I lose my breath by the time I reach the door to the conference room and I see Thomas walking towards me from the other end of the hallway. Darrius’ uncle. He smirks at me and holds my gaze as he comes a little closer.
“What do you want?” I ask him straight out. He is wearing a black suit but the neat outfit doesn’t improve his unattractive face.
“What are you doing wandering the halls by yourself?” He asks me, giving me a funny look, like he didn’t trust me. Maybe I’d cut my own wrist and fling my blood at him, killing him instantly. Like I’d actually bother doing that… not.
“I’m looking for Darrius,” I say, taking a step back as Thomas comes even closer, looking down at me, trying to intimidate as he flashes his fangs at me in a smile.
“They are in the throne room, little girl, not in there” he says mockingly, gesturing towards the door I was about to go into.
“What do you even do here?” I ask, “You’re a part of the royal family, why did you come to visit the palace?” I wonder aloud.
“Don’t ask me such foolish questions, little girl,” he sneers, “You are in no place to ask me such things.”
“Well, whatever then…” I didn’t know what was so offensive about what I asked. But I didn’t really care. Not in the best mood myself, my mind on things such as claiming back some personal freedom, I try and walk past him. As soon as I take a step to the side he reaches out to grab me, he pulls me close until his gross breath fans across my cheek.
I lock eyes with him.
Let me go, you creep.
“You’ll never be safe here,” he hisses at me, some of his saliva hitting my cheeks, “You’re better off dead.” There is a snarl from down the hall behind me and Thomas abruptly releases me, scowling at whoever is behind me down the hallway. I wipe my cheeks with the palm of my hand, grossed out. I look over my shoulder and see Maximus stalking towards us, fangs showing, fresh human blood dripping down out of the corners of his mouth, dripping down onto his neck and bare chest.
“Maximus,” Thomas greets with fake enthusiasm, “How nice to see you,” then Thomas tries to stalk off past Maximus as he approaches but Maximus puts out an arm to stop him passing.
“Did you just threaten her?” Maximus asks in a low growl.
“I told her the plain truth of the situation at hand,” Thomas replied coolly, “I did her a favour.”
“Stay away from her, old man,” Maximus snaps out, finally letting Thomas pass. Thomas scurries away, a coward deep down it seemed. Maximus’ eyes snap to mine, a hint of anger in them.
“Jennifer–,” he begins.
“No, I’m going to the throne room,” I quickly turn on my heel and start running towards the direction of the throne room. It was down one or two corridors and then –
Maximus runs up beside me, in front of me, and stops me by laying his firm hands on my shoulders.
I stop in my tracks, glaring up at him.
“Why do you want to go there?” He asks me, “I thought you wanted a shower and you go bounding off like you really are going to escape, sweetie, I can’t let you do that. You’re meant to stay here with Darrius,” I narrow my eyes at Maximus.
“I’m not trying to escape; I know it’s safest for me here. I want to talk to Darrius and the others about the wedding plans, “I say, “I need to have my say, do you understand that, Maximus?” I ask him, trying to reason with him.
“I understand Jennifer, but you don’t have to do that right now. Come, you need to rest,” without further ado, he spins me around and tries to walk me in the opposite direction.
“No!” I yell, struggling to stop him taking me back to my room, “If you don’t let me do this, I’ll ruin this wedding. Let me go, Maximus! Stop dragging me down the hall!” He stops and looks down at me with apprehension.
“Darrius won’t be any easier to deal with if you come complaining to him right now, he has enough things on his mind at the moment. You should talk to him when he is in a mood where he is more willing to listen to you,” Maximus tries to appease me but I’m having none of it.
“Let me go, right now, or I’ll start screaming my head off. I’m done with following orders. I get them from Darrius all the time, I’m not going to become a slave to you as well!” I am beyond frustrated now. Maximus groans and lets me go, giving me a glare.
“Fine,” he says, “Go, but you won’t win any lee-way Jennifer. As far as you’re concerned you left while I was engrossed in Angela, that pretty human that came to feed me. I’ll go back to her now. I never saw you leave,” Maximus motions for me to leave and I take a moment to relish the fact I just got my way. Finally.
“Thank you!” I nod at him and I turn on my heel, rushing down the hall before he changes his mind and drags me back to my room. I wouldn’t be able to overcome his vampire strength if he did change his mind.
“You owe me one, sweetheart!” he yells after me.
“Whatever!” I yell back.
Nothing ever good came out of owing a vampire favours. Bloody Maximus knew how to be a prick too. He probably learnt that off Darrius…
I reach the throne room double doors which are already open and I decide to make a dramatic entrance. There is a table set up at the end, near the thrones where a bunch of people are sitting around the table involved in a discussion.
About my wedding.
It wasn’t just Darrius, Claudia, Jonathan and the King. There were at least twenty other people there, vampires, having their say. Other vampires and humans dressed as waiters and waitresses walked around handing out wine glasses of blood as refreshment.
No one notices me yet as I walk up through the massive hall, towards the table, in my crumpled blue dress, with my messy, un-brushed hair and pale skin from blood loss. That’s what happened to a girl kept prisoner in a vampire palace.
They don’t notice me until I stand right at the end of the table and put my hands on my hips.
I hear some vampire woman say, “The roses should be red and white…” And I take the opportunity to bud in.
“No,” I say firmly, loudly and clearly. All eyes suddenly turn to me, “I don’t like red and white roses. Purple is my favourite colour, so we’ll be having purple roses,” Okay, it wasn’t the best entrance but at least I was expressing my individuality, my opinion, my views and my thoughts.
