Khryssa Harcard sat in the vast office, though she would never call it her office. Brokering another deal on another day, it was never ending. The weight of the world seemed to rest upon her shoulders. The intercom on her desk beeped.
“There is call for you on line two. It is your mother Dr. Harcard.”
“Thank you Greta, I will take it.”
She picked up the phone and tried to sound cheerful. “Hi Mom, how are things back home?”
“Darling! It is so good to hear your voice! You sound so tired though.”
“I know Mom.” Khryssa sighed softly. “Between running Xavier’s company and Andon I manage to stay very busy.”
“Have you heard from Xavier Sweetheart?”
She felt her throat tighten at the question. “Mom, it has been five years. I sincerely doubt he would call out of the blue.”
“Honey, what happened between the two of you? You never told me and your father.”
“Mom we had a rather painful incident that is all.”
“It couldn’t have been that major. He left the company for you and his estate.”
“I know. Hey Mom, my appointment is here. I need to go.” Khryssa felt guilty about lying to her mother.
“It is what five there now? That is a late appointment.” Her mother chastised.
“A woman’s work is never done. I will talk to you soon Mom. I love you. Give Dad a hug for me please.”
“Of course sweetheart, oh and don’t forget your Uncle Paul arrives at 7 pm there at the airport. You said you would pick him up.”
Bloody hell. Khryssa had forgotten. “I know Mom. Thanks for the reminder.” She hung up the phone.
She wanted to scream. I cannot do this any longer she thought. It was just a few minutes later Andon bounded into the office with his nanny in tow.
Khryssa smiled a genuine smile. Her son was the only person that ever got to see a true smile from her anymore. Picking him up onto her lap, she kissed the top of his head. She started to laugh when he made a face.
“No Momma, I am too old for that!”
“Hm, you think so eh?”
He raised his face upwards, to look at his mother. Khryssa smiled into his blue eyes. Delicate fingers with a fine touch combed his thick blond curls back. He was the perfect image of his father.
“Emma was Andon a good little gentleman today?” Khryssa inquired.
The nanny answered warmly, she was very fond of her charge. “Yes Ma’am. He did all of his studies with his tutors.”
Giving her son a hug, she smiled once again. “How are you enjoying your tutors?”
“I don’t like Professor Avergreen very much.”
Khryssa looked at her son, ever protective. “Why is that?”
“Maths, yuk!” Andon made a face at his mother.
She laughed warmly and hugged her son again. Math had never been her favorite subject either, Khryssa could understand the need for math when applied such as in physics equations. She thought that math for the sake of math was dull.
“Very good Andon.” At five years old, Andon was already taking a mix of high school classes and college classes. Khryssa mused wondering if this was what she was like when she was a child. “Are you ready to go?”
“Where are we going Mom?”
“To the airport sweetheart, we need to pick up your Uncle Paul up tonight.”
Sliding Andon off of her lap, Khryssa stood up and offered her hand to him. “Let’s go then, maybe we can look at the planes while we are there. “
She spoke on the phone during the drive over there while Andon chattered on to his nanny about airports and airplanes.
Every so often Khryssa nodded to herself. Getting the financial report was ever so enjoying. The company had grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Some days it was just tiring keeping up with everything Harcard Industries had its fingers in.
The arrival at the airport was uneventful. Khryssa, Emma, and Andon walked around the expansive place. Andon raced to the windows and looked out to see the planes. The two women spoke quietly about the little boy.
Khryssa fears were coming true. Andon was asking about his father. Legally, Khryssa was still married to Xavier Harcard. She would not divorce him. There was no other man for her. This she knew. She also knew that he was still alive. She could feel him, faintly. So she was certain that he was not nearby. Still, she lived with the fact that her husband left her.
True to his word, Khryssa and Andon wanted for nothing monetarily. Xavier made sure of that when he disappeared. He turned all of Harcard Industries over to her. The papers had been written up since right before they were married. It was a minor precaution that Xavier made in case anything would have happened to him. When his son’s twenty-fifth birthday came, Andon would get the majority share in the company. All of the estates worldwide were now in Khryssa’s name. Xavier had kept nothing except a very old bank account and a small Swiss chateau, two things that Khryssa had not even known about. He was able to live comfortably, albeit like a hermit. He left his home only to feed, until now.
