Secrets of Ravenstone: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book One

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Chapter 8

Speaking with Marxus left me content for the moment as I entered the dining hall where Sarah sat with Margaret and Belle, laughing among themselves. I strolled over sitting with them, instructing Zanz to lay beneath my bench.

Watching Margaret and Belle helping themselves to a plate of delicious deserts, Sarah whispered as she leaned in,

“Everything alright? You were up there a while. Something wrong?”

“Everything’s fine. Nothing important.” I replied.

“Oh…okay.” she looked down at her plate; disappointed for she wasn’t in the loop.

Jonathan walked in, talking with three of his very cute and charming vampire friends; a tall dark haired young man, one with blonde spiked dyed hair, and a baby faced young black man all in thier mid-to-late twenties. They too, tried deciding on what to do next. Looking over he observed us sitting at the table; happy to see us, especially Sarah. He and his friends joined us at the table. Knowing they had no part in the conversation, his three friends kindly introduced themselves before heading to the kitchen. The tall dark haired vampire was Caleb; dressed in Gothic-punk attire. The blonde one was Nick; spiked-dyed hair matching the colors of his clothes, and the black man was Justin. He reminded me of one of my favorite hip-hop artists. Short cropped-groomed haircut with studded earings in both ears. They were worn in a masculine manner, coinciding with his clean and presentable persona. Caleb was a bit of a cocky Brit, questioning me as to why I was the only one allowed to bring pets into the dining hall.

“You have special treatment or something?” Caleb mocked with a smile.

Hearing the words SPECIAL TREATMENT, I became defensive.

Answering sarcastically, I stared into his dark eyes,

“If you have a problem with it, take it up with Marxus. And besides, maybe I need him to ward off cocky shits like you. What? Didn’t get the memo?”

Caleb smiled, respecting the sarcasm then apologized. Nick interrupted, speaking in an American accent, apologizing for Caleb’s attitude, revealing that he’s always been that way. Justin remained quiet. I accepted their apologies and offered my own. After talking and learning they were vampire guards on the wall, as well as a singing group that performed at the pub on weekends, they excused themselves. Flashing wide smiles, they nodded then strolled toward the kitchen. Minutes passed and they returned with smoothie cups in their hands filled with Pomegranate juice. They handed one to Jonathan then sat at the other end of the table.

Sarah and the girls asked how we should spend the rest of the day. Margaret revealed there were beautiful horses at the stables but due to the rain, horseback riding was out of the question. It was then Belle came up with the idea of just hanging out in the lounge and game room. I thought that would be fun. We cleaned our area at the table, placing our plates on trays set on the ledge for the cooks to gather then exited the dining hall. Jonathan turned to his three friends telling them he’d see them later. They nodded as they revealed they needed to return to their posts on the wall.

Entering the manor’s lounge, I took in the beautiful black leather furnishings with studded detailing. Persian rugs laid on the wooden floor. Toward the back were game tables; ping pong, chess, pool table and a large trunk set in the corner containing board games and boxes of playing cards. A juke box played various tunes.

Sarah and I played a game of Checkers while Jonathan jokingly danced to disco music with Margaret and Belle. Sarah kept looking over at him, commenting on how cute he was and kept asking ( once again) if I thought so too. I had to agree, but I didn’t like him any more than just a friend. Besides, I just met him. Jonathan danced over; hands held out to Sarah. She looked at me not knowing what to do, so I mouthed the word GO as I nodded. She smiled as she took his hands.

“Come on, Yza…dance with us!” Belle urged happily.

I smiled as I stood, dancing with my friends and having fun. Zanz laid by the fireplace watching me attentively as his head moved around.

After an uncomfortable encounter with the lycans; frustrated and full of rage, a raven haired young man, 5’8 in height and 23-years-of-age named Erik Sheng-su; Jonathan’s best friend since childhood, came through the front doors and out of the rain. Hearing the sound of laughter coming from the lounge along with Jonathan’s voice, he thought he’d stop in to say hello. Standing there watching us dance around; head bobbing to the music, he took a sip from an uncovered cup he held in his hands filled with a thick red liquid. Becoming distracted momentarily, he took one dangerous step forward.

