She looked around as she lifted her hands, they were all frightened, all except Raphael. He stood watching her with amazement. He didn’t contribute to the spell, so she had no vexes towards him. Squeezing her hands into a fist all the windows in the room shattered all at once. The wind picked up and she heard Lorraine yelling.
“She is going to kill us all! I knew this wouldn’t work!”
Turning to Lorraine she smiled. Pulling her hand up, she lifted Lorraine into the air and started closing her fist. She was stopping her from breathing and she felt satisfied. Just as she was about to close her hand, which, she knew would most definitely end her life, she heard someone call out to her. It was a guy’s voice and the sound of it soothed her emotions. It was like a wave of comfort swept over her. It was Alex.
“Katerina, you don’t have to do this. Stop...please!” She dropped to her feet. The wind that came so suddenly, was gone. the glow from her amulet and her eyes had stopped. No one said anything, it was pure bliss and so quiet. They were all afraid of her, as well they should be.
“Don’t ever talk to me again! I don’t want to see you and I do not want to talk to you. How good of you to join us though, just in time to save your little blood skank.”
“I didn’t come because of her. I came because I felt you. I felt your pain and I felt your fear. I felt your anger and I knew I had to come.”
“Just leave me alone!” She reached for Raphael’s hand and asked, “Will you escort me home?”
“Yes, I will.” He responded. She looked toward Alex and saw the pain and the anger she knew he was feeling. They blinked to her home and stood quietly. That, that was amazing. Your power is something that never ceases to amaze me.”
“Yeah, me neither. It scares me.”
“Maybe if you let go of that fear, then maybe you would be able to control it better.”
“Control it, yeah, I don’t even feel like that is possible. I have a question though.”
“Okay, I’m all ears.′
“Did you know about this?” She studied him carefully when she asked the question to see if he would lie.
“No! I was told it was about our deal between covens. I thought they were going to officially end the contract.”
“Why didn’t you help them?” When she was looking around the room, every one of them was reciting the spell, all except for Raphael. It was almost as if he were waiting for something.
“I don’t want you to lose your magic. I definitely don’t want to suppress it. I find your power beautiful. I was waiting for the fireworks.” He said as he placed his hand gently on her cheek. She was confused. From the conversation she overheard between Lorraine and himself and she didn’t understand. A few nights before that, he wanted to take her magic. He said her magic was his. She felt as if she were losing her mind. If she heard wrong, and he didn’t want her power, what did he want?
“I need to get to sleep, after the night that I have had I just need to rest.”
A look of disappointment and, yet, understanding radiated from his eyes. “Of course, I can’t imagine how tired you must be.”
As she opened her door, she looked back at him walking away and asked, “Would you like to come in for a drink or something?”
A spark shot in his eyes as he replied, “If you would have me, yes, I would very much enjoy that.”
Walking in from outside she felt someone watching her and it calmed her thoughts to think that it was Alex watching in a jealous rage. That is what he gets.
“I have some scotch, courtesy of Vee’s house, is that okay?”
“Yes, sounds good to me.” He stood nervously watching her poor the drinks. He really was handsome. She wanted to ask about the conversation she overheard and decided not to. This was a peaceful moment and the first that she had all night. She just wanted to relax for a minute. He started to walk towards her and grabbed the glass, watching her as she took a sip.
“What?” She asked.
“Nothing.” He shook his head and started to blush. “You are just so beautiful. I apologize for staring after you.”
“No, it’s fine, really.” She walked past him and brushed her arm against his and she wasn’t sure if she had done that on purpose or not.
“Katerina...” He said her name as if to ask a question. She stopped walking and just stood there with her back to him. She heard him walk towards her and place the glass on the counter. The closer he got to her, the faster her heart was beating. He placed his hands along her arms, running them softly first up and then down towards her hands. She felt her body tense up with nervousness. Why was she nervous? It was almost an anticipation she felt. He slowly pulled her hair to one side and gently kissed her neck as he placed his hands on her waist.
She turned around, unable to stop herself. It was as if something had taken over. He kissed her so passionately that it made her head spin. Walking her backward toward the wall he pushed against her with his body and she thought of Alex. The night he first came in her house. No matter what he had done, she couldn’t do this to him.
“Wait...Stop!” He wouldn’t stop. He kept kissing her and grabbing on her as if he was a rabid animal. Just as she lifted her hand he stopped. The look in his eyes were that of confusion and longing and in the very depth of them she saw it, fear.
“I... I am sorry. I don’t know what came over me...I shouldn’t have. Please forgive me.” He said as he rushed out the door. She wanted to stop him, but she knew if she did that in her pain, she felt for what Alex did, she would make a mistake that she wouldn’t be able to take back. Everything in her wanted to keep going but the only image that came to her mind was Alex. What a tramp she was.
