An undefinable amount of time passes. I’m in a world of darkness, where I see nothing but fuzzy lights. I hear whispers of voices… I see shapes of souls pass my vision. When I try and look down to my body I see no body parts. All there is… is endless black… my soul is conflicted… I want to rise, to go higher, to free myself of this darkness…
…but something is pulling me back…
…I was being dragged back down…
…suddenly I am being sucked down so fast I can’t resist. The chain attached to me is pulling me back…
My mouth opens and I take in a shuddering, deep, gasp as my eyes snap open and pain fills every single cell in my body.
I was back.
I was back in my body.
I was lying down on a couch… a couch in Darrius’ room. I recognise the ceiling and the fireplace, the carpet, the walls, my friends.
For a couple of moments my body feels a continuance pain as I try and tell my muscles to contract and lift me up from the couch. Then the pain fades as I bolt upright into a sitting position and grab the blanket before it falls. I was naked beneath the blanket. What the…?
I look to the right, wide eyed as I watch the stiff forms of my friends standing together off to the side, near the bookcases opposite the fireplace.
Claudia is there, her eyes pinkish, like she’d been crying. Johnathan is next to her and quickly wraps an arm around her waist, bringing her in for a hug as they both fix their eyes on me. Next to them is a vampire I’ve never seen before with a human girl next to him. The girl has brown hair with blonde streaks through it and she looks unsurprised that I’ve awoken.
“I told you she would awaken,” The new vampire states, a hint of an accent when he speaks. Something exotic. His hair was black with an unruly look, his skin a bronzy tan and his eyes… an unnatural gold.
I hug the blanket to me tighter as I skim over the four of them, and then look around the rest of the room.
Where was Darrius?
“You were right,” Johnathan says tightly, “We should have believed you, Rafael.” Rafael smiles in response and Johnathan lets go of Claudia as she turns to run to my side.
“Jennifer, I’m so sorry,” she gushes, “I should never have left you for even a second.”
“How am I alive?” I ask, my voice dry. I swallow a few times to try and make my voice more smooth, “Why am I naked?” I ask, worried.
“Darrius found you as you were injected,” Claudia says seriously, “He just walked in. He thought you were dead. He ripped Thomas’ head off and the blood went all over your dress. We had to get you out of it.”
“But… how am I alive?” I ask again, confused as hell. Claudia’s eyebrows furrow. The door suddenly slams open and I look over my shoulder to see Maximus with Darrius in the doorway, Maximus has a hand on Darrius’ shoulder, talking to him quietly.
“Darrius!” Claudia calls out happily. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard her say his name with such complete joy. Darrius’ eyes have already completely focused on my own. A small smile tugs at my lips as I see the complete shock in his expression.
“Jennifer,” Darrius says my name quietly, walking slowly into the room. Each step was faster than the last as he comes around the couch. Claudia steps back and I shakily get to my feet. Darrius takes two more strides forward and wraps me around in his strong arms, holding me close to his chest, “You’re alive,” he growls out the obvious.
I hug him back as tight as I can, the blanket still wrapped around me. I want to hold onto him longer, my heartbeat beating fast as he suddenly lets me go and I stumble back. I nearly fall and he sweeps me up in his arms and lies me down gently on the couch again.
“Don’t move,” he growls low in his breath, “I don’t want you getting hurt again, sweetheart,” his voice is strained with emotion. Barely holding back from the verge of tears. He is trying to keep up a tough appearance. I smile up at him and try not to laugh.
“I’m glad I’m back,” I reply. Darrius positions me closer to the back of the couch so he can sit next to me and lean over me, one hand trailing through my hair and the other hand resting on my hip.
His intense blue eyes rack over my face and down to my neck.
“How are you feeling?” He whispers. I hear everyone else move closer. Claudia and Johnathan sit on the couch opposite us, Maximus stands with Rafael and the girl to the side.
“I feel alive,” I grin and Darrius hesitantly tears his eyes away from me to look up. I see a steely hardness cover his eyes now. Emotion gone.
“Rafael,” Darrius says clearly, firmly, “How did you know she would awaken?”
“Instinct,” Rafael’s deep voice carries over with a hint of amusement laced in the tone.
“You’re obviously not telling us everything you know,” Darrius says point-blank.
“Why would I?” Rafael asks, not amused anymore, “I am of a different royal family of vampires that has constant disputes with yours and other families. I am here to witness the marriage between you and the girl from the prophecy. I am not here to make allies.” Darrius frowns but stands up and I lose the warmth of him from my side as he walks up to Rafael. Darrius holds out his hand.
“Thank you for telling us she would re-awaken,” Darrius growls, like he doesn’t want to admit it and Rafael reaches out to shake Darrius’ hand with a raised eyebrow. Maximus comes over and looks down at me with a smile from over the couch.
“Darling,” he says, “Want me to get you some food?”
“Is Isobel okay?” I ask.
“She is currently making your wedding dress, with some speculation as to why she’s making one for a dead woman. I’ll let her know you’re alive,” Maximus suddenly looks from me to the side. I follow his gaze to watch the girl with Rafael, who is making her way towards us. Maximus is smiling, “…cute…” he mutters appreciatively under his breath as the girl comes closer.
She kneels down beside me with a bored sigh and smiles, ignoring Maximus.
