Chapter 22: Happy Birthday
I went down the stairs slowly, holding my breath. I had no idea what to expect, Alexandra and Sebastian seemed okay, but they were also younger, closer to my age. At the bottom of the stairs I turned left to go into the kitchen and wash my dishes, taking my time. Once I was out of dishes to procrastinate with I went across the hall and into the living room where they were waiting.
“Good morning Sleeping Beauty,” Sebastian greeted me with a kind smile. There were now four vampires in the room as opposed to one, it made me nervous. Silvia and Octavian sat calmly on the loveseat next to each other. Octavian must be my blood uncle, he had the Vieru auburn hair and brown eyes, his features were sharp and he had a trimmed beard. Silvia, on the other hand, had honey blond hair and much softer features, her green eyes were fierce like Alexandra’s.
I paused in the archway leading into the living room taking everything in. Sebastian and Octavian both had smiles on their faces while Silvia looked neutral. Alexandra watched the exchange in silence. Octavian stood and came over to me, he held me at arm’s length and grasped my shoulders, silently appraising me.
“You look so much like them,” He finally said. “We met, once, a very long time ago. I feel like now we are truly meeting, though.” Octavian smiled and pulled me into a hug as Sebastian had done the night before. “Do you prefer that we call you Elisabeth or Luminita?” He pulled away and went back to his seat next to Silvia.
“Um, Elisabeth please.” I said softly.
“Very well,” Octavian nodded. “You have already met Sebastian and Alexandra, the troublesome twins.” He smirked and the twins rolled their eyes. “And of course, this is my lovely wife, Silvia.” Silvia nodded in greeting but still hadn’t said anything.
“It’s nice to meet you all. I’m glad I finally get to meet my father’s brother.” I cracked a small smile. I felt really awkward, I didn’t really know what to say.
“Please, sit.” Octavian gestured to an empty chair next to Sebastian. “Tell us about yourself Elisabeth, we have so much to catch up on.”
“Let’s skip the pleasantries, Octavian.” Silvia finally said. Her voice rang out like a clear bell, it almost hurt my ears. “We would like to relinquish you from the marriage.” She said. I was taken by surprise.
“Wasn’t the contract signed to bring our families together though? Why don’t you want to uphold it?” I asked in confusion.
“It’s not that we don’t want to fulfill what your parents started, we just feel that Alexandra would be better suited to the task.” Silvia said. My eyes shot over to Alex and she had a look of guilt. They kidnapped me from my house to tell me this? Why?
“It doesn’t matter anyway, Daniel already told me I was free from the marriage.” I said, my voice becoming shaky.
“The only people that can truly release you from the contract are his parents,” Alex added softly. “He doesn’t have the authority to end it.” I narrowed my eyes at her and she went to staring back down at her lap.
“And what do his parents think of your plan?” I asked defiantly. “What do you think of this uncle Octavian and you too Alexandra?”
“I think if you wish to remain as you are now then ending the contract would be best.” He sighed. “I had so wanted to honor my brother’s wishes, but you weren’t raised as you should have been. You were raised as human and not vampire.”
“And what if I don’t want to remain as I am now?”
“Do you love him?” Alexandra asked softly looking into my eyes. I hesitated for a moment and then nodded slowly. Everyone’s eyes widened at my answer, all except Alexandra’s. “I thought so. Mother, we shouldn’t interfere, it’s not our place.” There was a cracking sound and when I blinked next Alexandra was clutching her cheek in pain. What the hell?
“Sebastian please escort your cousin back to her room. We are done discussing this. As for you, Alexandra, you will marry him to fulfill the union of our families and we will make sure Luminita doesn’t interfere.” Silvia said coldly.
“What? No!” Sebastian grabbed my elbow, giving me a look of guilt as well. “Why are you doing this? Uncle Octavian why are you allowing this? I’m your brother’s daughter!” I pleaded. No one said anything as Sebastian led me back up the stairs and into the bedroom. He locked the door behind him when he left and I was trapped.
“Please, don’t keep me in here!” I pounded on the door begging them to let me out. If Alexandra and Daniel got married then he and I wouldn’t even be able to see each other again. We couldn’t even be friends at that point. I didn’t want to lose him too as I had lost my biological parents. I collapsed onto the floor and pulled my knees into my chest beginning to sob. It was true I hadn’t decided 100% on the marriage yet, but I wanted to at least date Daniel and go from there. I wanted us to get to know each other better.
A few hours passed and no one came for me. I heard footsteps outside of the door every so often, but they all walked past my door. I walked over to the wide window and stared into England’s gray sky. You always heard how rainy it was in England, and it was true. It was already going on 4 O’ clock as well, soon it would be getting dark. Glancing down at the cobbled street below the row house I noticed someone in dark clothes sprinting down the street towards us.
“Silvia that is enough!” Octavian roared from downstairs snapping me from my thoughts. I rushed to the door and pressed my ear against it listening, from the sounds of it an intense argument had erupted downstairs.
“If my niece wishes to go through with the marriage then we will allow her to do so!” Uncle Octavian snarled. I heard Silvia gasp.
“I don’t even want to marry Daniel, Mother.” Alexandra said exasperated. “I’m already with someone I love!”
“What?” Octavian and Silvia said together.
“He’s in my World History lecture at Cambridge, we started dating a few months ago.” Her voice was soft, vulnerable.
“Love doesn’t exist, Alexandra, not in the vampire world.” She spat. “We lust for power, that is all. That is why you must marry Daniel instead of that sad excuse of a vampire upstairs.”
