The Vampire Peasant: A Sinister Heart Novel

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Chapter 2

2

“Dino, it’ll be all right, man. We will get through this together. They’re out there somewhere. I promise. They’re going to the most beautiful mates ever for making us wait this long,” I said in a more positive tone.

Dino looked taken aback by my sudden mood change. I just laughed and shook my head.

“What turned your mood around so fast?” Dino asked, skeptical about my mood change.

I smiled, remembering Leo’s speech for me this morning.

“It was something Leo told me. That, and I don’t want to see anyone else as depressed as I am. They don’t deserve it,” I said with a genuine smile. My smile made Dino smile, and that warmed my heart, knowing I could lift his spirits, just as Leo had done for me.

“Thanks, man. At least I’m not alone,” Dino said, keeping his smile and positive spirit.

“Dino, you’re never alone as long as you’re alive. You’ve got people looking after you. We’ve got our families looking out for us, guiding us. Whether they’re alive on this earth or up in the skies, we’ve got them, but most importantly, we’ve got one another. Together, we can conquer anything,” I said with confidence.

I was shocked at myself because I hadn’t felt this much confidence in a while, and it was all thanks to Dino. Now I knew how good it felt to be the one to lift another’s spirit. I wondered if Leo felt this good every time he did this for me.

“Together, man,” Dino said, holding out his hand for me to shake, which I gladly took.

Just then, we silently made a bond that we’d be with each other when we needed it. We’d be together to lift each other’s spirit and get stronger until we found our mates and not even then.

“Okay, class, let’s read together,” Ms. Delgado said, ruining our moment.

We looked at each other one last time before continuing our class until the bell rang. For being Italian, my French was pretty good. It made me question if I was really of Italian descent.

Seventh period was physical education. It was my last class for the day. This was a sort of good class minus Filamina’s cousin. As I had stated earlier, it was a sort of good class because I had not only Dino in my class but Leo too.

“Okay, this is our last class. All we have to do is survive this class and hope no one bullies us,” Dino said, his enthusiasm once again making me laugh.

“Yeah, all we have to do is pass this class. I just thank God that Leo is in it with us. It makes it ten times easier. Huh, Dino?” I asked with as much enthusiasm to match his own.

He smiled and nodded as we kept walking toward the gym lockers. We saw Leo as we walked through the locker room doors.

“Hey, you two. What has you two happy all of a sudden?” Leo was looking at us weirdly as if we had grown three heads.

Dino and I shared a look before letting him in on what we had just talked about that made our day brighter.

“We’re happy that we’ve got each other, even if we don’t have mates yet. We still got each other and all our loved ones looking after us. We promised that we’ll pull through this without our mates together,” Dino explained, putting an arm around my shoulder, pulling me in for a bro hug.

Leo smiled at us before messing up our hair.

“I’m glad, and yes, you’ve got me too. My brothers will come first before my mate.” With that, Leo smiled a genuine smile before walking off to get changed.

“Great. Now Leo messed up my hair. I worked hard on it this morning,” I said sarcastically as we walked off together toward our lockers. His locker was above mine.

Dino laughed at my humor. Oh, and if you were wondering, I had shaggy black hair that hung barely over my eyes. It was long enough, so if I wished, I could slick it back.

“Yeah, it looks like sex hair now.” He laughed and played along.

“Oh, whatever. You know you like it.” I playfully winked, ignoring the stares and comments that were being made by others.

He winked back, making me laugh.

“You know it. Sexy all the way, babe.”

We both started cracking up. We were done changing and started to walk out of the locker room, still laughing. It was about five minutes before Leo had finally caved.

“You guys mind sharing what the hell is so funny?” Leo asked with a slight hint of irritation. If there was one thing he hated, it was being left in the dark.

We looked at each other as Leo said that and laughed even harder.

“We were talking about you leaving my hair looking like sex hair,” I tried to explain in between laughs.

“Yeah, and Vanni said I liked it, and I agreed,” Dino tried to explain after calming down a bit.

Leo just rolled his eyes at us, making us laugh some more. I swear, he was embarrassed when we acted gay together.

