Doe didn’t return for the rest of the night.
Nor did I see her during the entirety of the morning and afternoon tests.
The tests where they lined us up one by one and took every kind of sample you could think of before sending us back into our cages so they could process the results.
I did what Nico told me to do, I stayed in the middle with my eyes down and somehow ended up being one of the first pets done with the tests.
Luckily the vampire that met with me wasn’t too forceful but...
I rubbed the spot on my elbow that still ached after he had taken my blood sample.
... He wasn’t too gentle either.
Regardless of that, I kept my eyes peeled for Doe as I was lead back towards my cage.
She should have returned by now.
My stomach turned at the thought of her worst case scenario as I was pushed back into my cage.
I fell onto my hands and knees before the cage was slammed shut, being too tired to have tried to keep my balance.
They wouldn’t have done anything too extreme to her right?
All the past times I’ve been here they always returned a couple hours after they were taken.
Even the ones that acted out this morning had already returned.
They returned bruised or bloody, but they at least returned.
I sat in the corner of the cage, my mind continues to race with these thoughts.
I felt like such a coward for not stepping up and admitting my faults.
Hours went by and Doe still hadn’t returned.
Most of the pets had been returned to their cages by now, having finished all of their tests.
I hid my head in my arms, the guilt feeling like it was drowning me by this point.
She didn’t deserve this.
She had already been through so much why did she-
My head shot straight up as I heard the door to my cage open. Followed shortly by A vampire forcing Doe into the cage.
She hit the cold bottom with a thud, glaring at the vampire as he shut the door.
I didn’t notice any injuries right away, but I did catch that the back of her shirt had been completely shredded.
Her glare stayed on her face until she turned towards me, now looking surprised as if she didn’t realize that I was in here.
I didn’t waste any time making my way over to her.
I was partially relieved, but now very worried about her.
She was alive but not unscathed.
“What happened? Are you okay?” I asked frantically.
She slowly pushed herself up.
“Y-Yea I’m fine,” She replied, “It was just a couple lashes so ill be okay.”
A shiver ran up my spine as she spoke.
The thought of being whipped again...
That could have been me.
That should have been me.
“Can I see?” I asked, wanting to know what should have happened to me.
She hesitated for a moment before carefully turning her back towards me.
My breath caught in my throat as I gazed upon the many red lines that were on her back as well as the already existing scars.
“It was an old whip, so it didn’t hurt as bad,” She spoke up, “The newer ones always hurt the most.”
I chewed on the inside of my bottom lip as I continued to look them over.
The cuts didn’t look very deep, but they did still look painful.
They must have done this to her last night because the wounds had already scabbed over.
So why was she gone so long?
“Why did you do it?” I asked quietly.
Her eyes looked at the ground as she turned to face me.
“I don’t know,” She spoke not too confidently, “I guess I still felt guilty about what had happened with Xander and so I...” her voice quieted before it trailed off into noting.
She did that as a way of paying me back?
“What happened to me wasn’t nearly as bad as what happened to you,” I said.
I’d rather get fed from than whipped any day.
“I swear it wasn’t that bad. I’m probably more used to this sort of thing then you are so,” She paused for a moment, “Just don’t think about it too much. I’m okay, I promise.”
She finished off her words with a very convincing smile.
I didn’t know what to say.
She was just blowing this off like it was no big deal.
Maybe to her it really wasn’t.
“Thank you.” I finally spoke up.
Those words alone couldn’t convey how grateful I was for what she had done.
Her eyes met with mine again, smiling with a look of relief.
I slammed the book shut, sliding it across the desk with the others.
None of them were giving me the answers I needed.
Well, I guess the answers that I wanted.
What I wanted was a do-able answer for me.
An answer that would let me keep Khloe with me forever, but I havnt been getting a whole lot of ways for that to happen.
I looked into any history of a human being turned to a vampire, but there were only two records of that happening.
And both happened by the human receiving the blood of a High Lord. From the High Lord himself.
Which seemed easy enough, but I don’t know any Lord that would be anywhere near willing to do that.
And in order for me to become a Lord and take my father’s place, I would need to find a wife.
A wife that I would have to marry in front of the entire city.
And vampires mated for life... To divorce your wife as a Lord...
I would tarnish my family name for millenniums.
I folded my arms onto the desk before resting my head down onto them in frustration.
Even if could only keep Khloe on the side... To hide her from everyone including the other person I had to marry...
I didn’t want to do that. Khloe didn’t deserve that.
She deserved my full attention. She deserved everything I could give her.
So there had to be another way to give her that chance.
There had to.
Hell, even if she didn’t want to spend her life with me, if she didn’t feel the same way about me as I did her, I still wanted her to be able to live a full life.
I sighed deeply, leaning back fully into my desk chair.
I think I needed to take a break from searching.
To give me a chance to clear my head and think of some other book where I could possibly find my answer.
I looked towards the window sill.
I still hadn’t gotten used to the fact that she wasn’t here.
That whole fact has left me more on edge than I was, to begin with.
Not for myself, but for her.
I was worried about her.
I worried about how her first night went.
If she had any nightmares or not.
I glanced at the clock.
They should be done with all of the testings by now...
I wonder how that went for her.
If what she said was true about me biting her then it should have gone smoothly.
If it didn’t then I almost felt sorry for whichever bastard there decided to hurt her.
I didn’t even realize how tense those thoughts made me until I felt myself relax.
My eyes glanced around the room for a few seconds.
I didn’t like how empty it felt.
Did it always feel like this before I got Khloe?
I couldn’t remember.
I turned the chair around, facing the desk.
I couldn’t even remember what I used to do during the days before I got her.
There were so many things that I couldn’t remember doing without her.
Or things that I didn’t want to go back to doing without her.
