The room where the cages were was a fairly large one. It resembled a garage with its cement walls and floor.
This too was different from my previous visits, as was the pungent smell of bleach that the room contained.
The cages were set in a horseshoe shape around the room and were pretty much the exact size that I thought they would be.
Eight feet across, four feet back, and about five feet tall. Just barely enough room for each of us to have a little room to ourselves as long as we were sitting down.
All of us had been placed into the cages, and since It wasn’t that late yet, A couple Vampires were walking around us, watching to make sure we weren’t going to try something that they wouldn’t like.
As far as I could hear, no one was. All I could hear was the quiet chatting amongst the pets.
No one had stepped out of line yet.
Doe and I each sat across from each other, facing each other from the far edges of the cage.
She sat hugging her knees while I sat crisscrossed.
It was pretty cold in here, but luckily not as cold as it was outside, although the cold metal that we were sitting on wasn’t really helping us warm up any time soon.
I turned my head to face the outside of the bars as the Vampire walked passed us, obviously not really paying attention to anything in particular.
I wanted to keep my mind off of missing Nico as much as I could in order to make this trip go by as fast as possible.
So, I turned my head back towards Doe, figuring that this would probably be a good time to get to know her a bit more.
Apparently, she had the same idea because she beat me to asking the first question.
“Whats it like,” She began, lifting her head and resting it on her knees, “being Nico’s pet?”
I stayed silent for a moment, just looking at her while I tried to think of a way to answer that.
There was a lot that I felt like I shouldn’t say. Compared to what her life is probably like, my life must seem like a paradise and I really didn’t want to seem like I was bragging in any way.
Plus... I didn’t really know how much of our relationship I should share.
“Its... a lot different than I thought it was going to be. It started off kinda stressful, but as time went on, I’ve figured out that his pretty lax with most things as long as I stay out of his way,” I explained.
Doe hummed as she leaned back against the cage, tucking her hair behind her ears.
“He treats you differently than his other pets,” She said, “Well, at least, as far as I’ve seen.”
This caused my eyes to widen.
I had just realized how much of Nico’s past she had seen before me.
“Really?” I asked, “How?”
I honestly had never really thought about the fact that Nico had owned other pets before me, besides that time she was brought up because of the blood moon...
“Well, Xanders only had me for about two years now, so I’ve only seen two of Nico’s other pets,” She paused for a moment, thinking over something, “I guess he just didn’t pay as much attention to them as he does to you. I’ve seen how he treats you at meals and in his room. How he always makes sure that you’re safe and comfortable and how he tries to fix the problem whenever you’re not,” She stopped again, shifting her eyes to the floor and tightening her fists,” I’ve witnessed first hand how protective he is of you. He never acted like that with any of his other pets.”
I had nearly forgotten that day when Doe apologized for what had happened to me and Nico got extremely mad at her.
But other than that, hearing the other things that she said really surprised me. I mean, I knew Nico cared about me but hearing that his care was an exclusive thing was making me feel kind of exhilarated.
I sucked in my bottom lip a bit, trying to hide the elated smile that was threatening to show
She tightened her hold on herself.
“I’m really sorry about that. I really should have quit acting like I was sick as soon as I saw what Xander was going to do to you.” She fretted, growing quieter as the sentence continued.
I shook my head, showing her that it really wasn’t that big of a deal at this point.
“Its fine,” I replied, ” I can understand why you did it, and honestly I probably would have tried to do something similar if I were you.”
Her shoulders relaxed as she let out a nearly silent sigh, I guess finally getting the closure she wanted from that whole situation.
Which led me to ask my question for her.
“Whats it like being Xander’s pet?” I asked.
Her lips pulled to the side as her head lowered.
“You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.” I quickly explained, knowing that its probably a touchy subject.
I was surprised to hear her actually breathe out a laugh.
“No, Its fine,” She replied, “It’s not as bad as you’d think.”
I tilted my head as I brought my knees up to my chest.
“I know he seems like a really tough and relentless guy, but I’ve come to find out that there’s a lot more to him than that. Although he likes people to think that that’s all that he is... someone who doesn’t have a care in the world and who likes to live life as it comes. That’s the first impression I got from him when he bought me.”
She bit the inside of her lip as she pulled the collar of her shirt down, showing all the old, faded scars that she had near her shoulders, neck, and chest.
“You probably think I'm treated like crap now, but I was treated a lot worse when he first got me. It wasn’t what I was expecting when I got purchased, and I never really got used to it. It took about a year and a half before I actually realized that his whole tough guy attitude was a coverup.”
Lightly put, this wasn’t at all what I was expecting this answer to be like.
A small amused smile appeared on her face, ” He’d probably kill me if he ever found out I told you this, but he’s a really insecure guy. He worries a lot about a variety of things and just doesn’t know how to deal with it...”
Doe paused for a long while, her eyebrows furrowing like she was thinking over something.
“I know I should hate him for all the things he’s put me through. I used to, but lately, I’ve figured out that he’s not a bad guy... .”
She rubbed her upper arms with her hands in a comforting kind of way.
“He’s getting better though and being his pet isn’t as terrible as it used to be. Now that I’ve figured out a better way to help him it’s been easier.” She trailed off, continuing to rub her arms.
I was dumbfounded by how she explained Xander.
I would never have guessed that things she told me.
“Wow... that’s...” I didn’t even know what to say.
“Not what you were expecting huh?” She finished for me.
“Not at all.”
“Yea... He’s a complicated vampire.” She said.
So I could see.
“So that day that you dislocated your shoulder... was his story true?” I asked.
I always wondered if it was or if it was just a coverup because Xander did it himself and knew that Nico would be mad.
Her hand went up to rub against that shoulder.
“Yea. That was true.” She said quietly.
Her grip tightened on her shoulder before she released it with a sigh.
“He saved my life that day. I really didn’t think he would do something like that. I thought he was just going to let me fall but...”
I looked intently at her waiting for her to finish.
I was actually really intrigued.
However, her eyes then locked onto my neck.
“But what’s the story behind that?” She asked, lazily pointing to the mark on my neck, “it looks intense.”
Well, I guess that’s one way to change the topic.
I nonchalantly went to rub my mouth with my hand, trying to cover up the fact that my face was warming up at the thought of it.
Intense. Yea I guess that’s a word you could use to describe that interaction.
I swallowed hard, trying to make it seem like no big deal.
“Nico just wanted to make sure that he had laid his claim on me so none of the vampires here would touch me,” I spoke quickly.
“Oh,” she replied, “makes sense.”
I’m glad she accepted my answer so quickly because I really didn’t want to stay on that subject for longer than I had to.
We both jumped as one of the Vampires shut off the lights.
“Lights out!” He yelled before slamming the door shut, followed by a locking sound.
It was pitch black in here.
“Well... goodnight I guess,” Doe spoke before I heard her shift her position.
“Yea... goodnight,” I whispered.
The first night without Nico...
I pulled the hood over my head, taking in its scent before laying down onto the floor of the cage.
I hadn’t slept on the bottom of a cage in what felt like forever.
It was a lot less comfortable than I remembered it being.
But I didn’t really have a choice.
I laid on my bent arm, pulling the collar of the hoodie over my nose in some sort of attempt of convincing myself that I was with Nico.
I was just hoping that that would get me through the night.