“Hi,” she says, “I’m Jaime, It’s nice to meet you,” I smile back at the unknown girl, not sure why a human slave was bothering to make an acquaintance with me when she was just here to serve Rafael…
“Jaime,” Rafael growls her name out in a warning but she ignores him.
“It’s nice to meet someone like me –” she is cut off as Rafael comes over and puts a hand on her arm, pulling her up, away from me. She rolls her eyes and glares at Rafael.
“Bugger off,” she snaps, “Can’t I make a friend?”
“I’m sorry, we’d love to stay,” Rafael ignores Jaime and talks to Darrius and Johnathan instead, “But I have to go and teach my slave a lesson or two about obeying orders. She’s… ah… new at this –”
“New at this?” Jaime hisses quietly, exasperated, “I’ve only been forced to stay by your side for, what, the last three months?…” they are by the door now and exit hastily.
I wonder what just transpired between Rafael and Jaime, but I don’t really think it is important. Instead I look up to Maximus who is still standing behind the couch. I catch his eye.
“Um, food would be nice,” I say with a little smile.
“Right on it, honey,” he turns on his heel to leave and I watch Darrius who is watching Claudia and Johnathan.
“Uh-hem,” Darrius ‘coughs’, nodding towards the door.
“Right, of course,” Claudia mutters, standing with Johnathan.
“It’s good to see you alive,” Johnathan says to me, watching Darrius wearily, “Go easy on her,” he tells his brother. I wonder why he says this as he leaves the room with Claudia and I’m left alone with Darrius.
I sit up, holding the blanket tightly to me.
“Go easy on me?” I repeat, confused, “Did I do something to upset you while I was dead?”
“No,” Darrius smiles for a moment and then comes over, holding out a hand for me to take, “You did nothing wrong, sweetheart. But I will take this moment to tell you how much shit you will be in with me if you ever put yourself in a dangerous position like that again.” I grab his hand and he hauls me up, once I’m standing he sweeps me off my feet again and holds me to his chest, walking me over to his bed.
“How am I still alive?” I ask him as he lays me out on the side of the bed I occupied last time, the right side.
“You’re immortal already, sweetheart,” Darrius says, sitting on the edge of the bed and looking down at me with awe still in his eyes.
“What happens now?” I ask.
“The wedding goes on,” Darrius says, “You will be mine, the King will announce my blood is the cure and then you’ll be safe with me.”
“Don’t you have to prepare for the wedding now?” I ask him, worried.
“I’m not leaving your side again Jennifer,” Darrius says seriously.
“How much longer do we have until we face the crowd?” I ask, “Will there be many people?”
“It’s being held in the throne room, which can hold two thousand people. They’ll be maximum security. I refuse to let you walk up to the aisle without me. We’ll go together. We’ve got a couple of hours to go before it starts.”
“Who’s Rafael?” I ask, “I didn’t know there were other royal vampire families!” Darrius grins and leans down to press a light kiss to my lips.
“So many questions,” he whispers, planting kisses against my cheek, his lips trailing to the side to nibble at my ear, “I don’t want to talk anymore, sweetie,” all I can do is nod, happy at the simple fact that I’m breathing once more; that I was back in my own body. He trails kisses down my jaw, to my neck, where I feel the scrape of fangs.
I close my eyes, welcoming the sweet kisses after coming back from the dead.
He growls against my neck, I feel his fangs press a little bit more into my neck, prodding the skin. He was trying to hold himself back, probably not sure if he should take my blood now in case I was weak. But my strength was quickly coming back to me. I arc back my neck, exposing more and I wrap my arms around his own neck, pulling him in closer.
Darrius takes that as a yes and quickly sinks his fangs into my neck. I don’t feel any pain at all, just pleasure as I relax, as sweetness fills my body as the blood is gently sucked out of me.
I surprise even myself when I let out a moan of pleasure. A few moments later I feel empty as he pulls out, licking the wound clean. It heals quickly and I open my eyes as I feel him lean up to look down at me. His dark blue glossy eyes are heated, watching me with lust and possessiveness.
“Thank you, sweetie,” he says, reaching down to press his lips against mine. I taste my own blood but I don’t even care. Darrius pulls away and kisses my cheek before he sits up and puts a hand on my stomach, keeping me down when I want to lean up towards him, “No,” he growls, “Rest. I need you to have all your wits about you when the wedding goes forth.”
“Where are you going?” I ask.
“No-where,” he says, “I’m going to lie down with you,” I watch as he climbs over me and lies down right next to me. He puts an arm around my waist, the blanket still wrapped around me. He pulls me back against his chest, spooning me from behind. His chin rests on top of my head.
“Thank you,” I say quietly.
“Hmmm?” Darrius asks.
“For being so nice,” I say this smugly and he growls behind me.
“Don’t get any ideas,” he scolds. I snicker and he reaches up and tugs at one of my curls, “Sleep,” he orders. I hesitate. I don’t want to say no because it means he might not lie down with me. Instead I huff out a breath and relax back into him.
I close my eyes.
I guess I’d need the rest.
My wedding was only a couple of hours away.
And holy hell, I was freaking immortal.
I didn’t know how. I guess it was to do with my awesome supernatural-resistant genes.
I was stronger than I thought I was. What other secrets did my body hold that I didn’t know about?
The possibilities were endless.