Ken thanked the heavens that Markees didn’t ask any more questions. Teya was still in her dress, and he knew that Markees was looking at her when he spoke about the club, but he didn’t push them any further for answers. He knew that Markees had only done it for her. He undressed Teya painfully, as his cock was so hard he had to stop and readjust his pants.
The smoothness of her skin was so addicting, and the curviness of her body amazed him more than anything. Her scent, pure and innocent, mixed with his, dangerous and wild. Unable to help himself, he started to lick at her nipples. He watched her stir and arch as he continued his sensitive movements. He smiled at the knowledge that she was still so responsive even as she slept. As he dressed her in his T-shirt and adjusted her comfortably on the bed, he pondered whether he should continue being with her.
Thinking of everything that had happened only made him angry, and he knew the source of that anger was Allen. It was becoming close to night now as Ken had slept all day while Teya tended to his wounds. He smiled at the memory, before he began to recall the past 24 hours. He remembered being exhausted, but he didn’t remember falling asleep. His wounds had been more severe than he wanted to admit, but he was healed now.
Above everything else, he was angry. He was ready to kill Allen right then and there. The need to punch something was strong, and Allen’s face was the best target. He gave Teya a kiss before securing the house and walking out.
“Ah, Ken you’re still alive. How wonderful,” Allen taunted, walking into the living room and sitting down, crossing his legs as he did so.
“No thanks to you. You left me to get captured by the hunters. The very hunters I have been protecting you from,” Ken’s voice was angry and low. Allen uncrossed his legs while he sat in a chair.
“Protecting me?” he said, laughing as he continued his taunts. “You don’t know anything do you? But seems you and your woman made it out fine.”
“Don’t even think about her, Allen. Keep her out of your sick fantasies,” Ken yelled. Allen reached for a glass of blood beside him.
“Or what, Ken? You’re helpless yourself. How do you expect to protect her from me?” he asked. Ken remained quiet, his jaw tightening. Allen continued on. “Just as I thought. You’re weak. Just like your father was. Women are only good for one thing, and it’s not love. Everything I do is to teach you something. Love gets you hurt. Love gets you killed. Love makes you weak,” he said, taking another sip of his drink.
“Is that why you treat Rosa like shit? Goslin? Even Salina? Those people would follow you anywhere,” Ken asked. Allen laughed.
“Rodney’s dead. Did you know that?” he asked. Ken was somewhat stunned, although he was somewhat thrilled. “He was a pathetic waste who couldn’t carry out the simplest tasks. If you believe for one second that I care about anyone following me…” he said before standing with blinding speed and grabbing Ken’s chin painfully. “You’ve got another thing coming.” Ken slapped his hand away angrily.
“You must’ve been human once. What happened to you?” he asked. Anger rose within him, even over Rodney’s demise. Allen didn’t care about anyone. Rodney would’ve followed him to hell and back if he could. Knowing that Allen had so easily killed him made Ken despise him even more, but the main question still hung in the air.
“Why haven’t you killed me?” Ken asked. Allen turned back to him, and Ken clenched his fist, ready for any attack. Allen turned away with a smirk.
“What fun would it be if you died? You’ve got spunk, Ken. I’ve always seen it. We’re not so different, you and I. But don’t you worry—your time will come soon enough,” Allen said.
“I’m nothing like you!” Ken objected.
“I saw the look in your eyes at the club. You enjoyed killing just like the hunters you killed before, back when you were a child,” Allen said.
“You made me!” Ken screamed, appalled. Allen cocked his head slightly.
“Did I?” he asked, laughing as he saw the confusion and the anger on Ken’s face.
“I’ll become more powerful than you, and I’ll kill you. You realize that, don’t you?” Ken threatened. They began to circle each other.
“What are you going to do, you little shit? I trained you,” Allen replied. Ken ran full speed toward him. Preparing for the impact, Allen held out his arms and stopped him with ease. They looked viciously at each other, each of them using all their strength to push the other back. Their feet began to tear into the floorboards, as neither would move.
Ken was the first to advance, lifting his knee and hitting Allen in the side. Allen winced, but quickly recovered, head-butting Ken. The impact caused Ken to release Allen, and sent him falling backwards. Allen saw his opening as he kicked Ken in his stomach, sending him flying into the wall. Ken grunted and held his stomach.
