Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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6 - Hunger

“Are you gonna play fair this time or are you settled in your cheating ways?”

“Hark! Doth I hear the sound of a whiner? A complainer? A sad and mopey sore loser?” Cole taunted, holding his hand to his ear.

“More like the sound of hot gas trying to escape your big fucking head,” Alexander scoffed as he stuffed his hands into his jean pockets.

Cole smirked and jogged in front of his brother, walking in front of him backward. “Aww, come on, brother. You’re still sour that I totally wiped the floor with your ass on the last hunt. Don’t bitch and moan about it. Next time... keep up,” he taunted Alexander.

“It’s not about speed! You just don’t know how to one-up me without your pathetic tricks,” Alexander said, rolling his eyes. He kicked a few rocks on the thick forest ground.

“Mmm... sounds like excuses from someone who’s jealous they’re not as fast as me. Speed trumps stealth, brother. What’s the point of observing if I’m already going in for the kill?”

“Stealth allows me to keep my food in one piece. Speed is the reason why all your kills look like they’ve exploded into a million pieces before you’ve even had a chance to feed.”

Cole laughed as he rolled his eyes. “Who the fuck am I trying to impress when I’m eating? Shit, Alexander, food is food. I’m still gonna kick your ass.”

“Yea, we’ll see about that,” Alexander chided as he passed Cole.

“I’m afraid you’re both in for a disappointment,” Elijah said, standing from the top branch of a tree. Alexander and Cole looked up to see Elijah elegantly leap from branch to branch before landing on the ground next to them. “Cole, you are indeed among the fastest making it nearly impossible for your prey to escape. Alexander’s stealth always provides the perfect element of surprise,” Elijah said, wiping his hands.

They both eyed him curiously. “But...” Alexander said, leading for a response.

“But I’m clearly the more superior predator here,” Elijah grinned deviously.

Cole and Alexander scowled in annoyance. “Oh, come off it, Elijah!” Alexander hissed.

“Fuck all that shit,” Cole said, rolling his eyes.

“I guess I’ll just have to show my little brothers how it’s done... again,” Elijah teased as he led them deeper into the forest.

“Again with the ‘little brothers’ shit. When are you gonna stop hanging your age over our heads,” Cole grumbled.

“When one of you finally beats me to the first kill,” Elijah smirked, without looking back at either of them.

“His head is even further up his ass than yours is,” Alexander teased Cole.

“Shut the fuck up, Alexander. I’m taking the lead this time,” Cole snapped. “Say goodbye to that top spot, Elijah!!” Cole taunted.

Elijah turned around and faced the two of them with a mischievous grin on his face. “You ready?” he asked. They both nodded with competitive looks on their faces before all three of them were off in different directions in a flash.

Alexander barely made a sound as his body sped through the thick grass and the trees around him. The rest of the world was a blur as he ran at inhuman speed through the forest. His eyes darted and his ears perked up keeping alert for his prey.

Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. Soft humming in the air.

He turned his head to follow the noise until his eyes brought him back to their manor. He didn’t even realize his feet were leading him as he quickly climbed a tree, perching himself on a branch to get a better look.

From where he sat, Alexander had the perfect view of Kiara grooming herself in the mirror as she hummed a soft tune. The melody was all too familiar. He couldn’t place where he had heard it from. But it sounded lovely coming from her voice. His eyes stay trained on her, watching her every movement. From the way she let her long dark brown hair fall around her face before pulling it back up into a scarf, to how delicately she rubbed the lotion on her alluring dark brown skin. Alexander felt a hunger rising in him as his pupils dilated. The way she gently rubbed the moisturizer on her neck titillated him.

He quickly shook his head. “I need to eat...” he muttered as he forced himself to look away from her. His ears perked up again as he heard the ruffling of leaves. His eyes immediately darted to a medium-sized hare, hopping through the bushes. His pupils darkened to a blood-red color and his fangs instinctively descended as he took off after the hare.