Most vampires are looking at me with apprehension. Darrius stands up slowly, a tick in his cheek, a sign of frustration, anger. He raises a brow at me. His look says it all. What the hell are you doing?
I glare right back at him.
Making a statement, prick.
“Darrius,” The king hisses lowly, “What is she doing?”
“Sweetheart,” Darrius addresses me, motioning for me to come to his side, “Why don’t you come here?”
“I think I prefer to stay standing right where I am!” I say in front of this large group of vampires. One of them, a familiar looking vampire from when I was first brought here, speaks up. I remember her as one of the guards of the King, the woman that said the poison my parents ‘invented’ killed her sister.
“Human,” she hisses at me, “What are you doing here? This wedding is a matter for vampires only. Your inferior input is not needed let alone wanted here.”
“I’m the bride,” I hiss back, “And I swear to god I will ruin this wedding, I will make it hell for all of you if you do not take me seriously.” The vampires exchange looks of complete outrage and shock. Claudia is hiding her smile behind a hand, trying not to laugh. The King shares a long look with Darrius, a very cold, stern and hard look.
“Give me one moment with my bride-to-be,” Darrius says surprisingly calmly, pulling out from his chair near the head of the table and pushing it back in before walking towards me.
“Good idea,” I say boldly back, “You’re just the vampire I wanted to talk to, privately.”
“Oh don’t worry, darling,” Darrius says menacingly back, “We will be talking privately.” He stops beside me and grabs my wrist, pulling me down the hall, towards the exit. We don’t talk until we are outside of the throne room. He pulls me into a vacant bedroom close by but I don’t take in the surroundings. I just take a few steps back and face Darrius square on with my hands on my hips. He shuts the door and turns to face me, a calculating look in his eye.
“What the hell do you think you are doing, sweetheart?” he asks, slowly closing the small distance between us. I still as he raises a finger and trails it down my cheek, “If you want a say in the wedding…” he says quietly, his eyes burrowing down into my own, into my very soul. I could feel that connection we had just when he looked at me. There was no denying we were the two mentioned in the prophecy, “…you won’t be having any say, sweetie. It’s just not going to happen that way.”
“That’s what I came to talk to you about,” I say back in the same quiet tone, even though there is no one around in the empty bedroom to hear us, “If I don’t get a say, I’m not going to make this easy for you.” Darrius’ eyes narrow.
“The wedding is about ownership Jennifer, it has nothing to do with your feelings. It’s a statement. In a perfect world you would have a say in how it goes, but in this world, it’s not going to happen. Accept it,” I shake my head.
“Maybe the traditional ways of this vampire world should change, get shaken up a bit –” I begin but Darrius suddenly interrupts, completely changing the subject.
“Was Maximus by your side when you awoke?” He asks, “How did you get away from him? And you should be resting.”
“Maximus was distracted by Angela,” I don’t want to further elaborate on that so I say, “I want to see my parents before the wedding, Darrius. Tomorrow night I want to visit them,” Darrius suddenly gives me a half-smirk and puts his hands on my waist, pulling me close to him.
“Why all the sudden orders, sweetie?” he asks, his nose brushing mine, “And how do you know your parents escaped?”
“I overheard vampires say two vampire hunters escaped, specifically my parents. And I am not giving orders, I am telling you what I want. Because it is about time that I started doing so,” I explain simply.
“Here is what is going to happen,” he says, “You are going to go back to bed, to rest. You are still too pale, and then maybe I can take you to see your parents tomorrow night before the wedding. But you have to rest, I don’t want you wasting it anymore complaining to me about things you can’t change,” this statement pisses me off, I want to retaliate but he adds, “You’ll need your wits about you when the wedding happens.”
“And why is that?” I ask, he is still holding me close, looking down into my eyes with calculating eyes.
“There is a chance that multiple people may try to assassinate you on the night,” he says seriously, “you need to be completely aware of your surroundings.” He pulls back, giving me some space to take this news in and I frown.
Possible assassination attempts.
“Are you kidding me?” I ask him.
“No, Jennifer, that is why I suggest you do everything I say on the night,” he says, “your safety comes first, sweetheart. Your freedom comes second. Do you understand me?”
“I rather they were both number one priorities thank you very much,” I state, “And is there any more surprises I should be informed about, about this wedding?”
“Just this one…” Darrius grabs a lock of my hair and threads it through his fingers, “At the end of the second night after tonight, you will be completely and utterly mine. Bound by the law.”
“Oh?” I ask sarcastically.
“Basically sweetheart… you’re not going anywhere. You’ll be mine for all eternity,” he smirks, amused by this.
I glare back.
“How? I won’t live for eternity, I’m just a human,” I tell him the obvious.
“After the wedding, you will be immortal,” he says.
“A vampire?” I ask, eyes widening. He shakes his head.
“No… you’ll be something else entirely.”
“Explain, please,” I say, swatting his hand away from touching my hair.
“Start behaving and I will, sweetie,” he says mockingly, the corner of his mouth lifting up in a smile.
“You’re a prick,” I snap.
“So?” He asks, the smile on his lips widens and the deep blue of his eyes glint in amusement.
“Damn you, Darrius,” I cross my arms over my chest.
“It’s time you go back to bed. I’ll be with your shortly after the meeting finishes.”
Did I just win this round or lose it?
I think a bit of both.