“How’s that hole through stomach?” Allen asked, fixing his collar and clearly feeling cocky. Ken took his chance and attacked again. Learning from his mistakes, he ducked low when Allen punched and swung his leg, trying to knock Allen off his feet. However, Allen jumped the attack, kneeing Ken in his chin while doing so. Ken fell sideways, cursing. Allen was the only person who could beat him. Allen grabbed him by the hair and yanked him up.
“Looks like whats-her-name and I are going to have some fun after all,” he said, raising his knee to Ken’s face again. This time, however, Ken quickly raised his hands and blocked his face from Allen’s attacks, and forced his leg down. Allen looked him in his eyes. It was clear the determination and the focus were there, but was it enough?
Ken quickly removed Allen’s hands from his head and threw him back a few feet. Allen smirked before rushing toward Ken, assuming with sheer confidence that he could beat him. Ken slashed with his arm, hitting Allen’s legs sideways and knocking him off balance. He took the opportunity to punch Allen in the side before squatting down, swinging his legs and knocking Allen off-balance. Allen used his hands to balance himself and used the momentum from his fall to kick his leg toward Ken, but Ken managed to block the blow with his fists. Finally, Allen stood up, clapping.
“I must say, I’m impressed. You’ve improved,” he said complimentary, before placing his hands behind his back. “But I won’t let you hit me again.” With an incredible speed that even Ken couldn’t follow, Allen threw at least twenty punches into Ken’s face and stomach. Blood spat from his mouth, and all he could do was endure the pain.
Allen ended with an uppercut, sending Ken flying through the air. He leaped before Ken even hit the ground, and kicked him down into the floorboards of the living room. Ken landed with a thunderous crash, as if the floor couldn’t handle the power. Rosa and Goslin came running in.
“Enough! Please!” Rosa yelled, helping Ken out of the hole. “Why do you keep challenging him, Ken?” He jerked away from her, angry at that comment.
“Yes, Ken, all this does is ruin my nicely decorated house,” Allen taunted. Ken looked viciously at him.
“You fucking bastard!” he shouted, wanting to run towards him again; however, Rosa stood in front of him.
“Ken, stop this. Haven’t you had enough?” she asked.
“Yes, Ken, haven’t you?” Allen taunted, grabbing his unscathed drink.
“I’ll beat you,” Ken growled making Allen laugh.
“Not as long as you’re only half. I’m full-blooded, Ken. You’ll never beat me. Stop babying the boy, Rosa. If he wishes for this ass-whooping, I’ll oblige him,” he said. Rosa turned to face him.
“Can I talk to Ken alone, please?” she asked. Ken noticed the change in Allen’s movements. He walked away, frowning. Rosa turned back to Ken and offered him a chair and some water, which he took graciously.
“How can you stay with him? You of all people should know—” he started to ask, but Rosa patted him on his knee before he could start fussing.
“I know,” she said, sighing.
“He literally stabbed me in the back, Rosa. I can’t take much more of this—” he started to say.
“Because you have your girlfriend to think about,” she finished for him. “I heard about the club.”
“The hunters are going to the police department. They’ve obtained warrants for the house down the street from here. I want you all to leave for a while, until I can sort everything out,” he said. Rosa sighed.
“It’s up to Allen. You know that,” she replied, examining his scars. Ken scoffed.
“He doesn’t care about any of you, Rosa. Is it true what he did to Rodney?” he asked. Rosa looked away.
“Hey, look at me,” Ken said, grabbing her chin and turning her back toward him. “Do you love Allen?” Rosa stood abruptly.
“You are way out of line here,” she replied defensively. Ken gave a sarcastic laugh.
“Oh, shit. You are. I’ve watched you two for years. I see the way you look at him, and I see the way he looks at you. And sadly, it isn’t the same. He doesn’t care about you. So why do you stay?” he asked. Rosa sighed in submission. She grabbed Ken’s face gently.
“I’ve watched you grow up into a strong young man, Ken. I see how you treat your human. She is your soul, isn’t she?” she asked. Ken just continued to look at her.
“That doesn’t answer my question,” he replied. Rosa ran a shaky hand through her hair.
“It’s complicated, Allen and I. He is my bloodline. Just like Lana was to Kenneth, and now you are to your human. Whatever I loved about Allen is still in there, deep down. It’s the part that he despises most,” she said. Ken looked confused.
