Ryan got back to the suite at 9:30 pm and grinned at Trina. He looked just a tad brighter than before he left and his skin tone was a few shades deeper.
“Hey there! Miss me?” He asked.
“You have no idea!” She replied. “Why did it take you so long? Did you feed on the entire city?”
“Just half of it.” Ryan grinned.
Trina shook her head and threw the fashion magazine in her hand at him. He easily dodged it and smirked.
“With that aim, you’ll definitely win the ‘world’s best sniper’ award.” He teased.
Trina stuck her tongue out at him and laid back on the bed.
“I hope you got me a change of clothes because you ruined my shirt with your blood... um... tears.”
“What part of ‘call room service for ANYTHING you need’ didn’t you quite get?” He asked. “A mall isn’t exactly my go-to place for a meal.” He smirked.
Trina rolled her eyes and picked up the phone beside the bed. Three minutes later, she was done.
“They’ll have a rack up in five minutes.” She announced excitedly.
“Good.” Ryan smiled.
He was about to sit beside her when Trina made a seemingly ridiculous observation.
“I don’t see you wearing a daylight amulet.”
“A what?” He arched his eyebrow like he had no clue what she was talking about.
“A daylight amulet... You know, the little black ring, bracelet or necklace with a spell cast by a witch that makes Vampires able to move around in daylight?” She explained with a shrug.
Ryan burst into a fit of laughter.
“You don’t really believe that, do you? There’s no such thing... at least, none that I know of.”
Trina looked at him wide eyed.
“Um... So, how do you move around in daylight?”
“By performing a rare ritual of swallowing fireballs every morning!”
Trina’s face immediately grew pale like all the blood had been drained from it.
“I’m just kidding.” Ryan laughed. “Did you see your face? It was priceless!”
Trina buried her face in her palms and laughed.
“I can kill you right now, Ryan Soille!” She looked up and yelled.
“...and you’ll relish the dark feeling of satisfaction. Why don’t I just do it for you then?” Ryan asked, and made to snap his neck.
“No!” Trina yelled.
“Oh!” Ryan paused. “The ice-hearted princess cares after all.”
“I’m not ice-hearted... and I don’t care! I’m just a super nice person.” She shrugged, making Ryan laugh again.
“Okay, I’ll just tell you. The Serafino clan of Vampires like many other clans, are day-walkers. There are just a handful of clans that can’t walk in daylight these days. As a Vampire, you’re either a night-walker or a day-walker. There’s no amulet to keep you safe in daylight. If you’re not a day-walker, you can’t walk in daylight. Period.” He explained.
Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door, accompanied by a feminine voice that said ‘room service’.
Trina opened the door and smiled as a young lady pushed an iron rack of clothes into the suite.
“Oh my Gosh! There’s no way I can make just one choice.” Trina exclaimed, after flipping through the hangers.
She stood back and stared at the rack with delighted eyes.
“You can keep the entire rack if you want.” Ryan shrugged.
“Um-hum.” He replied.
“I’m keeping it!” Trina announced to the smiling lady who nodded and left.
As soon as they were alone, Trina jumped into Ryan’s arms.
“Thank you so much!” She said excitedly, hugging him tighter. “I’m so going to get myself a Vampire boyfriend!”
“Aww. I’d have been flattered but I’m too busy trying to forget you threatened to kill me ten minutes ago!”
“You’re such a drama king.” She said, and stuck her index finger into the air. “...but I like it. I like that you don’t let things get you down.”
“Why, thank you.” He smiled. “So, are you ready to see how I met Selena?”
The smile on his face was child-like.
Trina could tell he was excited to relive the memory again.
“Sure. But don’t I have to be asleep first?” She asked.
“I can compel you to go to sleep.” Ryan winked, causing Trina to laugh.
Five minutes later, Trina was soundly asleep. When she opened her eyes, she was in a ballroom of some sort, amidst several other invited guests at the Soille mansion in 1889.
Several men dressed predominantly in long black coats that stopped below their knees, white shirts, black pants, long black hats and bow ties chatted loudly with one another in circles. Some smoked big cigars and many others drank from patterned wine goblets. Beside them stood fair ladies, clad in long taffeta silk gowns with puffy hands and even puffier skirts. The ladies were clearly not invited to the conversations. They merely stood as spectators, with smiles on their faces and agreeable nods for their leading men whenever they looked their way.
A dark haired singer dressed in a long red satin gown with thin straps, long black velvet gloves and a black hat with black netting that covered most of her face, sang a slow sensual tune from a stage built in the far corner. Her red lips moved suggestively as the words left her lips, visually aided by the movement of her hands and the sway of her hips.
Trina stood among these people, seemingly invisible to them. She looked around at the splendor of the mansion, its art pieces and creatively excellent chandeliers. It felt like being in an ancient castle with not enough time to explore the beautiful antiques. As her eyes hovered around, she spotted Ryan in the crowd. He was dressed similarly to most of the men in the room but his coat was much shorter and had a collar lined with purple velvet. He held a black cane with a golden head as an accessory, and sipped from a plain wine glass.