Xavier Harcard aged himself. No longer appearing in his thirties, he looked easily to be sixty or more. A very good looking sixty, but still he appeared much older than he was thought to be while he still lived with his wife. Having heard of some of the business dealings that Harcard Industries was doing, he came back, to supervise from afar.
There was a South American man, Gabriel Gustavo, whom he had known for centuries. He was fairly sure that it was Gusavo that poisoned him. Needless to say, Xavier did not trust the man’s motives around his wife or his son. Gustavo was an extremely powerful vampire. He ran a conglomerate in Brazil, very much like Xavier himself, though not nearly as powerful. Henriko had his eyes set on the American woman. Xavier wanted to know why.
Khryssa’s head shot upwards, she could feel it pounding in her veins. He was here. Xavier. Looking around wildly she saw no one. She felt no connection. It just dropped off to the mild ache she always felt. She mumbled to herself. “That was odd.”
“Nothing Emma, I was merely speaking to myself.”
Taking Andon by the hand, they walked over to the gate to meet Uncle Paul. Khryssa spotted him quickly and waved. He was a tall dark haired man. His wavy dark hair curled over his ears, just hinted with grey at the temples. Khryssa smiled, she knew that meant his hair was far too long. Only about twelve years older than Khryssa, he was a handsome man. He smiled a Cheshire smile when he spotted his niece. Running over to her and his nephew, he picked up the younger woman and swung her around. She laughed with glee. While Paul and Khryssa spoke often, they had not seen each other in nearly a decade. He was in the military and was usually under some sort of time constraint when it came to family. Putting her down, and kissing her cheek warmly, he then knelt in front of Andon and extended his hand. Andon shook it solemnly.
“Hello Uncle Paul, it is nice to meet you.” Andon spoke with all seriousness.
Paul grinned and hugged his nephew.
“The pleasure is mine little man.”
Xavier stood maybe fifty feet away from them, watching. With the loud noises of the airport, he could not make out the words clearly. He could feel the blood in his veins boil. Anger permeated every pore. Andon looked up and spotted his father. He had no idea what his father looked like previously and now Xavier did not look like himself. All the little boy knew was that the man looked angry and he felt some sort of strange connection to him. So he waved and smiled at the elderly gentleman. Khryssa looked up to where Andon was waving at, but by then Xavier had already disappeared into the crowd. A chill ran across her skin. Something strange was happening, yet again.
Paul carried Andon through the airport and out to the waiting car. Emma, Khryssa, Andon and Paul all spoke animatedly. Xavier felt himself seething. He was blocking Khryssa. He could not read her any more than she could him right now.
Khryssa Harcard, with her family, headed back to their home. Xavier followed them, something he had not planned on. Dracula was back in town.
Paul took up residence in a hotel, not wishing to intrude on his niece’s life. The two days that he was there for passed quickly. On the last night, they went for dinner. It was just the two of them. The dinner was lovely and light. Filled with a deliciously crisp wine assortment and delectable meal, Khryssa enjoyed herself for the first time in a long time. They chatted about family and common friends. When the meal was over and he had to go back on a red-eye the following morning Khryssa gave her uncle a hug.
“I wish you could stay longer Paul.”
“Me too Khryssie, but duty calls.” He was the only person in the world that could get away with calling her that.
“Are you sure I can’t take you to the airport in the morning?”
“Yeah, positive. I have to be at the airport at three in the morning. There is no reason for you to get up that damned early!”
“I am usually up then actually.”
“You need to work less and enjoy life more girl.”
“You have no idea how many times I have heard that.” Khryssa smiled softly.
They hugged one last time and he took a cab back to the hotel. It wasn’t that late, perhaps eight in the evening. Khryssa paused to look out over the canal. The water whispered to her. The letdown of Uncle Paul leaving was in her heart. Used to the lonely ache, it was one of those rare times that she felt it hitting harder.
She sang to the moonlight, not the first song she ever sang for him, but it would be the last. The heartfelt words of Bird York left her lips.
Her lips are trembling now
Can't hear his voice,
can't feel him near
She says "Save me, save me
Why don't you save me from the pain of losing you
Save me, save me
Why don't you save me from this hell I'm going through
The dinner table looks so strange without him sitting there
The bed is empty on his side
For forty years this house has held the fire of love they shared
But now the garden slowly dies
He said he'd never leave her alone to face the day
What kind of God is this
that'll take him back
And make her stay
Save me, save me
Why don't you save me from the pain of losing you?
