Dinner With Dracula
“Put this on.” Tarje laid out black pants with a matching black jacket, white dress shirt, and a burgundy tie on Alex’s bed. “Why?” Aaron tilted his head in confusion as he picked up the outfit to examine it. All of it was from foreign brands he’d never heard of. Probably because of how expensive they were. The blonde sighed, narrowing his cobalt eyes. The boy could feel his disappointment. “We’re having dinner with the Tepes family.” He said that as if Aaron was supposed to know what that entailed. The freshman glared at the boy. His azure gaze demanded more information. “Vlad is very old school. He enjoys formal gatherings.” Tarje said in a bland tone and turned to leave. “Vlad, huh? That’s Alex’s dad? What’s he like?” The blonde-haired boy gave Aaron a passing annoyed glare. “Just, get ready.” Tarje shut the door before the boy could ask anymore questions.
Aaron took his time getting ready. He put on the jacket as gently as he could, the way he thought anyone should treat these insanely expensive clothing. He finished tying the crimson tie around his neck, which took approximately 3 times to perfect, before walking into the main area of the dorm. Natsumi stood to face him as soon as he shut the door. She wore an elegant ebony dress that flowed down to her knees and her cobalt hair was tied to either side of her face with a pair black laced bows. She smiled warmly at the boy as their eyes met. Alex, who sat next to Natsumi, stood as well, revealing his all black suit with a dark red dress shirt. “Ready to go?” He asked. Aaron sighed. “Not at all.”
“Unfortunately, you don’t have a choice.” The raven-haired boy felt a tug on his sleeve and turned to see Tarje’s ebony jacket and navy blue dress shirt. His arm was firmly wrapped around Aaron’s, as if making sure he wasn’t going to try to escape. His azure eyes narrowed at the blonde. “I appreciate the support, but I can walk on my own.” His voice was dripping with annoyed sarcasm. “It’s just a precaution.” Alex replied as Natsumi gripped his other arm. “Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but we need to make sure we keep a close eye on you for your safety.” The girl was very apologetic. It seemed she was feeling the same thing. “I don’t think close eye means close contact.” “Use your brain for a second.” Tarje interjected. “Celeste was able to kill you with Alex within arms length. Now that Vlad has an interest in you, you’ve become even more of a target. So, stop complaining.” Aaron opened his mouth to respond, but he was distracted as the front door swung open. “Sir,” an unrecognizable man in a black suit and tie appeared in the doorway. “Your car is here.”
Before Aaron could begin to comprehend what was going on, Alex reluctantly walked out the door. Natsumi and Tarje followed him closely, dragging the raven-haired boy along with them. Three more men with matching black suits were waiting in the corridor, accompanied by a rather fashionable older man with dark violet hair, lavender eyes, and a matching purple suit. The odd scene had stirred the usually peaceful night dorm as handfuls of students flowed into the hallway, waiting eagerly. For what? Aaron didn’t know.
As the dorm door opened, the man smiled. From what the boy could tell, it seemed genuine. However, he also felt something hidden under his friendly exterior, something dark and powerful. “My lord.” The lavender-haired man bow respectfully, followed by the two suited men on either side of him. This caused a domino effect as the rest of the students did the same. Red flushed the Romanian’s cheeks and his strong guard faded with embarrassment. Alex glared his amber eyes down at the man as he tried to regain his calm. “Enough.” He turned to the crowd that had gathered. His voice was loud, thick with authority. His classmates obeyed timidly. “Get to class.” He addressed the students directly. “You’re all going to be late.” Without another word, the students shuffled out of the hallway. Before long, they were alone with the strange men.
