Meeting of Minds
Vincent drove deep into the city, winding his way through traffic and blaring horns until we were in the thick of downtown-- here there were people everywhere. Vincent parked his bike and barrelled me into a cheap looking apartment building, up three flights of stairs and then into the penthouse suite. When he finally put me down, my legs took a moment to find their strength and I nearly fell into a pile at his feet. “Steady.” He whispered. We should be safe here. “I had a friend of a friend put up some wards--”
Once my legs decided to reunite with my body--I looked around, pleased to find it wasn’t an awful apartment; that in fact it was quite nice! I mean better than I had expected from what I had seen on the outside of the building. The décor in this suite was quite medieval; the color scheme based on a red hue or a deep burgundy... I couldn’t decide-- and accents were a pale cream color. I looked around curious. Vincent’s apartment looked extremely male-- there was a trail of jeans and shirts leading from the bathroom to the bedroom. I smirked, it was kind of funny. I spun to look at him, my eyes sparkling-- but he looked slightly embarrassed at the mess.
“I was planning on cleaning up before having you over. I was on my way home to do that last night when I heard you--” He hesitated. “Thinking about me…”
I felt confused. “You can hear my thoughts?”
He shrugged and began to clean up the clothes from the floor. “No, I can’t hear them per say-- I more get images-- I saw a picture of myself in your mind-- you were frightened, then everything went black.” He bit his lip and tossed the clothes into his room, shutting them out of view. He leaned against his door and watched me.
I tried to understand. “I still don’t get it. You could see things in my mind. How-- more importantly why?”
Vincent looked slightly uncomfortable. “I sincerely hope your memoryless self isn’t going to freak out when I say this.” He paused and cleared his throat. “Well I wouldn’t have known this before I met you-- I didn’t care back then, but when you feed on someone numerous times you create a bond with them; it’s like for instance I can feel how you are feeling to a certain degree-- or see things that you are seeing-- like for example; last night there was a bright light and you were terrified, but--” He blinked and looked away from me for a moment. “I also felt what happened before you saw the bright light, when you realized I did actually care about you.” His voice trailed off.
I fell to my knees and sat. None of this was clicking in my brain-- Was it supposed to make sense? I mean Vincent did look very familiar but at the same time I couldn’t remember anything past what had happened this morning except there had been a bright light in my dreams a very bright light and someone with big black wings... I blinked; and looked up at Vincent. “I don’t remember who I am,” I whispered. “I can’t even remember my own name.”
He crossed the room in one stride and fell to the ground and pulled me in his arms. “I know a way to help you remember.” He muttered hesitantly. “But it’s dangerous.”
I felt like sobbing. I didn’t care how dangerous anything was right now. Vincent leaned back and looked at me--
“But this new you seems to like danger.” He whispered.
I nodded. “Yes.”
Letting go of me he shrugged out of his leather jacket, and threw it on the couch behind me. I stared intensely at his tattoo on his wrist. I closed my eyes and for a moment I could see someone that looked like me tracing the lines of ink in his skin… then the picture was gone; as I opened my eyes Vincent had lifted his arm to his mouth. I frowned.
“What on earth are you doing?” I said still feeling somewhat confused as to what was going on.
Vincent chomped down on his arm, and a thick red liquid seeped from a hole in his arm. I made a face, but before I could protest he had shoved my face onto his arm; unwillingly I swallowed some of the red liquid. I should have been repulsed but his blood tasted like a fruity wine, and made my head spin; subconsciously I grabbed his arm and sucked for all I was worth-- that’s when I saw the images in my mind. I let go and pushed backwards as I heard Vincent gasping. My eyes were closed but in my mind I could see a girl who looked like me, running into a Dinner, a burger fries... a classroom full of people, me in a huge white wedding dress throwing myself at Vincent because I was happy, me kissing Vincent, me being fed on by Vincent, me getting ready to go out with Vincent, then a bright light. I fell to the ground, my jaw dropped. He was a Vampire and apparently I was in love with him.
