Seventeen Years Earlier
Ken ran through the dark streets. Even at his young age, he already had the eyes of a man who’d seen too much. He was hoping to find someone who could help him get away from this madman. All he wanted was ice cream, but that was a mistake he knew he couldn’t afford to make again. His face was already bloody from one too many hits. He ran into the store and immediately headed for the freezer aisle. He was opening a jug of water when the store clerk caught him and began yelling. Thankfully, an older couple saw the poor kid being screamed at by the store clerk.
“Hey, I’ll pay for whatever he takes. Just leave the kid alone,” the older man yelled back at the store clerk. The older woman walked closer to Ken.
“Oh my gosh! Harold, he’s hurt! We have to take him to a hospital!” she screamed. Ken turned around, his eyes widening with fear.
“No, I can’t!” he screamed. “He’ll kill me!” The older man leaned down to the boy.
“Who, son?” Ken couldn’t answer. He just bit his lip as tears ran down his face. The older lady grabbed his hand gently.
“What’s your name?” she asked sweetly.
“I’m Ken,” he sniffed.
“Hi Ken. I’m Mary, and this is my husband Harold. We have to take you to the hospital now, OK? You’re bleeding from a terrible head wound. Where are your parents?” she asked.
“No! I can’t go to the hospital! My blood is special!”
“Would you like to come home with us? We can help you find your parents from there, OK? We’re staying across the street. Come on, you’re safe with us,” she offered. Ken hesitated, but eventually, he took the lady’s hand.
They walked cautiously to some apartments across the street from the corner store. Once there, Mary cleaned Ken’s wounds while Harold picked up the phone. Ken never even sat down, knowing the consequences of disobeying.
“Ken, honey, can you tell me where you live?” Mary asked. Ken shook his head.
Just as Harold hung up the phone, the lights in the house suddenly turned off. Ken realized what was about to happen, and his eyes widened with fear. He immediately ran and hid under the table.
“Harold? What happened?” Mary asked in a panic. Harold began to flick the lights on and off, but nothing happened. Before the couple could try to dial the phone, the door burst wide open.
“Knock Knock,” a voice called out. Ken squirmed further under the table. His heart raced. He wanted to warn the couple, but he knew nothing would come out of his mouth. Allen walked forward slowly, his boots matching the rhythm of the clock.
“You have something that belongs to me,” he said, showing his teeth to the couple. Harold tried to block Mary from Allen’s view.
“No, we don’t!” Mary yelled, as she tried to protect Ken.
“Leave now!” Harold screamed, and grabbed a broom to defend himself from the intruder. Allen laughed.
“I plan to leave as soon as I have what is mine. Unfortunately for you, however …” Allen said, as fresh tears burned Ken’s eyes. He knew what was about to come. Allen suddenly disappeared into the darkness.
“Where did he go?” Mary asked. She turned around to see that he had reappeared right behind her.
“See how you treat people, Ken? This is what happens if you cross me,” he declared, right before snapping Mary’s neck and ripping her head off in one, sharp motion. Harold screamed as he saw the devil drink the blood from his wife’s detached head. He took several steps backward, watching the blood pool on the floor.
Allen quickly reached the man before he could even blink, and plunged his hand into the man’s chest, immediately crushing his rib cage. As he pulled out the man’s heart, Harold’s body dropped in a spasm right in front of Ken. The sight was so grotesque, he began to heave and gag.
Allen continued his meal before reaching under the table and grabbing Ken by the collar of his shirt. He lifted Ken high, so he could see his face covered with the blood of the people who tried to protect him.
“See what you did to these innocent people, Ken? They are dead because of you. Think about that the next time you run off,” he said, dropping Ken hard to the floor, and rolling him around in the pools of blood.
“Now lick it off you piece of shit.”
Teya’s eyes were overflowing with tears as she sympathized for the little boy in Ken’s story.
“That devil. He is so evil,” she sobbed, holding Ken close to her now.
“Don’t cry for me, Teya. It’s one story about the many horrible things Allen has done in my name. I’ve been afraid of becoming close to anyone after that day. That poor family. All they wanted to do was protect me and I…” he paused, clenching his fists. “And I couldn’t do anything to protect them.”
“That’s because you were only five, Ken. There was nothing you could’ve done.”
“It’s a cycle repeating all over again, Teya. Don’t you see that?” he stood from the hospital bed. “Look what I’ve already done to you. This is a warning, Teya. I’m not a saint or a superhero that goes around saving people. I’m selfish, Teya. I couldn’t leave you alone when I should’ve. You’re in this mess because of me.”
Teya reached for him, forgetting the pain in her back as she raised her arms. She winced, but she continued toward him. He looked horrified.
“Stop moving,” he said, before walking over to her instead. She grabbed his arms and tugged for him.