Trina walked over to him and grinned.
“There you are!” She said, tapping him on the shoulder.
He didn’t seem to notice. He turned around to face someone calling his name and kissed the blushing young lady on her cheeks. They continued having a conversation he was clearly not interested in. The lady clung to his arm and giggled at everything that came out of his mouth... which was not more than two words at a time.
The music stopped abruptly and everyone turned their gaze to the door. A long line of men dressed in all black - shirts, trousers, coats, hats and shoes - walked into the ballroom in two rows. Right at the end of the line, was another Ryan... It was Ros Soille.
“Shouldn’t you have come in with the council?” Trina heard the lady clinging to Ryan ask him.
“Let’s just say I’m not interested.” He replied, gulping down the content of his glass.
She gave him a curious look just as Trina turned her gaze back to Ros.
He was absolutely gorgeous!
He looked everything like Ryan but his eyes were darker. He had a mysterious look and charm to him that Trina couldn’t explain. Everything about him screamed BAD, but it was the kind of bad that got you curious... too curious not to explore.
As Trina stood there drooling over Ros, all heads turned to the door once again and silence fell on the room like a soft wind.
Standing at the entrance was Selena, all poised and elegant like a princess. Her long brown tresses fell graciously past her shoulders, held behind her by two braids woven from the side of her head, and trapping the rest of her hair in place. Her hair stopped just under her butt and naturally drew the eyes to its curve. Though she was not smiling, her face was bright and had such innocence that made one want to treat her with nothing but tender care. Her brown eyebrows were perfectly aligned from her cute nose which sat pretty on her face. Her best feature in Trina’s opinion, were her full red lips which had a natural pout to them.
Selena Ryder was breathtakingly gorgeous in her light pink ball gown and crown made of white lilies.
“Today, we celebrate!” A young man who came in with the long line of men announced. “The humans have met our demands and I present to you, the sorceress’s daughter, Selena!”
The applause, chants and whistles from the guests was deafening. They continued to cheer as Selena walked forward towards Ros who was standing at the other side of the ballroom.
Trina’s eyes turned to Ryan and she could see that he was frozen in place. He no longer responded to the continuous chit chat of the lady beside him and instead, he stared at Selena like someone in awe would.
Selena got to Ros and yelled the word ‘monster’ to his face, completely shocking everyone in the crowd.
The gasps and whispers that followed were clearly audible as they filtered through the previously silent ballroom.
Ros smacked her across the face in response.
The sound of the slap echoed across the room, causing it to fall as silent as a graveyard. Trina cringed at Ros’s action and she could see that Ryan was even more affected. His hands were balled into fists at his sides and his eyes grew several shades darker. He walked out of the ballroom, leaving his lady companion and everyone else behind.
“Let the celebration continue.” Ros ordered, causing Trina to turn back to him.
He walked out of the ballroom too, leaving Selena standing there with the rest of the clan.
The music restarted and people went back to drinking, smoking and chatting.
Trina decided to explore the rest of the mansion. She had gotten tired of eavesdropping on conversations she had no clue what they were about.
She found herself on a balcony, overlooking the dark forest in front of the mansion. She immediately recognized the pale pink gown and long brown hair of the girl standing a few paces from her.
It was Selena - and she was crying.
Trina ran to her and hugged her. Just like Ryan, Selena didn’t seem to notice she was there. She just clutched the locket on her neck and balled her eyes out.
“You know; I wear my mother’s locket too.”
Ryan’s voice coming from behind them caused both girls to turn around. His face was as calm as the sea, and no longer had the enraged expression it had in the ballroom. He smiled at Selena and approached.
“I know that the locket keeps her close.” He added, when he stood in front of her.
He was a good foot taller than she was and from where Trina stood, it looked like their bodies could fit together perfectly if they ever decided to hug.
Selena frowned at him with eyes that seemed ablaze.
“Get away from me!” She yelled.
Ryan smiled and wiped a tear from her cheek.
“I’m sorry he hit you.” He said, as if he didn’t hear her yell at him.
Selena looked at him as if surprised.
“...You hit me.” She whispered.
“Oh!” He rolled his eyes. “That happens all the time and it’s so annoying. I’m not Ros, I promise.”
Selena looked at him like she didn’t believe him.
“Can’t you tell I’m more handsome?” He gave a shocked expression.
“Come on, Ros doesn’t hold a candle to this!” He added, pointing at his face.
“This little conversation is over, brother. The sorceress’s daughter must retire to her chambers.” Ros said from behind Ryan, walking into the balcony to stand beside him.
Selena’s wide eyes showed how surprised she was. She must have thought Ryan was lying about not being Ros.
Looking at them standing side by side, Trina could tell the Soille twins were very identical. However, Ryan didn’t have that dark charm she saw in Ros.
As Selena made her way into the mansion, she turned back and looked at Ryan one more time. He grinned at her but she just turned around and left.
Trina’s eyelids fluttered open and she was lying on the king sized bed in Ryan’s suite. Ryan was lying on the other side of the bed, facing the ceiling with his eyes closed.