Save me, save me
Why don't you save me from this hell I'm going through?
“Damnit Xavier. Where the hell are you? “Her hand came up and rubbed a fair cheek. “Why are you not here with me and why are you not here with our son? Where are you? Don’t you know I forgave you for what happened? It was not your fault. Don’t you know that I love you? And damnit don’t you know I need you?” Khryssa eyes ached. She could feel the need to cry, but the tears would not fall.
“I do now.”
Khryssa whirled around at the sound of that voice. It was the voice of a man that haunted her dreams and it sounded the same. He didn’t look like himself. Older, greyer, and angrier was this man before her. She didn’t know if she wanted to hit him or throw her arms around him and find the lips she knew so well. She did neither. She just stood there.
Xavier walked around her. His fingertips brushed along her throat and through her hair. There was a different air to him. Khryssa had never seen him look at her with such indifference.
“You betrayed me, my love.” The last two words were spat out with contempt.
“What are you talking about Xavier?” She was utterly confused. The shock of seeing him was not helping.
“Another man and so soon Khryssa, you disappoint me.” He stopped walking; his fingers still were on her throat. The threat was there and they both knew it.
“Xavier, it has been five years since I have even heard from you. So please tell me of this other man I have had? There have not been any other men in my life besides family and business acquaintances!”
“Oh so that was what this little candle light dinner happened to be, a business acquaintance?” He laughed bitterly.
She started to laugh; it was a slightly crazed laugh. Slowly she dropped to the hard ground beneath her. Kneeling there, she shook her head wildly with hands upon the ground. Everything drained from her and Khryssa looked at him and started laughing once more.
“You find this amusing Khryssa?” His fingers ached to snap her neck.
“Actually yes. Yes I do Xavier. If you had not been so goddamn busy shielding yourself so I wouldn’t know where you were and if you had not been so goddamn busy thinking horrible things you would know who that man is. That would be Commander Paul Edwards. He is my mother’s youngest brother. Perhaps too, if you had not been so busy you would have also noticed the family likeness!”
There was a pained expression in his eyes. She was correct. He dropped his hand and turned to walk away. Even with his reflexes, in this moment she was quicker. Shooting up from her place on the cold hard ground she reached for him. Her hand grabbed his shoulder and with a mighty pull she spun him back to face her.
“Don’t you dare.” She hissed at him. “You left. You left after you raped me Xavier. You left without word. The one exception was to turn over everything to me. You left your son. Who wonders what he has done wrong because his father is never there for him. You ran away you damned coward!” As much as Khryssa loved him, anger was singing hotly in her veins.
His voice turned deadly quiet. “No one has dared called me a coward before Khryssa. I would advise you do not do it again.”
Khryssa scoffed at him. “Do you think you frighten me? Do you Dracula? Do you think that I am afraid of you?” She started to laugh once again. “What will you do to me that you have not already done? You broke my heart. You ran away like a dog with it’s tail between its legs. What of all the promises to love, protect and to be my husband? I suppose Stoker did write a hell of a story after all Dracula!” She didn’t realize it, but that was the first time she had ever actually called him Dracula. Xavier noticed.
He smiled a cold and cruel smile. Looking to her, the blue slowly drained from his eyes and it was replaced by the inhuman yellow. Xavier’s fangs extended to brush the bottom swell of his lower lip.
“You have always been beautiful when you are angry my dear. But such a mouth when you are mad, do you kiss your mother with that mouth Khryssa Leigh?” He reached out to stroke her cheek.
She smacked his hand away and pulled back. “Do not touch me Xavier.”
He had never seen her consumed by such anger before. It amused him slightly. “Oh and what will you do about it my darling wife?”
Her own smile was deadly. “I will make you wish you had perished all those centuries ago.”
He moved to her. The threat was erotic to him, simply because it came from Khryssa. He looked into her eyes at that moment. What he saw disturbed him. There was nothing there. The warmth that normally sparkled in their depths when Khryssa looked at him was gone. She did not look human, even though he knew that she was as human as she ever was.