I danced; making my way around Jonathan and the others, unaware of anyone standing behind me. Dancing backwards, I quickly turned smacking right into a young man causing his drink to spill out all over my casual tee, the floor and his shirt.

“Bloody hell!” he barked in an elegant English accent; examining his shirt, “Watch where you you’re going, yeah!? Clumbsy girl!”

I stood there in shock then snapped as I too examined myself, squirming in the process for some of the liquid spilled down my shirt,

“Me!? Watch where you’re going! Ugh…what the hell is this stuff!?” I waited for an answer, as I glanced up at him.

He was unique. Absolutely handsome…actually downright gorgeous; no pretty boy features. His unusual pale dreamy gray eyes were intense; yet filled with warmth. Dramatic eyebrows framed his face. His preppy styled raven hair; cut short in the back with fuller bangs, was combed back straight with wet strands hanging gracefully over his forehead. His shoulders were wet from the rain outside and I couldn’t help but stare. He too, had that charismatic allure as Jonathan but far more intense, leaving me speechless. This guy screamed vampire! Almost as perfect as Drayven but far more unique in his own right. Perfect. The most perfect man I’ve ever seen.

“Excuse me!? You’re the one who bumped into me!” he objected, as he gestured at me then back at himself.

“Yeah, well…you were in my way! Now this stuff looks like…” I answered then knew exactly what it was, “blood. You’re a vampire?” I once more stared into his eyes framed with his dark eyelashes. This was my first initial up-close encounter with one, not realizing that I was also in the presence of another one.

“Yes, I am. What’s it to you? There are alot of us here!” he begun unbuttoning the first few buttons of his shirt, slipping it over his head; holding it in a lump of fabric, “And thanks for ruining my shirt, by the way.”

A white tank revealed a perfect masculine build. Oh…my…god!

Jonathan, Sarah, Margaret and Belle stood with smiles but said nothing as they enjoyed the awkward moment between Erik and myself. Especially Jonathan.

“Nothing. But for a vampire, you weren’t that attentive. I thought you had good reflexes?” I snapped, “And I can’t believe you spilled your drink all over Marxus’ rug!?” I held my hands up to my head looking down at the ruined rug, “Marxus is going to be so pissed when he finds out!”

“You’re a smartass, you know that love?” he asked, “What a bloody mouth on you.” then hissed in agitation.

“Yeah, I am and this smartass says you’re a jackass!” I gestured toward him, “Love. And don’t you dare hiss at me!”

We stared at one another, not knowing who each other were, but I guess we will soon find out at a later time.

Hearing the yelling, Zanz scampered over standing in front of me growling at Erik, who jumped back; hands held up.

“Whoa, what’s that!?” he asked, “A black wolf!? I thought they were extinct!?”

“I thought vampires were extinct, until you bumped into me!” I snapped, “And yes, he’s a wolf. So what!?”

“Um, mate… Erik…” Jonathan interrupted in a soft whisper.

“What, Jonathan!?” Erik barked excitedly, glaring toward Jonathan.

“She’s going to be our new…and that’s her…”

“Our new resident pain in the ass with a wolf!? Yeah, mate…I kind of figured that out already!” Erik blurted.

“Oh, I’m the pain am I!?” I remarked as I pulled Zanz backwards holding onto his harness, “I’d rather be a pain, than look like a donkeys ass! And you’re a bit short for a vampire, aren’t you? You’re…” I measured my height, adding five more inches, “five foot eight?”

“How did you…are you clairvoyant!? If you’re another witch, that answers having a black wolf as your familiar, right!? Perfect…bloody perfect! Just what this place needs. Another wolf! I’ve had enough for one day, and now this!? A woman yelling at me!?” he scoffed.

“I resent that because my moms a witch but no, I’m not. And no, he’s not. But if I were you, I’d watch your tone around him because he’s trained to kill. Vampire or not. And who cares about your day…no one asked! I’m dealing with my own problems but you don’t hear me bitching about it! And one more thing…if I were you…I’d watch your tone because things tend to get a bit heated where I’m concerned.”