Alexander quietly leaped from branch to branch, moving as quickly as possible to keep up with his fast unsuspecting prey. He heard another subtle noise and looked over to see Cole also leaping through the trees going in for the same animal. They both made eye contact with each other before a grin crossed Cole’s face and he quickly sped up ahead of Alexander. Just as Cole leaped down to attack the hare, there was a gust of wind, and the hare had disappeared.

Cole stopped, immediately landing on the ground with no prey to claim as his own. “Did you-?!” Cole said angrily.

“No!” Alexander said frustrated as he landed right next to him.

They heard a sharp whistle and looked to the side to see Elijah. He was leaning casually against a tree with his arms crossed over his chest, the hare dangling lifelessly in his hand. “And that, little brothers, is how you catch a prey,” he smirked at them.

“Fucking shit!” Cole shouted angrily.

~*~

“You just gotta move your feet. Like this. See…? Like... one and two and three and four.”

“That’s too many steps!”

“Oh come on, Peter, you got it! Like this!” Kiara grabbed Peter’s tiny, cold hand and spun the small boy around in a circle as he giggled hysterically. “See! You got it!” she laughed. She continued to spin him before crouching down to his level to do a hip bump.

The brothers headed back toward the manor. Elijah smiled to himself and licked a speck of blood from the corner of his mouth while Cole and Alexander continued to bicker. As they neared the manor, they heard loud music blasting from the kitchen windows. They all exchanged confused looks as they entered the estate. They peeked into the kitchen to see Kiara dancing around Peter. The little boy shuffled awkwardly on his feet, trying to keep up with her and the beat. Despite looking completely awkward, they had never seen the little boy smile that much in years.

“Now bump! And hip! Other side! Oh, yea!” Kiara laughed. “See? Look at you! Fast learner!”

Peter giggled hysterically as he happily clapped his hands. He immediately sensed his brothers’ presence and turned around to face them. “Elijah!” he squealed as he eagerly ran up to him.

“Hello there, little one,” Elijah smiled as he picked the boy up in his arms. “My... aren’t you all smiles this evening.”

Kiara turned around when she heard Elijah’s voice and nearly jumped out of her skin to see all three of them standing in the kitchen entryway. She quickly ran to the radio and turned it off. “I’m so sorry!” she said frantically. “I thought you were all out.”

“Well, don’t stop shaking your voluptuous body on our account,” Cole smirked at her as he leaned on the table.

Alexander glared at Cole and kicked him in the leg before standing in front of him to block his view of Kiara. “We were just running an errand,” Alexander told her.

“Oh. Peter said you guys usually go hunting or something?” she asked. “But I didn’t see any rifles or hunting gear. Maybe in the shed?”

Alexander and Cole glanced at Elijah who quickly cleared his throat. “Peter may have been confused. Too much television for the poor boy,” Elijah chuckled.

“Oh, I see,” she shrugged. “He came to my room earlier. Said he was feeling lonely so we spent some time together. Watched TV, played board games, danced to music. It was nice. He’s like the little brother I never had,” she said, ruffling the hair on his head. Peter giggled adorably.

“Kiara has a surprise for me!” Peter said excitedly as he clapped his hands.

“Oh, right!” Kiara said quickly, running to the fridge. She opened it up and pulled out a tray of cupcakes decorated with multi-color icing and superhero figurines. She placed the tray on the table and picked up a cupcake with a Spider-Man topper. “I made these buttermilk cupcakes for you! They’ve got cool superheroes on them! Try one, they’re delicious!” she said, handing it to him.

Peter’s pale blue eyes widened in shock before they started to well up with thick, red-tinted liquid. “Huh...? Peter-” Kiara said, looking at him both confused and concerned.

“WHY?! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?! I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS! YOU TEASE ME WITH NICE THINGS I CAN’T HAVE!” he screamed at the top of his lungs.