“I swear, you guys are gay,” Leo told us as we started our mile for PE. You see, every week we had two mile days.

Mondays and Wednesdays were those days.

“You know it, Leo,” Dino said loudly, making Leo run around us, proving he was embarrassed by us.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed this much. All I knew was that I was going to cherish this moment.

“So now that the day’s over, what are you going to do now?” Dino asked us as we walked out of the locker room.

I had to head straight home so that I could get ready for work.

“I’m going to head home. I have work in a little bit,” I explained as we got closer to the school entrance.

“I have to work too. What about you? What do you have going on?” Leo asked curiously.

“Obviously not working like you two. Look!” Dino said, pointing to the school doors, happiness and excitement written on his face. “That’s what I’m doing!” he exclaimed.

When we got closer, I saw a big orange poster covering the school door. My eyes widened at what I had read.

“What the hell? Is this for real?” Leo exclaimed reading it.

“’Announcement!

This October’s masquerade ball is free for all. Everyone can come. Even the peasants are allowed to attend this month’s ball. It will be held at the royal palace on Saturday, the twenty-seventh, two weeks from now. Come dressed appropriately. Food and drinks will be provided,’” Dino read aloud.

That was when I held a smile that grew so big, it would have broken my face. On the outside, I appeared calm, but on the inside, I was screaming and jumping with joy.

“Oh my god! You guys can finally find your mates!” Leo screamed, turning to us. Leo seemed the happiest of all three of us.

Dino and I looked at each other and smiled. We did a group hug. We were so happy. I was so happy, I actually let a few tears fall.

“After all this time, I can finally find her,” I said softly as we let go.

Leo smiled along with Dino. They knew out of all of us, I was the most broken. Dino was the second, but he hid it well. I couldn’t stop the tears that were flowing out of joy.

“Hey, guys. Oh, Vanni, why are you crying? What’s wrong?” Eva bombarded me with questions as soon as she came up and saw me crying.

Leo looked at her and smiled.

“Look there,” he said, pointing to the poster on the door.

I then heard her gasp.

“Oh my! You can find your mate, finally!” she exclaimed happily. She then started crying tears of joy for me.

“Your joy won’t last long, peasant. Enjoy it.”

We all turned to see the culprit. I knew who the voice belonged to.

My thoughts were confirmed when I saw Filamina standing there. I quickly wiped away my tears and stared at her. I was confused when I saw her. For one, she was alone, and two, I couldn’t help but remember how strong she was.

“Why do you look at me with such disgust?” My voice was soft and broken, but I managed but only barely.

“I’m not obligated to answer you, filthy peasant,” Filamina answered with such hatred and venom in her voice.

I didn’t know why it was only me she said that to. I didn’t know why it broke my heart to hear her say those things to me, but it did. I tried to hold back my tears, but as usual, a few always leaked out. The weird thing was she didn’t laugh like everyone else did when they saw me cry. She stared at me for a few seconds, watching my tears stream down my cheeks, leaving dirty streaks, before walking away in silence. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Everyone thought I was disgusting, but to be honest, her opinion was the only one that mattered to me.

She was beautiful, more beautiful than Delfina or any other vampire out there. Her deep brown eyes when they sparkled in the sunlight made me long to be human just to be able to stare into them and not see hatred or disgust. She had beautiful curly brown hair, almost black, that bounced with every step. How I desired to run my fingers through her soft curls. She had beautiful tan skin, and her skin was flawless, all natural. How I wished I could touch it. It looked soft—just once could I feel the soft skin of her face. She was the perfect height, standing about five feet and six inches. Her smile, I’d only seen from afar, but she had a beautiful smile that could make any guy weak at the knees with her perfect straight white teeth. She had the voice of an angel every time she spoke.

“Hey, Vanni, dude, are you okay?” Leo said, snapping me back to reality.

I looked at each one of them and saw the same look on their faces: confusion.

“Huh? What is it?” I asked, wiping my tears away once more.

“Dude, we’ve been saying your name for five minutes.

