard a whimper.
“This is what happens when you get too curious. She’s just as bad as you...” she heard a morose, masculine voice say before she passed out on the ground.
“I swear these things get uglier and uglier every time we see them,” Cole said, his face twisted in disgust. He nonchalantly kicked the dead creature lying on the ground as he wiped his hands on his jacket. “You should have let me have the first blow,” he said, looking up at Alexander.
“You’re too messy. You always prolong the kill instead of getting it over and done with,” Alexander lectured him as he knelt down beside Kiara.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Cole smirked. He watched his brother hover over the unconscious woman and grinned at his brother’s hesitancy. “Well? What are you waiting for? Are you going to kiss her or are you going to help her?”
“Shut up, Cole,” Alexander said, without looking back at him. He looked down at the unconscious woman, his eyes scanning her face as if tracing every detail. He abruptly sucked in his breath when he saw the blood on her forehead. “Sh-she’s bleeding...”
Cole smirked. “So? You can handle a little blood can’t you, brother?” Alexander swallowed hard as he tried desperately to avert his eyes from her wound. He searched around in his jacket pocket before pulling out a small beanie. “You can’t be serious,” Cole chuckled, watching him. “This is hysterical!”
“Shut the fuck up, Cole! I’m trying to concentrate!” Alexander growled. He gently maneuvered the hat onto Kiara’s head, being careful not to touch her wound. He held his breath, making sure not to breathe through his nose. Once the hat was on, he carefully shifted his arms underneath her back and her legs before gently lifting her off of the ground.
“There you go. I’m so proud of you,” Cole teased.
Alexander gave his brother an unamused look before turning his eyes back to the woman in his arms. “We should bring her back to the hospital. They’ll take care of her,” Alexander said nervously.
“Or... we could bring her back to the manor.”
Alexander looked at his brother like he was crazy. “What the hell makes you think that’s a good idea?”
“I don’t see the problem. Evangeline is the one who wants her. She was bound to meet us anyway.”
“But, not like this, Cole... That was not Elijah’s plan...”
“Fuck Elijah’s plan. What kind of party is it if you’re forced to start on time?”
“You’re not helping, Cole...”
Cole shrugged. “Just trust me. What harm could she possibly do? She’s weak.”
“That’s not... Fine, whatever...” Alexander sighed in resignation. He followed his brother over the rooftop from whence they came.
“When I told you both to check up on her, I didn’t mean bring her... here...”
Cole sat relaxed on the couch, tapping his fingers on the armchair to a beat only he could hear in his head. He watched with great amusement as his oldest brother Elijah rubbed his face with great exasperation.
“She was attacked. We couldn’t just leave her,” Alexander said defensively. He sat perched on the edge of the table across from where Kiara was resting on the couch.
“No, I understand that. If these ferals continue to multiply at this rate... we’ll need to take further action,” Elijah said. His eyes focused on the hat on her head. “Why is she wearing a hat?” he asked curiously.
Cole could barely contain his laughter as Alexander scowled at him. “That was our dear brother’s pitiful attempt to hide her wound,” Cole grinned.
Alexander gave his brother a threatening look. “What good it did. I could still smell it...” He trailed off as his pale blue eyes zeroed in on the hat just barely covering the object of his torment.
Elijah carefully watched his brother’s gaze linger on the woman’s wound for too long. “Alright. I’ll take it from here,” Elijah said, walking up to Alexander. He gently nudged his brother with his knee. Alexander looked up at him a bit dazed before slowly standing to his feet. Reluctantly moving to the other side of the room, Alexander crossed his arms over his chest and lowered his head.
Elijah took Alexander’s place and sat down on the edge of the table. He gently ran his hand over her forehead and put two fingers to her neck to check her pulse. He cautiously removed the hat from her head to inspect her blood-stained wound. He could hear both Cole and Alexander audibly wince. He pulled out a handkerchief from his breast pocket and dipped it in a glass of water on the table. After dabbing away the excessive blood on her forehead, Elijah quickly pulled out a bandage and covered the clean wound.
