Brave New World

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Grip My Heart

November 15, 2002

Even though it was barely four in the afternoon, the sun was quickly setting due to daylight’s savings. Reyna hated it. It was dark when she woke up, and she barely had any time to play outdoors after her lessons with Dunstan because he didn’t allow her out at night without supervision—and Dunstan seldom ever supervised.

Dunstan and Reyna stood standing face to face in the middle of a baseball field. Reyna was a ball of jitters. Today was the day Dunstan was supposed to take her to meet Lilith the Vampire queen. After two years studying the woman, she was finally going to meet her.

A scowl marred Reyna’s face. “Reyna,” Dunstan said, unfazed by her sullen attitude, “I’m not about to take you into the hornet’s nest without being one-hundred percent certain that you’ll be able to handle yourself. You’ve aced every anatomy test I’ve given you, you’ve proven yourself with other organs, now grab my heart!”

Reyna let a low growl reverberate from the back of her throat as she mulled over her choices. Dunstan threatened to take her home unless she proved without a hint of doubt that she could force her magic around his heart and give it a squeeze. The purpose of this was in the case of a vampire attack. Lilith banned stakes of any kind entering her fortress—being found with one meant your immediate death. Vampires could withstand a lot of damage, but a ripped out heart was a ripped out heart, it didn’t matter what sort of creature you were.

“I can do it. I just don’t want to okay? It hurts!” It didn’t hurt her to do it, Reyna didn’t mean it that way, but she knew firsthand how it felt for someone to reach into your body and grasp your heart thanks to Dunstan’s demonstration on her a week ago.

“Grab my heart or we’re going home right now. I mean it,” he told her once more. After a moment’s silence filled only with the young girl’s shifting feet, the sorcerer took a step back towards the dugouts. Reyna watched him go, and heard him sigh as he did. Biting down hard on her bottom lip she sucked back tears of frustration. Dunstan’s sigh of disappointment was the worst sound in the world for Reyna and she tried so hard the past two years to keep him from making the noise.

“Fine!” She shouted at his back. Her master turned around with a chuckle and a smug smile on his face. Walking back towards her, he spread his arms out and gave her a ‘hit me with your best shot’ look. Swallowing back the bile that rose in her throat, Reyna took in a few evening breaths before going in for the plunge. Sharply extending her right arm towards Dunstan, her hand formed into an open fist. Her fingers curled around an invisible object and Reyna could feel the pull of his heart in her hand. Squeezing, she felt the heart beat two quick beats before letting go.

“Can we go now?” She asked, her nose curling in disgust. Dunstan let out a hearty laugh, rubbed his chest, and nodded.

“Come on, then. I want to get there before the sun’s completely set.” He told her as he began to walk off the baseball field they’d been practicing on and back towards the paved walkway that led through the park.

“Where are we going, exactly?”

“To Lilith’s apartment on the Upper East Side. I want to catch her before she can go out, so hurry. Otherwise it’ll be a bitch to find her in the city. She rarely goes to the same club or bar twice—well, at least in the same year.”

The two ended up making it to Lilith’s apartment just as the last rays of light began to diminish. Reyna’s mouth dropped open as she took in the building. Dunstan’s brownstone was nice—like, really, really, really nice—but this was on a whole other level. With its marble engravings, gothic windows, and carved baby angels over the doorways and windows it just screamed class and money. Lots and lots of money. Snapping her mouth shut, the Reyna figured if she lived for two millennials she could probably afford a place like this, too.

Walking in and past the doorman, who Reyna noticed was also a Vampire, Dunstan called for the elevator. When it arrived he hit the highest floor and Reyna’s ears popped several times before the doors finally opened to what looked like a glammed up waiting room. Swallowing and popping her ears for one final time, Reyna waited by Dunstan’s side for someone to greet them. They didn’t have to wait long before a pretty woman with short blonde hair, wide hips—what Reyna’s mother would have referred to as child bearing—and breasts larger than Reyna’s head.