What’s up? You’ve been staring at her since she came over here,” Dino explained. He looked at me with suspicion, but I didn’t understand why.

Oh shit. They caught me daydreaming about Filamina. Why the hell am I even thinking like that? I have no chance. She’s a royal, and I’m just some lowly peasant.

“I was just thinking, why would she call me a filthy peasant? It hurts worse when she says it rather than anyone else though.” I decided to voice my thoughts.

They glanced at one another. They made sure not to whisper because I was a vampire too. It made me curious.

“What is it, guys?” I asked quietly. I glanced at Filamina just to see her glance back at me with a blank look before turning to get into her black Hummerzine.

“Dude, before we say anything, what do you think of Filamina Dubois?” Leo asked.

My ears perked up cautiously when he had said her full name.

“Well, um, to be honest . . .” I stuttered nervously. I really didn’t want to tell them, but they weren’t letting up on this one.

Shit. This is hard. Should I tell them? I have no choice.

“I, um . . . I think she’s beautiful. Actually the most beautiful girl in the school,” I said nervously. I looked at the ground to avoid eye contact.

“How long have you thought of her that way?” Dino asked cautiously.

Eva’s quietness didn’t go unnoticed. She must have been analyzing everything, but I couldn’t really tell why. I must have been one of the stupidest vampires here, not understanding what was going on.

“Since I saw her the first day,” I said quietly. I looked around to see if anyone was listening, but thank god no one was here—I should say, no other vampire was here.

“Oh my god!” Eva screamed. She was practically bouncing with excitement.

I was confused and even more so when I saw Leo and Dino grinning like idiots.

“What’s going on? Why are you guys so happy?” I asked cautiously, a bit nervous.

They looked at one another before looking at Eva and nodding.

“Filamina is your mate!” She squealed so loud, you could’ve probably heard her from the palace.

Now that I thought about it, every time she smiled, my heart beat a little faster, as it was now with me just thinking of her.

“What am I going to do, guys? You heard what she said earlier.”

Tears started to form again. I looked down at the ground, embarrassed, but looked back up when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Eva’s. She was smiling warmly at me.

How I wished it to be Filamina.

“She didn’t mean it. Not all of it, of course,” Eva explained.

I felt my heart leap with hope, my face immediately following. I had a chance, just a slight one, but I had a chance. I smiled again—a genuine one. Maybe the world doesn’t hate me.

“You mean I have a chance?” I asked with hope laced in my voice. My eyes shone with hope when she had said that.

They nodded but kept their smiles genuine.

“You have to win her over at the ball but make your identity unknown,” Leo suggested.

I nodded, smiling the biggest smile I could muster.

“Okay then. I will. This is my only chance. I will win her over. She’s mine, after all,” I said with determination. For once, I felt positive that my life could be worth something to someone.

“We’ll go shopping this weekend to see what we can find to wear to the ball,” Eva said to us.

We all nodded, and with that, I started walking home a happy man.

I couldn’t wait till the ball, where I could finally talk to my love without getting hatred back. I could only dream of letting me dance with her. Her hand in mine sounded like heaven. There was nothing that could ruin my day. Not even a beating from a pureblood could wipe my smile. I was determined to start smelling good and looking good to catch her attention at school, even if it was just a glance.

I will make you fall in love with me. I will be your knight in shining armor. I will be your prince to the best of my abilities. I will love you better than anyone ever could. I love you, Filamina Dubois.

The next day, I went to school all bathed and smelling good. I decided to take the day off yesterday so I could go shopping for some cheap Old Spice deodorant and some cheap Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir cologne. I really wanted to step up my game and stand out as a peasant. Even with the black-and-blue bruises covering my pale skin, I was hoping to stand out. I had most of my bruises on my abdomen. I had a couple of big black ones covering my lean, toned abdomen. I had a couple of blueish greenish bruises on my lower back that were going away.

The few bruises I had on my face were faded.

You could barely see them. It’d been a long time since one could see my facial features. I had a strong sharp jawline. I had the typical lavender-purple peasant eyes. When I was turned, my deep brown eyes had turned to a light lavender. I had pink full lips.