“Caspian, what was that about?” The lavender man, presumably Caspian, smiled. Standing tall, he gripped Alex’s shoulder. “Apologies for staining your reputation as an emotionless leader, but how many times will I have left to embarrass you before you become king?” Alex stared blankly at the man. It seemed he wasn’t fond of the conversation. Caspian noticed the boy become distant. His violet eyes passed Alex to his companions. When his gaze locked on Aaron, his smile faded and the aura around him darkened. He didn’t know why, but Aaron had a strong feeling Caspian didn’t like him. Caspian’s attention returned to Alex. “Come, your father is waiting.”
The smartly dressed man and his bodyguards led them out of the Locus Lunae dorm complex and to the street, where there were two luxury vehicles waiting for them. One of the black suited men strolled ahead of the group and opened the back door of the car. Caspian stopped on the curb and turned to Alex. “Forgive me for missing this important meeting, but I’m afraid I have some work to attend to. So, this is where I bid you a goodnight.” He gripped the boy’s shoulder and smiled. He then glanced down at the blonde. “Say hello to your father for me.” The man said with a smile. Tarje gave Caspian an unamused glare. “I can’t.” The older vampire shrugged. “Oh, that’s right. Sorry, I forgot.” His smile widened to a taunting grin as he sat in the backseat of the first black vehicle. He closed the door as the car turned into one of the many winding streets of Tokyo.
Aaron had more than a few questions, but thinking better than drawing attention to himself, he silently hopped in the spacious backseat. He was closely followed by the elegant girl with the blue pigtails, who sat next to him. Alex and Tarje sat in the seats facing them. Both of them shared an expression of uneasy dread as they drove away, leaving the safety of the campus behind. The four students sat quietly, heads down or propped to one side of the window. Aaron listened to rustling wind as it wrapped around the outside of the car. The dull roar made him anxious for what was to come. He glanced his azure eyes up to the dark-haired Romanian. “So, who was that guy, anyway?” Aaron attempted to lighten the mood at the same time as he broke the silence. “Caspian Gray.” Replied Alex. “He’s a friend of my father.” “He’s a vampire too?” Tarje scoffed and crossed his arms. “That goes without saying.” The two boys glared deeply into their similar azure eyes. “No need for the sarcasm, Tarje. It was just a question.” Natsumi’s light giggle broke the dark aura that was forming between them. “Now you know how I feel having to deal with him all the time.” Aaron was silent for a moment, azure eyes scanning the car’s interior. “Hey, Tarje?” The boy met the blonde’s unamused gaze. His dark, navy eyes held so much anger, like he was offended that Aaron dared to disturb the peaceful silence of the car ride. Tarje was elbowed out of his glare by Alex, who stared out the window with a blank expression. “Just, answer his question.” The blonde-haired boy sighed and turned to Aaron, his eyes somewhat lighter than before. “Yes?” “That guy, Caspian, was talking about your dad, but you said you-” Aaron was hushed by Natsumi. “Maybe we should talk about something else.” “No.” The two of them turned to Tarje, who stared at them with serious eyes. “Alex is right. Since he’s part of the family now, he deserves to know.” The boy’s eyes dropped to the floor, contemplating his next words. “My father’s been in a coma for several centuries...Ever since the day Vlad overthrew him...” His voice was pained, as if it was difficult for him to speak. “That’s why my family, the Nystrom children, swore never to be complacent to the man that...practically killed our father...and that’s why we’re considered traitors to the crown.” Tarje glanced up at Alex and sighed. “And now, many other families have risen up, the Nystrom children leading the way. They want to kill anyone related to the crown.” Aaron’s azure eyes widened in realization. “Wait.” All eyes fell on him. “Celeste, was she one of those people? Is that why she attacked us? Because of something your dad did?” Alex’s amber orbs dropped to the ground. The boy could feel heavy shame from him. “Well...”