“I can see that, so excuse me!” he said sarcastically, gently bowing with both arms out, “Both of you. Queen Blah-blah-bah and her pet wolf.”

“Ugh, you’re a downright jackass, you know that!? Handsome and elegant, sure, but arrogant as shit! I don’t think I like you very much!”

He scoffed once more with a wide smile,

“I can’t believe…” he shook his head, “well, you’re a mouthy and irritating little…pissant! Who are you to talk to me in such a manner!? I could own this place, you know? And the feeling is mutual!“”

“Really?” I stepped toward him, “Well, Marxus…I like the whole Fountain of Youth thing, you have going on here.” I gestured up and down at his form, “Very nice.”

“Erik, mate…she knows Marxus.” Jonathan added quietly, “And he knows about her too…and her wolf. He sent for her, mate.”

“Shut up, Jonathan!” Erik hissed, “Look, love…you do know I’m a vampire, yes!?”

“Yes, I do. And a short one. But the better question is, who are you? Royalty, throwing a royal tantrum?” I snapped sarcastically, “I know who I am. I’m the irritating and mouthy little pissant, remember?”

“Oh…oh…you’ve got some nerve!” he cracked an arrogant smile revealing his upper fangs.

“Look, you know what…I’m not doing this. Obviously you’re not used to people talking to you in SUCH A MANNER, so I’ll tell you what? I’ll leave. Simple as that. And the lounge, that is. Not the island. You stay away from me, and I’ll be more than happy to stay far from you, okay!? Besides, I just got here two days ago and I’m not quite in the mood to deal with egotistical jackasses today. Vampire or not. And I still haven’t heard your apology as a gentleman for bumping into me, or ruining Marxus’ Persian rug.” then I paused waiting for his answer but heard nothing, “Didn’t think so.” then I turned to my friends, “I’ll be right back. I have to change. Come Zanz…” I pulled his harness and leash backwards walking toward the side entrance, “And hey, vampire….you’re lucky I wasn’t wearing my glasses or I’d have to clean them too!” I hollered over my shoulder. “And put those fangs away! It doesn’t frighten me!”

“Yeah…well, that’s probably why you bumped into me!” he hollered in return, not knowing if I heard his words, “You can’t see where you’re going! Blind as a bat, I’m sure! And maybe next time I’ll bite you, yeah?!“” then he took a few steps forward, watching as I opened my umbrella, running out into the rain with steam emitting from my body.

Jonathan sighed, as he shook his head.

Erik sped toward the door, watching as I ran across the landscaping toward my dwelling. He mumbled words under his breath; words that only Jonathan could hear,

“Bloody hell…” then he grew a slight smile, enjoying the encounter and view of me from behind. He shook his head as he turned to Jonathan and the others, laying his ruined shirt on the back of one of the chairs, “Would someone please tell me, who the bloody hell that annoying bird is!? Or better yet…what she is!?” he continued ranting on.

“Erik…that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you mate, so if you’d only stay still and shut up long enough to listen!” Jonathan answered, stepping toward him, “She’s our new…”

Erik held his hand up, grinning as he interrupted his friends sentence,

“Wait… you hear that? That’s me not caring. I mean, did you hear the mouth on that one!? I’ve never met a woman who’s so tiny with a mouth and attitude like that! American though, so that figures. And with a pet wolf too! Ha! But did you see the size of that dog!? I could go on but I won’t waste my time. Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have to go home and change, then replenish my drink and hope she doesn’t spill it again. Or better, maybe I’ll feed on her…” he laughed, “yeah, that sounds good. I could use a tiny neck to bite into.” then he glanced over at Margaret, Belle and Sarah hearing faint squeaks, “No offense.”

“None taken.” Belle’s soft voice cracked, as she held her hands to her throat.

Erik rolled his eyes as he turned, vanishing in a puff of black mist.

“What the…” Sarah squeaked.

“Oh, yeah…he met his match.” Jonathan smiled, “Finally.”