So basically, the only bruises I had left showing were the ones on my lower back and abdomen. I was glad because it meant my other features could stand out. I had shaggy black hair, and I was of average height for a guy, standing around five feet and eleven inches tall. I weighed in at 140 pounds.

Today I decided to wear a tight white V-neck that hugged my body quite nicely. I wanted to start wearing clothes that would show off my abdomen. I had a six-pack. It came with being a vampire. That was part of the godlike looks that we got. We also got smooth clear skin. Mine would look good if people would stop using me as a punching bag. I would look just as good as any other vampire, but people wouldn’t let that happen because we were peasants. I was determined to do anything for my love, Filamina, to notice me.

I wanted to surprise her and hopefully get her attention, so I decided on not bringing my jacket, considering all my jackets were super big to hide my body because it was usually covered in bruises. Not today. I wanted to show off my body.

So I wore dark-blue loose skinny jeans and my black worn-out sneakers. I couldn’t help but wear them. I didn’t have the money to go out and buy any Vans. I was just hoping that my clothes and cologne would be enough to catch her attention.

“Hey, Vanni. Whoa. What’s with the sudden change? Dude, you smell nice,” Leo complimented as I walked up to him to greet him. We had ten minutes before school started, so we started chatting to waste time.

“Hey, Leo. Yeah, I wanted to change my appearance after what you guys said yesterday. You know, for her,” I said as I looked around to see if she was here yet, just to be greeted with nothing. She hadn’t shown up yet. When I turned back around to face my best friend, I saw him grinning widely like an idiot. It confused me, which made me feel stupid again.

“What are you smiling at?” I asked a little cautiously.

I had a feeling I knew why he was grinning at me, but I wanted to make sure. So I asked anyway.

“You’re trying to catch her attention, aren’t you?” Leo asked slyly. Well, it was more of a statement than a question. He couldn’t stop himself from smirking at me, and it was making me a little self-conscious.

“Is it too much?” I asked, suddenly regretting my decision. My heart rate started to pick up—my breathing as well. I felt like racing back home just to grab my jacket and hide myself. It was my comfort zone.

“Vanni, calm down. It’s not too much. Not at all. If you want to catch her attention, then that’s the way to do it.

Peasant or not, you smell good and look sexy,” Leo stated, making me smile in return. He always had a way to bring my spirits back up.

I suddenly grew nervous when I saw her walk through the school doors.

“What do I do? She’s here. Do you think she’ll like my change?” I asked. Nervousness was clear in my voice.

“No, man. You will do nothing. If you want to catch her attention, you need to act cool and mind your own business. If she looks your way, it means you caught her attention. If not, you need to try something else,” Leo said, calming me down a bit.

I relaxed and tried to act cool as if none of the mean words and comments she said would bother me. I just hoped I wouldn’t get bullied because of this.

“Do you think that the no-bullying thing will last? I’m afraid that my change in appearance will make me get bullied some more,” I said, a little worried.

I would’ve thought about this sooner, but my love for Filamina had blocked out everything else. I was so caught up in trying to get her to notice me, I didn’t realize it could get me bullied worse than I already had it. This girl would be the end of me, but I was determined to do anything for her, no matter what happened to me. I really was like a lovestruck puppy, and it’d only been a day since I found out she was my mate.

“Dude, I don’t know what’s happening with the no-bullying thing, but so far, this morning, the purebloods are ignoring us. I assume because the purebloods and royals are ignoring us, no one else has been bullying anyone. You think?” Leo thought out loud.

It sort of made sense, but why the purebloods weren’t doing anything right now baffled me. I would have asked, but that would have been considered suicide.

I didn’t know how long they were going to ignore us, but it was kind of scary. They could strike us at any given moment. I just hoped that my change of appearance wouldn’t change their minds.

“Well, that’s the bell. I hope Iacopo keeps to himself.

Even if he doesn’t touch you, he’s still an asshole. I don’t know if he’ll keep his mouth shut though,” Leo said as we walked toward our first period.

I suddenly got scared because Leo wasn’t being careful with what he had said.