“My name is Genevieve,” I whispered. “And I love you.”
Across the room, I could hear Vincent sigh. “I suppose those memories will have to suffice, I can’t give you back the ones that are missing.”
I blinked a few times, and my heart pumped something through my veins that felt like fire.
“Vincent.” I said slowly testing out the name on my tongue. “Are my veins supposed to feel like they are on fire?”
There was a slight wind in the room and I was being lifted from the ground by cold hands, which felt like melted ice against my heating skin.
“Make it stop,” I whispered. “Please?” It felt like a whip was tearing at me.
“I can’t do anything.” He hissed. “If I bite you now, even if it is only to draw the poison from you-- you will change, if we wait it out-- it might pass through you--you didn’t have enough blood from me to make a complete change I don’t think….” I could feel his worry and anger pour over me as if it were my own.
“Stop being so angry, and don’t worry so much” I hissed. “I feel your moods.” I couldn’t see his face but I wish I could, even with my eyes open I could only see blurry images the pain was so intense.
“But that shouldn’t be possible only Vampires can sense emotions of another.” He sounded worried. “But then you are Fae.”
At this, I laughed. Now didn’t that sound ridiculous? Me Fae! Hah. Even though I had heard him say that to Sophia-- I hadn’t really processed that he had been talking about me.
“Tell me about myself.” I murmured, trying to ignore the pain.
“Well, what is there to say? You live in a house that looks like a castle-- you were brought up believing your parents are Mike and Angela Pradora, and they have a daughter named Annabelle. You found out last year through a series of events that your real parents are King and Queen in an alternate universe called the Fairlands, where they want you to marry some Prince named Charles. He’s okay I guess but you don’t want that pushover; you want me.”
Even though I was in pain I found his remark quite cocky so I smacked him in the stomach which made him grimace.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
“You’re stronger then you look.” He muttered.
“Is it bad that I feel sleepy?” I asked because I suddenly did feel like passing out.
“Yes and no.” He said slowly. “I need your heart to beat faster to pump this out of your system.” He sounded frustrated.
He adjusted me in his arms and brought my face to his own and kissed me gently. My heart jerked, and I wrapped my arms up and around his face and tangled my fingers in his hair. I kissed him harder and his cold lips responded, my heart set off flying. I wanted to be closer to him-- I wound my fingers through his hair and wrapped my legs around his waist. Suddenly my head was pounding and my stomach heaving-- I pulled away from Vincent, my pulse racing.
I felt sick like I had eaten something I shouldn’t have, and now my stomach was super angry with me. Untangling my legs from Vincent’s waist I shakily stood and then I ran from his lap to the bathroom where I puked my guts out into the white porcelain toilet. A stream of extremely red vomit made its way out of me until there was nothing left for me to vomit and I curled in a ball on my side. Vincent entered the bathroom and scooped me up from the floor carrying me back into his living room and wrapping me in a blanket.
“I told you it was dangerous.” He mumbled, and I smacked him gently.
I looked up at his face. He looked completely relieved.
“You’re going to have to stay here for a while, at least until we can figure out what my father has planned for me… er-- I mean us.” He sighed, and ran his hands through his hair, looking frustrated. “We’re extremely lucky my Father was in France on the council for so long… if he had been home sooner-- I don’t even know what I would have done. But now that he’s back...” Vincent let the sentence peter out.
I frowned. “What month is it?” I asked slowly.
“It’s mid-May, why?” He said quizzically.
“Well we’re supposed to graduate in one month, and if we go into hiding I would like to at least be able to do that after I graduate.”
He chuckled. “Right I forgot, you loved dressing up. I personally like it when you dress down.”
I blushed and pulled the blanket tighter around me. Why he made me feel like this I can’t tell you, but it both disgusted me and intrigued me.
“We should probably leave the continent for a while.” He muttered continuing to run his hands through his hair.
I thought about being anywhere alone with him and got tingles down my spine. I shook my head.
