The atmosphere around me suddenly felt misty as I fell deeper and deeper into the enchantment of his kiss. In my curiosity, I opened my eyes and froze at the picture in front of me.
“Don’t listen to his lies. He’s Ros!”
The voice in my head was as clear as daylight.
It was a warning of some sort, I could tell. The sight in front of me was as confusing as confusion gets. It was Ryan, the same one I was kissing - telling me not to believe himself. Telling me the him outside was Ros.
“But outside where?”
I jerked back in shock, feeling my body leave Ryan’s cozy arms. I opened my eyes and saw his curious face staring at me. It was then I realized I must have been in a trance, if that was what it was.
But why did it feel so real?
“Is everything okay?” Ryan asked.
“Um... no. I-I...” I tried to get the words out but for some reason, they failed to bind together under the rules of proper sentence construction.
Ryan tried to pull me into his arms again but I jerked back. I didn’t know what to make of the situation but it creeped me the hell out.
“I... saw... you.” I managed to say.
I could literally see his eyes catch fire.
There was so much fury in them I was afraid the warning was not just a figment of my disoriented imagination.
“Could he really be Ros?”
No... it just couldn’t be true. He’d been here the entire time keeping me safe. But why did the person in my head look exactly like him?
“It’s Ros. He’s reaching into your mind.” Ryan finally said.
“He said you... were... Ros. He looked just like you!” I replied, struggling to keep myself from stammering.
“What did you think he was going to tell you? ‘Hey, I’m Ros, the one who wants you dead. Leave the safety of Ryan’s protection immediately and come to your death’? Of course he looks like me. He’s my twin!” He spat.
I sat up on the bed and clutched my knees to my chest, rocking back and forth. I knew they were brothers, but twins?
They were complete opposites - like night and day. Ryan was sweet and Ros was a complete monster!
I knew Ryan was right. The countdown to Halloween’s day had begun and Ros was clearly getting desperate. Of course he would do something like that - since he was trying everything he could to find me.
“Shut him out. Don’t let him reach you again!” Ryan ordered.
It was unlike him to bark orders at me like that but I couldn’t blame him. The situation was bad enough to make him act a little harsh.
“Um... how?” I asked, turning to look at him.
“Just don’t leave your mind blank.” He replied, and pulled me back into his arms.
I rested my head on his chest, feeling his muscles rise and fall as he took in deep breaths. The fact that Ros was getting desperate meant we were doing something right. I knew he was probably going crazy trying to find me before tomorrow when he planned to crush my bones and drink my blood.
The thought made me shudder but I relaxed once I got a reassuring squeeze from Ryan’s arms.
“Why is Ros so bitter?” I asked, staring into the air at nothing in particular.
“Everything is heightened in death, Selena.” Ryan replied. “Anger, hurt, betrayal... They all make you feel like your body is literally going to explode from within. What you did to Ros shattered his heart into a million pieces. Having him watch you live happily ever after with his brother would cut even deeper than the sharpest blade.”
“Tell me about what really happened back then. I’m too scared to read it myself. I want to know how I’m here now. I understand Vampires are immortal but I’m human, am I not? Why am I still alive?” I asked.
“Your mother was the most powerful sorceress in all of Oakland. Her reputation was very far reaching, even up to the icy plains of the North. The Vampires didn’t like the control she had over them... and so they revolted against the humans. It was a bloody war, one that lasted only a few days before the humans finally acknowledged the truth. There was no way they could win against us. They had so much more to lose... women, children... they remained unprotected, and unable to fight back. They were the greatest casualties, and our biggest targets. The death of child always had more effect on the leaders, especially when some of those children were theirs... and that effect metamorphosed into them meeting our demands. They knew a peace treaty had to be reached, and quickly too - for their own sake.
We demanded something precious... something to ensure that the sorceress would never interfere in our activities. Her only child was to be given over to the Vampires to keep the peace. The deal was simple. If she interfered, you would die or worse, get turned into one of us. She couldn’t let that happen and it was enough to keep her away from our activities. Since the Serafino clan was the biggest Vampire clan at the time, you were given over to its leader... Ros.
Something changed when he met you. You hated him – as you did all Vampires, but he... he fell for your beauty. The innocence of your smile drew him to you like a magnet. To you, your engagement was for the safety of your people but Ros was enchanted by your presence. The engagement took place but it was the start of something forbidden. His brother got to meet you and felt the same enchantment. A fire sparked between you two somewhere along the line and the affair began. Ros found out and things got ugly. You fled with your lover - straight to your mother. She knew the implications of your actions and cast a reincarnation spell which sent you off to a different lifetime. The consequences were dire. She paid with her life but that was not enough to pacify Ros. I don’t want to describe the events that followed but the humans learned a vital lesson.
It was only a matter of time before Ros gave in to his broken heart. He sank further and further into his anger and made his decision to find you in every lifetime. When he did, he killed the mother figure in your life first, before he killed you. It was his way of making you pay... for your crime, and that of your mother, Sophia.
I usually got to you too late, something I desperately tried to change.
The relationship between Vampires and humans changed with time because of civilization. They got better at hunting us, killing a good number of us with their advanced tools. As resilient as they were, the Vampires remained the smarter race. Of course, we had centuries of experience which the humans lacked. Our new survival strategy became our ability to blend in. Since humans don’t hunt what they believe do not exist, we remained safe. However, certain human families transferred the ancient stories to their future generations. The majority of humans considered it folklore and never believed it. It was a good thing for the Vampires because all we needed to survive was to stay hidden in plain sight.
I don’t want to lose you to Ros and his anger again. I want to keep you safe until Halloween passes so that this time, we can be together longer. We can use the time to figure out how to keep you safe for good.”
When Ryan stopped talking, I was silent for a while. It was a pretty messed up situation and I hated Ros even more. He never deserved my heart in the first place and I’m pretty sure that’s why he never got it.
“Why didn’t you just kill Ros?” I asked.
“He’s my brother. As much as I dislike his actions, he’s still my brother. Besides, I can’t - even if I wanted to. Vampires get stronger with age and because we’re just seconds apart in age, we’re equally matched in strength.”
“I think I’ve had enough of the gloomy past. Tell me something to lift my spirit. How did we fall in love exactly?” I asked.
“Now, that is a very long story.” He said, tickling me.
It was a rather unexpected move from him but it helped to cheer me up. I was laughing like I inhaled nitrous oxide.
“When all of this blows over, we’re going to have a long dinner, when I’ll tell you exactly how that happened.” He said, once my giggles subsided.
He kissed me on my forehead and I closed my eyes, still wrapped up in his arms.
He was right. Talking about it now, when we had the impending danger of Halloween would dampen its meaning for both of us. I didn’t want that. I wanted it to be special.
I knew one thing for sure... I couldn’t wait for Halloween’s day to pass.