“Shut up, Leo! He could be around and listening!” I whisper-yelled in a panicked voice while looking around frantically.

“I don’t care if he hears me or not. In fact, I’d rather he heard me,” Leo said, a little louder this time.

I swear, he’s going to give me an anxiety attack, but I can’t have one.

Not today. Not in front of Filamina. I have to be strong and act cool.

I’m going to kill him one day, I swear.

“Leo. You’re not the one they take it out on. Can you please shut up?” I whispered—as if it mattered. Any vampire who was listening would’ve heard that anyway.

Leo just shook his head and took off toward his class without saying goodbye, which meant he was mad at me. It brought my spirits down, knowing I had just made my best friend mad at me.

“You’re not wanted in here, ugly peasant,” Iacopo said to me as I walked through the door to my first period.

The confidence I had had before class disappeared once I heard that comment. Iacopo had the typical common vampire’s eyes, yellow eyes. He had black hair down to his shoulders, pulled back in a ponytail at the base of his neck. I started getting more depressed because his comment started a chain of mean and hurtful comments.

So it was only a dream. I knew it wouldn’t last. I fucking hate my life.

“Just because you’ve changed your appearance doesn’t make you cute. Go die, you ugly piece of garbage. I don’t know who you’re trying to impress, but she’ll never want you,” Poalina said to me with a look full of hatred and disgust.

I tried to ignore them, but thinking that I was a peasant and Filamina was a royal made me believe them a little. It almost brought tears to my eyes, but I held them back. I wasn’t going to look weak, not today. I had a mate to win over. My ears perked up when I heard her mate talking to her. It was what he had said that brought my hope back.

“Shut up. You heard what the king said. Don’t pick on the peasants. Even if he is worthless and deserves it. Just leave him alone,” Aldo, her mate, said to her softly. He tried to tell her hoping I wouldn’t hear. He must’ve been human because vampires would know if one could hear them, and they didn’t care. In fact, they’d rather they heard them.

Poalina scoffed at her mate’s reply.

“Why stick up for the ugly peasant?” she asked in shock.

He didn’t answer her, which surprised us both.

He’s the first person who actually cares about me who’s human. Maybe he can help me get close to Filamina. My life is turning around after all. Finally, after so many years, someone besides my friends actually cares. I’ll have to make a mental note to find him and thank him later.

“Fine. Whatever then,” Poalina said rudely to her mate, pissed off that he had stuck up for me.

Aldo gave a gentle smile toward her and thanked her. He quickly glanced back to me. When he did, I gave a small weak smile in appreciation.

He nodded, accepting my thanks, and turned to face the teacher.

She came in fifteen minutes late, and she looked as if she couldn’t care less. The students besides the other peasants in here—which weren’t that many, about four more besides myself—looked as if they didn’t care either.

“So, class, how was your morning?” she said, striking up conversation as she prepared her things to actually start the class.

“Vanni actually thinks he has a chance with a girl,” Bastiano, another common, piped up while laughing.

The class laughed along with him—well, all except Poalina’s mate, Aldo.

I was extremely glad that I had another person on my side. It was then that I feared that he would start getting bullied for sticking up for me.

“You mean that ugly waste of space?” Rafaella, a regular, asked.

The teacher, Ms. Perez, actually started laughing along with the students.

“How pathetic.” Her mate, Giosue, laughed wickedly as he agreed with her.

“Right? He’s worthless. Who does he think he is?”

Her best friend, Olga, a common, laughed. This was starting to bring back my tears. It was then that I had regretted not bringing my jacket.

“Okay, class, that’s enough. Get out your notebooks and start taking notes,” Ms. Perez said in between laughs.

I thanked the heavens that she had finally started the class because it would mean that no mean comments would be thrown my way—well, at least until the class was over.

“Okay, class, that’s it for today, and remember what the king said. No harm comes to the peasants,” Ms. Perez announced when she was done with today’s lesson.

That immediately brightened up my day. It would mean that I was able to look clean and flawless for the upcoming October ball.

“Why though? They deserve it. They’re mistakes. They aren’t human or real vampires. They don’t belong here,” Fabiano, a human, piped up with hatred clear in his voice.