Margaret and Belle excused themselves, saying they had enough excitement for one day and were going home. They avoided anything relating to vampires, for their mother Katrina, warned them vampires can’t be trusted, due to their lack of control. Jonathan caught the fearful scent they emanated, shaking his head in disbelief.

Changing his clothes, Erik couldn’t keep me out of his mind as he paced in his room. He paused standing before his patio doors, thinking to himself, “WHO THE HELL WAS THAT AND WHO THE HELL DOES SHE THINK SHE IS!? MARXUS HAS GONE COMPLETELY BONKERS THIS TIME, LETTING HER IN HERE. SHE’S THE MOST INFURIATING PERSON I’VE EVER MET, BUT DOES SHE HAVE TO BE SO…LOVELY THOUGH, WITH THOSE BIG DARK EYES THAT…OH, ERIK…GET A GRIP, MATE! AND WHO STEAMS!? WHAT IS SHE? SHE’S SO…ERIK, STOP IT!” then he attempted to change his thought pattern. No one had ever spoken to him or challenged him like that before, especially a woman so this was something he wanted to pursue further.

Erik is used to having all the young girls and women flirt with him because of his looks and money so it bothered him in a way, meeting someone who didn’t go all googly eyed over him. He walked over opening his balcony doors then leaned against the door frame, taking in the fresh clean air scented with rain. Suddenly glancing across the property toward the dwelling adjacent to his room, he couldn’t believe his vampire eyes as they honed in.

I turned to Zanz who laid on my bed watching as I paced in an extreme fluster.

“Can you believe that guy, Zanz!? I mean, what a jackass! But, wow…he was damn sexy.” I commented with a smile then received a whine as if Zanz acknowledged me, “Oh, what am I saying!? You see them all the time. Gorgeous on the outside sure, but assholes on the inside. Typical. But he was…Yza, stop it!” then trying to calm myself down and to cease steaming, my small trash can near the fireplace caught aflame, “Shit.” I cursed as I ran over, trying to put it out, “Not again.” I knelt on my knees once the fire was extinguished.

I sighed as I stood, walking over to open my patio doors further, allowing the fresh air to fill my lungs. Taking in deep breaths I suddenly heard a voice shouting through the sound of the pouring rain,

“Get another room, pissant!”

“What the hell?” I muttered, glancing out across the landscape, thinking maybe Erik stood nearby harassing me, “Not a chance, jackass!” I hollered then stepped back, slamming my doors and drawing the curtains.

Erik watched as my doors and curtains closed. He grew another smile knowing he’d see me again. He too, closed his doors then turned, feeding two pet turtles scampering around in their tank. Sprinkling the food into water he leaned forward, whispering softly,

“There you go, little guys. Enjoy.”

Placing the food on the fireplace mantle, he turned and disappeared.

An hour passed; Zanz and I returned to the manor. The rain had let up, enabling us to walk without the assistance of an umbrella. As we strolled, I cautiously looked around making sure I wasn’t followed; by you know who.

Jonathan and Sarah sat in the lounge near the fireplace sharing a moment of laughter when Jonathan glanced up, seeing I had returned. Plopping in one of the chairs with Zanz laying alongside, Jonathan leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees as he sat across from me. He smiled as he flashed a quick glance at his feet before breaking the awkward silence I sat in,

“Hey, sorry for my friend. He’s like that most of the time. But for us vampires…sometimes we get caught off guard. It happens.”

“Us vampires?” I grew confused, straightening my posture, “You’re a vampire?” then I looked over at Sarah who shook her head, saying no as she pointed toward herself.

“There are three hundred and two vampires to be precise. Erik’s one of them but he’s really one hell of a good bloke. Sarah, among most here, are humans. The rest you already know are lycans. Marxus though, I’m still trying to figure out.” he chuckled, “But you? I have to say, your scent isn’t fully human. What are you?”

“I never thought I’d ever hear a man say that to me.”

“Well, first time for everything, huh lass? And before you ask…we don’t go around biting people as you might think, so don’t worry. At least not anymore. We do though, through certain emotions, get very intense, especially when provoked. Which around here, happens a lot.”