“Dunstan!” The woman squealed happily, throwing her hands up in the air before taking a few steps to place them on his shoulders and air kissed his cheeks. She sounded distinctly French, and from her hair style and choice in clothes Reyna had to guess she was turned in the 1920’s. Definitely not Lilith. “And who is this darling creature hiding behind you?” She asked, bending over to look Reyna in the eyes. Up close, the she could see that the woman’s eyes were blue and looked as endless as the open ocean. She had a small, slightly upturned nose, rosy pink cheeks and full lips that were painted red.

“I’m Reyna,” She finally said after only a second’s hesitation. Reyna wondered if all Vampires were this entrancing. Shaking her head, she knew she had to get her game face on if that were the case. She couldn’t be going all moony-eyed over every Vampire she encountered.

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Reyna. I’m Sophie!” She greeted and held her hand out for the young girl to shake. Reyna’s lips quirked up at the word ‘acquaintance’, remembering when she’d first heard it.

“Sophie is Lilith’s personal assistant and second in command,” Dunstan explained.

Sophie stood to her full height and nodded half seriously, “That’s right! She turned me herself back in Paris!” She said Paris without the ‘S’ though, like Pary, causing Reyna to tilt her head and repeat the word silently. “She said I had potential and we’ve been together ever since!” Sophie did a little shimmy, making the frills of her purple shirt jostle with excitement.

“I trust Lilith is in?” The Sorcerer finally asked, his face showing his failing patience with the small talk.

“But of course! Right this way. She’ll be happy to see you, Dunstan. I trust you brought a gift?” Sophie asked as she led them deeper into the apartment. Dunstan grunted in response and waved his hand. A dark green bottle appeared in his hand. Reyna hasn’t tried conjuring yet, Dunstan hadn’t gotten around to that lesson yet. She knew it was coming up though because he’d recently given her a Physics book to read and told her to focus on the chapters about Matter and Mass.

Sophie made a noise of approval and opened a pair of double doors that led to an ostentatious living room. Dunstan walked in and Reyna followed. “The queen will be with you shortly,” She said before closing the double doors behind them.

“I like her,” Reyna told Dunstan.

He snorted in amusement, “I dare say she likes you, too,” and placed the green bottle on the coffee table that stood in the middle of the room.

“I like this apartment, too.” Reyna announced as she looked at the room. It had a pretty pale wallpaper with the image of a sunflower growing in the corners of the room. The blue satin couch mated the blue drapes. There was a marble fire place across from the couch, with two chairs mirroring both sides. The wooden coffee table stood in the center and was bookended with two white, plush lounge chairs. Paintings from Imperial Russia decorated the walls and the lamps were made of some sort of metal that matched the couch cushions. “I wish we could live here,” Reyna mused, then wondered, “Wait. How come the drapes aren’t closed? The sun just setted!”

“The sun just set, and the glass is made to protect from the sun’s rays.” Dunstan corrected, walking over to look out the UV protected glass. The sound of the double doors opening caused both their head’s to swivel. “Lilith!” Dunstan greeted congenially. He picked up his gift and walked towards her.

Reyna looked at the queen of the Vampires with wide eyes. She was young, almost as young as Reyna herself. Her hair was also blonde, but unlike Sophie’s that looked like shining gold, Lilith’s was practically white. It fell straight down her back, landing a few inches before it reached her waist and was cut perfectly straight with straight bangs and everything. Reyna thought it made her look harsh, but figured that’s what she was going for.

Lilith’s skin was paler than even her hair. It even gave off a blueish tint! The queen came up to Dunstan’s collar bone and, in complete contrast to Sophie, had the body of a stick. Reyna liked her clothes, though. She wore a blue and black, long sleeved top with a white skirt that reached her knees with a black and blue flower design and black heels. The young Caster felt a twinge of envy, wishing she had that outfit in her closet to be able to wear when she was older.

“Hello Dunstan,” Lilith greeted. Her light, airy voice brought Reyna out of her childish stupor and then she felt a stir in the air. She blinked and when she opened her eyes Lilith was a hair’s breath away from her face. Smiling down at Reyna, a gleam twinkled in her pitch black eyes, “What a lovely little gift you’ve brought me.”
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