Chapter 13: The Note
Eleanor sat on the bar stool and watched as Victoria and James swayed to the music on the dance floor. Now that Blush was available to them for feeding, it had turned into a frenzy. Everyone in her Clan was starved for it and they weren’t being shy about their hunger tonight.
William was in the lounge leaning into a young woman’s neck as she giggled at his hand slowly drifted up her leg and to her inner thigh. She quieted as she gasped at his fangs penetrating her dewy skin, her expression turning into pleasure as her eyes rolled back, lashes fluttering down to kiss her cheeks.
Matthew was busy running his escort service to and from the club, obviously retrieving sustenance in his own time. While Matthew was the one tied to Adrian through the contract, Eleanor was almost envious that he got to spend so much time out and about in the city. She flicked her eyes up towards the mirrored wall wondering if Adrian was looking down on them all right now as if he were a king watching over his kingdom.
“This is for you, madam,” the bartender said as he slide a glass of wine over towards her on a napkin.
“Oh, but I didn’t order anything,” she started.
“Consider it on the house,” he said with a smile.
She spun around on the stool and nodded as the bartender strode off to take care of his other duties to the club’s patrons. Her senses ignited as she smelled the sweet aroma of the Lust wine. Her mouth began to water at the thought of tasting it once more as she placed the rim of the wine glass to her lips.
The liquid flowed smoothly over her tongue as she let it linger, savoring the taste before letting it slip down the back of her throat. A slight moan escaped her lips as she covered her mouth, hoping the people around her hadn’t heard. Licking her lips, she glanced down at the napkin underneath her glass and saw a note scribbled down.
Keeping her glass in her hand she spun around and stood up from the stool. Walking around the bar she went through the door for employees and walked up the flight of stairs towards Adrian’s office while pushing past his guards. They stared after her knowing their boss was intending on meeting with her privately.
Before entering his office, she brushed her long black, wavy hair away from her face revealing creamy skin. She had a slender face with high cheekbones, a trait that ran deep in her family. Her eyes were a light brown and appeared to be amber in certain light. They were framed by thick lashes and a petite nose.
Eleanor had dressed intentionally for the occasion tonight in a tight little black, off the shoulder dress. A gold chain belt was wrapped around her waist giving her the edgy look she was going for along with her black stilettos with the red bottoms. She was dressed for the hunt.
Opening the door, she walked in to find Adrian standing over his desk glancing over files strewn about. His look was puzzlement as he poured over them. Lifting his head at her sudden entrance, he straightened the files and placed them in a tray on his desk, flashing a smile in her direction.
“I see you’ve gotten my requests,” he said as he came around his desk to greet her. As he approached, he took her hand in his and held it up to his lips, kissing it softly. She allowed him to guide her over to one of his red leather couches as he sat next to her.
Adrian had a crystal decanter of amber liquid sitting upon a tray on the coffee table with two tumblers ready to be filled. He took no time at all to have two stiff drinks ready for them to consume.
“I think you’ll find this brandy exquisite,” he stated as he downed his drink.
Eleanor smiled as she took a sip of it. Brandy was more a drink for her brothers than it was for her but she obliged the invitation. The drink burned as it coursed through her but she could taste the hint of sweet blood within it as she could with Lust. She pulled the glass away from her lips.
“You’re starting to see now,” Adrian said, noticing her expression. “I figured we didn’t need to stop at wine. This drink is still being tweaked, however, and it’s not available to the public as of yet.”
“How are you doing all this?” she asked. “How are you getting this all past regulations and inspections?”
“It helps to own your own distillery and have lots of money. Humans are greedy and they’ll pass anything if the price is right, but you don’t care about inspections. Ask the question you truly want to ask,” Adrian replied, draping his arm along the back of the couch behind her and relaxing against the cushions.
“Where’s the blood coming from, Adrian?” she inquired, not wasting anymore time. He had summoned for her with his little notes so she knew he wanted to talk about something.