He wasn’t even trying to hide his hatred for us peasants.

I didn’t understand why humans hated us so badly. It might be because we were human at one time and now we had the vampire features humans wished they had—the flawless body and immortality. The rest of the class started agreeing with him as they packed up for the second period bell to ring.

Just as the bell rang, I decided to leave after everybody else to walk to my second period. It was in the building opposite the one I was in, the science and math building. The building I was headed for held classes for French, history, and foreign language.

I was about to enter my classroom when I got stopped by three nobles. I froze in fear. I knew what nobles were capable of.

They were just as dangerous as purebloods. The only thing they couldn’t do was force you to do something. That was what made the purebloods more scary.

“Oh, look. It’s Vanni,” Emiliana Abbatelli said to me wickedly.

These nobles gave me the chills—and not the kind one got from the cold. My self-esteem was lowered for the second time today. I looked at the ground, finding it interesting. I knew I could do nothing. Any vampire with vampire blood was more powerful than a vampire who was turned.

“Awww. Look, guys. He’s dressed up today,” Mariano Rocca mocked.

I started to regret today. Just then, I remembered that nobles could read minds, so I tried to keep my mind off her, but as soon as she entered my thoughts, I pushed her out as quickly as she had come. A glance into my mind was enough for them to catch it.

“Hey, look, guys. He’s dressed up for Filamina. He actually thinks he has a chance with her.” Efisio Cassano laughed, making tears form at the brims of my eyes for the second time today.

Just then, I saw her, Filamina, with her sister, Nathalie Dubois, and one of her cousins, Angelique Perrin. I suddenly got scared that she might’ve heard what they had said before she came over here. My fears were confirmed when all three of them looked over to me with judging eyes.

My anxiety levels were rising as the seconds passed.

Then I heard it, the late second period bell. It made my anxiety rise even higher because class had started and I was still out here with three nobles and three royals. They could do anything to me and get away with it. There was no one in sight. The tears that had formed in my eyes were so close to falling from just hearing their breathing.

“On orders of the king, you are to not bully the peasant,” Filamina said with a voice full of authority.

My heart fluttered when I heard her speak. She had the voice of an angel. I then felt the vampire nobles’ eyes switch from them and back to me. I knew then that they had heard my heart had beat faster.

“We aren’t doing anything. We’re just talking, vampire to vampire. Last I checked, little human, vampires don’t have to listen to your king. We have our vampire monarchs for that,” Emiliana said, trying to intimidate her.

From the corner of my eye, I saw that it wasn’t working, and I suddenly felt pride surge through my body for my mate for that. I saw it irritated Emiliana to no end that a human wouldn’t back down from a vampire.

“On orders of the king and vampire monarchs, you can’t bully the peasants, and if you’re just ‘talking’ to the peasant, then why does he have tears in his eyes, and why does he look so scared?” Nathalie, Filamina’s sister, stuck up for me this time, shocking me. Everyone knew she had more hatred for peasants than anyone in the entire school. I was definitely telling Leo.

“Where’s your proof, little girl?” Efisio challenged, totally ignoring her question.

God, I hoped that they wouldn’t do anything drastic, and I hoped that they had proof to back up their warnings. Otherwise, they might get hurt. Nobles could be ruthless. They didn’t care if you were a human, vampire, or royal.

They only cared about the purebloods.

My prayers were answered when I saw Angelique pull out a small white poster out of her bag.

“Here’s your proof. Now you best be smart and get on your way,” Angelique demanded.

It seemed that they were angry. Whether they were angry at me or the nobles, I couldn’t be sure.

“We’re not through with you. Remember that, Vanni,” Mariano whispered so low so only I heard before they walked out of the building.

Hearing that gave me a chill down my spine, but I brushed it aside for now. I did, however, let out a sigh of relief when I knew for sure they were out of the building.

“Thank you,” I said softly as I wiped my eyes.

I looked up to see them still standing there. It looked as if they weren’t going to go anywhere, and knowing that made my heart race. They wanted something from me. I knew they wouldn’t do it out of the kindness of their hearts.