Turning to his brothers, Elijah noticed they were both watching him. Their bright blue eyes had darkened with a red tint and their faces had become sunken and hollow. They watched him with inhuman calculated precision, their eyes rising with his body as he stood from the table. “I will dispose of this,” he said finally. He balled up the handkerchief and exited the room.
Kiara could hear several low, deep voices around her, but she couldn’t make out what was being said. She breathed deeply as she felt her body enveloped in a sea of velvet. With her eyes still closed, she casually felt around with her hands. She audibly moaned at how soft and lovely the velvet felt on her skin, causing the low voices around her to suddenly stop.
Slowly opening her eyes, she could see she was in a darkly lit room with naught but a slim stream of moonlight peeking through the windows next to her. Shifting herself to sit up, she immediately felt her head start pounding. “Ah, crap. My head...” she groaned. She placed her hand on top of her head where her wound was and felt a bandage. Suddenly, her eyes widened when she finally remembered.
She quickly looked up and saw nothing but dark shadows and three pairs of pale blue eyes staring back at her. She let out a terrified, high-pitched shriek as she grabbed the closest thing next to her. Unfortunately, it was just a book, but that did not stop her from waving it over her head defensively.
She heard an amused chuckle turn into laughter from the figure on the other side of the couch from her. Meanwhile, the other figure quickly approached her. She found that the terrifying, pale, blue eyes belonged to a devilishly handsome and distinguished-looking man with wavy, dark-brown hair that matched the thinned facial hair on his pale white skin. Despite his tall, lean, and intimidating stature dressed in a polished white button-down, black cardigan, and smooth black slacks, he looked down at her with a warm smile that calmed her. “It’s alright. You’re safe now,” he said to her in a sharp and authoritative yet soft English accent. He perched himself on the table in front of her.
“W-who... who are you?” she stammered, still clutching the book in her hand with a death grip.
“My name is Elijah. Elijah Blackbourne. And these are my brothers, Alexander and Cole. They ah... stopped the attack you endured earlier tonight,” he told her.
She looked over at the man whom she gathered was the one laughing just a minute ago. He had long, dark brown ombre hair with blonde ends and a matching dark brown beard. His pale blue eyes matched Elijah’s, but they were less warm, more bewitching, curious, and mischievous. He smirked at her and gave a teasing salute. “Looks like we’re in the business of saving damsels in distress. Elijah, what’s our prize?” Cole teased.
Kiara was surprised that there was no hint of an English accent with this one. He sounded pure-bred American. A darkened and low raspy voice that seemed to fit his entire presentation perfectly. “Cole...” Elijah said with warning in his voice.
“I don’t understand,” Kiara said, still dazed by her situation. “How did I get here? Where is here?”
“You are at our estate. Alexander and Cole brought you here,” Elijah responded.
“Oh... oh no! I-I have to get back to the hospital! I-ow!” She put her hand to her head again as she felt the agonizing and pounding sensation near her wound once more.
“You’re in no state to go anywhere. You should continue resting a bit...” Kiara heard a familiar somber and cool voice from across the room behind Elijah. Her eyes diverted to the source of the voice, and for a moment she forgot how to breathe. He was absolutely breathtaking. His short jet-black hair contrasted beautifully with his pale white skin. It made his bright blue eyes seem even bluer and accentuated the fine definition of jawline. He emanated the same inhuman ethereal beauty as his brothers, but there was something else about him that made her nervous. He was softer yet colder. And the way he looked at her made her breathing haggard. His eyes impaled her soul.
“My brother is right. You should rest a while,” Elijah assured her.
She glanced among the three of them nervously. “I can’t possibly ask you to host me. I don’t really know who any of you are and my apartment is not that far from the college.”
“Seeing as how you live alone, it is probably for the best that you stay where you can be monitored,” Elijah responded.