Like sleeping without her insanely warm, comforting body in my arms. Or waking up and being met with her beautiful, peaceful face. Or watching her the many faces of concentration she made as she drew on the window sill.
Hell, I missed just being able to talk to her and learn more about her.
I missed being able to get a decent nights sleep without lying awake, wondering how she was doing.
I grunted as I placed my head in my hands, dragging them down my face in some sort of frustration.
I hated not knowing what she was doing.
If she was safe or not.
I sighed yet again, looking around my desk for something to do.
My eyes quickly set themselves on the silver binding of Khloe’s sketchbook.
It was then that I realized that she always draws in her free time, yet I’ve rarely seen any of it.
I picked up the sketchbook carefully, bringing it towards me like it was a fragile treasure.
Khloe was very attached to this thing so I guess I just didn’t want to mess it up in any way.
I hesitated before opening it, my hand just hovering above it.
Should I do this?
Would Khloe mind me looking at this?
I thought that over for a moment.
Shes never asked me not to, but then again I doubt she would request it even if she didn’t want me to.
I doubt that she’d put anything in here that shed want to hide from me.
She doesn’t need to know that I looked through it...
In the end, my curiosity got the best of me and I opened it.
The first couple of pages just held a variety of sketches. From birds to flowers to random buildings that she could see from the window.
There was even a very detailed and picture of a sunset that she did entirely with colored pencil.
I peered closer at it.
How the hell did she blend with colored pencil?
Why am I even surprised?
She’s definitely one of the most talented artists I’ve ever known.
I continued to look through it, now becoming excited to see each and every new page that she had done something on.
Although I completely froze once I reached a certain page.
I was looking at myself.
It was unmistakably a picture of me, sketched out and shaded in only pencil.
I was completely stunned for a moment, trying to decide how I felt about this but more importantly trying to figure out when exactly she drew this.
In all honesty, I felt kind of honored to be a part of all her masterpieces.
I took a closer look at it.
She had carefully detailed every part of my body, shading the muscles and carefully placing every strand of my hair.
Wow... I looked good.
I continued turning the pages, knowing that I’d be coming back to that later.
Except the next couple of pages were also of me. Except this time with my wings.
I knew that she had grown fond of them once she saw them, but this really proved to me just how much she liked them.
There were three full, front and back pages full of just different pictures of my wings. Some with me attached and some not.
Even for the short amount of time that she saw them, her drawings were pretty spot on.
As well was the way that she drew me.
I had to fight my urge to go stand in front of a mirror to compare myself to what she had drawn because it looked so much like myself.
I felt a smile grow on my face as I kept turning the pages.
She seemed to have grown quite fond of me as well, judging by the number of times I found myself in her sketchbook.
Whether it was just a sketch or a full on picture, I was there amongst all of her other beautiful pictures.
I’m not quite sure why that made me so happy.
Although that feeling did lessen once I realized that I was beginning to reach the end of pages that she had done something on.
The last page, However, brought that feeling back tenfold.
It was a picture of us dancing at the ball, completely inked, colored and shaded.
She even gave it a background.
Words couldn’t even describe how this picture made me feel.
The way that she drew us just held so much emotion.
The way that her hair dress flowed with the movement, and how gentle my hold on her was.
She even got the way we had our hands intertwined completely correct.
I don’t even know why I remembered that detail.
Thinking back to that day, that dance...
She drew herself smiling, and I’m pretty sure she even gave herself a hint of blush.
She even drew me smiling.
Which I was. I loved that dance.
My eyes skimmed over every inch of that drawing, pausing once I noticed something in the bottom left corner.
The colors were just a hint darker and the page was just noticeably wrinkled.
Like it had gotten wet.
But from what?
She never had any sort of drink by her whenever she drew so the only other conclusion I could come to was tears.
Why would she have been crying?
My train of thought was quickly cut off by a knock at the door, causing me to sit straight up slam the sketchbook shut in surprise.
I guess deep down I knew I shouldn’t have been looking through it...
I relaxed seconds later, realizing that it was Xander’s knock.
What on earth could he want?
His pet wasn’t here so it couldn’t be something concerning him.
I carefully placed Khloe’s sketchbook back where it was before going to answer the door.
I opened it to see Xander with an odd look on his face, almost like he was nervous.
Which that alone was weird.
Where was his usual jerkish demeanor?
“What’s up?” I asked him.
He fidgeted with his hands.
“Do you wanna um,” He paused for a moment, “come get a drink with me or something?”
His question caught me off guard. As did his face that told me that he was worried yet already expecting that I was going to say no.
I couldn’t remember the last time me answer Xander did something like that together.
Just the two of us as brothers.
Ever since we moved to this city we’ve just kinda grown distant, only really associating with each other when we had to or needed something from the other one.
Well, that and the fact that he’s turned into a massive asshole ever since we came here.
Except right now he almost looked sad, showing for the first time and a while that he actually had feelings.
I stepped out of my room, shutting the door behind me.
“Really?” I asked.
“Well I mean you don’t have to if you don’t want.” He sighed, rubbing the back of his head, “I’ve just made a lot of stupid decisions lately and want to spend some one on one time with my brother. ” He finished, growing quiet.
This really wasn’t like him but I’m not complaining.
Xander refused to look away from the floor, his tense stance showing me that he was waiting anxiously for an answer.
So, I ruffled his hair with my hand, a thing I always did when we played around when we were younger, before setting my arm around his shoulder.
“Well, how could I say no to that,” I began with a smile.
I didn’t even realize until now how much I missed this kind of interaction.
Xander was fun to hand out with when he wasn’t making stupid decisions.
A big smile came across his face. A real genuine smile free of any I’ll intentions.
“Really? Sweet! I’ll pay!” He said, sounding relieved
I laughed as we began to walk down the hallway.
“Damn right you will."