Kiara looked at him startled. “What? But, I didn’t-” She went to touch his hand and he immediately retracted from her as if he touched a hot stove.

He screamed hysterically, running towards Cole who quickly picked him up in his arms. “Peter, come on now...” Cole said, trying to comfort him.

“SHE HATES ME! SHE WANTS TO TORTURE ME WITH THINGS I CAN’T HAVE!” Peter cried out on Cole’s shoulder. Cole gently rocked him, trying to soothe the poor boy.

Elijah spotted the red liquid leaking down Peter’s face and staining Cole’s shirt. Cole quickly maneuvered to hide it from Kiara. “Take him to bed,” Elijah said to Cole sternly. Cole nodded and quickly walked out of the kitchen.

Kiara looked on stunned, not even sure of what just happened. “I... I’m sorry. I don’t understand. What did I do wrong?” she asked.

“Er, nothing, Kiara. You did nothing wrong,” Elijah said quickly. “Peter is just... He has certain needs that... other children don’t.”

Kiara frowned, still not really understanding how that would lead him to react the way he did. “I thought he would have liked the cupcakes. I made them especially for him...”

“And that was kind of you, but... Peter is a special boy,” Elijah said, trying to reassure her. “I’m sure he appreciates the gesture.”

“I’m not sure he does...” she muttered with a frown. She unhappily bit into the cupcake, still trying to figure out what she did wrong. “You guys should have one at least. One of my foster moms used to make these when I was a little girl. They’re so good,” she said, pushing the tray towards Alexander.

“We... are lactose intolerant,” Alexander said quickly.

She looked at them confused. “Wait what?”

“The whole family. It’s genetic,” Alexander added. Elijah tried to stifle a frustrated groan from Alexander’s reckless response.

Kiara’s frown deepened. “Jeez... I wish I knew that before I made these... Why did you guys buy all that milk and cheese then?”

“For you,” Elijah said.

“For me and only me?!” she said incredulously. “Just how much do you guys think I can eat?!”

“We just didn’t want you to go without. We... may have overestimated a bit,” Elijah said sheepishly.

Kiara looked at them still a bit bewildered before she chuckled. “You guys are sweet. Strange! But sweet,” she teased. Elijah gestured for Alexander to follow him out of the kitchen. “Oh! Before you guys go, I’m going to need a blood sample from one of you,” she said, placing the tray of cupcakes back into the fridge.

“I’m sorry, a what?” Elijah said surprised.

She walked over towards them and grabbed the bag sitting next to Alexander. She pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Elijah. “I got all of my equipment approved! I just need to run some comparative tests on Evangeline and see how much cell damage was done over the years since she’s had the disease. That will help in creating the probiotics necessary for cell reparation. But I need to see what regular cell structure looks like from a close relative.”

Elijah and Alexander just looked at her stunned. “If you’re afraid of needles, don’t worry. I was the most sought after nurse by children when it came to drawing blood,” she smiled proudly. She grabbed Alexander’s arm and it completely stirred him, sending him on edge. She rubbed her thumb over the bend of his elbow. “Best spot for the quickest blood flow with the least pain. You won’t feel a thing,” she said reassuringly.

Alexander looked into Kiara’s eyes and felt an intense hunger invade him. He felt his loins pulsate from her touch as he leaned in towards her. Her smile slowly faded as she slightly shrank back from his intimidating gaze. He could feel her pulse quicken through the quiet rhythmic beat in her veins. She anxiously tried to pull her hand away from him, but he quickly grabbed her forearm just to keep her skin against his.

“You can take my blood.” Elijah’s stern voice cut through the air, shaking Alexander out of his hungry lust-driven gaze.

“Okay...” Kiara said softly, though she was still looking at Alexander whose eyes never left her.

“Alexander, please go check on your brothers,” Elijah said curtly. Alexander knew that tone of voice was a final warning. He glanced at Elijah who looked at him furiously before he sauntered away.