“Wait, bloodline?” he asked.
“It’s like soulmates, but for vampires. It’s a deep connection that draws you toward each other. You feel it now. “What humans call `raw love,’ we call `bloodline.’”
“So that’s your excuse for why you stay?” he asked. She grabbed his cheeks again.
“There are things I just can’t explain to you, Ken, so don’t push me on this. I feel Allen is planning something, and he needs me out the way. If something was to happen to me, if I die, or if I’m missing, there’s something in my room that you should look for,” she told him, and she began to write on a piece of paper. “When that time comes, you’ll find what you are looking for. I’m sorry can’t tell you more,” she said, handing him the paper. Ken looked confused.
“Why wait until you’re dead? Why not just tell me now?” he asked.
“Because Allen won’t hesitate to kill you if you knew. Just trust me,” she begged. Ken nodded as she gave him a hug. “Now please go, before he comes back.”
Teya finally awoke, her eyes squinting in the darkness. Her heart began to pound wildly as she cried out Ken’s name.
“I’m right here, baby,” Ken replied, walking through the door with a to-go plate in his hands.
“I went out to your favorite place and got you some pasta,” he said, handing her the food. “You didn’t eat your sandwich, so I knew you would be hungry. You were sleeping for so long; I was starting to get worried.”
Teya wrapped her arms around his neck. She was afraid for him, the events at the club still rattling her mind.
“It’s alright, baby, eat up,” Ken said, kissing her forehead.
“What time is it?” she asked as she began eating her food.
“It’s five o’clock in the afternoon. You slept all day,” he replied, brushing her hair to the back of her neck lovingly. “While you were out, I went to confront Allen,” he said. He had to tell her truth, no matter how mad she would be. Teya’s eyes shot open.
“Why would you go back there, Ken? He tried to kill you!” she scolded. Ken smiled.
“I’m alright. Rosa intervened. She’s still keeping secrets, but at least I understand her a little better. She’s Allen’s prisoner. I think she’s stuck on the man he used to be, and is holding out hope that he’ll come back, which he won’t. She has something on Allen no one else does. She’s afraid that he’ll kill me before I find out so, she’s waiting.”
“Waiting for what?”
“Waiting to be freed from Allen’s hold completely in death,” he said. Teya gasped.
“Is Allen going to kill her? We have to stop him!” she exclaimed. Ken laughed softly.
“We?” he asked, his eyebrows rose in curiosity.
“Yes, we. Me and you,” she told him. Ken kissed her neck, close to her ear.
“There you go again, trying to kill the devil,” he teased, nibbling on her earlobe. “I’ll handle Allen once I find some way to get stronger without becoming one of them. I’m not strong enough to beat him now.” Teya sighed, taking a couple of bites of her pasta.
“We’ll have to figure out that part later,” she said, moving the covers away from her body. She suddenly realized what she was wearing.
“You undressed me,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“You were sleeping so well,” he explained, inhaling her scent as he kissed her neck.
“I dreamt about you,” she said, blushing.
“I hope so. What was it about?” he asked. Teya took another bite of her pasta.
“Well, you were licking my breast,” she admitted, and Ken laughed softly.
“Well, I did give in to that temptation while undressing you,” he said. Teya’s blush grew as she covered her breast.
“I was sleeping,” she fussed and Ken laughed again.
“Don’t worry, that’s all I did. I wouldn’t take advantage of you while you’re asleep.”
“But you do while I’m awake,” she teased. Ken paused from kissing her neck.
“Am I taking advantage of you? I don’t think it’s the same if you let me,” he teased back.
“That wasn’t all that happened in my dream,” she said, placing the pasta on the floor and licking her lips. Ken’s eyebrows perked up.
“Please, tell me more,” he said. She shook her head.
“You always take advantage of me. Now I’m going to take advantage of you,” she joked. “Lay down.” Ken pulled off his shirt and laid back on the bed. Teya crawled beside him, caressing his chest, giving him a massage. She worked her way down to his jeans. She couldn’t help but smile at his bulge; unsnapping and unzipping the jeans until his cock sprang out, begging for attention. She stared at it for a minute, unsure of what she was doing.