“Come back and lay down with me,” she asked. His heart fluttered. After everything he’d told her, she still wanted him to stay with her. Her big brown eyes had never reflected anything but sadness for him, and her need to comfort him was strong. He calmed himself down, laid back on the bed with her, and rested his chin on the top of her head.
“How did I get so lucky?” he whispered. Teya thought for a moment.
“Hmm What if I’m your superhero? It’s my time to save you, Mr. Santanna. I’m not leaving you. Yes, those vampires scare the crap out of me, but I believe we can beat them together. I’m here for him and that little boy from the story. Let’s give him a chance at love, OK?” she asked. He couldn’t respond. He just held her close until the pain medicine started to kick into her system, and she fell fast asleep.
Ken found himself waiting for morning to come and for the doctor to return to check on Teya’s status. He hadn’t been able to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw Teya’s head being ripped off by Allen, just like the elderly couple. Each time his heart shattered, and yet he kept replaying the images over and over.
He opened his eyes to a new reality. He wasn’t the five-year-old boy anymore; he was stronger now. He was both a man and a vampire. Even though that’s the part he hated, it was a huge part of who he was. And if he could use it to protect his woman, then he would use it to the fullest of his abilities.
The doctor gave the all-clear for Teya to return home with the pain meds. As Ken arrived at the driver’s side of the car, he paused.
“Are you sure you want to go back to your apartment?” he asked, looking over to her and hoping she would say no. However, at this point, what apartment would be safe for her? Allen had her scent now, and there would be no stopping him if he wanted to kill her. He hated that fact.
“I’m so careless,” he whispered to himself. Teya grabbed his hand for comfort.
“I need to change my clothes and get my things,” she said, before gasping. “The apartment’s in ruins!”
Ken squeezed her hand and told her, “I can fix all those things. I just have to make a trip to the hardware store. I can fix that balcony door, and give you a better one.” Teya smiled.
“Yes. I’d like that. There’s no place for me to run to, Ken. You know that right?” she said. He glanced over at her as he was driving before she continued. “I don’t want to run. I want to continue my life as normally as possible. I don’t want to let them win.”
This last comment confused Ken. “What do you mean, ‘let them win?’ Teya, Rodney could’ve killed you!”
“But he didn’t. He just hurt me to the point that I would want to move out of my apartment and get away from here. I know this might sound crazy, but what if that was their true plan? To have me move away from here, to another state, and you get thrown off your investigation with the hunters. Wouldn’t the deal be off, then?” Ken thought about her words in silence.
“I guess that’s true. It would’ve taken them a while to come up with that plan. They aren’t that smart,” he admitted. “Or are they?”
He began to question everything he knew. Did he even know the vampires he grew up with? He knew they were sadistic. He knew they were trying to follow in Allen’s shadow. However, other than that, no, he didn’t. Not really. He never cared about them enough to pay attention. So yes, that plan was possible.
He arrived at her apartment after a trip to the hardware store. He helped her out of the car and up the stairs. She opened the door to her home, and it instantly felt cold and eerie. The memories began to flood her mind, giving her pause.
“You don’t have to do this. I can get you a new apartment by the end of the day,” Ken offered. Teya shook her head.
“No I’m fine,” she declared, before walking bravely into her bedroom to see the damages. Ken gently touched her back.
“Maybe you should get dressed in Leslie’s room until I’m done here,” he suggested. Teya agreed, and after grabbing some clothes, she walked over to her friend’s empty room.
It was then she began to cry. Everything was happening so fast. It had only been three months since her friend’s death, not to mention learning about vampires and vampire hunters. It was already becoming too much stress on her intense school life and work. Ken could hear her sobs as he continued to work on the door. It broke his heart on so many levels.
The door was an easy-enough fix, and soon he felt confident about the room’s security. As he finished, he walked into Leslie’s room to see Teya, sleeping peacefully on her friend’s bed. Since she was asleep on her side, Ken used this opportunity to examine her back. He should’ve stayed away from her.
He should’ve been stronger, but he was so compelled to see that look in her eyes, that love that was there, her warmth. He couldn’t stop himself. He was taking everything from her because of his own selfish desires, and placing her in danger just because he wanted love. No, he needed her love.
Teya began to stir, and soon her eyes fluttered open.
“Are you ok?” she asked. He was now, thanks to those big brown eyes that stared back at him, searching for his empty soul.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and in truth, he was apologizing for everything. He knew there was more to come. That they were only in the beginning of the hell Allen would put them through. He was also sorry for not being strong enough to protect her, or at least strong enough to walk away from her. He caressed her cheeks. Suddenly, she sat up with alarm, and wincing from the sudden movement. Ken looked worried.
“What?” he asked.
“It’s ten o’clock. I’m late for work!” She exclaimed. Ken shook his head.
“You’re still hurting, Teya. The doctor told you it was ok to take the day off .” Teya frowned.
“No, Ken. I need to work. I have to pay the bills this month,” she said. He sat next to her on the bed.