~*~

“Have you ever been in love, Elijah?”

Elijah looked at Kiara with surprise. “That’s a rather strange question.”

“Sorry... I missed out on an opportunity to match someone I look up to with someone who I think might like her. And then, I just found out my new best friend from school is also in a relationship. So, it’s just got me thinking,” she said. She grabbed a box filled with gloves, alcohol, a tourniquet, tubes, needles, tape, and gauze. “And I don’t really have anyone else to talk to about it. I’m a talker if you haven’t noticed.”

Elijah grinned. “You don’t say...”

She smirked at him before rolling her eyes. She pulled on a pair of sanitized gloves and wrapped the tourniquet around his arm. “Sorry... Is it too personal? I just feel really comfortable talking to you.”

“I’m glad you feel comfortable talking to me,” he said. He watched her clean a small area on his arm with an alcohol pad before she seamlessly sunk the needle into his arm.

“See?! How easy was that?” she said proudly.

“You’re a pro,” he grinned.

“So...” she said, looking up at him expectantly.

He looked at her for a moment, trying to think before responding. “Yes... I’ve been in love.”

“How long were you together for?”

“It was sporadic... Our relationship was a bit...rocky...”

“I’m assuming you guys are no longer together then?”

Elijah frowned. “No... we’re not.”

“Why?”

Kiara watched as his eyes glazed over. “Unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances kept us from being together...”

Kiara frowned. “I’m... I’m so sorry Elijah.”

He smiled at her reassuringly. “It’s alright, Kiara.”

“How did you know you were in love?” she asked.

“... She consumes my thoughts 24/7. She became my life... my world. She is like oxygen to me.”

“Damn... that’s intense. But, Elijah... you’re using the present tense.”

His blue eyes slit over to her and he gave her a warm smile. “I am.”

“Are... are you still in love with her?”

He chuckled a little as he shook his head almost embarrassed. “It seems so.”

“It sounds like whatever happened was a long time ago. Why don’t you guys try and make up? Rekindle what you once had?” she said, pulling the syringe out of his arm.

“I’m afraid she’s moved on. She’s with someone else now.”

Kiara sighed in frustration. “That’s her loss then. You’re a great guy, Elijah. Any woman can see that.”

“I appreciate your kind words, Kiara. Love can be a fickle mistress.”

“Anyone ever tell you that you sound like an old romance novel? You tend to speak like you’re from another time,” she teased.

Elijah chuckled. “I guess you could say I have a bit of an old soul.”

She grabbed a band-aid and alcohol swab to clean his wound. But when she turned back around, she looked at his arm confused. “What the... Where’s the puncture wound?”

“It was just a tiny needle. I don’t think I need a band-aid,” he said, quickly covering his arm.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

He nodded as he helped her pack up her medical equipment. “You should be off to bed soon.”

She carefully placed the small vial of Elijah’s blood in a cooled container and packed up her bag. “Thanks for speaking with me, Elijah. Have a good night!” she said, heading towards the stairs.

“Goodnight, Kiara.”

~*~

Kiara headed down the hallway towards her room and walked smack into something hard and wet. She stumbled backward from the sheer force and fell on her butt. “Oh! Cole! S-sorry,” she said from the floor.

Cole looked down at her snickering. “Man... you really are a klutz, aren’t you, little thing,” he smirked at her.

She looked up at him to see him standing in all his wet, glistening toned body glory, with nothing but a thin towel around his waist. His long ombre hair fell perfectly around his chiseled face, still dripping with water. He smirked knowingly when he caught her eyes lingering on him. “Need a hand?” he said, holding his hand out for her to grab.

She blushed, feeling embarrassed. She grabbed his hand as he pulled her up and suddenly a bright flash overwhelmed her mind. Her eyes rolled up and she struggled to breathe.

~

Over a decade ago...