“Is it true?” Filamina questioned with a blank expression.

When I heard that, I swore that my heart was beating so fast, even a human could hear it. My breath had caught in my throat, and my voice was lost when I tried to speak.

Her sister stepped in when I didn’t answer.

“Forget it, Mina. Who cares anyway? He’s just some filthy peasant anyway. You deserve more than that.”

Nathalie was ruthless, especially to me. I knew very well she hated us, but it seemed that she hated me more than any other peasant here, and I couldn’t understand why. I was just a regular peasant. I didn’t stand out among the other peasants—unless they knew something I didn’t. I still couldn’t figure out why she had stood up for me. I was staring at her, my love, Filamina.

She was so breathtakingly beautiful.

“Come on. We did our job,” Angelique said as she gave Filamina a little nudge, making her look away from me.

My heart rate dropped a beat because just then, I was able to stare into her eyes and not see such hatred. I may not have seen love or kindness or anything, but at least it wasn’t hatred.

Whatever Angelique had meant by that confused me. All I picked up on was that it was no accident that they were there. They may have followed me or may have already been there. Either way, that was no coincidence.

Just as they were exiting the building, the third period bell rang. I sighed as I listened to it.

It meant I had missed a period and ruined my perfect attendance record—not that anyone but me cared, but still. I missed some important information from my class that could lower my grade, and that was important to me. My grades were my future, but I couldn’t help it. What’s done is done, and with that in mind, I left for my third period.

I quickly rushed to my third period, afraid I might get stopped again, and I doubted I’d have someone save me this time. When I had made it into my algebra 2 class, I thanked God that nothing happened to me along the way. When I started for my seat, I noticed Leo and Eva sitting down in their seats already. They had been here for a good few minutes, I assumed. So I quickly made a beeline for my seat behind Eva.

“Hey, Vanni. You look good today,” Eva said with a warm smile.

I gave a weak smile back to hide my depression, but as usual, Leo noticed.

“Hey, man, what’s wrong? Has anything happened today?” Leo asked, concern written all over his face.

Eva noticed only after Leo had pointed it out and grew concerned as well.

“I’d be lying if I said nothing happened today,” I said.

They stayed quiet, urging me to go on. So I did. I took a deep breath before I began to calm myself down first. I didn’t want any tears to come and leak out. I didn’t want to cry, not today. I had been good so far. Tears may have formed in my eyes, but never did I let them leak out today.

“Well, they started bullying me in first period. Not physically though. Apparently, we peasants can’t be touched,” I began but was quickly interrupted by Eva. She was always the impatient one. Leo sighed, knowing she couldn’t control herself.

“Why can’t the peasants be touched? Who said that? What do you mean by ‘not physically’?” she asked impatiently.

She almost made me laugh with her eagerness. She was always happy and talkative. Sometimes I swore she had ADHD.

“Babe, shut up and let the guy finish before you start asking questions,” Leo said to her in a calming manner, which, in turn, made her calm and quiet once again. Leo then nodded toward me silently, saying I could continue. So I did.

“I mean mentally. They were calling out mean things to me again. Iacopo started it. It wasn’t as usual though.” I paused for a second. Leo took it as a sign to ask questions.

“What do you mean?” he asked curiously.

Eva opened her mouth to speak, probably doing the exact same thing she had, but I spoke before she could.

“Poalina’s mate, Aldo, stuck up for me. A human. Isn’t that great? Another person on my side!” I exclaimed.

Leo showed a smile, and so did Eva.

“That’s great, man,” Leo said, smiling widely, but frowned when he saw my face drop once again.

“What’s up, Vanni?” he asked again.

“Nothing, just that three nobles stopped me on my way to second period,” I said, thinking back to when I was about to enter my class.

“What happened?” Eva, asked a little anxious.

Leo was worried about me. That was because they were just as ruthless as purebloods.

“Well, they started making fun of me for dressing up,” I told them. I had to pause for a second to take a breath so tears wouldn’t form.

“Well, don’t listen to them. You look hotter than them,” Eva said, trying to cheer me up, which worked.

