I make it to my room by myself. I turn from the bed to the archway separating my room from Darrius… I quickly storm out of my own room to lock myself in the bathroom instead. Since there was no freaking door between my room and Darrius’, it meant if he came in at any moment, trying to follow me, I’d have no way to put a barrier up between us.
Because that is what I was doing.
I had to stop him from taking over my life. I had to find a way to regain some control over what happened to me. I didn’t care that I was a part of some stupid-ass prophecy. I didn’t care that the prophecy said he was my soul-mate.
Once in the bathroom I slam the door shut and lock it, then I lean back against it, dropping to the floor and bringing my knees up to my chest. I had a few tears to let out but I don’t sob. Sobbing wouldn’t exactly help my situation right now.
The King wanted me to marry Darrius. It seemed everyone did.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love Darrius, I did. Strangely and frustratingly and infuriatingly, I did love him. Despite his arrogance, his dominant personality and tendency to be a prick, most of the time… I knew he had a loving, caring and generous side; even if it only appeared very rarely.
No, loving him wasn’t the problem.
The problem was that my choice to marry was taken out of my hands, just like my choices in regard to staying here at the vampire palace, to visit the werewolves, to be a pawn in a game where supernatural creatures versus mortals… all my choices had been taken away from me. And I wanted them back.
I was a human being, an 18 year old girl who wanted to have a happy life. And if not an easy one, at least a free one.
I needed my freedom back.
I nearly jump all the way out of my skin when someone knocks on the other side of my door.
“Go away!” I yell.
“It’s just me,” Claudia says softly from the other side of the door, “Can I talk to you?” I don’t respond, I stay on the floor, still hugging my knees, “Jennifer… I know this must be so hard for you, with all the changes in your life. It must be overwhelming… but Darrius needs you. I had been expecting the King to say this sooner or later as it’s a necessary step forward and will protect the vampires of this palace.”
“How does it do that?” I snap, “How does marrying Darrius protect anyone?” I hear her sigh and slide down the door also, sitting on the other side.
“Because it shows everyone that you belong to us, to the vampires…” I clench my teeth and my hands.
“That sounds incredibly romantic,” I reply dryly.
“It’s just a political stunt in the supernatural world for protection. When the King also announces we have a cure to your blood, we won’t be threatened because people won’t just know we have your blood as a weapon. They’ll also know we are the only people on the planet who have the cure to a dangerous poison that is instantly fatal to supernatural creatures. We’ll have the upper hand,” I wipe the last of the tears from my eyes and huff out a breath.
“I feel like I’m a doll being thrown around in a game without any say about what happens to me,” I mutter.
“Jennifer you have friends here, you have me and Johnathan. Maximus has quickly taken a liking to you. Darrius will protect you with his life. You are safe with us.”
“Thank you Claudia,” I whisper, feeling a tad better. A moment of silence passes.
“Uh… Jennifer?” Claudia asks, “How long exactly do you plan on staying in there?” I pause, I thought she understood I just needed some space…
“Yes, please enlighten us, sweetheart,” I freeze when I hear Darrius’ growl from right outside the door. I quickly scramble to my feet and face the door, glaring at it, trying to glare through it.
“He’s been out there the whole time?” I yell.
“I can’t exactly stop him from coming into his own room,” Claudia replies and I can easily picture her scowling at Darrius as she says this.
“You said it was just you when you spoke at the start –damn it. Tell him to go away!” I yell again.
“Open the door, Jennifer,” I hear Darrius’ growl again and I cross my arms over my chest.
“No! Can’t you understand that I need some time to myself?” I ask.
“To give you time to plan some sort of ridiculous escape plan into a world where you’ll be killed instantly by supernatural creatures vowing to kill you as soon as they get a chance?” Darrius snarls, “I don’t think so, open the door.”
“Who said I was planning to escape? It’s not like I can, I don’t even know where the front door is to this place!”
“Darling,” this time I hear Maximus’s voice, “I’d open the door before he breaks it open.” I then hear a sigh from Johnathan. Of course they had all snuck into his room to follow me!
“Jennifer,” John speaks this time, “Darrius wants to get you some proper food before you faint. You haven’t eaten since breakfast and have given too much blood today,” John reasonably states. Yes, I was hungry and I should eat. And I should probably open the door before Darrius did break it open, but obeying wasn’t going to prove my point.
“I’ll open the door,” I say slowly and clearly, “When I want to.” There is a pause, then the doorknob turns, stops, and then crunches open as metal on metal snaps and the lock breaks. I watch with narrowed eyes as the door swings inwards and I take a step back, arms still crossed over my chest. Darrius quickly steps in and shuts the door before anyone else can push through.
Darrius continues to hold the door knob behind him, stopping others from coming in as he faces me.
“Don’t upset her more Darrius,” I hear Claudia hiss. Darrius ignores her and focuses his gaze on me.
“I’m not going to let you faint. How about you have some time to yourself after you eat?” He asks seriously, with a raised brow.
“I’ll eat when I want to,” I say, trying to stop anymore tears from welling up in my eyes yet again.
“Sweetie… have you been crying?” He asks more gently, suddenly letting go of the door knob, realizing just how upset I am.
“What’s it to y-you?” I ask, my voice breaking when I see his expression change from one of irritation to gentleness in an instant. Somehow it undoes me and I try and force away the tears but I can’t. I look down to the ground then quickly spin around, my back now to him, my shoulders hunched, I bury my face in my hands and sniff. I can’t hold it back now, the tears start falling fast.
I start to sob.
One moment I am alone with my tears.
The next I’m suddenly encased by strong, warm arms. Darrius pulls me back against his chest, his arms resting along my stomach, around my waist. He rests his chin on the top of my head.
“Jennifer,” he mutters quietly, “Don’t you know how much I care about you?”
I don’t reply so he just holds me close and I suddenly can’t stand to be facing away from him. I quickly turn around in his arms and throw my arms over his neck, clasping him to me as I bury my head into his shoulder and cry my heart out.
At some point during his comforting embrace, I hear a door squeak open and Darrius snap at whoever it is to leave. But I’m too lost in my emotions to really notice who. When I finally stop crying, I feel his warm hand rubbing up and down my back, and his lips on my skin where my shoulder meets my neck, planting soft kisses up and down.
I slowly open my eyes and get a shock when I see my vision spin. His shoulder, the shower… the tiles… everything wobbles in my vision and I quickly close my eyes, feeling nauseas. I let go of Darrius’ neck and grip his upper arms tightly. I hiccup in a breath and then I suddenly lose my balance as well.
“Sweetheart?” He asks gently just as I fall against his chest, losing connection between my mind and body.
I guess this is what fainting felt like.
“Damn it, Jennifer?” Darrius’ concerned voice wavers just as I start to lose consciousness from exhaustion, blood loss and hunger in Darrius’ arms.
“She fainted!” Darrius yells, a door opens, he growls out, “Maximus, get her a substantial meal next time you idiot!”
“It’s not my fault!” Maximus replies.
“You are an idiot,” This time Claudia speaks, “Really, just a chocolate bar? Look at the poor girl! You have more sense than that, Maximus!”
“Get a drip, I’ll carry her to the bed… it’s going to be okay, sweetie,” It’s the last thing I hear Darrius say before darkness floods my mind and takes over my senses.
I don’t even have enough energy left in me to dream.