The daylight peeked through heavy curtains as I slowly opened my eyes. My mind was foggy from all the alcohol I drank, and couldn't remember how I got into a bed. My mouth was dry, my tongue sticking to my upper jaw, dying for some water. I noticed I still wore the dress from last night when I tried to sit up. The second I got up my head started pounding.
I groaned, rubbing my temples in an attempt to ease the headache. After giving up since it didn't help at all, I wiped my eyes with the back of my palms I looked around the room. I noticed Isobel’s bed was neatly made.
While taking shower, my mind was flooded with thoughts of last night. How Torben enjoyed taunting me and how I nearly lost control of my body once he mockingly asked about my loved ones. I didn’t understand how can someone be so sinister. At first, I wanted to revenge my family because I thought that he gave the order and they were at the wrong time and place. But knowing he deliberately killed them with his own hands just made the urge to kill him even greater. Just thinking about it made my stomach churn and the anger return.
After having a shower and getting dressed, I entered the bedroom. Isobel sat at the edge of her bed going through her clothes. Once she looked at me a wide smile appeared on her face.
“Hi” I replied, “you look like you had a good night. ”She still wore her dress from last night, her hair was messy but her skin was glowing. Her usual deep blue eyes were icy blue and glowing indicating she just fed.
“I certainly did.” she high pitched her voice in excitement with a huge smile adorning her face.
“Tell me everything,” I said feeling enthusiastic, a smile creeping on my face.
She started telling me about the vampire she met last night. It was the same vampire I have seen her with before the whole fiasco with Torben. She told me they spend the night together having sex. According to her, it was the best sex she had had in while.
“Are you going to see him again?” I raised an eyebrow at her.
“I was hoping to see him again tonight before we leave tomorrow.” she wiggled her eyebrows.
“You two looked cute together, are you going to make an effort to see him?”
“No, it was just sex for me.” Then added ” I like my freedom”
I chuckled, loving her thinking and wishing was as free-spirited as her.
She began taking off the remains of her make-up with cotton wool and makeup remover.
“Have you had sex since you’ve been turned?” she raised an eyebrow at me.
I felt slight heat rushing to my cheeks. I wasn't used to speaking about my sex life so openly with anyone. “No, I have other things on my mind,”
“You’re missing out, vampire sex is on another level.” She stated ” human sex is nothing compared to vampire sex”
More heat rushed to my cheeks at the thought of it. How much better could it be? But then I remembered last night, I had other priorities at the moment.
She went for a shower. In the meantime, the maid brought two glasses of blood into our room. I sat on the vanity chair sipping the blood, drying and brushing my long dark wavy hair while my mind swirled with the thought of Torben. His mocking sinister words replaying in my head. I wished I could turn it off.
After Isobel came out I freed the vanity table. While I laid on my bed the banging headache still bothered me. It felt as if someone pounded into my skull with a hammer. She proceeded to put makeup on and doing her hair. I just lied there quietly, studying the eagle necklace I wore around my neck.
I remembered the first time I saw the necklace around Luca's neck. It was at the time when he thought me how to fight. I've seen the necklace when it escaped the confines of his t-shirt. I was intrigued by it, I never saw anything so beautiful.
A smile appeared on my face when the memory flashed in my mind.
Suddenly, a knock came from the door. As I opened the door icy blue eyes met mine. Celeste stood there smiling at me. I returned her smile and stepped to the side to let her in.
The redhead sat down on Isobel’s bed, throwing one leg over the other.
“So how’s everyone today?” Celeste's eyes flicked between me and Isobel.
“I wish I didn’t have such a banging headache” I signed as I closed my eyes rubbing my temples.
“So what happened last night. You just disappeared from the ball.” Celeste's eyebrows were high on her forehead. Isobel turned around from her reflection in the mirror to face us, wanting to hear my answer.
Before I could even answer Isobel spoke.