“What do you mean no?”
“Gen; we have to get away…as brave as I was in front of Marissa-- er well you might not remember her right now but you two were friends.” He frowned.
I sighed. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t run away with you, I just said no without my condition.”
He frowned. “Condition?” He said slowly obviously not liking the sound of that.
I blushed. “You make me feel--” I swallowed. “You said that I knew you loved me; that I loved you-- although I can’t remember it-- you said it happened and it must have-- I can’t even remember myself or even who I am supposed to be. So if you love me and want me to run away with you--” My blush deepened. “Then marry me first.”
I was aware it might sound silly and childish but if he truly loved me then he shouldn’t object. Vincent stared at me completely shocked.
“Marry?” He repeated. “Now who sounds like the traditionalist Vampire. Are you sure you weren’t secretly raised by my family?” He paused. “Gen-- I know you don’t remember this but you were hugely against the whole-- young marriage thing. Are you sure?”
I shrugged, and stood up, letting the blanket fall from my shoulders, I was aware of the effect this dress had-- and yes I was using it to my advantage. Vincent flew to his feet and walked over to me; his hands went up onto my shoulders and ran down along my arms giving me goosebumps. He wrapped his arms around me and slid them up my stomach stopping just below my chest where my heart fluttered like a caged beast.
He bent his head down and kissed the nape of my neck and I wanted to spin around and kiss his mouth, and jump up and lock my legs around his firm muscled body.
“If I marry you, you will be mine.” He whispered, “And no one will be able to take you from me.”
I liked the sound of that. I really did-- though something fluttered in my subconscious-- a warning? Why was there a warning? Something about my savior being my slaughterer? Meh-- who was I kidding-- that was a ridiculous thought.
“Make me yours,” I whispered, feeling a longing I had never felt before.
There was a knock on his door; we both froze. Vincent frowned but kissed the top of my head.
“Stay here.” He said so softly that I barely heard him; he let go of me and disappeared around the corner.
I was too frightened to move. I listened as the door creaked open.
“So am I invited to your wedding?” A girl’s voice came bounding through the silence.
There was a pause then Vincent laughed. “Marissa!”
I heard Vincent shut the door and when he re-entered the room there was a girl with him who looked so very familiar, but I couldn’t place her name-- Vincent had called her Marissa. I smiled at her, she looked friendly.
“How did you find me?” Vincent asked her.
She shrugged and watched me.
“I followed her delicious scent,” Marissa said raising an eyebrow. “Speaking of which, congrats for totally and royally pissing off father. You’re lucky-- I’ve heard it through the grapevine that father is away right now.”
Vincent growled. “Actually he just got back.”
“Oh.” She giggled. “Welcome to the dark side of the darkest night you’ve ever seen, brother.” For the longest time after she spoke there was silence. “So what is up with Genevieve?” Marissa finally said while sitting herself down on a red couch.
“That’s what I am trying to figure out,” Vincent mumbled.
I sighed and Vincent and Marissa both looked at me.
“She’ll have to stay here for a while, Sophia decided to play puppet for dad,” Vincent growled. “I had wards put up so only people with good intentions can enter the apartment.”
Marissa nodded. “Good call. I’ll get some of her things from the house and bring them over here. In the meantime--” She said raising an eyebrow-- “I think I’ll crash on your hospitality for a bit-- makes me nervous to leave you two alone, after what I heard.” She giggled and then turned serious. “Unless you intend to turn her soon.”
Vincent’s jaw muscles twitched. “No, not while she can barely remember who she is…” He muttered.
Marissa jumped to her feet. “Well then-- I’ll be going.” She spun around and her hair twirled around her reminding me of what a fairy queen would look like-- I reminded myself I was supposedly a Fae princess. “Remember-- No funny business while I am away.” She bent and lightly pinched my cheek, while giggling; and then she was gone-- she was simply there and then not there.
There was so much going on around me, and none of it made sense.