“That explains a lot, actually. Specifically when it comes to your reaction around Anthony. I guess bats and dogs really don’t get along. But honestly though, Jonathan, you have that whole vampire charm going on. I saw it in your eyes when we first met and even my mom sensed something. As far as your friend? He’s an entirely different story. He’s not coming back is he, because I’m not changing my shirt again.” I looked around.

“No, he’s not. He’s gone to visit his father but lucky for you, you left before he ventured into your building.” he glanced at his feet.

“My…my building!?” I scoffed.

“Yes. And guess what? His room is right across from yours in the adjacent building on the property.” Jonathan teased,”Which should be fun.”

“Fun!?” I grew flustered, “So that’s where his voice shouted from! Fantastic!” I sighed, “Now I have a peeping vamp across the way. Great….just perfect. Remind me to keep my curtains closed at all times, yeah?” then I changed the subject after I released a frustrated breath, “Can we talk about something else, please?”

“Sure.” Jonathan smiled.

“How about a game of pool?” Sarah introduced.

“Sounds fun.” Jonathan agreed, “But before we do…Yza, you didn’t answer my question earlier. What are you?”

Teasingly I leaned in and answered, not knowing if he’d actually believe me,

“I’m a fire demon. Not a fire starter. So, shh…” I smiled, then stood.“Please keep this info to yourselves, ok? I’m not ready to reveal it yet.”

He sat there perplexed, then nodded as if it could be possible. Sarah frowned, for Jonathan was paying more attention to the new girl than her, which made her fume with jealously as she stood, pushing past him.

“Make sense, since you steamed and all earlier. And I can still catch the human scent somewhere in there.”

“Okay, one…stop sniffing me and two…you’re not freaked out?” I asked, “I mean…aren’t vampires afraid of fire?”

“First off, no. We don’t like fire, sure but we’re not. And secondly, Yza…” Jonathan approached me slowly, “this is Ravenstone. Nothing surprises me, but you’re definitely the first demon I’ve ever met and the loveliest too. No worries though. Your secret is safe with me.”

I smiled once more, as I chuckled. I was flattered but I wasn’t about to go there.

Sarah’s continuous jealous mannerisms agitated Zanz, as she slammed things around near the pool table. She glared in our direction, as she lined up the cue balls for gameplay.

“Alright then…” Jonathan clapped his hands together, “let the game begin! And I promise ladies, I’ll go easy on you.” he smiled, holding onto one of the sticks.

“You wish!” Sarah blurted, lining up her cue stick.

Erik Erik sat with his father in his room, retelling the day’s events from arguing with the lycans, to how I bumped into him. His father listened attentively, as he observed Erik’s nervous mannerisms pertaining to the woman that left him so irritated.

“Sounds like you like her already.” his father mumbled.

“What!?” Erik objected as he paced, “No…absolutely not! I mean, if you met her, you’d understand. She’s a mouthy…little…bloody nightmare!”

“Sounds like a fresh experience for you then, compared to all the other women you complain about. I’ll have to meet her and see if she’s the one for you.”

“Father! This isn’t a match-making game!” Erik muttered, “I mean, come on…she’s…she’s…” he walked over, plopping into one of his father’s chairs.

His father continued watching as he explained the encounter in further detail, seeing that he had potentially met his match. His father went on explaining how he himself, as well as other men he’s own known over the years, have had the same situation; not as frustrating, but still the results were all the same. They fell in love…married…and stayed together until the end.

“Son, it happens. First the intensity, then the storm…”

“If you start going on with the first comes love…then comes marriage…then comes the baby in a baby carriage…father, I’ll kill you.” Erik teased, releasing an agitated hiss.

“Don’t you dare hiss at me!” his father warned firmly, “Vampire or not, you show respect! You came to me with problem, so I give advice on it. You don’t want to hear, then leave. Go…handle your own problem!” he gestured toward the door, “I have more important things to deal with, like Marxus’ replacement. You know he’s revealed his retirement so I’m curious to find out who that may be. Focus on that, yes? There may be many changes ahead, so we will all have to deal with them!”

Erik remained silent, nodding in agreement for he knew his father was right.

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