Before Alex had time to answer the boy’s questions, the car came to a halt and the backseat was opened from the outside. They all turned to one of the men that picked them up at the dorm. “We’re here, sir.” Both Alexandru and Tarje sighed in unison as they stepped out of the car. Aaron hesitantly joined them on the walkway, being gently dragged along by Natsumi. As soon his eyes caught a glimpse of the building they walked towards, his jaw dropped to the floor. He was on the sidewalk in front of an enormous castle with four floors spanning almost endlessly in either direction. “Is this a house or a shopping mall?” Aaron asked in absolute disbelief at what he was seeing. Natsumi smiled, but it was Tarje that answered. “The Tepes family and the 15 branch families make up over 45 million members worldwide. The Tokyo branch only has a few hundred.” All color drained from the raven-haired boy’s face.
“I’m going to die...” He whispered, more to himself. Natsumi interlocked her arm with his, both for comfort and safety. “You’re gonna be fine. That’s what we’re here for.” “He’s right to be worried.” The sudden voice startled Aaron as Tarje appeared at the opposite of him. “If Celeste attacks tonight, she could take your life again.” Dread weighed heavily on the boy’s chest as he listened to the blonde’s words. The girl with the lapis pigtails glared daggers at the perpetually grumpy blonde, narrowly missing Aaron’s head. She reached over the freshman and pierced Tarje’s exposed neck with his crystallized claws. He flinched as her fingers ran deep into his flesh. However, as soon as she retracted her hand, his skin grew over the puncture marks like it never happened. The Norwegian boy’s eyes flashed a bright scarlet. “Was that really necessary?” He hissed. “Was that comment necessary?” Natsumi asked, her voice mirroring the annoyance in her eyes. Tarje opened his mouth to reply, but he was silenced as a calm hand gripped both his and Nat’s shoulders. They turned to Alex, who was staring at the door with uneasy eyes. “Now is not the time for this.” He said with his signature commanding voice.
The boy paused for a moment, panning his amber orbs to the freshman. “Aaron, this is important so, listen.” Alexandru said as he placed his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Aaron could see his amber eyes darken and sensed the boy’s aura thicken to match his serious tone. “My father, Vladimir Tepes, is dangerous. I don’t know what he wants with you, but his desires are rarely pleasant, which makes it all the more vital that you don’t look directly into his eyes. Not only does he have the ability to manipulate your mind, but he takes joy in it. It’s best to avoid him until I can meet up with you.” The freshman narrowed his crystal eyes. “Anything other crucial information you want to tell me before you leave? I don’t even know what your dad looks like anyway.” Aaron seemed more than a little annoyed. Alex sighed. “Both Natsumi and Tarje know him. They’ll help you.”
Aaron opened his mouth to reply, but was silenced as an unknown voice yelled Alex’s name in excitement. The group turned in unison to the entrance to see a collection of various men and women, all dressed in elegantly formal attire, waving down at him. Alexandru smiled politely at the group before turning to Aaron. “I have to go.” He panned to Natsumi and Tarje, his happy persona was broken for half a second. “Take care of him.” Natsumi gripped Alex’s arm and gave her best comforting grin. “He’ll be fine. Go greet people. It seems the family really missed you.” Alex nodded and broke off from the group, scaling the long steps to where the party was being held.
Once Alex was out of sight, Tarje turned to Natsumi. An uneasy look darkened his crystal eyes. “I have a bad feeling about tonight. I’m gonna go try to talk Celeste out of whatever insanity she has planned.” Nat sighed. “Good luck.” The blonde-haired boy turned and walked the opposite way Alex did, to a less lit and empty entrance to the large building.
Aaron’s heart skipped a beat at the mention of that name and began to feel dizzy with dread as he watched Tarje leave. “She’s here?“His voice held great concern. “Despite how she acts, she’s still family. I have a feeling the reason Vlad called this sudden meeting was because of her recent activity.” Natsumi turned and began walking towards the steps to the entrance, forcing Aaron along with her. “Come on, we’ve waited enough out here. Let’s get this over with.”