“Melaina told me your brother, Matthew, saw the files she had. Melaina is a very perceptive vampire. She has the ability to see auras and the colors can tell her the feelings of the person she’s with,” he revealed.
“Neat trick,” Eleanor said flatly. “So what did she tell you?”
“She told me that Matthew was suspicious of my deals and she also told me something interesting about you,” he commented.
She gulped. While abilities in vampires weren’t rare, her ability was an extremely useful one that only her family knew about. But with every ability, there was always a shortcoming.
“Don’t keep my in suspense,” she replied as she took another sip of the brandy to ease her nerves. Adrian studied her with a devious smile on his face.
“Melaina said your aura was one of the darkest she’s ever seen, completely black. The whole time you were in my office she didn’t see any change in the colors to indicate anything you were feeling if you can feel at all, that is,” he replied, his smile disappearing as he straightened himself on the couch. “Why is that?”
“I’m not sure I believe in things like that. Sounds about as accurate as reading your horoscope in the newspaper,” she answered as she sat her empty glass down on the tray.
Adrian laughed and the sound surprised her. It was a genuine sound of joy that she didn’t think a man like him was capable of. He stood up and went to lean against the front of his desk, arms crossed over his chest. He had the sleeves of his white button down shirt rolled up to his elbows and tucked in to his trim black slacks. She let her eyes trail over him wondering about his undoubtedly muscular figure underneath.
“So what does Melaina say about your aura?” she asked from her seat.
He sighed. “She says I need to get out more in my own city. To stop walling myself away up here in my ivory tower. Apparently, I’m all blues and greens.”
“What do those colors mean?” she said standing up and walking to his side, mimicking his posture.
“Sadness, loneliness, and despair,” he answered, eyeing her. “About as accurate as a horoscope, right?”
“Look, I’m not here to read you,” Eleanor said. “I just want to know the truth.”
Adrian shrugged. “That seems fair enough.”
Walking back over behind his desk, he took some of the files out of the tray and dropped them down in front her. Eleanor picked up one about a recovering drug addict and started to read. They were, indeed, medical files, but they were from a rehabilitation facility. She flipped the pages and saw where the woman had entered the facility and had to take blood tests every week to make sure she was still clean.
“What’s all this? Explain this to me,” Eleanor said as dropped the file back in the pile.
“Gladly,” Adrian replied. “I own the Clemente Rehabilitation Center in the middle of town. I love my city, Ms. Elderidge. New Orleans is my home and I’ll be damned if I see it go to shit. Those files are of people who have either attended the center to get clean or volunteer at it to mentor recovering addicts. We take weekly blood tests of patients and if some of them need a little help to get on their feet, we pay them to donate their blood.”
“The blood in your drinks don’t taste like they belong to addicts,” Eleanor pointed out.
“That’s because we only use the blood that’s not tainted. You see this?” Adrian opened one of the files to a consent form. “Each one of them sign this form allowing their blood to be donated to our cause.”
“They don’t know they’re feeding vampires with it,” she said, scanning the page.
“What they don’t know won’t hurt them. They do know how much money they’ll receive for their donations,” he said.
“So basically you’re paying for human blood bags,” Eleanor replied.
“It’s an exchange. It’s their body and if they want to sell their blood then that’s their right,” he stated.
“How do you know that the money you give them won’t just go back into drugs again?” she argued.
He chuckled under his breath as he shook his head. “We don’t. That’s one of our drawbacks, unfortunately. However, the center has helped at least thirty percent of the people who enter.”
“I suppose that’s a start…” Eleanor murmured.
“It’s a start, but it’s not enough. I want you to help me,” he said.
“What? Why?” she asked suspiciously.
Adrian came back around his desk and sat down on it in front of her. “I know you’re doing your own thing but there’s something about you that I think can help these people. You don’t have to work for me, just come by once or twice a week. Sit in on some therapy sessions, some games, or whatever.”
“Why do you care so much?” she questioned. “I didn’t peg you as the type.”
“I may be intimidating but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart. Let’s just say, I’ve been trying to make up for my past for a while now,” he replied with a weak smile.