“So Marissa and that girl from the classroom; Sophia are your sisters?” I asked slowly. “How many siblings do you have?”
Vincent cleared his throat. “I have ten siblings, all sisters. Marissa is the oldest, well only by several minutes, she’s my twin.” He paused. “Then Sophia is the third oldest and after are my other sisters-- I don’t know them very well-- they are all young, and I have been in and out of my father’s house since I was thirteen.” He frowned. “But I am considered next in line for succession not Marissa because I am the first born male, and succession of the family line is through the males in the family...” He trailed off and tried to smile. “I am supposed to carry on the Pureblood family line for my name unless my father has another son and decides to kill me which given the circumstances he is bound to try since until you there was no girl that truly caught my eye-- and seeing as you are Fae and definitely not a Pureblood.” He shrugged.
I wanted to run over to him and wrap my arms around him but sensed I should stay still and let him be, so I sat on the floor and watched him.
“Your father sounds like a very proud man,” I muttered.
“He is,” Vincent replied.
“Why is your father mad at Marissa?” I asked him.
He laughed; I didn’t understand what was so funny. “You asked me that a while ago, but I guess you can’t remember.”
I shrugged and shook my head.
“You know; I used to be like father and hate Marissa for betraying her family. In fact if you had even asked me a few months or years ago I would still have hated her-- what a hypocrite I have been.” He placed his hands on his head and moaned. “I see it now, why she acted the way she did.” He looked up at me. “She fell in love with that blockhead blue haired Sebastian.” He paused. “Sebastian is from my father’s side of the family. His sister had married a turned Vampire. Sebastian is their youngest son, they raised him and all this fifteen or so brothers and sisters on blood donors and blood from the blood bank. He and his family have never killed a soul in their lives-- and besides my aunt I don’t know if anyone else in their family has ever turned anyone.” He sighed. “When Marissa met him we were only ten years old, father had always kept us locked away in the cocoon of our family manor, where he thought we would be safe from the human population; but seeing us so dependent on one another-- I am not sure; I think looking back now that he felt threatened by Marissa and my twin bond-- I wasn’t controllable enough for his liking.” He frowned. “There are very few ways to break a twin bond.”
“Either you die-- boom, bond breaks; or you marry-- the bond lessens… but to cut the bond off entirely without a death… you have to completely hate the one you are twin bonded with.”
“But-- that sounds horrible!”
“Yes. It does doesn’t it.” Vincent’s lips drew into a straight line; his eyes almost vacant, as if he was too deep in a memory to realize where he was or that he was having a conversation.
“And? What happened then?”
“I’m sorry. I can’t talk about this anymore.”
“I’ve hated my sister for so long… but then she found you.” Silence flooded the room. I held my breath. “She found you.” Vincent tried to smile but it didn’t reach his eyes.
There was the sound of the front door creaking open and then the sound of it shutting. I found my hearing was sharper, and my eyesight slightly stronger than before, but I decided I wouldn’t mention this to Vincent, he seemed to have so much on his mind, plus something told me he wouldn’t be too happy about my advancements in my sight and hearing, he would worry that there was still poison in my system. Marissa flew through the doorway and into the room, she dropped a purple messenger bag at my side, it was stuffed with clothes and books. The bag looked very familiar.
“This is mine,” I said-- not sure why, but I was confident it was mine.
Marissa looked pleased with herself. She grinned at Vincent. “She recognizes it!”
Vincent smiled a small smile.
I dug through the bag, everything I touched felt familiar, but that was it-- no pictures came to my mind; then I picked up the blue dress and held it up. A black feather fell to the ground; I stared at it.
“I stuffed that one in last but I’m not sure it’s the right color for you,” Marissa muttered.
I stared at the dress to the black feather and shivered the blinding light flashing through my skull. Vincent crossed the room and took the dress from me.
“This is what you were wearing when I left you.” He said slowly. He looked up at Marissa; who looked at me.
I picked up the feather and held it up. Vincent eyed it.