“Baby, you’re killing me,” Ken said, his voice bringing her back to reality. She took a deep breath as she wrapped her fingers around the shaft. She began an experimental motion first, watching his reaction to her paces. Ken sucked in a breath as she tortured him sweetly. His head began to spin, wanting release so bad. A tiny glob of pre-cum oozed out, capturing Teya’s attention. Without even thinking, she licked it off, causing Ken to grip the bed sheets as she continued her assault. Loving his reaction, she proceeded further, covering his broad head with her mouth and swirling her tongue around the shaft while she bobbed her head up and down.
“Oh, Teya,” he moaned. He lifted his hips a little so she could take more of him in her mouth. Teya had to remember to breathe as the head slid further down her throat. She continued taking him deeper and deeper, until he was hard to the point of pain. The need for release was roaring in his head. He sat up abruptly, causing Teya to stop.
“Was I doing it wrong?” she asked, panicked. All Ken could do was kiss her as he wiggled more out of his jeans. He wanted to go slow this time, but his dominating nature took control as he lifted his shirt off of her body. Enjoying the spill of her breasts, he began to feast upon them. His next task was her underwear. He ripped them apart, not bothering to pull them off. She gasped as he turned her around, her butt up in the air, open and vulnerable. Teya bit her lips, waiting.
He plunged himself deep into her core, holding her hips to keep her from collapsing on the bed. Teya screamed, grabbing the bed sheets as his balls slapped against her butt. She couldn’t contain the pressure building from the wonderful friction they made. Her muscles clamped tightly around his cock as she screamed out, but Ken didn’t let up. This woman transported him to heaven, and he wasn’t ready to come back down to earth yet. He threw his head back with both his cock and his heart full. He groaned as his hips continued to thrust, viciously filling her.
“Can you feel me Teya? Can you feel my love for you?” If it was thick, long, and wonderful, then yes she thought. She could feel every inch, and she hummed her response as the moans held her voice captive.
“Then say it,” he said, thrusting harder. She came again.
“Yes,” she moaned, as an uncontrollable orgasm washed over her. He gripped her hips closer to him.
“Oh baby, I love you. I fucking love you,” he exclaimed. Everything was becoming clearer. Whatever this strong connection Rosa mentioned was, he definitely shared with Teya. Everything within him called to her. He threw his head back with a loud groan, and as he released the building climax seemed to last forever. He slowed his pace, and they both panted. Sweat trickled down his forehead and onto the arch in her back. Her butt was slightly red from his hips slapping against it, tender and sensitive.
“I don’t think I can ever get enough of you,” Teya said smiling, still panting from exhaustion. She’d lost count of how many times her body came. “You think I can ride with you to the shower? My legs feel really rubbery.” Ken laughed as she tried to move her legs off the bed.
“Just stay here. I’ll run us a bath,” he said, using all the energy he could conjure to stand up and padded toward the bathroom. Teya smiled again as she watched her muscular, half-vampire lover walk into the bathroom. She rested her body as much as she could, feeling flustered and well satisfied. Ken returned, comfortably naked, his eyebrows raised.
“What are you smiling about?” he said, smirking. She rested her head on her hands as she watched him.
“My dream,” she replied. Ken still looked confused. “That’s how it started.” He walked over to her, climbing over her on the bed.
“Started?” he asked. Teya laughed.
“Don’t be afraid. I’ll take care of you,” she teased, caressing his cheeks as he lifted her in into his arms. Ken joined in her laughter.
“I think I’ve created a horn-dog,” he said, kissing her as he walked into the bathroom.
The tub was nice and warm as they soaked, facing each other. She laid on his chest for a while, just enjoying the moment.
“I love you, Ken Santanna. You make me happy,” she said. Ken held her closer, wrapping his arms around her.
“I wish I could show you how much you mean to me. That medallion is all I have to show for anything,” he replied. She looked down, realizing she was still wearing it. The medallion fit her so well; it seemed to have become a part of her.
“I kept it on for your safety,” he explained. She nodded, kissing his chest and searching through the water for his penis. Surprisingly, she was ready to initiate another round.
“Now for my dream,” she cooed, attempting to seduce Ken. She started jacking him off until he was hard and ready for her. As she kissed her way up his chest to his neck, she straddled him, positioning his penis under her channel, wet and ready. Ken had never had a woman seduce him, let alone one who took her time to give him the love he needed. Not until Teya. She was his everything, his savior.