It was then he recalled something that Helsing had told him. She was his equal. This beautiful woman who had loved him unconditionally and without question would do whatever she needed to do to protect herself and their child. She truly was his equal.
He spoke softly, with feeling. “What have I done to you? What sort of monster have I created in you my beloved Khryssa?” In that moment his heart softened and he felt her once again. It was painful.
“You broke my heart Xavier. That is what you did.” Khryssa spat the words out.
“Khryssa, I-“He looked at his wife with a pained expression. “I am sorry.”
She nodded and prepared to leave.
“Will you allow me to see my son?”
“No.” She kept walking.
“Please Khryssa. I will divorce you. I will allow you to live your life as you see fit. I will not bother you again. Just let me see Andon one last time.” He did the one thing he had not done in his immortal life before, he pleaded.
She shook her head. “Oh for fuckssake Xavier! I am not going to have you confuse Andon. I am certainly not going to invite you into our home. Did you forget when you turned the deed over to me, that your invitation was revoked?”
He had actually forgotten that. “Khryssa, I love you. I never stopped loving you. I left because you would be safer without me.” He paused and looked to his wife. “I came back because one of your business dealings is an old rival of mine. I will not allow anyone to hurt you Khryssa.”
She exploded on him. “Spare me the dramatics Xavier! Was it not you that nearly destroyed me? You think I was safer without you? How often has one of your ‘friends’ came to call on your family? Did you ever think that those of my blood were your only enemies? Did you not feel me crying out for you in agony when Rabin decided to torture me?” Ripping open the sleeve of her blouse she exposed her arm. The soft skin was marred from wrist to shoulder with a multitude of thick scars. The scars were ugly and looked very similar to a burn. “Another vampire drank my blood and enjoyed it Xavier. Fortunately he was foolish enough to tie me to a wooden chair.”
Rabin had been an old rival of Xavier’s. When he had found out about the disappearance of the infamous Dracula, he had taken Khryssa. Rabin was centuries older than Xavier. He amused himself for hours with her tied to a chair. A scalpel was drawn across her flesh. The blood licked away by Rabin and his followers. She could not tell him where Xavier was, so he tortured her. She wouldn’t have told him if she had known either. When Khryssa had tried to fight him from her bindings and spat at him, he threw her backwards with such a great force it broke the chair. Rabin had leapt upon her and went, literally, for the jugular. With a piece of broken wood that her wrist was still tied to, she staked him. His followers vanished within moments of the death of their master.
Xavier stumbled with the news. He had not known. He might have felt her crying out and ignored it. It may have been the point in time where he was starving himself and it was not possible for him to have felt her pain. His fury mounted. It was not aimed at Khryssa but himself and those that threatened her. He had made a vow to always protect his wife. It was his own doings that had broken the vow.
“I am tired of this Xavier. I am tired of fighting with you. I am just tired. Just go, go back to wherever you came from and leave me alone.”
“No? No? What gives you the right to tell me no?”
“We still love each other Khryssa. I can feel it within you. I know you can feel it within me. We just need time to come together again.”
Her laugh turned bitter. “I have lied for you for five years Xavier. When people ask where is The Great Xavier Harcard, I tell them you are away for a period of time working on a new business. I forged your signature to letters. No one knows that you are truly gone. I have kept this a secret as best as I can, I am positive a few people have figured it out.”
“Why did you do this?”
“Because not even I wanted to truly admit you were gone.”
“What can I do to have you forgive me Khryssa?”
“I think it is a little too late for that.”
He moved so quickly that she didn’t see it. Khryssa was not expecting him to be so swift while looking mightily advanced in years. She was wrong. He wrapped his arms around her from behind and held on. His warm voice brushed past her ear like a wanton touch.
“Just a little while ago, when you thought you were alone, you said how much you needed me. You said you loved me. You pleaded in song for me.”
She slumped in his arms. “I hate you.”
“No you don’t my wife. I can feel your love coursing through your veins. I can catch the scent of it on your skin. You are angry with me but you don’t hate me.”
Khryssa sighed. “I need to go home Xavier.”
“To our home?” He emphasized the word ‘our’.
“Yes Xavier, our home.” She felt the tears prickle at her eyes. Asking herself why she could not stay away from this man
“It would be my pleasure my dear.”
With that, they disappeared into the night.