It brought a smile to my face.

“You really think so?” I asked, hopeful.

She nodded and smiled. I looked at Leo and saw that he was smiling as well. He nodded, answering my question.

“Thank you, guys,” I said softly, my voice breaking a little. It almost brought tears to my eyes. Then I remembered I hadn’t told them about Filamina and how she had stepped in.

“Hey, when I was getting bullied by the nobles, I almost started crying, but right before that, Filamina, her sister, Nathalie, and one of her cousins, Angelique, came over to us.

They pretty much told the nobles to get lost. It shocked me to hear that. I mean, all of them stood up for me. Even Nathalie, who hates me more than anyone. Isn’t that weird?” I asked.

They shared a look of confusion before looking back at me.

So I wasn’t the only one who was confused by their antics.

“Yeah, it is. I wonder why. You also never answered my question. Who said the peasants couldn’t be touched? Why can’t they be touched?” Eva asked before Leo could.

I totally almost forgot about that.

“My first period teacher, Ms. Perez, and Angelique and Filamina did. That’s how they got the nobles to leave me alone. Otherwise, the nobles weren’t going to stop. Not ’til Angelique pulled out a poster from her bag signed by the king and the vampire monarchs saying, ‘No bullying to the peasants,’” I explained.

They nodded slowly, understanding.

Then Leo frowned. I wondered why. All I knew was that it couldn’t be good. It took him a good few minutes before he started to speak.

“Hey, who did you say stopped you again? Which nobles?” Leo asked, concerned. That made me wonder if he knew something or not or if he was just curious.

“Emiliana, Mariano, and Efisio did. Why?” I asked suspiciously. By the way he had reacted to that, I knew something was up.

“Well, it’s just that I heard them talking about a certain peasant. They didn’t say any names, just that they were going to eliminate one. They said he was a threat. Now that you mentioned that, I think they might have been talking about you,” Leo said, frowning. He was looking down as if he were recalling the situation.

My heart dropped, my face paled, my palms were turning sweaty, and my breathing picked up when he had made that statement. It made sense now, what they had said to me before they left—“This isn’t over.”

“Vanni, what is it? What’s wrong?” Eva asked, noticing my reaction to Leo’s statement.

Leo snapped out of his daze and looked up to see me panicking and immediately grew worried. He knew something was wrong at that point, with my reaction.

“Vanni! Dude!” Leo said, shaking me, snapping me out of my thoughts.

“Huh? What? Oh, that reminds me. Before they left, they whispered—and I quote—‘We’re not through with you. Remember that, Vanni,’ to me. They also made sure that the girls couldn’t hear them,” I said in a distant voice as I recalled the incident that had taken place just a little while ago.

I could’ve been dead. If it weren’t for my mate, I would have been. When I looked up, I saw them both pale as I had done before. Now they knew why I was so scared.

“They can’t touch you though. The king and vampire monarchs said so,” Eva said, trying to look on the bright side.

“Yeah, but do you think that will stop them?” I asked in a slightly nervous tone.

I was scared because I could’ve been dead. That threat that they had made—I knew it wasn’t an empty one. They must have really viewed me as a threat. I was scared and curious, but there was no way I was going to ask and risk dying.

She gave me a sympathetic look. I hated sympathy. It showed how weak I was. Leo looked more worried than I was. I didn’t know if it was a bad thing or not, but I dismissed it.

“Hey, Vanni. Do you want us or me to stay with you?

You know, in case something were to happen on the way home? Hearing that, I don’t think it’s safe for you to stay by yourself.”

It was more of a demand than a question when Leo had asked that. I knew there was something up, and I couldn’t avoid it forever, so I agreed. Eva even offered to come too.

Leo, of course, said yes. For one, he was her mate, and two, the more people, the better, he said.

“Okay. I guess a little company couldn’t hurt for a while,” I said.

I was a little happy that I was going to have company for a while. It got lonely living by yourself for a couple of centuries, as I had. Of course, I’d jump at the thought of having someone around other than at school. I smiled inwardly at having two of my friends around, two people who cared about me.

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