He caressed her body, needing to touch her, as she slowly inched down, taking him slowly. Her breast swung into his face, inviting his mouth to suck on her nipples. She gasped at the friction she was creating, amazed at the feeling. Ken submitted to her will, and he encouraged her to take control of him.
“You set the pace baby. How fast, how hard...I’m yours,” he said, gripping her thighs.
“Are you?” she asked, licking his neck. In response, his cock jerked hard inside of her. She moaned, sliding up and down a little faster. The lapping of the water caused an exotic sensation, adding to their pleasure. Ken groaned, grabbing her butt and thrusting upward. She moaned loudly, and held onto his shoulders tightly. He took her right breast in his mouth again and continued thrusting upward.
As the pressure began to build again, Teya began to bounce faster, wanting the release. Ken cursed. He was ready to come as well. He thrust upward one last time, sending them both to the heavens.
It had begun to rain a few hours later, mixing with the cold winter air. Ken stood outside, shirtless, listening to the rain with his eyes closed, as if meditating. Teya walked outside, drying her hair.
“Baby, it’s cold out here,” she said, but Ken didn’t notice. Teya walked over to him, gently touching his arm. He turned his head to look at her. “Are you alright?” he asked, before he turned his gaze back to the sky.
“I’m sorry if I ignored you. The rain soothes me. My hearing is a thousand times more potent than yours, and as weird as it sounds, it’s always helped me not to think,” he said. Teya wrapped her arms around him, hoping to comfort him.
“What are you trying not to think about?” she asked.
“What you said about my father,” he replied. Teya loosened her grip. “Rosa has me a bit worried. If he was the way Allen says he was, wouldn’t Ross know about him? The hunter at the club said something about me being different as well. I think Ross knows more than he is telling.” Teya thought for a moment.
“You think Markees knows?”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking. Maybe Ross knows about half-breeds, and is out to destroy them,” he replied. Teya nodded.
“It would make sense that he despises half-breeds the most. He could see them as more threatening, having the best of both worlds,” she said. Ken kissed her suddenly.
“I love the way you think,” he said, kissing her again before walking back into the house. “I’m going to call Markees and see exactly what he knows.” Teya gasped, grabbing Ken’s arm as he walked towards his cell phone.
“Won’t he get suspicious? I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she objected. “He hasn’t really been involved lately with the hunters. He said so himself. He doesn’t know anything.” Ken considered her warning.
“I doubt Markees knows the full extent, but he has to know something. Even the smallest detail could be important. I won’t give myself away,” he said. Teya began to relax a little, wanting to trust Ken to do what’s right.
“I’m happy…” she blurted out, pausing briefly before she continued. “I’m happy you are reconsidering your father. I really don’t believe he was a bad man.” Ken remained quiet as he dialed the number.
Markees sat at his desk, going over his notes. The club, the raid, Ken being the link—it wasn’t adding up. He threw his pen down, exhausted from overthinking, and ran his frustrated hands through his hair. He looked out the window as the rain began to come down heavily, then glanced at the time.
“Nine o’clock. Not too bad,” he said with a stretch, before collecting the paperwork on his desk. As he walked to the filing room, the rain caught his attention, urging him to look out the window. He was stunned to see Ross’s car still in the parking lot, he had sent everyone else home. Hearing a voice carried from down the hall, Markees abandoned his mission and decided to investigate. He turned the corner to see a man with long black hair speaking with Ross. He quickly backed up around the corner so he wouldn’t be spotted.
“I did everything you said, and you still can’t deliver the half-breed to me,” a voice said. Markees identified it as Ross’s.
“You best watch your tongue, lest you forget who the real boss is around here. The boy is clever, but you’ll have your vampire half-breed soon,” replied the other man. Markees’s phone started to vibrate in his pocket.
“Shit,” he cursed, quickly walking away before his cover was blown. He ran back into his office and closed the door behind him. He took a deep breath before looking at the caller ID.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“We need to talk,” the caller said. Markees let out a frustrated sigh.
“Great. It’s you. Just my luck,” he responded, peeking through his window to check for Ross or his mysterious guest.
“How soon can you meet with us? We have some things to discuss,” Ken said, causing Markees to frown.
