After eating with Veronica and Rebecca, I head off to my twilight training with Bruce. A tall, stocky man that strikes fear into those who do not know him. However, those who do know him and know him well knows he is a teddy bear. Bruce is the head of security for Veronica and is protective of everyone in her household, which is why he can be so dangerous. He will do anything and everything to protect his mistress—the perfect example of how a turned vampire should behave when it comes to their maker. I guess in a way that makes him my brother.
I head down the oak stairs that make soft creaks when my weight is on top of them to the basement. Burce is waiting for me. A towering 6′9 and almost three hundred pounds of all muscle. His golden blonde hair is cut short and glistens in the dim light of the fighting ring he stands in waiting for me. When he looks up at me, he smiles softly. His white teeth shown behind thin pink lips that contrasts against the paleness of his skin.
“Took you long enough,” he says, the sound of his gravelly voice filling the area. I yawn as I cross one arm across my chest then apply pressure on my elbow to stretch it out, then repeat with the other one.
“I had a long night, so sue me,” I reply as I walk up the steps to the iron cage surrounding the fighting ring. Once I get to the door, I unlatch it then walk inside. After cleaning up, I changed into a pair of black athletic leggings, a black sports bra with a loose tank top over it, and some sneakers. I have no idea what Bruce has in mind for training today, and I hope I came prepares. He laughs, the sound echoing off the walls as he stands up straight.
“A long night doing what? Last I checked I was not here to entertain you with my charming sense of humor,” he teases as he walks to me with hand wrap. Gently, he takes one hand and begins to wrap the itchy poly-cotton blend around it. One of the times I wished that Veronica flaunted her money around. “And Zander was with us last night, which means he was not here to tire you out.”
I punch him in the arm with my free hand. He groans softly, only laughs a second after. It is no secret around the house that one of the ways I take the edge off is with Zander. It doesn’t often happen, only on the days when I need to feel something other than this anger boiling inside of me. Zander doesn’t mind; he loves having a partner; he doesn’t have to worry about hurting in bed. What we have is pure lust and has no possibility of becoming something more. Zander is the type of guy whose primary focus is on moving up in power, and I have no real ability to give him other than the Sinclair name and some territory if he was lucky.
“You and I both know that things are not like that between the two of us. If Zander decided to mate, it would be for a name and power,” I decare as he wraps my other hand. Zander was turned by a random vampire who thought that he could take over the country of Creolia. Just one of the many countries in the northern territory ran by King Lucus Kendricks, the oldest and ruler of the broader region. Once Zander’s maker put to death for treason, King Lucus offered the newly made vampire a way to pay for his sins since he was acting on his maker’s wishes. Zander gladly accepted, but being controlled so quickly never sat well with him.
Bruce shakes his head as he makes sure that the wraps on my hands are secure.
“Either way, be careful around that boy,” he warns, “there is something about him that continues to make me feel uneasy.” I nod and smile, attempting to brighten the mood.
“What’s on the schedule today, master?” I ask with a mock bow earning a laugh and eye roll.
“I hope you still have that sense of humor when I’m finished with you,” he states before we get started.
When I say I am tired, that is a vast understatement. I lay in the middle of the fighting ring with the wounds all over me, healing as I try my best to catch my breath. I hear the loud laugh of Bruce as he comes up with a glass of blood. He displays a proud smile as he sits next to me, crossing his legs.
“At least you lasted longer this time. Hell, your hits hurt more, too,” Bruce says, trying to compliment me. I would have taken it that way if he wasn’t trying to hide a smile as he said it. Groaning, I sit up and take the glass of blood from him. I am glaring at him as I down it as fast as I can. I can quickly feel the change. The cuts and bites on me are healing entirely, and I feel like I just woke from a full night’s rest. “I do not know why you do this to yourself,” he says, thinking allowed.
“Do what,” I ask as I like the remainder of the blood from my lips. I didn’t realize how thirsty I was.
“Training without feeding,” he clarifies, “I mean, do you know what could happen if you would just accept what you are?”
“Another reason to be a trophy,” I ask as I put the glass down and begin unwrapping my hands.
“Hell, you would be a prize all right. If you can come so close to betting me while feeding irregularly, imagine what could happen if you would drink like you are supposed to.” His voice sounds determined like he is trying to convince me of something. I give him a real glare.
“Did Veronica put you up to this,” I growl as I stand up with enough energy to go another round with intentions to injure him enough to make him stay away for a week. He stands and raises his hands in a gesture to show he means no harm.
“No, she did not,” he clarifies, “I just get tired of you not allowing yourself to reach your full potential so that you can have the freedom that you desire so badly.” His dark grey eyes fill with sadness as I can see, he is telling the truth. If Dom was my big sister, Bruce was my big brother. He always protected me and wants me to be my best self, no matter how mean I am to him. I sigh softly.
“It isn’t that easy,” I say, looking down as I take the remainder of the hand wraps off. “I’m scared,” I whisper.
“Scared? Of what? “.
I look around as if to make sure no one else is in the room, not trusting anyone else with my weakness.
“I’m afraid that I will lose control. Every night I dream of the night I died, and every night I see the same fury filled red eyes that drank in my fear for entertainment and my blood for pleasure. I don’t want to be a monster,” I fully explain, releasing a breath I didn’t know I was holding after making my confession. I don’t look at Bruce as I am afraid that he would judge me for being so weak.
“Everyone has the makings to be a monster. It is up to you what you do with the tools you have,” Bruce says gently as he softly takes my chin with his two fingers making me look up at him. He always told me to hold my head up high, and now he is making sure I do. “Yes, you have all the tools to be a monster; however, you can choose to use those tools to be a savior instead. It is all up to you, Selena. Your life took an unexpected turn, a tragic turn, but now is the time for you to take charge of your future instead of allowing others to have control of it,” his whispers turn into a soft growl as if he is talking to one of his men, getting them ready for battle.
The realness of it brights tears to my eyes as a hard look takes over my face, determination covering it. Bruce was right; I thought I was taking control by defying Veronica and the trophy she wants me to be. Instead, I got myself locked up for years with nothing to show for it.
“Yes sir,” I state, my voice clear and loud as I accept his inviable order. He smiles softly and nods before placing a soft kiss on my forehead and hugging me tightly. I gladly returned it as my tears mixed with the sweat soaking his grey shirt.
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