She bit her lip nervously and nodded giving in. Then she looked up at him suddenly. “How did you know I lived alone?”
Elijah’s eyes widened a bit before he cursed lowly under his breath. “I just assumed...”
She cocked a curious eyebrow. “Do I seem like the type of girl who lives alone?” she asked abruptly. “Is that a bad thing? Is that weird? Is it that obvious?”
She heard Cole chuckle. “Well, you’re definitely the type of girl who worries too much...relax...”
“I guess I’m just more concerned with that person who attacked me... at least I think it was a person... and the paramedic! Oh my goodness! Is he still alive?” she said, looking at them all frantically.
The men exchanged uncertain glances before Elijah cleared his throat. “I believe he’s being treated for his... injuries.”
Kiara nervously chewed on her bottom lip. “I should check on him... and Mikey. Crap! I forgot about Mikey! And that woman! And... crap, I have to go back!” she said quickly, getting up from the couch. She felt herself get dizzy again and involuntarily plopped back down on the couch. “Or not,” she said, grabbing her head.
“Just rest for a bit. You can check-in at the hospital afterward. They can do without you for a while, can’t they?” Elijah asked warmly.
Gently touching the injury on her head, she thought out loud. “I hope so... We’ve had such an influx of patients. We’re consistently outnumbered 6:1.”
“But you’re just a nurse, aren’t you?” came Alexander’s calm, soft voice.
Kiara scoffed in offense. “We nurses work hard! What would these doctors do without us? Let alone the patients. We’re the reason the hospital is still running!”
Alexander looked at her surprised and raised his hands defensively. “I meant no offense. Only that you seem to do the work of a medical doctor rather than a nurse.”
She looked down and nodded. “Well, that’s the ultimate goal. I’m starting an accelerated program at Excalibur University next week for my MD. Kind of a miracle, honestly, considering my financial situation. But my research is very specialized and rare, so I’m grateful for the opportunity,” she smiled, looking up at them. She noticed the gentle smiles on Elijah and Alexander’s faces as if what she had told them was something they already knew.
“I’m sorry! That was probably way too much information. I’m Kiara by the way. God, that introduction came way too late in this conversation...” she said embarrassed.
Elijah chuckled fondly. “We knew your name and that you were a nurse due to the tag on your scrubs,” he explained. “And actually, Alexander and Cole also attend the same college.”
“Really?” she said, glancing between the two of them. “Maybe I’ll see you both around.”
“Yes, well...” Alexander nervously cleared his throat and looked down, averting his eyes from her gaze.
“Well, this has been interesting, but I’ve got a practice to attend.” Cole got up from the couch and gave one final smirk before strolling out of the living room.
Alexander stayed where he was. Leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest, his eyes never left Kiara’s face. She glanced up at him and felt her cheeks get hot as she quickly averted her eyes away from his fierce gaze.
Noticing her sudden anxiety, Elijah quickly glanced at Alexander and his face shifted. He knew that look all too well. “Alexander...” he said in a low tone. Alexander looked up at Elijah questioningly. “I can look after Kiara until she is well,” he said with a suggestive tone.
Alexander took the hint and nodded. He glanced at Kiara one last time before finally exiting the room. Kiara watched Alexander leave the room before turning her attention to Elijah. “Are you the oldest brother?” she asked.
“Yes. Is it obvious?” he smiled.
“A bit,” she chuckled. “By how old?”
Elijah sat back and thought for a long moment before looking at her. “I have a few years on them.” Kiara felt a strangely warm feeling in her chest whenever she looked at Elijah, but she didn’t know why. She sat up on the couch to get a better look at him. Elijah felt uneasy under her gaze. “You should get some rest...” he encouraged.
“I’m sorry I... I feel like I know you,” she said to him slightly confused.
“I highly doubt that,” he chuckled softly. He gestured for her to lay back down. “I’ll make you some tea.” She watched him walk away before laying back down. She drifted off to sleep before he returned with her tea.