The next evening, she woke before dawn to someone knocking on her door. “Oh my god! Can I have another 30 minutes of sleep please!?” She opened the door and her heart dropped to the floor. It was her father. Not her adopted father, it was Daniel.
“Hello Katerina. May I come in?” She fearfully stepped back and lifted her hand as if to spell him away from her, but nothing happened. He was going to kill her. Her skin crawled looking at him. It was the stories she heard about him that frightened her. Looking at him she felt calm, knowing who he was, was an entirely different story. She kept using her magic and that is how he found her. Why was she so stupid? They told her to stop using her dark magic. She didn’t know what he wanted; all she knew was her magic didn’t work on him.
“Katerina, I only want to talk. If you will allow me to explain some things I will go.”
“Talk!? Not from what I have heard. Don’t lie to me!”
“I don’t even have to say anything, because you know that I mean you no harm.”
She took a minute to think and realized he wasn’t lying. If he wasn’t there to kill her and take her magic, then what did he want? Since she had gotten there, everyone insisted that he was the root of all evil. The only story about him that remained the same no matter who told it, was that he wanted to steal her power. She kept trying to spell him away from her and realized that she couldn’t.
“I know what you have been told. I know they all have told you I want to steal your magic and thus end your life. As you can tell, as powerful as you clearly are, you cannot perform magic against me. Do you want to know why?”
“I don’t understand. My magic has yet to faulter.”
“That is because no member of the Gratu family can wield magic against another. Dorian, as I am more than certain you have heard about, performed a spell on his family and lineage to make it so.”
“I don’t understand. Vee told me. So, you don’t want to steal my magic?”
“I most certainly do not. I actually couldn’t if I wanted. May I be allowed to come in now and talk?”
She looked around and realized it would be safer to talk inside. “I guess that would be alright.”
He sat on her couch looking around. He seemed to be remembering something. Maybe he sat in here in her past life. She didn’t know what he wanted but she didn’t trust him in the slightest. All the stories she had heard of him. She realized that this was an opportunity for her to get some answers.
“You mentioned that woman, Vee. Do you trust her?”
“No, and I don’t trust you either. I really only trust one person in this town and that is myself.”
“Good. It’s better that way. That woman is evil, and she is to blame for all of this, you DO realize that, yes?”
“From what I understand, she is the one who sent me off to protect me from YOU. As much as I don’t trust her, I am grateful to her for that. Also, I have heard ‘evil incarnate’ be associated with YOUR name, not hers.”
He laughed covering is face with his hands and stopped to look at her. There wasn’t humor in his eyes, it was hurt. He just looked after her with a painful expression and she realized he felt pity for her. What could he possibly pity her for?
“You don’t really believe, that do you? You are the reason I was released, and you are why I have come.”
She looked back at him feeling confusion because taking a moment to reflect, she didn’t. She remembered the dream she had about her father in the cemetery. She released him. Then she realized that the dream she had about the book from the library seemed all too vivid, just like the dream of the cemetery. She didn’t want to believe it. She couldn’t have.
“Yes, Kat, you released me before you even came here to stay. I have always known where you were. I have been watching closely to make sure you were okay. After last night I had to come to you.”
“Hot. How did you answer my question, I didn’t ask.”
“I can read your thoughts. It is a power our family has always had.”
“But I don’t have that power.”
“Yes, you do, you are still young and have yet to master your abilities. That is why I have come. I will help you, as I did years ago in your past life.”
She looked at him and realized that she believed him. After hearing all the horrible stories about him and what he wanted to do, if it wasn’t true then what was the truth? If none of that was true, why did the entire town know it as truth? It was an elaborately told story and so many details, But the question remained, if he wasn’t the bad guy, then who was and why did they go to this length?
“I will tell you everything you need to know, and I will answer any questions you have to the best of my ability. First, though, shouldn’t you be getting to school?”
“Crap! Yes! I overslept and forgot about school entirely!”
“I will accompany you.”
“What? I mean, aren’t you afraid of the council? What if they try to seal you again?”
Laughing he responded, “No I am not afraid of those pompous bastards. I hold more power than they could possibly imagine.”
“They sealed you once before.”
“With assistance from my newborn daughter and our family amulet.”
“So, I.. I am the reason you were imprisoned?”
“It’s okay you were a baby. They borrowed magic from you and used it to seal me in that living statue.”
“You said we can’t use magic against anyone from our bloodline.”
“That is true we can’t. It wasn’t my family’s magic that was used. It was your mothers magic. She comes from an ancient powerful witch lineage herself. The problem though, is that she herself didn’t get full witch powers. Her father was a mortal human man.”
“So, she is half witch? I am going to be late; I have to go.”
“I will tag along. Don’t try to discourage my decision. After what the council attempted last night, they will pay for it. I will also not allow my daughter to go alone in this town without my assistance.”