“DEATH BONE! DEATH BONE! DEATH BONE!”

The crowd screamed hysterically as the lights on the stage flashed rapidly. The drums banged loudly, matching the beat of the racing hearts of obsessed fanatics in the crowd.

“OH MY GOD, COLE! I FUCKING LOVE YOU!” Hundreds of girls screamed, throwing their bras and panties on stage.

A sweaty, shirtless Cole descended dramatically onto the stage as the crowd went wild. He took to the mic and from his lips erupted a deep, passionate melody that made everyone go berserk. With each lyric that escaped his lips, the crowd went even crazier. His sharp blue eyes scanned the crowd like a predator seeking out its prey.

His eyes landed on one lone woman in particular who seemed to be in a trance, totally unaware of the crazed fans around her. Cole got down on one knee and directed his sensual melody straight at her. The girl immediately started shuffling her way forward through the crowd, struggling to make her way to the stage to the tug of her desire. His voice drew her to him like a magnet.

Cole grabbed the woman by the back of her neck, leaning in to kiss her as the crowd went wild. He pressed his lips to hers, pulling her in for a violently domineering kiss. His mouth devoured her until her lips started to bleed, the blood trickling down her chin. He sucked on her lips, licking the blood from her chin and her neck where he bit down hard. She gasped, breathing heavily as he drank from her to the sound of the guitar and drums blasting in the air.

Cole threw his head back, his long hair whipping about his face as blood dripped from his mouth. The woman stumbled back into the crowd feeling dizzy, not understanding what just happened. She touched the huge bloody gash on her neck and looked back onto the stage. She saw Cole wiping his bloody mouth with his hand as he grinned at her. His melody lulling her back into the trance she was in before she approached the stage.

~

Kiara stumbled backward, struggling to breathe. She felt a hand quickly grip around her waist to keep her from falling. “Woah there!” She looked up to see Cole’s striking blue eyes staring at her and instinctively jumped out of his grip. He looked at her confused as she trembled a little.

“Are you okay?” he asked, taking a step towards her. She quickly took a step back from him, causing him to raise a curious brow. “You afraid of me now, little thing,” he said to her.

“N-no. I... you’re naked,” she said, trying to calm her anxiety.

He smirked as he stood tall in front of her. “Well... not completely naked. Why... are you interested?” he teased.

Her cheeks flushed as she furiously shook her head. “I-I should go. Excuse me,” she said. She quickly turned away from him and rushed into her room.

~*~

That night, Kiara had an even more difficult time trying to sleep. She tossed and turned in her bed as random images of Cole plagued her mind.

~

Somewhere in the 1980s…

“Oh. My. Gosh! This hotel is like sooo gnarly!”

Cole sat shirtless on the long, white couch of the penthouse suite he was staying at during one of his many tour stops. He put a cigarette to his lips and watched the two drunk girls stumbling around the room like idiots.

“Thanks for inviting us back!” the redhead beamed at him.

Cole smirked at her as he cocked his head to the side and quirked up a slim brow. “Thank me properly,” he demanded as he grabbed his crotch.

She bit her bottom lip as her eyes became hooded. She fell on her knees and crawled towards him, before kneeling at his feet. He watched with great amusement as she freed his member from his pants and proceeded to suck him off. Cole sighed satisfactorily. He grabbed her head and guided her mouth up and down his shaft, forcing her to take more of him.

After a few minutes, he growled in frustration and roughly grabbed her by her hair. “Who the fuck uses teeth?!” he said angrily.

“S-s-sorry!” the girl stammered, wiping her mouth.

He groaned as he pulled her up on the couch next to him. She nervously fiddled with her hands as he stared into her eyes. “Relax...” he said, caressing the back of her neck with his thumb. He leaned forward and aggressively kissed her while sliding a hand between her legs. She moaned at his touch as her body moved in sync with his hand. He lowered his mouth to her neck as he slipped a finger inside of her. She gasped in pleasure as she pulled her skirt up further and widened her legs to give him more access.