They quietly ascended the stairs and slipped in through the front door. The boy’s eyes widened in pure awe at the large, gold-gilded hallway that spanned forever in either direction. Looking up, Aaron saw a bloody scene of vampires and angels painted on the white, marbled ceiling. A man that somewhat resembled Alex stood at foreground, proudly displaying a severed human head and smiling a terrifying, toothy grin. The horrific image gave Aaron goosebumps as he looked down to the seemingly infinite crowd in front of him and tried to forget what he saw. However, as he spun around, he found that Natsumi was nowhere to be found.
In the massive crowd, Aaron managed to lose the one person who was supposed to keep him safe. He looked over the sea of people. His azure eyes swirled with confusion and a hint of panic. “You have to be kidding me.” He whispered to himself as he desperately scanned the crowd. He didn’t feel safe in a room full of vampires. That feeling only amplified now that he was alone in a nest of crazed bloodsuckers.
“Excuse me, son, are you looking for someone?” A smooth and deep, yet kind male’s voice radiated from behind him. The accent was very similar to Alex, but it was much thicker and harder to translate. Aaron turned to meet a very tall and fit man who looked about 40 or so. He had sharp features, with long, flowing hair and deep merlot red eyes, that were almost black in the center. An immediate image of the vampire painted on the ceiling flashed through his mind. The man looked nearly identical. He didn’t like what that meant. The boy’s hands began shaking as a toxic mix of dread and panic flooded his systems. Aaron cleared his throat and tried to act like a normal person. “No, sir. Just looking around.” His eyes quickly darted to the ground. He spun around, but his body was frozen as the man draped a causal arm over his shoulder. “No need to be nervous, kid. I saw you walk in with Nat.” He laughed as he sipped crimson liquid from a slim wine glass. The boy could smell the blood where he was standing and his azure eyes flashed red as he looked up to the man. “Want some?” The man smiled and brought the glass closer. The hunger glowed brighter, forcing Aaron to redirect his vision to the polished wooden floor. “No, thank you.” The man seemed amused by his stubbornness. “Fledglings and their misguided morals.” He took another sip from the glass and stared contently into the distance. Curiosity overtook him and, against his better judgement, Aaron glanced up at the man. “You know I’m a fledgling?” That seemed to be a mistake as the man smiled and his dark eyes lit up with a fiery crimson. “Oh, I know a lot about you, Aaron.” Strangely, he then glanced to Aaron’s right arm. “More than you seem to know about yourself.” The boy’s vision dashed to the ground as he stepped as far back as he could in a severally crowded room, hoping his mind was still safe from the man’s power. The tall figure leaned over so their faces were parallel and put a cold hand on the freshman’s chin. “You’re a very special creature, Aaron. I’m glad my son found you.”
Aaron was quiet for several seconds, thinking of what to say, or if he should say anything. “You’re Vlad, then?” Vlad smiled at the recognition in the boy’s voice. “The one and only. Say, what did Alex tell you about his big, bad dad? I could only imagine the horror stories he told. I know he doesn’t agree with the way I do things.” “He said you were dangerous...and not to look you in the eyes.” The boy’s voice was barely a whisper. Vlad seemed a bit disappointed. “Well it’s true, but a little less creative than I was hoping.” He paused before smiling. “Regardless of what he said, he was wrong, because there’s something he doesn’t know.” Panic started to set in. Aaron wanted to run, but his body was frozen with fear. As he pleaded with his legs to move, he felt a strange numbness wash over him. A similar feeling to when Alex invaded his mind, but it was much darker. The authority Aaron felt radiating from the man’s body was crushing. A cloud of haze drifted over his mind, blurring his thoughts. His body relaxed on its own accord and his head raised, azure eyes locking with beautiful crimson eyes. Vlad leaned in to whisper into the motionless boy’s ear. “I don’t need your eyes to control you. You blood works just as well.” The boy’s vision started to blur as he watched a fuzzy image of Vlad stand tall and smile. “Enjoy the party, Aaron.” He turned and walked away as his vision faded completely.