She sighed deeply. Her feelings were getting in the way of her logic. Everything that Adrian was saying sounded too good to be true. However, the opportunity to witness firsthand what went on behind the scenes of creating Lust would allow her to decipher the truth behind his flowery words.
“I’ll come by a few times a week to study them. I’m doing this for the people of New Orleans. Not for you. Do I make myself clear?” she pointed out.
“But,” she continued, “you’re going to leave the rest of my family out of any and all future business agreements. I’m not going to bend over backwards doing this for you and get nothing in return.”
He smiled wide. “Done. Can you tell me something though?”
“Possibly. Depends on what you ask,” she replied coyly.
“What’s your secret? Just between you and me. What is it about you that makes you so special?” he asked, brushing a loose tendril of hair away from her cheek as he stood up, closing the space between them.
She could feel his hot breath against her face as she gazed into his blue eyes. They were darker now as they traveled from her face to her neck. Adrian brushed his fingertips up her arm and over her collarbone, the sensation sending shivers along her body under his touch.
“I…” she tried to say, but gasped as he leaned his head down to the crook of her neck and blew gently upon her skin.
“Yes…?” he asked, as he took her silence as an invitation to press his lips lightly against her neck. She leaned her head to the side allowing him more access to her body, a gesture as inviting as it was deadly.
Eleanor’s mind went completely numb as his other hand grabbed her around her waist and pulled her closer to him. He was the enemy and yet, she couldn’t control the carnal hunger that raged deep inside her right alongside her bloodlust.
His pulse quickened as she touched his hand, a low growl rising within his being as it rumbled from his lips. Turning her towards his desk as he stood behind her, he held his hand around her throat, gently pressing his fingertips into her skin. He swiped her hair away from her neck and kissed her nape as he traveled down her shoulder.
Eleanor knew that he was starting to feel her desire along with his own and it was becoming too much to bear. Swiping everything from the top of his desk, he bent her over and held her wrists behind her in one hand. Hiking up her dress, she heard him undo his belt and zipper as her breath formed moisture on the slick surface of his desk.
Adrian ran his hand up her inner thigh as his thumb reached her core, feeling the wetness of her clit. She knew that deciding to forego underwear was a good choice for the night. His finger glided into her folds as she moaned into the desk, spreading her legs wider for him.
“Fuck,” he groaned as he rubbed her wet pussy, his cock growing harder at her need for him. “Is this what you want?”
Unable to speak, she nodded her head vigorously as his grip tightened around her wrists. The pain of his hold increased her fire at her core as his cock slid between her legs. Her bare ass was in all its glory as Adrian grinded into her heat, thrusting himself closer to climax.
Releasing her wrists, he pulled her torso towards him as he continued to ram into her, his movements frantic with hers. She guided his hand over her breast and towards her clit, her gasp letting him know he was in the right spot. Holding his hand underneath her jaw he turned her face towards him as he captured her mouth with his.
She swirled her tongue around his as he leaned in. His thrusts became deeper as she felt his orgasm nearing within her walls. Gasping, she let out a loud moan as he quickly covered her mouth, pulling her body closer to him. Breathing heavily, his body jerked within her as he came, filling her.
Letting his hand fall away from her mouth and rest on her shoulder, she put her hands on the desk in front of her to brace herself. Legs shaking, she slowly turned around to face him, pulling her dress back down. She could feel their juices flowing down her inner thigh as he took a few tissues from the box that fallen to the floor from his desk and knelt in front of her.
Eleanor watched as he tenderly wiped her as if she were some sort of goddess to be worshipped. He stood up, tucking his shirt back into his pants and straightening himself. Eleanor sauntered over to his office door just as he flew over to keep it closed.
“Was there something else you wanted to discuss?” she asked, her breath catching in her throat.
“You never told me your secret,” he said, his eyes dark with lust.
A smug smirk lifted the corners of her lips as she opened the door to let herself out, Adrian watching her as she sashayed away.