“Marissa does that look familiar?”
Marissa leaned closer. “Almost looks like a crow feather but it’s different, more like down or something softer--” She paused.
I whispered slowly without thinking;
“It’s from a wing.”
Marissa and Vincent stared at one another.
“Gen hun,” Marissa crooned. “That can’t be from a bird.”
I had no idea how she knew that but I shrugged. “If it’s not from a bird” I repeated. “Then it’s from a man.”
Vincent’s eyes darkened, I don’t know why I said it or if it meant anything, but to Vincent, it must have because he looked furious, he picked up a pencil from the floor and threw it. The pencil hit the wall and stuck out of it like a dart, vibrating from the throw.
Marissa hissed. “What is it, Vincent?” She pulled me closer to her and I suddenly had a feeling like I was a live doll.
Vincent looked really angry. “Think Marissa, even if Gen doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about she might be right… and if she is; then I can only think of one thing that would be a man and yet have wings.”
Marissa’s fingers tightened to a point of uncomfortably on my arms. “The Fallen? …but then that would be Topher and his gang and he would never hurt Gen, I already told you that when I thought you were going to make Gen your lunch.”
Vincent frowned. “He told me never to touch Genevieve again and I ignored him. It’s highly possible that he didn’t mean to hurt Gen but just erase her memories of me or something along that line-- But I didn’t think he was capable of that type of power.” Vincent frowned.
“He’s not,” Marissa said very slowly.
Vincent looked at his sister. “But you know who is?”
She nodded. “His father.”
Vincent’s jaw fell open.
I looked back and forth between them, Vincent looking shocked and Marissa looking slightly terrified.
“Lucas?” Vincent whispered.
Marissa nodded and bit her lip.
“He was supposed to have died centuries ago.”
Marissa shook her head. “Remember how we used to think that the Fallen died after an extremely long life? Well, that’s just BS, they don’t die, they just give themselves new identities or go into hiding.”
Vincent swallowed. “How do you know this?”
Marissa stood and began to pace the ground. “After dad kicked me out of the coven so publicly there was nowhere for me to go-- I could I suppose have gone to Seb’s family, but then father would have killed them all. You heard him say that he would; so I did what any other eleven year old would do, I hid in the place that they would least expect to find me-- in the cemetery at Saint Mary’s...that’s where Christopher and Mark found me, they took me into the Cathedral. I was terrified all those crosses and all that holy water. But below the Cathedral there was this underground mansion-- it looked so old. They took me to the library and introduced me to their father. It was Lucas who let me stay with them-- even knowing who I was-- Lucas who eventually married Seb and I, and Christopher and Mark who I grew up with for the next few years before I had my own place. I married Seb when I turned thirteen; gosh. I never told anyone this before…” She blinked a few times.
Vincent stood dumbstruck. “Below the Cathedral.”
I blinked a few times, I could see the graveyard in my head, and it was dark-- I shivered, and looked around this room, I would rather stay here than be in a dark graveyard.
Marissa nodded at Vincent. “Lucas only had Christopher and Mark when I met him, but he has several more children now-- Lucas does love his women. Remember that girl who went missing? What was her name…”
“Cassandra.” I murmured.
Vincent and Marissa stopped to stare at me, I felt uncomfortable under their gaze.
“Yes-- I think it was. Cassandra Pirot. How did you remember that?” I shrugged and Marissa continued-- “They’ve been congregating, all different clans from the the Fallen, gathering from all over this continent. I think they mean to declare war on the Purebloods if they cause a stir-- though whether this is Lucas, Mark or Christopher’s plan I am not exactly sure. This is exactly what they have been waiting for! You have never met Lucas-- he has hated the Purebloods since they made the Nephilim their bodyguards and named them The Fallen. He is the one who killed our great grandfather or at least he tried and then the story was that they both died at the end of that fight--giving neither the true victory, but Lucas is as I mentioned still alive. It makes me wonder if our great grandfather is still alive too. Anyways, they only accepted me because I was like the other made and mixed Vampires-- made an outcast by father.”