“I’ve seen you dancing with the Alpha, you looked like you wanted to kill him.” Her now usual dark blue eyes filled with curiosity.
“Yea, I was ready to kill him then and there.” my voice was sharp, my eyes flicking between Isobel and Celeste. Just the thought of him made my blood boil.
Both of their eyes widened in shock. They had no idea about my history with Torben. None of them knew, apart from Nicolas.
“What made you want to kill him?” Celeste asked while fidgeting with the hem of her blouse.
“He provoked me” I stated flatly. Celeste and Isobel kept eyeing me waiting for me to continue with my explanation. I sighed loudly keeping my eyes glued to the wooden floor "he told me how he enjoyed killing my family. He killed them because he knew they were mine. They're dead because of me." My voice was low, laced with sorrow.
Both Celeste and Isobel came over to me taking a seat next to me on my bed.
“I’m sorry,” said Isobel as she hugged me.
Celeste held my hand “I would kill him if I was in your place." Her voice became sharp around the edges.
"Trust me, I was going to if Sin wouldn't get me out of there"
Celeste broke the silence that fell between us. “Oh, I nearly forgot, we are leaving in two hours.”
Isobel's eyebrows creased “How come, we were meant to leave tomorrow,”
“Nicolas doesn’t want to stay any longer than necessary.” Celeste's eyes met mine briefly.
Isobel signed in defeat as she stood up heading towards the vanity table to finish off her make-up.
“I should go pack my stuff,” Celeste stood up "I'll see you later"
“I guess we start packing” I stated as I reached for my suitcase and stuffing my clothes, shoes and toiletries into it.
After Isobel finally finished perfecting her appearance, she packed everything too and then headed down to meet everyone.
2 months later
“Reine!” I turned around recognising the deep voice. It was Sin walking towards me.
“What’s up?” I asked when he reached me. He seemed concerned, his eyes were serious, his body tense.
“Nicolas is calling a meeting”
“When,” my eyebrows furrowed.
The last meeting we had was before the trip to Livorno. Whatever this was must have been important.
“Now, let’s go” he commanded and left.
"Any idea what is it about?" I asked catching up to him.
“No, but from the look on Nicolas’s face, it can’t be anything good." He glanced at me as we walked towards the meeting room.
When we entered the room, the whole clan was already there. Nicolas stood in front of all of us with Leon on his right side, both of them looking anxious and tense. Never seeing Nicolas this anxious, I couldn't help the uneasiness settling in the pit of my stomach. Something bad must have happened. I leaned against the cool wall my hand shoot automatically for the necklace around my neck. I glanced at Sin, he was tense eyeing everyone around the room.
Nicolas loudly cleared his throat, gaining everyone's attention. “There’s no easy way of saying this. We are officially in the war with the werewolves.” while saying it his eyes met everyone else's in the room. Few gasps and murmurs echoed around the room. My eyes widened, not expecting this so soon. I hoped we could prevent it by killing the Alpha.
Leon next to him came forward “They attacked Nantes Clan. Only a few vampires managed to save themselves. They fled to the Rennes Clan.”
“It’s only a matter of time before he attacks again. We don’t know when or where he’s planning to attack but we need to be ready. From now on I don’t want anyone leaving the mansion alone.” Nicolas sternly looked at everyone.
“Shouldn’t we attack first?” Asked Sin “We shouldn’t be waiting until he attacks one of the clans. We need to surprise him when he least expects it. That's our only advantage”
Nicolas shook his head “We don’t have the numbers. He has hundreds of werewolves in his pack alone. And there are hundreds of packs around Europe. He has an army of at least ten thousand werewolves”
More murmurs erupted around the room.
“All the clans need to be gathered, to be able to attack but this might take at least a week. All we can do is wait until we have the numbers, plus we need to wait for a word from Don Lombardi and the council when and where to start gathering.” Leon stated. "Alpha Torben must have been planning it for months. He gave us false hope of keeping peace when he attended the ball."