“Calm down. I’ll pay for whatever you need. Just rest today. I’m here most of the time, anyways,” he said. Teya shook her head.
“How do you have so much money to throw around? And be honest with me,” she asked. Ken smirked.
“I am very fast and very strong. I have a nose better than any hound dog. I have my ways of making money,” Ken explained in a matter of fact tone, without a hint of bragging. “I established an account many years ago, and I haven’t needed it until now.”
Teya was still upset about not going to work. She had to work hard for the things she had. Growing up, she’d only had her grandmother to provide for her, and she was a very ill woman. So Teya learned the meaning of hard work the hard way. She wanted her own money, not his. Noticing she was still pouting, Ken continued.
“I had a lot of free time during the day when I was living with them. I did a lot of underground fighting. I saved the money from my winnings in this account, which I’ve never used. Until now, I’ve never had a reason to.” Teya was beginning to look intrigued.
“How old were you?” she asked. Ken rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
“No more than twelve,” he replied. Teya’s eyes widened at the terrifying thought of twelve-year-old Ken fighting grown men. Ken laughed joyously.
“Don’t look so afraid. I won all the time. Or is it the men you’re afraid for?” he asked. She turned away, moving her mop-like hair back.
“I need to make my own money, Ken. I don’t want to take your money,” she replied. Ken smiled and pulled her face close to his. He stared at her for a moment, and then he kissed her hard. He took Teya’s breath away.
“I know you do, but allow me to spend my money on my woman, who deserves way more riches than I have. Or…?” he said, standing up and taking off his T-shirt. His body was all muscle, each of which he flexed as he lifted his shirt over his head. Teya watched, mesmerized. “My face is up here, Teya,” he teased. Her eyes quickly shot back up to his face innocently before she returned to the question at hand.
“Or what?” she asked, sexually aroused.
“Or I can make you work for it,” he teased, grabbing her hands and rubbing them across his chest. He made his right and left pecs move up and down.
“I’m sorry I just—” she started to say, before he cut her off by cupping her chin.
“Love my body?” Ken asked, finishing her sentence with a laugh. “It’s ok, Teya. Never apologize for wanting me.” Teya licked her lips as Ken used her hand to explore his chest like she was blind. She’d never felt so much “man” before. Ken moved her hand lower until she noticed the huge bulge in the front of his pants.
She swallowed the huge lump in her throat and stepped away from him. God, he was too much man. She looked down shyly and noticed what she was wearing. She had changed into some boy shorts and a revealing halter top. Her nipples were super sensitive, and had begun poking out for his attention. She blushed, covering herself. Ken moved into the gap Teya had made when she stepped back, and placed her arms to her sides.
“Don’t hide yourself from me, Teya. You are beautiful to me,” he said, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close. “I’m very attracted to you, Miss Daniels, and I can see by your reaction that you’re attracted to me. It’s natural. I didn’t think I could get this aroused just from looking at a woman,” he told her, making her blush.
“You should know by now that you mean the world to me. I want to please you, and to spend money on you.” She rolled her eyes, noticing how he had hopped back on the money issue.
“I’ll think about it,” she replied honestly. It was then that her stomach growled, causing Ken to smile.
“Get dressed. I’ll make you some breakfast. Maybe we can go out today, or stay in and watch that revolting vampire movie you love so much?” he offered, causing Teya to laugh.
“It’s a classic, and I think we should stay in. I don’t think I can take the outside world right now. Plus, I can catch up on some school work” she replied. Ken nodded and disappeared into the kitchen.
With Ken on her mind, Teya was hungry all right. Hungry for him, though, not for food. She was wet beyond the limits she knew she had. She laid her head against the wall, fearing the day they would make love.
Eventually, she walked into the kitchen twenty minutes later, her comfortable wear helping her feel a little less horny. She turned the corner to see Ken closing the fridge, shirtless. God, it was back. She licked her dry lips, preparing herself to focus on the food, and not the man. He had prepared a variety of dishes, including eggs, biscuits, bacon, sausage, pancakes, and fruit.
“You cooked all this in that short period of time?” she asked. Ken smirked.
“I’m superfast. You seem to keep forgetting that,” he replied, pulling out her chair at the table. “I’ve never really cooked before, so if it’s bad, you don’t have to eat it.” Teya took her first bite of the eggs and biscuits while Ken waited for her approval.
“They’re delicious,” she declared, and she began to munch on everything greedily. He was proud of himself for a moment, until he picked up an unpleasant scent.
He gently placed his hand on Teya’s back, tensing up. “Markees is on his way up. I can’t let him see me again. Let him in normally, but you need to get rid of him fast,” he explained, unrushed and calm. “I’ll be in your room if you need me.” Teya wanted to protest, but Ken was already in her room, closing the door. A knock at the door filled the room. Teya took a deep breath, stood up, and opened the door.