“I’m not going to lie to you Marissa,” Vincent said after a moment, “This is extremely bad news.”
I was curious. “You said that Christopher and Mark found you, if you were eleven then, well then how old were they?”
Marissa looked down at me, and thought about my question. “I don’t know.” She whispered, “I don’t know how old they were or are for that matter… they have always looked the same.”
We all sat and shivered.
“But enough of that.” She said sternly glancing at Vincent, and then she smiled down at me. “We have a wedding to plan.”
We didn’t mention the Nephilim again although I know Vincent was mulling it over in his bedroom-- I caught flashes of it in his mind; as Marissa and I sat in the living room of Vincent’s apartment pouring over wedding magazines.
“Of course it will probably be a small wedding, I mean your mom and dad and sister, and then Sebastian, me; of course; and then you and Vincent-- and we’ll have to have two ceremonies… one for your parents and then the real one.” Marissa was saying. “For that one, I’ll have to find a Priest--” She said slowly pursing her lips.
“That shouldn’t be hard though,” I muttered without thinking.
Marissa sighed. “It will be actually, only because Vampire or for that matter anyone from our world… well, our marriage vows are different than humans, they are more binding.” Marissa put her arm in front of me, and pointed out tiny intertwining lines on her skin forming a dizzying pattern of knots and swirls.
The lines I noticed, were only visible if I squinted.
Marissa smiled. “Now if you were a Vampire you would be able to see these lines clear as day. They tell a person if you are married or not. See we don’t need to wear rings like humans-- although most of us do, because we love flashy jewellery! See when we say the binding vows they are stronger than your wedding vows, and make it so even if the couple were to split apart they are still bound in ways that only death can release them from. We don’t joke about until death do us part, we mean it.” She patted my arm.
“So in other words, you need the right Priest-- or whatever to perform the ceremony?”
She nodded. “I’ll have to go find them.”
My eyes felt heavy, and I knew I should probably get some sleep.
Marissa laughed. “Tired so soon?” But then she helped me onto the sofa and tucked me in with a long flannel blanket. “Remind me.” She muttered, “To make Vincent get a proper place for the two of you once you get married.” She laughed and kissed my forehead. “Sweet Dreams.” She whispered.
And I don’t know why but I was suddenly terrified of sleeping, something she said reminded me of something… something in my dreams… some place? I blinked a few times, but no-- I must be imagining things.
Marissa switched off the lights but I could still see her outline in the shadows of the early evening light. She waved at me and then flitted out of the room, probably leaving to go on her search for the priest dude. We had decided practically on all the details, and Marissa said she would get me the dress and take care of everything else that would need to be done. She had also stalked the fridge up with human food, seeing as Vincent didn’t have any on hand.
“We do have to feed you.” Was how she had put it, glaring at Vincent’s door in mock sarcasm. "You’re not supposed to be the food source.”
This had rewarded her with a snort of laughter through Vincent’s door, and her rolling her eyes.
Now I was so confused and tired I knew I needed to sleep, but I was terrified of what I might dream about. I couldn’t remember who I was supposed to be-- Even Marissa seemed like a stranger to me-- a distant but familiar stranger. I couldn’t remember my parents, or sister-- or schoolmates. I only knew my name was Genevieve because that was what everyone kept calling me…. and even though I knew this the girl they kept talking about this Genevieve which must be me-- she was the old me. I was the new Genevieve. The old Genevieve didn’t sound like she liked danger very much-- or that she liked wearing things like the dress I was wearing right now. She sounded like the type of girl who wanted to be a princess and wear the princess dresses and while I seemed to also like being pampered what I wanted most-- more than tea parties was to belong to Vincent and to have him turn me into whatever he was I knew nothing other than that. As far as I was concerned I had no past just a future; and while thinking this and falling to sleep I forgot my strange fear of dreams and drifted off to the unknown.