“As I said, I don’t want anyone leaving alone. Understood?” Said Nicolas sternly meeting everyone's eyes once again.
When he saw everyone nodded he added “Meeting is dismissed”
As everyone made their way out of the room, I made my way over to Nicolas. He stood there talking to Leon with his back to me.
“Nicolas, I need to talk to you.” my voice steady a bit louder than usual to get his attention as I approached him.
He turned around to me “Yes Reine” his eyebrows high on his forehead. Leon's eyes were on me as well.
“Wouldn’t it be a good idea to send spies?” As I asked I heard a shuffle next to me. I glanced in the direction of the noise. It was Sin, he must have stayed back. I never noticed I was too occupied by the idea that formed in my head as I watched everyone leave.
“It’s too dangerous.” Nicolas's voice sharp, facial expression stoic.
“Yeah, werewolves have an amazing sense of smell. They’d smell vampire from hundreds of feet away” Sin stated.
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” a smile crept on my face slowly ”I know a plant that can mask any kind of scent.”
Nicolas’s, Sin’s and Leon's eyebrows flew up and eyes went wide in amazement as they stared at me.
“How do you know” Nicolas inquired.
"When I was a human I studied medicine and part of it was learning about certain herbs to help with illnesses. One of the herbs I studied happen to mask scent as well”
“How do we know it’s working”, Nicolas's eyebrows creased, doubting my idea.
“We just have to trust it”
Nicolas shook his head “It’s dangerous, I’m not risking anyone’s life. What if it doesn’t work?”
“You don’t have to risk anyone’s life. I will go. I trust the herb, I just need to find it” I said eager to go.
“That’s out of the question,” snapped Nicolas, his blazing orbs bored into mine angrily.
I glared at him “You rather wait until they attack again? What if they attack us next.” I snapped back at Nicolas, trying to control my sudden anger “There’s no telling where he goes next”
His eyes flicked between mine, he saw my determination. I wouldn't back down from the idea. I would leave with or without his consent. I was a grown woman and I felt like we could get some good info on the beasts. I couldn't help but feel relieved when he agreed. Ghost of a smile appeared on my face.
“Go find the plant. As soon as you have it you will leave.” then his eyes flicked to Sin “You will go with her.” With that, he turned around and left the room.
Later that day, I went to look for the plant in the nearby forest. I couldn't wait for another day. We needed to leave as soon as possible. Time was something we didn’t have. The plant was common so it was easy to find. After finding quite a bit of the plant I headed back into the mansion.
Heading straight towards the kitchen, I bumped into Sin “We are leaving tomorrow”
“I hope you know what you’re doing. This is going to be dangerous” his black orbs flicked between mine, filled with worry.
“If you’re scared, you don’t have to come. You can just tell Nicolas I left without telling you.” I raised my eyebrows, sensing he wasn't on board with my idea.
His jaw clenched ”Do you seriously think I’d let you go alone?” his voice was slightly louder and steely.
"I can take care of myself,” I said flatly as I entered the kitchen, leaving him behind.
“What time we’re leaving tomorrow” he followed behind me.
“Ten in the morning, we have a long way ahead of us”
“Do you even know where to find him?” His eyes filled with doubt.
I just shook my head in disbelief and a sarcastic smile crept on my face.
"Of course I know, I’ve been his slave for over ten years. I just can’t believe no one thinks I’m capable of doing this.” my voice was louder as I snapped at him. His eyes widened at my outburst.
With that, I turned around and grabbed a pot for the herb. In the meantime, Sin left. I let out a breath I didn't even know I held. I washed the plant and then threw it into the pot and began boiling it.
My mind swirled with thoughts. Maybe I shouldn't have lashed out on Sin this much. But everyone doubted me and I began getting tired of it. They treated me like a child that had no idea what they were doing. Maybe I should leave without him in the morning. I quickly shook the idea out of my mind. He was right it was risky and should be glad he was coming with me.