Rolling her eyes, she felt like she really didn’t have a choice. “Fine! Just stop talking all crazy like ‘They will pay’, It isn’t necessary. Also, don’t get any ideas about staying in class or anything weird.”
He nodded his head in agreement but from his hesitation it was clear that was his initial intention. As they got to school everyone was looking down at her from the top of the stairs. Instead of the usual spiteful and hateful gazes she got, it was fear and confusion. She realized they were looking at her father. He hugged her neck and let her go staring straight in one direction. She looked to see he was staring at Alex. There is no surprise that it wasn’t a pleasing glare.
“Have a good day. I will be close by if you need me.”
“Okay, can we talk after school?”
She started walking up the stairs and didn’t even look his direction even though she knew Alex was staring at her. He wanted to talk to her, but she wasn’t ready to talk to him. How could he do that to her? Two timing sleazes.
“Katerina! I just want to talk. Please let me explain.”
“So, talk.” She said as she turned to see him almost in tears. She felt pity for him for a moment. Feeling the gaze of someone else she looked past Alex to see Low-life Lorraine and the bandage still on her neck.
“I don’t have time to hear your lies. I can plainly see the bandage on her neck. I walked in your house to find that tramp trailing after you calling you ‘baby’. I may be many things, but stupid isn’t one of them.” She said as she walked away.
“It isn’t what you think.” He said as he grabbed her arm. “Just let me explain!”
She turned to him while he still had her arm and saw fear in his eyes. She felt her eyes burn and knew the magic was intensifying. All she felt was rage. He let her arm go and she continued walking into the school. All the while, everyone whispered about her. They were calling her crazy and evil. She just had to get through the day.
“Katerina! Wait up!” Raphael called out to her. “Hey, you are in a rush today, aren’t you?” He asked in a laughing manner.
“I just want to get through this day. First with my father and now Alex. It’s all too much.”
“Wait, your father?” He asked in a concerned tone. He looked confused and a little frightened.
“Yeah apparently he doesn’t care who knows, he is back.”
“How do you know that? We should find a safe place for you to-”
“No need. Apparently, Gratu’s can’t perform magic on each other. So as far as I can tell, for whatever reason, the stories I have heard are all lies. He came to my house this morning and against my wishes walked me to school.”
He just stared at her with concern. He looked as if he were worried about her. “Are you sure? Did he happen to mention how he got free?”
She thought about the dream. She had released him but there was no way she could admit that yet. There were so many things she didn’t know yet and she didn’t want to be blamed if by chance she made an unconscious, yet dumb mistake.
“Yes, I am sure.” She couldn’t tell him or anyone that she was the one who released him. What if any part of the stories were true? She was lost in thought and realized Raphael was talking to her.
“So, there is something you should know. Alex didn’t drink form Lorraine.”
“What? I saw them. The bandage on her neck-”
“She is a floozy. She went over to offer herself to him. She cut her neck and thought he would have no control. He refused her and that is all I know.”
Blankly she stared at him for a moment. Why would he tell her that? Wasn’t he trying to marry her? How did he know any of this?
“How is it you know any of that?”
“The vampire family that serves the Vortigens, have children that attend school here.”
“Who? Why are you telling me?”
“I owe you from last night. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I know that you love him, and I shouldn’t have pushed myself on you in your time of vulnerability.”
A flash flew by her eyes and Raphael was pushed against a wall. It was Alex, and he heard the whole thing. The kiss, she allowed him into her home so was she just as guilty?
“You are disgusting bottom dweller! How dare you touch her!” Alex was more enraged than she had seen him be yet. He had Raphael by the throat and lifted against the wall. Looking up to Raphael she saw he was smiling. He found it funny to incite rage into Alex. Did he know Alex was close and could hear them?
“Don’t blame me, she invited me in.” He looked after her and smiled a devilish smile. He was such scum.
“So that means try to force yourself on me! You are a disgusting pig! I can’t believe for a moment I actually thought you were a decent guy.”
“You did what!?” Alex was so upset she just knew he was about to crush Raphael’s windpipe in his hands. Raphael was gasping for air.
“That is enough!” A loud and demanding voice echoed in the lobby. It was Daniel. What was he doing there?
Everyone stopped and turned to look at him. Looking back, they had realized with his arms outstretched that he had lifted Alex and Raphael and separated them. Why was he making his presence known like that? He really didn’t care who knew that he was back. He lowered them both to the ground.
“Raphael, come with me.” He looked over to me for a moment and starred angrily at Raphael. Why would he think that he would come with him? Everyone was afraid of him. Just as she thought he was going to walk away, Raphael nodded in agreement. What she didn’t understand, is why.
“Katerina, I can explain everything.” Alex said to her in a pained tone.
“Why was she even there?”