The other friend was still stumbling around the room, trying to stave off her alcohol-induced headache when suddenly she heard her friend start screaming. She turned around and her eyes widened in horror to see her friend hitting and scratching at Cole’s back as thick, dark, red blood poured like a waterfall down her neck. She screamed at the top of her lungs.

Her friend’s screaming finally ceased once her body stopped moving. Cole pulled back and sighed with content. His eyes closed as his tongue licked the blood around his lips and the juices from his fingers.

With her voice caught in her throat, the other girl immediately ran for the door, trying to escape. But, Cole was quicker and instantly appeared in front of her to slam the door shut. She looked into his blood-red eyes in terror as a sinister smirk crossed his blood-stained mouth. The last thing she saw was his fangs as she screamed for her life.

~

Kiara abruptly shot up in bed, screaming. She put her hand to her heaving chest as she tried to calm her fast-beating heart. “What the what with all these crazy-ass nightmares?!” she groaned as she put her head in her hands. “God, help me… This is what I get for not going to church…” she groaned.

She willed herself to get out of bed and felt her way through the darkness, leading herself out of the room and into the hallway. Stumbling blindly in the dark, she finally arrived at the bathroom and closed the door behind her.

Relief washed over her as she sat on the toilet and drained her bladder. When she went to wipe, she looked down and saw blood. “Oh great! I didn’t ask you to visit! I’m totally not prepared to be on my period,” she whined, kicking her legs in frustration. “Hmm… Maybe that’s why I’ve been having all these blood-themed dreams...”

She searched the personal cabinet the brothers allowed her to have and pulled out a pad. When she was done washing her hands, she looked disappointingly at herself in the mirror feeling even more agitated from her lack of sleep. As she opened the door, her eyes nearly popped out of her head at the sight before her.

“Kiara! Are you okay?!” Elijah asked frantically.

She looked at him confused. His eyes were slightly darkened and he looked uncharacteristically anxious. Alexander was pacing anxiously behind him, frantically running his fingers through his hair. Cole was leaning back against Peter’s door with his arms crossed, trying to steady his breathing. She could hear heavy pounding on the door behind him.

“Uhh… What the heck is going on?!” she asked bewildered.

“Are you okay?!” Elijah asked again more sternly. “Were you injured?”

“Uh... no. I’m fine, Elijah...” she said startled by his abrupt tone.

Alexander let out a small growl and Elijah snapped at him. Alexander looked at her helplessly with a dark tint in his eyes that made her step back in fear. He forced himself to move further down the hallway away from her.

“Are you bleeding, Kiara?” Elijah asked seriously again, pulling her terrified gaze away from Alexander.

She immediately flushed over with heat as a light red tint came to her dark cheeks. “Um... oh jeez... I mean I did just get my... monthly...” she said, looking down incredibly embarrassed.

All three brothers abruptly looked at her before exchanging glances with each other. Cole opened the door and grabbed Peter who was thrashing about wildly like an insane animal. Kiara looked on bewildered as Cole grabbed Alexander by the shoulder and in a flash all three were gone.

“WHAT THE HECK JUST-” she blurted in shock.

“Shh... it’s alright... calm down,” Elijah said softly as he approached her. She looked at him terrified, feeling like she should try to run and escape until she felt a warm feeling start to envelop her. “We didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said calmly. He gently grabbed her hand. “We were just afraid that you had hurt yourself.”

Kiara felt warm and peaceful as a still calmness fell over her. Elijah gave her a comforting smile as he led her back to her bedroom. “But, I don’t understand,” she said dazedly. “What just-”

“You should get some rest, Kiara,” he said, cutting her off as he led her to her bed. “You’ll feel better in the morning.”

He tucked her in and she felt her eyelids grow heavy. Before she knew it she was out like a lamp.

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