“Don’t talk about her like that!” Octavian growled. “If Vladimir and Ileana were here and heard you say that—“
“Well they’re not here, Octavian, they’re dead.” She cut him off. “It doesn’t matter what they would want, or what Luminita wants. Luminita doesn’t even know what she wants to begin with!”
I knew what I wanted. What I wanted was to be at home with Mom, Dad, Daniel and Gigi. I wanted Daniel to court me, or whatever, I wanted us to be together, not him and Alexandra.
A knock came at the door and everyone became silent in an instant.
“It’s him.” Sebastian hissed. Daniel? I heard shuffling downstairs but then a soft knock at the window. I whipped to face the sound and low and behold, there was Daniel gripping the ledge of the window.
“Daniel!” I rushed over to him and pressed my palms against the glass. Daniel gave me a look of relief and pointed to the bottom ledge. I frantically tried to open the window, but this window couldn’t open at all. There was no lock on it to set it free, it was sealed shut. “The window doesn’t open,” I was beginning to panic. There were steps coming to my door and then in the room behind me.
“There he is,” Silvia hissed. “How nice of you to join us, Daniel.” She said sweetly. “Are you here looking for this?” Silvia grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and locked me in her grasp so that my back was against her belly, exposing me. From out of her boot Silvia pulled a sharp, long, wooden stake and pressed it against my chest. Fear began setting in and I was panicking.
“Silvia!” Octavian snarled. “Make one more move and I will end you.” Octavian had his own stake pointed at his wife.
“You wouldn’t kill your wife,” She said flatly.
Octavian shrugged, keeping the point trained on her. “You know what they say, blood is thicker than water.” I looked to Daniel for reassurance but he was no longer on the window ledge. Figures. Silvia turned us slowly so that we were facing Octavian. His face was furious. “I just got my niece back, you’re not going to take away what’s left of my family.”
The room was silent until Daniel came bursting in through door, knocking Alexandra and Sebastian out of his way. He stilled when he saw me with a stake pressed against me, the tip digging into my skin painfully. I looked at him with wild eyes and was trying very hard not to hyperventilate.
“Drop the stake, Silvia.” Daniel commanded, he squared his shoulders and stood tall. After a pause, she dropped her stake and lessened her grip on me. I let out a ragged breath and both Octavian and Daniel visibly relaxed. Uncle Octavian lowered his own stake, and that’s when she struck.
In an instant Silvia had my neck pushed to the side exposing my throat and her fangs plunged in. “No!” Daniel roared and rushed at us. I felt like I was going to faint. A moment after her fangs were in me, my own fangs burst through my gums. All at once every single one of my senses heightened, my eye sight was better than it had ever been, I could hear the beating of everyone’s heart in the room, and the smells. I could smell everything now. But most of all, I was just thirsty, it was an overwhelming thirst, my throat felt like it was on fire it was so parched.
It felt like everything was going in slow motion, Daniel still wasn’t to us yet even though he should have been; when I blinked it felt like it was slow.
Even after the transformation was complete Silvia continued to drink and I realized she planned to drain me. After such a strong high I was rapidly becoming weak again. So, weak that I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore.
“Daniel,” I whispered before going limp in her grasp.
All around me there was only darkness. What happened to vampires when they died? Did they believe in gods like humans do?
My brain felt fuzzy and I couldn’t focus. I was alone in this black void, no one to save me now. I stood from my lying position on the invisible black ground and tried to clear my head. It’s like I was caught in some limbo. I wasn’t quite dead, but I wasn’t alive either. I wandered around looking for signs, or anything at all. All at once there was a flash of light and memories started to play before me.
The first one was of my sixth birthday back home, all of my classmates from Kindergarten were there, including Gigi. Although at that point we weren’t really friends yet. In fact, she used to pick on me back then, she threw cake in my face and I started to cry.
That memory faded and the next was of my first day of middle school. I had a nervous look on my face as I slung my bookbag on. When I got on the school bus it was totally full, except for one seat next to Gigi. I hesitated, but didn’t have a choice. I sat down on the seat next to her and rested my bookbag on my lap.
“Hey Elisabeth,” Gigi said.
I smiled shakily at her and gripped my bookbag tightly. In 6th grade Gigi and I had almost every class together, this was the year we started to become friends.
The memory faded and was replaced with our first day of high school together. I stood outside of the football field watching Gigi practice with the rest of the band. I was always a rather quiet person, I didn’t talk to many people outside of Gigi. She waved to me and I smiled back at her. I turned and left the football field heading up to the art room. In the art room, I was working on a portrait that looked a lot like Daniel, of course I hadn’t realized that at the time. In fact, I had totally forgotten about that painting.
The rest of the memories were all events that had taken place just this past year, they went by so quickly it was hard to keep up. Daniel barging into my kitchen, the almost kiss at homecoming, Todd and I laughing together in the library and then us together at Gigi’s party, Daniel coming back to America and sleeping on my couch, he and I sitting at the river, Todd and I breaking up, Daniel and I at Jamestown and in his room together, the “run” he and I went on together that ended with me so out of breath and, finally, Gigi and I at track practice together, laughing and smiling with each other, Daniel watching on from the bleachers.
A lot had happened in this one year alone, and it wasn’t even over yet. Once again I was alone in the black void, only now there were tears rolling down my cheeks. This was the end, I was sure of it. Silvia had sucked me dry and this was the whole memories flash before your eyes thing that happened before you die.
The woman that was supposed to be my aunt had decided to take everything from me, my friends, family, Daniel, the entire rest of my life.
My last thoughts were of my parents, home in Avery, Gigi, and Daniel, then everything went completely black and I was gone.