“She came and my mother let her in. I did not. She offered her body to me and I refused. She took her own nail and cut her neck thinking I wouldn’t be able to control myself. I was about to come to your house when she was chasing after me. I don’t want her. I love you; you have to believe me.”
“For whatever reason, I do.” She looked over to Lorraine and saw the smirk on her face. She noticed that they had talked about it all in front of everyone. The smirk she saw, wasn’t a smirk. It was embarrassment. How pathetic it looked to everyone for her to go so far as to offer herself and get rejected twice.
“Now why did you invite that sleaze bag into your home.”
“He was the only one who didn’t try to suppress or steal my magic that night. He accompanied me home and I was just trying to be nice.”
“That’s all it was?” He asked with concern.
She remembered the confusing feelings she felt for him in that moment. “Yes, that’s all it was.”
“So, are we okay now?” He looked at her with such relief and happiness.
“Yeah, we are.”
He walked over to her and picked her up spinning her around. He put her down and kissed her so passionately it felt like he was draining her life essence. How he had the power to do that to her was beyond her. She realized everyone was still staring. She felt her cheeks flush and backed up a little. Everyone started to walk away, since there was nothing else to see. Lorraine pouted and stomped away.
As the day went on, she felt everyone including the teachers glaring at her. As she was lost in thought she was brought back to the dream or memories she had of releasing him. The look in his eyes was that of gratefulness but something else. It was concern but not for himself. He was concerned for her. Who was it that made all those overly dramatic stories about Daniel?
Someone went out of their way to paint him as the bad guy. Maybe to justify his imprisonment. She then realized that she hadn’t yet asked about it. Why was he imprisoned if not for the crimes he was accused of? What had he done, or what was he going to do to deserve such a punishment?
“At the end of class, everyone reports to the auditorium.” The school didn’t have an intercom system it was magic used to tell everyone where to go. It was the lady from the council, Freya. She tried to take her magic. Why was she there, and what did the vampire students have to do with this meeting they were all called to attend? As she walked down the hall Alex ran up behind her.
“I heard what happened last night with the council. Are you okay?”
“I mean, yeah. They couldn’t take my magic. All of this is just so confusing and it’s a lot all at once.”
“Your father, he’s back. Has he done anything to you?”
“That is a long story, but no. Long story short, apparently, all of the stories about him were false.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“From what I can tell, yes.”
They all gathered in the auditorium and took their seats. Freya was on the stage waiting for everyone to come in and be seated. She looked to Katerina and she saw fear in her eyes. She should be afraid. She made an enemy of her that night. She didn’t know what she was going to do yet, but she knew she wanted her to pay.
“Okay, so we have a problem. I have spelled the doors shut and no one can hear us nor can anyone enter.” She was looking back and forth and then settled her eyes on Katerina as she spoke. “Daniel Gratu has come back.”
Everyone started talking and gasping in shock. They all looked to Katerina and knew he had come back for her. She felt the blood rush to her face. They all thought him to be this monster and he may very well be. To her though, he wasn’t, or she didn’t believe him to be.
“That is enough! I have gathered you all here to discuss safety measures and what we will do to ensure that nothing happens to anyone.”
Just as she spoke, the doors slung open and Daniel walked in. How nice to have you all gathered here in my honor. A very fitting welcome back.” He said as he looked to Katerina.
Freya stumbled back and you could all but hear her teeth chattering. Maybe her father was a monster. He incited so much fear in everyone, there must be a reason for it. What was he up to, and how did Freya know that he was back? As he walked to the stage Freya backed away as if to get away from him.
“Freya, just where do you think you are going?” He said as he held his hand out and lifted her in the air pulling her to him. She was afraid of him, and at that moment, so was Katerina. What was he going to do to her? He let her down and turned toward the audience.
“So, it is my understanding in the year that I have been released, that all of you have been misinformed of my imprisonment. You all believe me to be this insatiable monster who would kill for more power, as my grandfather was and did. I am powerful, but I am no monster. I wasn’t the one killing for power. The one responsible for all of this, is one of the only two people do not present at this meeting. Look around and figure it out.”
Why was he speaking in riddles? Why not just come out with it? She started to look around and realized that Vee and Narcissa were both not present. Could he be talking about Vee? No. It had to be someone else. She didn’t trust Vee, but her magic seemed way too weak to do the things that Daniel was accusing her of.
“I am not going to give it away quite yet, because her and I have a score to settle. She knows I am back, and she has put herself into hiding.”
Everything he was saying she couldn’t help but wonder why everyone was allowing him to speak. She knew he was powerful, but why let him keep talking? She then remembered the story of the Gratu’s. Her family was of royal lineage. In a sense he was their king. Since the council was in charge since he had been gone, that means they are more like congress and he is like the president. They literally have no choice. That must have been why Raphael went with him without hesitation.