AS VIVIENNE finished up with Madame Jyger she went up to one of Blake’s men. “Is Prince Mars here?” she asked. “I would like to speak to him.”
The man in the suit nodded. “I’m Glenn,” he said, “A pleasure to meet you, Lady Ornelias. I work for him. He’s in the next room.” He motioned for Vivienne to follow him. She noticed that he was a wearing a pin of a bird with a T on his lapel. As Vivienne followed him down the hall she mused that he had broad muscular shoulders. He probably served double duty as a royal bodyguard.
“It’s not much further,” he assured her as they went around a dark corner.
“He doesn’t like the sunlight, does he?” Vivienne asked, attempting to make conversation.
Glenn gave her a crooked smile. He had cute dimples but coupled with the evil glimmer in his eyes, they only made him look more sinister. Across his left eye there was a faint scar. “My master prefers a different type of light.”
Vivienne smiled politely at that.
Perhaps he saw the horror on her face because Glenn reached out and patted her on the elbow. She couldn’t stop herself from withdrawing from his touch. However, unlike Blake, his fingers were warm.
“Don’t be afraid, Lady Ornelias. We mean you no harm.”
“Are you like him?” Vivienne asked and swallowed hard.
“No, not quite,” Glenn smiled again, wider this time. “But I have my uses.”
Glenn knocked on the door twice and then opened the door just wide enough for her to slip in. Inside, she found herself in a musty study. It reminded her of the attic where she had first met Blake. Except, now instead of hiding, he was sitting on an armchair by a fireplace. In the light he looked younger, almost like the boy she had met all those years ago. Glenn closed the door behind her. That seemed to alert Blake into looking up.
“Vivienne,” he said and smiled as though he was relieved. He always had a mesmerizing smile. It was the kind of seductively, mischievous smile that made people willing to follow him to the gates of hell. It seemed more fitting on him, now that he was a vampire. He stood up and he was about to approach her when she motioned for him to stay where she was. Vivienne didn’t even realize that she had gestured for him to stay back until she had already done it. It was instinct, perhaps, to order a dangerous supernatural creature to remain a safe distance away.
Blake was silent. He studied her. She noted that he had thicker eyebrows than she remembered. It was a little like being scrutinized by a famished lion. “You’re still angry with me?” he finally asked. “For not being what you were hoping for?”
Vivienne sighed. She sat down in the armchair that he had stood up from a second ago. She was happy now he had no place to sit to meet her at eye level. It occurred to her that she was enjoying this, making him squirm. Perhaps a human couldn’t date a vampire but at least she could fight with him like a unhappily married couple. Vivienne immediately put the thought out of her head; she had to focus.
“You said if they knew about me they would kill me. What do you mean by that?”
An awkward silence settled between them. She heard the floorboards creaking as he approached her. He crouched down beside her and cleared his throat. She enjoyed seeing him trying to look dignified trying to meet her at eye level while balancing on the balls of his feet. “I never wanted this for you, Vivienne,” he said. “I thought that if I became one of them I could become stronger, more powerful.” He placed his hand on top of hers. In his current position it seemed as though he was pleading with her. Finally he reached out and touchedthe cameo necklace around her throat and then held the gold chain around her wrist up to it.
“They are the same but the stronger shimmer, the older bond is stronger.”
Slowly, she started to understand. She was forbidden to bond with Calbert because she had already been bond with another. Vivienne took the cameo necklace off her neck and studied it. It was shining so brightly now, as though it was finally where it longed to be. It was the bond between Blake and her, joining them across hundreds of miles, over so many years.
“All these years, I could feel your presence, sense your need. I see your face in my dreams, in my reflection against the window pane at night.”
Blake slowly smiled as she came to that realization. “I saw you too. It was always you, my love, only you. In the darkest nights, you - my dearly beloved - were always my light.” Blake reached up and stroked a loose strand of her black hair away from her face. His eyes
Vivienne looked down at the chain around her neck and noticed that in his presence it was shining brighter than the most precious diamonds. It was as though it had been asleep all those years in her keeping and now it was starting to awaken. The promise she had made to him echoed in her head once again. This time with a different meaning. Keep this safe. Give it to me when I get back.
“That was the moment we formed our bond,” Vivienne whispered as the truth came crashing down on her. “That day, as children in River Way. The moment I took this from you, made that promise, we were linked forever.”
Blake nodded grimly. “You can’t let them know, the witches who brought you here. You’re not safe here. I need you to come away with me.”
Vivienne pulled her knees up to her chest. She felt very small suddenly and young. For a second she was the professor’s daughter again, simple and innocent, before the vampires came and took all that away.
“I had no idea,” Vivienne said. “You did this to me and you never even told me why.”
“I can explain everything,” Blake said. He glanced around at the room as though looking for eavesdroppers. “But not here. Let’s go somewhere private.”
“Blake,” Vivienne answered. She reached out with her other hand and cupped the side of his face. She lifted his chin to turn his attention away from the necklace around her neck. She just needed a second more with him. She wanted to remember him this way, the boy she once loved. He chuckled and eased his chin out of her palm.
“We have so much to catch up on,” he said turning his attention back to her necklace.
“Blake,” Vivienne repeated, louder this time. He looked up. A flicker of concern appeared in his eyes.
“What is the matter?”
“Do you remember what you once said to me? About what I should do if I ever came across a vampire.” Vivienne took the cameo necklace off and stared at it.
Blake cocked his head, confused. “I don’t remember. I’m sorry, will you tell me?”
“You told me to run,” Vivienne whispered. As soon as the words left her lips, she felt hot tears gathering in her eyes. She had gone past the point of no return. There was no delaying the truth any longer. She placed the necklace in his hand and closed his unwilling fist around it. “I choose to stay with Calbert.”
“You’re making a mistake,” Blake told her grimly, as he held the necklace in his open hand. For a moment he looked as though he was trying to offer it back to her.
“You didn’t give me a choice back then so give me a choice now,” Vivienne said, standing up. She placed her hand on his shoulder momentarily, felt the rock-like muscle underneath. He must be quite the killing machine when he felt like it. She didn’t want to leave here with him, not without finding out more. “Blake, why can’t you understand I don’t want anything to do with the likes of you? I don’t want to run away with a monster. Please, just leave me alone.”