“What gives you the right to plan my night? For all you know, I could have a hot date tonight,” he replied. Ken remained quiet, and Markees cursed. “Damn you. I’ll be there soon.” He hoped and prayed that he could sneak out of his office unnoticed. Something weird was going on—he was sure of it —but he also knew that only a fool would go snooping around for answers. Sadly, he knew that he was that fool.
Ken watched Teya swallow down her sandwich and chips.
“Baby, you really were hungry,” he observed. Teya smiled in response.
“Maybe it was from that workout we did earlier,” she teased. Ken laughed softly. “Is Markees coming?” Ken nodded and crossed his arms. She thought for a moment before asking another question.
“What did Allen say about your father? Could it give you a clue or something?” Ken sat beside her on the couch.
“Only that he was the leader of a group of vampires at some point before I was born, that Allen had learned the ‘ropes’ from him, and that he was killed. Even then, when he did talk about him, it was out of anger. He did it more to punish me than to inform me,” he said. Teya sighed.
“What about your mother?” she asked. Ken shook his head.
“He never mentioned her,” he said, his head snapping to the door as he heard his guest arrived. After allowing a couple of knocks, Ken answered, trying to seem as intimidating as he could. Markees smirked as he walked in.
“Evening,” he said, specifically greeting Teya. Teya waved, feeling uneasy. Markees looked at Ken as he closed the door, waiting a moment before speaking. “What did you want?” Ken crossed his arms.
“I need the name of an ancient vampire leader. Would you know anything about him?” he asked. Markees scoffed.
“I thought you didn’t believe in vampires? Now you suddenly want information from me?” he asked. Teya stood between the two men.
“Please, Markees. We really want to solve this thing, just like you do,” she begged. Ken took her arms, slightly moving her out of the way.
“Your Vampire Affairs group involved me when they raided my home and harassed me for being something I’m clearly not. We just want the truth. Any information you can give me would help,” Ken said.
Markees let out a loud groan as he ran his hands across his face before asking, “You got a name?”
“Kenneth. He was the leader of a group of vampires for fifty years, maybe more,” he replied. Markees thought hard.
“His name doesn’t sound familiar. You sure he was captured?” he asked. Ken nodded.
“I believe Ross may have killed him.”
“If it was that great of a kill, Ross would still be bragging his ass off about it. I’m sure of that. Ross never mentioned any vampire by that name. Plus, I have records of all the kills, and I haven’t seen anything about him,” he said. Ken started to let out a sigh, but was interrupted by the sound of Teya, who had begun to gag. Both men looked at her as she rushed to the bathroom.
“Hold on!” Ken called out as he sped past Markees to catch up to her as she heaved over the toilet. “What’s wrong?” Teya wiped her mouth.
“I’m still not feeling too well. I’m going to go lay down,” she replied. Ken helped her to the bed.
“I’ll go out and get you something,” he said, tucking her into bed before walking over to Markees.
“She alright?” Markees asked. Ken nodded as he grabbed his jacket.
“She will be,” Ken replied, his heart beating rapidly as a growl began to rise in his belly. He was a couple of inches away from Markees now, and he could smell the scent of the devil faintly on his body. “Were you talking to someone at the office when I called you? I heard some voices in the background.” Ken lied, trying to understand why Allen would be near a vampire hunter facility. Markees looked stunned.
“You heard voices? It was probably Ross talking to some creepy guy in the office,” he replied. Ken grabbed Markees’s shoulder, shaking him slightly.
“Did you see him? Do you know what he looked like? Did he see you?” he demanded. Markees was too stunned to talk. “Tell me, Markees. Did he know where you were going?” he asked, beginning to panic. Markees shook his head.
“No, I don’t think he saw me, despite your call nearly giving me away,” he said, jerking away from Ken’s hold. “What’s gotten into you?” Ken’s mind was running a thousand miles a minute, trying to process the information he’d received. He needed to evaluate his thoughts, to make sure of what he knew.
“You have to leave,” he said, pushing Markees out the door.
“Hey! Is that what you called me over here for, to just push me out?” Markees asked, growing angry.
“You doubt Ross, don’t you? Take the info I’ve given you and research for yourself. I have to go,” Ken said, patting Markees’s back before rushing down the stairs.
“Huh?” Markees asked, confused as he watched Ken sprint out of the apartment building.